Underrated America for all ages
Spot wildlife from the Anan Bear Observatory in Alaska
The Anan Wildlife Observatory occupies a scenic position in the Tongass National Forest, whose ancient trees cover 17 million acres of southeastern Alaska. Reached by a half-mile hike, it overlooks Anan Creek, an indigenous fishing site that has a large number of pink salmon. Brown and black bears come to gorge on the fish here, and visitors of the observatory get uninterrupted views of the spectacle. In an effort to protect the site and enhance visitor experience, only 60 visitor permits are released each day.
Visit New York City’s abandoned underground station
If you’ve visited the Big Apple, you’ll no doubt have explored the city’s Grand Central Terminal but there’s another, more atmospheric station that usually slips under the radar. The abandoned City Hall subway station was first built in 1904 and was the outgoing station for New York’s first ever subway journey. It eventually closed in 1945 when it could no longer accommodate larger, modern subway trains. You can admire its vaulted ceilings and patterned brickwork on a tour with the New York Transit Museum.
Sleep in an earthship in New Mexico
You’ll find this collection of futuristic, eco-friendly abodes in the desert town of Taos. Built entirely of natural or recycled materials, such as tires and adobe mud, the earthships are powered by solar energy and each have their own unique design. Choose from a sand-colored structure with stained-glass made from bottles or a cute “hobbit house”. If you’ve not got time to stay overnight, drop in on the fascinating visitor center for a self-guided tour.
Dig in Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas
Discover First Beach in La Push, Washington
Go boating on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri
Addictive Netflix original Ozark, starring Jason Bateman as a money launderer for a Mexican drug cartel, put this scenic lake in Missouri in the spotlight last year. It’s a vast reservoir hemmed in by some 1,000 miles of lakeshore and cliffs, and the area is studded with bars, restaurants (some of which are right on the water), campsites and golf courses. The best way to explore is by boat – take to the lake on a summer’s day and anchor up for a swim.
Hear a stalactite organ in Virginia’s Luray Caverns
Explore the ghost town of Bodie in California
Now one of California’s most curious state parks, Bodie was once a thriving gold-mining town. Its high point was in the late 1870s, when a mine collapsed revealing a copious amount of gold ore. But by 1881, the supply had all but dried up and the miners followed their fortune elsewhere, leaving Bodie abandoned and festering. You can explore Bodie year round: whizz around the town by snowmobile in winter or wander between the wood-paneled houses on foot in summer. Discover the secrets of other abandoned Gold Rush towns around the US too.
Drive through the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico
Discover the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans
There are loads of sights in the Big Easy, so it’s no wonder that some go unnoticed. The Ogden Museum of Southern Art is one such sight. Its fascinating store of art works is a celebration of the American South, with fine art and photography joining avant-garde prints and sculptures. Free guided tours run every Thursday. Read our full guide to New Orleans here.
Go diving in Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park
At a whopping 45 miles long, Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior. The waters of this underrated park may be chilly but those who brave them will come across some of the most wonderfully preserved shipwrecks in US waters. Divers travel to see ambient wrecks such as The Emperor, a 525-foot Canadian steamship that was sunk here in 1947 when it made contact with a jagged reef. If you’d prefer to stay above the water, take to one of the many trails: the 1.2-mile, forested Windigo Nature Trail is ideal for those who want something gentler.
Spot wildflowers in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
Drink a cocktail at the American Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia
Savannah’s American Prohibition Museum opened to much applause in 2017. Dedicated to the Sstates’ prohibition era (1920–1933), this is the first museum of its kind in the country. You’ll learn about the temperance movement that resulted in America’s dry period, the effect of prohibition on the country and, of course, the many ways the American people bucked the law. Finish up in a traditional, speakeasy-style bar for a classic cocktail and a last dose of the roaring Twenties.
Walk the boardwalks of Congaree National Park in South Carolina
Gaze up at Nebraska’s Carhenge
America has little shortage of curious roadside attractions, but this is surely one of the quirkiest. You’ll find it in the wilds of Nebraska, near the city of Alliance, and it’s made up of 39 cars, painted silver and stacked together in a mirror image of England’s Stonehenge. The structure, the brainchild of artist Jim Reinders, is built to the same proportions as the English landmark. It’s free to visit. Discover more unusual roadside attractions here.
Follow a woodland art trail in San Francisco
San Francisco has plenty for art buffs but its most unique artsy attractions don’t lie within the city’s galleries. Four mammoth sculptures by British artist Andy Goldsworthy are dotted throughout The Presidio, San Francisco’s answer to Central Park. Spot them all on a three-mile hiking loop. Favorites include the Woodline, a 1,200-foot trail of eucalyptus branches zigzagging through the forest, and Spire, Goldsworthy’s first piece here, and a striking 100-foot tower made from the trunks of cypress trees.
Take an ATV ride through Utah’s Wasatch Mountains
Sail on Tennessee’s Lost Sea
A little-known subterranean wonder, Tennessee’s Lost Sea has been turned into a fun family attraction. The site comprises of a significant cave system, whose depths can be explored with knowledgeable guides, and a vast lake, the largest known underground lake in the USA. Once you’ve finished a walking tour of the caverns, take a boat ride on the four-acre lake, which lies some 140 feet below the ground.
Marvel at Detroit’s Heidelberg Project
Follow the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail in Virginia
The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail pairs views with brews on a route through this scenic valley in western Virginia. You’ve a choice of 15 breweries: they range from the industrial-chic Pale Fire Brewing Co in Harrisonburg at the trail’s northern end to the more rustic Devils Backbone Outpost Brewery and Tap Room to the south. You’ll get a stamp on your Beerwerks passport for each brewery you visit and drink in plenty of mountain vistas on the way too. Be sure to assign a designated driver.
Take a tour of Iowa’s Grotto of the Redemption
This intriguing grotto is the product of one man’s unwavering faith. The late Father Paul Dobberstein contracted pneumonia and desperately ill, he prayed to the Virgin Mary, promising a wonderful shrine in return for his health. Once the pastor recovered, he began building an intricate grotto in his then hometown of West Bend. The sprawling caves were made up of rocks and precious stones (agate, topaz, quartz and more) that Dobberstein had gathered over the years. Today, you can tour the grotto, visit its dedicated museum and overnight in the adjacent campsite.
Brave the Kinzua Bridge Skywalk in Pennsylvania
Hop over to Ellis Island in New York City
Liberty Island, home, of course, to the Statue of Liberty, is likely to be on your travel wish list but you may not have given much thought to lesser-visited Ellis Island. Make time in your itinerary to pore over the poignant displays at the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration. The complex tells the stories of some 12 million immigrants who traveled through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1954.
Head for Bumpass Hell geothermal area in California
Make for Pier 7 in San Francisco
Head up Seattle’s Columbia Center
The Space Needle has become an emblem of Seattle. Though, if you choose to visit its popular observation deck, you’ll miss views of the very building that makes the Seattle skyline so unique. Head, instead, to Columbia Center and the Sky View Observatory, the tallest viewing platform in the city. You’ll get unparalleled vistas of the Emerald City by day or night (Space Needle included) for a cheaper price.
Relax on Surfrider Beach in Los Angeles
Feast at the Italian Market in Philadelphia
Philadelphia’s Italian Market – one of the oldest in the country – is often bypassed in favor of trendier Reading Terminal Market. But that’s a mistake. Upwards of six million people come to Reading Terminal Market every year, and while its Italian counterpart is hardly quiet, you can expect fewer queues. Add to this the fact that the Italian Market is home to both Pat’s and Geno’s – the city’s two premier (and rival) vendors of its beloved cheesesteak – and you’ll be happy.
Go in search of Yellowstone’s Castle Geyser
While Yellowstone’s Old Faithful geyser hogs the limelight, Castle Geyser falls into the shadows. But though lesser known, it’s equally as impressive. Also cone shaped, Castle is actually larger and older than its famous sister, though eruptions are less frequent. When Castle Geyser does put on a show, waters can shoot up to an impressive 90 feet. Find out more about Yellowstone’s hidden corners in our feature here.
See poignant displays at The Legacy Museum in Alabama
The sobering legacy of America’s slavery history is spotlighted by a new museum that opened in Montgomery in spring 2018. The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration explores slavery, lynching, segregation and mass incarceration on a site of one of America’s most prominent slave markets. It uses sculpture, videography and compelling visuals to tell the visceral story of racial injustice, the world’s largest prison system and the ‘Jim Crow south’.
Spend the night at Alaska’s Borealis Basecamp
Gaze up at the spectacular show of the Northern Lights from your own luxury dome retreat at Borealis Basecamp, which opened in September 2017, just a 30-minute drive from Fairbanks. Sleep under the stars on the north-facing Arctic slope while admiring the starry sky, eagerly anticipating the aurora borealis. The domes may be enveloped by wilderness but they don’t scrimp on luxuries, coming equipped with kitchenettes, baths and warm water.
Visit the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota
Upwards of three million tourists visit Mount Rushmore every year to take in the carvings of four formative American presidents. But less than 20 miles away another significant figure is cast in rock. The tribute to Crazy Horse, a Lakota Warrior who fought off white settlers encroaching upon native land, was begun in 1948. Upon completion, it’s set to be the largest mountain carving in the world, peaking at a gargantuan 563 feet. Be sure to explore the on-site Indian Museum of North America before taking in the spectacle itself.
Ride the zipline at Grand Canyon West in Arizona
One of the latest additions to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon is a pair of epic ziplines which let adrenalin junkies soar nearly 1,000 feet above the floor of a side canyon amid the stunning desert scenery. The Zipline at Grand Canyon West, which opened in January 2018, consists of two ‘quad ziplines’ allowing groups of four to soar parallel to one another at speeds approaching 50 miles per hour. There’s 3,500 feet of zipline to whizz down over two separate runs.
Discover an ‘Unexpected’ street art trail in Arkansas
The Unexpected project is an annual, week-long modern art festival in the northwestern Arkansas town of Fort Smith. Each year the project unleashes international contemporary artists on street art in the city’s downtown district. Eight striking new murals were unveiled for the project in 2017, making a total of 30 to brighten up the town so far. In 2018, these artworks were tied together neatly with a modern art trail that gives a nod to Fort Smith’s Old West history.
Take a walk through New York City’s Fort Tryon Park
Stargaze at California’s Rancho Mirage Observatory
Fancy stargazing in California? Scope out the Rancho Mirage Observatory, which was the first of its kind to open in the Coachella Valley in spring 2018. The $3.6 million observatory features a 75-ton telescope, an open deck for budding amateur astronomers and projections of the starry night sky. The telescope itself is research-quality, with a 28-inch diameter mirror. More than enough to handle those Californian stars.
Ride the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster at Colorado’s Aspen Snowmass
The Breathtaker Alpine Coaster is the latest attraction to arrive at Aspen Snowmass. Riders travel through a mile of forest on an elevated track at speeds of up to 28 miles per hour for an eight-minute thrill through a variety of curves, angles and hairpin turns. Passes include a two-hour session with access to tubing and unlimited rides on the new Alpine Coaster. The coaster is open seasonally from November to April.
Hike across the North Cascades’ North Klawatti Glacier
Soar over Connecticut on the Foxwoods HighFlyer
A pulse-racing four-line zipline opened in Connecticut in March 2018. The Foxwoods HighFlyer will launch you from 350 feet in the air, off the rooftop of Fox Tower at Foxwoods Resort Casino and land you over 3,700 feet away at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. This one’s reserved for those with a head for heights.
Try bumper cars on ice in Delaware
What could possibly be more fun at the fair than a turn on the bumper cars? Bumper cars on ice, that’s what. In September 2017, the Delaware State Fairgrounds at Harrington installed this novelty at its Centre Ice Rink. It has custom-built 10 battery-powered bumper cars that will have you sliding about safely on the ice in a hilarious fashion. You can even have the rink to yourselves for private hire, perfect fun for that bumper birthday party.
Hit the Atlantic City Boardwalk in New Jersey
Ride Fast & Furious Supercharged at Universal Orlando, Florida
Make a splash with the kids at the Great Wolf Lodge in Georgia
Opened in May 2018, Great Wolf Lodge promises to deliver the ultimate water park experience, just an hour from Atlanta in LaGrange. There’s a wealth of child-friendly games, activities and even a kids’ spa all under one roof. Other key assets include spacious suite options, on-site dining and a range of shopping outlets. This water park resort is the perfect way to cool off in Georgia’s simmering sunshine with a memorable holiday experience for the whole family. We’ve got more family days out in the USA here.
Scale New York City’s Rockefeller Center
The Rockefeller Center is not the tallest building in New York City, yet it can’t be beaten for great city panoramas at a reasonable price. While most visitors scramble up the Empire State Building to look across Manhattan, those in the know make for the Top of the Rock. The Rockefeller’s observation deck will afford you views of Central Park, the Hudson River and the towering Empire State Building itself. Time your visit for sunset for the most epic vistas.
Take a Kualoa Helicopter Tour in Hawaii
Eco-friendly helicopter tour company Paradise Helicopters has launched a new adventure-packed tour of Oahu’s most historic Second World War sites and famous movie settings. The Kualoa Expedition Tour sets off from near the Ko Olina resort area, whisks you over Honolulu Harbor, Waikīkī and Diamond Head Crater, and touches down at Kualoa Ranch. Here you can choose from three ground adventures: a horseback tour, an ATV tour, or a zipline tour through the Kaaawa Valley, which featured in Jurassic Park.
Gaze upwards in the Central Idaho Dark Sky Park
Cycle along the Strand in Los Angeles
Ride the world’s largest loop coaster in Illinois
Care for a dash of dizzy disorientation? In spring 2018, Six Flags Great America Amusement Park in Gurnee opened the world’s largest loop coaster at 100 feet tall. The Mardi Gras Hangover coaster gives riders record hang time and 360-degree revolutions ensuring you’ll soon lose track of which way is up. The 32 face-off style seats let you see the blood-drained faces and reactions of your fellow riders. Discover more jaw-dropping roller coasters here.
Discover a water park built for the little ones in Indiana
A southwestern Indiana amusement park has splashed $3.5 million on new aquatic attractions for children. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari has built two cute elephant-themed water play areas called Tembo Falls and Tembo Tides, opened in May 2018. Tembo Falls offers eight junior water slides designed for smaller children, including racing slides, twisters and even a mini-Bakuli. Nearby the Tembo Tides pool provides gentler waves to enjoy.
Take in the views over the Palo Duro Canyon in Texas
Have an outdoor adventure in Iowa’s Cone Park
Cone Park, Sioux City’s newest all-season park, offers a gamut of outdoor fun, including a tubing hill, ice skating rink, an alfresco fire pit and a day lodge. Located near the Lewis & Clark ball park, Cone Park’s day lodge will be available to rent during the warmer months, while the ice skating rink will convert to a free public splash pad in the summer. A two-mile trail loop will also connect hikers with Sertoma Park to the east.
Explore a theme park dedicated to dinosaurs in Kansas
The mammoth Field Station Dinosaurs theme park in the Wichita suburb of Derby has 30 life-size animatronic dinosaurs roaming its grounds. Visitors to the 14-acre dino domain can dig for fossils, walk the paths beside the life-like giants, learn about dinosaurs unique to Kansas and play a round of miniature dino-themed golf.
Discover Chicago’s Vertical Gallery
Those with a taste for something alternative should seek out the Vertical Gallery over Chicago’s more traditional artistic institutions. It’s quirkier than its strait-laced sisters (we’re looking at you, Art Institute of Chicago), showcasing new and established talent in street art, prints and illustration. There’s also work for sale if your walls are looking bare.
Taste bourbon at the Old Forester Distillery in Kentucky
Kentucky has more than the angel’s share when it comes to bourbon production, but there’s always room for more excuses to sample the stuff. Enter the Old Forester Distillery, a brand new bourbon tourism experience that opened in Downtown Louisville in spring 2018. The $45 million facility raises a glass to the craftsmanship of America’s first bottled bourbon with a state-of-the-art fermentation room, cooperage, bottling line and a tasting room where we guess you’ll want to linger.
Follow the Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail in Louisiana
The Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail, a self-guided driving tour, was launched in September 2017. It shows how water, people and land have shaped life and landscapes through the ages across one of America’s most culturally rich and ecologically varied regions. Over 50 trail stops take in nature walks, paddling trails, Cajun culture and a host of cultural experiences, so pack your camera, binoculars, fishing pole or kayak.
Take a trip to New York’s Letchworth State Park
Less than two hours’ drive from Niagara Falls, Letchworth State Park boasts its own impressive set of cascades. At their highest, the waterfalls reach 600 feet, rushing over craggy cliff faces and cloaked by lush woodland. There are plenty of vantage points to drink in the views, plus opportunities for rafting, hiking and swimming when weather permits. Discover more of the world’s most impressive waterfalls here.
Hike to a mountaintop castle in Maine
TimberStone Adventures Inc, opened this year, is an experience where visitors can hike to a private mountaintop castle with panoramic views, while their gear is towed up a cable bridge. It’s set on over 50 acres of land bordering the White Mountain National Forest and offers three lodges. Visitors can also enjoy the wooded 18-hole public disc golf course too.
Sip some suds at The Guinness Brewery in Maryland
Pull a pint at Baltimore’s Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House the first Guinness presence on US soil since 1954. The brewery sits on the site of the Maryland Distilling Company, the first distillery to open after prohibition in Maryland in 1933. You can take a brewery tour, shop for merchandise and whet your whistle in the tasting room, where exclusive US-only brews like Guinness Blonde American Lager will be available.
Get your thrills at Knott’s Berry Farm in California
Buena Park’s Knott’s Berry Farm touts itself as California’s “best theme park and amusement park” – a bold claim given its proximity to Disney’s California Adventure Park. While it might not have all the thrills of Disney’s mammoth sites, Knott’s Berry is a little easier on the pocket. Zip between the rides, make a splash at the on-site water park and finish with a feast at Mrs Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.
Discover Boston’s Path of Presidents
In summer 2018, the Greater Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau unveiled a digital map for the Path of Presidents connecting the stories of presidential history in the city. The path will cover presidents who were born here, went to school here or otherwise made an impact on the region. This will be backed up by a repository of digitized documents and images chronicling presidential stories, which will grow over time as new information is discovered. Read our full guide to Boston here.
Get your cultural fix at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Michigan
Northern Michigan opened the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in July 2018. The cultural center offers a year-round line up of world-class programming across all genres – music, dance, theater, movies and film, intellectual dialogue, and education. The architectural landmark building features an intimate 500-seat theater, a community engagement room and a rooftop deck overlooking Lake Michigan for special events.
Gaze up at Wyoming’s Devils Tower
You’ll find Devils Tower, an awesome monolith and national monument, in the northern reaches of Wyoming. Hallowed ground to the local indigenous populations, it towers some 5,111 feet above the prairie floor. The hiking trails surrounding the tower remain little trodden and the climbing here is world-class.
Read our full guide to northern Wyoming including Devils Tower here.
Get curious at the Bell Museum of Natural History in Minnesota
The Bell Museum of Natural History dates back to 1872 but in 2018 it opened a new facility with a planetarium on the University of Minnesota’s St Paul campus. Its exhibits, displays and programs showcase the state’s diverse nature and geology. They include wildlife dioramas, a digital planetarium and a ‘Touch and See Lab’, where you can lay your hands on a variety of insects, animal skins and bones.
See moving exhibits at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is a powerful institution which shares the stories of a Mississippi movement that changed the world. The museum opened in December 2017 in downtown Jackson and presents eight galleries focusing on the years 1945–1976 when the state was a veritable ground zero for the national Civil Rights Movement. Look out for the centerpiece sculpture, This Little Light of Mine, which glows brighter as visitors gather.
Explore Water Holes Canyon in Arizona
Water Holes’ undulating sandstone walls, rugged exterior and orange glow gives it a similar appearance to the famous Antelope Canyon, a mere 17-minute drive east. But while Antelope Canyon’s fame means it’s crammed with hikers and budding photographers, Water Holes’ comparative anonymity makes it a dream to explore. You’ll need a permit from the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation organisation to visit.
Get an adrenalin hit on Missouri’s Time Traveler Rollercoaster
When it opened in April 2018, Silver Dollar City’s Time Traveler became the steepest, fastest and tallest spinning coaster in the world. The steampunk-themed Time Traveler will plummet riders 100 feet straight down a mountainside in Branson Ozark’s wooded terrain at 50 miles per hour. The two-minute ride will flip you upside-down three times during a 95-foot-tall vertical loop, a dive loop and a zero-G roll.
Catch a concert at Montana’s KettleHouse Amphitheater
This outdoor music venue enjoys a spectacular natural setting on the banks of the Blackfoot River. The KettleHouse Amphitheater opened in summer 2017, right next to the award-wining KettleHouse Brewery in Bonner, Montana, attracting acts as diverse as Diplo, Pixies and Alice Cooper. The 4,250-capacity venue offers three types of admission: stadium seating, a standing pit and lawn seating, perfect for long hot summer nights of alfresco partying.
Follow the Black Heritage Trail in Boston, Massachusetts
See the striking Sculpture Series at the Museum of Nebraska Art
Eye-catching artworks by three of Nebraska’s most prominent sculptors are rounded up for display at the Museum of Nebraska Art’s Hillegass Sculpture Garden. Highlights include the oversized ceramic head by Jun Kaneko, totem-like figures inspired by the opera Aida and Charley Friedman’s advancing gang of life-size bronze squirrels armed with nuts, berries and carrots.
Nose around Nevada’s Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum
Saddle up and paint your wagon, there’s a new museum in town. The Cowboy Arts & Gear Museum in Elko, Nevada, opened in February 2018 to preserve the legacy of the Vaquero and the American Buckaroo. The museum showcases the rich history, culture and traditions of the cowboys of the American West, representing the deep-rooted heritage of the ranching and cowboy lifestyles through exhibits, demonstrations and programs.
Bask on Fort Lauderdale Beach in Florida
Ride the Mount Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire
New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Cog Railway has opened a free Base Station Museum experience packed with interactive exhibits and fun simulators. The attraction now offers one-way tickets for hikers who want to hike up Mount Washington and take the train on the way back. It has also expanded its free annual event offerings to include a Steampunk Festival and a Handcrafted Festival.
Get outdoors with the Albuquerque Activity Loop
Head to California’s Lions, Tigers and Bears
While visitors flock to San Diego Zoo, it’s not the only Californian center making strides when it comes to conservation. Lions, Tigers and Bears is a mid-sized, not-for-profit sanctuary outside Alpine, California, dedicated to rescuing and caring for abused and/or abandoned animals. As its name suggests, the site looks after lions, tigers and bears, among other wild species and day visitors are welcome. You can pay a higher fee to tour the center with its founder.
Go undercover at New York City’s Spyscape Museum of Spying
Do you fancy yourself as a hacker or a handler, an agent or an analyst? Put your sleuthing skills to the test at Spyscape, America’s first fully interactive museum of spy craft, which opened in Manhattan in February 2018. Learn the secrets of lie detection, surveillance and how to navigate a laser tunnel, alongside the inside stories of contemporary espionage, from the Second World War code-breakers to the teenager who hacked the CIA’s website.
Now discover more unusual museums around the USA.
Take in quirky sculptures at the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in North Carolina
The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, featuring 31 of the late artist’s curious wind-powered sculptures, opened in November 2017 in Wilson, a city on the Interstate 95 corridor. Simpson, who lived on a nearby farm until his death in 2013, was a farm machinery repairman who transformed old bicycles, road signs and other cast-off items into giant kinetic sculptures which have been meticulously created to dance in the breeze.
Visit Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah
Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland deserves a firm place on your bucket list. It has just had a $15 million facelift where the words ‘Long Live Rock’ are now spelled out in six-meter-high letters. The new Connor Theater houses its signature hall of fame experience featuring concert-quality sound, larger-than-life video screens and fan interactivity.
Hang out in A Gathering Place for Tulsa in Oklahoma
A Gathering Place for Tulsa, finished in 2018, has transformed nearly 100 acres along the Arkansas River in Tulsa into a massive urban park complete with playgrounds, nature trails, skate parks and gardens. The park includes a lodge, boathouse, nature walks, two land bridges connecting the two sides of river parks, sporting areas and a pond.
Relax & recharge at The Goatel Retreat Center in Oregon
From the people who brought you goat yoga comes the Goatel Retreat Center. It’s a hotel with goats in the hills of Willamette Valley, the world’s first destination to offer goat yoga and goat happy hours, along with hikes in the Coastal Mountains, local brewery and winery tours and organic meals from local chefs. Bond with the goats, help bottle feed babies or just cuddle up. We can think of few better ways to recharge.
Go underground at The Breakers in Rhode Island
Explore the underground quarters of The Breakers, a historic house built in 1885 by Cornelius Vanderbilt II in Newport County. Learn how new domestic technology transformed daily life, including how electricity and the emergence of the modern lift shaped the ‘Gilded Age’ of America’s industrial boom. This tour, which launched in 2017, takes you into the tunnels beneath this distinctive Newport ‘cottage’ and designated National Historic Landmark.
Drive through Oregon’s Ecola State Park
If you’re dreaming of a coastal road trip, Oregon may not be the first state that springs to mind but it should be. Ecola State Park more than matches the beauty of California’s fabled ocean roadways to the south, but you’ll likely have great swathes of it all to yourself. Stop to take in the rock-studded sands and you may even spot a whale if you’re lucky. Our guide will help you plan a perfect American road trip.
Visit the brewpub at South Carolina’s Curtiss-Wright Hangar
Since it opened in 1929, the Curtiss-Wright Hangar at Jim Hamilton-LB Owens airport in Columbia hosted the likes of Amelia Earhart and Franklin D. Roosevelt. For decades it fell into disrepair, until it underwent a $1.2 million renovation in 2018. It’s now open to the public and houses the Hunter-Gatherer Brew Pub, Columbia’s newest and most unusual brewery.
Learn about human history at South Dakota’s Good Earth State Park
Take in the views from the 360 Chicago Observation Deck
The majority of view seekers in Chicago make for the Willis Tower but the 360 Chicago Observation Deck, housed on the 94th floor of the 875 North Michigan Avenue skyscraper, grants equal panoramas. It sits above the Windy City at 1,000 feet, offering sweeping vistas through its floor-to-ceiling windows. Adrenalin junkies will also love Tilt, a new thrill experience in which the glass windows “tilt” outwards leaving visitors to hold on and enjoy the view directly downwards.
Watch a movie at Nashville’s August Moon Drive-In
Go back to the future at the August Moon Drive-In. Coming to Nashville in 2019, the August Moon is the first indoor cinema experience to replicate the look and feel of a mid-1960s drive-in, complete with meal service, fireflies, 500 modified classic cars and a simulated starry sky. The drive-in is housed in a 40,000-square-foot dome and offers America’s largest non-Imax cinema screen.
Learn about turtle conservation at Sea Turtle Inc in Texas
Sea Turtle Inc on South Padre Island has been rehabilitating sea turtles for over 40 years, but February 2018 saw a brand new education facility. Here you can watch early morning hatchling missions of Atlantic Green Sea, Loggerhead and Kemp’s Ridley turtles. Stick your head in the bubble tank to get a turtle’s eye view and learn about the human impact on their marine environment with special presentations in the new classroom and 230-seat amphitheater.
Visit Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden
Rose gardens and topiaries are the stars of the show at most botanic gardens but Phoenix’s offering gets points for originality. Wildflowers, cacti and succulents take over the 140 acres of the Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona’s capital. Follow the carefully organized trails which all explore some aspect of the Sonoran Desert, its plants, people and history.
Try bobsledding at St Regis Deer Valley in Utah
If the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics had you hankering to hurtle down a bobsled run at 70 miles per hour, you can now do precisely that at the Olympic-approved St Regis Deer Valley resort in Park City. Tackle the course’s 10 breakneck turns and feel the full force of 3G in the capable hands of silver medallists Valerie Fleming and Shauna Rohbock, who’ll also give you a tour of the park afterwards.
Drink in the views from the Observatory at Central Place in Virginia
In spring 2018, the CEB Tower opened the Observatory at Central Place: an observation deck at the top of the 31-story building in Arlington’s Rosslyn Business Improvement District. The tallest building in the Beltway will offer an outdoor cantilevered terrace giving visitors truly spectacular views of the DC skyline. The 15,000-square-foot space will also be used as an exhibition area with a restaurant and bar.
Discover the bears & mountains of Lake Clark National Park in Alaska
Lake Clark remains one of the least-visited parks in Alaska – and indeed in North America as a whole – but there are reasons aplenty to visit. There’s the breathtaking Chigmit and Neacola Mountains, plus Lake Clark’s relative quietness (compared with big hitters like Denali) allows for unparalleled wildlife viewing. Look out for brown and black bears, sheep and caribou, who roam undisturbed in the park’s 2.5 million-plus acres. The beaches of Chinitna Bay are one of the best places for bear spotting.
Weave your way through Seattle’s Nordic Museum
America’s largest museum dedicated to the legacy of Nordic peoples, the Nordic Museum got a cool new home in May 2018 when it opened a new 57,000-square-foot facility in Seattle. The building’s design boasts a ‘linear fjord’ effect, weaving together the many stories which comprise the Nordic American experience. It also offers improved exhibition galleries, a café, store, auditorium and classrooms.
Get a dose of history at West Virginia’s Hatfield McCoy Country Museum
Square up to the story behind one of the most famous feuds in American history: the Hatfield McCoy family feud, which rumbled on for more than 30 years during late 19th century. The new Hatfield-McCoy Country Museum at Williamson, West Virginia, on the Kentucky border, features the world’s largest collection of artifacts relating to the famous Appalachian feud. Attractions include the interior of a 1920s coal camp house and the Underground Theater, which looks like the inside of a coal mine.
Explore the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC
The nation’s capital is renowned for its world-class museums, and especially for the string of Smithsonian institutions that line the National Mall. On your next trip, give the National Museum of Women in the Arts a chance. The only major museum of its kind, it highlights the work of female artists from all over the globe. Its core collection consists of 4,500 works from the 16th century onwards, and you’ll get free admission on the first Sunday of every month.
Ride a giant cobra slide at America’s largest water park, in Wisconsin
Noah’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, America’s largest water park, unfurled a new monster of a slide in summer 2018. As the name indicates, ‘Raja – The World’s Largest King Cobra’ will be the tallest and longest of its kind in the world. Riders will race side by side on two-person tubes from six stories up, snaking through more than 335 feet of twists and turns at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. For the finale, the ride will plunge you 37 feet into the mouth of the massive king cobra.
Get lost in Wyoming’s Cheyenne Botanic Gardens
There’s never been a better time to visit the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens. The site unveiled the Grand Conservancy, a 28,000-square-foot addition to the Gardens, in August 2017. The new expansion includes a multi-story conservancy that’s now home to thousands of tropical plants. This adds to three greenhouses, a waterfall pond filled with koi fish and gardens blooming with perennials, annuals, wildflowers, roses, herbs and cacti.
Sunbathe in Mokuleia Beach Park in Hawaii
Hang out in Denver’s Union Station
Dubbed Denver’s living room, the 100-year-old Union Station is the city’s answer to New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The airy atrium is dotted with comfy chairs, hooked up with free Wi-Fi and lined with plenty of great places to get a quick drink or a bite to eat. Browse volumes in the Tattered Cover bookstore before sinking into a puffy leather chair, cocktail in hand.
Discover 40 more surprising places you didn’t know were in the USA.
Ride the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway in Oregon
You’ll hardly believe that these color-splashed mounds are in Oregon but they are, and Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway is the best way to explore them. The entire route spans some 161 miles and was created to join up the three archaeologically-rich “units” of the John Day Fossil Beds, of which the Painted Hills are one. There are a few challenging portions, but small towns such as the aptly-named Fossil offer a welcome pit stop along the way.
Need more inspiration? Check out our list of 101 bucket-list adventures around the world to book now.
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