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This Is America’s No. 1 Hidden Gem Destination

by Staff

Social media has changed the game when it comes to travel. It’s now easier than ever to find all the local-only spots around the globe and peek into the corners outsiders never usually get to see. The term “hidden gem” feels like it’s lost its meaning a bit, but, according to a new study by Bounce, there are indeed plenty left. And there’s one hiding in plain sight in Arizona. 


Bounce conducted a recent study to find hidden gem attractions across the globe using TripAdvisor reviews and Google search data. To conclude which places have the most hidden gems, Bounce created a seed list of 180 attractions and landmarks in the U.S. and the United Kingdom by pulling various online articles that used the term. Then, it pulled the number of global Google searches for each spot between January through December 2023. Its data was all normalized as of Jan. 23, 2024. 


While the team parsed the data out into U.S. states and U.K. cities with the most hidden gems, it also pulled a list of the most “popular” hidden gems. That can seem like an oxymoron, but, what it really comes down to is how many people are searching for a specific state and the term “hidden gem.” And, according to Bounce, the number one most popular hidden gem in America is the town of Sedona, Arizona


“The most popular hidden gem in the U.S. over 2023 was Sedona, Arizona, which received a whopping 4.7 million searches on Google over the year,” Bounce shared in its findings. It noted that the community’s gorgeous red rock terrain, verdant pine forest, and mild climate make it a highly searched destination.


Visitors may also be interested in its plethora of vortices, which are the true definition of hidden gems. Visit Sedona described them as “swirling centers of energy that are conducive to healing, meditation and self-exploration. These are places where the earth seems especially alive with energy. Many people feel inspired, recharged, or uplifted after visiting a vortex.” Though there are plenty of blog posts to point the way and tours to take you to each vortex, you’re going to have to figure out the perfect spot to stand to feel the energy. And that you can’t find on a map. 


Joining Sedona on the list is the tiny community of Mackinac Island, Michigan, at the No. 2 spot, which Bounce credited to its car-less lifestyle, requiring travelers to instead get around by snowmobile in the winter and by horse, bike, or foot throughout the year. It’s followed by Chattanooga, Tennessee, in third, which, like Sedona, wins out with its natural splendor.


Looking for even more hidden gems to explore? Check out all the findings in the U.S. and U.K. at usebounce.com.

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