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

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On the PlayaFor 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?

Comments on Road-trip: what can’t we miss seeing where you live?

  1. 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)

    • 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?

  2. 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.

    • 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

      APPLE TOURISM:
      And if you are in south central PA for the first two weekends in October you can see the National Apple Harvest Festival. http://www.appleharvest.com/ 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! http://www.nationalapplemuseum.com/

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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: http://www.bluemts.com.au, 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 🙂

  9. Baltimore, MD – the American Visionary Art Museum http://www.avam.org/. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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
    http://www.garden-of-eden-lucas-kansas.com/index.htm
    *El Quarterelejo outside Scott City – the northernmost pueblo in America
    http://www.skyways.org/history/pueblo.html

    • 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?)

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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. (http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10787) 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. http://www.epglassworks.com/

    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.)

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. 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.

  21. 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?).

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

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