11 Hidden Gems on the Ultimate Road Trip Through the Northeast

A road trip is only as good as the pit stops you make along the way. Here are 11 under-the-radar destinations that are worth a detour on your next swing through the Northeast.

1. Great Vermont Corn Maze—Danville, VT

This amazing corn maze stretches over 10 acres. The maze takes around two hours to complete and features ten-foot-tall corn, bridges, and underground tunnels. Every year the maze features a new design that can be seen from a bird’s eye view. The corn maze alone is worth the trip, but there’s also a petting zoo to up the ante.

2. Museum at Bethel Woods—Bethel, NY

Right next to the untouched field that once served as the location of the legendary Woodstock Festival sits the Museum at Bethel Woods. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of videos, photographs, and artifacts of all things ‘60s and psychedelic. The museum gathered up authentic items from Woodstock, including clothing worn on stage and brightly colored vehicles. Guests are invited to climb inside a technicolor bus and imagine they are on their way to the next groovy jam.

3. The Spillway—Linesville, PA

Known as the place “where ducks walk on the fishes’ backs,” this attraction features a population of carp so dense that, well, ducks can walk on it. The bizarre tourist spot attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. A small shack provides white bread to feed the frenzied fish. A local study deduced that on average, each visitor throws around 2.4 pounds of bread in the river.

4. Museum of Bad Art—Somerville, MA

The MOBA is dedicated to artists whose skill level doesn’t match their enthusiasm. The little museum has grown considerably since its conception and now boasts two locations: one in a basement and one in a movie theater lobby. When one painting from the collection was stolen in 1990, the museum offered $6.50 for its safe return. After the ransom of $5,000 was not paid, the purloined painting was eventually just given back for free.

5. Salt Lake Arcade—Glendale, RI

The Salt Lake Arcade is supposedly the oldest penny arcade in the country; it opened in 1931. The arcade offers a variety of games, both new and old. Best of all, there hasn’t been any inflation—the arcade’s vintage games still only cost a penny to play.

6. Andres Sculpture Park—Brookline, NH

A collection of statues are scattered throughout the woods surrounding an artist’s house. Visitors can simultaneously enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the strangeness of the art by hiking the trails of this outdoor museum to discover over 70 pieces of abstract art from around the world. Maps are available online that show where each of the park’s works can be found.

7. Punkin’ Chunkin’—Bridgeville/Dover, DE

What better way to get rid of your old Halloween pumpkins than by shooting them into the sky with a cannon? Every year on the first weekend after Halloween, the good people of Delaware compete to see who can rocket their pumpkins farthest. There are a variety of different divisions, including air cannon, trebuchet, and human powered. There’s also a separate competition for children, and theatrics (fans pick their favorite). Each team gets three shots, one per day. It’s a fairly safe sport—the only casualty in the history of Punkin’ Chunkin’ was a duck that was struck by a pumpkin.

8. The Desert of Maine—Freeport, ME

Maine is known for its lush natural beauty, but it’s not totally green. The 40-acre Desert of Maine was originally part of a family farm in the late 18th century, but after years of poor crop rotation and mismanagement, the land turned into a sandy expanse of dunes. After the original landowners gave up the plot in the early 20th century, it was turned into a tourist attraction complete with its own sand museum.

9. The Singing Beach—Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

There are plenty of great beaches in the Northeast, but Manchester-by-the-Sea is particularly convenient for Bostonians to visit. Even better, the beach “sings”! When visitors walk on the beach’s sand, it squeaks underfoot with a distinctive sound that’s known as singing. The phenomenon is the result of the sand’s chemical composition and size, and it’s sure to get a laugh when you first set foot on it.

10. Kaaterskill Falls—Palenville, NY

This dazzling waterfall is over 250 feet fall and cascades down in two tiers that make it one of New York’s tallest and most memorable. But Kaaterskill Falls offers more than just a stunning view – it’s also the inspiration behind any number of iconic artistic achievements. Washington Irving mentioned the falls in “Rip Van Winkle,” and the influential painters of the 19th century’s Hudson River School used the rushing waters as a model. It’s worth a visit to see what all the fuss is about—maybe the sight will inspire you to create something iconic.

11. Charles Island—Milford, CT

From its location in Long Island Sound, Charles Island doesn’t look all that imposing. It’s only 14 acres, but Charles Island is home to enough legends and folklore to fill an island twice its size. The island is supposedly the hiding place of famed pirate Captain William Kidd’s treasure—in true pirate fashion, Kidd cursed the island—as well as the stolen treasure of a 16th century Mexican emperor. Thanks to all the stories of buried riches, the unassuming island has become a favorite destination of treasure hunters. If you’ve got the urge to break out your metal detector, this may be the island for you.

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You Can Rent This Wizard of Oz-Themed Cottage in North Carolina


This year marks the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the classic 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book. In addition to watching the film, you can opt for a more immersive way to celebrate the occasion. As Travel + Leisure reports, a cottage in West Jefferson, North Carolina offered on Airbnb is perfect for any traveling Oz fan—and it’s only $35 a night.

The studio cottage is considered a glamping destination and is slim on amenities—it has a breakfast nook, porch, sofa bed, and a Porta John—but the Oz-themed details more than make up for the lack of luxurious perks.

A pair of stockinged feet are visible under the home, hinting at a witch’s untimely demise; a character mural of Dorothy and her three escorts, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, appears on the side of the cabin; inside, various other decorations pay homage to Baum's books, including a pair of ruby slippers and a few stuffed Totos.

A cottage with a 'Wizard of Oz' theme in West Jefferson, North Carolina is pictured

If you go, you’ll have to act quickly. The cottage is open only in the spring, summer, and fall, as it has no heat.

The Airbnb listing has a perfect score across 16 reviews. You can book it here.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Visit Any National Park for Free on September 28—or Volunteer to Help Maintain Them

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
Nick Hanauer/iStock via Getty Images

By the end of September—which always seems especially busy, even if you’re not a student anymore—you might be ready for a small break from the hustle and bustle. On Saturday, September 28, you can bask in the tranquility of any national park for free, as part of National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the holiday has been held on the fourth Saturday of every September since 1994, and it’s also the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort. It’s up to you whether you’d like to partake in the service side or simply go for a stroll, but there is an added incentive to volunteer: You’ll get a one-day park pass that you can use for free park entry on a different day. Opportunities for volunteering include trail restoration, invasive plant removal, park cleanups, and more; you can see the details and filter by park, state, and/or type of event here.

If you’re not sure how you should celebrate National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service has created a handy flowchart to help you choose the best course of action for you—which might be as simple as sharing your favorite outdoor activity on social media with the hashtag #NPLD.

National public lands day celebration flowchart
National Park Service

There are more than 400 areas run by the National Park Service across the U.S., and many of them aren’t parks in the traditional sense of the word; the Statue of Liberty, Alcatraz Island, and countless other monuments and historical sites are also run by the NPS. Wondering if there might be one closer than you thought? Explore parks in your area on this interactive map.

For those of you who can’t take advantage of the free admission on September 28, the National Park Service will also waive all entrance fees for Veteran’s Day on November 11.

And, if you’re wishing a free-admission day existed for museums, you’re in luck—more than 1500 museums will be free to visit on Museum Day, which happens to be this Saturday.