50 Travel Adventures: One For Every State

From state parks to iconic American attractions, discover great places to visit, sea to shining sea.
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Photo By: James Randklev

©Walter Bibikow

Alabama | U.S. Space and Rocket Center

Taking a trip to Sweet Home Alabama? Venture over to Huntsville for an otherworldly tour of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Home to the Apollo 16 Command Module, Pathfinder (the world's only full-stack space shuttle display), and a Saturn V Moon Rocket deemed National Historic Landmark, the center has welcomed nearly 16 million visitors since opening its doors in 1971. 

Alaska | Denali National Park

Encompassing six million acres of wild land, Denali National Park & Preserve is home to Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. Located in Alaska's interior, the park is also a safe haven for thousands of wildlife, including caribou, black bears, grizzly bears, moose and more. 

Arizona | Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular and spectacular attractions in the U.S. and across the globe. While it is not the longest or deepest canyon in the world, the Grand Canyon is more than a mile deep and is 277 miles long. Nearly five million people visit each year to take in the breathtaking scenery that is part of Arizona's stunning landscape. 

Arkansas | Ouachita National Forest

The Ouachita National Forest covers 1.8 million acres in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. Located in Hot Springs, the forest provides a sprawling natural habitat for wildlife, including deer, bear, quail, fox, armadillos, coyotes and roadrunners. It is also an ideal scenic backdrop for hiking, biking, fishing or a leisurely drive. 

California | Golden Gate Bridge

Spanning the channel between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge connects the city of San Francisco to Marin County. When it was built in 1937, "International Orange" was selected as the official color since it blended well with the nearby hills and contrasted with the sky and ocean. Golden Gate's 4,200-foot long suspension span was the longest in the world until the Verrazano Narrows bridge (New York City) was built in 1964. 

Colorado | Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Colorado's stunning Rocky Mountains and picturesque views from Pikes Peak make it tough to nail down just one sight to see when visiting the state, but if you're in the mood for a little music during your visit, there's simply no other concert space like Denver's Red Rocks Amphitheatre. As the only naturally-occurring, acoustically-perfect amphitheatre in the world, Red Rocks makes for a unique musical experience. From the rock-hewn seats, concertgoers can enjoy the sound of their favorite bands and performers. 

Connecticut | The Mark Twain House and Museum

Visit the home of literary genius Mark Twain during your drive through Hartford, Conn. Serving as Twain's home from 1874 to 1891, the historic site is where Twain composed his most famous and well-heralded works, including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and The Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. After touring the house, take a peek into the museum for more information about Twain's work. 

Delaware | Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1937, Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge protects one of the largest remaining expanses of tidal salt marsh in the mid-Atlantic region. The refuge, located along the coast of Delaware, is mostly marsh, but also includes freshwater impoundments and upland habitats that are managed for other wildlife. Take a 12-mile drive through the refuge and view a number of species and habitats, including deer, wild turkey, freshwater manmade pools, salt marshes and woodlands.  

Florida | Disney World

The Sunshine State's city of Orlando is home to the happiest place on Earth — Disney World. After its elder and sister park Disneyland opened to much success in California, the Orlando park opened in 1971. It attracts more than 40 million visitors each year. 

Georgia | Pebble Hill Plantation

Take a trip to Thomasville, Ga., for a slice of Pebble Hill Plantation, dubbed a true Georgia Belle with its stunning magnolias, long-leaf pines and sprawling estate grounds. Pack a picnic basket and relax in the shade while catching a peek of the horse-drawn carriages. Later, book a tour of the main house and discover an extensive art collection, library, one-of-a-kind antiques and jaw-dropping dining room. 

Hawaii | Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

As one of the most-visited attractions in the state of Hawaii, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island encompasses the summit of the world's most active volcano, Kîlauea, and the world's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa. Created to preserve the natural setting of these two volcanoes, the park is also a refuge for the island's native plants and animals. Explore the dramatic volcanic landscapes via Crater Rim Drive, an 11-mile road that surrounds the summit caldera and features many scenic stops and short hiking paths. 

Idaho | Sun Valley

The resort city of Sun Valley offers year-round outdoor recreation, including cross-country skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, golfing, mountain biking, river rafting and hiking. Located near Ketchum, Sun Valley also hosts special events and festivals throughout the year. 

Illinois | Chicago

Take a walk down The Windy City's Magnificent Mile, a portion of Michigan Avenue that includes shops ranging from high-end boutiques to everyday stores, as well as many famous buildings, including Trump Tower, the John Hancock Building, the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. You'll also spot the well-known Willis Tower (formerly named and still commonly referred to as the Sears Tower). If the weather is warm, spend a day at Navy Pier, located along Chicago's waterfront and home to restaurants, museums, shopping, theater, as well as the famous Ferris wheel, Crystal Gardens and Children's Museum. 

Indiana | Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Hall of Fame Museum

Stop by this place for more than 100 years of racing history, plus a chance to see winning cars from Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 races. After the museum tour, take a peek at the speedway, which is the world's largest spectator sporting facility. It hosts four annual events in three major racing series: Grand Prix of Indianapolis, Indianapolis 500 Mile Race (IndyCar Series), Brickyard 400 (NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) and Red Bull Indianapolis GP (MotoGP World Championship). 

Iowa | Des Moines Art Center

The nonprofit Des Moines Art Center is composed of three buildings situated at the entrance to Greenwood Park. Three internationally-renowned architects designed each building: Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. The museum's permanent collection features more than 4,800 pieces that span 20th- and 21st-century works of modern and contemporary art. Works by Henri Matisse, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper and Francis Bacon are included in the collection. 

Kansas | Dodge City

Step back into the Wild West with a trip to Dodge City, an historic Kansas frontier cow-town that still maintains much of its original culture and Western-style buildings. Check out Old West forts and trails, and learn about the colorful cattle town at the Boot Hill Museum, where you will be transported back to the dusty streets of the 1870s and 1880s on Front Street. 

Kentucky | Mammoth Cave National Park

Since 1816, visitors have toured the deep subterranean labyrinths of Mammoth Cave National Park, the world's longest-known cave system, with more than 400 miles of explored territory. In addition to the caves, the park preserves part of the Green River valley and countryside of south central Kentucky. Activities include cave tours, canoeing on the Green River, surface hikes, horseback riding, bicycling and camping. 

Louisiana | French Quarter

The oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans, the French Quarter is rich with the culture, food and historic culture that breathe life into the Crescent City. Known as the "Old Square" as a result of the way the city of New Orleans was developed around The Quarter — and therefore forming a square — the district is now designated a National Historic Landmark because of its numerous 18th-century buildings. Enjoy the history of Jackson Square, including the St. Louis Cathedral, then stroll down the infamous Bourbon Street for some colorful nightlife. 

Maine | Old Fort Western

Built in 1754 and a National Historic Landmark, Old Fort Western is America's oldest surviving wooden fort. Located along the picturesque Kennebec River, the fort served as a fortified storehouse in support of Fort Halifax and a staging point for Benedict Arnold for his assault on Quebec in 1775 during the American Revolution. The fort tour also includes a walk through the store and house on the premises. 

Maryland | Eastern Shore

Maryland's Eastern Shore is a large a peninsula spanning hundreds of miles between the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Visitors to the shore can indulge in the charm of the peninsula's historic towns, beaches and opportunities to bike, boat, hike, sail, fish, golf, bird watch and more. Annual events include boat shows, museum activities, waterfront festivals, boating regattas and enough other attractions that will keep you busy for weeks on end. 

Massachusetts | Freedom Trail

Head to Boston, Massachusetts, for a 2.5-mile walk down the red brick trail known as the Freedom Trail. The path takes its followers from Boston Common to Bunker Hill, giving visitors a tour of countless historical sites, including Bunker Hill Monument, Paul Revere's House, Boston Common, U.S.S. Constitution and Old North Church — where the famous "One, if by land, and two, if by sea" signal was sent. Be sure to take a pit stop at America's oldest bar, Bell in Hand Tavern. 

Michigan | Traverse City

Known as "Cherryland" for its role as the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States, Traverse City is the heart of the greater Northern Michigan region. The city also has a rich maritime history that is marked by beautiful lighthouses and museums dedicated to marine life. With the glistening waters of Lake Michigan as a stunning backdrop, visitors can set sail, stroll on the beaches, visit the local wineries, go for a bike ride or enjoy a meal at one of Traverse City's many restaurants, named by Bon Appétit as one of America's Top Five Foodie Towns. 

Minnesota | Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The 11-acre site known as the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is the belle of the ball within the city's park system. Pairing two of Minnesota's most valued resources — its green space and cultural life — the garden is home to the famous "Spoonbridge and Cherry" aluminum and stainless-steel sculpture, and showcases more than 40 artistic works from the Walker Art Center's collection. The grounds also include the Cowles Conservatory, which has additional flora and sculpture inside, such as Frank Gehry's Standing Glass Fish. If you have time, add a visit to Loring Park and the Basilica of Saint Mary, which are both close by. 

Mississippi | Gulf Islands National Seashore

Extending from Cat Island in Mississippi to the eastern tip of Santa Rosa Island in Florida, the Gulf Islands National Seashore is home to white sand beaches, coastal marches and lush maritime forests. Visitors to Mississippi can access an area of the seashore known as Davis Bayou, located on the mainland at Ocean Springs. While there are no swimming beaches, there are hiking trails, camping and picnicking spots, historic forts and plenty of other recreational opportunities — sunset watch anyone? — available to visitors. 

Missouri | 18th and Vine Jazz District

Resurrected in the late 1990s, the 18th and Vine Jazz District of Kansas City is home to the American Jazz Museum, Gem Theater and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. And be sure to catch a bite at Danny's Big Easy or KC Blues & Jazz Juke House, where all dishes come with a side of smooth tunes. If you're looking for nightlife, head to the Blue Room for live jazz performances. 

Montana | Glacier National Park

With more than 700 miles of trails, Glacier Park and its stunning scenery — snowcapped mountains, alpine meadows, lakes and colorful wildlife — are a hiker's paradise. Take in the quiet solitude on foot or travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a must-see drive that has plenty of recreational options and historic lodges along the way. With more than 13 campgrounds that provide almost 1000 campsites within the park, you might also consider spending a night under the stars. 

Nebraska | Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

Open year-round, the zoo and aquarium are home to the world's largest indoor desert and nocturnal exhibits, as well as one of the world's largest indoor rainforests. With more than 130 acres, including the Scott Aquarium, Hubbard Orangutan Forest and Gorilla Valley, Durham's Bear Canyon and Berniece Grewcock Butterfly and Insect Pavilion, the zoo also offers Skyfari, an open-air chairlift that allows visitors to see spectacular views from up above. 

Nevada | Las Vegas Strip

What would a trip to The Silver State be without a night spent in Sin City? Situated smack-dab in the middle of the southern Nevada desert, Las Vegas is home to giant casinos and hotels, stellar shows and a nightlife that carries into the wee hours of the morning. 

New Hampshire | Mt. Washington Auto Road

Take a trip to New Hampshire and indulge in one of America's oldest manmade attractions: the Mt. Washington Auto Road. Travel what has been dubbed "the road to the sky" and ascend to the very top of New England to take in spectacular views. If narrow roads make you nervous, consider a guided tour to better enjoy the journey. 

New Jersey | Atlantic City Boardwalk

Try your luck at the "Gambling Capital of the East Coast" with a trip to Atlantic City. Casinos include Bally's, Borgata, Golden Nugget, Caesars, Trump Plaza and many more. The Boardwalk — which was the first in the United States — runs along an 8-mile stretch of beach where visitors can relax and swim. It is also home to retail stores, restaurants and amusements, including the Boardwalk Hall, House of Blues and Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum. 

New Mexico | Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Beneath the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico lies Carlsbad Caverns National Park, hidden in more than 300 limestone caves laid down by an inland sea 250 to 280 million years ago. More than 116 of these caves — some of the largest caves in North America — make up the majestic park. 

New York | Manhattan

The Big Apple holds an energy like no other city in America. A true melting pot of artistic life, business, families, tourists and everyone in between, New York City is home to an exciting and diverse culture. Its skyline and various attractions have been featured by the thousands in movies and television shows — favorites include the Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, Empire State Building, Central Park, Park Avenue shopping and Rockefeller Center. Manhattan is also home to the newly-constructed Freedom Tower that stands at One World Trade Center, the former site of Ground Zero. Visitors can view the Reflecting Absence memorial, which honors the 2,986 men and women who died as a result of the September 11th terrorist attacks. 

North Carolina | Uwharrie Mountains Wine Trail

Less than 45 miles separate four wineries along the Uwharrie Mountains Wine Trail, making it ideal for a day trip. From Salisbury to Albemarle, winery options include Old Stone Winery, a 130-acre estate with 20 acres of muscadine grapes that go into making their many wines available to taste and purchase. With about 70 acres planted in grapes, Uwharrie Vineyards lists six wines and offers food pairings and a picnic area. Dennis Vineyards Winery features tours, a tasting room, a gift shop and a variety of Muscadine wines. Stony Mountain Vineyards also has many varietal wines, including a blend of Syrah and Sangiovese, as well as a half-dozen fruit wines. Choose a designated driver and be sure to make an extra stop at Stony Mountain toward the end of your visit to the trail. You'll catch stunning views across the Uwharrie Mountains and the Yadkin Valley. 

North Dakota | Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Named after a president who helped protect more than 150 million acres of public lands during his lifetime, Theodore Roosevelt National Park sits on approximately 70,000 acres that border Interstate 94 and the Little Missouri River. In addition to scenic hiking trails, painted canyons and wildlife watching, the park contains several sites of historical significance related to the era of cattle ranching in the late 1800s. One of the most prominent fixtures is Theodore Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch Site, the place where he developed many of his ideas for conservation. Park rangers lead guided tours, nature talks and evening campfire programs where visitors can learn more about Roosevelt. Horseback tours of the park are also available. 

Ohio | Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Located in downtown Cleveland on the shore of Lake Erie, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a must-see stop for music lovers. Decade by decade, the museum walks visitors through rock-and-roll history. John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Kiss, Nirvana, Madonna, Bob Marley and Elton John are just a few of the names visitors will notice among the 295 inductees. The building, designed by architect I.M. Pei, houses more than 55,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Oklahoma | Route 66

With more surviving miles of Route 66 than any other state, Oklahoma is the place to "Get your kicks on Route 66." Since the highway cuts a diagonal path through the heart of Oklahoma, travelers can drive through quaint towns and antique shops, as well as big cities that offer modern architectural styles. And, of course, there are always a number of eateries along the way for a meal that requires a slice of peach cobbler à la mode.

Oregon | Crater Lake National Park

It's not every day that an outdoor view will knock you off your feet, but South Central Oregon's Crater Lake most definitely will. Created by the eruption and collapse of Mt. Mazama almost 7,000 years ago, the 6-mile-wide caldera offers a breathtaking 20-mile circle of cliffs offset by a lake of stunning blue water. Believe it or not, the scenery is only the beginning — visitors can also hike, camp, cross-country ski and, later, snuggle up at an historic hotel. 

Pennsylvania | Independence National Historic Park

Perhaps one of America's most historic areas, Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia is a national treasure. Home to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed, the park offers unmatched glimpses into historic events. Visitors can even view the table at which Thomas Jefferson and John Adams sat to sign the Declaration. There are more than a dozen other historic sites and museums in the park, including Congress Hall, Old City Hall and Carpenter's Hallothers. 

Rhode Island | Newport Mansions

With more than 800,000 visitors per year, the Newport Mansions are one of Rhode Island's top attractions. The Preservation Society of Newport County operates nine different homes that were once the "summer cottages" of America's wealthiest families. A few of the most popular homes include The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms and Rosecliff. Not only is the architecture worth seeing, but visitors can also view various historic collections and exhibitions. 

South Carolina | Hilton Head

While Myrtle Beach is also a popular destination in South Carolina, Hilton Head is known for its quiet, less-crowded beaches, making it an appealing spot for relaxation. With more than 12 miles of stunning beaches, the boot-shaped island is nestled along the South Carolina coast. Popular spots include Harbor Town, home to a quaint beach, marina, and shopping areas, as well as several world class golf courses and restaurants. 

South Dakota | Mount Rushmore Memorial Park

Mount Rushmore Memorial Park is visited by nearly 3 million people each year who come to see the magnificent sculpture carved on a granite cliff in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Four U.S. presidents are carved into the cliff: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt. Visitors can also visit the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center to view exhibits and a 14-minute film about the carving. Walks along the Presidential Trail are also available, as well as visits to the Sculptor's Studio, where artist Gutzon Borglum spent much of his time refining his scale model of Mount Rushmore. 

Tennessee | Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located among the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. The park, which does not charge an entrance fee, works to preserve a rich Southern Appalachian history, including historic structures, landscapes and artifacts. The mountains have had a long human history spanning thousands of years, dating as far back as the prehistoric Paleo Indians to as recent as loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in the 20th century. 

Texas | The Alamo

The Alamo, originally named Mission San Antonio de Valero, has stood at the crossroads of Texas history for more than 300 years. Made famous for the battle where the proclamation "Remember the Alamo!" was made, the Alamo accommodates millions of tourists every year. The mission's establishment played a critical role in the settlement of Texas and the Southwest, serving as home to missionaries and soldiers for almost 70 years. 

Utah | Arches National Park

The 73,000-acre region known as Arches National Park contains the world's largest concentration of natural stone arches. The stunningly orange-red, arid desert is made distinctive by its unusually eroded sandstone forms, including balanced rocks and — you guessed it — arches. There are more than 2,000 arches, in addition to hundreds of other natural red rock formations. 

Vermont | Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory

Why not indulge your sweet tooth with a tour of the place where one of America's favorite treats are made? The Ben & Jerry's Waterbury, Vermont, factory offers a 30-minute guided tour that gives guests a behind-the-scenes look at the ice cream manufacturing process. Get a taste of your favorite flavor — or try something new — at the on-site full service scoop shop menu, which includes special items like the Vermonster. 

Virginia | Great Falls Park

The 800-acre park is located along the Potomac River and only 15 miles from Washington, D.C. Enjoy the view at the picturesque natural landmark and enjoy a number of activities like kayaking, rock climbing, bicycling, hiking and horseback riding. 

Washington | Mount Rainier National Park

An icon in the Washington landscape, Mount Rainier National Park ascends to 14,410 feet above sea level. Take a driving tour and stop off at scenic points that allow for breathtaking views of the active volcano and the most glaciated peak in the 48 adjoining states. Hiking is also an option, with paths that vary in difficulty. 

West Virginia | New River Gorge Bridge

At 876 feet above the New River, the New River Gorge bridge is the place for seeing stunning views of the West Virginia landscape. Stretching 3,030 feet in length, the bridge is the second largest single-span steel arch in the Western Hemisphere. Year-round walking tours — during which guests are fastened onto a safety cable in order to cross the bridge — are typically 2-3 hours in length. 

Wisconsin | Wausau

A prime spot for outdoor enthusiasts, the city of Wausau is packed with activities for travelers with a sense for adventure. Go snowmobiling on Rib Mountain, fishing in Lake Wausau and the Wisconsin River, skiing at Granite Park or hiking on the Ice Age Trail. 

Wyoming | Yellowstone National Park

Situated in the northwest corner of Wyoming, Yellowstone became the world's first National Park in 1872. Packed with wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears and herds of bison and elk, the park is a mainstay as one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth's temperate zone. Dotted with pine trees, broad green valleys and exquisite lakes and streams, Yellowstone is the heart of the Rocky Mountains. 

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