UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DESTINATIONS – You can go on a memorable vacation without busting your budget, simply by visiting one of the 50 spots that made the Best Affordable united states of america destinations ranking.
U.S News & World Report took into consideration the number of free activities and the prices of lodging and food, among other factors, when compiling this list to make sure you’d have plenty of things to do and see wherever you choose to go. Start planning your next getaway to one of these destinations that deliver on affordable fun.
50 United States of America Destinations
The united states of america destinations has so many diverse cities and attractions that it is difficult to narrow down the list to the 12 top travel destinations. These are the destinations most often cited as the places to see before you die, another version of saying they should be on your bucket list, and offbeat and trendy spots are not included here.
That’s another topic altogether. This list is an introduction to the best and most popular places to go in the United States, from hotspots in New York City to when to see the cherry blossoms in Washington.
1. Colorado: Climb to the top (yes, top) of the Great Sand Dunes
We all know that Colorado is ideal for skiing and hiking, but for a true adventure, head for the Great Sand Dunes, about four hours south of Denver. Resembling a sci-fi movie backdrop, the dunes are the largest of their kind in all of North America with an elevation of at least 750 feet.
The climb up is hard and hot (in the summer, sands can reach 150°F), but if it’s safe to do so, it’s worth putting in the couple hours it takes to reach the very top. Standing at the peak and looking out over the Rockies and thousands of acres of sand is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And the sand is so soft, you can run down the steep slopes at a virtual 90° angle and feel like you’re landing on clouds.
2. Connecticut: Go on a pizza pilgrimage—and fight about where to get the best slice
Though Pepe’s receives heaps of (well-deserved) praise, locals know to skip the epic lines and head to Modern Apizza on State Street instead. There, Connecticut-style pies (thin, with a perfectly blistered crust courtesy of a well-seasoned brick oven) are topped with everything from classic pepperoni to clams casino and served to hungry Yale students, families, and pizza die-hards who even leave NYC for a neighboring pie. Bonus tip: Wash your meal down with a birch beer— it’s a New Haven tradition.
3. Delaware: Have a pint at the East Coast’s best craft brewery
Craft beer is more popular than ever, and you don’t have to go far to find an excellent brewery in most parts of the U.S. But it’s worth a trip to tiny Milton, Delaware to visit the headquarters of Dogfish Head, one of the country’s top breweries. In addition to crafting a delicious and varied slate of beers—from a refreshing, light witbier (Namaste) to the heavy-hitting 90 Minute IPA—Dogfish has given visitors plenty of reasons to visit the First State.
There’s the brewery itself, which offers regular tours; a brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, often serving beers you won’t find elsewhere; and the Dogfish Inn in Lewes, a cozy hotel that’s within biking distance of the beach and the brewpub.
4. Florida: Drive the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West
When you type in directions from Miami to Key West on Google Maps, it looks like the route sends you straight into the ocean. In reality, the 127-mile drive though the Florida Keys occurs on the Overseas Highway, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. It’s a great way to pay a visit to all of the Keys in one day, stopping periodically for some memorable meals.
5. Georgia: Get spooked in Savannah
Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities in the South, with Spanish moss and porched houses around every turn. Yet there’s no denying the town’s eeriness—even daytime tours point out the deaths that allegedly occurred at mansions as you pass by.
Take one of the many available ghost tours at night to see some of the creepier spots, like Colonial Park Cemetery, Bonaventure Cemetery (a setting for the book and film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), and the Mercer Williams house. Bonus: Your inevitable goosebumps will be a welcome respite from Georgia’s heat and humidity.
6. Washington D.C.: Visit the Lincoln Memorial…at night
I was skeptical about doing so, but it is my most memorable D.C. experience ever: looking out from the top of those steps over the Reflecting Pool, which mirrors the illuminated Washington Monument on the far end of the pool…the view is breathtaking, the best in all of Washington.
It’s easy to find parking a few blocks away, and it’s totally safe: Other people are around, and yet it’s not a crazy mob scene. The hush of the visitors made the whole experience feel sacred.
7. Alaska: Go cruising for glaciers.
Cruises to Alaska offer many of the same sights as other cold-weather northern tours—icebergs, whales, snow-capped peaks—but with slightly more forgiving temperatures (highs can reach the 60s on a good day). Popular ports of call include Skagway, Ketchikan, and Juneau.
Choose one that travels through Glacier Bay National Park and be sure to keep an eye out for Margerie Glacier. It’s the most popular in Glacier Bay, and one of the toughest: While other glaciers in the park are starting to recede, Margerie remains unchecked by climate change.
8. Arizona: Photograph the Lesser Canyons
Not to discount the grandest of canyons, but just look at the colors of Antelope Canyon in northeastern Arizona, pictured—it’s a painter’s palette of rust red, ochre, and orange. A trip to this corner of Navajo Nation delivers the kind of up-close discovery of the state’s slot canyons that isn’t as easily experienced at the Grand Canyon (short of hiking miles into the GC to the Colorado River below).
Take a 4×4 tour of Antelope Canyon, where you can photograph patterns as the sunlight filters through the striated stone; follow it up with a boat tour of nearby Lake Powell.
9. Arkansas: Seek out Warhol and Rothko in the Ozarks
Bentonville probably isn’t the next Chelsea, but art lovers have had new reason to visit Northwest Arkansas since the 2011 opening of the blockbuster Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, bankrolled by billionaire Alice Walton and stocked with works from names like Thomas Hart Benton, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol.
One of the most impressive pieces in the collection is from contemporary artist Tom Uttech, whose large-scale Enassamishhinjijweian is a riot of color filled with figures of birds.
10. California: Spot the zebras on the Pacific Coast Highway
A drive along the PCH feels a Springsteen song come to life—you’ll see weekenders at the wheel of rented Ford Mustangs, accelerating out of hairpin curves like a runaway American dream. For the nearly 500 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles (the preferred route, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise), the views rarely disappoint.
There’s the 17-Mile Drive detour at Carmel, Bixby Bridge and Big Sur, the wonderfully weird Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. And then there are the zebras. On the side of the highway. You may swerve, you may not even notice, but there they are: a bit of the Serengeti in California. Turns out the Hearst Castle still has a small herd, a remnant of what was once the world’s largest private zoo. That, somehow, is also uniquely American.
11. Kansas: Chase cyclones and lightning across Tornado Alley
Despite what The Wizard of Oz would have you think, Kansas is not a constant breeding ground for tornadoes. However, the central part of the state is still relatively prone to the phenomenon, especially those areas within Tornado Alley—and the concept of chasing storms can be a thrilling experience if done properly.
Storm Chasing Adventure Tours offers week-long chases, including comfortable transportation, lodging at high-end hotels, and knowledgable staff. While you’re never guaranteed a front-row view of a cyclone, you can at least expect some great lightning shows and an expansive tour of the vast landscape.
12. Kentucky: Shop for massive hats before the Derby
Unlike our cousins across the pond, Americans don’t have many opportunities to sport enormous, ornate hats. That’s why the Kentucky Derby isn’t just a horse race—it’s a one-of-a-kind fashion show with millinery at the forefront. Between juleps, hit the shops in Louisville and pick out a brightly colored topper of your very own, then work your way down and find an outfit to match.
13. Louisiana: Go on a jazz crawl down Frenchman Street in New Orleans
Even on an average Tuesday during the most ordinary time of the year, the live music on Frenchman Street competes with the best in the country.
Start the song crawl at the intersection of Esplanade Avenue and Frenchman, where Rare Form NOLA may lure you into its patio with a soul singer; move up the street to Cafe Negril, where reggae reins; then to the Spotted Cat or Snug Harbor for traditional New Orleans jazz. The cover is minimal, if not free—so you can stagger from one to another drunk on bass and sax.
14. Maine: When in doubt, eat lobster
Maine is rife with small, local lobster shacks sporting fresh-off-the-boat product, local charm, and quaint harbor views. But it’s tough to top the drama of Two Lights in all its Downeast glory: lighthouse, rocky shore, wave-chopped sea, and an old-school lobster shack that still makes everything by hand despite the summer crowds.
Anything from the ocean is good here, but start with the classic lobster roll and fries. Grab a table near the water and wash it down with one of the local beers, then follow that with one of their homemade pies—blueberry, if it’s August—and a stroll on the rocks. That is how life should be.
15. Maryland: Catch a baseball game at the country’s most beautiful stadium
When Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992, it set a new bar for baseball stadiums around the country (with beautiful architecture, modern amenities, and a better experience for fans—and by that we mean more comfortable seats, of course).
More than 20 years later, it remains the best place to see a ball game in the country, even when the O’s aren’t at the top of their game. Grab a BBQ pork sandwich from Boog’s Barbecue and a National Bohemian (call it Natty Boh to fit in with the locals), and don’t forget to shout a hearty “Oh!” during “The Star-Spangled Banner.
16. Hawaii: Take a helicopter tour of Kauai
Kauai might be home to some of Hawaii’s best hidden beaches and tropical rainforests, but did you know that more than 70 percent of the island is inaccessible by land? The best way to appreciate the breadth and beauty of the island is via helicopter (our favorite tour companies are Blue Hawaiian and Sunshine Helicopters).
Only by air can you truly appreciate the emerald valleys, jagged cliffs, and cascading waterfalls that cover the island. For truly epic views, go the Napali Coast route and peer down at the impossibly deep chasms of Waimea Canyon.
17. Idaho: Ski the slopes of Sun Valley
The country’s first winter destination resort (developed in the late 1930s by W. Averell Harriman, a prominent businessman, politician, diplomat, and socialite) was also the first in the world to install chairlifts.
Today, it’s home to North America’s largest super pipe, Adventure Trails for kids, and almost 25 miles of Nordic skiing, not to mention après-ski activities such as ice skating and trampoline jumping. The smaller, treeless slopes of Dollar Mountain—separate from neighboring behemoth Bald Mountain—make it easy to keep track of kids.
18. Illinois: Watch the country’s best improv and sketch comedy
When in Chicago, set aside time for one thing: comedy. To this day, the Second City (pictured) is a training ground for some of the country’s top comics, including famous alumni Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, and Steve Carell. Meanwhile, the iO Theater is the go-to spot for improv comedy, with regular shows of some of the genre’s finest.
Standouts are TJ and Dave, who switch characters manically over the course of an hour, and the Improvised Shakespeare Company, which performs a two-act play on the spot in iambic pentameter.
19. Indiana: Take a spin at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Soccer (okay, football) isn’t the only global sport—there’s also open-wheel racing. Kings, queens, and captains of industry have gathered for generations to take in the bareknuckle circuits of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix. But one of the world’s great Triple Crown races happens right here at home, on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
And there’s no substitute for catching it in person. Reserve a spot in the luxury Gasoline Alley suites to hear the growl of those legendary cars up close. Better still, for about $1,000 you can experience what it’s like to drive the track in an open-wheeled IndyCar yourself. Unless your name is Juan Pablo Montoya, that qualifies for once-in-a-lifetime.
20. Iowa: Stay in a hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Built in 1910 to serve the banking, legal, and agricultural barons who were riding the wave of a booming farming industry, the Historic Park Inn Hotel is the last of six Frank Lloyd Wright–designed hotels still serving the public. After falling into disrepair, a local trust, Wright on the Park, renovated the structure and turned it into a 27-room boutique hotel that reopened in 2011.
The renovation restored this historic building to its original splendor as a pristine example of Wright’s Prairie School style—a school of design that is especially identified with the city. Seventeen such structures in the area are on the National Register of Historic Places.
21. Montana: Cowboy up at one of the country’s best dude ranches
A favorite in our Readers’ Choice Awards, Triple Creek Ranch is worth the trip to Darby, Montana. The resort is made up of 23 individual cabins with fireplaces, hot tubs, and sprawling porches.
This is a dude ranch, though, so you’re not going to want to stay inside the whole time: Immerse yourself in western adventures, including cattle drives, horseback riding, trap shooting, and dog sledding. Cowboy hats are strongly encouraged.
22. Nebraska: Indulge your inner kid at the world’s largest indoor rainforest and desert
Zoos tend to be hit or miss, but the Henry Doorley Zoo in Omaha is a consistent win. It’s clean and friendly, and excellent new exhibits are added on a regular basis. It also happens to be home to the world’s largest indoor rainforest and indoor desert.
The Desert Dome replicates dry areas from around the world under a glass ceiling, so you can see everything from cobras to meerkats to wallabies. And the Lied Jungle allows guests to experience walking through a rainforest, with waterfalls and swinging monkeys help set the scene.
23. Nevada: Discover old-school Vegas on the Strip
At the heart of the Strip is the Cromwell, a new boutique hotel where world-renowned mixologist Salvatore Calabrese has made the classic martini cool again. There’s also pages of cocktails on the menu at the Bound Lounge (pictured)—start there, then add an injection of glamour down the street at the Cosmopolitan’s three-story Chandelier Bar.
24. New Hampshire: Overcome your vertigo and hike Mt. Washington
Who says you can’t find great hiking on the East Coast? At nearly 7,000 feet, Mount Washington is one of the highest points east of the Mississippi River.
If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, hike the mountain during the late spring or early summer when there’s still snow at the summit and bootpack up (you won’t find any mechanical lifts here) and ski down Tuckerman Ravine. It’s a rite of passage for any serious skier or snowboarder and the gnarliest run this side of the Rockies.
25. New Jersey: Order a “regular sub” in Atlantic City
Hoagie, hero, sub: In New Jersey, the sandwiches have as many names as toppings. In Atlantic City, be sure to order the “regular sub” (an Italian hero, pictured) at a booth in the White House Sub Shop—where everyone from The Beatles and Frank Sinatra to Mohammed Ali and Shakira have come for what is possibly the world’s best sub.
26. Massachusetts: Cast a line in the country’s oldest fishing village
Cape Cod gets all the love and attention (not to mention the summer crowds), but Cape Ann, about 30 miles northeast of Boston, has plenty to offer in terms of history, culture, and natural beauty. Gloucester, first settled in 1623 (predating neighboring Salem and Boston), is the country’s oldest fishing port, while Rockport, just up the coast, is cute and artsy—take a stroll down Bearskin Neck, a stretch of road that’s packed with shops, restaurants, and galleries.
For dinner head to the Market Restaurant in Annisquam, helmed by two chefs who worked under Alice Waters, for a daily rotating menu featuring ingredients sourced from the surrounding waters and the rich farmlands of Essex County.
27. Michigan: Go to Detroit. Seriously
Although Detroit may be best known these days for auto industry bailouts and neighborhoods of urban ruins, all that negativity hasn’t hindered one of the most exciting, fast-growing food scenes in the country.
Visit gastropub Wright & Company, imaginative sandwich and charcuterie shop Rubbed (pictured), and brasserie Gold Cash Gold for a taste of new Detroit; or opt for old-school mainstays like speakeasy Cafe d’Mongo’s, doughnut bakery Dutch Girl, and Lafayette Coney Island. Between meals, take in the diverse collections of the Detroit Institute of Art and Detroit Historical Society, and bike around the nearly 1,000 acres of island parkland that is Belle Isle.
28. Minnesota: Explore the waterfronts of the Land of 10,000 Lakes
Despite its informal moniker, Minnesota doesn’t have the most lakes in the United States—Alaska holds that honor with more than three million—but it does contain the headwaters of the Mississippi River. No trip to the city is complete without a visit to St. Anthony Falls, best viewed from the Stone Arch Bridge (the second oldest bridge on the river).
29. Mississippi: Drive the Natchez Trace Parkway
There’s no greater country drive than the roughly 440-mile Natchez Trace Parkway, which wends its way north from the Mississippi River to the Alabama border and onward to Nashville. Could you drive it in a day? Maybe. But it’s better to break the trip in two and overnight in Tupelo, where the two-room shotgun house where Elvis Presley was born is now a mini-museum.
30. Missouri: Marvel at the mosaics at the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis
You’d think you’re in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, but no—this masterpiece of mosaic art is in the Central West End of St. Louis. It seems that every inch glitters gold (in reality, it’s closer to 7,000 colors represented) with scenes from the Old and New Testament playing out across the domed ceiling; the earth-bound Mosaic Museum on the lower level does a great job of explaining in detail one of the largest mosaic collections in the Western Hemisphere.
31. Oklahoma: Search for Art Deco treasures in downtown Tulsa
Tulsa has one of the country’s densest concentrations of Art Deco buildings, including the stunning Boston Avenue United Methodist Church (completed in 1929), 11th Street Arkansas River Bridge (1917, renovated 1929), Gillette-Tyrell Building (1930), and the Oklahoma Natural Gas Building (1928). The Tulsa Historical Society offers guided tours of downtown’s most impressive structures.
32. Oregon: Hike Mt. Hood and have fresh Dungeness crab—all in one day
Oregon is a popular destination for all types of travelers—wine lovers seek out the pinot noir of Willamette Valley, and everyone seems to love Portland. Our favorite trip goes from sky to sea in a day: It starts with a morning hike around Mount Hood, a dormant (but active) volcano east of Portland; then about a three hour’s drive later, you’re at Oregon’s North Coast.
Notable destinations include Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach (and the perpetually excellent Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters);[Bell Buoy of Seaside] (http://www.bellbuoyofseaside.com/) and neighboring Buoy’s Best Restaurant for fresh seafood: razor clams, Dungeness crabs, and halibut, just to name a few; and if you make a weekend out of it, head south to beachside Pelican Pub in Pacific City (pictured).
33. Pennsylvania: Sample Philly’s best eats, both old and new, at Reading Terminal Market.
For more than 100 years, this food market in Philadelphia’s Center City neighborhood has catered to the gustatory whims of both locals and out-of-towners.
While some things are changing—it’s under new management as of this year, and there may soon be a Whole Foods in the neighborhood—it remains one of the best places in the city to grab a bite, like the roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwich at DiNic’s, or a hearty plate of eggs and scrapple (a local, porky delicacy) at the Amish diner Dutch Eating Place. And be sure to load up on only-in-Philly specialties, like Famous 4th Street cookies or an apple fritter from Beiler’s Bakery.
34. Rhode Island: Sail like you’re in the America’s Cup
Take a two-day private charter of a historic America’s Cup yacht, sailing from Newport to Block Island (with a clambake and overnight stay on land) and back. 12 Meter Charters owns two boats: The Columbia, first winner of the race in Rhode Island in 1958, and the beautiful, wooden-hulled Heritage from 1970.
35. South Carolina: Feast on Lowcountry cuisine in Charleston
It’s been five years since chef Sean Brock opened Husk—his white-hot love letter to Lowcountry food—but when it comes to dining in the South, Charleston is still the city on everyone’s lips. Brock continues to draw serious acclaim at Husk, and at his nearby restaurant McCrady’s, but he’s not the only game in town these days.
Mike Lata, whose beloved Fig (pictured) has been a Charleston staple since 2003, has since broken into the oyster bar business with The Ordinary where he celebrates the seafood traditions of the Carolina coastline.
36. New Mexico: Drink in the sights of Santa Fe
Have a drink on the rooftop terrace of La Fonda on the Plaza. This iconic hotel is centrally located for views of both the city and the sweeping landscape beyond. It’s the perfect way to finish off a dinner full of green chiles.
37. New York: See Manhattan’s skyline from atop a world-class museum
There are many reasons why it’s worth scheduling a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art: its Renaissance virtuosos and Modernist masters; its ancient treasures, including the glorious Temple of Dendur; and its hidden nooks and crannies, like the beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright–designed living room in the American Wing.
Pro tip: Go in the summer when you can visit the Roof Garden, which overlooks Central Park and features a new site-specific installation every year. It’s also a great place to grab a cocktail as the sun sets over the city.
38. North Carolina: Head to the Outer Banks—but don’t just stay on the beach
North Carolina’s Outer Banks (that’s OBX to you and your bumper sticker) are some of the most gorgeous beaches in America.
And there’s still plenty to do if you take a break from sunbathing, including the North Carolina Aquarium in Roanoke, the memorial commemorating the Wright Brothers’ historic first flight in Kitty Hawk, and a series of iconic lighthouses, including the famous barbershop pole-style swirled one at Cape Hatteras. End the day with fried oysters in Nags Head—this is the South, after all.
39. North Dakota: See the magic of the ‘Enchanted Highway
Street art has another meaning in North Dakota, where 32 miles of otherwise unremarkable highway has become an art gallery. Driving the “Enchanted Highway,” from the town of Regent to just east of Dickinson, means spotting a collection of the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures, by local artist Gary Greff. The many roadside artworks date back to 1991, with more still in progress.
40. Ohio: Try the ice wine in the growing Great Lakes wine region
Theme parks, Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Dayton’s National Museum of the Air Force may be big draws for Ohio, but do not overlook the state’s wine regions. There are six wine trails and more than 150 commercial wineries in Ohio along the Lake Erie coastline in the north and the Ohio River Valley to the south; many (like Mon Ami, Lonz, Kinkead Ridge, and Paper Moon) are complete with tasting rooms in picturesque locales.
Ohio is becoming particularly well known for its ice wines, as the Great Lakes region is one of only five places in the world capable of producing the notoriously difficult and delicate drink. In fact, the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition has awarded first place to Ohio Vidal Blanc ice wines the past two years (Ferrante Winery in 2014 and Debonne Vineyards in 2015) in the category of dessert wines.
41. Virginia: Celebrate the 4th of July at Monticello
One of the best ways to celebrate the 4th of July is by visiting the former home of Thomas Jefferson. This year marks Monticello’s 53rd annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony, where people from around the world gather on the iconic West Lawn to take the oath of American citizenship.
The lawn fills with family members and spectators alike who want to witness the inspiring ceremony. Afterward, take a complimentary tour of the house, and then head to McIntire Park for Charlottesville’s best fireworks show.
42. Washington: Attend the next Coachella
When people in Washington state say they’re following Sasquatch, they’re not talking about the big fuzzy guy: They’re referring to the massive Memorial Day weekend music festival, which draws the likes of Soundgarden, Robert Plant, Kendrick Lamar, Sleater-Kinney, and more to an enviable setting: the Gorge, a natural outdoor amphitheater overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.
There’s “nothing like enjoying music while watching the sun set over one of the most stunning landscapes in this country,” says Traveler reader Jennifer McCormick. We have to agree.
43. West Virginia: Canoe the oldest New River in the country
Take a canoe trip along the New River (ironically titled, as it’s one of the world’s five geologically oldest rivers, formed about 350 million years ago). The best stretch to paddle is the portion that takes you through the New River Gorge with its spectacular cliffs, steep elevation drop, and resultant white water.
Here you will travel under the New River Gorge Bridge, the highest vehicular bridge in the world when it opened in 1977 and the scene of an annual October festival that features BASE jumpers taking the plunge off the 876-foot-high structure.
44. Wisconsin: Indulge in true Americana—the drive-in diner
Home to more than just cheese curds, Wisconsin is an enclave of vintage Americana, by way of drive-in diners. La Grander’s on Lake Wissota, Ardy & Ed’s in Oshkosh, The Milty Wilty in Wautoma, and Rudy’s in La Crosse are just a few keeping the jukebox and carhop service tradition alive, not to mention they’re all typically famous for homemade root beer, frozen custard, and, yes, deep-fried cheese curds.
45. Wyoming: Go on an “American safari.”
African safaris have their “big five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and cape buffalo), but the fauna of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming’s northwest corner are no less impressive and a whole lot closer to home.
In addition to the bison, elk, bighorn sheep, wolves, and grizzlies that roam these protected landscapes, prepare to stand in awe of the spectacular Teton mountains (which, from certain vantage points, seem to rise from the earth like the spires of a giant gothic cathedral) and the famous geysers of Yellowstone, like Old Faithful.
46. South Dakota: Stay up late in the Badlands
The Badlands of South Dakota may not be your first choice when it comes to camping in a national park, but its two campgrounds (Cedar Pass and Sage Creek) are open year-round, offering regular access to the largest stretch of prairie wilderness in the country—home to roaming bison and sheep—and one of the most spectacular night skies you may ever see. Pro tip: Visit July 17–19 for the annual Badlands Astronomy Festival.
47. Tennessee: Go Honky Tonkin’ in Nashville
Nashville’s music legacy is well known—especially since it got its own primetime TV show—but it’s hard to know where to start your music education here.
The Grand Ole Opry? Bluebird Cafe? When in doubt, head to Honky Tonk Row—a stretch of Lower Broadway where every bar has legitimately incredible live music, be it country, folk, bluegrass, or top 40 covers, and all ages are out to enjoy it. Let the bourbon-swilling septuagenarian teach you a thing or two about honky tonkin’.
48. Texas: Shop Austin’s most stylish street
Austin’s South Congress Street is the intersection of right-now trends and old-school cowboy cool—literally. Stop by Stag for rugged-chic men’s clothing from indie labels like Rogue Territory and The Hill Side, then cross traffic and head to mainstay Allens Boots (pictured), where you can pick your perfect pair from over 4,000 new and vintage options.
49. Utah: Explore the otherworldly wonders of the Great Salt Lake near Salt Lake City
The Dia Art Foundation is now in charge of caring for sculptor Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty earthwork, pictured, made of six thousand tons of black basalt rock (c. 1970) on the northeastern shores of the Great Salt Lake.
Meanwhile, rock concerts are the highlight of the 2,000-pylon-supported Victorian-era Saltair (built in 1893 and known as the Coney Island of the West). Although damaged by fire multiple times, it remains a mirage in the middle of the desert.
50. Vermont: Sip a can (yes, a can) of one of the world’s most coveted beers
One of the country’s most sought-after beers is produced in the small town of Waterbury, Vermont, a 25-mile drive from the college town of Burlington. There, brewmaster John Kimmich produces Heady Topper, a high-octane, canned double IPA that has, in the past decade, become a cult classic—the type of beer that hops-heads will travel hundreds of miles to try.
It’s only available within 40 or so miles of the brewery, and luckily there are plenty of fantastic spots where you can sample it: Try the Prohibition Pig, a brewpub that sits on the lot that was once home to Kimmich’s original restaurant. (If you want to take some cans home with you, be prepared to act quickly: Heady is only distributed at certain times and places, and sells out fast.)