“There’s so much to explore in your own backyard.”

That’s a phrase you’ve probably heard at least once from friends or family as you prepare for a trip abroad. And they’re right. There are so many exotic places right here in the United States that are often overlooked for international destinations.

That’s why Travel Noire has compiled a list of some of the most unique you can travel to within the United States!

If visiting the Italian Riviera is one of your dream destinations, then you will love this area of California that has been nicknamed the “American Riviera” for its stunning beauty.

Big Sur is a rugged stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon. It’s bordered to the east by the Santa Lucia Mountains and the west by the Pacific Ocean.  

The sparsely populated region has numerous state parks for hiking, camping and beachcombing.

Big Sur, California | Denys Nevozhai| Unsplash

For those of you eyeing Fiji but aren’t ready to venture that far, Culebra offers everything you want in a tropical destination.

Culebra totals a little over 10 square miles and is surrounded by more than 20 cays and vibrant underwater landscapes.

It is a haven for those interested in getting closer to ocean life while snorkeling or diving. More than 20% of Culebra has been preserved as a National Wildlife Refuge for more than 100 years. The refuge serves as a habitat for endangered sea turtles and seabirds, among other creatures.

You can beach hop,  shop, enjoy night life, or do absolutely nothing.

Culebra is one of Puerto Rico’s gems and the best part is you don’t have to go far.

Unsplash | Jennifer Chen

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is in southern Colorado and is reminiscent of Africa’s Sahara.

Situated between the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the San Juan Mountains, these massive dunes are some of the tallest in the country rising to over 700 feet in height.  

Here is where you can enjoy sand-boarding and sand-sledding.

Unsplash | Andrew Gloor

Olympic National Park is on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. Like Big Sur California, it’s home to a breathtaking wild coastline, forests, beaches, and glacier-capped mountains.

This destination is perfect for those looking for an adventurous trip with variety. There’s truly no place like Olympic National Park.

Unsplash | Jachan Devol

This chain of islands known to be Florida’s southernmost point will allow you to experience the Caribbean without leaving the continental United States.

The Keys are decorated with colorful buildings, a vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and water activities such as snorkeling.

Getty Images

Solvang is a city in southern California’s Santa Ynez Valley. It’s known for its Danish-style architecture and many wineries.

If you are looking for a unique getaway, the historic Danish village of Solvang offers the best of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara wine country in a relaxed and peaceful setting.

Indulge in authentic Danish pastries at its world-famous bakeries or stroll through the village and admire the old-world European architecture.

Wine lovers will find more than 120 wineries and beautiful vineyards to explore near Solvang.