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Hidden gems are hard to come by. People keep them a secret and would prefer to take them to the grave than reveal. But we’ve found some that have escaped into the open.

Since part of our job is getting you to go to new places, conducted a survey of 1,000 Americans, asking them to share their favorite “hidden gem” towns. We put together a list of five places across the U.S. you should know about. Mark them down in your road trip planner and get going.

1. Stanley, Idaho

How much of a hidden gem is Stanley? Well, the 2010 census put the population at 63, so yeah, this place is definitely under the radar. Given how many times Idaho showed up in our survey, however, we knew it was the perfect spot. Located in the middle of the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Custer County, this town is straight out of a picture book of the most beautiful places in the American West. Alpine lakes, tall peaks, flowing rivers, mountain meadows…this place is a living postcard.

We asked the locals…

Best place to eat? Steaks at the Sawtooth Hotel and cinnamon rolls at the Stanley Baking Co. and Café.

Anything unique to do in town? Sawtooth Mountain Mamas Arts and Crafts Fair; the Sawtooth Valley Gathering, a music festival.

Anything that’s a must-see? Redfish Lake.

2. Marfa, Texas

Texas had more mentions than almost any other state, so we narrowed it down to a place in the vast, empty expanse of the West Texas countryside. Scattered through the desolate yet beautiful landscape are hidden gems like the town of Marfa. Yes, it’s a small town, but it’s got giant pieces of eye candy like some very fine art exhibits and mysterious lights possibly from beyond our world.

We asked the locals…

Best place to eat? The Food Shark food truck for lunch serves up fantastic Mediterranean food. For dinner, when you get the craving for rustic Italian grub, try Stellina.

Anything unique to do in town? Explore the Chinati Foundation, home to fancy pieces by artists like John Chamberlain and Ilya Kabakov.

Anything that’s a must-see? The mysterious “Marfa Lights,” which can be viewed near U.S. Route 67 on Mitchell Flat. What they are and where they come from is still a mystery. Oh yeah, there’s also an art installation that resembles a Prada store somewhere on lonely Highway 90 outside of town that’s worth checking out.

3. Virginia City, Nevada

Via Visit Virginia City

Our survey says yes! This place is unequivocally a hidden gem. If you ever wanted to live a day in the Wild West, take a road trip through Nevada to Virginia City. It feels like not much here has changed since the mid-1800s, when the discovery of the Comstock Lode, a major silver deposit, turned this deserted patch of Nevada land into a boomtown. Walk past the old saloons and shops along C Street downtown and you can almost hear the ghostly echoes of silver spurs and six-shooters.

We asked the locals…

Best place to eat? Crown Point Restaurant inside the Gold Hill Hotel, the oldest operating hotel in the state of Nevada.

Anything unique to do in town? Pay a visit to the Historic Fourth Ward School Museum. This place has exhibits dealing with the city’s history, 19th century education, and aspects of Mark Twain’s life.

Anything that’s a must-see? Check out the 29th World Championship Outhouse Races. Yes, people get inside outhouses and race them at death-defying speeds…kinda.

4. Ludington, Michigan

It’s no wonder why the shores of one of our greatest lakes showed up more than once in our survey. To spotlight just one hidden gem in the area, we’re highlighting the town of Ludington. From the friendly people and cool things to do on the lake to trekking around the massive sand dunes at Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area, don’t skip out on a road trip here.

We asked the locals…

Best place to eat? Nothing like cold beers and warm mac and cheese at Ludington Bay Brewing Company.

Anything unique to do in town? Go for a scenic drive through Ludington State Park via M-116. Check out the massive sand dunes along the lakeshore.

Anything that’s a must-see? Watch the SS Badger come in and out of port daily. It’s the last vehicle ferry currently operating on the Great Lakes, and a sight to be seen.

5. Hammondsport, New York

There were many wonderful small towns in and around the Finger Lakes region that showed up on our survey, but only one made our list. It’s cute. It’s quaint. It’s fun and friendly. It’s a place you may never want to leave after you visit. Why? Keep reading and you’ll understand.

We asked the locals…

Best place to eat? Anything on the menu at the Pleasant Valley Inn will have you wondering why you considered eating anywhere else.

Anything unique to do in town? Learn about aviation history at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum.

Anything that’s a must-see/do? Go for a breathtaking ride in one of the Finger Lakes Seaplanes—you take off and land on the water!

See? We told you hidden gems exist. We just gave you five epic ones, courtesy of our survey with the good people of this fine country. Who knows how many more you can find during an extended road trip!

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