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Whether it’s Yellowstone on the northern route or the Grand Canyon on the southern, there are certain stops that everyone knows about and few choose to skip. For those interested in some of the more “off the beaten track” stops, we’ve compiled a list of cross-country drive hidden gems that will make your journey cross-country a lot more interesting and a little less typical.

1. Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho

cross-country drive hidden gem stops
Photo by quiquefepe

A large waterfall (larger than Niagara Falls) on the Snake River, Shoshone Falls is nothing short of gorgeous. With a number of viewing platforms that put you out on the cliffs overlooking the falls, you should plan on taking plenty of photos.

2. Perrine Bridge, Jerome, Idaho

cross-country drive hidden gem stops
Photo by Dave3006

Just a few minutes from Shoshone Falls, the Perrine bridge is the only bridge in the US where people can legally base jump. Even if you don’t catch anyone making the plunge, the view of the canyon below and the Snake River is breathtaking. Try to time it up for sunset.

3. Petrified Forest National Park, Apache and Navajo Counties, Arizona

cross-country drive hidden gem stops
Photo by Chris Cavoretto

A southern route stop that has plenty of fans but occasionally gets overlooked by other southwest stops, the park’s multi-colored layered rock and striking rock formations will make you feel like you’ve landed on another planet.

4. The Mississippi Gulf Coast

cross-country drive hidden gem stops
Photo by Jared

The beach can be a nice break from several days in the car. Although Katrina left a deep scar, Mississippi’s coast has plenty of beautiful beaches and interesting coastal towns to check out. Seek out some live music and southern seafood.

5. National Museum of the US Air Force, Dayton, Ohio

cross-country drive hidden gem stops
Photo by Bernard Spragg. NZ

With over 360 aircraft and missiles on display, the NMUSAF is fascinating for aircraft experts and novices alike. From presidential aircraft to famous WWII bombers to stealth spy planes, the museum is an engaging break (and history lesson) from the monotony of the road.

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U.S. Cross-Country Drive Hidden Gems Worth the Stop
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