Just because many people in a particular location are struggling financially does not mean that place does not have anything to offer a vacationer or adventurer! Some of the most amazing education and exploration and adventure venues in the United States are in or near some of the most economically-challenged communities.
Here are eight absolute gems that lie either within, around, or just a stone’s throw from some of the poorest places in the country.
Blackwater, AZ – Casa Grande Ruins
13th-Century adobe ruins from the Sonoran Desert people
Baldwin, MI – Pere Marquette River
This National Wild & Scenic River is a haven for camping, canoeing, and fishing.
Tchula, MS – Morgan Brake NWR and Hillside NWR
The Morgan Brake & Hillside National Wildlife Refuges have great hiking, fishing, & wildlife photography.
Ferriday, LA – Bayou Cocodrie NWR
Another National Wild & Scenic River with great canoeing and fishing.
Parkin AR – Parkin Archaeological park
A palisaded village from the Mississippian culture with ca-1350AD Indian mounds.
Munfordville, KY – Green River and Mammoth Cave
Canoeing and caving in Kentucky.
Pine Knot, KY – Beaver Creek Wilderness and Daniel Boone National Forest
Backpacking along the 300-mile Sheltowee Trace.
Olmito, TX – Resaca De La Palma State Park & World Birding Center
Birding and day-hikes at a preserved semi-tropical wilderness area.
These eight national treasures are just the starting point! There are many other great places to visit that just happen to be in some of the most financially desperate places.
To find more of these little-known gems, you can check out this list at Wikipedia and then plug each town into the search bar in Google Maps. When it pulls up a map of that community, zoom in and out to look for green natural areas or interesting-sounding named places nearby on the map.
I’m sure that the good people of these communities would love to welcome you to their hometowns – not only to spend some of your vacation dollars but to experience the joys and atmosphere of their local wonderlands!