If there was a competition for the Word of the Year in tourism, a serious contender would be “overtourism”.
From Barcelona to Bali, the Indian Ocean to the Adriatic, 2018 was the year that people in the world’s most coveted, visited, and Instagrammed places said enough was enough.
There were protests in Barcelona and Mallorca. And the New Year began with Venice vowing to charge tourists for entry.
Let’s celebrate the alternatives in 2019—the undertouristed places that deserve more visitors and where the locals won’t take to the streets and forums to protest.
Let’s hear it for undertourism in America. From the rugged mountains to the giant forests to the vast desert, the RV traveler has it all.
Overtouristed: Charleston, South Carolina and Ashville, North Carolina and Zion National Park, Utah
Undertouristed: A sampling follows
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah
Capitol Reef received its name from the great white rock formations resembling the U.S. Capitol building and from the sheer cliffs that presented a barrier to early travelers.
However, it is the park’s multi-colored sandstone that earned it the nickname, “land of the sleeping rainbow”. The park runs along a huge buckle in the earth’s crust called the Waterpocket Fold. This noteworthy geologic feature is a wrinkle in the earth’s crust. Layer upon layer of rock folded over each other.
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Kentucky
The Bernheim Arboretum in Clermont (about 30 miles south of Louisville) includes 15,625 acres of fields and forests, as well as over 40 miles of hiking trails that weave their way through the forest and a bike route that winds along Long Lick Creek.
Whether it’s hiking one of the many trails, fishing in Lake Nevin, enjoying public art, reading under a tree, or taking advantage of one of the many informative programs, Bernheim offers visitors unique opportunities to connect with nature.
New River Gorge, West Virginia
A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. The park encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along 53 miles of the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Hiking along the many park trails or biking along an old railroad grade, the visitor will be confronted with spectacular scenery. There are opportunities for extreme sports as well as a more relaxing experience.
Holmes County, Ohio
The Amish have established themselves in the Holmes County area, and it is estimated that one in every six Amish in the world live in this area. The Amish choose to live a simple way of life, which is clearly evident by the presence of horses and buggies, handmade quilts, and lack of electricity in Amish homes.
Entrepreneurial businesses owned by the Amish add to the friendly atmosphere along the byway while creating a welcome distance from the superstores of commercial America. The Swiss and German heritage of the early settlers in the county is evident in the many specialty cheese and meat products and delicious Swiss/Amish restaurants.
Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia
This pristine 680-square-mile wilderness is an ecological wonder. Wetlands provide a critical habitat for abundant wildlife and migratory birds. Take a walk on the 4,000-foot boardwalk and view the prairie from the observation tower. Visitor center offers displays and film. TAKE THE GUIDED BOAT TOUR. From the open, wet “prairies” of the east side to the forested cypress swamps on the west, Okefenokee is a mosaic of habitats, plants, and wildlife.
This is not another place.
It is THE place.