Small, but Mighty Destinations Worth a Detour

Aug 26, 2015
When booking a trip, most people choose to avoid detours at all cost. The word alone evokes images of sitting in the car or in an airport, watching hours slip away from the time you could be spending in your destination.

But here’s my little secret; detours are not all bad. In fact, sometimes the best part of a trip is a detour.

From prehistoric lands to nearly perfect beaches, here’s a list of destinations definitely worth that detour:

Freeport, Long Island, a two-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan

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Free yourself from the hustle and bustle of New York City and get back to the basics in the quiet, rustic town of Freeport. Originally founded as an American settlement in the 1640s, Freeport has access to the Atlantic Ocean and with it, nearly endless opportunities for fishing fanatics. While strolling down the city’s famous Nautical Mile, visitors can choose to cast a line, hop on a boat, browse eclectic boutiques or sit back with a cool drink and a plate of fresh seafood. Freeport’s unique canals, gorgeous parks and busy marinas definitely make it a destination worth the detour.

Geneva, Ill., 44 miles west of Chicago


On the scenic Fox River on the western edge of the Chicago suburbs, the town of Geneva allows Chicagoans and tourists alike to take a peaceful breath of fresh air. The unique small town has an extensive bike trail system, including portions along the Fox River and the Illinois Prairie Path and plenty of outdoor restaurants that are perfect for waterfront dining. Geneva also offers visitors a slice of history with the Geneva History Center and the town’s iconic windmills, including the old Dutch windmill that dates back to the 1850s. Looking for a different kind of relaxation? The city is also home to the Kane County Cougars, the Midwest League baseball club famous for its fun family-style entertainment.

Half Moon Bay, Calif., near San Francisco

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It only takes a 35 minute drive south of San Francisco to make this stunning costal detour. The quaint  town of Half Moon Bay is known for its incomparable combination of small-town friendliness, charm and natural wonders. The town’s highlights include its historical landmarks and surfer-friendly shores. Half Moon Bay also boasts of an extraordinarily active art community, as it is home to the Colony of Coastside Artists and countless galleries, classes and workshops. Visitors can enjoy everything the beautiful town has to offer from farm fresh cuisine to sunset strolls along the Northern California beaches.

Cocoa Beach in central Florida

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It’s sometimes difficult to remember that there’s more to see in central Florida beyond Orlando’s incredible sprawl of theme parks, but there is. By driving just an hour east of the city, you’ll find yourself in the small oceanfront town of Cocoa Beach, located directly on Florida’s famed Space Coast. With direct access to the Atlantic Ocean, visitors have their choice of activities including wind and water sports, deep-sea fishing, eco-tours, beach lounging, shopping and more. The town’s position on Cape Canaveral also makes it easy to make a quick visit to the Kennedy Space Center, which offers attractions like a bus tour of the facilities, museums, IMAX 3D films, or even a live rocket launch.

Dinosaur State Park in Glen Rose, Texas

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Did you know that a 60-mile drive southwest of one of Texas’ most bustling cities can bring you to a place where dinosaurs roamed the earth? Throughout Dinosaur Sate Park in Glen Rose, TX, there are fossilized footprints that prehistoric creatures left in the mud at the edge of an ancient ocean. Visitors of the park are welcome to hike, camp, picnic, bike, swim, watch for wildlife, fish, horseback ride and explore the 20 miles of trails that follow the paths of ancient dinosaurs. Just a quick hour drive from Fort Worth could give you and your family an awe-inspiring experience unlike any other.

Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area near Las Vegas

Sick of trying your luck on The Strip and need a breath of fresh air? Hop in your car and drive just 17 miles west of downtown Las Vegas. Just 20 minutes and you’ll find yourself in 195,819 acres of picturesque canyons in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. With unique geological features, vegetation and wildlife, Red Rock offers visitors a quintessential look at the Mojave Dessert. Visitors of all ages can participate in expert-led interpretive programs or can explore the area on their own through 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, biking, picnicking, camping and more. Go ahead and explore why there’s more to Nevada than casinos and cabaret.

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