Labor Day: 5 Last-Minute Travel Ideas

Children have already started heading back to school by the time Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer, pops up during the first week of September. We all usually do a good job planning a great trip with the family in June or July, and we may forget to make plans for the final summer holiday weekend. We decided to pull together 5 savvy ideas for quick getaways that won’t break the bank.

1. Get Your Last Thrill at an Amusement or Water Park.

Thunder Dolphin, roller coaster, Tokyo, Japan
Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images

Cool off during the dog days of summer and go beyond your local public swimming pool. Visit a nearby water park such as Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels, TX. Get wet ’n’ wild on the wave-making Boogie Bahn Surfing Ride and the Master Blaster uphill water coaster. For an adrenaline-pumping adventure, families can head to an amusement park such as Kings Dominion, which is located 20 miles north of Richmond, VA, and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Thrill junkies can hop on the Intimidator 305, one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters on the East Coast. Check out our complete guide to US amusement parks for more inspiration.

Amusement & Water Parks

Kalahari Resort
Kalahari Resort (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

Kalahari Resort (Wisconsin Dells, WI)

At the Kalahari Resort, guests can enjoy the indoor water park or the Zambezi Outdoor Waterpark. The indoor water park has 125,000 square feet of fun that includes the Victoria Falls family raft ride, spas, a wave pool and FlowRider, where guests can boogie board every day of the year. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, the outdoor water park features fun slides and areas like the Swahili Swirl, the Anaconda Experience and Splashdown Safari (pictured). 
960 1280

Kalahari Resorts  

Water Country USA (Williamsburg, VA)

Water Country USA (Williamsburg, VA)

In Williamsburg, VA, cool off at Water Country USA. Brace yourself for a liquid adrenaline rush on the drop slide, Vanish Point (pictured) with its 75-foot tower and 2 wave paths. Here, you'll step into a skybox where you drop down when the floor drops out. This water park -- the largest in Virginia -- has 25 state-of-the-art rides, including KIDsiderate (kid-friendly) rides like Cow-A-Bunga, H2O UFO and Kritter Korral. 960 1280

Scott K. Brown/ SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment  

Dollywood Splash Country (Pigeon Forge, TN)

Dollywood Splash Country (Pigeon Forge, TN)

Experience 30 acres of pure adventure at Dollywood's Splash Country. This park has more than 23 water adventure slides and thrill rides, including Mountain Scream body slide and RiverRush, Tennessee's first and only water coaster. Families can visit the Cascades and Little Creek Falls, 2 interactive children''s playground areas that provide fun activities for the entire family. 960 1280

The Dollywood Company  

Pump House Indoor Waterpark (Jay, VT)

Pump House Indoor Waterpark (Jay, VT)

Don't be surprised if your kids are waterlogged after spending a couple hours at Pump House Indoor Waterpark at the Jay Peak Resort. Get wet while riding the 65-foot-tall La Chute; learn how to surf on Double Barrel FlowRider, or hit the rapids on Big River, which wraps around the border of the park. If you're looking for a more relaxing atmosphere, try the indoor and outdoor hot tubs or grab a drink and snack at The Drink poolside bar. 960 1280

Justin Cash/ Jay Peak Resort  

Carowinds Boomerang Bay (Charlotte, NC)

Carowinds Boomerang Bay (Charlotte, NC)

Head to Boomerang Bay at Carowinds amusement park in Charlotte, NC, to experience Pipeline Peak (pictured). This complex water slide consists of 2 body slides and 2 inner-tube slides that range from 80 feet to 495 feet in length. Boomerang Bay, an Australian-themed water park, also features Kangaroo Lagoon, Whallaby Wharf, Kookaburra Bay, Sydney Sidewinder and Platypus Plunge. 960 1280

Carowinds  

Cliff's Amusement Park WaterMania! (Albuquerque, NM)

Cliff's Amusement Park WaterMania! (Albuquerque, NM)

In Albuquerque, NM, kids will enjoy frolicking in the water at WaterMania! at Cliff's Amusement Park. The 2 main water adventure attractions are Li'l Squirts, for tykes, toddlers and their parents, and Mega Water Monkeys (pictured), a monster water ride that has something for every kid to enjoy. 960 1280

Cliff's Amusement Park  

Water Zoo (Clinton, OK)

Water Zoo (Clinton, OK)

At Water Zoo, Oklahoma's first indoor water park, parents can schedule birthday parties, camp or stay with their kids at an on-site hotel. Enjoy playing basketball in the activities pool, slipping and sliding through the inside out water slides, hanging out with your toddler at Cub's Cove or feeling the motion of an ocean in the 4-foot-deep wave pool. 960 1280

Water-Zoo Indoor Water Park  

Enchanted Forest Water Safari (Old Forge, NY)

Enchanted Forest Water Safari (Old Forge, NY)

Located in Adirondack State Park, the Enchanted Forest Water Safari is New York's largest water theme park with more than 50 rides and attractions, including 32 wild water rides like Serengeti Surf Hill. Take the family on a 1,100-foot tube ride around the park; reach speeds up to 30 mph on the Killermanjaro (one of the tallest and fastest slides in the park), or just relax as you float under the park's bridges and waterslides on a Safari River Expedition. 960 1280

Enchanted Forest Water Safari  

Wild Island Family Adventure Park (Sparks, NV)

Wild Island Family Adventure Park (Sparks, NV)

Visit Wild Island Family Adventure Park in Sparks, NV. Children can dip their toes into the Little Lagoon or go sliding down one of 3 mini slides. For big kids of all ages, this oasis of wet and wild fun features water slides, Aruba and Calypso Cafes, the healthy Green Coconut and Kokomo's Island Bar for those 21 and over. After splashing around in the water, guests can take advantage of Wild Island's others activities like bowling at Coconut Bowl, teeing off at the 18-hole mini golf course, playing games the arcade and hitting the track at Indy Go-Karts. 960 1280

Wild Island Family Adventure Park  

Silver Dollar City White Water Park (Branson, MO)

Silver Dollar City White Water Park (Branson, MO)

Looking for a heart-pumping experience? Try the KaPau Plummet (pictured) at Silver Dollar City's White Water Park. These 2 dueling 245-foot slides launch riders from a trap door in drop floor down a 70-degree plunge. Other water park fun includes floating down and over 800-foot Aloha River, braving the high tides of the 500,000-gallon wave pool or racing down the speed slides of Kalani Towers. 960 1280

Silver Dollar City  

Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark (Boyne Falls, MI)

Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark (Boyne Falls, MI)

Avalanche Bay has a theme similar to a snowy Swiss-Austrian village, and that includes the Splasherhorn (pictured). After a horn blows and the mountain rumbles, watch as an 800-gallon water avalanche pours down on guests. Other attractions include Rip Zone, Downhill Mat Racer, Super G Slide, and for guests who need to relax, the Glacier Hot Springs. 960 1280

Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark  

Schlitterbahn Waterpark (Kansas City, KS)

Schlitterbahn Waterpark (Kansas City, KS)

You're missing out if you don't visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark, home to the tallest water slide in the world, Verrückt. Water park visitors must be strapped into a 4-person raft to experience the 17-story slide. There's something for everyone with attractions like Torrent Beach, Storm Blaster, Kristal River, Kinderhaven, Henry's Hideout and Twister. 960 1280

Schilitterbahn Waterpark  

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (Santa Claus, IN)

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (Santa Claus, IN)

The Bahari (Swahili for "immense sea") Wave Pool at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, is a giant, family wave pool with geysers, sprays and jets located on 3/4 of an acre. Stay in the shallow water if you're not a strong swimmer. There are 18 other water slides, rides and features available at the park if the wave pool doesn't work for you. 960 1280

Holiday World & Splashin' Safari  

Legoland Florida (Winter Haven, FL)

Legoland Florida (Winter Haven, FL)

Twin Chasers, Splash Out and Joker Soaker are just a few attractions guests will find at Legoland Florida in Winter Haven, FL. We recommend the Build-A-Raft River, where families can design and build a unique LEGO vessel and set afloat around the park's 1000-foot-long lazy river. Take a break for a bite to eat at the Beach-n-Brick Grill, which serves burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, salads and more. 960 1280

Chip Litherland Photography/ Legoland  

Roaring Springs Waterpark (Boise, ID)

Roaring Springs Waterpark (Boise, ID)

Corkscrew Cavern, Idaho's first inverted, looping water slide, and the 6-story Cliffhanger (pictured), are the newest rides at Roaring Springs Waterpark. For the less adventurous, we recommend visiting the Little Splash Mountain Kiddie Play Area which includes the Kiddie Kowabunga slide, relaxing in Leisure Lagoon or kicking back for some lazy rafting on the Endless River. 960 1280

Roaring Springs Waterpark  

Wet 'n' Wild (Kapolei, Oahu, HI)

Wet 'n' Wild (Kapolei, Oahu, HI)

Families and thrill seekers will enjoy the 25 attractions on Wet 'n' Wild's 29 acres of lush tropical landscape and natural cliffs. From mild to wild, this water park features the interactive Keiki Kove with a mini water-spouting volcano and water cannons for kids. Meanwhile, the Flyin' Hawaiian catapults guests into the air and into a 12-foot-deep pool. Guests can also spin around the Tornado's funnel where they are catapulted from 50 feet in the air through a 130-foot tunnel. It's also possible to experience the Hawaiian Waters wave pool which holds over 400,000 gallons of water. 960 1280

Wet ’n Wild Hawaii  

Legoland California Resort (Carlsbad, CA)

Legoland California Resort (Carlsbad, CA)

The Cali version of Legoland is similar to the one in White Haven, FL, but this location has some different water rides and attractions like Pirate Reef, DUPLO Splash Zoo, Kid Creek and Orange Rush, a family tube slide where up to 4 people can ride together down a 312-foot-long curving track. 960 1280

Legoland  

Six Flags White Water (Atlanta, GA)

Six Flags White Water (Atlanta, GA)

Tubers make a run at Six Flags White Water in Atlanta, GA. Grab a family-sized raft and a few friends to experience Run-A-Way River, a high-speed thrill ride that takes you through darkness and into the light, through waterfalls and back through the mountain again. Don't get caught off guard by the 70-foot drop in the dark. Just hold on and have fun! 960 1280

Six Flags White Water  

Wet 'n Wild Orlando (Orlando, FL)

Wet 'n Wild Orlando (Orlando, FL)

Dodge Disney and go for Wet 'n Wild! This water park features Black Hole, Brain Wash, Storm, The Blast and Bubba Tub. Wind and twist your way down Mach V or step back into the '70s on Disco H20. And for children, we recommend going to the secluded, beach-themed Kids' Beach, the largest waterpark playground in Florida. Explore the giant sandcastle with 17 slides and get splashed by more than 100 soakers, jets, waterfalls and cannons. 960 1280

Wet ’n Wild Orlando  

Twisted Colossus, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California
Twisted Colossus

Twisted Colossus

What’s old is new again! Colossus is the wooden roller coaster you remember from Walley World in the original National Lampoon’s Vacation movie. In 2015, Colossus will be reborn at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA, as a new kind of hybrid racing roller coaster, including features such as a “high-five” and a “top gun” inversion. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Thunderbird

Thunderbird

The world’s first launched wing coaster opens at Holiday World this summer. As they’re flung forward at 60 mph, riders sit on the side of the rails, where they’ll feel as though they’re flying through multiple inversions and “keyholing” through the ride’s themed structure. Holiday World is located in Santa Claus, IN, and features themed areas based on holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving and, of course, Christmas. 960 1280

Holiday World  

Wicked Cyclone

Wicked Cyclone

Six Flags New England in Agawam, MA, will transform its classic wooden roller coaster Cyclone into the Wicked Cyclone, which will be the first coaster of its kind to have a 200-degree stall and 2 zero-gravity rolls. This new coaster has been on many enthusiasts’ must-ride lists for 2015! 960 1280

Six Flags  

Fury 325

Fury 325

Fury 325 is the world’s tallest “giga coaster.” Standing 325 feet tall and flying through the 6,602 feet of track at up to 95 mph, this new roller coaster shatters many records set by other giga coasters. The $30 million attraction is located at Carowinds in Charlotte, NC. 960 1280

Carowinds  

Voyage to the Iron Reef

Voyage to the Iron Reef

Voyage to the Iron Reef is a new, interactive, 4-D dark ride located in the Boardwalk area of Knott’s Berry Farm, which is not far from Disneyland in Buena Park, CA. Riders will take up their virtual arms to help protect the park from the Kraken Queen and her underwater army. 960 1280

Knott's Berry Farm  

Batman: The Ride

Batman: The Ride

The world’s first 4-D “free-fly” roller coaster is coming to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. It uses state-of-the-art magnetic technology as it sends riders upside down and lets them experience weightlessness. But your stomach may really be what’s flipping after scaling a 12-story hill and hurtling down 2 beyond-vertical drops. 960 1280

Six Flags  

Cannibal

Cannibal

Cannibal, a unique attraction at Lagoon amusement park outside Salt Lake City, Utah, has been in development for several years using mostly in-house and local resources. This $20 million-plus ride will climb a 208-foot enclosed tower before a beyond-vertical drop along 2,700 feet of track. 960 1280

Lagoon  

Disneyland's Diamond Celebration

Disneyland's Diamond Celebration

Disneyland is turning 60, and it’s throwing a huge Diamond Celebration party! The park in Anaheim, CA, will introduce a whole new slate of nighttime shows, including Disneyland Forever, a brand-new fireworks display; the Paint the Night Parade, a new take on the classic Electrical Parade; and World of Color – Celebrate!, a show covering 60 years of Disneyland history. 960 1280

Disney  

Baron 1898

Baron 1898

Baron 1898 is a heavily themed B&M dive coaster that will drop riders down a nearly 90-degree plunge at 60 mph. The ride, located at Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands, is designed like a gold-mine shaft and is one of the more impressive-looking roller coasters opening in 2015. 960 1280

Efteling  

Tempesto

Tempesto

Tempesto is a fictional Italian daredevil who is inviting riders to take part in his latest stunt at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia. Even guests with nerves of steel will be screaming as they wind through tight turns and a 154-foot-high inversion at speeds of up to 63 mph. 960 1280

Busch Gardens Williamsburg  

Rougarou

Rougarou

The Mantis coaster at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH, is getting a new look and feel! The stand-up trains have been replaced by more comfortable floorless trains in one of the more interesting roller-coaster transformations yet. They said it couldn’t be done, but Rougarou brings new life into a nearly 20-year-old roller coaster for new generations. 960 1280

Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio  

Laff Trakk

Laff Trakk

Standing out among all the thrill rides opening in 2015 is this family-friendly attraction. The indoor, glow-in-the-dark, spinning coaster — the first of its kind in the country — was inspired by the different fun houses that have been part of the park over the years. Riders pass through a hall of mirrors, a house of cards and more.   960 1280

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company  

Impulse

Impulse

Impulse, the largest project in the history of Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, PA, will feature a 10-story vertical free-fall drop, 4 inversions and 2,000 feet of track. Knoebels is known for its classic wooden roller coasters Phoenix, Twister and Flying Turns, and the steel coaster marks a new chapter for this smaller, family-oriented park. 960 1280

Joel Styer/Knoebels Amusement Resort  

Switchback

Switchback

One of the most interesting-looking rides of 2015 comes from an unexpected place. ZDT’s Amusement Park, located about an hour outside San Antonio, is building the world’s first modern “wooden shuttle coaster” as a throwback to Coney Island’s classic Switchback Railway from the turn of the 20th century. Switchback will feature overbanked turns and a 60-foot drop. And just when the coaster has finished the 1,100-foot course, it does it all again … backward! 960 1280

ZDT's Amusement Center  

Oblivion - The Black Hole

Oblivion - The Black Hole

Oblivion, a B&M dive machine at Gardaland on Lake Garda in Italy, shoots riders down a 140-foot, near-vertical drop. The “holding brake” dangles them at an 87-degree angle, letting them look nearly straight down for a few moments before the plunge. Oblivion hits speeds of 62 mph and will flip you upside down twice. 960 1280

Gardaland  

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is coming to both Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis this year. The motion-based ride combines the best technology of dark rides and thrill rides with an interactive story line to keep DC Comics superhero fans on the edge of their seats. The innovative attraction includes 2 final chase scenes, as well as several digital 3-D screens. 960 1280

Six Flags  

2. Commune With Nature and Visit a National Park.

dawn, lake, trees with colored leaves, mountains in distance
Chris Murray / Aurora / Getty Images

Take advantage of the warm weather and get outside to explore a US national park such as Yosemite, Canyonlands, the Grand Canyon or the Great Smoky Mountains. Some parks offer family-friendly activities, too. Go hiking on Logan Pass in Glacier National Park in Montana or camping under the stars in Maine’s Acadia National Park. We can’t think of a better way to enjoy summer’s last hurrah.

US National Parks

Garden of Eden, Arches National Park
Garden of Eden, Arches National Park

Garden of Eden, Arches National Park

Near the center of Arches National Park you’ll find the Garden of Eden -- so named because its rocky shapes resemble flowers and trees. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

North Window, Arches National Park

North Window, Arches National Park

This 90-foot-wide portal known as the North Window is one of many natural sandstone arches you’ll find at Arches National Park. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park is home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches. The 65-foot Delicate Arch is its most famous. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

In addition to its famed arches, Arches National Park’s colorful geography includes maze-like narrow passages and tall rock columns. You can find this view directly opposite the Delicate Arch. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Hiking at Arches

Hiking at Arches

Two hikers journey back from the Delicate Arch. The 3-mile trail (round-trip) is moderately strenuous, and takes roughly 30 to 45 minutes each way. Bring plenty of water! 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Sand Dune Arch

Sand Dune Arch

Enjoy a shaded rest from the Moab desert sun. This trail at Arches National Park leads through deep sand; a secluded arch, Sand Dune Arch, awaits up ahead. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Wolfe Ranch Cabin

Wolfe Ranch Cabin

In the late 1800s, a Civil War veteran named John Wesley Wolfe and his son built this 1-room cabin in what is now Arches National Park. For more than 10 years, Wolfe lived on this rugged ranch, where the area’s water and desert grassland were enough to sustain a few cattle. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park

The Moab area is also home to Canyonlands National Park. Erosion over millions of years produced the many canyons, buttes and mesas here -- including Mesa Arch. 960 1280

Alex Proimos, flickr  

Hell’s Revenge

Hell’s Revenge

Ready to take on Hell’s Revenge? This steep slick rock trail may make your pulse race as you tackle its hair-raising descents on a Razor ride. It’s located in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, a sandstone plateau of slick rock domes, bowls and fins. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Porcupine Rim Trail

Porcupine Rim Trail

A mountain biker tackles Porcupine Rim Trail, one of 2 trails within the Sand Flats Recreation Area. The steep, rocky terrain, which stretches nearly 15 miles, challenges even the most experienced mountain bikers. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Moab Cowboy

Moab Cowboy

Meet the Moab Cowboy -- that's what locals call Kent Green. For more than 20 years, Green served as a deputy sheriff and search-and-rescue commander in the Moab area. Today, he leads off-road adventures. His no. 1 rule: Never travel alone. 960 1280

Lisa Singh   

Moab Dinosaur Footprints

Moab Dinosaur Footprints

Check out these fossilized dinosaur footprints during a Razor ride through the Sand Flats Recreation Area with the Moab Cowboy. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Big Bend Recreation Area

Big Bend Recreation Area

Moab is a rock climber’s dream. Enjoy bouldering at the Big Bend Recreation Area along the Colorado River, northeast of Moab. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Colorado River

Colorado River

Take in the view of the Colorado River from Scenic Byway 128, with awe-inspiring views of red standstone cliffs just beyond. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Fisher Towers, Colorado River

Fisher Towers, Colorado River

River guide Arne Hultquist leads a whitewater rafting trip through the Fishers Tower section of the Colorado River. The area comprises a series of towers made of sandstone; they’re named after a miner who lived in the area in the 1880s. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Matrimony Spring

Matrimony Spring

Fill up at Matrimony Spring, a natural spring along Byway 128. Legend has it that anyone who drinks from the spring will continue to return to Moab. The water that issues forth begins its journey as snowmelt from the La Sal Mountains, 20 miles southeast of Moab. 960 1280

Lisa Singh  

Dead Horse Point

Dead Horse Point

Get ready to say “wow” at Dead Horse Point. The park features a stunning overlook of the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park. The area also served as the final film scene for the 1991 classic Thelma & Louise. 960 1280

Mike Nielsen, flickr  

Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is a paradise for stargazers. The park is so remote that light pollution is among the lowest in the entire US. Here, you can clearly see the Milky Way and a shooting star! Visit photographer Nick Parisse’s website to see more of his photos. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Chisos Mountains

Chisos Mountains

High in the Chisos Mountains, a hiker surveys the land as he decides which trail to take. Big Bend is often referred to as “3 parks in one” because of its size and diverse environments -- mountains, desert and river. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Chihuahuan Desert

Chihuahuan Desert

The Chihuahuan Desert, one of the wettest in North America, has dense shrubbery that blankets the Chisos Basin. Here, the sun begins to set behind the mountains as a cold front moves in. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Backcountry Critter

Backcountry Critter

A tarantula makes its way across a backcountry trail in Big Bend National Park, TX. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Pinnacles Trail

Pinnacles Trail

Cacti cover a meadow along the Pinnacles trail in Big Bend National Park. Fall temperatures are mild, and colorful flora is still blooming in the winter. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Rio Grande

Rio Grande

A narrow stretch of the Rio Grande acts as a natural border between the US and Mexico. This view from Santa Elena Canyon, located in the southern region of the park, shows the US on the left and Mexico on the right. The Chisos Mountains are also visible in the distance. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Even on an overcast day, the sun still finds a way to illuminate the mountains. This photo was taken on Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

The Big Room

The Big Room

A cluster of stalactites hang from the ceiling of “The Big Room” in Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Cozy Home for Bats

Cozy Home for Bats

With a little natural light, this is a view from inside Carlsbad Caverns. In the summer months the caverns are home to thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Stunning Stalagmites

Stunning Stalagmites

Light shines on the cavern floor and ceiling, providing visitors with a view of huge stalagmites that can take thousands of years to form. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Scenic Walkway

Scenic Walkway

Visitors get an amazing view of this scenery along a walkway that turns into the entrance of the deepest part of Carlsbad Caverns -- nearly 750 feet deep. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Mineral Deposits

Mineral Deposits

Massive mineral deposits mushroom up from the floor of the caverns. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Natural Cavern Entrance

Natural Cavern Entrance

The natural entrance to the caverns is a paved switchback trail leading visitors underground to discover numerous geological wonders. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Stargazer's Heaven

Stargazer's Heaven

Even the light from a full moon and a few passing clouds couldn’t diminish the clarity of the stars in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, in Salt Flat, TX. Stargazers should add this park to their must-see list. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is one of America’s least-visited parks. It’s hard to understand why with unobstructed views like this. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Tejas Trail

Tejas Trail

Visible on the left, the sun lights up the switchbacks along the mountainside on Tejas Trail. The strenuous 10-mile, round-trip hike offers visitors some of the most beautiful views in the park. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Devil's Hall Hike

Devil's Hall Hike

The spectacular hike into “Devil’s Hall” brings visitors around mountains and through a dry river channel. In an effort not to unnecessarily detract from the natural views, rock cairns act as trail markers. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Devil's Hall

Devil's Hall

Here’s a view from “Devil’s Hall” as the path narrows. “Hiker’s Staircase” is visible in the foreground. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Epic Mountain View

Epic Mountain View

This is one of many mountain views visitors will encounter while on a backcountry hike through Guadalupe Mountains National Park. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument offers visitors several recreational activities, including picnicking, hiking, camping, scenic drives and sledding. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Morning at Monument

Morning at Monument

The sun breaks through the clouds on an early morning in White Sands National Monument. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Gem Hunter's Paradise

Gem Hunter's Paradise

Covering over 275 square miles, White Sands National Monument is the world’s largest gypsum dune field. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Capoeira on a Dune

Capoeira on a Dune

A well-traversed dune is the perfect place for this traveler to occupy his time and practice the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

National Park Camping

National Park Camping

It’s time to pack up camp and move along as the sun rises. White Sands offers backcountry camping for guests who want to sleep under the stars. Visit Nick Parisse’s website to see more of his photos. 960 1280

Nick Parisse  

Bass Head Lighthouse
Bass Head Lighthouse

Bass Head Lighthouse

Acadia National Park is the first US National Park built east of the Mississippi River. Bass Harbor Lighthouse (pictured), located on Mount Desert Island, was built in 1858. Head here for a quiet getaway with picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Acadia's Islands

Acadia's Islands

More than 2 million people visit Acadia National Park each year. According to the US National Park Service, the average visitor spends 3 to 4 days in the area, which allows some time to visit some of the small islands that are also part of majestic national park. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain

Travel like the President, and visit Bar Harbor, ME. Put on your best walking shoes, and take a hike up Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Biking Near Somes Sound

Biking Near Somes Sound

Go biking on a scenic park road by Somes Sound, a body of water that runs deep into Mount Desert Island. The sound almost splits the island in 2, and is often described as the “only fjord on the East Coast.” 960 1280

Getty Images  

Jordan Pond

Jordan Pond

As beautiful as it might seem, outdoor enthusiasts and their pets are not allowed to wade in the clear waters of Jordon Pond. Some types of boating are permitted in the pond, which sits between the Penobscot Mountain and 2 mountains known as the “Bubbles.” 960 1280

Maine Office of Tourism  

Bass Harbor

Bass Harbor

Visit Bass Harbor, ME, a serene fishing village located on the southwest section of Mount Desert Island. And if you’re looking for lobster, you’ve hit a goldmine. This well-protected natural harbor ranks as one of the most lucrative lobster-producing ports in Maine. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Thunder Hole

Thunder Hole

Experience the crack of the waves as they slam into the rocky shores of a small inlet called Thunder Hole. Water is forced out of the end of the inlet -- a small cavern -- which creates a water spout as high as 40 feet and thunderous roar. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Carriage Road Bridges

Carriage Road Bridges

This is just one of Acadia National Park’s Carriage Road stone bridges. Don’t look for any car traffic on these bridges. The 57-mile network are free of motor vehicles, but hikers, bikers, horseback riders, cross-country skiers, and limited snowmobile activities are allowed. The bridges are made from the granite found on Mount Desert Island. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Kayaking on Long Pond

Kayaking on Long Pond

Go kayaking, and enjoy the beautiful scenery along on Long Pond. There are 2 Long Ponds. “Little” Long Pond is located west of the Seal Harbor. This area is located outside of the park, and it is great place for a scenic walk. The larger Long Pond -- sometimes referred to as “Great” Long Pond -- is further west of Somes Sound and Echo Lake. 960 1280

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Acadia's Luxury Homes

Acadia's Luxury Homes

Explore the area near and around Arcadia National Park. Take a short road trip, and gawk at some of the amazing luxury home along the road. 960 1280

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Rocky Cliff Climbing

Rocky Cliff Climbing

Climb to new heights! Visit Acadia National Park for awe-inspiring sea-cliff climbing. Experienced climbers must register in logbooks at Otter Cliffs’ South Wall of the Precipice and Canada Cliffs. Great Head offers some incredible and generally hard climbing over the ocean. But for beginners, we suggest you head to South Bubble. 960 1280

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Sand Beach

Sand Beach

Nestled in a small inlet between the granite mountains and rocky shores of Mount Desert Island, Sandy Beach’s water temperature rarely exceeds 55 degrees in the summer. Visitors can access the beach via the Park Loop Road -- just after the park fee entrance station on the northeastern side of the island. And if you don’t have wheels, the Island Explorer Shuttle Bus has a pickup and drop-off point at the beach, and it stops every half hour during the summer peak season. 960 1280

Maine Office of Tourism  

3. Hit the Road to Explore a Nearby City or Town.

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Paul GIamou / Aurora / Getty Images

Experience the fun of being on the open road while visiting the cities, towns and roadside attractions along the way. Most people think of cultural immersion when traveling abroad, but it works when visiting a nearby city or town, too. Travel like a local and visit popular hangouts, places to eat and recreational sites. It’s a great way to experience cities such as San Antonio, New Orleans, Myrtle Beach and Destin.

4. Relax and Head for Sand, Sun and Surf.

ocean, beach, florida, sunset, dock
Matthew Paulson via Flickr Creative Commons NC ND 2.0, cropped and color corrected

There’s probably no better way to wrap up a great summer than with a fun getaway to a beach destination such as Cape Cod; Ocean City, MD; Miami; or Malibu, CA. And even if you don’t live close to the coast, you can plan a lake getaway or splurge for a quick island escape in the Caribbean. Not sure where to go? Check out our Best Beach Awards 2015, top 10 Florida beaches and top 10 California beach getaways.

Beaches

East Hampton, NY
East Hampton, NY

East Hampton, NY

It’s easy to see why the picturesque town of East Hampton is a beloved vacation destination for New Yorkers. A-listers settle into sprawling mansions along Lily Pond Lane, but anyone seeking out white sands and scrumptious lobster rolls will find them on Main Beach (just beyond Main Street). Find out more about our recommendations for East Coast beaches to visit. 960 1280

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Cape May, NJ

Cape May, NJ

Cape May, the crown jewel and southernmost point of the Jersey Shore, is dotted with gingerbread Victorian houses and colorful bed and breakfasts. Founded in 1620, this town -- the nation’s oldest seashore resort -- is one of few places where the sun both rises and sets over the water. 960 1280

iStock  

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket, MA

Nantucket’s community of weathered grey-shingled houses, surrounded by wild roses, is postcard perfect. Thirty miles south of Cape Cod, the former whaling community grew rich in the 19th century and still attracts well-heeled vacationers from New York and Boston. 960 1280

istock  

Duck, NC

Duck, NC

Stretching for 130 miles along the Atlantic coast, North Carolina’s Outer Banks are a skinny strip of barrier islands whose hallmark high, sandy dunes front frothy surf on one side and gentle sound on the other. Visitors looking for an old-school family vacation should check out Duck, an upscale residential rental community along the northern reaches of the Outer Banks. This town has no high-rise hotels, but it has rental homes. 960 1280

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Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach

As the largest resort town along South Carolina’s 60-mile Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach has silky white sands that draw vacationers from up and down the East Coast. Its plethora of restaurants, live entertainment, amusement parks and water parks — plus more than 90 golf courses — make it a beacon for spring breakers, families and retirees alike. 960 1280

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Provincetown, MA

Provincetown, MA

Located on the northernmost tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is known for being the first landing place of the Mayflower Pilgrims in the New World. Since then it has become a distinguished art colony with a gay-friendly vibe and miles of galleries, shops and old mansions. 960 1280

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Southampton, NY

Southampton, NY

A charming village center, exclusive shops and exquisite dining have made Southhampton a perfect blend of sprawling beaches, private estates and just enough places to “be seen” to satisfy the upper crust. Visitors looking to escape to the Atlantic are drawn to its 7-plus miles of unspoiled shoreline, windswept dunes and waving grasses. 960 1280

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Martha's Vineyard, MA

Martha's Vineyard, MA

Crowds swarm Martha's Vineyard during the summer months, but respite can be found in the Vineyard's far eastern reaches "up-island," as it's known locally, at Moshup Beach. Tucked beneath the infamous Gay Head Cliffs, Moshup Beach is accessible by a 10-minute walking trail, making it an isolated paradise (and unofficial clothing-optional destination). 960 1280

E+ / Getty Images  

Hyannis, MA

Hyannis, MA

Hyannis in Cape Cod is best known as home to the famous Kennedy family compound -- and more recently Taylor Swift. However, less-famous visitors are also drawn to Hyannis’ laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere and Kalmus Beach’s superior windsurfing. 960 1280

iStock  

Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island, SC

Located just 15 miles south of Charleston, SC, Kiawah Island is a coastal island and golf resort loaded with 10 miles of pristine beaches, approximately 10,000 acres of natural woodlands and every amenity to meet the needs of the entire family. 960 1280

Bill Sutton  

Clinch Park Beach
Clinch Park Beach

Clinch Park Beach

Clinch Park is the most popular beach in Traverse City, MI, since it's just minutes from downtown, close to the Clinch Park Marina and adjacent to the zoo. 960 1280

Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau  

Bradford Beach

Bradford Beach

On Lake Michigan, Bradford Beach offers volleyball courts for pick-up games, room for families to spread out and build sand castles, food carts serving Wisconsin cheddar cheese curds and more. 960 1280

VISIT Milwaukee / John Nienhuis  

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Once called "America's Hidden Riviera," Sleeping Bear Dunes on the north side of Lake Michigan has 2 things lacking on Lake Superior: swimming beaches and loads of sand. While some dunes rise over 450 feet, the 150-foot dune climb is more manageable for families with small children and still offers serene views. 960 1280

wsilver, flickr  

Kohler-Andrae State Park

Kohler-Andrae State Park

Kohler-Andrae State Park is an expansive --nearly 1,000 acres --natural area on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Roughly 50 miles north of Milwaukee, the beach is popular for its sand dunes, cordwalk (a walkway made from boards and rope), nature trails and 137 campsites. 960 1280

Chris Bentley, flickr  

Point Beach State Forest

Point Beach State Forest

Don't let the name fool you, this state park in Two Rivers, WI, has 6 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, sand dunes and the Rawley Point Lighthouse, which has been maintained and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard since 1853. 960 1280

Princely Nesadurai  

North Beach

North Beach

Watch boats bob in Racine Yacht Club's marina, kayak around the harbor or listen to live music on this impeccably clean beach in Racine, WI. 960 1280

Real Racine  

Oak Street Beach

Oak Street Beach

Palm trees mere minutes from Michigan Avenue? It’s true. Opened in 1890, this popular white-sand beach stretches beneath Chicago's Magnificent Mile skyscrapers. 960 1280

Greg- Timm, flickr  

Lake Calhoun

Lake Calhoun

Lake Calhoun is part of the Chain of Lakes and the largest lake in Minneapolis, MN. Of its 3 swimming beaches, North Beach is popular for swimming (of course), biking on the lake's 3-mile trail and (happily) lining up for a bite at Tin Fish, a casual seafood-fry restaurant. 960 1280

  

Park Point Beach

Park Point Beach

Lake Superior’s Park Point is located on the world's largest sand bar (just over 7 miles), east of Duluth's famed Aerial Lift Bridge. 960 1280

Explore Minnesota Tourism  

Presque Isle Beach

Presque Isle Beach

White sands, green pines, blue lake and black rocks -- the view from this Marquette, MI, peninsula can't be beat, especially from Sunset Point. Another sight to behold, brave cliff divers plunge into the icy Lake Superior below. 960 1280

Heidi Blanton, flickr  

Baker Beach, San Francisco

Baker Beach, San Francisco

On the shore below San Francisco’s famed Presidio is where you’ll find half-mile-long Baker Beach. Baker is not only notable for its nude beach — naturists sunbathe, swim and stroll on the northern section of the beach — but also for its spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Be wary of heavy fog and rough surf. 960 1280

Jamairani / iStock / Thinkstock  

Haulover Beach, Miami

Haulover Beach, Miami

Sanctioned and protected by Miami-Dade County, Haulover Beach, a family-friendly strand just north of Miami Beach, is considered Florida’s best for baring it all. Only 1/3 of the 1.4-mile pristine beach — between lifeguard stations 12 and 16 — is for clothing-optional recreation. 960 1280

Lyndi & Jason, flickr  

Couples Tower Isle, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Couples Tower Isle, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

All-inclusive hospitality brand Couples has several resort options in Jamaica for pairs who wish to bare it all. Most impressive is Couples Tower Isle, a 19-acre beachfront resort in Ocho Rios that has an au naturel private island for daytime frolicking. Tower Isle’s private island is equipped with a pool, swim-up bar and nude sunbathing areas. Elsewhere in Jamaica, Couples San Souci and Couples Negril have semi-private sections dedicated to the clothing-optional set. 960 1280

fallbrook / iStock / Thinkstock  

Plakias Beach, Crete, Greece

Plakias Beach, Crete, Greece

On the south coast of Crete, between mountains and the Libyan Sea, lies Plakias, a tiny fishing village whose population swells during the summer months. Popular with backpackers, many of whom come here to stay in the southernmost youth hostel in Europe, Plakias is also a favorite with nudists, who can swim and sunbathe in the buff along the 0.8-mile Plakias Beach. Beyond the nudist strand, Plakias offers several beach options (Ammoudi, Damnoni and Souda), mountain hikes and casual tavernas. Nearby, Mona Preveli, one of the most famous monasteries in Crete, is a worthwhile day trip.  960 1280

Paul Cowan / iStock / Thinkstock  

Red Beach, Crete, Greece

Red Beach, Crete, Greece

Several beaches throughout the Greek isles are known as “Red Beach” (or Kokkini Paralia) because of their pink/red sands. The Red Beach that’s ideal for naturists is located on Crete, about 20 minutes by foot from the resort town of Matala. Given Red Beach’s remote location, there are very few services to be found here, save for a chair and umbrella rental stand during the high season. Consider working it into an trip itinerary that includes a stop at all the pristine, Blue Flag beaches around Matala. 960 1280

Gargolas / iStock / Thinkstock  

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia

Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver, British Columbia, is home to Wreck Beach, one of the world's most popular nude beaches. Everything on Wreck Beach, from the sunbathers to the surroundings, is kept as natural as possible, contributing to the relaxing and positive vibe here. While Canada may not seem like a beachgoer's haven, the 4.8-mile-long Wreck Beach is the country's first official clothing-optional beach, and it offers spectacular views of the Pacific. 960 1280

Josef Hanus / iStock / Thinkstock  

Hidden Beach Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Hidden Beach Resort, Riviera Maya, Mexico

For naturist fun on the Mayan Riviera, Hidden Beach Resort is an all-inclusive, adults-only playground. Guests here may be nude throughout the resort, whether sunbathing or dining or dancing. There is even a full-day nude cruise. Beyond the resort, guests can sign up for visits to the Mayan ruins in Tulum, golf, swimming with dolphins or watching a bullfight, but clothing is required for those options. 960 1280

Hidden Beach Resort  

Cap d’Agde, France

Cap d’Agde, France

The French Mediterranean resort of Cap d'Agde is more than just a nude beach; it is a nude city. From March to mid-October, visitors must fill out paperwork and pay a fee to enter the guarded village, where clothing is not an option. Because Cap d’Agde is a fully sanctioned nude beach, it offers numerous activities, accommodations and restaurants for practicing naturists. For something completely different, Cap d’Agde also holds an annual “last swim of the year” on New Year’s Eve — the only “polar bear”-type swim at a nudist beach. 960 1280

Bruno De Hogues / Getty Images  

Samurai Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Samurai Beach, New South Wales, Australia

Officially clothing optional since 1996, Samurai Beach in New South Wales, Australia, is a stunning 1.2-mile strand ideal for nature lovers. Access to Samurai Beach, which is known for its white sands and clear water, requires a 4-wheel-drive vehicle or a hike over scrubs and rocks via neighboring One Mile Beach. Visitors to Samurai Beach can take advantage of the surrounding Tomaree National Park and Anna Bay, with activities such as hiking, surfing and fishing. 960 1280

leGuik, CC  

Black’s Beach, San Diego

Black’s Beach, San Diego

Known as San Diego’s nude beach, Black's Beach is beneath the soaring, picturesque bluffs of Torrey Pines. Though nude sunbathing is technically illegal in San Diego, naturism at the north end of Black’s has been allowed for years, owing to the beach’s secluded location. Those wishing to sunbathe in the buff at Black’s must endure a hike along marked routes down to the beach. The spot is also popular with surfers, who make the most of the waves that ripple and curl offshore. 960 1280

Rubio Photo / iStock / Thinkstock   

Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica

Hedonism II, Negril, Jamaica

Opened in 1976 in Negril, Jamaica, Hedonism II is legendary for its naughty vibe. Known for its swingers conventions and toga nights, Hedo is the definition of debauchery. While an estimated 80% of Hedonism II’s clientele choose to sunbathe in the buff, there are both “nude” and “prude” sections of the resort, including along the beaches and in the pools.  960 1280

Hedonism ll  

Praia do Pinho, Brazil

Praia do Pinho, Brazil

Brazil's first nude beach, Praia do Pinho, is a family-friendly retreat founded in the early 1980s. Surrounded by lush green hills, Praia do Pinho has inns, cabins and camping accommodations for visiting naturists. Balneario Camboriu, the town nearest Praia do Pinho, is a popular vacation destination for Brazilians. Like a mini Rio, BC has an extensive, crescent-shaped shoreline, as well as the Cristo Luz, Brazil’s second-largest monument, after the Christ the Redeemer statue on Corcovado. 960 1280

Carlos Reis, CC]  

Club Orient, St. Martin

Club Orient, St. Martin

St. Martin, the French-speaking side of the island also known as St. Maarten, is home to Club Orient, a family-friendly naturist resort that fronts one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the Caribbean. Guests are invited to participate in all activities, from sunbathing to dining, while in the buff. When the nude bodies begin to bore you, head to the other side of the island for a visit to Maho Beach, which is famous for its plane-spotting. 960 1280

alljengi  

Moshup Beach, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Moshup Beach, Martha's Vineyard, MA

Martha’s Vineyard, the island off the coast of Massachusetts long known as a getaway for old money scions and politicians, has a bit of a bohemian streak, which is best embodied by its small but beloved nude beach. Known as either Moshup Beach, after the Moshup Trail that leads down to the sand, or Gay Head Beach, because of its position below the scrub-topped Gay Head Cliffs, this strand has a clothing-optional section for sunbathing and recreation. Visitors must pay a $15 parking fee in order to access Moshup Beach.  960 1280

John Greim \ Light Rocket \ Getty Images  

5. Satisfy Your Wild Curiosity at the State Fair.

Wisconsin State Fair
Wisconsin State Fair Park

Are you ready for cotton candy, kettle corn, fried treats and fun rides? August is state fair season! Head to your state fairgrounds to see unusual competitions that showcase the best at sculpting butter, racing outhouses, rolling logs, chugging milk and more. It’s a great family-friendly outing, but just make sure you pack the sunscreen and stay hydrated. For more travel inspiration, fairgoers should take a look at our lists of the best state fairs in the US, state fair competitions, Andrew Zimmern’s 10 favorite state fair foods and, for people watching their waistlines, low-calorie state fair foods.

US State Fairs

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  

concession stands
concession stands

concession stands

First stop at the Colorado State Fair: the concession stands where you’ll find deep-fried items like Oreos, cheesecake and peanut butter. 960 1280

unknown  

chocolate covered bacon

chocolate covered bacon

Who doesn't love chocolate? What about bacon dipped in chocolate? Get some at the Famous Dave's stand at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

little girl eats ice cream

little girl eats ice cream

A young girl enjoying her sweet corn ice cream from the Blue Moon Dine In Theater at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

cream puffs

cream puffs

One of the main attractions at the Wisconsin State Fair: freshly made cream puffs on a tray from the Original Cream Puff Pavilion. 960 1280

  

Fried bubblegum

Fried bubblegum

Fried bubblegum, a 2011 Big Tex Award winner for most creative food item at the Texas State Fair. 960 1280

  

grill

grill

Delicious! The grill at Juicy's stand at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

maggots on a sandwich

maggots on a sandwich

Feeling brave? Try a "maggot melt" sandwich at Jungle George’s food concession stand at the Colorado State Fair. 960 1280

  

Close-up of Nutty Bar ice cream

Close-up of Nutty Bar ice cream

Nutty Bar, an Iowa State Fair tradition. Classic vanilla ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate and covered with nuts. Try one at the Oasis Concessions. 960 1280

  

Sign for baked chocolate chip cookies

Sign for baked chocolate chip cookies

Minnesota State Fair goers line up at Sweet Martha's Cookies for freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. A state fair tradition. 960 1280

  

Close-up of Belgian waffles

Close-up of Belgian waffles

Belgian waffles waiting to be dressed at the Belgian Waffles stand at the State Fair of Texas. 960 1280

  

Cardinali's Woodfire Pizza stand is "home of the world’s largest fair food," at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

6-foot pizza

6-foot pizza

Cardinali's pizza -- the giant 6-foot pizza is shown off by Cardinali's owners and employees at the Arizona State Fair. 960 1280

  

hot beef sundae

hot beef sundae

Cattlemen’s Beef Quarter's hot beef sundae is one of the star food items at the Iowa State Fair. 960 1280

  

prepared ribs

prepared ribs

Pounds of ribs are prepped for smoking at Famous Dave's at the Minnesota State Fair. 960 1280

  

brownies

brownies

Blue ribbon brownies, another decadent treat baked at the Original Cream Puff Pavilion at the Wisconsin State Fair. 960 1280

  

State Fair Foods  15 Photos

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