Welcome to the latest in our ‘Secret’ series, bringing you the places that you should get to before the guide books. This time we bring you five States of the good ol’ USA that are set to be the next big thing in TransAtlantic travel. Well, maybe…
Surely no-one goes to Oklahoma willingly, let alone on holiday? Well, storm chasers do. Smack bang in Tornado Alley, the state of Oklahoma attracts connoisseurs of extreme weather, especially in spring, with its storms that spawn special effects like twisters and hailstones the size of grapefruits. Several companies offer guided storm chasing tours, or you could do it yourself, but be careful out there. OK is also heaven for hunting, ‘from father-son hunting trips to one-on-one time with your favourite bird dog… whether you are a bow hunter, black powder fan, or prefer gun season’, according to OK’s tourism website.
2. Rhode Island
Poor old Rhode Island! Noisy neighbour New York gets all the attention while RI rarely features on holiday bucket lists. Is it of interest to pub quiz enthusiasts? RI is the smallest US state, while Central Falls is the smallest city in RI, and one the most densely populated in the world. Now we’ve dealt with that, we recommend checking out Newport, an old money yachty playground-turned trendy youthful hangout. Take lunch on the front with a bag of deep fried shrimp doughnuts, while picking your favourite yacht, then after a hard day’s sailing, head to Pour Judgement for a craft beer and a burger.
3. West Virginia
Planning a trip to West Virginia? No, didn’t think so. Illustrious neighbour Virginia has got it all: the history (the Civil War), the natural wonders (the Blue Ridge Mountains), the beach (Virginia Beach) and the world’s largest office building (the Pentagon). But not to be outdone, WV can claim Lewisburg, the coolest small town in the US (according to a recent poll) and Southern West Virginia, which brands itself ‘the best-kept secret in the mountains’, with its Coal Heritage Trail and other tourist-attracting slogans including ‘we’re closer than you think’ (it’s ‘within a day’s drive of 50% of the US population’) and ‘it’s like nowhere else’.
‘Beaches are just the beginning’, as they say in Delaware, whose top earners are its broiler chickens and food-canning industry. But to start with the beach, there’s the retro classic of Rehoboth Beach, known in the US as ‘the Nation’s Summer Capital’, a monument to all-American seaside tack that looks like it’s been transported wholesale from 1956. If you’re in Bridgeville on 2-4 November, be sure to check out the World Championship Punkin Chunkin (slogan: ‘we’re gonna hurl!’) which attracts 20,000 people and well illustrates why few tourists choose to go to Delaware of their own accord. But it looks fun.
Secret? Are you kidding me? Millions of Brits descend on Disney World and Orlando’s other mega theme parks every year, with plenty making it to the Sunshine State’s beaches. But few tourists go goofy for the Florida Panhandle, the frying pan grip-shaped stretch along the Gulf of Mexico from Panama City (no, not that one) to Pensacola Beach on the Alabama border. Discover the miles-upon-miles of tourist-free talcum-powder beaches of the Emerald Coast, and the swamps and seafood of the Forgotten Coast – an appropriately-named, but beautiful backwater of this famous state.