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50 In 50: The Best Bucket-List Ideas For Each State

By Parker Diakite

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What’s the one thing you must do in every state? Here are our top picks for experiences across the country in every state.

Alabama

Adult Space Academy

Get ready to experience your inner astronaut at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville.  Harness your childhood dreams of being an astronaut by taking part in the Adult Space Academy, a two-day experience that allows you to construct model rockets, learn the history of spaceflight, and train in an astronaut simulator.

Alaska

Northern Lights

You don’t have to go to Scandinavia to visit the Northern Lights.  Catch a glimpse of these spectacular lights in Fairbanks to view this natural world wonder.


Arizona

White Water Rafting In Grand Canyon

Even if you’ve been to the Grand Canyon before, there are so many ways to experience this natural wonder.  You can float through the Colorado River by heading signing up for an adrenaline-pumping white-water rafting adventure or take it all on a smooth water rafting trip.

Arkansas

Dig For Diamonds

Search for precious stones at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. For a small fee, you may come out lucky!

California

Wow At The Tallest Trees On Earth

Redwood National & State Parks is known to have the tallest tree in the world, stretching 359 feet into the sky.

Colorado

Cloudscaping Across The Arkansas River

There are zip lines and then there is the Cloudscraper, which is not for the faint of heart.  Soar across the Royal Gorge 1,200 feet above the  Arkansas River on this heart-racing ride.  It’s the highest zip line in North America.

Connecticut

Treehouse Adventure

Yes,  treehouses exist for grown-ups.  In fact, if you’re in Connecticut, consider a stay in a treehouse at Winvian Farm, in Litchfield. Your stay will come with a jacuzzi.

Delaware

Tube Down The Brandwine
In the warmer months, Delaware Today recommends tubing or taking a boat down the Brandywine

Florida

Airboat Tour In The Everglades

The Sunshine State is known for its beaches and of course, famous theme parks. If you’re looking for something different, book an airboat tour to go down the  Everglades.   

This unique ecosystem is known for its wildlife and is home to crocodiles, Florida panthers, and a host of birds.

Georgia

Tree Graveyard

Get a glimpse of Georgia’s “tree graveyard” by paddling, biking or walking along Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach.

Photo courtesy of Golden Isles Jekyll Island, GA

Hawaii

Kilauea Volcano

Watching lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth, is a Hawaii Bucket-list must!   

Idaho

Soak In A Hot Spring

Idaho is home to numerous natural hot springs. The best part is these geothermally heated pools can be enjoyed at any time of year.

Illinois

Skydeck Chicago

We only recommend this if you’re not afraid of heights. Located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower is a leaning window that allows you to view Chicago’s iconic skyline on The Skydeck.

Indiana

Marengo Cave

Marengo Cave is a privately-owned cave located in Marengo, Indiana. One of only four show caves in Indiana, public tours of the cave has been given since 1883! The cave is easily Indiana’s most popular natural attraction.

Iowa

Grotto Of The Redemption

The Grotto of the Redemptionis located in West Bend, Iowa and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s home to the largest collection of precious stones in one location, this incredible place encourages visitors to look upon the scenes of nine different grottos that tell the story of Jesus’ life.  Even if you’re not religious, the architecture is stunning.


Kansas

Underground Salt Museum

The Kansas Underground Salt Museum in Hutchinson, Kansas, is built within one of the world’s largest deposits of rock salt, according to Reader’s Digest.

To get there, you’ll take an electric tram 650 feet below ground.


Kentucky

Bourbon Trail

As the birthplace of Bourbon,  take a craft tour along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.


Louisiana

Ride on the St. Charles Streetcar

Enjoy the breeze as a canopy of oak trees follows your ride from uptown to downtown and you gaze upon some of the most beautiful and historic mansions in the country.


Maine

Sail Historic Windjammer

In the warmer months, sail along the coast of Maine aboard historic windjammer. You’ll get hands-on sailing experience and iconic views of New England lighthouses.

Maryland

Scuba Dive at the National Aquarium

Take the plunge at Baltimore’s world-famous National Aquarium. Feed sharks, rays, tangs and more as schools of tropical beauties circle and friends and family wave from the other side of the glass.

Instagram | @nationalaquarium

Massachusetts

Leading up to Halloween, the city of Salem throws month-long activities. Venture to the spooky site of the Salem Witch Trials for parades, costume balls, historical tours, and haunted houses.


Michigan

Motown Museum

The Motown Museum in Detroit, which was founded by Esther Gordy Edwards in 1985, is one of Southeast Michigan’s most popular tourist destinations.


Minnesota

Tour Paisley Park

Located in the quiet idyllic suburb of Chanhassen, Minnesota, Paisley Park is Prince’s mystical creative sanctuary.

Mississippi

Swamp Tour

Take an airboat tour with Gulf Coast Gator Ranch on the swamplands of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for the adrenaline rush to come face-to-face with a gator in its natural habitat.

Missouri

Take a dive into the man-made caverns at Bonne Terre Mine, one of the earliest deep-earth lead mines and the world’s largest freshwater dive venue.

Montana

Glacier National Park

Take a trip to Glacier National Park before it’s too late. 

In 196,  the park had 35 named glaciers large enough to be considered active. By 2015, only 26 named glaciers remained. The average area reduction was 39 percent, though some lost as much as 85 percent. This trend is expected to continue as temperatures rise. . 

Nebraska

Attend A Pow Wow

A pow wow is a social gathering held by many different Native American communities. A modern pow-wow is a specific type of event for Native American people to meet and dance, sing, socialize and honor their cultures.

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has annual pow wows and events every year.

Nevada

Valley of Fire State Park

World-renowned for its 40,000 acres of bright red Aztec sandstone outcrops nestled in gray and tan limestone, Valley of Fire State Park contains ancient, petrified trees and petroglyphs dating back more than 2,000 years.

New Hampshire

Drive the Mount Washington Auto Road

The views are absolutely amazing, even by New Hampshire standards. If you’re too nervous to drive the mountain, you can take the Cog Railway.

New Jersey

Skip Jersey Shore Head To Wineries

New Jersey is home to nearly 20 different wineries but the best one is Bellview Winery, located in the Landisville section of Buena in Atlantic County.

Photo courtesy of Bellview Winery

New Mexico

White Sands National Dunes

Head to White Sands National Dunes to experience over 275 square miles of glistening white gypsum desert sands.


New York

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a research library of the New York Public Library and an archive repository for information on people of African descent worldwide


North Carolina

Jockey’s Ridge

Jockey’s Ridge is the largest active sand dune on the east coast where you can hang glide off the ridge.


North Dakota

Heritage Center & State Museum

North Dakota’s largest museum features four museum galleries tracing the state’s rich history from its earliest geologic formation 600 million years ago to today.


Ohio

Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a museum and hall of fame located in right on the shore of Lake Erie in Cleveland.

It  documents the history of rock music and the artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have influenced its development

Oklahoma

Poteau Balloon Fest

The Poteau Balloon Fest features hot air balloons, tethered balloon rides and glows, a mud pit race, arts and crafts booths, games, food, carnival rides and more.

Oregon

Experience Crater Lake

With a depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States – and one of the most beautiful.

The water’s intense blue color is an indication of its great depth and purity. Surrounded by cliffs, the lake is fed entirely by rain and snow. Scientists consider Crater Lake to be the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.


Pennsylvania

Eastern State Penitentiary

The Eastern State Penitentiary is a historic institution that was the first modern prison in the world.

During October, it’s known for being incredibly haunted and for housing infamous inmates like Al Capone.

Rhode Island

Have A Drink At America’s Oldest Bar

The White Horse Tavern was originally built in 1673 and is a favorite among locals.

South Carolina

Myrtle Beach Safari

The Myrtle Beach Safari wild encounters tour is fully accredited by The Zoological Association of America. This tour is a guided walk through fifty acres of preserve just 17 miles south of Barefoot Landing.

Facebook | T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station


South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Drive along Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway, a 31-mile stretch of jagged cliffs and striking rock formations.


Tennessee

The Lost Sea

The Lost Sea, located in Sweetwater, is an underground body of water is part of a vast series of caves known as Craighead Caverns. 


Texas

Barbecue Shuffle

Texas is known for its style of barbecue, so don’t leave without trying.  Gaitlin’s BBQ is legendary in Houston and the brisket and spare ribs there are in a league of their own.


Utah

Arches National Park

In the state that boasts one of the darkest skies in the U.S., camp under the stars at Arches National Park.

Vermont

Burton Island State Park

Lake Champlain has roughly 80 islands— some big and small–so take the ferry to Burton Island, a 253-acre park off the tip of St. Albans Point.

Virginia

National Harbor

National Harbor is one of the best waterfront resorts along the Potomac River, overlooking Old Town Alexandria and Mt. Vernon, just south of Washington DC.


Washington

Orca Whale Watching

Whale watching off the coast of Washington on the San Juan Islands is truly a one of kind experience. whales.


West Virginia

Experience “Bridge Day”

On the third Saturday in October, the 876-foot tall New River Gorge Bridge shuts down traffic and turns into a launch point for more than 800 BASE jumpers. The event brings in nearly 80,000 spectators, according to Reader’s Digest.

Wisconsin

Apostle Islands

Explore the ice caves at Apostle Islands, home to some of the most stunning sea caves found in the Great Lakes.

Wyoming

Aerial Tram

Enjoy some breathtaking views without any effort by boarding the aerial tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort to take a ride to the top of Rendezvous Mountain to enjoy the view.

Washington D.C.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a spring celebration in Washington, D.C., commemorating the Mar. 27, 1912, gift of Japanese cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo City to the city of Washington, D.C. 

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
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