When you love to travel, you quickly learn that a ton of other people do, too. And while bumping into other tourists can be part of the fun (so many countries, cultures and coincidences happen when talking to fellow travelers!), many jet-setters end up wishing they could find a spot or two with a few more locals and fewer out-of-towners. (Nothing cramps an idyllic Instagram like a selfie stick wandering into the shot.)
Thankfully, there are tons of underrated destinations that haven’t yet made it onto the hotspot radar—meaning you can actually escape to them, enjoy not-so-crowded spaces and snap tons of tourist-free photos.
Whether you’re into traversing mountains, hot springs and mud volcanoes, or whether you prefer visiting monasteries, sitting by the ocean and doing a little whale-watching, we can just about guarantee there’s an understated travel destination (or two!) waiting to be discovered.
Ahead, you’ll find 16 underrated travel destinations practically begging to be added to your to-visit list. It doesn’t matter if you prefer domestic or international travel, either, because all kind of travel destinations are on offer in the following slideshow.
Originally posted on SheKnows.
Domestic Destination: Theodore Roosevelt National
National parks are hugely popular in the U.S., and it can sometimes be difficult to get the peace, quiet and wildlife-viewing we crave.
North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park is still relatively unknown enough—and far enough away from other huge tourist destinations—that your chances increase for seeing bison, prairie dogs, wild horses and other animals.
But it’s bound to get popular, so see it while it still feels like the wide-open West.
Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images.
Domestic Destination: Lassen Volcanic National Park
Tucked away in upstate California, Lassen Volcanic National Park is like a miniature Yellowstone that receives only a fraction of the visitors.
Climb Lassen Peak, which erupted as recently as 1915, or visit Bumpass Hell (pictured), which is currently under restoration but can be reached via the trail past Cold Boiling Lake.
Feargus Cooney/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images.
Domestic Destination: San Luis Obispo, California
If you dream of near-perfect weather without the business of Southern California, San Luis Obispo is the place to be.
Established between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the area has 80 miles of coastline, its own enviable wine country and about 315 days of sunshine a year.
Stuart Black/robertharding/Getty Images.
Domestic Destination: Taos, New Mexico
Admittedly, Taos is a popular destination in the summertime. But fewer people think of it as a must-see place during the shoulder seasons or even the winter.
Taos Ski Valley is a fun destination for winter sports lovers, while fall and spring offer much cooler temperatures for those wanting to enjoy wine tours, peruse art galleries or lounge in the area's hot springs.
Marc Shandro/Moment/Getty Images.
Domestic Destination: Estes Park, Colorado
When people think of winter sports in Colorado, towns like Aspen, Vail, Telluride and Breckenridge come to mind. But Estes Park—which is the gateway to the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park—has its own winter adventures, like backcountry skiing and ice climbing, not to mention a cute walkable downtown area with plenty of nearby lodging options.
But shh, most people haven't figured that out... yet.
Dimitrios Siafarikas/EyeEm/Getty Images.
Domestic Destination: Tulsa, Oklahoma
If you want a family-friendly city to explore, Tulsa, Oklahoma, has plenty to do without being overcrowded.
They recently opened a 100-acre park called the Gathering Place, which includes a playground, boating pond and skate park. The Tulsa Zoo, located in the 2,800-acre Mohawk Park, will be a hit with any animal-loving children.
Walter Bibikow/The Image Bank/Getty Images.
Domestic Destination: Depoe Bay, Oregon
As the whale-watching capital of the Oregon Coast, there is one exceptional and obvious reason to hit up Depoe Bay: the whales. A resident pod of gray whales hangs out in the coves in the area, and there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Summer is the busy season, but it's just as gorgeous in the fall and spring.
Michaelschober/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images.
International Destination: Iceland
Tourism in Iceland is booming, with about 2 million visitors in 2017, though it's still relatively quiet compared to neighboring countries like Norway, which had nearly 15 million visitors.
So now's the time to get to the country and see aurora borealis, geothermal spas and misty waterfalls before you have to elbow crowds out of the way.
International Destination: Wales
If you’ve always wanted to explore the United Kingdom but want less of a tourist trap, get out of London and head to Wales instead.
You’ll get everything from rolling green hills to rugged coastlines, Roman ruins, castles and—if you head far enough to the northwest—a real culture shock since many people speak Welsh fluently.
Alexander Spatari/Moment/Getty Images.
International Destination: Azerbaijan
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, tourism grew by 20 percent between 2016 and 2017 in Azerbaijan, and it's no wonder why. Visas are inexpensive and easy to obtain, and the country boasts busy cities with 19th-century buildings (city of Baku), temples, 40,000-year-old rock paintings and bubbling mud volcanoes.
The U.S. does advise increased caution due to terrorist activities in some areas, so be sure to read about the areas that are safe for tourists ahead of time.
International Destination: Republic of Macedonia
Time E White/The Image Bank/Getty Images.
International Destination: Georgia
Speaking of beautiful religious buildings, Georgia has truly beautiful monasteries and churches, including Katskhi Pillar, a small church sitting on top of a more-than-100-foot-tall limestone rock column.
The capital, Tbilisi, is incredibly diverse, as the country borders Russia, Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Dmytro Kosmenko/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images.
International Destination: Bhutan
Just east of Nepal, Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country with stunning temples, rice farms and dotsho ("hot baths, often prepared using heated river stones"). Bhutan has also imposed a pretty hefty daily fee for your visa (around $250), which includes a required tour guide in order to move between cities.
The good news is that the price tag is helping the country focus on monitoring the influx of tourism so it won’t become crowded like other popular destinations.
Lightphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images.
International Destination: Belize
Certainly, Belize already has its fair share of tourism but has been plagued with perceptions that it's dangerous to visit.
That's starting to change, according to statistics from the Ministry of National Security (though the U.S. still advises increased caution). And the area's most attractive features, like Mayan ruins, the Great Barrier Reef that runs the length of the coast, delicious food and low population density is bound to attract more visitors.
Rebecca E Marvil/Getty Images.
International Destination: Tunisia
Tunisia once had rather impressive tourism numbers, but the country's revolution—and in more recent years, terrorist attacks—limited the flow of tourists.
That's starting to change. The U.S. government still advises increased caution, so do your homework, but it's a beautiful place to visit.
Try exploring the cave homes of Matâma (a genius way to withstand the heat), exploring the Holy City of Kairouan (considered the fourth-holiest city of Islam) or even lounging at one of the many beachfront resorts.
Max Shen/Moment/Getty Images.
International Destination: Romania
Romania has a little bit of everything for everyone. Love history and castles? Romania's got 'em. Nature and hiking more your thing? Plenty of that too. Into the spooky stuff like vampires and ghosts?
Romania is the place to visit for fans of the supernatural. Make sure to check out Bran Castle (aka Dracula's house), Ochiul Beiului Lake in Cheile Nerei-Beusnita National Park and the ultra-creepy Hoia Baciu forest.
Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images.