Once you have received your ESTA, you can start planning your trip across the United States. Everyone knows Americaʼs iconic sights, such as the Statue of Liberty, Niagara Falls, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Grand Canyon. These places are famous among travellers all over the world, which is why they are often teeming with tourists. To discover the USA in its original charm, it pays to travel off the beaten track, for example by exploring lesser-visited American states. Here is some inspiration for lesser-known destinations in the USA that are nevertheless worth visiting.
Antelope Canyon - Arizona
A visit to the Grand Canyon sits near the top of many travellersʼ bucket lists, and for good reason. The view of the Colorado River that has carved out this enormous canyon is phenomenal, but because of the many visitors, it is often a struggle to get a spot at the best viewpoints. The Antelope Canyon, which is only a 2.5-hour drive from the Grand Canyon, is less visited, but is perhaps just as impressive. The canyon consists of two parts: the Upper Canyon and the Lower Canyon. You can walk through narrow cracks between the rock walls, which take on magical colours as the sunlight penetrates. A guide must be booked in advance to visit the gorge.
Lake Tahoe - California and Nevada
California and Nevada are some of the most visited American states. The states are popular for their major cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas, but also for their natural beauty. Some of the best-known national parks in the USA are in California, including Yosemite National Park, which attracts millions of visitors every year. A place even less discovered by tourists is Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Nevada. This huge freshwater lake is the largest mountain lake and the second-deepest lake in the United States after Crater Lake. The surroundings of the crystal clear water consist of mountain peaks and pine forests.
Would you like to visit not only Lake Tahoe, but also the better-known highlights of California and Nevada? Then you can also easily make use of the ESTA visa. This travel authorisation is valid for a maximum stay of 90 days. Because an ESTA allows you to stay in the USA for almost three months, you can easily combine a trip to the most famous highlights with a visit to the less visited places in the United States.
Portland - Oregon
Oregon, located in the north-west of the United States, is an American state that is not particularly popular with tourists. However, this state with its diverse landscapes and interesting cities has a lot to offer travellers. Portland - Oregonʼs largest city - is filled with restaurants, coffee shops and stores and is also known as Americaʼs cycling capital. From Portland, you can reach the coast or the mountains in no time. A hidden gem of Oregon are the Painted Hills, a collection of hills made of sand containing iron and other minerals with spectacular colours. In the various layers of the hills, the history of millions of years can be seen with the naked eye.
Painted Hills - Oregon
Crazy Horse Memorial - South Dakota
Everyone knows the Mount Rushmore monument, the sculpture of the faces of former US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. However, many people do not know that the Sioux have been working on a counterpart since 1948: the Crazy Horse Memorial. This monument, in honour of the leader of the Lakota tribe, is to be much larger than the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The statue is located 27 kilometres from Mount Rushmore. The monument is still under construction, and it is not yet known when it will be finished, but the parts that are finished can already be visited.
Adirondack and the Appalachian Mountains - New York
New York is without doubt the most popular American city among tourists. Many travellers only visit the city of New York and are not aware of the other attractions that the state has to offer. For instance, you can travel from the Big Apple to the Adirondack Mountains, an offshoot of the Laurentides in Canada, in just a few hours. The area is also called the backyard of New York and Boston. During the Indian Summer in autumn, the forests in the area change into a spectacle of colours.
The Appalachian Mountains - a mountain range in the east of North America - are also partially located in New York State. The mountain range stretches from the US state of Alabama to the Canadian island of Newfoundland. Enthusiastic hikers can walk (part of) the Appalachian Trail, a long-distance hiking trail that runs through fourteen American states.
Apply for ESTA visa
To visit Americaʼs hidden gems, you will need an ESTA. However, this does not have to be an obstacle, as the ESTA can be applied for quickly and easily. All you need to do is fill in the online application form and pay the ESTA cost. Your application will then be processed within three days. Once your ESTA visa has been granted, you will receive a confirmation of this by email, and you can then travel to the USA.