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Whether you are looking to explore history, culture, music, sports, nature, or art, our large country has landmarks as diverse as America’s 50 States. Searching for attractions for your upcoming road trip or new places to explore in your state or region? Here is the Most Iconic Landmark in Every State to inspire your next adventure.
1. Alabama’s USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
Considered to be the most recognized state symbol, this park honors residents who played a role in armed conflicts on behalf of the United States. Anchored by a retired BB-60 Battleship named after the state, it’s now a museum visited by hundreds of thousands of people a year.
2. Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay National Park is the stunning, untouched wilderness of quintessential Alaska. The highlight of the Inside Passage, this park’s 3 million acres of glaciers, rainforests, mountains, and wild coastlines are set within a larger World Heritage site. It’s no wonder this beautiful undeveloped land is one of the most popular attractions in the state.
3. Arizona’s Grand Canyon
Tourists come from around the world to see the magnificent Grand Canyon. It displays Arizona’s iconic geography of deep canyons, rock formations, and the mighty Colorado River who carved this 18-mile wide canyon. Almost six million people view the canyon’s stunning vistas from The North or South Rim sections of this National Park.
4. Arkansas’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art celebrates the state’s natural beauty, the culture of its indigenous people, and art from five centuries of Americans. Set in a 120-acre Ozark forest, the unique building curves to match the shape of the hillside and is as beautiful as the artwork it contains.
5. California’s Golden Gate Bridge
This infamous red bridge outside of San Francisco symbolizes the innovative spirit of this city, region, and state. For over 30 years, this engineering marvel was the longest suspension bridge in the world. One of the most popular things to do in California, visitors can join free walking tours, explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and learn about the site’s rich history through exhibits.
6. Colorado’s Garden of the Gods Park
Putting all of Colorado’s natural beauty on display, it’s not a surprise that Garden of the Gods is one of the most popular and frequently visited attractions in the state. This National Natural Landmark features otherworldly 300-foot sandstone rock formations against the backdrop of Pikes Peak mountain. See for yourself why some say it’s the #1 Park in America and a place fit for the gods to assemble.
7. Connecticut’s Mystic Seaport Museum
For more than 85 years, people have visited Mystic Seaport to appreciate the state’s place in American maritime history. The town of Mystic was a significant seaport and now is home to one of the leading nautical museums. Visitors can see four National Historic Landmark vessels, a 19-century coastal village, and a working shipyard.
8. Delaware’s Cape Henlopen State Park
Cape Henlopen encompasses Delaware’s historical significance and coastal beauty all in one landmark. Visitors can tour Fort Miles Historical Area, which was part of our nation’s coastal defense, relax on the beach while looking for wildlife, or choose various activities like boating, fishing, clamming, kayaking, or windsurfing.
9. Florida’s Cinderella Castle
Magic Kingdom’s iconic castle is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Walt Disneyworld, the most visited vacation resort on the planet. It welcomes over 58 million people a year to The Happiest Place on Earth, where fairy tale amusement awaits over 27,000 acres.
10. Georgia’s Centennial Olympic Park
Built to commemorate its Olympic legacy, this 22-acre open space public park is now home to famous Atlanta landmarks like CNN, the Georgia Aquarium, and The Coca-Cola Museum. The crown jewel of the city’s downtown entertainment district, people can visit the Fountain Rings Plaza, attend an event, or relax in the acres of open lawn space right in the center of the city.
11. Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park
When you think of Hawaii, you think of volcanic islands meeting the sea. Volcanoes National Park brings infamous Hawaiian images to life in one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. Born from the same lava visitors hope to see, this national park starts at the ocean and rises dramatically to 13,677 feet.
12. Idaho’s Shoshone Falls Park
The “Niagara Falls of the West” is taller than its New York cousin and is the state’s largest natural wonder. Spend an entire day, or more, exploring all Shoshone Falls Park has to offer, from swimming, hiking, boating, and relaxing picnic areas with waterfall views.
13. Illinois’ Millennium Park
Chicago’s 25-acre downtown park includes not only large public spaces stretching all the way to Lake Michigan but showcases modern architecture, which was born right out of the city’s local firms. Featuring both a famous bandshell-shaped performance space designed by Frank Gehry and the iconic mirrored three-story Dream Cloud sculpture, it’s a must-visit spot for tourists and locals. A year-round attraction offering ice skating, Lurie Gardens, the Crown Fountain, Art Space Programs, and other special exhibitions and events.
14. Indiana’s Falls of The Ohio State Park
Considered a key historical site in Indiana, this state park is home to 390-million-year-old fossil beds and ancient sites from every era of history. Bring your history buffs or school-aged kids to see science and key discoveries come alive in the very places where it happened.
15. Iowa’s Effigy Mounds National Monument
Iowa’s green landscape and wetlands created by the Mississippi River produced the perfect setting for these 1,000-year-old mysterious American Indian mounds. Visitors can discover the history of these 200 effigy mounds in the shape of animals as they walk along the Yellow River Bridge Trail.
16. Kansas’s Botanica, The Wichita Gardens
Botanica celebrates the state’s horticulture history in an artistic and educational setting. The beautiful 18 acres of gardens, lush greenery, and 50 elegant sculptures showcase plants well suited for the Kansas environment.
17. Kentucky’s Churchill Downs
Home of the iconic Kentucky Derby, this Louisville sports complex is considered the mecca of horseracing. Over 150,000 people flock to Churchill Downs in their Derby Day finest to sip a Mint Julep while watching the fastest two minutes in sports.
18. Louisiana’s Bourbon Street
The highlight of New Orleans, this iconic 13 block section of The French Quarter, is famous for its bars, clubs, and entertainment. A must-see attraction for 17 million annual visitors looking to experience Louisiana’s drinks, food, and music.
19. Maine’s Portland Head Light
A symbol of coastal Maine’s defensive role, Portland Head Light was a part of America’s hard-won independence by warning against British attacks. Visitors can also enjoy the adjacent Fort Williams State Park’s 90 acres of hiking trails and oceanfront picnic areas.
20. Maryland’s Assateague State Park
Assateague State Park puts the undisturbed beauty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore on display. Located on a barrier island, this park features a long stretch of beach, popular with sunbathers, swimmers, and surfers. However, the island’s infamous wild horses draw people looking to observe them from a distance.
21. Massachusetts’ Plimoth Patuxet Museums
The Plimoth Patuxet Museums pay tribute to 400 years of state history, and the crucial role Massachutes played in creating America. Created to bring to life 17th century Plymouth Colony and Native cultures, actors act out seven decades of history for millions of schoolchildren and visitors a year.
22. Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore showcases the best of Lake Superior, one of four Great Lakes Michigan touches. American’s first National Lakeshore, this undeveloped 60,000 acres of land offer miles of beaches, hiking and kayaking in the summer, as well as skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling in the winter.
23. Minnesota’s Mall of America
The largest mall and entertainment complex in North America, the Mall of America draws tens of millions of people a year. With over 5 million square feet of space, more than 500 stores and restaurants, Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor theme park, a Sea Life Aquarium, and two mini-golf courses, there’s something for everyone.
24. Mississippi’s Grammy Museum
It’s only fitting that the birthplace of America’s blues, and the state with the most Grammy winners, has its own Grammy museum. It honors Mississippi-native musicians such as Elvis Presley and B.B King, who laid the foundation for beloved music styles like blues, jazz, rock and roll, and hip-hop.
25. Missouri’s Gateway Arch
St. Louis’s iconic Arch is a symbol of the state’s role in America’s westward expansion. At 630 feet, it’s our country’s tallest man-made monument. Since its completion 50 years ago, more than 140 million people have visited this stainless-steel creation, designed to illustrate the shape a chain makes when held at both ends.
26. Montana’s Gates of the Mountains
The most recognizable landmark of the Lewis & Clark expedition is appropriately located in Montana, where they spent most of their time. Lewis himself named this stunning riverfront canyon The Gates of The Mountains. This 28,000 acre Wilderness Area and 1200 foot limestone cliffs remain largely the same as Lewis & Clark saw them more than 200 years ago.
27. Nebraska’s Carhenge
In a state that celebrates independent thinkers, nowhere is that evident than Carhenge. A recreation of the ancient Stonehenge but with cars, this unique and modern art creation is a quirky Nebraska pop-icon and a Top 10 Worldwide Attraction Award recipient.
28. Nevada’s Fountains of Bellagio
When you picture Nevada’s Las Vegas, odds are the iconic fountains of The Bellagio hotel come to mind. These 200-foot-tall fountains put on a choreographed show, with lights and music, multiple times every day. It’s not a surprise that this free attraction is voted the #1 activity in Las Vegas.
29. New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory
Mount Washington Observatory is perched on the highest peak in the state and the Northeastern U.S. Offering opportunities for education, exploration, and scientific discovery in both the summer and extreme New England winter conditions.
30. New Jersey’s Liberty State Park
You can experience the innovative spirit and historical significance of the state all in one New Jersey landmark. Millions of people a year come to this waterfront park to take in stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, visit the state-of-the-art Liberty Science Center and the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, and catch ferries to The Statue of Liberty. Locals also love it for its hiking, biking trails, picnic areas, and performance spaces.
31. New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns
In the land of enchantment, delight in the underground surprises found in this piece of the Guadalupe Mountains. The star attraction of this National Park is 119 underground limestone caves and resilient subterranean grass, plants, cactus, and trees.
32. New York’s Times Square
Experience for yourself the energy and edginess of New York in world-famous Times Square. This portion of Broadway and 7th Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets features more than 50 billboards and the largest LED display in the world. More than 50 million people a year bask in the neon lights of Broadway and take in the character and culture of the city that never sleeps.
33. North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate
Built by George Vanderbilt, The Biltmore is the largest privately-owned home in America and is now the state’s most popular attraction drawing over a million visitors a year. This National Historic Landmark consists of gardens, a winery, a farm, shops, hiking & biking trails, restaurants, and various hotels. Come for a day from nearby Asheville, or stay on-site for a weekend getaway.
34. North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park
In a state known for wide-open uncrowded spaces, Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers 70,000 acres of undeveloped land to explore. The Land of The Legendary honors the president that laid the foundation for the National Parks system and returned to these same Badlands throughout his life.
35. Ohio’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The iconic triangular class structure is not just a building unlike you’ve ever seen before, but is unlike any museum you’ve experienced before. As you walk through the exhibits and learn the stories of your favorite musicians, you feel connected through more than just a love of music but a shared history.
36. Oklahoma’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
America’s leading institution of Western history and culture is appropriately located in Oklahoma’s Cowboy Country. Visitors can experience the cowboy culture and legacy in tours, historical exhibits, live performances and see more than 8,000 Western, American Indian, and Rodeo artwork and artifacts.
37. Oregon’s Mount Hood
Visible from across the Pacific Northwest, Mount Hood is not only the tallest mountain in the state but one of the most iconic landmarks in the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge. A favorite year-round destination for skiers, hikers, climbers, and campers from Portland and across the country.
38. Pennsylvania’s Independence National Historical Park
The state’s motto of virtue, liberty, and independence is exhibited at the site where the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Classified as both a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Historic Park, it is visited by more than 5 million people a year looking to experience one of the most important sites of American history.
39. Rhode Island’s The Breakers
The crown jewel of Newport, this opulent summer home of the Vanderbilt family, symbolizes the state’s coastal draw for the rich and famous. Now the number one tourist attraction in Rhode Island, visitors can tour this 70 room Italian-style oceanfront mansion and learn the folklore of this infamous family.
40. South Carolina’s Rainbow Row
Symbolizing Charleston’s continuous reinvention, this series of once rundown, now joyfully updated homes is one of the top tourist destinations in the city. This street of colorfully painted residences is the longest cluster of Georgian row houses in the country. Walk the streets of Charleston to experience for yourself why it’s the Top Vacation City in America.
41. South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial features a 60-foot granite likeness of four U.S. presidents gazing out over South Dakota’s Black Hills. A monument to democracy, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were chosen to represent the country’s birth, growth, development, and preservation.
42. Tennessee’s Clingman’s Dome
One of the most iconic images in Smoky Mountains National Park is also the highest point in Tennessee. A trip to the most visited National Park in America is not complete without a drive to high elevations to view mountain ranges from the 54-foot observation tower.
43. Texas’ The Alamo
One of the most widely recognized Texas monuments is a tiny mission-style building right in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Dubbed the Shrine of Texas Liberty, it was on this site in 1836 that Texas, an independent self-governing republic, was born from the Mexican state of Tejas. Visitors can learn about the history, gardens, and buildings, including its infamous basement.
44. Utah’s Crawford Arch
Zion National Park, the most popular of the state’s five National Parks, features Crawford Arch, a stunning, massive ribbon of rock. One of the most visible geological formations in the park is perched a thousand feet off the canyon floor overlooking the Human History Museum at the base of Bridge Mountain.
45. Vermont’s Ben & Jerry’s Factory
The iconic, off-beat Vermont-based ice cream brand turned its first manufacturing building into a museum offering tours as well as a scoop shop. Ben & Jerry’s made Vermont ice cream world famous with its creative and cleverly named flavors. If you’re short on time, pop into the scoop shop to try exclusive flavors offered only in Waterbury.
46. Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park
While only 75 miles away from Washington, D.C, Shenandoah National Park is a world away from the bustling capital. Stretching over 200,000 acres, the park offers stunning panoramic views, birdwatching, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and camping. Called America’s most accessible National Park, it’s bucket list-worthy for your next day trip, long weekend, or a week-long vacation.
47. Washington’s Space Needle
This iconic Seattle Skyline building was initially created for The World’s Fair and now draws over one million visitors a year. Make your way to the top of the 600-foot tower for stunning views of Washington’s beauty, including Elliot Bay, Puget Sound, Cascade & Olympic Mountain ranges, and Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in the state.
48. West Virginia’s The Greenbrier
This National Historic Landmark and world-class resort has hosted half our country’s presidents, royalty, celebrities, and guests from around the world since 1778. See for yourself why the 11,000-acre hotel and on-site mineral springs have been drawing people from around the globe to West Virginia’s mountains.
49. Wisconsin’s Harley-Davidson Museum
Born in Milwaukee, Harley-Davison has a worldwide cult following for its high-quality, customizable motorcycles. Fans can explore The Harley-Davidson Museum with interactive exhibitions about the culture and love of the sport as well as a collection of Harley-Davidson memorabilia and motorcycles.
50. Wyoming’s Old Faithful
The most iconic spot in beloved Yellowstone National Park, Old Faithful geyser erupts in a highly predicted pattern, much to the delight of 4 million visitors a year. Dubbed the world’s most famous geyser, it puts on a natural show every 74 minutes or so, shooting thousands of gallons of scalding hot water over 100 feet into the sky.
This post is originally on Wealth of Geeks.
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