50 States of Bucket List Adventures
What’s the one thing you must do in every state? From Florida to Alaska, here are our picks for once-in-a-lifetime experiences across the country.
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Alabama: Space Camp
Is constructing and launching your own rocket on your bucket list? Fulfill your childhood dreams of being an astronaut by taking part in Adult Space Academy, a two-night experience that allows trainees to take part in hands-on interactive space missions at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.
Alaska: Northern Lights
Catch a glimpse of nature's most spectacular light show—the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights—in Fairbanks, one of the most reliable spots to view the natural wonder.
Arizona: Grand Canyon
Experience the Grand Canyon from the water—float through the geological wonder on the Colorado River with an adrenaline-pumping whiter water adventure, or take in the breathtaking views slowly on a smooth water rafting trip.
Arkansas: Anthony Chapel
- Marvel at the awe-inspiring design of Anthony Chapel in Garvan Woodland Gardens, an architectural wonder nestled in the deep woods of Hot Springs, that soars 57 feet high with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and massive pine columns and beams.
California: Joshua Tree National Park
Don’t just take photos of the otherworldly rock formations at Joshua Tree National Park, climb them! With more than 400 climbing formations and 8,000 climbing routes, this high-desert world-class rock climbing mecca has climbs for every level, and beginners can learn the robes with lessons from Cliffhangers Guides.
Colorado: Royal Gorge Cloudscraper
There are zip lines and then there is the Cloudscraper. Soar across the Royal Gorge 1,200 feet above the roaring Arkansas River on this heart-racing ride, the highest zip line in North America.
Connecticut: Winvian Farm Treehouse
Take your childhood fantasy and turn it up a notch with an unforgettable night in a treehouse 35 feet above the New England forest floor at Winvian Farm, in Litchfield. You’ll be far from roughing it this grown-up treehouse haven complete with two fireplaces and a Jacuzzi.
Liven up your summer beach getaway by parasailing over the Atlantic Ocean to get a seagulls-eye-view of Dewey Beach. And you don’t have to do it alone—up to three people can soar hundreds of feet above the ocean together with Dewey Beach Parasailing.
Florida: Overseas Highway
You’ll feel like you’re floating on water driving from Miami to Key West on one of the country’s most beautiful roads, Overseas Highway, a 113-mile stretch with 42 overseas bridges, best driven in a convertible.
Georgia: Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island
Get a glimpse of Georgia’s "tree graveyard" by paddling, biking or walking along Jekyll Island’s Driftwood Beach.
Hawaii: Kilauea Volcano
A bucket list experience in Hawaii? Watch lava flow from Kilauea Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes on earth, on the Big Island. You can view the volcano from Crater Rim Drive, an 11-mile stretch that follows the edge of the Kilauea Caldera in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Idaho: Hot Springs
Soak in one of Idaho’s numerous natural hot springs, while you take in surrounding snowscapes. These geothermally heated pools can be enjoyed any time of year.
Illinois: The Skydeck Chicago
Go out on the ledge for soaring views of Chicago on The Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
Indiana: Indy 500
Catch the greatest racing event in the country, the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Iowa: American Gothic House
Head to Eldon to visit and take a photo in front of the real house that inspired Grant Wood to paint one of the most recognizable works of art, American Gothic. Tour the adjacent American Gothic House Center which showcases Grant Wood’s life and the history of the house.
Kansas: Herd Longhorn Cattle
Take on the experience of being a cowboy/cowgirl for the day driving a herd of longhorn cattle across the open prairie at Flying W Ranch, a working cattle ranch in Flint Hills.
Kentucky: Corvette Museum
Tour the Corvette Museum and Corvette plant in Bowling Green, the only place in the world where the classic American sports cars are made. Drive a Corvette (with a pro) around the Motorspeed performance driving track. Speeds of 120 MPH not guaranteed.
Louisiana: Myrtles Plantation
Stay overnight at the most haunted plantation home in America. Rumored to be built on top of an ancient Tunica Native American burial ground, Myrtles Plantation is a bed and breakfast that supposedly is home to at least 12 ghosts.
Maine: Sail Historic Windjammer
Sail along the coast of Maine for a few days aboard a historic windjammer, where you’ll get hands-on sailing experience and iconic views of New England lighthouses, fishing villages and uninhabited islands, where you can enjoy all of Maine’s coastal highlights in one experience.
Maryland: Assateague Island Wild Ponies
Since 1925, hundreds of wild ponies are herded by "saltwater cowboys" across Assateague Channel in July for the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim. But you can spot the wild ponies any time of year grazing on salt marshes and beaches on Assateague Island.
Massachusetts: Fenway Park
Red Sox fans or not, you have to catch at least one baseball game at Boston’s Fenway Park, the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball.
Michigan: Sleeping Bear Dunes
Climb Sleeping Bear National Seashore’s massive sand dunes, sculpted entirely by winds and waters. With 450-foot bluffs and sweeping views over Lake Michigan, this freshwater beach is one you have to see this lifetime.
Minnesota: Fat Biking on the Snow
During Minnesota winters, snow is no excuse to put your bike away. Take a spin on the snow here on a fat bike, a winter-ready bike with oversized, low-pressure tires allowing you to cycle over snow-packed trails.
Mississippi: Swamp Tour
Is coming face-to-face with an alligator on your bucket list? Take an airboat tour with Gulf Coast Gator Ranch on the swamplands of the Mississippi Gulf Coast to spot a gator in their natural habitat.
Missouri: Bonne Terre Mine
Take an unforgettable dive into the man-made caverns at Bonne Terre Mine, one of the earliest deep-earth lead mines and the world's largest freshwater dive venue.
Montana: Glacier National Park
Seeing glaciers on your bucket list? There’s no view that could be more rewarding than taking in the majestic Grinnell Glacier on Garden Wall in Glacier National Park.
Nebraska: Sandhill Crane Migration
Catch the sandhill crane migration, one of the greatest animal migrations, that happens every spring when 80 percent of the world’s cranes converge on the Platte River valley in Nebraska.
Nevada: Extraterrestrial Highway
Lookout for unidentified flying objects on Extraterrestrial Highway, a 92-mile stretch of State Route 375 in Nevada near Area 51, the notorious U.S. military installation known for reported UFO sightings.
New Hampshire: Fall Foliage
Catch Mother Nature’s stunning autumn show in New Hampshire, one of New England’s prime spots for fall foliage.
New Jersey: Ocean City Boardwalk
New Mexico: White Sands National Dunes
Dune sledding on your life list? It will be after seeing White Sands National Dunes, over 275 square miles of glistening white gypsum desert sands.
New York: Take On the Marathon
North Carolina: Wright Experience
You could go to the beach on the Outer Banks or you could fly over it on a reproduction of the Wright Brothers’ 1902 Glider! One of the only of its kind available for the public to fly, 1902 Wright Glider replica was built by the Wright Experience. Fly this glider just as the Wright Brothers did over 100 years ago—even over the same dunes they flew over.
North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Marvel at otherworldly sandstone formations on one of 100 miles of hiking trails at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Ohio: Cedar Point
Think you can handle the world's tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster? Then take a ride on Valravn, Cedar Point amusement park’s thrill ride that goes 223 feet high, 75 mph and has two 90-degree drops.
Oklahoma: Route 66 Museum
Drive through the longest stretch of Route 66 in Oklahoma and visit the museum dedicated to the Mother Road in the town of Clinton.
Oregon: Cannon Beach
Walk along Cannon Beach to take in one of Oregon’s most beautiful landmarks, the towering Haystack Rock standing 235 feet above the edge of the shoreline.
After seeing the masterpiece that is Fallingwater, stay overnight in another Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home, the Duncan House at Polymath Park Resort, one of only a handful of Wright-designed homes in the world offering overnight stays.
Rhode Island: Newport’s Cliff Walk
Ogle at Newport's gilded mansions on the famed Cliff Walk and if your budget allows it, stay overnight in one. Spend a night at Vanderbilt Grace, built in 1909 as a summer residence for Alfred Vanderbilt, and now a boutique hotel.
South Carolina: Bulls Island
See the day break on South Carolina’s Bulls Island, an unspoiled barrier island that boasts more wildlife than beach-goers.
South Dakota: Badlands National Park
Drive along Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway, a 31-mile stretch of jagged cliffs and striking rock formations. Keep an eye out for the wildlife here, from bison to Harley riders.
Tennessee: Nashville Live Music
With over 150 live music venues, Nashville is called Music City for a reason. Bluebird Café is one of the most iconic listening rooms in the city, with its decades-long history of being a haven for aspiring and established country music songwriters.
Texas: Caddo Lake
Paddle your way through the mysterious maze of Spanish moss-covered Cypress trees on Caddo Lake, the only natural lake in Texas.
Utah: Arches National Park
Go stargazing in Utah, a state that boasts one of the darkest skies in the U.S., if not the world. Camp under the stars at Arches National Park and glimpse the Milky Way span the night sky.
Vermont: Kingdom Trails
Best way to take in Vermont’s breathtaking scenery? Ride through the grassy meadows and mountains on Kingdom Trails, one of the best networks of biking trails in the U.S.
Virginia: Mount Vernon
Four out of America’s first five presidents were Virginians, and, though Woodrow Wilson was the most recent from the state to serve as commander in chief, it's still full of presidential history. Go back to the beginning and tour George Washington's Mount Vernon.
See More: Take a Presidential Tour of Virginia
Washington: Orca Whale Watching
See if you can spot orcas off the coast of Washington on the San Juan Islands, one of the best places in the world to spot the killer whales. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the area’s other amazing wildlife, too—sea lions, harbor seals, porpoise and bald eagles.
West Virginia: Raft Gauley River
For an unforgettable ride, raft the world-famous Gauley River, one of the top-ranked white water rivers in the world with over 100 rapids for every skill level.
Wisconsin: Apostle Islands
Forget a boring cheese tour, up the ante in Wisconsin and explore the ice caves at Apostle Islands, home to some of the most stunning sea caves found in the Great Lakes. Always check with the National Park Service to make sure the conditions are safe first.
Wyoming: Dude Ranch
Wrangle up some cowboy/cowgirl experience at Eaton’s Family Ranch, the nation’s first dude ranch, in Wolf, Wyoming. From horseback riding to trap shooting, you’ll be able to be the star in your own Western.
Washington, DC: Monument Night Tour
Escape the crowds and take in Washington, DC’s monuments on a twilight tour. Beautiful during the day, the memorials and monuments become magical when floodlit at dusk.