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An update from Evaneos

Traveling close to home: secret places to discover in the US and Canada

By Evaneos, on

You don’t need to clock up thousands of miles to go on a memorable trip. Great vacations are made by the warmth of the people you meet and the places you discover, no matter whether you’re at home or overseas. Hit the road in an RV or dust off your hiking boots and you might be astonished at what’s just beyond your backyard.
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Our local agents in the US and Canada are hard at work developing unforgettable itineraries to help you discover North America’s little-known highlights. Along with our team, they’ve tested the most beautiful isolated cabins, gone off-grid in every National Park, and eaten at the best local restaurants. These are a few of their—and our—favorite hidden spots.

Elkhart County, Indiana

Unexpected old-world charm

The two-hour drive from Chicago to Elkhart County takes you from skyscrapers to rolling fields and oh-so-charming small towns. This is Indiana’s Amish Country, where life still moves at a gentler pace. Take your pick from the smattering of quaint B&Bs and inns and settle in for a sleepy short break, perhaps walking the Elkhart County Heritage Trail during the day and dining on home-style cooking at cozy Amish-run restaurants at night.

Cumberland Island, Georgia

A secret southern beauty

This barrier island is to Georgia what the Keys are to Florida. Protected as part of the Cumberland Island National Seashore, its beaches are not just spectacular but entirely free from sun-seeking crowds and over-development. Once a winter retreat of the Carnegie family, it's now a haven of peace and tranquility, where wild horses roam beneath trees heavy with Spanish moss and along gentle, wave-lapped strands.

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Ruins on Cumberland Island , GeorgiaRuins on Cumberland Island , GeorgiaRuins on Cumberland Island , GeorgiaRuins on Cumberland Island , Georgia
Beach on Cumberland Island, GeorgiaBeach on Cumberland Island, GeorgiaBeach on Cumberland Island, GeorgiaBeach on Cumberland Island, Georgia

Marfa, Texas

An artists’ oasis

The improbable transformation of this sleepy desert community, hours’ drive from the nearest city, is all part of Marfa’s allure. Artists have long been drawn to wide, dusty deserts and their endless starry skies—and in that respect Marfa is no different—but there’s more than just staid galleries to discover here. The town first started to get its kitschy-cool reputation when Donald Judd moved here in the 1970s. These days Marfa and its surrounds are peppered not just with large-scale installations (including Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset’s instantly recognizable Prada, Marfa) but chic boutiques and creative restaurants.

Street sign in Marfa, TexasStreet sign in Marfa, TexasStreet sign in Marfa, TexasStreet sign in Marfa, Texas

Forillon National Park, Québec

Wild and wonderful

Seal colonies, rare seabirds, majestic cliff-top views, and the tallest lighthouse in Canada are just a few of the rewards that await you in Forillon. Gaspésie’s majestic National Park is stop-you-in-your-tracks beautiful and a hiker’s, biker’s, and birdwatcher’s paradise. It’s also one of our local hero Carl’s highlights on this fourteen-day off-the-beaten-track adventure in Gaspésie and the Canadian Maritimes. Expect wild, rugged terrain and outdoor activities galore, from whale-watching and sea kayaking off the coast to hiking and biking inland.

Headland in Forillon National Park, QuebecHeadland in Forillon National Park, QuebecHeadland in Forillon National Park, QuebecHeadland in Forillon National Park, Quebec
Coastal views in Forillon National Park, QuebecCoastal views in Forillon National Park, QuebecCoastal views in Forillon National Park, QuebecCoastal views in Forillon National Park, Quebec
Lighthouse in Forillon National Park, QuebecLighthouse in Forillon National Park, QuebecLighthouse in Forillon National Park, QuebecLighthouse in Forillon National Park, Quebec

Ouray, Colorado

The Switzerland of America

It’s easy to see how Ouray got its moniker. Surrounded by the soaring San Juan Mountains, this old mining town’s setting could be straight out of the Swiss Alps. In comparison to other Rocky Mountain adventure outposts, Ouray also remains pleasingly under-developed. That’s not to say there’s not plenty to do here, just that you’re likely to have plenty of space to appreciate the town’s magnificent setting. Come for the hot springs and family-friendly hiking trails in summer, or for ice-climbing and backcountry skiing in winter.

Rocky Mountain views near Ouray, ColoradoRocky Mountain views near Ouray, ColoradoRocky Mountain views near Ouray, ColoradoRocky Mountain views near Ouray, Colorado

Los Alamos, California

Wine country’s “Little LA”

In Los Alamos, the vibes are as important as the vines. This tiny Old West-style town hardly screams wine country at first glance, but it’s the laidback heart of California’s new wine scene. Look a little closer and you’ll find the rustic storefronts hide antiques stores, independent restaurants, and tasting rooms. Rideshares mysteriously appear off Highway 101 to take you out to the Santa Ynez Valley vineyards proper, or to stroll the cookie-cutter-cute town of Los Olivos, just down the road.

Vineyards near Los Alamos, CaliforniaVineyards near Los Alamos, CaliforniaVineyards near Los Alamos, CaliforniaVineyards near Los Alamos, California
Wine tasting in Los Alamos, CaliforniaWine tasting in Los Alamos, CaliforniaWine tasting in Los Alamos, CaliforniaWine tasting in Los Alamos, California
Motel sign in Los Alamos, CaliforniaMotel sign in Los Alamos, CaliforniaMotel sign in Los Alamos, CaliforniaMotel sign in Los Alamos, California

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta

History and heritage on the Great Plains

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, set where the Rocky Mountains foothills gently fold into the Great Plains, marks 6,000 years of Native American history. Thousands of animal remains discovered here show how the Blackfoot would once gather to drive buffalo over the precipice, chasing them to their death on the plain below. Today, an Interpretive Centre explains not just their hunting skill but celebrates Blackfoot culture and the region’s rich and complex heritage.

An aerial view of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, AlbertaAn aerial view of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, AlbertaAn aerial view of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, AlbertaAn aerial view of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta

Slide Rock State Park, Arizona

A natural playground

We challenge you to find a better spot to cool off on a summer day than Slide Rock State Park. Set amid striking red rocks just outside Sedona, this small and family-friendly park is famous for the natural (and safe) waterslide carved over millennia along the base of its narrow canyon. Flying down the 80 foot-long chute is of course the main attraction, but there are also three short trails to stroll, all less than a mile. It’s the perfect stop-off on your way to or from the Grand Canyon.

Slide Rock State Park in winterSlide Rock State Park in winterSlide Rock State Park in winterSlide Rock State Park in winter

Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia

Waterfalls and wildlife-watching

Just 100 miles from Jasper National Park, but far less visited, Wells Gray Provincial Park is one of the jewels of Canada's “wild west”. It’s also one of our favorite spots on our ultimate Canadian Rockies and Pacific Coast road trip. Covering some 500,000 hectares, this is a magical land of towering waterfalls, glassy alpine lakes, and thick, dense forest. Wilderness camping spots and backcountry trails abound, as do opportunities for mountain biking, birding, and kayaking.

Wells Gray Provincial Park, British ColumbiaWells Gray Provincial Park, British ColumbiaWells Gray Provincial Park, British ColumbiaWells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia
Waterfall in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British ColumbiaWaterfall in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British ColumbiaWaterfall in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British ColumbiaWaterfall in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia

Have we missed your favorite hidden spot? Tag us on Instagram and we’ll share the best.

Family travel inspiration