15 Incredible Places to Visit Before Word Gets Out

09/30/2016 12:01 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2017

Americans travel the most to Mexico, Canada, the U.K., the Dominican Republic and France, according to government data. When Europe is on the itinerary, the most visited cities are Paris, Rome and London.

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Incredible Places to Visit Before Word Gets Out

The more popular a place is, the more crowded and commercialized it becomes. This is often a deal-breaker for international tourists who want an adventurous and authentic experience. As a result, they flock to an off the beaten path destination, which will inevitably grow in popularity as the word gets out that "this place offers everything the big city does, minus the crowds, and it's cheaper."

Plan a vacation to an under-the-radar destination and still see the majestic Northern Lights, hike a volcano, scuba dive, and indulge in world-class chocolate and tasty local delicacies.

Go to the country where the happiest people in the world live, according to studies, but visit its ancient Viking fortress before it becomes a World Heritage site and thousands of people suddenly become interested.

Many spots closer to home - such as the Isle Royale National Park in Michigan and the Serpent Mound in Ohio - are overlooked. They have proven worthy of another look and locals are slowly beginning to realize why.

- Hristina Byrnes, The Active Times