Miss America State Favorites

We asked all 53 2012 Miss America contestants to share the must-see places in their home states.

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US Virgin Islands

US Virgin Islands

A Caribbean vacation isn't out of reach without a passport if you stick to the US Virgin Islands: St. John, St. Croix and St. Thomas (pictured here). Since they're US territories, a driver's license or birth certificate will suffice. 960 1280

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Vieques, Puerto Rico

Vieques, Puerto Rico

Another option in the Caribbean is Vieques, a small island that lies about 8 miles east of Puerto Rico. Along with the Puerto Rican mainland, it is a United States commonwealth with a strong Spanish influence. 960 1280

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Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra, Puerto Rico

Culebra, another island municipality of Puerto Rico, offers some of the Caribbean's most serene beaches. 960 1280

Getty  

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Not to be overshadowed by its islands, Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan, is steeped in Spanish heritage and culture without sacrificing waterfront sunsets. 960 1280

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Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler, British Columbia

Have your sights set on a Canadian ski vacation? You can hit the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb, but not without restrictions. First, you'll need to travel by land, and second, you'll need either an enhanced driver's license or a US passport card. These travel documents were created in conjunction with changes to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that took effect in 2009.  960 1280

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Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida

Who says you can't find an island paradise in the continental US? Just off the coast of Florida, Key West is the southernmost city in the country and is unlike anywhere else. 960 1280

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Guam

Guam

Guam is the westernmost US territory, and while it's known for its military base, it's also one of the leading tourist destinations in the Western Pacific. This tropical paradise features beach clubs, luxurious accommodations and world-class golf courses. 960 1280

DuReMi, flickr  

Hawaii

Hawaii

Of course, if you want to be on an exotic island far, far away, your first thought should be of Hawaii and the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai and Maui. 960 1280

Rhiannon Taylor  

American Samoa

American Samoa

You can also experience the heart of Polynesia and Samoan culture in the 5 volcanic islands that make up the territory of American Samoa. 960 1280

Walter Spina/iStock/Getty Images  

Swains Island, American Samoa

Swains Island, American Samoa

If you're feeling adventurous, travel to Swains Island in American Samoa, one of the territory's 2 atolls (coral islands) halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. 960 1280

Wikimedia Commons  

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands

Your last option for a tropical vacation without a passport is Saipan, one of the 14 lush Northern Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth. The Micronesian paradise has been called "America's best-kept secret." 960 1280

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Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)
Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)

Ironman World Championship (Kailua-Kona, HI)

See some of the world’s most elite athletes compete in the big daddy of Ironman events. On Oct. 11, more than 2,000 athletes from around the world will set out on a 140.6-mile triathlon race from Kona, HI. Come as a participant, spectator or volunteer because this is one competition you won’t soon forget. 960 1280

Reuters  

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con

Gear up as the X-Men or any other favorite action hero at the largest comic and pop culture celebration on the East Coast. Showcasing the latest in comics, graphic novels, video games, anime and more, New York Comic Con kicks off at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Oct. 9. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Taste of DC

Taste of DC

What better place to enjoy Columbus Day weekend than in the city that bears the famed explorer’s name? Head to Washington, DC, for a Taste of DC, an annual showcase featuring more than 40 area restaurants and live musical performances. 960 1280

USDAgov/ Lance Cheung, flickr   

Shocktoberfest (Sinking Spring, PA)

Shocktoberfest (Sinking Spring, PA)

Experience the Unknown at Shocktoberfest in Sinking Spring, PA. Halloween revelers can take the “Almost” Naked and Scared Challenge and explore this spooky house in nothing but their, um, knickers. 960 1280

Shocktoberfest  

Acadia National Park (Maine)

Acadia National Park (Maine)

Catch a glimpse of Maine’s gorgeous fall colors at Acadia National Park this month. Each October, 600,000 visitors enter the park, but with 47,000 acres to explore, you’ll have plenty of leaf-peeping options. Looking for something closer to home? Check out our favorite fall foliage road trips. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Race for the Cure

Race for the Cure

On your mark, get set … join one of the hundreds of Race for the Cure events taking place in cities across the US this month. Go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month at any number of walks and races occurring nationwide, and make it a Pinktober to remember. 960 1280

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Autumn Color Fly-Drive (West Virginia)

Autumn Color Fly-Drive (West Virginia)

Another great fall leaf-peeping option: the Mountain State. As America’s third-most-forested state, West Virginia boasts 36 state parks and 6 national parks — together, they’re home to more than 200,000 acres of fall-foliage wonder like this. 960 1280

iStock  

Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)

Austin City Limits (Austin, TX)

Head to the most extraordinary 3-day music fest of its kind in the US. Held each year in Austin’s Zilker Park, Austin City Limits draws more than 130 music acts, showcasing the best in indie, rock, country and more, across 8 stages. This year, the music fest will unfold over 2 consecutive weekends (Oct. 3-5 and 10-12). 960 1280

Ashley Garmon  

Pumpkin House (Kenova, WV)

Pumpkin House (Kenova, WV)

Take in a display of 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins at the famous Pumpkin House in Kenova, WV. This illuminated wonder, which welcomes nearly 30,000 visitors each year, takes center stage at a Victorian house, dating back to 1891, at 748 Beech St. In times past, the house won fame for securing a visit from President Grover Cleveland; in recent years, it’s garnered national media attention for its number of glowing jack-o'-lanterns. 960 1280

  

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Grand Canyon (Arizona)

Take advantage of off-season travel to popular landmarks such as the Grand Canyon. Each October, the 1.2-million-acre park sees half its summer crowds. Enjoy cooler temperatures (in the 70s), as well as the deepening colors of aspen, oak and birch trees that adorn this national treasure. 960 1280

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MLB World Series

MLB World Series

Head to one of America’s most iconic baseball stadiums and take in the spirit of the World Series, which is expected to kick off Oct. 21. Sorry, Sox fans, but our favorite remains Yankees Stadium, home to 27 World Series wins. Whatever your stadium of choice, you’re likely to have a hard time passing up all the mouthwatering ballpark food. 960 1280

Getty Images  

World’s Largest Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

World’s Largest Corn Maze (Spring Grove, IL)

Wind your way through 33 acres of corn in the world’s largest corn maze at Richardson Farm in Spring Grove, IL. This year’s design celebrates the 200th anniversary of The Star-Spangled Banner and includes 5 mazes with shapes such as a flag, a battleship and soldiers. After you find your way out of the maze, enjoy other family-fun activities, including a pumpkin patch, hayride and zip line. 960 1280

Michael Kappel, Flickr  

Chicago Marathon

Chicago Marathon

Lace up your running shoes and head to the Windy City for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 12. One of the 6 major marathons, this annual race welcomes both elite athletes and everyday runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Even if you’re not participating, join runners as they cross the finish line in Chicago’s Grant Park for the post-race party, which features live entertainment and vendors. 960 1280

REUTERS / Kamil Krzacynski  

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