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Our Top 5 Off-The-Beaten-Path Places To Travel In The USA

slot canyons

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We look at the United States as a giant sandwich. OK, not always but today we are in this context – there’s a lot of tasty stuff is in the middle.

Today we bring you amazing, off-the-beaten-path places that are visual feasts, so indulge, you won’t gain a pound!

We talked about the sweet hotels in Austin along with the Santa Fe drool-worthy, single-artist galleries like the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

But those aren’t nature made, so today we’ll focus on our top 5 glorious places you’ll want to check out that are crafted by Mother Nature herself, and definitely off-the-beaten-path.

Big Cedar Lodge
190 Top of the Rock Road
Ridgedale, Missouri 65739

Netflix has made the Ozark Mountains a household name, and the Big Cedar Lodge is rustic luxury at its finest, right in the heart of the Ozarks.

big-cedar-golf-course off-the-beaten-path

Located on 800 acres of the rugged Ozark Mountain preserve, this lodge offers horseback riding, biking, hiking, fishing, and a legendary golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus at nearby Osage Beach.

You name it and it’s all pretty much here, in the midst of some of the most mesmerizing scenery you can imagine.

spa-grotto-pool-at Big Cedar
Horseback riding off-the-beaten-path

Not to be outdone by other world-class resorts, Big Cedar Lodge offers an 18,000 square foot spa and salon for a day of pampering.

Under the timber ceilings, each treatment room also comes with its own cozy fireplace. Naturally, we think “toasty and cozy” should be synonymous with spa treatments.

Big Cedar Lodge also has upscale dining at Osage Restaurant, which we’ll refer to as a room with a view – a most spectacular view!

Osage restaurant dinner at Big Cedar Lodge
Osage restaurant interior with a view

After a memorable dinner, guests can follow the stone-lined stairwell down to a hidden wine cellar and unique bar. Kudos to Big Cedar for keeping the speakeasy vibe alive and well, something we can raise a glass to!

Luxury Lodging At Big Cedar

From private log cabins and bungalows to charming cottages, secluded accommodations are readily available at Big Cedar Lodge.

one-room-camp-cabin-accommodation at Big Cedar Lodge
lakeside-cottage off-the-beaten-path

With well-supplied kitchens and the lodge’s infinity pool and shimmering lake just a stone’s throw away. This is camping with comfort

Lodging at Big Cedar Lodge

We can’t talk about this neck of the woods without mentioning a little bootlegging and moonshining.

In the Ozarks, the history of bootlegged liquor runs deep so be sure to get a taste of real Moonshine while you’re in this neck of the woods.

Head over to the Copper Run Distillery and feel the burn. Speaking of our cool distilleries, be sure to check out these places in the Highlands of Scotland. We’ll chalk those up as more off-the-beaten-path places to have a ball.

Copper Run moonshine bottle
Blackberry Farm
1471 West Millers Cove Road Walland
Tennessee 37886

Tucked away in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee, you’ll find 4,200 acres of misty tranquility, dosed with Southern hospitality at Blackberry Farm.

Great Smokey mountains
Blackberry Farm sign

Accommodations here offer some great choices – inside the main house in one of their historic Estate rooms, their large carriage house suites or you can stay in your own private cottage. We do love their cottages.

Blackberry Farms, is a busy working farm, which in turn is your good fortune.

Their gardeners grow vegetables, wild mushrooms, and blackberries that are harvested throughout the gardens.

The livestock team and the local agricultural community provide milk for Blackberry’s cheesemaker and meat for the chefs.

Fresh grown veggies off-the-beaten-path
View of the Ozarks off-the-beaten-path

There’s an amazing range of activities at Blackberry Farm including archery, hiking, biking, and horseback riding

If fly fishing is right up your alley, then toss a line by the pristine tranquility of Hesse Creek. Hey, this is a farm so needless to say, you’ll find a plethora of culinary and tasting activities as well.

Biking off-the-beaten-path in the USA
The Hill Cottages at Blackberry Farm

Averaging a comfortable 1,80 square feet of luxury, the cottages have lots to offer. Soaking tub, screened-in porch with rocking chairs, and a fireplace all add to an ultimate escape.

accommodations at Blackberry Farm
Staying off-the-beaten-path at Blackberry Farm

You’ll also find state-of-the-art technology, including high-speed internet, flat-screen televisions, and integrated sound systems throughout, with a theatre surround-sound in the living room.

accommodations at Blackberry Farm

For puttering around, the cottages also come with a golf cart – just in case you feel like cruising around the grounds at a laid-back country pace.

However, this could be a fun way to head over to the Wellhouse, which is where you’ll find a world-class spa.

Wellhouse is one of the best places to travel in the USA
WellHouse at Blackberry Farms
Fine Dining at The Barn

Recognized as one of the top restaurants in the South, there is nothing ordinary about this turn-of-the-century barn located in the middle of the farmstead.

Great cuisine of fresh vegetables
The Barn at Blackberry Farm
Dinner at Blackberry Farm

Here you’ll find ambiance and farm-to-table freshness, with ingredients that are grown just outside the Barn’s front door.

This James Beard Award-winning restaurant offers multi-course menus rooted in Appalachian cuisine.

Blackberry Farm award-winning wine

Complementing the cuisine is their James Beard and Wine Spectator Award-winning wine program with more than 9,000 different selections housed in the Barn Wine Cellar. Now that’s our idea of a barn!

Big Cedar doesn’t hold back with their stellar outdoor lifestyle, and if you’re looking for a little snow to play in by other beautiful mountains, then check out our top luxury hotels in Aspen.

Colorful canyon off-the-beaten-path in the USA
Antelope Canyon
Page, Arizona

If you’ve ever dreamed what it would be like walking on a strange, distant planet in a faraway galaxy, this “slot canyon” might be just the experience you’re looking for. And definitely off-the-beaten-path.

So what is a slot canyon?

A slot canyon is a narrow canyon that is formed from water rushing through rock. What starts off as a tiny crack steadily grows larger from repeat flash floods and erosion over millions of years. The end result is a narrow, picturesque canyon with very high walls.

Antelope Canyon best places to visit

Located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona, you’ll find Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, both of which can only be accessed through a Navajo Tribe-authorized guide service.

There’s only an upside to having these guided tours, as your guide will help you take the best photos, find the best angles, and share their knowledge of this fantastical, unique world.

Touring Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon is an above-ground slot canyon. It’s an easy, flat 100-yard walk, following a 2-mile off-road ride from the Navajo Tribal Park Gate on US98 to the canyon’s entrance.

Upper Antelope Canyon is also where you can catch those world-famous sunbeams between the spring and fall months, but only during peak time tours.

Antelope Canyon with blue sky
Touring Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon is a longer slot canyon, about 600 yards, and is situated below-ground.

Touring requires descending and ascending a series of ladders and stepping over a few boulders, so make sure you can handle a few Indiana Jones obstacles. Without the poison darts of course.

Antelope Canyon, USA travel
Grinter’s Sunflower Farm
24154 Stillwell Rd, Lawrence, KS 66044

If you’re intrigued by walking through a 40-acre field of giant sunflowers the size of your head, then look no further than Grinter’s Sunflower Farm.

Sunflower farm, best off-the-beaten-path places to go

You won’t get more farm-friendly than this family-owned farm, the Grinter family lets the public come into the fields and take photos.

The peak time for the flowers change each year. It’s usually in late August or early September and the fields look their best for about two weeks.

The best time of day to photograph is the first couple of hours after sunrise or right before sunset.

Those nice folks at the Grinter Farm allow you to cut and take one sunflower head, but just one, please.

They also urge you to hand onto your glasses and car keys – the 2 most lost and found items in their fields.

Sunflower at sunrise
Grinter sunflowers

“I’m sure I left those car keys by a sunflower…”

Midway Geyser Basin
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The Midway Geyser Basin is home to the Turquoise Pool, the Opal Pool, the Grand Prismatic Spring (Yellowstone’s Largest Hot Spring), and the Excelsior Geyser Crater. In this post, we are going to check out the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Colorful Midway Geyser Basin

Old Faithful may be more famous, but we’re going off-the-beaten-path looking for the best places possible.

The Grand Prismatic Hot Spring is the most photographed thermal feature in Yellowstone. That’s because of its crazy-bright colors and enormous size.

What Makes the Grand Prismatic so Grand?

About the size of a football field, extremely hot water travels up to about the length of a 10-story building from a crack in the Earth to reach the surface of the spring. The Grand Prismatic is the largest hot spring in the United States and third-largest in the world.

This creates bright bands of orange, yellow, and green rings around the deep blue waters in the spring. A visual treat if we ever saw one.

Best off-the-beaten-path places, Midway Geyser Basin
Traveling to the Midway Geyser Basin from above

The Midway Geyser Basin can be found a short distance north from the Old Faithful area and the west side of the Grand Loop Road.

Best off-the-beaten-path places in the USA, Midway Geyser Basin

From the West Entrance, drive about 25 miles on the West Entrance Road and Grand Loop Road to the Midway Geyser Basin parking area.

Word on the streets from our peeps – bring mosquito repellant, those little critters can be merciless.

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