America’s best bits
Alabama: Unclaimed Baggage Center
Alaska: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Arizona: Grand Canyon
Arkansas: Crater of Diamonds State Park
California: Joshua Tree National Park
Colorado: Pikes Peak
Connecticut: Mystic Seaport
Delaware: Hagley Museum & Library
Florida: Worth Avenue
Georgia: Georgia Aquarium
As the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere, Atlanta’s Georgia Aquarium isn’t messing around. With tens of thousands of animals and 10 million gallons of fresh and marine water, there’s an endless amount to see and do, from sleepovers under the sea to animal encounters with penguins and sea otters. You can gaze through the glass at everything from alligators and whales to seahorses and stingrays.
Discover other brilliant attractions in Atlanta with our city guide.
Hawaii: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Idaho: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
Illinois: 360 Chicago
A vertigo-inducing 94 stories above the city of Chicago, inside the John Hancock building, is the 360 Chicago Observation Deck and TILT, the terrifying “ride” that offers a guaranteed adrenalin rush. This enclosed moving glass platform slowly tilts outward at an angle so your entire body leans downwards towards the city streets. Once you’ve got over the initial fright, you’ll be able not only to enjoy magnificent views of the city skyline and Lake Michigan, but also take in views of four other states.
Indiana: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Iowa: Maquoketa Caves State Park
Kentucky: National Corvette Museum
Louisiana: St Louis Cathedral
Maine: Acadia National Park
Maryland: The Harriet Tubman Scenic Byway
Massachusetts: Freedom Trail
Michigan: Mackinac Island
The National Historic Landmark of Mackinac Island is a resort area perfect for a quaint getaway. Forget the bustle of traffic or the hooting of cars, here the only way to get around is by horse and carriage, bicycle or using your own two feet. Going slowly is a great way to explore this unique island, with its wide range of architectural styles, homemade fudge stores and historic Fort Mackinac, the oldest building in Michigan, now full of educational exhibits. Discover what else to see on Mackinac Island and around Lake Michigan.
Minnesota: Mall of America
Mississippi: Elvis Presley Birthplace & Museum
Missouri: Silver Dollar City
For a theme park that goes the extra mile, head to Branson’s 1880s-style Silver Dollar City. It’s not just home to over 40 hair-raising rides and attractions, but is also well-known for its live shows and concerts, excellent food and selection of quirky stores. Missouri is known for its caves and caverns, and Silver Dollar City is no different, sitting on top of one of the state’s deepest caves. There’s also an artisan village with more than a hundred resident craftspeople on site. Take a look at the world’s most jaw-dropping roller coasters only the brave dare to ride.
Montana: Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center
Nebraska: Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
Nevada: The Neon Museum
New Hampshire: Lake Winnipesaukee
New Jersey: Grounds for Sculpture
New Mexico: Meow Wolf
New York: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
There’s plenty to visit in New York, but the place you’ll find yourself returning is the Museum of Modern Art. With almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art, the collection is home to works by numerous important artists, including Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol. Visitors can view paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs and more, while MoMa also owns around two million film stills.
North Carolina: Biltmore Estate
North Dakota: Red River Zoo
It’s not every day you can see a red panda with your own eyes, but at Fargo, North Dakota’s Red River Zoo, you can come face to face with some of the world’s rarest cold climate species, including Chinese red pandas, Pallas’ cats and grey wolves. You can also spot an armadillo, White Faced Saki monkeys and a South American two-toed sloth. The zoo takes an active role in conservation, teaching children how to help wildlife, and running activities for students to help them compile important data.
Ohio: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
No music fan could go to Ohio and miss out on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dedicated to the celebration and preservation of rock and roll music, there’s lots to enjoy, from exhibits lauding Rolling Stone magazine to celebrations of the ultimate rock icons, from The Beatles to David Bowie. Although the exhibition is 15 years old, it’s continually updated, with recent additions including Beyoncé’s one-sleeve leotard from the Single Ladies music video.
Oklahoma: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
As America’s foremost museum documenting Western history, art and culture, Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum exhibits tens of thousands of Western artifacts and art. There are interactive galleries focusing on the history of the American cowboy, rodeos, Western performers and more. Plus there’s a broad mix of exhibitions on display, with everything from sculptures and firearms to cartoons and historical cowboy gear, taking you on a visual journey through the American West.
Oregon: Crater Lake National Park
Pennsylvania: Longwood Gardens
Rhode Island: Cliff Walk
If you’re taking a trip to Newport, Rhode Island, don’t miss out on getting to know the city via the Cliff Walk, a 3.5-mile-long winding seaside path that takes you past both the manicured grounds of Newport’s breathtaking Gilded Age mansions and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the cliffs have steep drops plunging up to 70 feet – the views across the waters are spectacular – and on the other side you’ll pass architectural landmarks such as Salve Regina University and The Breakers.
South Carolina: The Winchester Museum
The American hero of Thanksgiving, the humble turkey has been given its own museum. The Winchester Museum at the National Wild Turkey Federation is the only museum on the planet dedicated to wild turkey restoration, management and hunting. It tells the story of the wild turkey through displays, while visitors can also learn how to make wild turkey sounds and view taxidermy of the five wild turkey subspecies.
From bananas to mustard, discover the strangest museums in the USA
South Dakota: Mount Rushmore National Memorial
One of the USA’s most recognizable memorials, Mount Rushmore National Memorial features the 60-foot carved faces of four great American presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. When you get there, walk the Presidential trail, which is less than a mile long to get close to the mountain sculpture, spotting elk, white-tailed deer and big-horn sheep along the way. Head to the visitor center to watch a film describing the methods used in carving Mount Rushmore.
Tennessee: National Civil Rights Museum
Texas: Sixth Floor Museum
Utah: Bonneville Salt Flats
Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
Washington: Chihuly Garden and Glass
Seattle is stuffed with great, family-friendly attractions, but one of its most striking spots is Chihuly Garden and Glass in the Seattle Center. American sculptor Dale Chihuly has his works exhibited in over 200 museums worldwide, but this is by far the best. The museum features eight galleries, an exhibition garden and a striking centerpiece: the 40-foot glasshouse featuring one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures.
West Virginia: The New River Gorge National River
Wisconsin: Harley-Davidson Museum
Motorbike enthusiasts won’t be able to resist the lure of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Harley-Davidson Museum. With plenty for both kids and adults, visitors can touch and sit on any motorcycle in the Experience Gallery, see everything that goes into making a Harley-Davidson Knucklehead motorbike in the Engine Room, and enjoy a range of permanent and temporary exhibitions dedicated to celebrating the iconic motorcycle.
Wyoming: Old Faithful Geyser
The Old Faithful Geyser has had more than a million eruptions since Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872. The world’s most famous geyser normally erupts around 20 times a day for up to five minutes, and can be predicted with a 90% accuracy rate. It’s great for tourists, as you’re pretty much guaranteed to see an eruption.
Discover our guide to northern Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park with our road trip itinerary around the state.
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