Road-trip: what can't we miss seeing where you live?

Offbeat Home & Life runs these advice questions as an opportunity for our readers to share personal experiences and anecdotes. Readers are responsible for doing their own research before following any advice given here... or anywhere else on the web, for that matter.
On the Playa
Photo by Serolynne. Used under Creative Commons license.
For YEARS, my friend and I have joked about planning a full-on cross-country road trip. We'd have a hired RV, bobble heads, nodding dogs, and hula girls on the dashboard, and we'd visit loads of tourist sites across America — you know, the worlds largest pencil museum, the biggest ball of twine, pet cemeteries, shoe trees.

We need must-visit places — we hope they give us the fortitude to plan this trip. No more joking! I'd like the Homies to give us touristing recommendations in their area. What should I come see in your city or state? -Mich

My advice is this: If you visit Nebraska, don't allow yourself to drive on I-80. That flat, ugly stretch of Interstate gives NE a bad name.

If you have a smartphone, you might also buy the app Roadside America for $2.99. It alerts you to nearby giant balls of twine and gives you information, links, and directions. It was the first app I bought (aww, I'm experiencing nostalgia!)

What have you got to offer, guys? Or rather, what has your state got to offer?

  1. Little Switzerland, NC, is cute as a button nestled in the mountains. Beaufort, NC, in home to Blackbeard's shipwreck and home. The ghost tour is awesome. The Asheboro Zoo is touted as one of the best on the east coast. Near the zoo is a private big cat sanctuary you can tour. The NC Natural History Museum has the world's only discovered fossilized dino heart. High Point has the world's largest chair and dresser. A tourist trap but fun to take pictures of.

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  2. Well I'm from Indiana. And if you're going to take a roadtrip through the Hoosier state, I recommend waiting until fall. The colors are gorgeous!

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    • The fall rocks! And if you're in southern Indiana the Ethnic Expo in Columbus is always epic. Actually, there's usually an expo, fair or whatever going on in the fall and those are tons of fun.

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    • Oh, now i feel like a bad bad Hoosier. I was going to say "It's called the 'Crossroads of America' for a reason. Cross on through, not much to see". I'm a jerk. Brown County is gorgeous and Indiana definitely has it's charms.

      • Don't feel bad, Katy, I was going to say the same. Brown County is gorgeous, but being from the SOUTHERN part, my suggestion would be to cross the river from Indiana into Louisville, KY. Touristy would be the Louisville Slugger Museum or a glassblowing place called Glassworks. If you stay the night in the area, go to 4th Street Live (it's an area of restaurants like Hard Rock Cafe and clubs along downtown 4th street). Or The Connection, which is our biggest local gay bar. It's a pretty lively city with a GORGEOUS waterfront park for leisurely sun bathing and walking time.

    • Also from Indy! If you come during the (usually) hot 90+ summer a trip to Holiday World might be worth the drive down to Santa Claus. Not too expensive, free sunscreen, and free drinks. Waterpark and amusement park with awesome roller coasters. 😀

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      • Also from Indy. Don't hesitate to stop and check out the cultural trail (bike rentals), the Indianapolis Zoo, The Art Museum, or the awesome districts like Mass Ave or Fountain Square. Indy is a great resting point if you are starting on the east coast making your way west.

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  3. For pure kitsch factor, you must see The Thing in Southern Arizona (exit 322 on the I-10). Your admission is only $1 at the gift shop's cash register – and if you're disappointed in the end (you won't be) there's always a Dairy Queen right next door to make the stop worth it.

    Just don't go in the summertime.

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    • Just went to THE THING last month! It's totally worth the buck, and yes, we stopped at Dairy Queen too. My husband and I drove past it on our way to (and again coming back from) our honeymoon in San Diego, and kicked ourselves for not going. When a friend suggested going to Tucson for a concert, we said "only if we stop at THE THING!". It was awesome.

      My father (who also drove to and from San Diego from Albuquerque many times in the seventies) always wanted to stop, but never did. I got him a mug, and he almost cried.

  4. Aw, boo 🙁 I fell in love with NE because of I-80. I guess the prairie stretch just calls to me 😀 And I love watching the prairie transform into hills, then to bluffs, then to mountains in CO. That big sky is just breathtaking. Love.

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    • I-80 in Nebraska almost broke my will to drive ever again. Probably due to all the construction that forced me to get off onto lonely roads going through ghost towns that didn't have detailed signs showing you where to go to eventually get back on the interstate. 🙁

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      • My husband and I lost our beloved VW camper (the night after our anniversary) in a rollover accident on I-80 in Wyoming. Totally sucked. We hit ice outside of Wamsutter and off we went. We were one of six vehicles to lose control on that little stretch of road that evening–and those are only the incidents the highway patrol officer knew of. My parents came & picked us up in Wyoming (as we no longer had a vehicle and were headed to their house for Christmas anyway) and I got to see the rest of I-80. Pretty dull stretch of road. And a lot like I-40 through Arizona and New Mexico, except that the colors are different.

  5. South Carolina has LOTS to offer, but the only place I really know of, as a Charlestonian, is the Angel Oak Tree about 20 minutes south of downtown Charleston.

    The tree is guessed to be one of the oldest oak trees known, the age is estimated around 1,500 years old. It is so awe-inspiring to stand in between the branches and wonder who else has sat there – revolutionaries, abolitionists… one of the local residents was a Declaration of Independence signer, and I've wondered if maybe he had a picnic with his family under it, or something equally awesome like that.

    It was named for the Angel family that owned it at one point, but there is folklore that former slaves come around and dance around the tree.

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    • Downtown Greenville, SC is gorgeous. It has some really cool shops, good restaurants, and a giant creek that runs through it. A suspension bridge spans the creek, connecting a park to downtown proper. The park is gorgeous. In the summer you can wade in the creek and play in fountains. They also (last time I was there) have a bubble tea shop! Yum!

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  6. well, being from the gulf, i fell in love with arkansas' autumn (you know, because it's an actual season and the leaves turn actual colors here). in general, i'd recommend the ozarks – especially if you're outdoorsy, but even just for looking at while you drive (just know that some of those roads might be troublesome in an rv!)

    and while you're in northwest arkansas, check out terra studios! it's magical. it's an artist collective/ complete wonderland made by ceramics (etc.) artists. so cool!

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    • i know this thread is super old, but NOW you can go to crystal bridges museum in bentonville? somewhere in nwa. anyway, it's awesome. :]

  7. If you're coming through St. Louis, MO (and why wouldn't you??), you should definitely hit the arch grounds (I-70, Memorial Drive) and take a ride up to the top. Then the City Museum–the most dangerous museum in America.

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    • Such a cool museum. I went once with some friends of mine who live in STL, and one of them got pretty badly injured. I want to go back and see the rest of the place, but they won't go there any more! Dangerous, yes, but also one-of-a-kind awesome.

      • Whenever people complain, my response is more or less "It's a playground entirely made of concrete and metal, what did you expect?" But it doesn't make it less amazing. 🙂

        • In St. Louis, you've gotta go to the Botanical Gardens. We went there about a million times growing up! All the museums and the zoo are free too, except the City Museum. In Seattle, where I live now, I haven't done as much sightseeing as I'd like to. But since I'm from from the Midwest, just living in a place where you can actually go to the beach or have a picnic near a lake or ship canal is pretty awesome.

    • Also, if you keep going down I-55 from St. Louis, you'll eventually find Ste. Genevieve, Mo (exit 150). It's a French historic town with old houses from the 1700's for you to tour, tons of cute B&B's, lots of nature, a shit ton of wineries (like 5-10), and lots of antique-y shops and things. Good times 🙂 Tourists love it.

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      • Super late, but also this! My family's from Ste. Gen and I've been there a few times, it's totally gorgeous. In August they have huge festival thing, and outside of town a little ways there's some Native American burial mounds.

  8. In Nashville, TN, my favorite site is the Parthenon in Centennial Park. Is a full-sized replica of the original in Greece. It was built for a World's Fair, and it has a giant gold-plated Athena inside! Also, if you like basically any kind of music (but especially country), there is LOTS to hear in Nashville.

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  9. Even though I am living in Vancouver, BC you must go to my home state of Wisconsin! In the town I grew up we have a great brewery tour (Leininkugel their website then you must travel to the north and see Hayward Wiscconsin. Coop's Pizza is to die, and the city has the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame that is centered around the worlds largest fiberglass sculpture that is also the worlds largest fish, its a Muskie!
    Wisconsin Dells in the center of the state has the most of the goofy roadside attractions. Along with indoor and out door water parks. You have to go to Noah's Ark, its has some of the best water thrill rides including Scorpion's Tail that takes you upside down.
    Oh gosh, I could go on and on about Wisconsin. Doesn't help that I'm a little homesick 🙂

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    • Also in WI is House on the Rock in Dodgeville, so magical, I remember my visits as a kid, I can't wait to take my son, who turned 3 today.

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    • I'm like the opposite, I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, and live in Toronto now, but spent the last two years living in Wisconsin…

      So if you're passing between Milwaukee and Chicago, you have to hit up downtown Racine for a day! It's pretty ghetto until you hit Main Street, but I miss the downtown area so much. Eat a Kringle from O&H (, and check out the (free!) heritage museum (…Mitchell cars, Insinkerators, the baseball team from A League of Our Own, and Laurel Clark (one of the astronauts from the Columbia diaster) all came from Racine, there's a display about the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the area, and they also have a whole floor of underground railroad history! Hit up Salute for pizza ( and the Sugar Shack for ice cream desert. Take a walk along the lakefront before you head either north to Milwaukee or south to Chicago! Milwaukee river walk is kind of cool, there's tons of bars and breweries, and a statue of the Fonz from Happy Days. And Chicago is probably my favourite major US city.

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    • yes and yes on wisconsin! YOU MUST stop in madison (the capitol) on a saturday morning and visit the farmers' market. largest producers-only market in the country, it circles the whole square around the capitol building. go to the bakery on the corner of mifflin and wisconsin and get a donut the size of your face, and if it's apple season (september – november), go to ela's orchard's stand on carroll street and taste the best sweet cider you've ever had. =)

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      • And take a tour of the capitol building (which is finally open again without security). We have a spectacular capitol building with free tours and no security hassles (just walk in).

      • Wisconsin is also home to the *amazing* Mustard Museum. It was in Mt Horeb (which is adorable and has large, carved wooden trolls all over town), but is now in the Madison area. Love that place!!

  10. I probably don't have to tell you that there are a whole mess of Country Music clubs in Nashville. But since those aren't really my speed, I'll let you know how I would tour my town. I would wake up early in the morning to get in line for the Pancake Pantry, and enjoy a fabulous breakfast there. After that, I would hop over to Centennial park, and walk around for a little while enjoying the scenery before entering the Parthenon, and touring the museum inside.

    After that, I might be feeling a bit peckish again. You remembered to pick up a picnic lunch from Bar-B-Cutie, right? Good; find a nice shady spot in the park, perhaps in one of the picnic pavilions, or even just out on the grass, and enjoy!

    After this, I think it's time to spend some time indoors. If I had children (or even without, since I'm just a big kid inside), I'd go to the Adventure Science Center. Not the biggest or best Science Museum in the nation, by far, but the Planetarium is nice, and it's right up my alley.

    After this, I would probably make the half an hour drive down to Franklin, TN, and spend some time antique shopping and looking at the historic buildings. The Factory is a refurbished factory turned mall, filled with boutique shops, restaurants, and classrooms. It's definitely worth a look, while you're down there. While you're in there, try some dinner at Saffire. The atmosphere is nice, and the food is yummy. Though, if you're craving more Southern goodness and family friendly atmosphere, I've heard that Stoveworks is really good.

    After dinner, you might check out a show at the Boiler Room theater, or take a Ghost tour of downtown Franklin. It's up to you and what you like to do. And if you really wanted, I suppose you could go to some country clubs, too. Hahah. Enjoy your stay in Nashville.

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    • Things that get overlooked in Nashville:

      Fannie Mae Dees Park aka the Dragon Park – there's a large mosaic dragon sculpture that you/your kids can sit and play on. It's probably my favorite park in Nashville.

      Fort Negley – located behind the Adventure Science Musuem, Fort Negley was once a Civil War fort, and if you are into history, there are some awesome information panels about the site. If you're not so into history, this a beautiful walk up the hill with some nice views once you hit the top. It's also free 🙂

      McKay bookstore – This is absolutely the best thing to do in Nashville. McKays is a used book/cd/dvd/videogame store. It is huge and so unbelievably awesome.

      And if you happen to be over at Centennial Park, walk a couple of blocks over to Cafe Coco . They're open 24 hours, on the weekends they have live music, the food and the atmosphere are awesome. Then walk down to Elliston Place and check out the second hand clothing shops, the hookah lounge, see who's playing at the Exit/In and then get a soda from the historic Elliston Place Soda Shop.

  11. Memphis, TN – unless you are an Elvis freak, skip Graceland. No, really. The crowds are crazy, you only see about a third of the house, and it's crazy expensive in my opinion. I've gone twice, once with an aunt who's an Elvis fan, and once with a boyfriend who "had" to do it. They both thought it sucked. And it smells.

    Now the good stuff – Memphis is all about music, so must-sees are Sun Studios, Stax, Beale Street (ALWAYS live music down there, EVERY night), and Memphis Rock and Soul Museum. It's also a HUGE part of the US African-American Civil Rights Movement, and has deep roots in slavery, so National Civil Rights Museum and Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. And FOOD! Brother Juniper's, Gus's Fried Chicken, at least one GOOD barbecue place (if you are veggie traveling with a meat-eater, go to Central BBQ – they have a good portobello mushroom sandwich I'm told) (and please don't waste your money on Corky's BBQ, please, for my sake, just don't do it – even Rendezvous is better), and Wiles-Smith Drug Store (a real old-fashioned drug store – with malts!). If you are vegetarian, it's a bit more difficult, but again, Brother Juniper's (really good tofu scrambles), Imagine (vegan), Smooth Moves/Balewa's (he makes his own veggie burgers – SO good!). Most restaurants can do something veggie, but vegan is more difficult, but not impossible. Check the Vegan Crunk blog for more.

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  12. In Kansas City, MO, we are all about the Jazz and BBQ. Check out the historic Jazz District at 18th and Vine. And for BBQ, go to Oklahoma Joes, the best BBQ you will find in a gas station, at 47th and Mission Rd. in Mission, KS.

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    • Tangential to KC, I'd recommend driving through the Flint Hills area; we used to live in Manhattan and the area is so~ pretty. It definitely puts that whole "Kansas is flat!" thing it's place.

      Until you leave NE Kansas. Then it's kinda true again.

      (And oh god yes, KC BBQ.)

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      • I grew up in southeast Kansas…it is way pretty too! In October, the week of Halloween there is a huge street fair/carnival/craft show/beauty pageant/ chili cook off/ high school band competition….not that I'm already looking forward to leaving Vegas for it…. ( Ahem.

        • Ooh, my bad! I've never been south, except one midnight trip to Wichita where the driver took what was apparently a back road. All I remember is getting a sunburn at the renn fest the next morning.

          I have, however, taken I-70 west to Colorado. NEVER AGAIN. I love Kansas, but between Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado we ran out of items during I-Spy.

  13. I live in teeny Tiny DeKalb IL. We're the birth place of Barbed Wire, and you can see the factory and the homes of the people who invented it. The Ellwood house is pretty.
    But for my money, I would wait until fall and go see a show at the Egyptian Theater. It's our very old historical theater, from back when DeKalb looked like it was going to be Chicago #2. Tickets and concessions are cheap, and if you check their online calender you can catch a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture show, complete with actors and audience participation. JFK made a speech at the Egyptian. While you're on that street, stop at the House Cafe and get a drink. There's no describing the House, other than the minute you walk in you know it's where the art students have spent every decade.

    • Whoa! I lived in DeKalb for about 10 years and was scrolling down to write a comment about it. Crazy. Definitely 2nd the Ellwood house/museum [especially awesome near Christmas!] and Egyptian recommendations. There have also been a bunch of neat antique/vintage shops that have popped up downtown over the last few years.
      Also, if you're in this region of the midwest, it'd also be a crime not to take time to see the House on the Rock up in Wisconsin. Happy trails!

    • Wow, I'd never heard of a Creationist Museum, but according to Wikipedia there are over 20 in the US alone! A Moonbow sounds gorgeous!

  14. Savannah, GA, on the coast, has a lot to offer for being a small city, though it would be out of the way on a road trip. It has ghost tours, walking drinking tours, and beaches nearby- as well as being home to one of the best art schools in the country. The place is to die for beautiful.

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    • We took our honeymoon in Savannah and loved it! The food was amazing, the town was walkable, and you can order your drink to go and enjoy it as you stroll. As the other poster said, it's a beautiful city. So many trees!

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    • Savannah is fantastic. Downtown is very touristy. The Southside shouldn't be overlooked. I've lived here for about three years and I would rather spend a Saturday afternoon on the Southside any day. Armstrong Atlantic State University has an excellent theatre program that produces 10-12 shows a year and the base price is $10 a ticket. SCAD is downtown and has nice art and things, but I recommend the Armstrong Masquers Theatre Troupe for live performance. The original 3D movie!

      Then of course there's Tybee Island. And if you're making the trip all the way to Savannah, you might as well take the extra 30 minutes to Tybee. I highly recommend going the weekend BEFORE Memorial Day. The Annual Beach Bum Parade is that Saturday. Locals to Savannah and Tybee spend the day in an island-wide water fight. There are buckets, hoses, and water guns everywhere. Then around 6 PM the Beach Bum Parade starts. Normal parade with floats? Could be. Until you realize that everyone on the floats has just as many water weapons as you! Island-wide water gun fight with everyone, including the parade. It's what made me so happy to be living here.

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  15. Philadelphia on a Friday:
    Breakfast/brunch at Honey's Sit N Eat (; Free At Noon concert at World Cafe Live (every Friday, sign up for tix at; head down to Rittenhouse Square and grab some lunch from a food truck to sit and eat or browse the shops on Chestnut St (or visit the Reading Terminal Market for a smorgasbord of lunch options –; dinner at South Philly Tap Room ( if you want to watch the Phillies game on TV or at Monk's Cafe ( if you fancy amazing beers and the best mussels and pommes frites in the city.

    Philly is such a great city – I can't talk about it enough. I love playing tour guide. It's a great city to spend a weekend in because it's relatively small and you can see a lot over the course of 2 or 3 days. It also has (I feel) the best beer scene in the nation.

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    • I love Philly! But I also work here, so maybe I'm biased.

      I'd definitely recommend a trip to Reading Terminal. It's an obvious tourist stop, but it does have some really good food. And Basset's ice cream! Definitely try Guatemalan Ripple, and get the backstory-the best morning DJs I've ever heard are in Philly, and it's a joke from their radio show.

      And then there's the history in Old City. So very cool if you like history, just roaming around and passing 200yr old townhomes and churches.

      But if you're looking for something more off the beaten path, check out the Mutter Museum. Not for those with a weak stomach, though….

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    • Heck yes! When it comes to AMAZING beer bars, Philly rocks — there's sooo many good ones (Good Dog, Varga's, POPE, Devils Den, Devils Alley, Standard Tap…YUM).

      First Fridays are awesome; so's the Kimmel Center (you can get really cheap tickets at the last minute, and the inside looks like a violin! :D)

      • You can get free tours of the Kimmel Center – you just have to sign up. It's really neat!

  16. Houston TX has the National Museum of Funeral History. Admission $10.00, open 7 days a week. The gift shop even sells chocolate caskets and coffins, about $3.25 each. Very interesting if you are into that sort of thing.

    And if you like Jimmy Buffett, his sister Lucy has Lulu's on Highway 98 in Gulf Shores AL. Very family friendly, local artist oriented, and just an all around fun place to be.

    Enjoy your trip!

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    • Oh, and in Pensacola FL, downtown there's McGuire's Pub. They brew their own ale and have a cup of lentil soup for 19 cents, but only if you order it with a meal, otherwise it's in the $7.95 range if I remember correctly. Hey, everyone has a gimmick! Then you write your name on a dollar bill and staple it to the wall or ceiling or wherever you can find a space!

  17. Zelienople, PA (30 miles N of Pittsburgh)has an adorable little candy store called Baldinger's. It has a penny table, a bunch of old style candy and local made choclates.

  18. North St. Paul, MN has the largest stucco snowman in North America!

    The downtown area is also really cute with lots of antique stores. If you swing by on a Friday night during the summer, there's also a classic car show going on.

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    • I was going to suggest the Spoon and Cherry sculpture in Minneapolis. Its in a huge sculpture garden right on the edge of downtown. And if you come through MN you have to check out the Spam Museum just south of the Twin Cities, I can't remember what town it is in though.

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  19. If you come through northern Nevada you have to go to Virginia City. The sidewalks are all old fashioned covered boardwalks dating back to the 1860's mining heydays. There are several mine tours you can take as well as a lot of old Victorian mansions and buildings. Between Carson City and Dayton there is Mound House where all the Cat Houses are and I don't mean the feline varity. It is worth it to stop and take pictures of some of the signs, and if you ring the buzzer and ask to take a picture with a couple of the girls, you might get lucky (pun intended)!
    Also Lake Tahoe is beautiful any time of the year and it is America's second deepest lake.
    If you come in late summer, Burning Man is at the end of August in the Black Rock Desert. Good luck with your planing.

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  20. The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is beautiful. It is an amazing sight and then you can go to the Trading Post and eat a buffalo burger(they're nummy!) and buy some beautiful aspen leaf jewelry or a piece of Native American art.

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    • I love Garden of the Gods! It is the place I take anyone visiting Colorado Springs. After eating at the Trading Post, we head into Manitou to the Penny Arcade.

  21. Geez, it's hard to start on Mass. There's LOADS to see, especially if you're even remotely into history. Concord, Lexington. Boston, where I live, is a destination unto itself. Our wedsite crash course:, I'm also very fond of Gloucester and Hammond Castle.

    And come in mid-October, when the leaves are at their prettiest! But make sure to book hotels, if necessary, well in advance.

    • Salem! If you're in MA go to Salem, and walk around. Be a dork and go to the Witch House, Museum, Pirate Museum. There are little shops that have psychics that do readings, it's so ridiculously fun! Also go to Revere Beach and eat at Kelly's Roast Beef!

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  22. I just did a 3 week cross country road trip, and two highlights were the Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee, and the Arizona Sonoma Desert Museum outside of Tucson. The treehouse is this amazing and scary 10 story structure hiding down a dirt road and covered with religious memorabilia. There are no trespassing signs to ward off vandals, but it has a parking lot and picnic tables and stuff. The Desert Museum is like a zoo and museum in one, and you hike about a half mile out into the desert on the designated path and see animals and vegitation (in a totally safe way). Both places were amazing.

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    • YES YES YES on the Desert Museum. I am a museum nerd, it's true, but the Desert Museum is flat-out fabulous.

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    • More love for the Desert Museum. We were in Tucson for just a day, and it was a beautiful way to spend it. It was 102 degrees (we're used to it, New Mexico gets pretty hot, but it was May), so take lots of water and sunscreen, and take a camera with a good Macro lens!

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  23. Ah, Kentucky. The scenic byways are very scenic, if that's why you're traveling. If you have a sense of humor, there's always the Creation Museum– I don't know a single person who hasn't visited just to take pictures with the dinosaurs. There's Mammoth Cave, the world's longest known cave system. Berea is a small town with a large crafts movement. Lexington has a small but very good horse racing museum.
    In Louisville one of the best things is the food. Yes, you can get traditional southern stuff or variations on it (Lynn's Paradise Cafe), but there are all sorts of very good restraunts where you can get delicious meals for affordable prices.
    In terms of things to see, there's a lot. The Louisville Slugger museum, the Thomas Edison house, the American Printing House for the Blind, the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Muhammad Ali museum. For those interested in arts/crafts there are places like Glassworks and the Little Loomhouse. The city has a large system of Olmstead parks and a nice historical district. Right across the river is the Falls of the Ohio's fossil beds.
    If you time your visit right there's the St. James Art Show, the Humana Festival of New Plays, or Thunder over Louisville (largest annual fireworks display in North America).

  24. I'm from MT so I can highly recommend all of our natural wonders. Glacier National Park is a tourist obvious. But even better is The Lumberjack Saloon in Lolo, MT. Is a log bar in the middle of the woods that is amazing. They have great food and good drinks and its really what a good Montana bar is all about.

  25. I can't speak to any specific sites, but if you want some inspiration, check out You can search by region and category and you can find some fun things you may want to check out.

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  26. Alabama:
    Mobile has the USS Alabama Battleship, the Carnival Museum (all about Mardi Gras– complete with Queens' gowns and floats), Fort Conde, a ridiculous amount of historic homes to tour, and the Exploreum Science Center, as well as easy access to beaches like Gulf Shores and Dauphin Island (where I grew up!).

    If you make it to Dauphin Island, they have Fort Gaines, Indian Burial Grounds with shellmounds, and the Sea Lab and Estuarium.

    Birmingham: the Vulcan (made for the 1904 World's Fair), the McWane Science Center, Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, and the B'ham Zoo.

    Montgomery: Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and Civil Rights Museums and Memorial Centers.

  27. Knoxville, TN has a pretty good skate/bike park, but I'd head NW about an hour and hit up the Minister's Treehouse. Photos don't do it justice, and the man who built it is usually hanging around there and more than happy to talk with any visitors.

  28. Well Minooka, IL is pretty lame but if anyone is traveling down I80 and needs a break we can board ya for the night. We'll order Fat Boyz pizza, climb on the roof and enjoy the creepy, peaceful glow of the power plant.

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  29. Firstly, I would recommend checking out the City guides posted on Design Sponge. I don't always agree with them, but they do have some interesting things.

    Secondly, I don't want to advise on all of Washington, but I do love Seattle & Bellingham. In Seattle, of course visit Pike Place Market, but also do the Underground Tour in Pioneer Square. Please don't skip visiting West Seattle – Alki beach is a lot of fun (esp Whale Tail Park, even if you don't have kids). On California Ave & Alaska there is "the Junction" where you can find a lot of fairly priced eateries & free parking (almost unheard of in Seattle!). If you visit the Junction in W. Seattle, check out the ice cream at the family-owned Husky Deli; it's made there in-store from their family recipes. If your sweet tooth prefers something baked to something cold, there is Cupcake Royale… but I would recommend Coffee to a Tea with Sugar over CR any day!! Better selection & fresher (and prettier) products.

    • I lived in West Seattle in the Junction for 3 years! I loved it down there! Every single morning my sister and I would walk to Uptown Espresso. The baristas there are great 🙂 My sister still lives there, but I moved. West Seattle Blog is really helpful on places to eat in the Junction or the Admiral district of West Seattle.

  30. Mississippi is chock full of awesome places to visit. The Natchez Trace is popular among tourists, but for my money the Blues Highway, Route 66, is where it's at. Things you can't miss are the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale and the Shack Up Inn ( I'm quite partial to our fair capitol, my current city, Jackson, and there's lots to do and see here. If you're in North Mississippi, stop by Borrum's Drug Store and get some dough burgers (also known as slug burgers, although there are no slugs involved) ( Yum. I love my state!

  31. What a fun question! I skimmed through the comments, and no one has spoken of Northeast Ohio yet, so here are some highlights:

    In the Akron area (where I live; it's about 30 minutes south of Cleveland): The Cuyahoga Valley Natural Park is GORGEOUS (especially pretty summer and fall) and will prove to you that Ohio is not all corn. It's a great place for a hike, to see waterfalls, or to take a bike ride along the historic Ohio/Erie canal Towpath Trail. Within the park you can also get your Ohio corn fix and stop at Szalay's family-owned corn farm/market… We Ohioans do love our corn, and you can buy it freshly picked raw or roasted and eat it off the cob. Nothing better!
    Cuy. Valley Park:
    Aforementioned waterfall:

    If you're stopping in Cleveland, you must go to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame if you choose one "touristy" thing to do.
    R&R Hall of Fame:

    This sounds like a wonderful trip!

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  32. If you make it up to Alsaka, North Pole is a good stop if you like Christmas. There's a 300 foot tall Santa, the Santa Claus House, with everything Christmas, and you can sit on Santa's lap. Then a short drive north of there is Chena Hot Springs. When I say short I mean a 2 hour drive, Alaskans have a messed up sense of time when it comes to driving places. To the biggest city it a weekend trip for us, and it's a 12 hour drive round trip. Haha!! And if you do make it to Alaska, come in the summer, -40 is not a good way to get people to visit 🙂 Hope you make it!!

    • My Alaska spots would be

      The Exit Glacier Trail near Seward. You get to the top and have a spectacular view of the Harding Ice Fields (over 100 square miles of ice feeding many glaciers). It is a strenuous hike.

      The Backcountry Lodge in Denali National Park. You get to go all the way to the end of the road and can hike and enjoy the scenery from there.

  33. Oregon!

    In Portland, take a Portland Walking Tours tour. Visit Powell's Books!! Eat at Voodoo Doughnuts. Try to convince the guy who runs the Woodstock Mystery Hole to give you a tour. There are a gazillion more things to do in Portland; I can't even begin to touch on them.

    Near Salem, stop by the truly weird Enchanated Forest.

    Go up to Astoria and look around at places where the Goonies was filmed, and then check out the Astoria Column.

    Have a touristy time seeing Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.

    …and so much more!

  34. Hard to believe there's no Californians in this thread yet! I'm in Santa Cruz, 70 miles south of San Francisco. The beach in general is beautiful, The Mystery Spot is a fun little tourist spot, and of course, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk is legendary. If you're a fan of 80's vampire flicks, Lost Boys was filmed there. It also has the oldest wooden roller coaster on the West Coast.

    3 agree
    • I'm also from Santa Cruz so I'm piggy backing for organization's sake.

      Between the beaches and the redwoods, definitely one of the most beautiful places in the world. The boardwalk is great, but after you see it, you'll want to check out the karaoke bar across the street.

      I'm not a big mystery spot person, though it definitely is the type of thing you're looking for, but I'll tell you what I love: A little bit north of town, in Felton, is a bigfoot museum. At first it seems small and just like a big pile of Harry and the Hendersons VHS, but then you talk to the guy. He is great!

    • More on California (northern):
      The Bay Area surrounding San Francisco has soo many awesome things to see. And amazing food to eat. In Oakland, try Bakesale Betty's for a delicious fried chicken sandwich. For truly California pizza, try Boot and Shoe Service. Check out redwoods, in a large metropolitan city, at Joaquin Miller Park or Redwood Regional Park. Tilden Park in Berkeley is also super cool. See a movie at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. Walk around Lake Merritt.

      Farther north is where the gorgeous natural scenery is. North of Richmond, you can take Highway 1 for ~150 miles of coastal scenery. Just pay close attention to road! There are lots of cool towns along the way. Mendocino is quaint and cute. I grew up farther north in Garberville, which is a small dot of nothing that is full of trees and hippies-surrounded by nature everywhere, including the Avenue of the Giants. Eat at the Woodrose Cafe. Then continue on to Arcata which someone else already mentioned.

      Okay that is all, even though there is so much more…

      • Few things to add to the post above. I live in Eureka but have lived all over the country and this area is by far one of my favorite places to live because it is so beautiful and quiet, and no traffic. There is an endless supply of nearly empty gorgeous beaches and trails. If you do come, come late July-September as that is when the weather is the nicest (mid 60s and sunny) unless you want rain then you can come any other time of year. And if you drive through Mendocino county don't speed, the cops like to give out tickets.

  35. If you go through Colorado, I'd suggest taking I70 through Glenwood Canyon between Dotsero and Glenwood Springs. Gorgeous! And if there's parking spots available, hike the 1.2 miles up to Hanging Lake (

    And if you're driving through Colorado in the summer, pay the fee to enter Rocky Mountain National Park and drive Highway 34 (Trail Ridge Road) over the continental divide. Can't drive over in the winter, though, as it's closed due to snow.

    I've thought it would be cool to see salvation mountain in SoCal (

    And Forevertron in Wisconsin ( – which I first heard about through offbeaters!

    Oh, and please post photos / blog about this epic trip of epicness!

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  36. If you're going to go through Washington and traverse the state from West to East or East to West don't take I-90. PLEASE. Take Highway 410. It'll go through some of the most beautiful mountains you can ever imagine, has way less traffic and will give you nerves of steel if you're used to driving on things that are flat with wide shoulders. But seriously, nobody's ever died there and it's some of the most beautiful mountain views – EVER. It's not touristy, but it's beautiful, and I think that is sometimes more important.

  37. I live in NYC, which kind of speaks for itself toursism-wise. You’ve got that big green lady out in NY Harbor, Ellis Island, Empire State Building (which I’ve never been to the top of, oddly), Time Square (which I avoid at all costs), Grand Central, Chinatown, Central Park, tons of museums, blah blah blah.

    That stuff is cool and all, but I’m going to be a stereotypical New Yorker and recommend my favorite pizza place, just outside the city in Yonkers: A&V Pizza on Morsemere Ave. It’s on the corner of one of my best friends’ grandparents’ block. So delicious and thin crusted with the perfect amount of sauce to cheese ratio and and and garlic knots that melt in your mouth… remind me why I moved from Yonkers to Manhattan again? Sigh. In my extensive travels outside of my home state it continually astounds me how unbelievably BAD pizza is pretty much everywhere else (no offense, guys). So it may be cliché, but if you really want to experience NY, a good slice of pizza is the only way to do it. And don’t go to Little Italy, it’s not the same anymore. Arthur Ave in the Bronx is the way to go for all manner of Italian cuisine (after you go to A&V, of course!). Now I’m hungry!

    1 agrees
  38. I haven't seen much in the way of Minnesota suggestions. (may have missed them?)

    Lanesboro, MN: Canoe the Root River or rent a bicycle and take spin on the Root River Trail to Whalan, MN for some delicious pie.

    Harmony, MN: Niagra Cave. Loads of sinkholes around the area, and thus a cave carved into the limestone below the surface, and a waterfall (ahem, not even close to Niagra proportions, but still really cool.)

    Mantorville, MN: Tiny old Stagecoach town. Stop by The Hubbell House for a supper club style meal(many famous visitors over the years) and try to catch a Melodrama at the Opera House.

    Austin, MN: The SPAM museum. Self explanatory. AND awesome.

    2 agree
  39. Weird New Jersey!

    The Lambertville/New Hope/Doylestown area is always fun (artsy, pretty towns).

    Wildwood is THE classic cheap NJ vacation.

    And we have the world's largest light bulb!

    • Ha! I was born in Lambertville, lived in New Hope as a kid, and spent middle and high school in Doylestown, and as someone who regularly has to defend my claim to be from PA (we left NJ when I was a baby) I just have to say… New Hope and Doylestown are NOT in NJ! 😉

      Glad to see the shout-out, though. The Bagel Barrel in D-town is excellent, and the Mercer Museum and Fonthill/the Tileworks are fun to tour and great places for a walk and picnic.

  40. I have lived in Oregon and Eastern Washington, so here goes:

    Eastern Washington
    – Hanford Nuclear Reservation: If you sign up in advance, you can tour the B Reactor which was in operation during WWII. One of my friends said that tour was the second coolest thing he had ever seen. (The first being the birth of his daughter)

    -Portland has a TON of breweries and beer fests. Lots of neat pub crawls too. Also home to Pok Pok, a Thai restaurant that has the best chicken wings you have ever tasted. Powell's is an awesome bookstore that takes up an entire city block.
    -Silverton is home to Silver Falls, a beautiful state park with 7 water falls.
    -Salem has a hand carved wooden carousel in its waterfront park.

  41. If you make it to Massachusetts, you have to stop at the Davis Farm Mega Maze. It is a very complex 3D corn maze which changes every year.

    It's so much fun, but, just to warn you, you need to set aside a whole afternoon, you will get terribly lost, and you will be sick of the sight of corn afterwards. It's worth it though!

  42. I live in Paoli, PA. You've probably never heard of it, but it's the "Main Line". Blah. BUT you have to visit Valley Forge National Park and hike up Mount Joy and Mount Misery. Oh, also the Book Barn out in West Chester. Don't miss the Mütter Museum in Philly, which is full of medical…artifacts…and oddities, like the soap lady, and skulls from victims of syphilis! Then there's the millions of awesome bars around Philly.

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  43. When people come visit us in Cincinnati, my wife and I joke that we're giving them just an eating tour. From Skyline chili to Graeter's ice cream, plus the crepes place downtown, and Busken bakery, and Melt in Northside (okay, everything in Northside)… Tons of parks, playgrounds, historical spots, shops, and a great zoo and a great aquarium. Last week we ate at a little place called the Rootbeer Stand aways up north (Sharonville) that's been the same since 1957, and it was delicious. We've only lived here a year, too!

  44. I live in a small rural/suburban (depends on who you talk to) town called Newtown, located in Pennsylvania. We have a small historic district where Washington posted his men just after the Decemeber crossing on the Delaware. We also have many historic homes, a beautiful Main street with businesses restoring and keeping up with the historical look of our little town. We have quite a few old churches that date back to the 1700's with really neat grave yards and our little town is surrounded by beautiful farms. If you want to see even more beautiful features, check out the local community college, part of the buildings once belonged to an estate which is now part of the college grounds where you can walk through the gardens. We have so much to offer being a small historical town. We have even built up a small downtown area to reflect the historic district, bricked walkways, old lamposts, beautiful gardening. If you pass through Bucks County, PA you need to slip through our little town. Once in history known as Penn's New Green Town, which soon became shortened to just….Newtown. We are close to great shopping in New Hope, PA and historical areas like Washington Crossing. Dont forget us when traveling through!

  45. If you are in Kansas you should visit

    the Konza prairie (largest remnant of tall grass prairie in the US, it is beautiful)

    the Kansas Cosmosphere (a great aerospace museum. It has the backup sputnik satellite that didn't fly and a lunar lander and every other piece of space history you can think of).

    For extra credit try Cow Town in Wichita, a living history museum of the early days of the town. Its pretty cool.

    1 agrees
  46. Seattle visitors: Try Kubota Garden, a Japanese-style garden complete with red bridges and a manmade natural-looking waterfall. You can hike (a very little) or not, there are ADA-accessible trails too.

    Also, go to Theo Chocolate and tour the factory. YOU CAN SEE HOW CHOCOLATE IS MADE. It is awesome. I've heard it's best on weekdays, when the machines are running. Haven't tried it yet, but it was great on the weekend too. Also, free samples.

    If you're venturing to Kitsap County, don't miss Scenic Beach Park, where it looks like the Olympic Mountains are going to fall on you and gobble you up. Pretty cool.

    • Or if you're in to more hiking/out in the middle of nowhere stuff, try Guillemot Cove – it's a nature preserve with a lovely 1 mile hike in to a beach on the Hood Canal.

      Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics, Sunrise and Paradise in the Cascades – all worth going to. And Mt. St. Helens – that's just astounding.

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  47. I am from Cali 🙂 You have to stop at Columbia State Park in Sonora, CA, its a small 1860s town stuck in the past.

    Then there is the Winchester House.

    Though my favorite hole in the wall we found on a recent trip is just south of Banden, OR on Hwy 101. Its called West Coast Game Park, and if they have cubs, they have daily shows that you can play with them. While we were there we got to pet and visit a baby leopard and play with 2 adorable baby tigers. BEST EXPERIANCE EVER-for animal lovers:)

    1 agrees
    • Winchester Mystery House!! It's even better to visit during October evenings for the Flashlight Guided Tours! It is sooo much more fun this way!

      Another NorCal place I've been DYING to visit is the City of Colma – a true, honest to goodness NECROPOLIS!! Home to 16 cemeteries (including a pet cemetery!), the first was established in 1887! You could walk from one area that is the Italian cemetery and then walk across the street and be in the Japanese cemetery. Tina Turner's dog is buried there; you'll also find William Randolph Hearst, Alcatraz inmates and Wyatt Earp! Beautiful grave markers, mausoleums & tombstones!

      If you have tons of time, and are going from San Fran to San Diego(or Southern Cali), take the 1 (Pacific Coast Highway), and stop in Big Sur!! So beautiful!!! there's a place to eat right on the side of the highway and I can't remember the name of it, darn! But it has beautiful views of the ocean!

      If you ever find yourself behind the Orange Curtain in Orange County, you need to go to one of the best pizza joints in all of the OC: Haus of Pizza in Costa Mesa! It's a thicker crust, but man they don't mess around with the cheese and toppings!! and 32oz beer steins!! woohoo!

      Oooh and if you happen to stop in Laguna Beach on your way south, you must eat at the vegan friendly Taco Loco!!! Mmmmmmm, I'm totally salivating just thinking about it!!

      And don't forget about the many wineries(Napa Valley & Temecula) and breweries(Stone Brewery, Karl Strauss!!), too!

      ha ha- all of my destinations are food/beer/wine driven 🙂

      • I'm a Southern California girl – raised in Long Beach and now live in an agricultural community right outside of LA. Along with all the other stuff above, some great places around here are the Ojia hot springs, there are great hiking spots in the Santa Monica Mountains.

        For kitsch factor, visiting the Madonna Inn off the 101!

        The Belmont Brewing Company in Long Beach is an awesome local place for yummy beer and right near Shoreline Village – a very cute, old timey area on the water with little shops and places to eat.

        I'm sure I'll think of more and be back to post!

        To second, driving on the One is just awesome! Going South from northern California means you'll see lots of beautiful coast and end up running into the Santa Monica Pier after driving through some iconic spots in Malibu (eat at Neptune's Net or Malibu Seafood Co. on the side of the road and check out all the bikers!).

  48. NYC –
    * Do not go to Times Square. it is lame and crowded and it sucks. OK, if you really want to you can go.
    * Central park is pretty cool and ginormous. The do model boat races on Saturday morning.
    * The Bronx Zoo and botanical gardens are awesome! You can take the Metro North train from Grand Central station.
    * The Queens museum of Art has a really cool, accurate to the '90s diorama of every single building in New York City.
    * I'd recommend the Sex & the city or Seinfeld tour if you are going to do a general tour of the city.

    Chicago –
    * Food: Carson's Ribs, Edwardos or Gino's East pizza
    * The top of the Sears tower is really cool
    * Frank Lloyd Wright Home and studio in Oak Park
    * The Gangster tour is pretty neat
    * The Shedd Aquarium, Museum of Science and Industry, and Field Museum are all really really awesome

    St. Louis
    * Forest Park
    * The science center
    * Go somewhere else … and do not under any circumstances eat the "St. Louis style pizza." It tastes like vomit. The crab rangoon on the other hand is the best ever (seriously, it was invented here)

    1 agrees
    • Also, the Botanical Garden in St. Louis is very pretty, and regularly has awesome events, including a Japanese festival!

      The Delmar Loop is also very interesting. It has a lot of great food and shops, including the awesome comics and pop culture store, Star Clipper. Cicero's has the best pasta I've ever tasted, too.

      I agree that I don't like Imo's pizza (The St. Louis pizza), but Dewey's pizza (in suburbs Webster Groves and Kirkwood) is delicious. As for other local food stuff, Ted Drewe's frozen custard is magical.

    • I don't think someone could pay me to go to Times Square…the Nike Store there got shutdown for being infested with bedbugs. Yuck!

    • Aww, as a non-New Yorker I actually found Times Square to be kind of exciting. It's part of our pop culture in many ways so it was a "wow, so that's really it" moment. Perhaps popping out of one of the Times Square subway stations is a good quick way to see it?

  49. Oh dear. Let's think.

    In my now-home of Albuquerque, NM:
    – Drive around the back side of the Sandias instead of along I-40 in the front. There are a few cooky mountain towns and you can drive up to the mountain's crest.
    – Pueblo ruins, too many to name, but they have a real mystical presence.
    – Petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings) on the mesa next to the 3 Sisters Volcanoes. Oh you didn't know Albuquerque has volcanoes?
    – Events like the Gathering of Nations Powwow (in April) or the Balloon Fiesta (in October).
    – I haven't been to the cliff dwellings at Acoma yet, but my New Mexican husband can't recommend it enough.

    In Florida, my original home:
    – Either the Itchetucknee River or Homosassa Springs, either of which you can snorkel or tube down and see to the bottom of the river, with lots of fish, manatees, gators, etc.
    – St. Augustine, which is constant battle with Santa Fe, NM for who's older since they both claim to be the oldest town in the USA. There is a Spanish castle/fort still standing there and the town is quaint/cute.
    – The Dali museum in Tampa and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota.
    – Also, Florida swings between suburbia, cities, coastal communities, SUPER tourist spots and, of course, deep deep DEEP South. Driving as far as you can up highway 1, the National Seashore, is also a great way to pass through different facets of Florida culture and nature.

    1 agrees
    • I left a comment without searching for other Albuquerquians. Totally agreeing on the Pueblo Ruins! I don't particularly care for the petroglyphs, though. Acoma is really pretty.

      Forgot to mention going to El Morro and Chaco canyon, both about three hours outside of ABQ, but two of my favorite places on the planet. Awe inspiring. DON'T GO IN JULY. Worst case of heat stroke, ever.

      • Oooooh I visited Chaco a couple summers ago (late August was bearable… but this from an Arizonan). It was absolutely stunning and I agree with your recommendation! Just be ready for the bumpiest rock road you will ever jiggle down. However, there were beautiful horses grazing at one point on the road, so that balanced it out.

  50. Visit Lincoln, NE! Their capital building is so cool, with real trippy art all over the place. When you first walk in there's classic art from floor to ceiling. You can get a tour or just show yourself around. I have issues with heights so the top floor was a bit much for me, but the whole place is very cool. Made me think of Alice in Wonderland… And while you're in the area, check out a Huskers game! Oh oh don't forget to check out the Omaha zoo!!! Zoos are sweet.

    Sioux Falls, SD is a cute little city. They have art festivals in the summer, awesome winter parades, and Falls Park is beautiful.

  51. If you're visiting Central Pennsylvania, you MUST visit Hershey. It's where they make the chocolate. And yes, the air in the town does smell like chocolate. There's Chocolate World with a candy area the size of a small supermarket and Hershey Park with tons of awesome rides.
    I'd suggest a visit to Amish Country. Well, that would be anywhere from Lebanon Country to Franklin County really so it's pretty broad. Oh, and visit Intercourse, PA. Just so you can say you've visited Intercourse. And to get one of those shirts that say "Virginia may be for lovers but Pennsylvania has Intercourse!".
    Gettysburg too, if you're in to history. Site of one of the most major battles in the Civil War. There's a CD car tour of the battlefield, you can get a horseback tour of the battlefield, or a ghost tour of the town. They redid the Visitor's Center a while back and pulled out a ton of exhibits that had been languishing in storage for years.

    For where I live now, Prince Edward Island, I'd say visit the capital, Charlottetown. It's got a small town feel but it's not exactly tiny (30,000 people). There's Cows Creamery which has some of the best ice cream in the country. I kid you not. Reader's Digest featured it. There's Cavendish, home of Anne of Green Gables. Anne is everywhere up here. Basin Head, which has the Singing Sands. Apparently they squeak when you step on them. I'll let you know how it is. There's Provence House, where the country of Canada was founded. The Confederation Center of the Arts in downtown Charlottetown always has something interesting playing in the theatre. Charlottetown has lots of good restaurants. Also, if you like seafood, all the seafood here is fresh. Most of it is local caught. There's fishermen selling lobsters caught yesterday off the backs of pickups. I love to eat so this for me is absolutely amazing.

    • My parents live in Chambersburg, PA now, and I LOVE Gettysburg. Hershey is awesome too. The biggest bummer about the new visitor centre in Gettysburg, though, is NO ELECTRIC MAP! *cry*

    • Chocolate World in Hershey is awesome.

      Also if you are in central PA on New Year's Eve, you can go to Dillsburg to see the pickle drop of Lebanon to see the bologna drop!

      And if you are in south central PA for the first two weekends in October you can see the National Apple Harvest Festival. You can take orchard tours on buses, eat apple desserts until you explode, and see how to make applesauce and apple cider on antique machines!

      And don't forget the National Apple Museum!

  52. New Mexico-
    Carlsbad Caverns (go between October and April if you can. You won't see the famous bats, but it will be MUCH cooler, temperature wise. We went in January a few years ago, and it was easily 70 degrees every day). Stay in White's City and go to the Million Dollar Museum (admission was $2 bucks a few years ago, totally creepy, totally worth it).

    I love my homestate, but there isn't alot to DO, kitsch wise. Albuquerque has the balloon fiesta, which people seem to go gaga for (I personally hate it, but people travel from all over the world every October for it) and beautiful hiking in the Sandia Mountains. We have lovely scenery, and fantastic food. Let me repeat that. FANTASTIC FOOD. I get homesick if I even go an hour north. It's just not the same anywhere else. Eat everywhere, try the enchiladas or green chilie stew wherever you go.

  53. Even though I live in the Phoenix area, I would recommend hitting either northern Arizona (Flagstaff especially) or southern Arizona if you're just passing through. I can't speak as much on the kitschy side of northern AZ but here's my take on the south:

    Southern Arizona is great for enjoying the beautiful desert, as we've already seen love on here for the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum. Walk around funky 4th Avenue or see the re-budding downtown (hit up Caffe Milano for amazing Italian food) or head up Mt. Lemmon for a fun drive and to say you had pie at the top of a mountain. There's also the kitschy Old Tucson Studios that's on the way to the desert museum– they filmed lots of old westerns and even The Three Amigos there! You can see the Three Amigos show! Head south about 45 min to beautiful San Xavier, complete with souvenir stalls and fry bread outside, and an hour or so to Tubac to buy all the southwestern art your heart desires. Don't forget to chow down on our amazing Mexican food – I'm partial to La Fuente. (I used to say you could even go to Nogales to actually step into Mexico, but I honestly wouldn't take that risk right now.)

    And it may go without saying, but try to stop by outside our summer months (basically late April to the end of September) unless you're up in the mountains. Though you will find cheap golf!

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  54. If you're in the Central Ohio area (I saw someone else covered Northeast Ohio – yay Ohio!), you must go near Newark and see the giant Longaberger Basket – it's like giants eating a picnic! As long as you're around Columbus, you should try to come around near the time of the Dublin Irish Festival – the biggest in the country. If museums are your thing, Columbus really only has COSI and the Columbus Museum of Art. Grab something to eat at the Blue Danube or the Thurman Cafe (here, especially if you like ginormous burgers) or Dirty Frank's (delicious, weird hotdogs). Pickerington inexplicably has the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum and you really can't go wrong driving through Ohio in the Fall. GORGEOUS! If you have time to divert yourselves to Hocking Hills, the color there is fantastic.

  55. Can we venture further abroad than the US? 🙂

    I'm from Sydney, Australia. If anyone ventures this far, there is truckloads to see here! There's the obvious like the Harbour Bridge (and the harbour itself, which is just amazingly beautiful), Opera House, Bondi Beach and so on. But a day trip to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney is really worthwhile:, as is a visit to the Royal National Park, which is near where I grew up. If you head down to little spot called Audley Weir, you can spend a gorgeous day canoeing, hiking and picnicking.

    Closer to the city, Newtown has an amazing and vibrant cafe/pub/alternative culture (which is why I live near there). Sydney's food is also pretty fab (and super culturally diverse) and we have festivals pretty much all year round.

      • True! But there are offbeat homies from all over, so it'd be good to have road trip suggestions for everyone 🙂

        3 agree
  56. Baltimore, MD – the American Visionary Art Museum Collection of works by untrained artists. Think giant kinetic sculptures, things carved out of pencil lead, etc. Also the best museum gift shop ever.

    Boston (and environs) – the Institute of Contemporary Art is work a look, especially if you're an architecture geek. Also the Science Museum (this post is museum heavy….) Make a side trip out to Salem, for the witches, and the Peabody Museum, which is devoted to the spoils brought home by New England sailors in the heyday of its maritime strength. Also pop down to Providence, RI. Seriously. There's always something cool happening at RISD and/or Brown on College Hill. Federal Hill has some of the best Italian food I've ever tasted, and the Snuggery on Wickenden street is adorable, and has maddeningly delicious cupcakes. Also, somewhere off I-95, there's a giant ant.

  57. I know a couple other people covered Chicago. The Art Institute is absolutely amazing, and right next to millennium and grant parks.

    As somebody else mentioned the entire museum campus is amazing too.

  58. I'm in Topeka, KS. In town, you should check out the Brown v Board site, the neat mural of John Brown at the capitol building, and the slightly disturbing Phelps compound. (You know, the anti-gay pastor.)The last one may only be of interest if you are super quirky.

    Neat things around the state:
    *Konza Prairie, outside Manhattan
    *Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS
    *El Quarterelejo outside Scott City – the northernmost pueblo in America

    • Totally agree about the Brown v Board museum; visiting it always makes me weepy.

      Um, also agree about the Phelps compound: my bestie from college (who lived in T-town) and I followed them there after seeing them pack up from picketing at the Capitol. Probably not the smartest/safest thing to have done, but certainly interesting.

      There was also an amazing custard place we'd go whenever we visited. No idea what the name is, but I got cravings for their lemon custard when I was pregnant. (Helpful, right?)

  59. Hey guys, don't forget about South Dakota! 🙂 There are plenty of cool attractions here, especially towards the West end of the state.

    The Black Hills and Badlands are absolutely beautiful. Awesome scenery for a drive, and there are plenty of hiking trails, too. Of course there's Mount Rushmore, and Sturgis where the annual motorcycle rally takes place (this year will mark their 71st!). You can check out Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane's grave sites in Deadwood. There are also all kinds of caves and caverns to tour. Wall Drug in Wall, SD, is a must for kitchy-ness. Life size animatronic t-rex FTW! For the kiddos (or kiddos at heart) I recommend The Flintstones Bedrock City in Custer, and Storybook Island and Dinosaur Park in Rapid City. Also note 1880 Town in Murdo. All aunthentic buildings from the 1800's and early 1900's moved to a new location, along with actual props used in the filming of Dances With Wolves.

    As for my end of the state? I suppose you could always stop into Mitchell and see our "World Famous" Corn Palace – A building decorated with murals made out of corn and other grains. They change the exterior set to a new theme on an annual basis. Personally, after sharing a town with it for more than 20 years, I don't really give it a second thought. But it draws in a good number of tourists every year, and who knows…maybe you'd get a kick out of it. 😛

    • Oh yes and Storbybook Land in Aberdeen! I went there as an adult with my parents and LOVED it. Okay so I'm sort of a child in a 32 year old's body. It was super cute.
      I actually live in central MN and we don't have much. Yeah Spam museum. And in the Twin Cities in June there is an HUGE carshow with 12,000 cars at the state fair grounds. I've gone to it every year since 1988-1989.

  60. I doubt you'll be making it to Australia in your RV, but I'm a Washington State girl, so here are some of my favorite PNW spots!

    1. If you're driving up from California (or vice versa), skip I-5. It's stupid and boring. Take US-101 up the coast instead! Beautiful drive with ocean on one side and forest on the other.

    2. The Olympic peninsula is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, but it's quite neglected as far as out-of-state tourists go. The Olympic National Forest is amazing – old growth cedar rainforest = win. I have fond memories of Long Beach (okay that's not really on the peninsula but it's on the ocean!) and La Push and Port Townsend from my childhood. Go to Forks if you must.

    3. You should probably hit up the east side of the mountains, too, since people forget that part of the state exists quite a lot. I haven't spent a lot of time there, though. Hopefully someone else can give you the scoop. 😉

    4. Olympia and Bellingham are both small cities where I have lived that hold a special place in my heart. They're both funky and artsy and historical and Bellingham nightlife is surprisingly fun (haven't spent much time in Olympia since turning 21, heh). If you go to the 'Ham, definitely check out the sculpture garden at Western Washington University – biggest outdoor art collection in the state, and there are some remarkable pieces.

    5. Seattle. Duh. (If you visit both Bellingham and Olympia, you won't have much choice!) The normal tourist traps beckon – the Space Needle, Pike Place, the Science Fiction Museum (what?)… I'd also take a jaunt over to Snoqualmie Falls and go for a nice walk (assuming the trails aren't shut due to excessive rain).

    6. The interpretive center at Mount St. Helens is pretty impressive and informative. VOLCANOES! (Although if they're saying an eruption is imminent, be smart and stay clear.)

    7. If you like to ski, I suggest Crystal Mountain. Of course, I haven't been there in years so it might be crap now. 😉 Baker's pretty good too.

    • Thought of more things!

      8. The San Juan Islands are pure amazingness. Stick your RV on a ferry boat and explore. San Juan Island (the main one) is nice enough, but Orcas Island is my favorite!

      9. In Seattle: Gasworks Park. That's all.

    • Eastern Washington hints – Potholes is a fantastic place if you're into lots of water, lots of dirt and great boating.

      Yakima is near and dear to my heart because I have family there, but worth a drive through just for the decrepit Palm Springs of Washington sign! Amazing fruit in the summer, and see if you can find a place to go hike in the sagebrush and on the hills.

      If you drive through the Palouse, stop at the Moscow, ID farmers market – I'm biased, perhaps, cuz my family sells bread there and it's FANTASTIC. Moscow and Pullman are amazing artsy college towns in possibly the most beautiful rolling country, ever. No matter what season!

      If you go over Highway 410 to Eastern Washington, American River campground, Lodgepole campground and Pleasant Valley campground are among my top picks. Hell's Crossing looks okay too.

      In Idaho, the Lewis and Clark Caverns are SO worth a stop.

      • I have family in Yakima too 🙂

        I went to uni in Ellensburg, and the East Side is absolutely amazing. I love the heat in the summer and the rolling hills.

    • Things of note in Long Beach, Wa:

      Marsh's Free Museum, home of Jake the Alligator Man.
      The Boardwalk along the beach.
      The "World's Largest Frying Pan."

      I haven't been there in years, so I don't really know the state of things at the moment.

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  61. If you're going to drive through Virginia, do it along Skyline Drive – lovely, lovely mountain views.

    And then there's DC… Tons to do and see. There's the monuments (which I suggest seeing at night if you can – so neat all lit up) and the Smithsonian museums of course. I also suggest the Spy Museum. If you go there, be sure to do the interactive 'pretend you're a spy' stuff.

  62. If you're heading through Oklahoma, take a few side trips to Hugo to see the Circus graveyard. Hugo is a small town where many circus folk spent their winters and it has some amazing lore. To the north, hit Tonkawa to see their extremely special labyrinth, designed by labyrinth experts from all over the world. In the east, Route 66 has several wineries near Stroud and Drumright that are worth visiting. And if, you visit during the fall, don't miss the scenic Talimena scenic byway.

    In Oklahoma City, skip Bricktown unless you absolutely cannot resist a cheesy tourist ride on a man-made canal. Instead, head to Plaza Court, the Plaza District, the Paseo district and don't miss Sean Cumming's Irish Pub up north. If you want to visit the OKC Bombing Memorial, I recommend you do it at the end of a long day. It will put you in a very serious mood and you don't want to carry that mood around all day.

    Above all, Oklahoma is meant to be explored. Every little town is full of history and treasures beyond what you'd expect from a small town. Not to mention some really good food!

  63. Fargo, ND has an amazing Air Museum, complete with big planes suspended from the ceiling. You can also take a peek at the (technically still flooded) Red River of the North. There's a lot of good stuff to do here!

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  64. THere's not a lot on Colorado here so I thought I'd throw in almost 22 year's worth of childhood favorites here. 🙂

    If you go trough Denver at all, there's always Waterworld, which I've heard has top ratings for some things… don't know for sure but the lazy river is a great way to spend an hour or two relaxing, and I'm always up for a wave pool. Also in Denver is Elitches, which I've never been to but my husband is a big fan, several museums, a zoo (pretty nice one), and one of my personal favorites, Casa Bonita. It's a big theme restaurant which features bottomless sopapillas, mariachi bands, gift shops, pinatas, and really cool live indoor ciff diving shows. Definitely worth the price, that one, especially if you have kids but it's still entertaining as an adult too. 🙂

    Garden of the Gods has already been covered, so moving north to the Fort Collins area, there's the Sweatsville Zoo. ( DO NOT MISS IT if you're in the area. It's awesome, free, and completely a photo op, no joke. Also in Fort Collins is the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art or MoCA (pronounced mocha) which is free (but crowded) the first friday of every month, not sure what admission is the rest of the time. Almost all of the art I believe is local artists, in fact several of my friends and classmates have had art featured there at different times of the year.

    Moving westward, there's Estes Park, one of the biggest tourist towns I know of in CO and yet still worth every minute. Just the scenery there is worth the drive (around an hour from Fort Collins and maybe a little more from Denver and Colorado Springs),and while you're there make sure to check out the glassblower's shop at the very end of the town, Estes Park Glassworks, where you get the perks of watching artisans blo glass in front of you and usully explain what they're doing as they do it. I'm not talking tiny glass hummingbirds with a blowtorch, ok? I'm talking bubble of molten glass on the end of a lead pipe being made into artistic (and functional) serving dishes, vases, goblets, christmas ornaments… the list goes on. Expensive to buy but free to watch, don't miss it.

    Also in Estes you can always tour or stay at the famous Stanley Hotel (The Shining, if you need to know how it's famous). Estes also features about 3 dozen other shops that are fun to look through, and you can get just about anything you want as a souvenir from rocks to t shirts to bronzed elk poop nd anything in between. Look for the Taffy shop where you can get delicious saltwater taffy that's pulled in front of you, and if you're planning on making a day of it there's also a bowling lane, several putt putt golf courses, horseback tours of the mountains (DO IT, so worth the hour and the cost), and about a hundred other unique-to-colorado attractions of the sort. My suggestion would be to finish your day off either at Bob & Tony's pizza (featuring a brick wall that's been signed by pretty much every patron of the restaurant since the place opened) or at Grumpy Gringo's, which is a mexican restaurant which I understand has some pretty amazing margaritas. 😉

    That really just scratches the surface of what Colorado has to offer but it made me sad to see that nobody had really mentioned my home state so there's my two cents. If you pick a couple of things of the list to do, remember, do not miss the Swetsville Zoo or the Glassblower's shop. Casa Bonita is definitely a must if you have kids, otherwise it's up to you, but the cliffdiving is pretty awesome.

    Safe Travels and make sure to give us an OBH post once your trip is over, with PICS!!

    (PS I would highly, highly suggest that if you choose Colorado your stops here is around August or September… it's not so deadly hot later in the year and the colors in fall are spec-freaking-tacular.)

  65. As a road trip fan (we had the perfect road trip VW van until a year and a half ago), I'd recommend avoiding Interstates where possible unless you're in a hurry to get to the next destination. I'm convinced that I miss a ton of great food and other interesting sites every road trip because we just stick to the Interstates (although we're usually also on a time limit, headed back to Ohio from BC for holidays). Although the best egg roll I've ever had was in a restaurant about 2 miles off an interstate; wish I could remember where that was. WV? NC?

    Also, I love Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, AK. It's a ridiculous amount of fun digging for diamonds, getting muddy and every few minutes saying, "Sparkly! Do you think it's a diamond?" and then realizing it's just mica. And there's a place in Montana where you can try to mine sapphires I'd like to get to.

    For just a nice place to walk around, I love Ashland, OR, in the off season. (In season is the time for catching some great plays, though.) And Portland, OR, of course, is a must for book lovers. Powell's City of Books is a must-see.

    And just outside of San Luis Obispo, CA, is a little town called Los Osos. Two state parks there, both with campgrounds. Gorgeous. (And the garden cafe there has the best lox I've ever had.)

    Also recommended: AAA and travel medical insurance and passports, especially if you might want to venture into, say, Canada.

  66. I tried to read most all the comments and at least skim, so I don't *think* there are too many repeats. Although I strongly second many of the suggestions (Corbin, KY Savannah, GA especially)

    I have done this trip 5 times and there are some things that are just worthy of seeing. Even if you have to drive out of the way.

    Pacific 101 from Klamath to Arcata is just amazing. Old growth redwood forest, sheer drops into the Pacific and lots of good overlooks. Stop @ Pebble Beach in Crescent City, but don't stay long keep going until you get into Arcata. There's Muddy Waters coffee shop and a cute little square. Grab a bite at the Arcata Pizza Deli on the square.

    Carlsbad Caverns- I had to be talked into it by a friend working in the park. Can't be described other than A-fucking-MAZING! The audio tour is totally worth the extra $6.

    First Fridays in Phoenix. Phoenix has a HUGE art scene and the first Friday of every month has a downtown street party that is just a blast and all the museums are open and FREEEE!

    New Orleans-Just move here. Then maybe you'll catch everything worth seeing. Otherwise, do beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde, catch a show at Preservation Hall (be in the same tiny sweaty room that Satchmo played in) and before hand check out the voodoo shop across the street. Basically just walk around anywhere downtown and do anything. It's awesome.

    Athens, GA is totally a rad little town. Really good music scene and some really sweet restaurants.

    Florida- This is actually where I live, so I will try to limit my list because it's extremely biased.
    Gainesville- HOME! Awesome little college town, there's always something cool happening. Our museums are free, we have an award winning butterfly rain forest, a few famous geological features (Devil's Millhopper, Florida Caverns are nearby) and you can float down a spring fed river in an innertube for $5. (Itchetucknee) Close by you can also visit one of the two rivers in the world that flow North (The Saint John's River). Depending on when you come there are crap loads of music festivals. Suwannee folk festival, Wannee fest, Bear Creek etc. It's also flooded with strange famous people Tom Petty grew up here, Sister Hazel, Less Than Jake, Against Me, Hot Water Music. The Phoenix clan (River, Juaqin etc) has their commune about 15 minutes outside town and John Travolta lives in one of the next towns over.

    • Oh yeah, there's also a bitchin' farmers market. We have a cupcake store, a local brewery, a local coffee roastery, two really amazing coffee shops and free/241/$1 at various locations EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK!

  67. My hometown, in southern Maine, is beautiful; we have the one famous lighthouse that ends up on all the calendars, Portland Head Light.

    Portland itself is great for foodies. We have a pretty good restaurant scene and of course the seafood is to die for.

    But the best part of Maine is all the natural beauty. Head up to Baxter State Park, drive out to Mt. Desert Island and go to Acadia, and don't skip the Wendell Gilley museum – my great-uncle's many many wood decoys of birds, and lots of history.

    My favorite place on Earth is Dubois, WY (pronounced doo-boys, not du-bwah, as a protest to naming it after a French explorer). It's a teensy tiny little town about 2 hours from Jackson and it is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever seen. The painted badlands are magnificent and Dubois has an awesome arts scene, the Sheepeater museum – all about the native people who left pictographs all over the land – and the best bar around, the Rustic Pine. Make sure to go to the local rodeo!

    • People could spend a long time here in Maine just visiting light houses. I'm partial to the Breakwater Lighthouse in Rockland because of the mile-long granite breakwater you have to walk along to get there. And also Marshall Point Light in Port Clyde, ME, which is one of the lighthouses that Forrest Gump ran to in the movie…and where I got engaged!

      I think because Maine's main draw is the scenery, we have a lack of oddball museums and roadside attractions. Oh well. Another good spot to visit is Monhegan Island, which is accessible by an hour-long ferry ride. It's a misty wooded island with a nauseatingly adorable village and some lovely hikes. Also: fairy village.

  68. If you visit Massachusetts in mid to late September, you can stop by the Big E. This is a 3 week New England Fair with all sorts of delicious fried food and food vendors and an entire building devoted to informerical products (Sham-wow anyone?).

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  69. If you're coming to Kentucky, you're definitely going to want to hit up what our state is most famous for: horses, and bourbon. But there's a shitload of other awesome stuff in the bluegrass state too.

    The bourbon trail is pretty sweet, but if you can only hit up one distillery, I'd recommend Maker's Mark.

    As for horses, Churchill Downs (Louisville) or Keeneland (Lexington) is where it's at for horse racing. There's also a plethora of horse farms you can visit.

    I also HIGHLY recommend going to Mammoth Cave, because it's kind of the biggest cave in the world, and it's pretty sweet.

    If you're outdoorsy, Red River Gorge is a must. It's a part of the Daniel Boone National Forest and is an international hotspot for rock-climbing. RRG also has some killer sights and awesome backpacking/camping adventures.

    If you're going to any specific cities, hit me up and I can tell you the best places to stay and eat.

  70. my fiance and i did this last memorial weekend but in our own state. just decided to take a trip circumferencing the state. things to see….Forks is pretty interesting these days, aberdeen is kind of a must stop…home of kurt cobain ya know. the worlds largest egg is in winlock, mima mounds are some sort of phenomenon, but totally cool. giant mounds in the ground…no idea how or where they came from…Washington has Stonehenge in Maryhill. This was probably the coolest thing we saw. Spokane also had lots of cool stuff to look at…worlds largest radio flyer wagon all kinds of fun stuff!

  71. I'm in Southern Indiana, and I'm pretty guilty of saying there's nothing around here. But sitting here and reading all of the suggestions made from other people in other states made me realize we do have some pretty nifty stuff around here.

    In Evansville, we have the Willard Library. It's supposed to be haunted (I think Ghost Hunters did a show about it – I know my bff is begging me to take her when she comes down to visit me), and they have a live webcam that you can watch to see if anything goes bump in the night. It's actually one of our city libraries so you can tour it for free whenever it's open.

    A little bit to the east (I think, I'm horrible with directions) is a town called Santa Claus. Yep. Santa frickin' Claus, Indiana. Obviously around christmas each year the town goes all out and does this huge massive decoration thing, but also people come from all over to have their cards stamped in the Santa Claus post office. SC is also the home of an amusement park called Holiday World. It's reasonably priced, consistantly wins all kinds of industry awards for service and cleanliness, and provides free soda pop and sunscreen for every body. Also, it has some of the best wooden roller coasters in the world.

    If you're looking for some natural beauty we do have the Hoosier National Forest which is just absolutely breathtaking at times. Also, we have the Ohio River running throughout the tri-state region – heck, we even have a river boat called Casino Aztar here in E-ville.

    A bit further from Santa Claus is French Lick… yeah I know, the name is funny. I've heard it said that you know you're a true Hoosier when you can say French Lick without breaking out into giggles. French Lick has this cute little downtown area, and a casino to boot – but I'm going to go gaga over the West Baden Hotel. It's pre WW1 historical hotel and it's rather luxurious, but the interior is as if it were still almost 100 years ago. The grounds are breath taking, and in the main lobby there is a huge dome that simply seems to defy physics. Also, I have to admit, the drive along IN-37 to get to French Lick is rather pretty.

    There, I did my part for southern Indiana 🙂 I'm sure there are a lot of things that are awesome that I missed, but I'm new here myself so these are the things I've managed to find so far.

  72. Wow. This is an epic post. Will definitely be checking back for more comments!

    There's a lot more to New York State than New York City. I live in the Hudson Valley, and it's gorgeous. One of my favorite local places is Olana, in Hudson. It was the home of Frederick Church, an artist of the Hudson River School. The design is inspired by his visits to the Middle East, so it's this amazing Persian-style building on a hill with incredible views. Incredible.

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  73. I love this post!!! We live in Cleveland right now but are in Wisconsin this weekend for a wedding (Madison specifically) and then we are driving to Austin, Minnesota for the week. You guys are giving such great suggestions for our first family roadtrip!! Anyone have anymore for these areas??

  74. If you ever happen to make it to Maine, drive Rte 1, stop in Belfast at Perry's Nut House, they have a lot of crazy stuff and make home made fudge…I don't mean regular chocolate or peanut butter, I mean those as well as blueberry cheesecake, strawberry cheesecake, and Pirates fudge. OMG, YUM!
    My friend Kyle made the "mummy" they have there, it is very authentic looking and worth seeing. Also go to Bar Harbor and go deep sea fishing, or on a whale watch….or go on a lobster boat and catch your own. Hit Acadia National Park and camp there, watch the sun rise, go to Thunder Hole and spend an early evening at Sand Beach looking for sea glass and sand dollars.

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    • If you're in Belfast, also skip out about 10 miles to Brooks, a little town of about 1k people, to Ralph's Cafe for breakfast! This is my favorite place in the world for breakfast or dessert! They have Tiramisu pancakes, stuffed french toast with home made raspberry or blueberry compote, or my favorite, the potato cakes.

      A lot of people tell me they've been to Maine, but have never been north of Portland. That's not Maine, that's northern New Hampshire! Go to Moosehead lake, and try to spot a moose. It's gorgeous there.

    • I think the saying is that you can't do coastal Maine without eating at Dorman's icecream (Thomaston), Moody's Diner (Waldoboro), and Wasses' HotDogs (Rockland, Belfast).

  75. WOWSA!!!
    I never knew my roadtrip question was gonna get this many replies!!
    This has given me a kick up the butt to start actually thinking about planning a trip 🙂
    thanks everyone
    x Mich

    3 agree
  76. Surely there are more Offbeat Southern Californians!


    LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). HUGE multi-building art museum with everything from Picasso to Japanese screens. Currently showing the Tim Burton exhibit, and there's an impressive fashion and textile collection, too. One of my favorite museums.

    FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising) has a tiny perfume museum, and the gallery has at least two costume exhibits per year (one for TV, one for film). Call to confirm whether the gallery or museum will be open; driving and parking an RV in downtown LA will be tricky.

    If you dare visit Venice, walk along the canals. Much prettier than the boardwalk.

    If you or any of your friends wear a bra size larger than a D cup, go to Jenette Bras in East Hollywood – they only stock D through K cups, and also have swimwear and lingerie. (Then go to Scoops around the corner for the best ice cream in LA – they have both dairy and soy-based.)

    East Los Angeles College is home to the Vincent Price Art Museum (most of the art was donated by Price himself), but it's only open during the week – call for hours.

    If you start to crave highbrow culture, you can't forget the Huntington Library and Gardens, near Pasadena (home to things like a Gutenberg Bible and Gainsborough's Blue Boy).

    I'm not big on the touristy stuff like studio tours and the Hollywood sign, but I'm a fourth-generation Angeleno and got tired of it a long time ago. Your mileage will probably vary.

    Long Beach:

    The Queen Mary. Do take the "Ghosts and Legends" tour! Also, lots of events, some of them public, take place on board, so check their calendar. I saw The Buzzcocks perform at the Ink n' Iron tattoo convention there just a few weeks ago, and the annual Halloween mazes are very popular.

    Retro Row. 4th Street between Cherry and Junipero is filled with thrift and vintage shops, plus a one-screen Art Deco theater that plays mostly indie films.

    California State University's Long Beach campus boasts a beautiful Japanese garden if you're into plants.

    Orange County:

    Going to Disneyland/DCA is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it (I have, and frequently use, an annual pass). Do not miss the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, or the just-opened Ariel's Undersea Adventure if you go. (If possible, have a local show you around – we know of, and will tell you about, things the tour guides won't.) There's even an RV campsite not too far away.

    Antique and retro shoppers love Orange – almost every store near the town's traffic circle sells old stuff. You probably won't want to lug an antique dresser home, but there's also small stuff like vintage Hawaiian kitsch.

    Do drive on PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) through OC, especially in Huntington Beach. Gorgeous views!

    HB also boasts a pet cemetery, Native American ruins in the Bolsa Chica wetlands preserve, a Victorian cottage (Newland House – open on weekends), very gentle waves if you fancy a surfing lesson at Bolsa Chica State Beach, and one of the best public libraries in the state, if not the country. Oh, and "The Ultimate Challenge" – a statue of a naked surfer, riding a wave, his bare butt facing traffic on PCH. Yes, conservative Orange County has a statue of a naked surfer.

    If any of you are music nuts, the Fullerton Museum Center has an ongoing exhibit on its best-known resident, Leo Fender, and the Telecaster electric guitars he pioneered. Do check the Bowers Museum's calendar before passing it up – it's tiny, but they get some of the best traveling exhibitions (I saw the Terracotta Warriors there).

    San Diego:

    San Diego is fairly tame after you've done LA, but I have a soft spot for Old Town – home to a Spanish mission, presidio, and the Whaley House (one of only two houses the State of California has decreed "haunted"). Bonus: good place to buy adorable Mexican tchotchkes without having to cross the border.

    FYI: if you have an urge to cross into Mexico for the day, do NOT bring an RV. There have been many reports of US citizens in RVs being held without cause by the police, with the goal of getting them to leave the RV behind in exchange for their release.

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  77. I don't really have a home town as such, since I grew up as an army brat. However, I highly recommend the John Day Fossil Beds in eastern Oregon, as well as driving through the Columbia River Gorge. That area of the country is so beautiful, it makes my heart hurt when I'm away.

  78. I'm a transplant New Mexican and love the place!
    Like Rodrigeus said – Petroglyphs and Acoma cliff dwellings.
    Like Jessi said – Carlsbad Caverns.

    But you also gotta check out White Sands and Roswell – especially if you're into the scifi stuff.

    • Oooh yes, and don't forget Ruidoso! It can be a bit touristy but is beautiful and not far from White Sands. If visiting White Sands, you may have the opportunity to see the annual Balloon Glow – breath taking!

  79. All righty, I'm here to represent North Idaho. Specifically, the odd little towns that lie along I-90.

    We have historic Wallace, which is full of museums and the like, it has decreed itself the center of the universe, and it is where much of the film Dante's Peak was filmed.

    We have Kellogg, which has a lovely Alpine Village historical sort of area in the uptown area (and by up, I mean uphill). It is also home to Silver Mountain ski resort (which also features concerts in the summer), which is reached by a 3.1 mile long gondola ride up the mountain.

    And near to the wee town of Cataldo (where I grew up), we have the Mission of the Sacred Heart (or as we call it, the Cataldo Mission), which is a church built in 1848, making it the oldest standing building in Idaho. The Mission, Parish House, and surrounding grounds are a state park, and are quite lovely. But I'm a little biased.

    The town I live in now, Coeur d'Alene, has, most obviously, Lake Cd'A, which is great for… aquatic things. Next to the lake is a park, as well as Tubbs Hill, which is covered in hiking trails. I've been meaning to actually go out and check out all the touristy stuff, but I haven't as of yet.

  80. I've found a lot of delightfully funky destinations on the Atlas Obscura website – they have a good fb feed, not sure if they have an app yet.

    As a Portland resident I'm going to leave it at just that one recommend, because otherwise I'll go a little crazy talking about waffles and bike paths and second-hand stores and local hops and all that NW hipster shit I love so dearly.

  81. being a nebraska native it does get a bad rep. Chimney rock and car stonehedge are pretty neat out west. Stop in omaha and hit up downtown. small enough to be able to spend a few hours on the cobblestone. A few cute shops and places to eat.

  82. I love all of these KY comments! Makes me proud 🙂

    However…maybe it's just me, but I'd avoid Fourth Street Live at all costs if you're headed to Louisville. It's full of out-of-towners on business trips that don't know where else to go. Try Market Street, The Highlands, or Frankfort Ave if you're looking for a good bar or restaurant…that's where the really good stuff is! is a great blog to check out if you're in the mood for food or drinks. Try Holy Grale for fancy beer and pub food, Ramsi's Cafe for food themed on basically every region of the world, and Toast on Market for ah-mazing breakfasts.

    Also, I always make sure I take my visiting friends to Joe Ley Antiques. It'll be a memorable trip, I promise.

    If you're going to Lexington, you HAVE to eat at Doodles. Their beignets alone will change for life, f'real.

  83. I've got another plug for Wisconsin.
    First: food- get some cheese curds; either deep-fried or fresh enough to squeak as you chew them. If you go to the Dane County Farmers' Market (around the capitol building) remember to walk counter-clockwise. I personally recommend getting fresh cheese curds from Farmer John at the farmers' market, as his cheese curds are consistently squeaky. Also notable are the awesome cinnamon rolls, spicy cheese bread, and baked cheese at the market
    In Madison, but not at the farmers' market is Babcock Hall ice cream. It is
    If you like beer, I suggest trying something from the New Glarus Brewing Company (like Spotted Cow).

    Places- The Chalet of the Golden Fleece in New Glarus, or all of New Glarus if you're interested in Swiss heritage-themed tourist attractions. Also, the general area around New Glarus is full of beautiful rolling hills.
    In Madison, the Wisconsin Historical Society has an Odd Wisconsin exhibit- stuff like a politician's waistcoat with a bullet hole in it. Not super kitschy, but interesting.
    Fort Atkinson is home to the Hoard Historical Museum and National Dairy Shrine. If the name isn't tempting enough, there's a guided tour with animatronics explaining some of the history of the dairy industry.
    Baraboo has the Circus World Museum, and it's relatively close to the Forevertron, which is something you probably need to see on this trip. Not gonna lie, the Forevertron is epic. Wikipedia says that it is the largest scrap metal sculpture in the world.

    If you go up through Minnesota, you could visit the SPAM museum, which has free admission, and possibly a free sample of SPAM. Or go see the largest twine ball made by one person in Darwin, MN.

    • Actually, what you really need to do is go to Osseo, WI and get some pie at the Norske Nook. Seriously. Can't believe I forgot to mention it earlier, but the pie there is a spiritual experience. It's amazing. Go. Get some pie. The other food is also extremely good, but you MUST get some pie.

  84. Minnesota: Highway 61 north from Duluth (gorgeous town) up to Grand Marais (another gorgeous town). It runs along Lake Superior and is known to Minnesotans as the North Shore. Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Temperance River State Park, and Cascade River State Park are all beautiful places to stop along the way. I recommend eating anything with wild rice, especially the stuffed mushrooms at Grandma's in Duluth and the wild rice pizza at Sven and Ole's in Grand Marais.

    More Minnesota: Smack dab in the center of the state is the source of the Mississippi River in Itasca State Park. The river trickles out of Lake Itasca, and you can walk across it and wade down it for quite a ways. I loved telling people as a child that I had walked across the Mississippi River! Itasca State Park is a magical place full of the largest red and white pines in the state and a scary-tall fire tower that you can climb and see for miles around.

    Minneapolis, where I live: Minnehaha Falls is my favorite place. I could go on and on about all the lakes and parks and festivals in Minneapolis, but really, don't miss Minnehaha Falls. It's situated in south Minneapolis, roughly halfway between the Mall of America and downtown. You can rent bikes in the park and eat at the seafood restaurant in the main building (or just get locally-made ice cream there, which is what I do).

    Downtown Minneapolis: Foshay Tower observation deck. From 1929 to about 1975, the Foshay was the tallest building in Minneapolis. It was recently renovated and restored to its art deco glory, and now houses the W hotel and a couple of (amazingly delicious) restaurants. For $10 you can go to the open air observation deck on the 30th floor, which offers amazing views, despite being dwarfed on most sides by modern-day skyscrapers.

  85. If you get around to visiting south-eastern Montana, I'd strongly recommend checking out the Makoshika Dinosaur Museum in Glendive, along with the visitor's center in Makoshika State Park. Paddlefishing the end of May/beginning of June is quite a sight there, too!

  86. If passing through Ohio, a must visit is Yellow Springs! Its full of art, kitsch, hippy like friendliness, and the best coffee on earth (The Steal Your Face at Brother Bear's). There's so much to see and do in this tiny village of less than 3000! The village is surrounded by a land trust; Glen Helen and John Bryan are overflowing with natural beauty, mineral springs, and wildlife. Camping is very primitive though. If possible, pass through during the Spring or Fall Street Fairs, or if passing through in July, come on the second Friday for Carnival. Third Friday (every month), is filled with artwork street performers, wine tastings, and more.. most village shops are open "late" (until 9)and the best little unknown Peruvian cuisine is at The Williams Cafe.
    Wile in Ohio, also swing through Dublin. Its a tiny historic Irish village. The Irish Festival, during the first week of August, is AMAZING! The little village has a great deal of authentic Irish charm, complete with stone fencing from the original settlers. Being of Irish descent (Grandpa was an immigrant) St. Pat's is a BIG day. I've traveled all around the country and have yet to come across a better St. Pat's celebration than the one in Dublin, Ohio… unless, of course, you jump the pond and go straight to the source. There are Irish Pride flags everywhere and no green beer in sight, only the authentic for this village; Guinness, whiskey, and Irish food abound. Irish music and dancers… I could go on and on. Dublin is definitely a place to stop if you want a cozy back in time feel. There are plenty of 'current day' sights in the area as well… and lots of areas to hike and take in nature (waterfalls too!)
    Cincinnati is full of sights as well. I'm a fan of the festivals – German, Tall Stacks, the Flying Pig…
    Ohio has a lot to offer, throughout the state. The best time to come through would be late spring, late summer, or early fall… trying to time it for festivals could add to the fun. The colors in the fall are beautiful, especially in the northern and southern ends of the state… mid Ohio can be flat and boring at times but there are gems tucked in. Happy Touring!

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  87. I'm really not joking when I say this: Every fall, my town, Minocqua, Wisconsin, celebrates BEEF-A-RAMA!!! Each merchant in town makes a beef roast. They all get judged by looks and flavor and THEME… then we parade them down the street in the BEEF-A-RAMA parade!!! Google it… it's HUGE here!!

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    If there a couple places in the Mitten that I can tell you to go to its Ann Arbor, and Detroit Rock City.
    Ann Arbor would be the liberal haven of Southern Michigan full of micro-breweries and leagues of University of Michigan fans. Great restaurants, cute little shops, lots of local support and lots of good little bars and brew pubs.
    Detroit, despite its reputation, has a lot of great things going on right now. Detroit is about an hour from Ann Arbor straight down I94 which is how you would get to Ann Arbor from Chicago… Anywho, be sure to go down to Woodward Avenue in Detroit and check out Comerica Park, or Tiger Stadium, the Fox Theatre, and one of my favorite places just down the road is the Magic Stick. Its a bowling alley, pub, music venue, and dive bar all in one building…but in all different rooms so you can hop from spot to spot…cheap drinks. Also, Check out the Eastern Market. With the economy as bad as its been in Detroit for a really long time now, many community gardens have sprung up in empty lots and are bringing fresh food to the Eastern Market every Saturday. So if you get a chance go to the farmers market, we need the support. Speaking of food, American Coney Island…go there, its a diner style restaurant, most are Greek owned and include gyro's on their menu's. There is also Greek Town with a casino and many tasty restaurants and pastry shops. CorkTown over on Michigan Ave is the Irish neighborhood and there are some great bars and Slow BBQ..delicious BBQ and Michigan beer.
    Many of the neighboring cities on the edges of Detroit are a lot of fun too! Hamtramck, Royal Oak, and Ferndale all have really fun bars, vintage shops and downtown areas. Hamtramck is largely a Polish neighborhood with some of the best food I've ever had!
    Give Michigan and Detroit a chance! It is a great place filled with even greater people! And I can't tell you enough that the micro-brew scene here is crazy and delicious!
    -Kelli from Ypsilanti, Michigan

  89. Wisconsin has some really beautiful drives. And, I know this is cliche', but if you like beer some awesome brewery tours. You can pick up tourist maps at the rest stops with where cheese producers and beer producers in the state are. Milwaukee is a great stop during the summer. We have 14 ethnic festivals, summer fest(a two week music festival), plus dozens of other local festivals and events.

  90. This is terrible, but it took me a very long time to think of something. Unfortunately, there just isnt a lot to do in Windsor-Essex county

    But come for our events. Benni Benassi played for the uni frosh week. We have an amazing food festival every summer. Right now the world U17 hockey challenge is happening. Art in the Park is an international art fair type thing. Ceasars Windsor has some great shows, for relatively inexpensive because it is ceasars windsor. Red bull air races have happened here the last few years. Beaverfest is a new music festival that has just started, with some legit acts. Last year the barenaked ladies played at the local college. Deadmau5 and tiesto were here last summer. Phog fest is great, windsor international film festival is kinda cool, and FAM fest is an interdisciplinary arts festival. We are right next to detroit, so you can catch any major sport within 20 min. Cirque du soleil will be here within the next few months, and elton john played here a few months ago.

    Obviously, with our lower drinking age and proximity to the states a lot of americans come over to go downtown and party, which is fine I guess, but nothing special. It just is one of the big appeals of the city. But if you do come over for that, my favourite place is called the Loop, because it plays a good variety of music, from house to indie to old school rock to glam rock to everything.

  91. CT has some pretty cool places, considering, ha!

    Everyone from out of state feels the need to drive through the Merritt Parkway, which is nice. I think I can't get too excited because I sit in traffic during rush hour. If you're on it, The Merritt Canteen is a must. It was on some Food Network Show

    The Dinosaur State Park, tickets are $5

    Mystic Seaport is super cute

  92. If you come through St. Louis budget time for Forest Park. The zoo, science center, history museum, and art museum are all free (except for some special attractions.) If you come through in June-August you should go to the Muny (also in Forest Park). Open-air, nighttime, musical theater, adorable kids chorus, Ken Page stars in one of the shows each summer (once he was Belle's Father, now he's playing Jasmine's father). If you arrive early enough, and wait in line, there are free seats in the nosebleed section. No dress code because St. Louis summer at night (bug spray! water!) Can we tell the season is starting and I am overly excited about it? yes we can.

    And seconding earlier STL suggestions to go to the Botanical Garden and City Museum.

    edit to add: Another great place (though more pricy) is the Fabulous Fox Theater. They have concerts, plays, Broadway musicals. But the theater itself is just amazing to look at. Like the Muny there isn't really a dress code – huge range of dress.

  93. As mentioned above, a visit to Maine requires touring lighthouses, eating lobster, going to Acadia National Park, and visiting Moosehead Lake to try and see moose.
    Maine also seems to have an abundance of food-themed festivals. LobsterFest, the Blueberry Festival, the Strawberry Festival, The Yarmouth Clam Festival, the Potato Blossom Festival, and Moxie-Fest! A trip to Maine is incomplete without tasting Moxie (a soda with a truly unforgettable flavor…seriously, it will be burned into your tastebuds) and eating at least one whoopie pie.

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  94. As Kate mentioned above, there's a lot more to New York state than just NYC. I grew up in Woodstock, NY, about 2 hours north of the city – it's a great town to walk around and explore, with funky art, yummy food, and the gorgeous Catskill Mountains all around you. Plus, it's the namesake of the famous Woodstock Festival!

    Now, a word on NYC, as this is where I currently reside – I must do a shout-out to Queens, a borough that tourists often do not visit. But they should – it's awesome! The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Flushing Meadows Park (featuring the unisphere and the world's fair site) in Flushing, Little India in Jackson Heights (my neighborhood!)and all the amazing ethnic foods that anyone could want.

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  95. I know its a little late from the original post, but good old Colorado is great. Estes Park already got mentioned, but also not to miss:

    -Canon City/Florence area along the Arkansas River on Hwy 50. Florence has a great main street full of antique/junk shops. Canon (pronounced Canyon) has a prison museum set up in one of the original federal penitentaries which housed an actual cannibal. Across the street from there is the Dinosaur Depot, which is a very tiny museum dedicated to the dino digs up north of town which were some of the best back in the day. Also the Royal Gorge Bridge, the world's highest suspension bridge (over water) is just west of town.

    Oh, and south of that area in the San Isabel National Forest, which is stunning on its own, is Bishop's Castle. The builder has been working on it longer than I've been alive and every time I go there, it is just amazeballs!

    -Denver has some cool things too like the Denver Mint tours and the Molly Brown House.

    -Fort Collins is great for beer lovers as there are several microbrewers here and on the first friday of every month (possibly just april thru like octover), the downtown art galleries and stores stay open into the evening for gallery walks. And there is a great ghost tour through the downtown here too!

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