South Carolina: Hunting Island

High tide at sunset on Hunting Island, South Carolina.Denton Rumsey/Shutterstock

Escape the hustle and bustle of the summer crowds on the windswept beaches of this lesser-known island off the coast of South Carolina. Go shelling during low tide (you just might find some shark’s teeth!) or meander through the Lowcountry lagoons that lie further inland.

South Dakota: Badlands National Park

Badlands Dusk (HDR) with Full Moon on the Sky. Beautiful Scenic Photography. Badlands National Park, U.S.A.welcomia/Shutterstock

Now, this is the Wild West at its best. Post up on “The Wall” to take in the vast valley of the Badlands, boasting colorful buttes, rock spires, and steep canyons carved by millions of years of erosion. Then hike the Fossil Trail and look for the hundreds of animal fossils and skeletons preserved in layers of rock at the foot of the hills.

Tennessee: Clingmans Dome

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Cherokee North Carolina Scenic Landscape in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western NCDave Allen Photography/Shutterstock

There’s no shortage of spectacular sights in the Great Smoky Mountains, but one of the most stunning views of the tree-lined peaks can be found at Clingmans Dome. On a clear day atop the highest point in the Smokies, you can see for up to 100 miles of towering spruce firs and rolling ridges—you can even see across seven states (Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Georgia).