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.
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."
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