Sometimes you just want to shake loose from your daily routine and inject a little adventure into your life. These spots across the United State will stir your sense of wonder and make you feel like a true explorer. From gorgeous natural landscapes to fascinating man-made hidden gems, these places will have you striking off into the great unknown in no time at all.
1. Utah: Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is one of the darkest places in the country – and that's a great thing. The stargazing here is out of this world. When you're done exploring the cosmos, check out the park's Puebloan ruins. Other daytime adventures include river rafting, backpacking, and hiking.
2. New Jersey: Palisades Interstate Park
Located in Alpine, this park offers breathtaking cliff-top views of the Hudson River. There are also several hidden castles and historic homesteads to explore, like the Women's Federation Monument and the Kearney House. History buffs will also love the reconstructed Revolutionary War encampment.
3. New York: Chimney Bluffs State Park
Head to Wolcott to check out this fascinating state park. Offering killer views of Lake Ontario and fantastically shaped stone bluffs, there are plenty of hiking trails right along the water so that you won't need to spend a single moment away from the sounds and sight of the crashing waves.
4. Oklahoma: Osage Hills State Park
This crazy cool spot is tucked away near Pawhuska and Bartlesville. There are over 1,100 acres of prime hiking and fishing of which to take advantage of, as well as some pretty spectacular sunset views if you stay into the evening. Anglers will love the abundance of bass, crappies, catfish, and perch. Fishing boats can be rented right at the park's Lookout Lake.
5. Missouri: Roaring River State Park
Cassville is home to one of the most enchanting parks in the state. You'll feel like an explorer of unknown territory while hiking the park's rugged hills and peering into the depths of its hidden, dazzling blue spring.
6. South Dakota: Spearfish Canyon
This place is one of the most otherworldly spots in South Dakota, and the perfect place to have your own epic adventure. Besides waterfall hunting and simply taking in the magnificent views, visitors can hike, swim, and bird-watch to their hearts' content.
7. Wyoming: The Red Desert
Looking like something out of the Middle East, the Red Desert is located near Rock Springs and is perfect for off-road vehicle exploration. As you're adventuring, be sure to check out the Killpecker Sand Dunes and Boar's Tusk, an ancient volcanic plug that rises almost 400 feet above the desert.
8. Kansas: Mushroom Rock State Park
Just outside Minneapolis, this bizarre landscape of mushroom-shaped rock formations will make you feel like you've landed on an alien world. Explore the strange terrain and hike the trails among these perplexing monoliths.
9. Delaware: Fort DuPont
This fort was once an active military base, serving as an important strategic location from the Civil War all the way through to WWII. Today, it's a state park with plenty of historic structures to explore. The abandoned gun battery (pictured) is a great place to bring your older kids for a bit of supervised playtime.
10. Idaho: Ritter Island
Ritter Island is part of the Thousand Springs State Park in the Hagerman area. The springs and waterfalls that tumble down the lush, mossy cliffs are part of Idaho's "lost rivers," and are truly a spectacular sight. Visitors to the island can also explore an old dairy farm.
11. Vermont: Somerset Reservoir
Just west of Wilmington, the waterfall at Somerset Reservoir roars out of massive pipes in a powerful torrent. During the winter months, the spray frosts nearby trees and turns the entire area into a sparkling wonderland.
12. Virginia: Seneca Cavers
Explore the bowels of the earth at the beautiful Seneca caverns. Take a 45 minute tour with a knowledgeable guide and learn about the unique geologic history of the Riverton area.
13. Montana: Thompson Falls State Park
This gorgeous park is nestled in the Clark Fork Valley and hugs the Clark Fork River. The tall, dark pines and stony river shores make for the perfect place to escape and ramble.
14. Utah: Arches National Park
With more than 2,000 natural stone arches to discover, you won't run out of epic sites to explore in this park. Check out famous spots like Delicate Arch and Skyline arch (pictured) from some breathtaking views and photo-ops.
15. Louisiana: Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge
This beautiful natural haven is home to the largest living bald cypress tree on earth (pictured). A visit here will make you feel like you've wandered into the age of the dinosaurs.
16. Georgia: Cloudland Canyon
Cloudland Canyon is located in Rising Fawn. The area gets its name from the low-hanging clouds that drift through the valleys and swirl around the stony edges of the canyon cliffs. This is a perfect place for a sunset hike.
17. Alabama: China Dome and Granite Tors
These hiking destinations near Fairbanks are well worth the exertion. The 15 mile loop trail the the tors is edged with gorgeous wildflowers, and is well-suited to those looking for a moderately difficult hike to a spectacular spot.
Where’s your favorite spot to adventure? Do you prefer exploring natural places or intriguing man-made spots? Let us know!