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Explore From Sea to Shining Sea

In a nation as enormous as the United States, travelers can find an overwhelming array of landscapes and cultures, with enough variety to satisfy all interests. Capture the wild landscape of the Southwest, California's epic coastline or the urban hum of the Northeast. Find friendly locals in the Midwest, rich cuisine with a history in the South's Low Country and so much more.

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Kentucky State Fair
Kentucky State Fair

Kentucky State Fair

The Bluegrass State's big-name concerts -- including Rascal Flatts, Journey and Hank Williams Jr. -- and serious horse shows draw over 600,000 visitors to the state fair in Louisville each year. 960 1280

Kentucky State Fair  

California State Fair

California State Fair

California's State Fair in Sacramento earns the nickname "Big Fun" with a petting zoo and water park for kids, as well as live thoroughbred racing and a brewfest for adults. 960 1280

California State Fair  

Oregon State Fair

Oregon State Fair

The Oregon State Fair's biggest attractions in Salem include the Hart of the Garden made up of over 8,000 flowers and the Fairlift which gives visitors a bird's-eye-view as it travels from one end of the fairgrounds to the other. 960 1280

Oregon State Fair  

State Fair of Texas

State Fair of Texas

It's true that everything's bigger in Texas, including its state fair in Dallas which draws over 3 million people annually to see the 52-foot-tall mascot Big Tex and eat an astonishing array of fried foods. 960 1280

Kevin Brown/State Fair of Texas  

Arizona State Fair

Arizona State Fair

With over 75 rides, 100 food booths, a stellar concert lineup and warm weather, it's easy to see why the Arizona State Fair draws over 1 million visitors to Phoenix in October and November. 960 1280

Jillian Danielson  

Ohio State Fair

Ohio State Fair

In addition to agriculture, the Ohio State Fair in Columbus is heavy on entertainment where you can hear the likes of Gavin DeGraw, Jason Aldean or see a new star born during Ohio Idol. 960 1280

Ohio State Fair  

Puyallup Fair

Puyallup Fair

Don't let the name fool you, this is Washington's largest fair which draws 1.3 million visitors to Puyallup each year for rides, rodeo and the new Rainforest Adventure, where kids get the chance to experience an authentic tropical rainforest atmosphere in a lush exhibit complete with toucans, anacondas, snapping turtles, and more. 960 1280

anaxila, flickr  

Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fair

Like most fairs, one of the biggest draws to the Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights is the live music at the Grandstand. The second-biggest state fair in the country (second only to Texas which runs twice as long) offers entertainment that ranges from country music legend Alan Jackson to stock car races to the ever-popular live broadcast of Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion. 960 1280

Minnesota State Fair  

Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair's slogan is "nothing compares," and it's true nothing compares to the life-size, 600-pound butter cow on display for the more than a million fairgoers in Des Moines each year. It also one-ups a fair staple: Food on-a-stick, offering over 50 types including the deep-fried cupcake and hot bologna on a stick. 960 1280

Iowa State Fair  

Wisconsin State Fair

Wisconsin State Fair

Held just outside Milwaukee in West Allis, otherwise known as America's Dairyland, it's no surprise the biggest attraction at the Wisconsin State Fair is the cream puffs -- betcha can't eat just one. 960 1280

Wisconsin State Fair Park  

The Big E Fair

The Big E Fair

Even though it’s located in Springfield, Massachusetts, The Big E Fair is actually New England's regional fair. Despite not technically qualifying as a state fair, any fair where you can try Maine lobster and baked potatoes as well as Vermont's maple syrup and Ben and Jerry's ice cream easily makes this list. 960 1280

TheBigE_ESE, flickr  

Delaware, Caesar Rodney Statue
Delaware, Caesar Rodney Statue

Delaware, Caesar Rodney Statue

This statue of Delaware’s most cherished patriot stands in downtown Wilmington, DE. On July 1, 1776, Caesar Rodney rode horseback to Philadelphia -- the very next day, the American lawyer and politician from Dover, DE, cast a crucial vote that paved the way for the passage of the Declaration of Independence. 960 1280

Joe del Tufo/Delaware Tourism Office  

Pennsylvania, Liberty Bell

Pennsylvania, Liberty Bell

This iconic symbol of American independence carries the words, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” Historians believe the copper bell was one of many bells rung to mark the public reading of the Declaration of Independence on July 8, 1776. 960 1280

Robert & Pam, flickr  

New Jersey, Atlantic City

New Jersey, Atlantic City

The Atlantic City Boardwalk was the first boardwalk in America. It opened in June 1870 to help hotel owners keep sand out of their lobbies. Today, the boardwalk lures many visitors on the way to one of the area's many casinos … and to a confectioner's stand for the boardwalk’s famous salt water taffy.  960 1280

Walter Bibikow / The Images Bank / Getty Images  

Georgia, Ebenezer Baptist Church

Georgia, Ebenezer Baptist Church

A great leader was born here. Before he ever became America’s leading civil rights leader, Martin Luther King’s moral conscience was shaped at Ebenezer Baptist Church. 960 1280

Judy Baxter, flickr  

Connecticut, Mystic Seaport

Connecticut, Mystic Seaport

The Mystic Seaport was one of the first living history museums in America, having opened in 1929. Spanning nearly 20 acres, the museum showcases a recreated 19th-century coastal village with more than 60 historic buildings, as well as a collection of historic ships -- including 4 that are National Historic Landmarks. 960 1280

Connecticut Office of Tourism  

Massachusetts, Plymouth Rock

Massachusetts, Plymouth Rock

Legend has it that the Pilgrims first landed upon a boulder -- it came to be known as Plymouth Rock. That enduring symbol of America’s early history now sits under this granite canopy, built in 1921, at Pilgrim Memorial State Park.  960 1280

Kenneth C. Zirkel / Photodisc / Getty Images  

Maryland, Fort McHenry

Maryland, Fort McHenry

The star-shaped Fort McHenry was built to defend the port of Baltimore against enemy attack. That moment came in September 1814 when the British continuously bombarded the fort for 25 hours. American forces successfully defended Baltimore Harbor -- a move that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 960 1280

Thinkstock  

South Carolina, Fort Sumter

South Carolina, Fort Sumter

In the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter. They fired continuously for the next 34 hours, setting off the Civil War. It would take nearly 4 years for Union forces to regain control of the fort. 960 1280

Harry Alverson, flickr   

New Hampshire, Mt. Washington Cog Railway

New Hampshire, Mt. Washington Cog Railway

In 1857, a man named Sylvester Marsh was climbing New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington when he got the idea to build a railway up the mountain. He put up $5,000 of his own money to fund what would become the world’s first mountain-climbing cog railway. Today, the Mt. Washington Cog Railway is the second steepest rack railway in the world, behind Mt. Pilatus Railway in Switzerland. 960 1280

NH Division of Parks and Recreation  

Virginia, Monticello

Virginia, Monticello

Monticello stands as an enduring symbol of America’s third president and his genius. Thomas Jefferson designed his Monticello estate in Charlottesville, VA, to embrace both old and new thinking: classical features such as pedimented porticos, mix with sophisticated interior spatial organization and low elevation, borrowed from 18th-century Parisian townhouse designs. 960 1280

Tony Fischer, flickr  

New York, Statue of Liberty

New York, Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was the first landmark that many immigrants to the United States saw as they approached New York Harbor. A gift from the people of France, the iconic figure represents the Roman goddess of freedom. In one hand she bears a torch, in the other a tablet upon which is inscribed the date of the Declaration of Independence. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

North Carolina, Wright Brothers Memorial

North Carolina, Wright Brothers Memorial

Steady winds lured Ohio brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright to Kill Devil Hills, NC, between 1900 and 1903. Their vision was to fly a heavier-than-air machine. The Wright Brothers National Memorial marks that successful effort -- attained on Dec. 17, 1903, following 3 years of trial and error. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Rhode Island, Breakers Mansion

Rhode Island, Breakers Mansion

When American millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt was looking to build a summer home, he got his wish with The Breakers. Built in 1893, the 70-room mansion in Newport, RI, sits on 13 acres of land overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It came with a cool price tag: $12 million (today, the equivalent of $335 million). 960 1280

Wally Gobetz  

Vermont, Camel’s Hump

Vermont, Camel’s Hump

The distinctive silhouette of Camel’s Hump stands in the background of this rural scene. The third-highest mountain (and highest undeveloped peak) in Vermont, Camel’s Hump is part of the Green Mountain range. It’s also featured on the state quarter.   960 1280

jdwfoto / iStock / Getty Images  

Kentucky, Kentucky Derby

Kentucky, Kentucky Derby

Every first Saturday in May, Louisville, KY, is home to the “Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.” The Kentucky Derby marks the annual stakes race for 3-year-old thoroughbreds, which race around a 1 1/4-mile track. The tradition began in May 1875, when the first Derby was held before a crowd of 10,000 people. 960 1280

kentuckytourism.com  

Tennessee, Ryman Auditorium

Tennessee, Ryman Auditorium

The Grand Ole Opry was born here. First opened as a church, Ryman Auditorium was later used to broadcast the famed country music stage concert series from 1943 to 1974. In subsequent years, Ryman fell into disrepair, until performances by country singer Emmylou Harris here sparked renewed interest in the space. Today, the 2,362-seat live performance venue hosts a variety of music performances. 960 1280

Tennessee Dept. of Tourist Development  

Ohio, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Ohio, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The quiet shores of Ohio’s Lake Erie are home to rock ‘n’ roll’s biggest celebration: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Located in Cleveland, the museum preserves the work of rock’s most influential artists and producers through exhibits that span 5 floors -- the museum’s third floor showcases the Hall of Fame and includes a wall with all the inductees’ signatures. 960 1280

Ohio Office of Tourism  

Louisiana, Oak Alley Plantation

Louisiana, Oak Alley Plantation

By the banks of the Mississippi River stands Oak Alley Plantation -- so named because of the double row of 300-year-old oak trees that sit alongside each side of the path leading to the mansion. Designed in the spirit of French Creole architecture, the plantation home was built between 1837 and 1839 for a wealthy sugar planter of the day. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Indiana, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indiana, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

In 1905, Indianapolis businessman Carl Fisher envisioned building a speedway to test cars before they went to market. Four years later, ground was broken -- and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was born. Since that time, the speedway has been the site of 248 automobile races -- and sees crowds of more than 400, 000 people in what is the world’s highest-capacity stadium facility. 960 1280

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Photography  

Mississippi, Blues Trail

Mississippi, Blues Trail

There’s just something about Mississippi -- more blues singers have come from state than all the other Southern states combined. The Mississippi Blues Trail, which extends from the border of Louisiana into southern Mississippi (and beyond, into Memphis, TN, and Chicago) honors many blues legends, such as B.B. King. Follow the trail to Tupelo, MS -- the birthplace of Elvis Presley. 960 1280

Joseph, flickr  

Illinois, Willis Tower

Illinois, Willis Tower

When the 108-story Willis Tower was completed in 1973 it became the world’s tallest building -- a distinction it held for 25 years. Today, the skyscraper still stands as the tallest building in America. More than 1 million people visit its observation deck each year, taking in views of the Chicago skyline. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Alabama, The Selma Bridge

Alabama, The Selma Bridge

Visitors walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL. Built in 1940 -- and named after a former Confederate brigadier general -- the arch bridge later became the site of Bloody Sunday, the day in March 1965 when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by police with billy clubs and tear gas.  960 1280

Stephen Saks / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Maine, Portland Head Light

Maine, Portland Head Light

In 1787, George Washington ordered the construction of this lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, ME. Two people had died that same year in a shipwreck, a tragedy heightened by the lack of lighthouses on Maine’s rocky coast. Today, the lighthouse remains a towering beacon, standing 80 feet above ground.  960 1280

EJ Johnson Photography / iStock / Thinkstock  

Missouri, Gateway Arch

Missouri, Gateway Arch

The Gateway Arch celebrates America’s westward expansion. At 630 feet (taller than the Washington Monument), it is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. The monument opened to the public in 1967. An accompanying underground visitor center opened in 1976. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Arkansas, Buffalo National River

Arkansas, Buffalo National River

Flowing nonstop for 135 miles, Arkansas’s Buffalo National River is one of the last undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. It was named the first National River, under the oversight of the National Park Service, in 1972. The river is popular for fishing, canoeing and camping; it’s also a great place to take a summertime plunge. 960 1280

Wesley Hitt / Getty Images  

Michigan, The Henry Ford Museum

Michigan, The Henry Ford Museum

Discover America’s entrepreneurial spirit at The Henry Ford, a large indoor-outdoor history museum complex in metro Detroit. Opened in 1929 -- on the 50th anniversary of the lightbulb’s invention -- the museum’s exhibits span historic artifacts (such as Thomas Edison’s laboratory) to classic Americana like these famous double arches. 960 1280

Collections of The Henry Ford  

Florida, Kennedy Space Center

Florida, Kennedy Space Center

Midway between Miami and Jacksonville, FL, dreams of outer space take flight. The Kennedy Space Center has been the launch site of every US human space flight since 1968. At the KSC Visitors Complex discover the thrill of takeoff with a Shuttle Launch Experience, a motion control ride that simulates a shuttle launch. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Texas, The Alamo

Texas, The Alamo

The Alamo is the most enduring symbol of Texas independence. In 1836, Mexican forces waged a 13-day battle on the grounds of a former church. In the end, Mexican forces killed 190 men, including frontiersman Davy Crockett. Soon the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” led Texas forces to victory at the battle of San Jacinto -- a move that secured Texas’s independence.  960 1280

DC Productions / Photodisc / Thinkstock  

Iowa, High Trestle Trail Bridge

Iowa, High Trestle Trail Bridge

Take in the awe-inspiring view of the Des Moines River Valley from the High Trestle Trail Bridge. The bridge is located in central Iowa near the town of Madrid, and is the centerpiece of a 25-mile trail that runs from the cities of Ankeny to Woodward. At 2,300 feet long and 13 stories tall, it is the fifth largest trail bridge in the world. 960 1280

Iowa Tourism Office  

Wisconsin, Taliesin

Wisconsin, Taliesin

Taliesin, located near Spring Green, WI, was the summer home of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was where he designed the architecture of Fallingwater and the Guggenheim, among others. 960 1280

Toy Dog Design, flickr  

California, Golden Gate Bridge

California, Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge has been called the most “beautiful bridge in the country, if not the world.” So just why isn’t the bridge golden? The term “Golden Gate” actually refers to the Golden Gate Strait, which is the entry point to the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. As for the bridge’s color -- it’s International Orange, a color that’s often used in the aerospace industry to distinguish objects from their surroundings … in the bridge’s case, visibility on foggy days. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Minnesota, Headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itacsa

Minnesota, Headwaters of the Mississippi River at Lake Itacsa

At Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the Mississippi River begins its flow toward Louisiana. The Mississippi’s headwaters are surrounded by the picturesque woods of the Itasca State Park. 960 1280

Explore Minnesota Tourism  

Oregon, Crater Lake

Oregon, Crater Lake

Distinguished by its clarity and deep blue color, Crater Lake in southern Oregon has a violent past. A caldera lake, it was formed when the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed.  960 1280

Shippee / iStock / Thinkstock  

Kansas, Dodge City

Kansas, Dodge City

“Get out of Dodge” -- that popular phrase owes its origins to the wild frontier town of Dodge City, KS. The town’s roots stretch back to 1871, when a rancher built a sod house in the area to oversee his cattle operations. Soon the town grew – and so did the violence. Wyatt Earp, one of the toughest and deadliest gunmen of his day, became marshal of the town in 1876 -- with gun-slinging exploits that earned the town national attention.  960 1280

Jupiter Images / Photos.com / Thinkstock  

West Virginia's 150th

West Virginia's 150th

The Mountain State marks its 150th anniversary in 2013. In June 1863, at the height of the Civil War, an expanse of land in the Appalachian Mountain range broke away from the state of Virginia, becoming the only state to form by seceding from the Confederacy. Among West Virginia’s must-see sites is the New River Gorge, a 3,030-foot-long steel arch bridge near Fayetteville, WV. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Nevada, Las Vegas Strip

Nevada, Las Vegas Strip

The Strip -- a lot of action happens along this 4.2-mile stretch of Vegas. The Strip runs from Sahara Avenue to Russell Road, with famous resorts and casinos, plus 15 of the world’s 25 largest hotels, in between. 960 1280

TravelNevada, flickr  

Nebraska, Chimney Rock

Nebraska, Chimney Rock

“Pack your wagon” and discover one of the wonders of the West. At 4,226 above sea level, Chimney Rock in western Nebraska is visible for miles -- which is why it was the perfect landmark for pioneering travelers on the Oregon Trail. In fact, it was the landmark mentioned most frequently in journal entries by travelers of the day. 960 1280

Steve Cornelius, flickr  

Colorado, Colorado National Monument

Colorado, Colorado National Monument

Millions of years of erosion went into making the vibrant, orange, slick walls and canyons of Colorado National Monument.  Spanning 20,500 acres, the monument is composed of deep canyons that cut into sandstone and granite in the desert on the Colorado Plateau. Red-tailed hawks, golden eagles and coyotes live among the juniper forests on the plateau. 960 1280

Mtcurado / iStock / Thinkstock  

North Dakota, Painted Canyon

North Dakota, Painted Canyon

In September 1883 future US president Theodore Roosevelt visited the North Dakota Badlands to hunt bison. He soon fell in love with the “perfect freedom” of the West. Discover this world of flat desert mixed with petrified wood and rock formations at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park -- its Painted Canyon Overlook offers visitors unparalleled vistas in a myriad colors. 960 1280

North Dakota Tourism  

South Dakota, Mount Rushmore

South Dakota, Mount Rushmore

In 1923 South Dakota historian Doane Robinson envisioned carving the likenesses of US presidents into South Dakota’s Black Hills region. It took 14 years and 400 workers to complete Mount Rushmore, with the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln intricately carved into the granite. Today, Mount Rushmore is South Dakota’s top tourist draw. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Montana, Wild Goose Island in St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

Montana, Wild Goose Island in St. Mary Lake, Glacier National Park

St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park features a small island in its center called Wild Goose Island. Folklore surrounds its name -- the story goes that 2 young lovers met on the island where they were turned into geese … and so given the chance to stay together forever and flee their disapproving tribes.  960 1280

CoyStClair / iStock / Thinkstock  

Washington, Space Needle

Washington, Space Needle

Seattle’s Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair. It features an observation deck at 520 feet and a rotating restaurant (at 500 feet) that offers diners 360-degree views of the city. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Idaho, Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Idaho, Middle Fork of the Salmon River

Middle Fork of the Salmon River spans 110 miles, and includes 300 ratable rapids and 6 natural hot springs, making it a popular whitewater rafting destination. 960 1280

ROW Adventures  

Wyoming, Old Faithful

Wyoming, Old Faithful

Two-thirds of the world’s geysers are located at Yellowstone National Park -- among the park’s 300 geysers, Old Faithful is its most famous. In 1870, Old Faithful became the first geyser in Yellowstone to be named, earning its name due to its predictable eruptions every 91 minutes.  960 1280

Adam Long Sculpture / iStock / Thinkstock  

Utah, Salt Lake Temple

Utah, Salt Lake Temple

The largest Mormon temple, Salt Lake Temple took 40 years to complete. The cornerstone was laid by Brigham Young, the second president of the Mormon Church and founder of Salt Lake City. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

Oklahoma, Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma, Oklahoma City National Memorial

 The Oklahoma City National Memorial honors all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. The memorial includes a reflecting pool, field of empty chairs, survivors’ wall and survivor tree. The eastern gate, seen here, represents the last minute of peace before the bombing. 960 1280

Danita Delimont / Gallo Images / Getty Images  

New Mexico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park

New Mexico, Chaco Culture National Historical Park

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico contains the most expansive collection of ancient pueblos and ruins north of Mexico. 960 1280

Alberto Loyo / iStock / Thinkstock  

Arizona, Havasupai Falls

Arizona, Havasupai Falls

In the midst of the Arizona heat, Havasupai Falls offers a relaxing swimming hole -- making it the perfect place to cool off in the Grand Canyon. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

Alaska, Mt. McKinley

Alaska, Mt. McKinley

The highest mountain peak in the United States, Mount McKinley in Alaska is regularly climbed with 58% of climbers reaching the top. 960 1280

Thinkstock   

Hawaii, USS Arizona Memorial

Hawaii, USS Arizona Memorial

Situated on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, the USS Arizona Memorial straddles the sunken hull of the battleship, marking the final resting place of 1,102 soldiers who were killed on that fateful attack that led to the United States’ involvement in World War II.   960 1280

Slobo / E+ / Getty Images  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

‘Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.’ These words -- from MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech -- inform the design of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. Unveiled in October 2011, the memorial is the first of its kind on the National Mall in Washington, DC , to honor an African-American leader. 960 1280

Geoff Livingston, flickr  

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

The single largest loss of civilian life on US soil is commemorated at the 9/11 Memorial in NYC. Located on the grounds where the Twin Towers once stood, bronze parapets are inscribed with the names of 2,983 individuals -- including John Robert Cruz, a 32-year-old employee of Cantor Fitzgerald who became engaged 2 weeks before the attacks. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 cast a long shadow on America. By 1837, 46,000 Native Americans had been removed from their homes in the southeastern US. Thousands died along the way from exposure to harsh winters, disease and starvation. Today, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail runs through 9 states, including Village Creek State Park in Arkansas. 960 1280

Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism  

USS Arizona

USS Arizona

FDR declared Dec. 7, 1941, 'a date which will live in infamy.' The surprise military attack against the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, HI, shocked the nation. Today, the USS Arizona Memorial marks the resting place of 1,102 of the 1,177 sailors killed on the battleship that morning. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Inside a marble temple, Abraham Lincoln sits -- his gaze cast straight ahead upon the US Capitol, a symbol of the Union he helped defend and preserve during this country’s bloodiest conflict. Today, the words of the 16th president’s greatest speech, the Gettysburg Address, live on, inscribed inside this stirring memorial. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Liberty Memorial

Liberty Memorial

The Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO, remembers the 'war to end all wars.' The memorial also houses the National World War I Museum, which tells the story of the Great War through 2 theaters, exhibitions of period artifacts, replica trenches and more. 960 1280

Chris Murphy, flickr  

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, SD, this national memorial commemorates America’s 4 greatest presidents. The idea came from a South Dakota historian who wanted to create a memorial that would attract people from all over the country. Today, nearly 3 million people visit each year. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

America’s most hallowed ground is the final resting place for more than 300,000 active-duty members of the US armed forces. In addition to these rows of white marble headstones, the 624-acre grounds are home to many stirring memorials, most notably the Tomb of the Unknowns, as well as the graves of 2 US presidents. 960 1280

Beverly & Pack, flickr  

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Over 38 months, more than 54,000 American soldiers lost their lives defending South Korea. The Korean War Memorial honors those who served in this 'Forgotten War.' These 19 figures represent a squad on patrol, from each branch of the armed forces. 960 1280

Sean Hayford O’Leary, flickr  

Statue of Liberty National Monument

Statue of Liberty National Monument

Her torch held high, this Roman goddess of freedom was one of the first things that many immigrants who entered through New York’s Ellis Island saw. 'I saw the Statue of Liberty,' recalled one Greek immigrant, 'And I said, ‘Give me a chance to prove that I am worth it, to be someone in America.' 960 1280

Thinkstock  

George Washington Birthplace

George Washington Birthplace

George Washington was born here, in Westmoreland County, VA, in 1732. The 662-acre property includes a family graveyard for 5 generations of the Washington family, including George Washington’s father, grandfather and paternal great-grandfather, who emigrated from England in 1657. 960 1280

Margaret Hill, flickr  

Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg National Military Park

More than 50,000 soldiers died during the 3-day Battle of Gettysburg. Today, hundreds of markers dot the battlefield -- including the State of Pennsylvania Monument. The largest monument on the grounds, it commemorates the 34,530 Pennsylvania soldiers who served in battle -- the single largest group of Union forces to do so. 960 1280

Ron Cogswell, flickr  

Manzanar National Historic Site

Manzanar National Historic Site

During World War II, more than 110,000 Japanese residents of the US -- two-thirds of them US citizens -- were forced into remote, military-style camps. Manzanar National Historic Site is one of 10 internment camp locations that have been preserved. More than 135 internees died at Manzanar. In 1943, internees erected this cement memorial -- its words loosely translate as, ‘This is the place of consolation for the spirit of all mankind.’ 960 1280

jericl cat, flickr  

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

For decades, this battlefield in Montana was named after Gen. George Custer -- and told just one side of the story of the battle between US and the Native American forces here. Then, legislation signed in 1991 renamed the park Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument. The law also said that a Native American memorial should be built on the grounds -- this sculpture by an Oglala Sioux artist is one of the results. 960 1280

reb, flickr  

Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. Remember it with a visit to this star-shaped fort that successfully defended Baltimore Harbor from the British. During the bombardment of the fort, an American lawyer named Francis Scott Key was inspired to write what would become the national anthem. 960 1280

National Park Service  

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

More than 58,000 names are inscribed on this black granite wall. Each name is listed in the order in which they were reported to have died or gone missing in action. For surviving vets, the wall is the closest thing to an address that many have to pay their respects. Mementoes such as baseball mitts, notes and old photos are often left at the wall. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Fire Island Lighthouse
Fire Island, NY

Fire Island, NY

Fire Island, a barrier island parallel to Long Island, NY, is a popular summer vacation destination. Accessible by shuttle ferries, water taxis and private boats, the island is free of motor vehicles, so many visitors get around the island by walking or biking. During the summer, the 32-mile-long island is popular for surfing and sailing. However, many people enjoy visiting the National Seashore during the off-season to explore Fire Island Lighthouse, Sailors Haven and the Sunken Forest, or to collect seashells along the shore. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Marco Island, FL

Marco Island, FL

The unspoiled beaches and lush, tropical surroundings of Marco Island -- the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands -- attracts visitors to Florida’s Gulf Coast year-round. Find respite on one of the island’s white sand beaches, spot dolphins and manatees on a boat tour, or go shopping at the Esplanade. 960 1280

Photolibrary / Getty Images  

Amelia Island, FL

Amelia Island, FL

Amelia Island, Florida’s northernmost barrier island, is a picturesque seaport community popular for outdoor recreation enthusiasts of all ages. During the day, explore 13 miles of beautiful, white sand beaches, go kayaking in the island’s scenic waterways, or hop aboard a river cruise for views of Floridian wildlife like dolphins, manatees and alligators. At sunset, go horseback riding on the beach. Amelia Island is one of the few beach-horseback riding opportunities in the US. Before you go, dine at the family-owned and operated Crab Trap in Fernandina Beach for fresh, locally-caught seafood -- a historic downtown landmark for more than 30 years! 960 1280

Moment Open / Getty Images  

Anna Maria Island, FL

Anna Maria Island, FL

The pristine beaches and turquoise blue waters of Florida’s Anna Maria Island beckon both locals and travelers to this small island paradise on the Gulf Coast. Catch a ride on the free Anna Maria Island Trolley that travels between the island’s 3 cities -- Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria. Soak up the sun at Bean Point -- a secluded beach and local favorite in Anna Maria -- before dining at the historic Rod & Reel Pier restaurant. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Block Island, RI

Block Island, RI

Located just off the coast of Rhode Island is a haven where locals and tourists escape for ultimate serenity. Block Island, RI, is comprised of 17 miles of pristine beaches, wildlife preserves and hiking trails, in addition to historic inns and lighthouses. New Shoreham -- the smallest city in the smallest US state -- is also located on the island. 960 1280

Block Island Tourism Council  

Santa Catalina Island, CA

Santa Catalina Island, CA

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city with a Catalina Island, CA, getaway. A true West Coast paradise, Catalina Island is situated just off the coast of Southern California. Hop aboard a ferry for an hour-long ride to the island, or take a 15-minute helicopter ride. Once on the island, go parasailing to see the island from a different perspective, zip 1,100 feet over the island and descend onto the beach on a zip-line eco tour, or sleep under the stars at one of the designated campgrounds. With a variety of activities and accommodations, the island is great for couples and families looking for an island escape, even if it’s just for the day. 960 1280

Santa Catalina Island Company  

Chincoteague Island, VA

Chincoteague Island, VA

Escape to Chincoteague Island -- Virginia’s only resort island -- located 3.5 hours from Richmond, VA. The small, 7-mile-long island is a fishing village famous for its oysters and clams. Visit in July to watch a herd of 150 wild ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island in the annual Pony Swim. 960 1280

Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce  

Galveston Island, TX

Galveston Island, TX

Located an hour’s drive from Houston, Galveston Island, TX, is a popular vacation destination chock-full of beautiful beaches, historic architecture and a variety of family-friendly attractions and accommodations. Get wet ‘n’ wild at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark or experience 242 acres of attractions at Moody Gardens. 960 1280

Kenny Braun  

Hilton Head Island, SC

Hilton Head Island, SC

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a few rounds of golf at one of the island’s 30 golf courses or to relax on the 12-mile stretch of white-sand beach, Hilton Head Island in South Carolina has it all. One of the largest islands on the East Coast, Hilton Head is a popular, family-friendly resort area with an abundance of activities to choose from, including water sports, outdoor adventures and museums. 960 1280

Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau  

Key West, FL

Key West, FL

Experience the culture, history and charm of the small, 3.5-mile-long island of Key West, FL. A part of the Florida Keys, Key West is located at the southernmost point in the US, only 90 miles from Cuba. Explore Old Town Key West and the former home of famed author Ernest Hemingway, hit the water on a jet ski for a tour around the island, or watch the sunset from Mallory Square. 960 1280

Casa Marina Resort  

Mackinac Island, MI

Mackinac Island, MI

Picturesque Mackinac Island, MI, is situated in Lake Huron between the state’s upper and lower peninsulas. A great destination for the outdoorsy and adventurous, Mackinac Island has more than 70 miles of hiking and biking trails to explore. Meander through Historic Downtown to view beautiful, 18th-century architecture and to tour Fort Mackinac -- the oldest building in Michigan -- along with other historic sites. 960 1280

Mackinac Island Tourism  

Martha's Vineyard, MA

Martha's Vineyard, MA

A true New England getaway, Martha’s Vineyard, MA -- located 7 miles off the coast of Cape Cod -- lures travelers to its shores with its history, charm and natural beauty. Meander through the historic districts of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. Tour the Vineyard’s 5 lighthouses, or find respite on one of the island’s 19 scenic beaches. Avoid crowds of tourists and travel here from October to May when prices also tend to be less expensive. 960 1280

Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce  

Mount Desert Island, ME

Mount Desert Island, ME

Crashing waves and rocky coastlines meet lush, evergreen forests and granite mountaintops on picturesque Mount Desert Island, ME -- the second largest island on the East Coast. Home to Acadia National Park -- the first National Park east of the Mississippi River -- and Bar Harbor, the island welcomes millions of visitors each year. Explore more than 120 miles of hiking trails, go white water rafting or spot moose on a wildlife tour. Keep in mind, the average temperature on the island is only 67 degrees during the summer, so bring a jacket. 960 1280

E+ / Getty Images  

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket Island, MA, may be small but it’s so full of character. With cobblestone streets, historic cottages and quaint shops and restaurants, the “Faraway Land” -- as it was referred to by Native Americans -- provides visitors of all ages with the perfect New England getaway. Meander through downtown’s historic district, charter a boat for a day of fishing, or watch the sunset on popular Madaket Beach. 960 1280

J. Coutre  

Ocracoke Island, NC

Ocracoke Island, NC

A part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Ocracoke Island, NC, is a small fishing village only accessible by ferry, private boat or plane. The island’s 16 miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches -- protected by the National Park Service -- offer a peaceful escape to travelers willing to make the trip. Explore the tree-lined streets and 1880s architecture of Ocracoke Village and the Ocracoke Lighthouse -- one of the oldest lighthouses still in use in the US. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Orcas Island, WA

Orcas Island, WA

Lush forests, placid lakes and beautiful, craggy shorelines await the outdoorsy and adventurous at Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington. Stroll through some of the island’s charming waterfront villages, hike the miles of trails in Moran State Park, or go on a wildlife or marine life tour to spot bald eagles or Orca whales. 960 1280

San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau  

San Juan Islands, WA

San Juan Islands, WA

The San Juan Islands, located just off the coast of Washington, represent the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer -- lush forests, quaint fishing villages and scenic waterways. A top whale-watching destination, the island is best visited from mid-April to October when whale sightings are most popular, and when the weather is perfect for outdoor adventures. 960 1280

San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau  

Sanibel & Captiva Islands, FL

Sanibel & Captiva Islands, FL

Located off Florida’s Gulf Coast, the sister islands of Sanibel and Captiva offer travelers a tranquil, tropical escape year-round. The beautiful, shell-strewn beaches on both islands rank among the top destinations for shelling, and provide the perfect landscape to sit back, relax and watch the sun set. The island’s pristine, turquoise blue waters are also great for offshore fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving. 960 1280

Grand Affair Photography  

Sea Island, GA

Sea Island, GA

For a 5-star luxury island getaway, visit Sea Island, GA. Part of Georgia’s Golden Isles -- which includes St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons and Brunswick -- Sea Island is only 75 miles south of Savannah, GA. Book a room at the island’s internationally acclaimed Sea Island Cloister Resort, play a round (or more) at one of the 3 championship golf courses, or melt the stress away with a day at the lavish Spa at Sea Island. 960 1280

Sea Island Acquisition LLC  

St. Simons Island, GA

St. Simons Island, GA

Moss-draped oaks, centuries-old historic sites and charming shops and restaurants line the streets of St. Simons Island, the largest barrier island in Georgia’s Golden Isles. Tour St. Simons Lighthouse -- a working lighthouse built in 1872 -- tee off at one of the three 18-hole championship golf courses, or stretch out on East Beach -- perfect for sunbathing, windsurfing and more. 960 1280

GoldenIsles.com  

Mustang Island, Port Aransas, TX

Mustang Island, Port Aransas, TX

Just across the bay from Corpus Christi, TX, Mustang Island is a small island community with 5 miles of coastline perfect for sunbathing, fishing, camping and more. With one of the highest bird counts on the Gulf Coast, it’s also a popular destination for avid birdwatchers. Visit in February for the annual Whooping Crane Festival to get a close-up view of the endangered bird species. 960 1280

Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

Shelter Island, NY

Shelter Island, NY

Located on the eastern end of Long Island, NY, Shelter Island is a quiet island with secluded beaches and one of the richest nature preserves in the northeast. Go boating, sailing or fishing along the island’s 17 miles of coastline, ride a bike to secluded Shell Beach, or explore the miles of trails in the Mashomack Preserve -- a nearly 2,100-acre preserve that makes up 1/3 of the island. 960 1280

Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images  

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