The most-awaited time of the year is just around the corner, with Christmas and New Year heralding in good cheer and the holiday season. For people who like celebrating, we have put together some offbeat, picturesque destinations that are not just uncommon and unconventional, but are also top picks and best-kept secrets that the US has on offer. From pristine rivers, majestic state parks to unique small-town attractions and must-see museums, every experience is a melting pot of cultural and natural diversity that adds to the Christmas holiday mood.

Parke County, Indiana

This Christmas if you want to travel back in time, Parke County, Indiana, is just the place for you. There are still horse-drawn buggies rolling down country roads, and the old-fashioned town squares reflect an earlier and more elegant period of US history. Parke County is known for having the largest concentration of covered bridges in the world, with more than 30 listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It also has a plethora of outdoor activities, beautiful inns, and antique stores open to visitors.

Goddard Memorial State Park, Rhode Island

Goddard Memorial State Park in Warwick is Rhode Island’s most popular metropolitan park. With stunning views of its forests, trails and golf courses, and wide-open lawns, making it is a great place to picnic with loved ones. With the help of a trail guide, you can also ride a horse through serene woodland trails and along a stunning beach. You can also keep active and catch a show at the same time by visiting the performing arts center in the park.

Mystic, Connecticut

Mystic is the perfect place for those who are looking for tranquillity and want to avoid large crowds during the Christmas weekend. As the impressive Mystic River Bascule Bridge is raised, you’ll want your camera on hand. Olde Mistick Village has a variety of local establishments where you may eat, drink, and shop. You will enjoy exploring the town’s historic downtown and its quaint shops. You can also enjoy a day exploring Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center’s hiking trails, exhibits, and wildlife. Don’t forget to take a picture at the cool wooden anchor in Liberty Pole Square.

Culture House, Washington DC

If you are looking to discover one of D.C.’s hidden gems you must check out The Culture

House. This former church tucked away in Southwest D.C. is a non-profit art and performance venue open to artists and community members from all over the city. The Culture House showcases a variety of artistic media, curates community-based programs, and organizes the trendiest weddings and special events, promoting Washington DC as a dynamic cultural destination.

LeClaire, Iowa

If you wish to travel back in time, take a ride on an iconic Mississippi riverboat complete with a red paddlewheel in LeClaire, Iowa. The cruises are 90 minutes long and highlight the importance of the Mississippi River. After the cruise, you may visit the must-see Buffalo Bill Museum, which honors LeClaire’s most famous local son, William “Buffalo Bill” Cody, and his Wild West Show. LeClaire provides some of the greatest viewing locations for migrating bald eagles for birdwatchers. And don’t forget to visit Antique Archeology, the famous antique shop featuring antiques, vintage items, folk art, and Antique Archaeology merchandise.

The New River Gorge, West Virginia

Located in the heart of Southern West Virginia, a hidden gem, and a perfect getaway this holidays is the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, a protected waterway stretching for 85 kilometers through a stunning, pristine mountain gorge. The breath-taking views of the surroundings region will captivate you. Hike halfway down to the canyon to catch a view of the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the state’s most photographed landmarks. New River is the best place in the US for white-water rafting and top-notch outfits operating here offer rafting, paddle boarding, horseback riding, bouldering, rappelling, hiking, and snowshoeing as well. It is the perfect place for couples looking for tranquillity away from the bustling parties and crowds of Christmas.