14 Secret Places in America to Visit Now
Kayak 30 minutes from Honeymoon Island off Dunedin to buttercream-white sands surrounded by clear Gulf waters.
The chic furnished tents in the forest are only a quarter mile from cliffside beaches; mendocinogrove.com.
Marco Island, Florida
A pristine Gulf of Mexico sandbar, it requires wading across a lagoon.
Waipi‘o Valley Beach, Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i
Water from verdant cliffs drops right into the ocean. For a two-waterfall day, hike from here to the 1,450- foot-high Hi‘ilawe Falls.
Blue—Inn on the Beach
Plum Island, Massachusetts
A serene, sophisticated inn on a little-known island
No, this is not the Hamptons. But this little boutique hotel, with its crisp blue-and-white interiors, will make you think you’re there. Instead, you’ve discovered a beachy getaway hidden in plain sight between Boston and the New Hampshire border. Count your blessings you found it early. Rates start at $269; blueinn.com.
Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa
Pacific City, Oregon
A new Pacific Northwest resort that feels like it’s on the edge of the world
Situated alongside a protected natural area on a stretch of Oregon coastline that, shockingly, remains an untapped (and relatively undeveloped) paradise, Headlands welcomes those seeking a quiet escape to a handsome, woodsy lodge that celebrates enduring coastal pastimes like beach bonfires and surfing. Rates start at $320; headlandslodge.com.
White Elephant Lofts
Hidden apartments right in the middle of Nantucket’s historic town center
This may be the best secret in the world: Thanks to the esteemed White Elephant on tony, fabulous Nantucket, you can vacation in town, right above those shops that call like sirens to you by day. Insiders know that the resort holds a pair of sunlit, modern lofts above the cobblestones, and they’re yours to inhabit—if, that is, you know to ask. Rates start at $1,800; whiteelephanthotel.com.
Trek two miles for the serene payoff of this insider find bordering a conservation area.
Hawai‘i Island, Hawai‘i
The beach is generally empty, save for sea turtles and palm trees.
Sandy Pines Campground
Designer-bedecked tents make this a grown-up’s version of summer camp heaven, with bustling Dock Square just 15 minutes away; sandypinescamping.com.
Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon
This aptly named beauty is accessible only at low tide.
Hunting Island State Park
Hunting Island, South Carolina
A barrier island’s best-kept secret: its one little cottage
Close to the charming town of Beaufort, this beloved wild place lures Lowcountry day-trippers who gape at the windswept marvel of it all. But you know the inside play: a camping area and—better still—one darling, just-rustic-enough cabin that can be booked (far in advance). Wave goodbye to the day-trippers, and occupy your kingdom. Rates start at $200; southcarolinaparks.com/hunting-island/lodging.
Wild and windswept, Tatoosh sits at the entrance to the Straits of Juan de Fuca off the northwesternmost tip of the Olympic Peninsula.
The Tarpon Lodge
Pine Island, Florida
A salty dose of Old Florida culture, and surprisingly within reach
Old Florida is having a serious moment these days, and this island perched off the Gulf Coast feels a million miles—and years—away from the hurly burly of Fort Myers. To make the escape complete, bed down at the gracious, old-school Tarpon Lodge. Rates start at $115; tarponlodge.com.