The Most Popular Tourist Attraction in Every State
Whether you feel like taking a road trip, or you just need some fun facts to add to your dinner party, you’ll enjoy this list of popular tourist attractions.
Hawaii: Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial
This memorial, dedicated to those who perished on the USS Arizona during World War II, stands above the remains of the sunken ship and is the number one visitor destination in Hawaii. Begin at the Visitors Center for information on the Harbor and the Japanese attack, and then take a ferry shuttle out to the memorial. If you’re one of the first 1,300 people to arrive when the site opens at 7 a.m., you can score a free ticket for tours. If you’d rather sleep in, be sure to purchase a ticket ahead of time, arrive as early as possible (tours begin at 8 a.m. and run every 15 minutes until 3 p.m.), and leave enough room in your schedule for the various other attractions, including the USS Bowfin submarine, the USS Missouri ship, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Idaho: Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
This 400-square-foot preserve is your ticket to exploring the great outdoors in Idaho like you never have before. It’s a trending adventure on the official Visit Idaho site because of its popularity. Composed of three young lava fields that spread across 500,000 acres of wild country on the Snake River Plain, deep cracks resulting from erupted lava have created what is known as the Great Rift. Be sure to hike Caves Trail, a 1.6-mile hike that visits four lava tubes. Visit during shoulder seasons of spring and fall to avoid extreme temperatures.
Illinois: Millennium Park
The touristy lure of Chicago’s Millennium Park is filled with modern architecture and public art, including Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, a giant bean-like sculpture that reflects the city’s skyline. While there’s sure to be a large crowd here all jostling to snap a photo (the location has broken records with the number of visitors it has), take a breather and check out the Lurie Garden, which is separated from the city by a 15-foot-high hedge consisting of conifers and deciduous trees. Here, you’ll find a secret garden filled with perennials, shrubs, grasses, and trees, as well as a special treat of tulips, cherry blossoms, and daffodils in spring. Find out the best-kept secret in every state.
Indiana: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
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Every Memorial Day weekend, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway comes alive with the best drivers in the world for the Indy 500. Making it there for the race means a weekend of activities: the race, the parties, the celebrities, and everything in between. The rest of the year, the speedway remains one of the most popular tourist spots, thanks to its Speedway Hall of Fame, golf course, and the chance to drive a real Indy car on the track!
Iowa: Field of Dreams filming location
Located in Dyersville, the Field of Dreams film kept things real by opting out of a fake Hollywood set, and instead filming at the Lansing Family Farm in Iowa. Relive the 1980s baseball cult classic at the farmhouse and baseball field that are open to visitors. Even cooler? The Field of Dreams home is now available for nightly rentals! This place is one of the top-rated tourist attractions in the state. Find out the most iconic movie set in every state.
Kansas: Monroe Elementary School
Take a step back in history to visit the former Monroe Elementary School in Topeka. It was once one of four all-black elementary schools in the area that sparked the Supreme Court case that ended segregation in public schools. It has since been turned into the Brown V. National Board of Education Historic site, an experiential Civil Rights museum run by the National Park Service. It’s a sobering, but important look back at American history.
Kentucky: Kentucky Bourbon Trail
If you’re a fan of Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, or Wild Turkey, then the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is for you. See and taste the only alcohol that is distinctive to the United States. Consisting of ten distilleries, you’ll want to spread your visit across several days (some are 70 miles apart) or scale it down to just your favorites. A popular route begins in Louisville, heads southeast toward Springfield, and ends in Lexington. Be sure to check out the oldest bar and oldest restaurant in Kentucky along the way, Talbott Tavern in Bardstown.
Louisiana: Bourbon Street/French Quarter
The French Quarter’s Bourbon Street is the spot for jazz, Cajun and Creole cuisine, and of course, Mardi Gras. But if you want to avoid the most popular festivals, while still getting fair weather, head to New Orleans after Mardi Gras (February or March) and before Jazz Fest (late April/early May). September to November is another mellow season when the heat and humidity have died down. If you’re looking for something the locals love, even in the hustle and bustle of the French Quarter, check out Fritzel’s European Jazz Pub. You won’t find the usual cover bands here, just some classic nightly jazz shows. With over 10 million visitors, New Orleans is always breaking Louisiana tourism records. You should also check out these 50 incredible places you can actually stay in overnight.
Maine: Acadia National Park
Maine is brimming with opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, and one of the best is Acadia National Park. Relish in the hidden beaches sunrises over Cadillac Mountain in the park’s 47,000 unspoiled acres. With over two million visitors annually, Acadia is one of the most visited national parks in the country. For an intense hike, check out Precipice Trail, which features narrow ledges, switchbacks, and a 1,000-foot vertical climb to the top. Top off your trip with an authentic seafood shack experience at Stewman’s Lobster Pound.
Maryland: Annapolis/U.S. Naval Academy
Dubbed the sailing capital of the nation, the city’s historic district includes 18th-century brick houses, the Maryland State Capitol building, and breathtaking architecture, monuments and a naval history museum at the United States Naval Academy. It’s listed as a popular point of interest on the official Annapolis tourist website. Annapolis is also home to the state’s oldest bar, Middleton Tavern, which was once the hangout for the Continental Congress and our founding fathers, including George Washington, Ben Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. These days, people come here for the famous Maryland crab cakes.