By Expedia Local Expert, on December 27, 2019

The Best Thing to Do in Every State

If you’ve ever wondered about all the different cultures and characters that call America home, then this is the bucket list for you. From sea to shining sea, the Nifty 50 are brimming with brand-new shops, ancient landmarks, unexpected treasures, and incredible things to do.

We’ve curated a powerhouse list of attractions and activities that celebrate the signature flavors, unique festivals, and vibrant faces in each state, along with a couple of our favorite federal territories. Check out 52 of the greatest things you can find across the United States.

1. Alabama

Africatown Via Leigh T Harrell via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Africatown in Mobile

This historic district was founded by some of the last enslaved people brought to the United States—illegally smuggled less than 2 years before the Civil War aboard the Clotilda, whose wreck was just found in 2018. See how residents formed one of America’s most unique communities as you get to know the scenery along the Mobile River.

More things to do in Alabama

2. Alaska


Admire the aurora borealis in Fairbanks

Wanna see the best attraction in Alaska? Just look up. This scientific wonder is a beauty to behold, and the area around Fairbanks offers clear skies and limited light pollution. Embark on an Arctic Circle excursion for an incandescent winter adventure in the Alaskan wilds.

More things to do in Alaska

3. Arizona

Old Tucson Theme Park
Old Tucson Studios

Walk in the footsteps of Wild West legends in Old Tucson

Grab an Old Tucson Theme Park admission and get a little dirt on your boots on the set of cinematic classics like The Bells of St. Mary’s and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

More things to do in Arizona

4. Arkansas

Terra Studios, Fayetteville
Arkansas Parks & Tourism

Make Art in the Ozarks in Fayetteville

Inspired by spectacular surroundings, the artists at Terra Studios will wow you with their sculptures, blown glass, jewelry, and more. Take a class or enjoy a peaceful walk in the art garden.

More things to do in Arkansas

5. California

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Rest under the world’s oldest trees in Inyo National Forest

For a fresh perspective on life, take a hike through the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains and meet someone who’s really seen it all. One of these trees, appropriately named Methuselah, has been dated to the 29th century BC—older than the Great Pyramid and maybe even Stonehenge.

More things to do in California

6. Colorado

Snowboarder at Telluride Best Ski Resorts in the US

Hit the powder in Telluride

If you’re heading to the Centennial State, chances are you want to hit the slopes and enjoy some craft beer (just a guess). Grab your gear and go snowboarding in Telluride with Christy Sports. This charming town is the hideaway for celebrities and culture connoisseurs alike, as it hosts festivals year-round, including the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in September.

More things to do in Colorado

7. Connecticut


Enter a Gilmore Girls state of mind in Litchfield County

This enchanting corner of Connecticut inspired the show’s creator, Amy Sherman-Palladino, with its small-town characters and gorgeous scenery. Rewatch the revival season and see the state Rory and Lorelai-style with a visit to Averill Farm in Washington Depot and a meal at Community Table.

More things to do in Connecticut

8. Delaware

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Bike the beaches in Fenwick Island

You might not think of beach-hopping when you plan a trip to the Diamond State, but the sparkling coastline awaits. Pedal along the Ocean to Bay Bike Tour this April 29.

More things to do in Delaware

9. Florida

Sunset cruise in Boca Ciega Bay
Dolphin Landings

Take a sunset cruise in Tampa’s Boca Ciega Bay

The folks at Dolphin Landings will whisk you away to the peaceful bay for a glowing evening. Bring a bottle of Champagne and toast to an amazing experience in the Sunshine State.

More things to do in Florida

10. Georgia

Ghosts & Gravestones Savannah Tour
Savannah Trolley

Mingle with ghosts in Savannah

Hop on a vintage trolley for a guided ghost tour of the city’s exquisite architecture and haunted history with the local Cool Savannah Tours & Gifts.

More things to do in Georgia

11. Hawaii

Na Pali Coast Snorkel & Sailing Cruise
Holoholo Charters

Face your anemones off the Nā Pali Coast

Calm, clear, and filled with sea life, the waters around the Aloha State are perfect for snorkeling. Check out the waterfalls as you sail with the trade winds along the coast of Kauai, and then dive in to explore the dazzling community of fish and corals in one of the oldest reef systems around. Stop by in the winter to see humpback whales mingling nearby.

More things to do in Hawaii

12. Idaho


Dance your way down the streets of Coeur D’Alene

Join the lakeside city of Coeur d’Alene for Music Walk on the second Friday of the month from January through March. A riff on the more common first Friday art walks that take place around the country, Music Walk adds a lively tune to the picturesque city on beautiful winter nights.

More things to do in Idaho

13. Illinois

Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest, Illinois

Explore the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Forest

This beautiful refuge used to be farmland until the Great Depression returned it to nature. Now, decades of conservation have made this one of the most spectacular places in America’s heartland. Take a scenic hike along the River to River Trail and check out the sculpted grey sandstone that rises out of the wilderness.

More things to do in Illinois

14. Indiana

Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, Indiana

Live Life on the Prairie at Conner Prairie

Head back to the 19th century in this outdoor living museum just northeast of Indianapolis. From Lenape Indian camps to Civil War battles, Conner Prairie lets you experience Indiana history as it unfolds all around you.

More things to do in Indiana

15. Iowa

Field of Dreams, Dyersville, Iowa

Take in a filming location in Dyerville

In 1987, the owner of a rural plot of land got a knock on the door. Today, that location is a legend that people still come to see. Stand on home plate at the “Field of Dreams” baseball field near Dyersville.

More things to do in Iowa

16. Kansas

Lakeshore, South Hero

Relax at Lake Shawnee in Topeka

With babbling brooks, boating, swimming, and more, Lake Shawnee is an outdoor destination for the whole family. The Huff ‘n Puff Balloon Rally takes place there every September and fills the sky with a rainbow of colors.

More things to do in Kansas

17. Kentucky

Make new friends at Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farms in Georgetown

Here retired racehorses run free in peaceful paddocks—the perfect reward after a fast-paced career.

More things to do in Kentucky

18. Louisiana

Manchac Swamp Kayaking Tour
New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours

Paddle through the swamp in Manchac

Strike out into the lush cypress groves on a kayaking journey like no other. The calm waters and peaceful surroundings of Manchac Swamp are the perfect place to explore the Bayou State’s wilderness.

More things to do in Louisiana

19. Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine
Maine Office of Tourism

Take a seaside hike in Bar Harbor

Take in the coastal views and fresh air on the Ocean Trail and treat yourself to a malty, chocolaty Coal Porter at Atlantic Brewing. Cheers!

More things to do in Maine

20. Maryland

Swallow Falls State Park, Maryland

Stand beneath waterfalls at Swallow Falls State Park

What’s more refreshing than the mist of waterfalls on your face? Sipping an orange crush cocktail—Maryland’s signature twist on the classic screwdriver—after exploring a park brimming with cascades.

More things to do in Maryland

21. Massachusetts

Mayflower II, Plymouth Harbor, Massachusetts

Get nautical in Plymouth Harbor

Visit the Mayflower II in Plymouth Harbor and stop for some famous “chowdah” at Cabby Shack. There’s nothing like early American history to make you crave New England comfort food.

More things to do in Massachusetts

22. Michigan


Eat apple cider doughnuts in Greenville

When the first leaves of the year fall, run—don’t walk—to Klackle Orchards for their scrumptious pastries. It’s a family-favorite among locals, and the orchards are a lively outdoor destination for kids both tall and small.

More things to do in Michigan

23. Minnesota

Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Go to an avant-garde theater in Minneapolis

The Mini Apple has one of the biggest theatre communities in the U.S. and The LAB Theater is known for premiering world-class contemporary and experimental productions. It can get a little weird…in a good way.

More things to do in Minnesota

24. Mississippi

Canton, Mississippi wilderness

Learn about Mississippi’s rich modern history along the Freedom Trail

If you’ve ever geeked out about the Constitution and American civilian life, then follow the 444-mile path from Natchez to Nashville. This path, known as the Natchez Trace, is lined with history from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement.

More things to do in Mississippi

25. Missouri

Pony Express Trail
National Park Service

Follow the Pony Express through the state

Set your auto-reply, put down the smartphone, and drive along the Pony Express National Historic Trail, starting in St. Joseph.

More things to do in Missouri

26. Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Chill with the mountain goats in Glacier National Park

Home to some of the last glaciers in the Lower 48, the park is a paradise for some of the continent’s rarest creatures. Strike out along Going-to-the-Sun Road and mingle with the grizzlies and Rocky Mountain goats in the lush expanse of the park.

More things to do in Montana

27. Nebraska

University of Nebraska State Museum

Go museum hopping in Lincoln

Home to the National Museum of Roller Skating and the Museum of American Speed, Lincoln’s cultural scene is fun, quirky, and always on the go. Check out the dinosaurs and mammoths at Morrill Hall and the supersonic jets at the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum just outside of town.

More things to do in Nebraska

28. Nevada

Aerial Stunt Flight, Las Vegas
Sky Combat Ace

Take to the skies above Las Vegas

You’ve already heard there are plenty of fun things to do in Nevada. When you want to kick things up a notch, climb into a stunt plane and get some altitude for a gravity-defying adventure above the desert.

More things to do in Nevada

29. New Hampshire

Milford, New Hampshire

Go pumpkin crazy in Milford

When autumn rolls around, your pumpkin spice latte—bless it—doesn’t hold a candle to the Milford Pumpkin Festival. Games, pumpkin carving, and pie, oh my!

More things to do in New Hampshire

30. New Jersey

cape may oceanscapes
Cape May Oceanscapes

Sip and swim in Cape May

You can go beach hopping and wine tasting all in the same place: Cape May. Take a tour of the vineyards at Willow Creek Winery and swirl and sample your way through their top sellers (and cellars).

More things to do in New Jersey

31. New Mexico

Taos Pueblo, New Mexico
Taos, New Mexico

Wander among an ancient civilization in Taos Pueblo

Explore the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America at Taos Pueblo, near the charming modern town of Taos. Local artisans and bakers set up shop in picturesque adobe homes passed down through the generations.

More things to do in New Mexico

32. New York

New York

Find your chill in Syracuse

Hit snooze on the City that Never Sleeps, and eat and drink your way through Syracuse instead. Embark on a food and wine tour with The Sommelier Company and travel deeper into the Finger Lakes.

More things to do in New York

33. North Carolina

Mount Airy, North Carolina
trover photo by Nathan Mays

Tap your feet at the Merry-Go-Round in Mount Airy

Stop by downtown Mount Airy’s Earle Theatre for America’s second longest-running live radio show, after the Grand Ole Opry. Every Saturday morning, Merry-Go-Round lights up the stage with down-home bluegrass and a lively jam session.

More things to do in North Carolina

34. North Dakota

Bismarck Riverboat, North Dakota
Bismarck-Mandan Convention and Visitors Bureau

Take a pioneering cruise in Bismarck

The Lewis & Clark Riverboat lets you follow in the footsteps—or, maybe, in the wake—of the early American explorers, complete with a great view of North Dakota’s capital.

More things to do in North Dakota

35. Ohio

Cleveland West Side Market, Ohio
Taste of Cleveland Food Tours

Eat Buckeye candy

Named after the beloved Buckeye State, this peanut butter and chocolate confection was created by Gail Tabor to serve at college football game parties. These days, you can find Buckeyes all over the state. If you can’t get your hands on some homemade treats, find the nearest Esther Price storefront and check out West Side Market in Cleveland for a few more favorite Buckeye foods.

More things to do in Ohio

36. Oklahoma

Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Shop The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska

Opened in late 2016, The Pioneer Woman Mercantile is already one of our favorite one-stop shops for home décor, gifts, and hospitality. The retail space is inspired by writer, TV personality, and rancher, Ree Drummond.

More things to do in Oklahoma

37. Oregon


Go spelunking in a lava cave in Bend

Don’t worry; the lava in Bend’s caves isn’t molten by any stretch of the imagination. But Lava River Cave will still thrill you with its long tunnels once hollowed out by flowing lava. Need to cool off? Order some River Ale at Deschutes Brewery after your adventure.

More things to do in Oregon

38. Pennsylvania

Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Eat homemade whoopie pies in Lancaster

Since the late 18th century, Lancaster Central Market has been a gathering place for shopping, eating, and exchanging gossip. Pick up one of the region’s iconic Amish treats and take a bite out of history.

More things to do in Pennsylvania

39. Rhode Island

WaterFire, Providence, Rhode Island

See WaterFire light up Providence

With blazing torches and public art, the people at WaterFire hope to illuminate and enliven downtown Providence. Make sure you see the city glow in the new year.

More things to do in Rhode Island

40. South Carolina

Charleston Food Tour, South Carolina
Bulldog Tours

Eat barbecue in Charleston

Other states claim to serve the best saucy, smoky meat, but SC’s mix of mustard, brown sugar, and tangy vinegar rises to the top. Grab some extra napkins and chow down at Smoke BBQ on King Street.

More things to do in South Carolina

41. South Dakota

Custer, South Dakota

Go on safari in Custer

A buffalo Safari, that is. Join a Jeep full of wilderness-craving travelers like yourself and get up close and personal with these majestic creatures of the American West. Safari groups meet up at Custer State Park Resort for an unforgettable ride.

More things to do in South Dakota

42. Tennessee

Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee

Walk the line in Memphis

Take a stroll along Memphis’ historic Beale Street Entertainment District and see the place that’s nurtured whole generations of music, from country and blues to hip-hop and soul. Go on a tour led by local artists for the inside story of what makes the city sing.

More things to do in Tennessee

43. Texas

Space Center Houston, Texas

Reach for the skies in Houston

Texas has been home to astronauts and rocketeers since the early days of the Space Race, and Space Center Houston has plenty to show for it. Check out a training facility for the International Space Station and a real Saturn V moon rocket, along with plenty more mementoes from NASA’s greatest hits.

More things to do in Texas

44. Utah

Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Discover Bears Ears

With layers of history ranging from the Navajo people to American cowboys, Bears Ears National Monument is a standing testament to the stories of the American West. Plus, it’s a beautiful route for a mountain bike ride that takes you from 2 miles’ elevation to the edge of Lake Powell.

More things to do in Utah

45. Vermont

Okemo Valley, Vermont

Watch the seasons change in Okemo Valley

Get behind the wheel, turn up Billie Holiday’s “Moonlight in Vermont,” and drive through the colorful trees along scenic Route 100 Byway in Okemo Valley.

More things to do in Vermont

46. Virginia

Luray Caverns, Virginia

Make a wish at the Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley

Look into the depths of the Wishing Pool and make your wish among one of the most striking cave systems in America. Every year, the coins tossed into the pool are collected and donated to a different cause, netting hundreds of thousands of dollars so far.

More things to do in Virginia

47. Washington


Set sail on the Lady Washington in Grays Harbor

Featured on Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Trek: Generations, and more, the Lady Washington is a replica of the original Pan-Pacific trade ship of the same name. Today you can learn to sail or enjoy a little jaunt into the harbor on these vintage decks.

More things to do in Washington

48. West Virginia

Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Soak in Berkeley Springs

Built around natural mineral springs, this small but luxurious town is an indulgent destination, and you have lots of treatments and spas to choose from. To soak in the natural springs, wander over to the Berkeley Springs State Park.

More things to do in West Virginia

49. Wisconsin

trover photo by Samantha En Route

Eat beer cheese soup in Milwaukee

For those who love comfort food—who doesn’t?—Wisconsin is seriously one of the coolest places to visit in the U.S. Why? Because Wisconsin knows beer, cheese, and cold weather. Eat the famous beer cheese soup at Milwaukee’s Rumpus Room.

More things to do in Wisconsin

50. Wyoming

Jackson Hole Aerial Tram, Wyoming

Ride the Aerial Tram over Jackson Hole

This state is huge and beautiful. See the Equality State from the sky. The Aerial Tram takes you up into the mountains—perfect for reaching the slopes in the winter and hiking trails during the warmer seasons.

More things to do in Wyoming

51. Washington, D.C.

National Cherry Blossom Festival, Washington, DC
City Segway Tours

View the Cherry Blossoms on the National Mall

The nation’s capital may not be a state, but that isn’t for lack of trying—nor for lack of culture or character. Visit the District in spring to see the blooming Japanese cherry trees, a century-old gift from the mayor of Tokyo that have become a true international symbol.

More things to do in the District of Columbia

52. Puerto Rico

Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico

Explore the universe in Arecibo

Until 2012, the Arecibo Observatory in America’s Caribbean commonwealth was the largest radio telescope in the world, and it’s still an impressive sight. Check out the immense collecting dish on a guided tour that also shows off the incredible landscape which made the facility possible.

More things to do in Puerto Rico

Whether you’re gearing up for a cross-country road trip or looking for an unforgettable experience close to home, it’s always a great time to travel through the United States. Add some of these fun places to go in the U.S. to your next itinerary. You can also scope out some of the best things to do around the US with virtual tours of museums, landmarks, and national parks.

What do you love to do in your home state?