Escape The Crowds: 15 Off-The-Beaten-Path Cities In The U.S.

Allow yourself to be surprised and give you and your family a chance to have the best vacation of your lives because of the authentic experiences in lesser known gems. It's possible you'll like it so much that you'd actually want to move there.

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is one the most underrated cities in the U.S. The desert town draws in artists, healers and wanderers, while the surrounding landscape brings active people who love the outdoors. Adventurers are also drawn by its beautiful red rock formations and the energy vortices rumored to exist there. Take to Submarine Rock on a mountain bike, head off the beaten path with ATVs, and hike Red Rock State Park.

Talkeetna, Alaska

Have you heard of this winter wonderland? Nordic skiing is among the most exotic winter experiences you can have Alaska. Or maybe snowmobiling across the frozen river? Take your pick. Chase the Northern Lights, undisturbed by city lights, or take part in a community class such as pie making. The city offers many zip-line tours in the winter. If you want spectacular pictures of frozen rivers and amazing nature, in general, go flightseeing above the Alaska Range.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

You don't have to leave the country to go on an island vacation. Go back in time on Mackinac Island. There are no cars; they are not allowed. Trek this Victorian treasure on bike, horseback, and carriageYou will never run out of quests to explore. The island has little development land because it's working hard to preserve its natural treasures. That's why hiking, fishing and hunting are exhilarating.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Hikers love the park because of the more than 700 miles of treks going through forests, pastures, rough mountains, and pristine lakes. All in all, you have more than a million acres to explore and connect with nature. The park is home to over 70 species of mammals and over 260 species of birds. Explore Glacier by road, trail or stream; bike around the park, go fishing, boating, and even take a trail ride.

The Outer Banks, North Carolina

This is one of the best non-Disney places to take the kids. The 200-mile-long stretch of picturesque barrier islands is perfect for camping. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a string of islands surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the mellow Pamlico Sound on the other, where kayaking and kiteboarding are common activities. Try hand gliding, too.

Big Sur, California

Discover the gorgeous rugged California coastline. You will have the opportunity to camp among redwoods, relax in hot springs and taste some of the country's finest wine. The rocky stretch between Carmel and San Simeon is a stunning place. Make it a part of a once in a lifetime road trip if you have an extra day. The Bixby Bridge, one of the most gorgeous in the world, is a favorite spot for photos.

Greenville, South Carolina

Snuggled into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Greenville is a magnificent blend of traditional southern charm, spectacular natural splendor and a contemporary calm. Greenville is an emerging destination, so go now before more people learn about it. See the city's one-of-a-kind Liberty Bridge, try and visit world-class collection of museums and theaters. If you want a more active vacation, Greenville will accommodate you as well. There are a lot of lakes, rivers and mountain hills to explore.

Falmouth, Massachusetts

Falmouth is a quiet town with more public beaches – over 68 miles of coastline and 12 miles of shorelines, and some of the finest restaurants on Cape Cod. The city is also an ideal base for day-tripping to Martha's Vineyard, Plymouth, and Nantucket, according to Falmouth Visitor. The average summer water temperature is 70 degrees—the warmest on the Cape.

St. Augustine, Florida

This is one of the best beach towns in America. The oldest city in the U.S. is tied with a few other cities for having the most nightlife establishments and restaurants per capita. Its overall "Quality of Life" rank is second. The city, which has a quaint feel but big appeal, offers historic sights, family fun adventures and venues, awesome "on the water" experiences, and unique scenery.

Seward, Alaska

Remember Seward when winter comes. Bear Lake is a popular destination for cross country skiing (both skate and classic), skijoring, and skating. Groomed entirely by volunteers, the trail follows along the perimeter of the lake and amounts to roughly five miles. Seward is a magnificent ski town for non-skiers as well. You can access Kenai Fjords by dog sled. Visit the Wildlife Conservation Center; the drive between Anchorage and Seward is a photographer's dream.

Deadwood, South Dakota

This is historic landmark you should visit at least once in your life. You'll literally get a chance to walk in the footsteps of Old West legends like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock, according to Travel South Dakota. This 1870s gold rush town teems with Black Hills entertainment and offers many things to do including concerts, casinos, museums, historic sites, spas and parades.

Leadville, Colorado

Most people head to Denver, Aspen or some other famous ski town, but Leadville is just as spectacular, year-round. The most extensive ski hut system in Colorado surrounds Leadville. The town and Twin Lakes host special events and activities throughout the year, including Ski Joring, the Leadville BBQ and Brew Festival, the Leadville Trail 100 race series, and Boom Days.

Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii

This historic seaport town is a stone's throw from where British discoverer Captain James Cook first landed in Hawaii in 1778, according to Go Hawaii. Rich in paniolo history (Hawaiian cowboys), the charming Waimea is now home to a variety of small shops and businesses as well as a growing number of tech companies. Also, Waimea Bay is one of the most prestigious big wave surf breaks on the planet. It is home to the Quicksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau surf competition.

Taos, New Mexico

This far-out mountain town is unlike any other place on earth—and that's the appeal. Bordered on three sides by the towering red peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Taos is one of the few places that retain its native culture, thriving art scene and connection to the great outdoors. If you're feeling adventurous, climb the tallest mountain in New Mexico, Wheeler Peak, or if you're a skilled paddler, take on the Taos box section of the Rio Grande.

Little Tybee Island, Georgia

The pure, uninhabited nature preserve is accessible only by boat, according to Visit Tybee. This wilderness gem is home to rich coastal salt marshes, pristine beaches, natural dunes and subtropical forests of live oak, pine and palm. Wildlife includes the egret, heron, white ibis and the endangered woodstork. Kayak tours are a popular way to see Little Tybee and camping is allowed.