We tend to gravitate to those hidden gems as well. What I had done before was do a big research into the area we would be vacationing in & then seeing what they have. What also works is talking to local people. There's some places that the locals know that are not on websites or books. I like those the best as they more often than not are less crowded. We like supporting local, regardless where our "local" is, so we frequent the Mom & Pop stores & restaurants.