I have been in the United States for more than nine years and have been exploring this country since I moved here. There are so many beautiful places to visit in the United States. Listing all the vacation and adventure destinations is impossible, so I am sharing a list of 50 places to visit in 50 states of the US. The list includes the most scenic places like national parks, state parks, and charming towns. This blog post will serve as the ultimate US bucket list for you. Every tourist has a different choice, but if you are an adventure seeker and love nature, you are at the right place. Each state offers a different experience, but my favorite state California is known as the golden state; you can grab your California bucket list.
50 places to visit in each state of the US
1. US space & rocket center in Alabama
Alabama is known for its US Space & Rocket Center. Many tourists and space enthusiasts visit Alabama to learn and see this space center. It is also the Official Visitor Center for NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
Things to do at US Space & Rocket center
The US Space & Rocket Center regularly feature traveling exhibits worldwide. Hence, you can experience different things every time you go. You can also enjoy immersive astronomy shows, live entertainment, and exciting theater experiences in the INTUITIVE Planetarium.
Don’t miss out on experiencing the mesmerizing view of an authentic Saturn V rocket in the Saturn V Hall of the Davidson Center for Space Exploration.
Young children will love exploring space and experience through various activities like flight simulators, aviation challenge tours, Apollo 11 VR, Underwater Astronaut Trainer Adventure, Multi-axis trainer, etc. For all experiences and ticket pricing, check the official website.
2. Homer Harbor and Chena Hot Springs, Alaska
Recommended by Michele of a slow traveling cat
Alaska is the country’s largest state. Known for its dramatic blue glaciers, rugged mountains, mouth-watering salmon, and self-reliant residents, it is a can’t miss destination for travelers worldwide. With so much to do here, it’s hard to pick a specific destination. The good news is you don’t have to! We have diligently scouted each region and discovered the best place to visit.
Things to do in Homer Harbor
Homer is a charming seaside town on the southern edge of Alaska, overlooking Kachemak Bay. Here you can charter a boat for deep sea fishing in Halibut Cove, take the famous Alaska Ferry to Seldovia, hang out on the Homer Spit or visit the Kilcher Homestead (home of the TV show Alaska: The Last Frontier). The best way to get to Homer is by flying into Anchorage and then driving 4 hours through one of the gorgeous parts of the state. The drive alone may become a highlight of your travels! For those who prefer not to drive, however, you can also access Homer via plane from the Anchorage airport.
Things to do in Chena Hot Springs
If you are brave enough to visit Alaska in the winter, you should also check out Chena Hot Springs outside Fairbanks. This magical destination houses an outdoor hot spring where ice formations methodically form and melt into the water, forming unique crystal structures. If this experience is not enticing enough, Chena Hot Springs is also well renowned as the best place to catch the Northern Lights during your winter vacation to Alaska. If you are traveling in the winter, flying into Fairbanks is recommended. Alaska Airlines is the most popular airline and runs multiple daily trips between Anchorage and Fairbanks.
No matter what time of year you travel, do not leave this incredible destination off your itinerary. Learn more about traveling in Alaska here.
3. Grand Canyon, Arizona
Recommended by Brodi of Our Offbeat Life
Things to do in Arizona
4. Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas
Things to do in Petit Jean State Park
5. Yosemite National Park in California
It was challenging to choose one place for California state because this state has incredible landscapes, including mountains, desert, and stunning beaches. While the state is famous for Golden Gate in San Fransisco, sandy beach in southern California, sea world, and an aquarium in San Diego, Yosemite National Park is popular among nature lovers and offers lots of things to do in this beautiful park.
You can also enjoy stargazing at Joshua Tree National Park, a Road trip on Highway 1, experience the Hollywood lifestyle in Beverly Hills, Death Valley National Park, and much more in this state. Here is my California bucket list.
Things to do in Yosemite
Many visitors go hiking at the half dome, but you must take a permit in advance and be an excellent hiker to get to the half dome. This hike is not for rookies. Besides half dome, I suggest an easy trail of Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and Bridalveil Fall.
There are various things to do in Yosemite National Park, but I highly recommend hiking and camping. Swinging bridge is an excellent place for picnicking; you can enjoy a couple of hours by the river, and kids can enjoy water play. Don’t miss out on exploring curry village; they do have lodging and food facility in the town.
Ideally, I recommend planning a 3-day trip to enjoy the park’s beauty. Summer is the best time to explore the park, from Memorial weekend to labor weekend are the best. Also, inside the park, there are minimal food options, so if you plan to camp, carry enough food and water.
6. Rocky National Park in Colorado
Colorado has a diverse landscape of arid desert, river canyons, and mountains. This state offers a lot of adventures from skiing, hiking, scenic drives, and more. While picking one place is very difficult because the whole state is very scenic. Winters are just like a fairy tale with snow-covered mountains, which attracts a lot of local and international skiers to practice their skills.
The Rocky National park looks different each season, and I know it’s not convenient, but I recommend visiting this place in all four seasons. Winter is more for ski and snow lovers; spring is for a little warmer weather where wildflowers start blooming; summer is for hikers like me who can’t survive in cold weather, and fall is just magnificent fall colors.
I recommend planning at least three to four days trip to give enough time to explore. You can also add Garden of the Gods, Pike peak mountain, Denver, and Royal Gorge state park to your itinerary.
7. Mystic, Connecticut
Clean the decks, close the hatches, and get ready to set sail for a fun-filled weekend in Mystic, a seaside city in Connecticut that is all about the sea. From the famous Mystic Seaport, a recreation of a 19th-century seafaring village, to the recently updated Mystic Aquarium, where you can meet beluga whales, seals, and dolphins, there is something nautical around every corner. Mystic River Bascule Bridge, which splits the Mystic river, the town has been spread on both sides.
The “village” was started in 1654, and during the clipper ship era, it became well-known as a place to build ships. Today, Mystic is known for its classic New England charm and for being home to the Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Aquarium, two of Connecticut’s most popular places to visit.
Things to do in Mystic
Old Mystic Village, with its Colonial-style buildings, has a few good seafood restaurants, a historical feel, and a lot of unique gift shops. Landlubbers might want to discover the Mystic Art Association’s galleries and studios, which feature the work of local and regional artists. Or have lunch at Mystic Pizza, a restaurant made famous by Julia Roberts movie.
Everything in Mystic is made for kids, from restaurants with lots of colored pencils and children’s menu boards to hotels with puppet shows and bedtime story hours. This makes it a fun and educational place for a family vacation. And adults are sure to have a good time at the nearby Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos.
8. Winterthur museum and garden, Delaware
Delaware is a small state in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, on a peninsula with beaches backed by dunes that touch the Atlantic Ocean, the Delaware River, and the Delaware Bay. In Dover, the capital, First State Heritage Park includes Colonial buildings from the 18th century, like the Georgian-style Old State House. The Riverfront, a strip of parks, shops, and restaurants along the water in Wilmington, is well-known.
Things to do at Winterthur museum and garden
Winterthur museum and garden are in the heart of Delaware’s beautiful Brandywine Valley. They offer tours, exhibits, and exciting programs for people of all ages. They are known for their beautiful collection of American decorative arts, which can be seen in the former home of Henry Francis du Pont and our permanent and rotating gallery spaces.
Spend the day having fun with the famous 60-acre naturalistic garden, which H. F. du Pont carefully crafted, and the estate’s 1,000 acres of rolling green hills, meadows, and forests. You can explore 25 miles of well-marked pathways, trails, and beautiful gardens at Winterthur. Enchanted Woods and an award-winning children’s garden, is the perfect place for kids to run, play, and dream safely.
9. Clearwater Beach in Florida
Recommended by Lanie of make-more-adventures
Known as the Sunshine State, Florida is home to Disney World, the Everglades, and beautiful beaches. With more than 1,000 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, Florida has almost 200 official beaches. The Gulf Coast beaches are known for their calm waters, with Clearwater Beach being best known for “sugar sand,” a smooth and soft white sand.
Things to do in Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is a popular Spring Break destination and extremely popular with families due to the calm water, wide sandy beaches, and many things to do with the family. Families can spot dolphins, ride Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, and celebrate the sunset with entertainment each night at Pier 60.
Any beach activity can be found at Clearwater Beach, from jet skiing to parasailing and fishing to kayaking. Delicious seafood restaurants, many tourist shops, and bars with live music are located along the beach. The Jolley Trolley is an open-air bus service that takes visitors up and down the beach to locations both north and south of Clearwater.
Caladesi Island State Park is accessible by walking north of Clearwater Beach or by taking a ferry, and Sand Key Park is located at the south end of Clearwater Beach.
Clearwater Beach is about 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport and slightly closer to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport. Orlando International Airport is about 2 hours away, and the theme parks are about 1.5 hours away from Clearwater Beach. The causeway to the beach does have a lot of traffic at times, but visitors can skip the traffic by taking a ferry from downtown Clearwater to the marina at Clearwater Beach.
10. Savannah, Georgia
Recommended by Sydney from A World in Reach
If you’re planning a trip to the southern state of Georgia, don’t miss a stop in beautiful Savannah. This lively coastal city is the perfect weekend trip destination.
Savannah is best known for its expansive Historic District, featuring 22 historic city squares and dotted with museums, churches, monuments, and other notable buildings. You can easily spend an entire afternoon exploring the Historic District, stopping in the various squares, checking out museums, and ending your stroll at the beautiful Forsyth Park, home to the picturesque Forsyth Fountain.
River Street is another living area of the city. The street, which lines the Savannah river, is full of cafés and shops, perfect for picking up some souvenirs. Make sure to stop in one of the many candy stores to sample their delicious pralines!
Savannah is said to be one of the USA’s most haunted cities, so spend an evening checking out one of the ghost tours to check out the city’s scariest spots. There are many tours to choose from, from history-focused tours to haunted bar crawls.
You can’t visit Savannah without sampling some of the city’s delicious food. One of the most famous restaurants in town is The Olde Pink House, an upscale restaurant located in a historic home that serves up Southern staples like fried chicken and collard greens. Head to Leopold’s for the best ice cream when you’re ready for dessert.
To get to Savannah by air, fly into the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, which is well-connected to many destinations across the USA.
11. Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
Recommended by Carley from Home to Havana
12. Idaho Falls in Idaho
Those who don’t know Idaho is famous for its potatoes. They have massive farming of potatoes and supplies all over the US. Idaho Falls serves as the commercial, cultural, and healthcare hub for Eastern Idaho and a popular place to stop by during the trip to Yellowstone.
Things to do in Idaho Falls
I have heard that this is considered the most boring state in the country but one of the safest. As the name suggests, Idaho falls, river walk, and falls are popular destinations among locals and tourists. The Snake River cuts through downtown and considers the heart of the city. It is flanked by a paved trail system that runs for five miles on each side. The Idaho Falls River Walk offers perfect space for joggers, cyclists, and pedestrians with unimpeded views of the river and the falls.
The Museum of Idaho is the state’s largest science and history museum. The Museum features world-class traveling exhibits and permanent displays.
For kids, Idaho Falls zoo at Tautphaus park is the perfect place to learn about animals. You can see animals from Africa, Asia, Australia, New Guinea, North America, and South America. It includes lions, zebras, penguins, leopards, otters, eagles, and many more. Kids can enjoy petting a goat or feeding a sheep at the petting zoo.
13. Starved Rock State Park, Illinois
Illinois is a midwestern state known as “the Prairie State.” This state is marked by farmland, forests, rolling hills, and wetlands, but its popularity is due to Chicago being one of the most iconic cities in the United States. Chicago is a windy city and is popular among tourists for its skyscrapers, museums, and architecture. Besides high-rise buildings, you can also enjoy waterfront dining and shopping. Also, enjoy the beach at Lake Michigan shore and stroll on Navy Pier.
Things to do in Starved Rock State Park
The starved rock state park is the perfect place to add to your US bucket list for nature lovers. This park offers lots of things to do like hiking and picnicking. Situated on the Illinois river bank, it offers magnificent views and a lot of hiking trails. It consists of 18 canyons and 13 miles long hiking trails divided into three. My favorite was Wildcat Canyon. The view was stunning, and you can also encounter waterfalls in some canyons. Spring is the best time to visit and more chances to see waterfalls. Don’t miss out on checking the view of the dam from the Eagle cliff overlook.
You can plan a day trip or picnic to enjoy the beauty; they have plenty of picnic tables. They also offer lodging facilities for overnight visitors. Please book in advance as it gets full pretty quickly.
14. Madison town in Indiana
Recommended by Alicia at Well and Well Traveled
For most Americans, flat farmland comes to mind when thinking about the state of Indiana. But Indiana also has deep roots in racing. For around a century, Indianapolis has been known as the racing capital of the world. The Indianapolis 500 is considered the “greatest spectacle in racing”. But a lesser-known race is the Madison Regatta.
Things to do in Madison
In southern Indiana along the Ohio River, Madison, IN, hosts unlimited hydroplane racing each July. Thousands of visitors visit Madison yearly over two days to watch these magnificent boats test their endurance on an oval course on the Ohio River.
The town of Madison, IN, however, is worth visiting year-round. This quaint river town has numerous eclectic shops and eateries. You can grab a bite to eat, do some antique shopping, or stroll down the Riverwalk with handmade chocolate and desserts on hand. Nature lovers may enjoy camping along the river or hiking the trails, exploring the waterfalls, and climbing the lookout tower at Clifty Falls State Park in Madison. Madison embodies the epitome of serene, small-town life.
Madison is centrally located between Louisville, KY, and Cincinnati, OH. If you want to visit this small town, you can fly to Louisville or Cincinnati and take a scenic drive along the Ohio River. Madison also has a few marinas if you would instead come by boat. As for lodging, there are several rental homes in Madison, and there’s also the renovated Fairfield Inn and Suites, historically known for once being an old cotton mill, with views along the water.
15. Maquoketa Caves State Park, Iowa
Maquoketa Caves is one of Iowa’s most unique outdoor places to visit with more caves than any state park. Across the park, massive bluffs rise, and a six-mile trail system winds through geological formations and forests full of natural beauty. Since the 1860s, when it opened as one of the state’s first parks, Maquoketa Caves has been a popular place for picnics and hikes. Grab your hiking shoes and a flashlight before traveling to Maquoketa Caves because this state park is nothing short of an adventure.
Things to do at Maquoketa Caves State Park
Trails wind through the beautiful landscape and lead to caves and park facilities. The “Natural Bridge,” 50 feet above Raccoon Creek, and the “Balanced Rock,” which weighs 17 tons, are two of the park’s best features.
Explore the Dancehall Cave, 1100 feet long, and other caves like Hernando’s Hideaway, Shinbone Cave, and Wye Cave. In the park, there are about 13 caves. Some of them can be explored on foot, while others are better for experienced spelunkers who are used to crawling through tight spaces. Before people enter the caves in the summer, naturalists provide a White Nose Syndrome (WNA) Awareness Program.
At the new interpretive center, which used to be called Sager’s Museum, you can learn about how the caves were formed and the park’s history. During summer, the building is open on the weekends and has a video tour of the park and information about its history.
You can camp in the newly improved campground, full of beautiful pine trees, or choose one of the primitive sites you have to walk through. Maquoketa Caves State Park has an online reservation system for booking campsites.
16. Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, Kansas
The Wichita Area Garden Council and the City of Wichita worked together to open Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, in 1987. At first, there were four gardens, but now there are 17.6 acres of botanical gardens at 701 North Amidon in Wichita, Kansas, USA.
Things to do at Botanica
Botanica Gardens has 17 acres of land and has both old-fashioned Kansas style and modern conveniences. Botanica is in the heart of Downtown Wichita’s Riverside neighborhood, close to major roads and highways. Just a few minutes away from famous places like the Keeper of the Plains, Old Town, and Delano District.
It is a great place to go outside and enjoy the view no matter what time of year. Botanica is a lively center in the Museum District of Wichita. Visitors love the Downing Children’s Garden, the Chinese Garden of Friendship, the Khicha Family Carousel inside Koch Carousel Gardens, and the ever-changing seasonal displays that make every trip to Botanica magical and different.
17. Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky
Recommended by Marian of Discovering a new
Kentucky is well known for its rolling hills, horse racing, bourbon, and country music. This Bluegrass State has rich roots, natural beauty, and hospitality. Home of Mammoth Caves and Red River Gorge, Kentucky, is an ideal place to relax in nature and provides ample outdoor activities for adventurous souls.
Natural Bridge State Park & Red River Gorge
Travel to the Eastern side of the state to Slade, Kentucky, to Daniel Boone National Forest, only an hour from Lexington. Here you will find a true gem, Natural Bridge State Park, known for its sandstone arches. Here is your guide to Red River Gorge
Spectacular hiking awaits, especially in the summer and fall, with various terrain and numerous cliffs and gorges. Some great trails include Natural Bridge, Rock Garden Trail, and Fat Man Squeeze.
Instead of hiking, another way to see the stunning views of the Natural Bridge is to take the ski lift, available April-October.
Paddle the Red River, where beautiful scenery and wildlife can be seen along the rugged Kentucky wilderness. Kayak rentals are available at Red River Adventure. Head to Mill Creek Lake with your fishing poles for some great fishing.
Next to Natural Bridge State Park, the impressive sandstone cliffs at Red River Gorge are the perfect place to try rock climbing. If you’re daring, Torrent Falls Climbing Adventure and Kentucky Rock and Adventure Guides offer guided rock climbing and rappelling classes. No prior experience is needed.
18. Mardi Gras in Louisiana
Recommended by Kerry from VeggTravel
Louisiana should be on your bucket list if you’re traveling around the USA. Located in the deep south, Louisiana has a rich and varied history stemming from the French claim to the territory surrounding the Mississippi River in the 1600s. New Orleans is one of the most notorious places you can see this French influence. Known worldwide for its Mardi Gras Carnival, NOLA, as it’s commonly known, provides an exciting balance between modern-day culture and olden-day history and traditions.
Explore the beautiful streets lined with colorful colonial houses or discover the background to the unusual cemeteries. Take one of the free walking tours that cover the sordid secrets of the slave industry and how this led to the rise of voodoo, or take a supernatural tour that eases you into the eerie world of spirits and ghosts.
When you’re not partying on Bourbon Street or listening to Jazz on Frenchmen Street, you can enjoy some quiet time at the free sculpture park or just by walking across the harbor. Fill your belly with delicious southern foods like infamous gumbo or po’boy, and immerse yourself in one of the most fun and friendly states you will ever visit.
19. Acadia National Park, Maine
20. Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City is a beautiful beach town between the Atlantic Ocean and the Isle of Wight Bay in Maryland. It has miles of beach and a wooden boardwalk with shops, hotels, and restaurants along it. Trimper’s Rides, a theme park, has been popular among families at the southern end for decades. There are kayaks and tour boats around the island, and some of the kayaks and tour boats go to nearby Assateague Island, which is very popular.
Things to do in Ocean City, Maryland
Ocean City has tours, parasailing, jet skiing, renting boats, fishing, and more. The City is becoming popular as the best place for your next beer vacation in any season. During your trip, don’t miss out on visiting local craft breweries that are a big part of the Shore Craft Beer Fests. The Art League of Ocean City is active and is trying to get more public art made by local artists into the area.
In addition to Springfest, Sunset, and Winterfest, Ocean City have big events like the Ocean City Air Show and Bike Week that draw thousands of people.
21. Boston, Massachusetts
Recommended by Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages
Located on the Atlantic coast, Massachusetts is one of the most-visited places in New England. It’s filled with everything from a big city to rolling mountains worth hiking. Indeed, that makes Massachusetts unique; no matter what you like when you travel, there’s a place to do it there. However, the best place to visit in Massachusetts is definitely Boston!
Boston is known for its history, incredible food, and beautiful scenery. It’s beautiful year-round and has a heavy sports influence, mainly because it’s home to the Boston Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, and the Patriots.
There are many things to do in Boston, but for history lovers, be sure to make the Boston Freedom Trail. This trail winds through the historic part of the city, stopping at essential spots of America’s past. There’s a path right on the ground that leads visitors from place to place. It can be done on your own or through a booked tour; these tours are entertaining and usually include a tour guide dressed in old-fashioned outfits.
For those who would instead shop, be sure to head out to Newbury Street. This street is somewhat of a hidden gem. Most tourists would go to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall, but many locals will go to Newbury Street instead. This road is filled with local and commercial brownstone shops and many great restaurants.
As a tip, it’s much easier to ride the T in Boston than renting a car and finding parking for it. Purchase a Charlie Card at one of the T spots throughout the city or a grocery store. Then, use that to get around; it’s pretty reliable and, along with the commuter rail, can bring travelers as far out to Quincy in the south and Salem in the north!
22. Silver Lake Sand Dunes, Michigan
Michigan is popular among Families who have been coming to the area for decades and making memories that will last. Silver Lake and its communities have over 2,000 acres of dunes, several miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, and charming downtown areas where people can swim, boat, ride ORVs, shop, have fun, and do much more.
Things to do in Silver lake dunes
The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are in Mears, Michigan, on the west side of the state. They are between 2 gorgeous lakes: Silver Lake and Lake Michigan, and one of the largest known dune deposits along the shores of Lake Michigan.
They are made up of nearly 2,000 acres of rolling dunes constantly changing. Whether ride a dune buggy or off-road vehicle (ORV) across the dunes or enjoy the sandy beaches of the lakes nearby, you can spend the morning on the Dunes, the afternoon in the water, and the evening in Silver Lake or Hart. You’ll always have something to do.
So, what do you care about? Whether you’re an adventurer or want to relax, you’ll find the right things to do to make your vacation at Silver Lake more enjoyable.
23. Lake Duluth, Minnesota
Lake Duluth was a proglacial lake formed in the Lake Superior drainage basin as the Laurentide Ice Sheet melted. The oldest existing shorelines formed after the Greatlakean advance (the Valders) retreated around 11,000 years ago. Lake Duluth is located at the western end of the Lake Superior basin. A height of about 331 m above sea level, Lake Duluth flowed south through outlets in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Things to Do in Duluth
Lake Duluth is a beautiful blue lake at the westernmost tip of Lake Superior. You can choose a slower pace by going to one of the city’s 23 beautiful parks, taking a slow drive along the beautiful North Shore, watching birds at Hawk Ridge, or having the kids skip stones on the Lake. Or, you can make a more planned schedule: go to the aquarium in the morning, have lunch at a fancy restaurant on the water, and take a tour of the famous Sculpture Walk. In the afternoon, go to the historic Railroad Depot. No matter how you leave Duluth, you’re sure to feel relaxed and refreshed.
24. Biloxi Lighthouse, Mississippi
Built In 1848, the Biloxi Lighthouse was one of the first lighthouses in the South made of cast iron. It is the city’s most famous landmark, and after Katrina, it has become a sign of the city’s strength and determination.
Things to Do in Mississippi
The Biloxi Lighthouse is the most famous building in Biloxi, and you can take a tour of it! The historic 65-foot-tall structure is one of the most photographed places on the Gulf Coast. To get to the light room, you must climb a 57-step spiral staircase inside the lighthouse and an 8-rung ladder with a 19-by-23-inch trap door. As people go up the spiral staircase, they can see the water lines from hurricanes that happened more than a hundred years ago.
From the bottom of the building to the top of the weather vane on the lighthouse, the structure is 65 feet tall and 14 feet, 10 inches wide. Please know that climbing is not easy and not for people who are afraid of heights. Those who cannot climb up the stairs, please avoid the tour. People should be at least 42 inches tall to climb. Tours are available Monday through Saturday at 9, 9:15, and 9:30 a.m. (weather permitting). There’s a fee to get in. There are discounts for groups, but you need to make a reservation.
25. The gateway arch, Missouri
Located in St Louis, the Gateway Arch is a monument that stands 630 feet tall. It is made of stainless steel and world’s tallest Arch. According to sources, it is the tallest structure made by people in the Western Hemisphere. The Arch, also called The Gateway to the west, was built as a memorial to the westward expansion of the United States and was officially dedicated to “the American people.”
Things to Do in The gateway arch, Missouri
Join the “Having coffee with a ranger” program to get the inside scoop on the Arch and National Park Service. Take Ranger Led Running Tour of the Arch Grounds with a Park Ranger and learn about St. Louis’s history.
Lewis and Clark went on an adventure. You can find plants in the Garden that Native Americans used and Lewis and Clark wrote about in their journals as they went west.
Visit the Museum under the Gateway Arch and learn the story of the westward growth of the United States over 200 years, focusing on how important St. Louis was during that time.
26. Glacier National park, Montana
Recommended by Jessica of Uprooted Traveler
Montana offers some of the country’s most gorgeous wilderness along the United States’ northern border, with rushing rivers, dramatic mountainscapes, and the most grizzly bears than any other state! Montana is the perfect place to seek out outdoor adventures, home to actual cowboys, moose, and twice as many cows as people. Perhaps the most famous mountain range in the country, the heart of the stunning Rockies, is located in the state.
One of the best places to explore Montana’s Rockies is the jaw-droppingly beautiful Glacier National Park. Offering sweeping and towering mountains, alpine lakes, and dense pine tree forests, it’s no surprise that Glacier has garnered the nickname “Crown Jewel of the Continent.”
Things to do in Glacier Park
Glacier’s most famous attraction is the Going to the Sun Road. This architectural marvel spans 49.71 miles and is carved into the side of gargantuan mountains, where you’ll drive past ancient glaciers, jewel-colored lakes, and waterfalls. There are plenty of places to stop and explore along the way, like Avalanche Lake, a moderate hike that will take you to the shores of a lake sitting at the foot of a mountain with seemingly endless waterfalls cascading down its slopes, or St. Mary’s Lake, which is surrounded by rugged, snow-capped mountains.
An important thing to note is that, due to its northern latitude and high elevations, Glacier has very long and snowy winters, meaning that most of the park’s attractions, including the Going to the Sun Road, are usually only open from July through early October. While Glacier’s window to outdoor adventures is pretty small, the park still makes an epic summer destination!
27. Scotts Bluff National Monument, Nebraska
Scotts Bluff National Monument is in western Nebraska, United States. It is west of the city of Gering. This National Park Service site protects 3,000 acres of historic overland trail remnants, mixed-grass prairie, rugged badlands, towering bluffs, and riparian areas along the North Platte River. Over 100,000 people visit the park every year.
Things To Do in Scotts Bluff National Monument
The best part is walking up the Saddle Rock Trail to reach the top. From the Visitor Center, a 1.6-mile asphalt trail leads up to the top of the bluffs. You can enjoy great views of strange rock formations along the hiking trail.
Take the road to the top of Scotts Bluff. You can choose to walk or take a shuttle that takes 10 mins and learn about this monument with a ranger.
Walk along the Oregon Trail. Backcountry hiking is allowed in the South Bluff area of the monument if you want to do something different.
28. Valley of Fire state park, Nevada
Recommended by Krisztina of She wanders abroad
Valley of Fire State Park is one of Nevada’s most popular outdoor destinations. The park is located just 60 miles from Las Vegas, and it offers visitors a chance to experience some of the state’s most beautiful desert scenery. The Valley of Fire is named for its red sandstone formations, which were formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Today, the park is home to a variety of plant and animal life, as well as some of the most spectacular hiking and camping opportunities in the state.
Things to do in Valley of Fire state park
Although there are countless amazing things to do in Valley of Fire State Park, it’s actually possible to see the highlights of the park in just one day. You can either stay in a nearby town or you can easily visit it on a day trip from Vegas.
If you don’t mind waking up early, head to Mouse’s Tank road for sunrise. This is one of the best times to see the red rocks that give the park its name. After sunrise, hike to the Fire Wave until the weather is still cool. Then, drive to the White Domes area to explore the unique rock formations there.
During the day, you can take a scenic drive around Campground Road where you’ll get excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Make sure to stop at the Beehives, a group of sandstone formations that look like giant beehives. You should also see the petroglyphs at Atlatl Rock.
Last but not least, you can’t leave Valley of Fire until you’ve seen Elephant Rock! This massive sandstone formation is one of the most popular photo spots in the park. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or a longer camping adventure, Valley of Fire State Park is definitely worth a visit.
29. Castle in the clouds, New Hampshire
Castle in the Clouds, also called Lucknow, is a 16-room mansion and 5,294-acre (2,142 ha) mountaintop estate in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. The Castle Preservation Society opens it to the public for a few months each year. It is on a rocky outcropping of Lee Mountain that used to be called “The Crow’s Nest.” It looks out over Lake Winnipesaukee and the Ossipee Mountains.
Things to Do in Castle in the clouds, New Hampshire
Tour this 1914 historic mansion known as Castle in the Clouds and enjoy on-site Dining at The Carriage House Restaurant. The Carriage House Restaurant doesn’t serve dinner, except a few times during the summer when we have “Dinner Music Nights.”
Enjoy Community Programs and Events like Solar Gazing, Summer Music Nights, Evening Yoga on the Lawns of Lucknow, and Story Time at Castle in the Clouds with the Moultonborough Library. Don’t miss out on Horseback Riding at this historical place, get away from everyday life’s stress, and take a quiet, peaceful, and a calm trail ride with your horse to unwind. Ride through wooded trails and fields with great views of Lake Winnipesaukee.
The Lakes Region Conservation Trust maintains 28 miles of hiking trails. Take a leisurely walk along a path with cascading waterfalls. The walk ends at the Falls of Song, the largest waterfall.
30. Elis Island, New Jersey
The federal government owns Ellis Island in New York harbor. One of the busiest places in the United States where immigrants are inspected and processed. From 1892 to 1954, federal law required the Port of New York and New Jersey to process nearly 12 million immigrants. It is now part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, and people can only get there by ferry. The main building is now a national museum of immigration and is on the island’s north side. The public can only see the island’s south side, which has the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, on tour.
Things to Do in Ellis Island, New Jersey
Statue of Liberty. Symbolize freedom and hope. These astonishing monuments and museums tell the story of immigration and show how our nation’s ideals are rooted in the human spirit.
Island of Tears and Island of Hope. “The Island of Hope, Island of Tears” is a 30-minute documentary about Ellis Island that has won many awards. The movie provides background information to the stories of the millions of people who came through Ellis Island.
Ferry Building. This art deco building on Ellis Island is often called the “New” Ferry Building. When Ellis Island was still in use, this building was a waiting area, a place for the U.S. Customs Service to work, and a kitchen.
31. White Sands National Park, New Mexico
Recommended by Catherine from Nomadicated
New Mexico holds the title of the 5th largest state by area in the southwestern region of the United States. Still, it is also one of the most sparsely populated, with only 2 million people. Despite this, New Mexico’s rich history is best known for its diverse cultural heritage and stunning landscapes.
Clashes in New Mexico’s history formed the melting pot of Native American, Spanish, and Mexican influences. The state is home to 23 Native American tribes known for its Pueblo architecture. New Mexico is also famous for its Hispanic culture, which is evident in the state’s food, music, and art.
New Mexico landscapes include dramatic high mountain peaks to endless desert plains. The state also has one of the most beautifully decorated cave systems and the world’s largest gypsum dune field, White Sands National Park.
One of Southern New Mexico’s bucket list places to see is White Sands National Park. The park’s name comes from the white gypsum sand that covers 275 square miles of desert terrain. Have fun sledding down the glistening white dunes, snapping creative photography shots, or just admiring the beauty of this otherworldly landscape.
The White Sands Visitor Center offers a museum display, ranger-led sunset strolls, and sled rentals for the dunes. Explore the looped Dunes Drive, admiring the immaculate color and varied vegetation on the way. There is no one best viewing spot; walk over several slopes and valleys in any direction to discover undisturbed beauty, free of human impact.
32. New York City
New york city is known for its nickname, “The city that never sleeps.” Most popular among tourists and business professionals, the city has impressive architectural buildings, shops, restaurants, and classy nightlife.
Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and Central Park are some of the most popular attractions in New York. Christmas tree at Rockafella center and ball drop at time square on the new year are one-of-a-kind experiences to add to your US bucket list. China town, Dover street, canal street, and Essex market are great places to enjoy street shopping.
33. Raleigh, North Carolina
Recommended by Amber of Amber Everywhere
Located along the eastern seaboard, North Carolina is known for its fantastic barbecue, plentiful breweries, and stunning mountain ranges. You could easily spend a week just exploring North Carolina, with beautiful beaches to the east and the Appalachian mountain range to the west.
Things to do in Raleigh
No trip to North Carolina is complete without a visit to Raleigh, the second largest city in the state. Raleigh is part of an area called The Research Triangle, which also includes Durham and the town of Chapel Hill. Take some time to wander around downtown Raleigh, where the streets are full of cute boutiques, lively bars, and remarkable eateries. Don’t skip Boulted Bread, an outstanding bakery on South Street.
As you may have guessed, barbecue is serious business in North Carolina. They sport two varieties, and you’ll want to be sure to try both. The first is Eastern-style barbecue, with sauces made from lemon, vinegar, and/or pepper (no tomatoes allowed!). The second is Lexington style, which contains tomatoes, but can be made sweet or spicy. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to check the menu before you go, but many places had at least one meat-free option.
While you’re in North Carolina, consider making time to see a few of its other gems, like the Outer Banks, Asheville, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll want to drive or rent a car to see as much as possible, and the best time to visit is during the shoulder seasons (April to June; September to November).
34. Lake Sakakawea, North Dakota
Lake Sakakawea is the largest lake in North Dakota and is spread over 609 square miles behind Garrison Dam. This lake is named for the young Indian woman who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition.
Lake Sakakawea State Park offers various recreational activities. The park has a full-service marina and ramp, so it attracts numerous boat owners for fishing and enjoys boating. It also has camping and picnicking facilities.
35. Hocking Hills, Ohio
36. Oklahoma City National Memorial, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City National Memorial was made in honor of the victims, survivors, and rescuers who were affected by the bombing in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. More than 600 people survived the blast.
37. Astoria, Oregon
Recommended by Denise of Chef Denise
The Pacific Northwest state of Oregon, sandwiched between California and Washington, offers travelers many wonderful vacation options. Oregon has its fair share of historic sites, cultural cities, foodie destinations, and scenic beauty.
Things to do in Astoria
In fact, the Beaver State is a nature-lovers paradise with the dramatic coast of the Pacific Ocean, redwood forests, the snow-capped Mount Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, and so much more. One of the truly special Oregon getaways is the port town of Astoria on the Columbian River. The film industry has even been captivated by this photogenic town and has featured it in numerous movies like “The Goonies,” “Free Willy,” and “Short Circuit.”
The riverwalk that runs through town affords glimpses of wildlife like sea lions, seals, and herons. You can also enjoy beautiful views of the mountains in Washington on the other side of the Columbian, the Astoria-Megler Bridge, and the charming town itself.
As the first settlement in the United States west of the Rocky Mountains, many of the homes have retained their Victorian architecture, and businesses are housed in historic buildings. Check out the Flavel House Museum as one of the best examples of preservation from this era. History buffs will want to visit the Lewis and Clark National Park as this is where they ended their expedition. You can see Fort Clatsop, a replica of their fort, explore the museums, and hike miles of trails.
Astoria also has a strong culinary scene with fabulous restaurants that specialize in local seafood. And you will not go thirsty with the multitude of craft breweries in town. Good thing most attractions are within walking distance!
38. Cherry Springs state park, Pennsylvania
Recommended by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler
One of the most incredible hidden gems in Pennsylvania is Cherry Springs State Park’s ability to provide stunning views of the Milky Way throughout most of the year. It’s the darkest state park east of the Mississippi and boasts incredible views of our galaxy.
Things to do in Cherry Springs state park
Located in the northern part of Pennsylvania, this region is full of natural beauty and features a variety of hiking trails to explore. Cherry Springs State Park has a variety of hiking trails, but the real magic happens after sunset. After sunset, it’s time to look at the sky and take in the stars!
Since the area is a protected dark sky park, minimal light pollution makes it easy to see tons of stars. The Milky Way is visible year-round, even without a telescope. There are two stargazing areas in the park. The main stargazing field is open to the public and allows visitors to enter anytime. Please use a red flashlight for navigation, so you don’t disturb anyone else. The second field is for people who own astrophotography equipment and must stay overnight at the state park. There are no reservations for this field, so it is on a first-come, first-served basis.
When you visit Pennsylvania, break away from the crowds and enjoy nature at Cherry Springs State Park.
39. The Breakers, Rhode Island
The Breakers is a Gilded Age mansion built between 1893 and 1895 and located in Newport, Rhode Island. This mansion is built as the summer home for one of the members of the Vanderbilt family, Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The gross area is more than 125,000 square feet, and it has 70 rooms. This mansion is designed by Richard Morris Hunt in Renaissance Revival style. Jules Allard and Sons and Ogden Codman Jr. were the interior decors.
40. Hilton Head Island in South Carolina
Recommended by Wayne of Always On The Shore
There are many reasons why South Carolina is special. There is a rich and unique history here and it’s known for its historic landmarks. The state is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and international travelers. South Carolina is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. Additionally, the people of South Carolina are known for being friendly and welcoming to visitors.
South Carolina is the perfect place for you if you are looking for a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you want to relax on the beach, learn about American history, or meet new friends, you will find it all in South Carolina.
Things to do on Hilton Head Island
One city in South Carolina that stands out is Hilton Head Island. This area is known for its stunning coastal scenery, and Hilton Head Island definitely does not disappoint. The island is also home to a variety of unique wildlife, including alligators, dolphins, and loggerhead turtles.
There are plenty of things to do on the island, from fishing and swimming to exploring the many shops and waterfront restaurants. Harbour Town is known for its lighthouse, shops, and activities on the water.
Hilton Head is also home to a number of golf courses, making it a great place to tee off. There are also miles of awesome bike trails to get out and ride on, the beaches here are nice to ride on here, as well.
41. Black Hills, South Dakota
Things to do in Black hills
42. Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee
How can you miss out on The Great Smoky Mountains, America’s most visited national park, to add to your bucket list? There is an ideal getaway for adventure lovers. Enjoy hike, camp, and experience one of America’s oldest mountain ranges.
Smokey mountains cover Tennesse and North Carolina border and attract lots of tourists all over the united states. While this national park is beautiful in all seasons, Fall colors are a must thing to do.
To enjoy a spectacular mountain view, visit the highest point and one of our favorite places in the park, Clingman’s dome. If you love hiking, this place is heaven; you can try Charlies Bunion, Alum Cave Bluffs, Rainbow Falls, and many more trails throughout the park. Don’t miss out on scenic drives of Newfound Gap Road, Cades Cove Loop Road, Upper Tremont Road, and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Whether taking a scenic drive or hiking, lookout for wildlife as this park is known for it. You might come across an elk, deer, bear, or even a wild hog.
Experience cabin living on this trip; Gantilburge and Pigeon forge has tons of cabins with views. Book in advance to get an affordable price and spectacular views.
San Antonio Riverwalk is the most popular place to visit in Texas and is also known as Paseo del Rio.
From cruise trips to riverside dining to enjoying Tex Mex cuisine and fireworks and seasonal parade, this place offers various things to do.
The San Antonio River Walk is 15 miles long, with beautiful architecture and stunning ambiance with some history behind it.
44. Arches National Park, Utah
Recommended by Taylor of Traverse with Taylor
Visiting Utah should be at the top of your list! It is a nature lover’s dream. This state has a massive variety of things to do in every season of the year– so you cannot go wrong no matter when you choose to visit!
Utah is famous for its skiing in notable towns like Park City, which gained popularity after it was chosen to host the Winter Olympics in 2002. Avid snowboarding enthusiasts and skiers flock here to take advantage of the beautiful slopes during the winter season.
Things to do in Arches National Park
However, Utah also ranks third among the states with the most National Parks. This makes spring, summer, and fall travel ideal for hiking and camping. While Utah has five different National Parks, my favorite is Arches National Park.
Here you’ll find the Delicate Arch hike, a three-mile round-trip hike to see a landmark you just might recognize from Utah license plates. While the trip is not an easy one (the hike is almost entirely uphill), there are so many stunning views and photo opportunities that you will be glad you made the trek!
Arches National Park is situated just outside of Moab, Utah. When you’re finished, spend some time in this little town– the people are incredibly friendly, and the food and beer at Moab Brewery are a fantastic way to refuel after a long hike! Just be sure to book accommodations early because Moab is tiny and popular!
45. Stowe Mountain Auto Toll Road, Vermont
This northeastern state is known for its natural landscape. While it has thousands of acres of mountain terrain, you can also explore 19th-century wooden bridges and a major producer of maple syrup. Vermont is popular among hikers and ski lovers as you can cross those mountain terrains by hiking trails.
The Kissing Bridge, Windsor-Cornish Covered Bridge, and West Dummerston Covered Bridge are among the top of the list of wooden bridges.
Speaking of mountain terrains, Stowe Mountain Auto Toll Road is one of the best scenic drives to add to your US bucket list. Lead your way to this windy road toward the summit ridge of Mt. Mansfield. On your way up, you can enjoy the stunning view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains.
46. Luray Caverns, Virginia
Virginia is a southeastern state with a long Atlantic coastline, is home to Monticello. While you choose to enjoy Virginia Beach or German-theme Busch Gardens, don’t forget to add Luray cavern to your US bucket list.
Luray Caverns is the most enormous cavern in the eastern United States, yet walking through feels more like a phenomenal experience. The Luray Caverns are situated 164 feet underground and are one of the National Natural Landmarks. These caverns are huge and attractive; it is a must-place to visit on your trip to Virginia.
The Luray Caverns has a 54-degree Fahrenheit temperature throughout the year, which is quite cold, and you will feel it during your tour. You can see stalagmites, flowstones, and mirror pools.
47. Seattle, Washington
Recommended by Yesenia and Sierra from The Sisters Who Voyage
Washington state is a beautiful evergreen state that is full of various adventurous activities that suit all sorts of travelers. Whether you love hiking aggressive hikes, biking through rigorous dirt paths, snowboarding Mt. Baker, or taking serene strolls across the beach, Washington has it all. It doesn’t matter what part of Washington you visit because it’s bustling in all aspects of the state. However, especially on the western side of the state, where it’s more densely populated, visitors have polar opposite choices for activities to enjoy, such as hiking trails or shopping in downtown Seattle.
Things to do in Seattle
When visiting Seattle, you’ll want to make sure to explore downtown and head towards the infamous Pike Place Market to do some local shopping and grab fresh cuisine. Afterward, head over to the original Starbucks, a historical relic in Pike Place with round-the-clock lines due to its history. When you’ve grown tired of food sampling at Pikes and snapped a photo near Starbucks, you’ll want to head down to the waterfront to enjoy the view and visit the various souvenir stores to grab a local treasure. Afterward, you can stop and visit the Seattle Aquarium, ride on the Seattle Great Wheel, or grab some delicious soft serve ice cream.
Getting to Seattle, Washington, is relatively easy as it’s located near an international airport, Seatac. This airport has tons of outgoing and incoming flights from around the world, so you’re sure to catch a flight to Seattle easily. When you land, you can either hitch a ride with a rideshare or taxi, or you can hop on the link train for a straight shot to downtown Seattle.
48. Blackwater Falls, West Virginia
Blackwater Falls State Park is a popular destination located in the Allegheny Mountains and attracts many adventure travelers.
These state parks offer activities like ATV Riding, Boating, Hiking, Camping, Fishing, Horseback riding, Scenic train rides, white water rafting, etc.
Blackwater Falls is a centerpiece of the park and the most visited fall in west Virginia. This waterfall is a 62-foot (19 m) cascade where the Blackwater River leaves its leisurely course in Canaan Valley and enters the Blackwater canyon.
49. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Recommended by Lisa Garrett of Waves and Cobblestones
The state of Wisconsin is located in the upper Midwest region of the United States. It is bordered by two of the Great Lakes: Lake Michigan on its eastern edge and Lake Superior on its northern edge.
Known as ‘America’s Dairyland,’ Wisconsin is famous for herds of cows and its dairy products, especially cheese. It is also well-known for its breweries and beer.
Things to do in Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest city, is home to many breweries and is known as ‘The City That Beer Built’. There are many fantastic things to do in Milwaukee. Milwaukee has a thriving arts scene with over twenty-five theaters inside the city limits. Public art abounds throughout the city, from sculptures to murals – particularly along the Downtown Riverwalk. Milwaukee boasts a wide variety of architecture, from ornate Victorian buildings to incredible skyscrapers.
Milwaukee has several excellent museums to entertain and educate. The Milwaukee Art Museum is home to an impressive art collection, and the museum itself is an architectural masterpiece. Be sure to see the museum’s famous Burke Brise Soleil “wings”, which open and close daily along with the museum. Milwaukee is also home to the world’s only Harley-Davidson Museum.
Nature enthusiasts will want to visit the Mitchell Park Domes. This unique horticultural conservancy features three domes housing different types of plants—desert, tropical, and floral. Visitors to Milwaukee will also enjoy spending time on the waters of Lake Michigan or in one of its many parks and green spaces.
Traveling to Milwaukee is easy as it has an international airport. It is also within a two-hour drive from cities such as Chicago, Madison, and Green Bay.
50. Grand Teton National Park,Wyoming
Recommend by Stefanie from open road odyssey
Things to do in Grand Teton
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