Beyond the Smithsonians and Disneylands, there are plenty of spots off the radar of your typical tourist. The seven underrated tourist attractions that follow have as much or more to offer than some of their better-known peers, and you'll sidestep most of the crowds.
1. Big Bend Ranch State Park, Texas
Nearby Big Bend National Park is one of the least visited parks in the system, but even it looks like Grand Central Station in comparison with 270,000-acre Big Bend Ranch State Park, which attracts only a few thousand people a year. The highlights include a massive volcanic extrusion known as El Solitario and a very scenic stretch of the Rio Grande. Overnight lodging and camping are available deep in the park's interior — known as the Texas Outback.
2. Buffalo Bill Historic Center, Cody, Wyo.
Showcasing the life and times of William "Buffalo Bill" Cody — likely the most famous celebrity on the planet at his peak — this fantastic facility near Yellowstone National Park also has galleries dedicated to Native American history, the regional ecosystem and firearms. And don't miss the collection of Western art, one of the best anywhere.
3. Grand Central Station, New York, N.Y.
While hordes of tourists descend upon such overrated meccas as Times Square and South Street Seaport, you can get a very different slice of New York by wandering the open spaces, hallways, ramps and food courts of Grand Central Station, where tens of thousands of New Yorkers and local commuters pass through every day. Gaze up at its splendid "constellation" ceiling, have some fresh oysters at its famed Oyster Bar, nab a drink at the posh Campbell Apartment, or even shop for groceries at its gourmet food court — all while rubbing shoulders with locals speeding to or from their daily gigs.