3 surprising US travel destinations (and an honorable mention)

Surprise! (courtesy karynsig at Flickr CC)Travel fun for me is having no particular opinion about or knowledge of a place, and then suddenly learning that it is pretty darned cool, and deciding that I must go there!

I’m still sorting through the mounds of information, photos, links and brochures from the recent Travel Media Showcase conference in Kansas City, but I wanted to note that after quick interviews with dozens of representatives from various tourist bureaus, there were 3 places that surprised me.

They were not what I’d expected, although how that can be possible when I had zero knowledge of them anyway, I do not know.


  • South Dakota — All I knew about it was the Corn Palace, but there is also Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial (still under construction,) the Black Hills, the Badlands, the town of Deadwood and famous people like Custer, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok plus the Laura Ingalls Wilder home in De Smet.
  • Columbia, Missouri and nearby Lake of the Ozarks — Another interesting, culturally-rich college town (with significant ties to Lewis and Clark expedition history) and a lake that is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the Midwest.

I must give an honorable mention to Boise, Idaho, for their active Basque community. Yes, as in the Basques in Spain.

Who knew?

Hopefully I’ll be able to visit all of them someday, to see if they are as surprisingly great as they appear. I welcome comments from any readers who have first-hand knowledge of these travel destinations; please leave a comment below.

Surprise me!