The All-American Bucket List: 50 Iconic Adventures for Each of the 50 States
If “visit all 50 states” is already on your list, here’s what to do, see, and experience while you’re in each one.
Alabama: Attend a space camp for adults
Harness your inner astronaut at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. This Smithsonian affiliate museum has an extensive collection of space artifacts, rockets, spacecrafts, and simulators. Want more? Sign up for their two-day Adult Space Academy. You’ll construct and launch model rockets, learn the history of spaceflight, and train in an astronaut simulator and 1/6th gravity chair (essentially a bounce chair that simulates a moon walk).
Alaska: View the Northern Lights
If this isn’t one of your bucket list ideas already, we have a few questions for you. The aurora borealis is thought of by many to be the most stunning natural light show on Earth. The spectacle appears most frequently appear over Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, in the winter months between September and early April. Go for a week-long trip to increase your chances of seeing them. Before you pack up for Alaska, make sure you follow this ultimate travel checklist.
Arizona: Hike the Grand Canyon
What would these bucket list ideas be without a trip to the Grand Canyon? Head to the popular South Rim on the Arizona side of the canyon for a quick visit, or the more secluded North Rim for a more involved trip. Don’t miss these gorgeous photos of America’s National Parks.
Arkansas: Dig for diamonds
For a small fee, you can search for precious stones at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. The world’s most perfect diamond and North America’s largest diamond were both found here. If you’re lucky, you’ll leave the state with some serious bling.
Colorado: Bathe in the hot springs
If you don’t mind the 8.5-mile hike up Conundrum Creek Trail, you’re in for a treat: the 100-degree hot springs at the top. Set up camp nearby and head to the water for stunning views of the mountains during the day and the stars at night. The trailhead is located just outside of Aspen, Colorado.
Connecticut: Take a riverboat ride to the past
Experience the untouched Connecticut River Valley the way American’s did a century ago—via steam train and riverboat. This two-part tour through the countryside is especially gorgeous during fall, when the leaves reach peak color. If you can’t make it then, February and March are the months you’re most likely to spot a bald eagle. These are the most spectacular summer hikes.
Delaware: Float down the Brandywine River
In the warmer months, partake in the American pastime of floating down rivers. Delaware Today recommends parking one car at Thompson’s Bridge in Wilmington, and launching by the Brandywine River Museum. Bring along a drink or two for the calm two-hour float.
District of Columbia: Cherish the cherry blossoms
Each spring, Washington, D.C., is blanketed in pink when its thousands of cherry trees come into bloom. The National Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates their beauty and honors the friendship between the United States and Japan, the country that gifted us these flowering trees. The festival currently spans four weekends and brings more than 1.5 million people to the capital. Make sure you also visit these 6 other places that are beautiful in the spring.
Florida: Navigate the Everglades
Assuming you’ve already hit up Walt Disney World, use your next trip to the sunshine state to visit the Everglades. This unique ecosystem is known for its wildlife and is home to crocodiles, Florida panthers, and a host of birds. Most airboat tours will tell you everything you need to know.