Last updated on: Jul 15, 2020
Continuing from Part 1, which covered things to do in the first 25 states, there are so many fantastic things to see and do in the US, from National Parks to regional cuisines. Part 2 covers things to do when you visit all 50 states from Montana to Wyoming.
Montana’s Glacier National Park is one of the most stunning places on earth with many areas to take your breath away, including Going-to-the-Sun Road and Lake McDonald.
One of the most rewarding experiences is hiking the park’s glaciers near Many Glacier. The Grinnell Glacier Trail and Iceberg Lake Trail are two of the most popular. Few things can compare to walking a magnificent glacier.
Related post: Why Now is the Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park
Located in Omaha, a city of approximately 500,000 people, the Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge offers one of the most unique experiences you’ll find on a pedestrian bridge.
Because the bridge straddles the state line of Nebraska and Iowa, you can go “bobbing”, which refers to snapping your picture in two states at once.
The quintessential shot is photographing your feet on both sides of the marked Nebraska-Iowa state line.
Modeled after the Bargello Palace in Florence, Italy, the Magnolia Omaha is a former courthouse turned hotel in Omaha’s Old Market district. This grand property is located within walking distance to most major attractions in the city.
Take a trip to Las Vegas for its lively atmosphere, affordable decked-out hotel rooms, and cheap yet tasty eats.
It’s the ultimate place for any type of celebration, from girlfriend getaways to bachelor parties, but it’s also a surprisingly great place to escape for hospitality, spas, shopping, and shows.
But don’t just stay in Sin City, take day trips to see more of what the area has to offer. A day trip kayak to Emerald Cave is a must. There are many tours that paddle on a calm and scenic portion of the Colorado River.
Autumn is a great time to visit New Hampshire. It’s the absolute best time to admire the amazing fall foliage with stunning multicolored leaves flanking the roads and town.
Autumn is also the best time to go apple picking at a number of New Hampshire apple orchards. It’s hard to which is better, the scenery or the apples!
And while you’re there, pay a visit to Flume Gorge for a two-mile hike through a natural granite gorge in New Hampshire’s Franconia Notch State Park. The shadowy trail is filled with beautiful flowers, ferns, mosses, and waterfalls.
I’ll never forget catching that first glimpse of beautiful blue ocean, white sand, and blue sky when my family ended up in Belmar during one of our family road trips.
The quintessential Jersey Shore town is Cape May, America’s first seaside resort. With its lighthouses and grand Victorian houses and unique local eateries, it’s the jewel of the Jersey Shore.
Of course, the highlight of any Jersey Shore experience is treating yourself to some Italian ice.
Every boardwalk along the Jersey Shore has several ice cream shops, so if you can’t decide on one place, try them all!
With 19 pueblos in the state, you can get a glimpse into life of a few different Native American tribes from the Apache to the Navajo tribes. To pay a visit to a pueblo, contact a state visitor center or tribal office.
In addition, visit the Chaco Culture National Historic Park, which houses a significant concentration of pueblos and the largest collection of ancient ruins north of Mexico.
Within many of New Mexico’s cities, such as Taos and Santa Fe, the presence of Native American culture is still going strong.
Taos Pueblo has the only living Native American pueblo, which has been continuously inhabited for more than 1,000 years.
Make your base in Santa Fe and stay at one of the lovely boutique properties such as Hotel Santa Fe and La Posada de Santa Fe. For an upscale experience, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe offers premium casitas in the Sangre de Cristo foothills.
If you had to visit just one place in the US, New York City would likely be #1. After all, the ‘Big Apple’ has everything there is to offer and is a cultural melting pot of the world.
Though New York has an endless supply of awesome activities, one bucket list-worthy activity that most people never get the chance to do is ringing in the New Year in Times Square.
The festive atmosphere is like none other, and the excitement of watching time tick away to an entirely new year never gets old!
If you want to see the festivities firsthand, your best bet will be to splurge on a hotel room in Times Square, go with a group, and get there early.
Outside New York City is a whole different world. Many flock to the Finger Lakes region for its wineries, parks, and lake activities.
There are also castles with interesting histories in these parts of New York.
Situated on Seneca Lake is Belhurst Castle & Winery, a premier wine country hotel that allows you to stay in an American castle while exploring the Finger Lakes region.
Boldt Castle, which straddles the US-Canada border in the St. Lawrence River, is a magnificent six-story estate dating back to 1904.
Unlike Belhurst Castle, Boldt Castle does not offer overnight accommodations, but it’s an incredible place to visit for architecture buffs.
The Outer Banks are barrier islands that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland US. As you can expect, there are numerous beach towns to visit, few more popular than Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, and Kitty Hawk.
However, for a more relaxed vibe, book a vacation rental in one the southern towns, such as Waves, Rodanthe, Salvo, or Avon. One cool thing about the Outer Banks is that, since the islands are not very wide, you can easily enjoy both the Atlantic Ocean side and the Currituck Sound, Albemarle Sound, and Pamilico Sound side. The sound side is great for awesome sunsets!
Related post: Great Outer Banks Beach Towns for Families
Like most coastal areas in the US, seafood such as crab cakes, oysters, and shrimp are always on the menu. However, you’ll also find steak, tacos, and barbecue, too.
In case you didn’t know, the Carolinas are one of the four barbecue meccas in the US, the others being Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas. In fact, the barbecue is so good, that the state has its own historic barbecue trail.
Though the trail is not in the Outer Banks, it’s worth exploring. It begins in Ayden and ends in Murphy with recommended stops at an establishment in each town on the trail.
About two hours west of the capital Bismarck, the Enchanted Highway is one of the coolest sights you’ll see on the side of any highway. Built with scrap metal, this 32-miles attraction has 7 roadside sculptures.
I don’t think most folks outside of North Dakota know what fleischkuekle (flesh-keek-luh) is nor how to pronounce it, but this Russian-German meat pie is similar to a Cornish pasty.
A staple at many diners, the tasty treat is often served with pickles, ketchup, gravy, or cheese. So give it a try when in the Peace Garden State!
Located midway between Cleveland and Toledo is Cedar Point, consistently rated the best amusement park in the world. Originally opened in the late 1800s, it’s the second oldest continuously operating amusement park in the US and has more than 70 rides, including 17 roller coasters.
The park overlooks a beach and Lake Erie and includes an indoor water park, outdoor water park, and an outdoor sports complex.
With Cleveland only an hour away, Cedar Point is an easy day trip from the city, so you can pay a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and any of Cleveland’s museums.
Located in the mountains of southeast Oklahoma, Beavers Bend State Park offers a natural setting of pine and hardwood forests in one of the most scenic parts of Oklahoma.
The park has a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, canoeing, and horseback riding.
Lakeview Lodge is a 40-room property located on Broken Bow Lake. The lodge offers lake views in every room and a range of onsite amenities, such as golf and tennis.
Route 66 takes a back seat to Pops in Arcadia, a four-hour drive from Broken Bow and the coolest diner in the Sooner State.
The diner features an LED-lit giant soda bottle sculpture on its façade, and its interior is decorated with colorful vintage bottles of soda.
Its main draw is not surprisingly soda, of which the diner serves more than 600 kinds.
Crater Lake is one of the most spectacular sites in Oregon, and driving along the 33-mile Rim Drive offers fantastic panoramic views of the lake.
Biking is also a great way to explore the trail, and if you desire a guided experience, you can visit Portland and Crater Lake on this 3-day tour.
Known as the “City of Brotherly Love”, Philadelphia is also known for the Liberty Bell, cream cheese, and the movie Rocky.
What also puts Philadelphia on the map is its signature sandwich, the Philly cheesesteak.
The history of the sandwich began in the 1930s when Pat Olivieri decided to grill some beef and put it on an Italian roll. After a cab driver happened upon him, and word spread to cabbies from all over the city.
Eventually, Olivieri opened Pat’s King of Steaks at 9th Street and Passyunk Avenue.
So when you visit the city, do your own Philly cheesesteak tasting at the following places:
– Pat’s King of Steaks
– Geno’s Steaks
– Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop
– Steve’s Prince of Steaks
And one fun way to eat your way through Philadelphia is this Cheesesteak Tour by Segway!
Newport is a charming town in New England, which hosts the lovely Newport Jazz Festival every summer. The town is such a beautiful place.
The Cliff Walk adjacent to historic mansions overlooking the rocky shore and sea is a must-do activity.
And the jazz festival is an excellent time to go, as the sounds of jazz are relaxing in their own right.
Mill Street Inn is boutique property located in the heart of Newport. Though the property doesn’t really offer onsite amenities, its townhouse suites have full kitchens and two bedrooms, making it perfect for groups and families.
A geographic and cultural region along the Southeast Coast, the Lowcountry of South Carolina is filled with isolated islands, cypress swamps, coastal marshland, and forests.
A kayak trip to Congaree National Park will make you feel like you’ve taken a mythical journey, and you just might spot deer, turtles, otter, and an alligator.
Lowcountry is also home to the Gullah Geechee culture, a unique heritage descending directly from West Africans brought to the United States during the slave trade.
Learn more about this culture by taking a tour with Gullah Heritage Tours.
Not surprisingly, Mt. Rushmore is a must-see attraction when visiting the “Mt. Rushmore State”, and the best time to take photos is during the golden hours of sunrise.
Enjoy a peaceful glamping experience at Under Canvas Mount Rushmore. The property offers packages that include outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, and cycling.
My hometown, Memphis, is full of history, and one of the most moving places in the city is the National Civil Rights Museum.
Viewing the motel room where Martin Luther King, Jr. spent his last night on earth is an experience I will never forget.
The solemn window into the final moments of his life is accompanied by hymnal signing by the late gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.
Be prepared to have your heart strings pulled.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Tennessee is actually a really good state to do a road trip.
It’s a very decentralized state with three major cities in each area: Memphis in West Tennessee, Nashville in Middle Tennessee, and Knoxville in East Tennessee.
Most of Texas’ major cities are located in a triangle spanning 700 miles that includes Dallas, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio as well as Waco.
So venturing outside this major corridor provides a completely different experience than Texas’ urban centers.
Set within the Trans-Pecos high desert of West Texas, the town of Marfa, which has a population of 2,000 people, is an artist colony with really cool places to visit like the Prada Marfa and the unexplained Marfa Lights.
Marfa has a number of quirky accommodations, like El Cosmico, which offers guest options to sleep in a renovated trailer, tent, yurt, or tepee.
Cibolo Creek Ranch is located on the site of an old fort and cattle ranch that dates back to the late 1800s. The ranch offers a multitude of outdoor activities and is a short drive to the stunning Big Bend National Park.
Like Arizona and Colorado, Utah has so much to offer that you should visit in both winter and summer.
In wintertime, ski the best slopes in the country during the Sundance Film Festival. The very rugged terrain makes skiing in this part of the country is challenging even on the bunny slopes, so if skiing isn’t really your thing, there are also many other types of winter activities from cross-country skiing to snowboarding to tubing.
Going during the Sundance Film Festival is a fantastic time to ski, because the slopes are practically empty and you can partake of some great après-ski and entertainment activities during the festival!
If you plan to visit Park City during the festival, you must book lodging well in advance. You will definitely want to stay in Park City, which has a number of luxury ski resorts.
Hyatt Centric Park City offers wonderful value near the city and ski slopes, while the Marriott Mountainside and Sheraton Park City are located in the heart of town, allowing you easy access to festival activities.
Situated between both Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park lies Moab Springs Ranch in Moab, UT.
This resort consists of luxury bungalows and townhouses with convenient bike-in, bike-out access to Moab’s extensive trail network.
There is definitely a difference between pure maple syrup and the alternative pancake syrup, so it’s a real treat to visit Vermont during “sugaring” season. See firsthand how xylem sap is extracted from the sugar, black, or red maple trees; boiled; and packages.
Tradewinds Farm, which is known for its maple cream, sugar, and candy, even lets you fill your own jug from their Syrup-On-Tap.
The Equinox Resort in Manchester is well known as one of Vermont’s top ski resort. However, it’s a great place to stay during other seasons, as the fall foliage in Vermont is quite special and the activities of the resort include some unique offerings, such as a Land Rover driving experience, Orvis fly fishing, an Orvis shooting school, and mountain biking.
With the state motto, “Virginia is for lovers”, what could be better than sipping vino at a luxury oasis with your boo?
Within the wine country region are areas in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Mountains for great hikes as well as the opportunity to visit the homes of 3 Presidents: Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe.
Just outside of Charlottesivlle, Keswick Hall offers a gorgeous setting with luxurious rooms overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. The 48-room resort has onsite golf, archery, croquet, a luxury spa, and fine dining.
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Seattle is one of America’s great cities with a beautiful location on the Puget Sound. Exploring the metropolitan area via car and ferry is one exciting way to see the area.
And don’t forget to stop by Pike Place Fish Market to witness the tradition of fishmongers throwing fish to be wrapped as well as the very first Starbucks coffee shop.
With some of the finest, freshest, evocative food in the country, Seattle is definitely a foodie haven. The creativity and presence of amazing seafood make it a winner!
To find the best eats in the city, try a food tour, which will show you the hotspots without the hassle of reservations and waiting in line.
Can you say Chocolate Indulgence Tour? Be sure to have a photo op at the Athenian near Pike Place, also known as the Sleepless in Seattle Restaurant.
A two-hour drive east of Seattle brings you to Leavenworth, WA, a Bavarian-style town with a population of 2,000 people.
Here, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to a charming alpine village in Europe with nearby skiing and wineries.
Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold is an ornate Buddhist temple located in the heart of coal country. It’s one of the 8 Religious Wonders in the US with a campus encompassing beautiful temples, gardens, fountains, and a lotus pond.
Here, you can admire the East while visiting West Virginia, and you can also stay in one of the cabins and rooms at Palace Lodge.
Outside the beauty that is Prabhupada, there are a number of other places of interest in West Virginia, including Seneca Rocks in the Monongahela National Forest and Harpers Ferry, known for its hiking trails and historic battlegrounds.
The historic Greenbrier hotel in Sulphur Springs, WV, is a National Historic Landmark that has been in operation since 1778.
With more than 700 rooms and more than 55 activities, including golf, gaming, and natural mineral springs, it’s a great place to actively retreat.
As the American cheese capital, you can’t visit the state without trying some cheese!
So do an epicurean cheese tour in the State of Wisconsin and visit shops like Fromagination, Widmer’s Cheese Shop, and Carr Valley Cheese.
You can even take a cheesemaking class, such as those offered by The Cheesemaker in Mequon. It will give new meaning to saying “cheese” in your pictures.
Aside from cheese, there are other parts of Wisconsin that you should visit to try the local eats.
Head to beautiful Door County, which is known for its cherries and New Glarus, a village famous for Glarner Stube’s roesti, which are Swiss-style fried potatoes with Wisconsin cheese.
Milwaukee is where historic Usinger has been offering its famous sausage for more than 100 years and where the Wisconsin State Fair is the best place for the state’s famous cream puffs.
With attractions such as Old Faithful, Tower Falls, and geothermal lakes, Yellowstone National Park is its own natural wonder both day and night.
It’s one of the most beautiful national parks in the US with waterfalls, mountains, and numerous trails to hike.
Teton Mountain Lodge is located just outside Jackson, WY and offers modern cabin-style lodging with sweeping views of the landscape.
In town, Huff House Inns and Cabins and Hotel Jackson are contemporary properties located in the heart of town. They offer easy access to the town’s many wonderful shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Would you like to visit all 50 states? Tell us which ones you have visited in the comments.
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