American Wonders: Exploring Iconic Landmarks in All 50 States

America is a great nation filled with iconic landmarks, that let you explore history, culture, music, sports, nature, and art. Each state has its own iconic landmarks and special places that everyone can and should enjoy. Take a look at out top picks in every state. What are your favorite American landmarks?

1. Alabama: USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

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Considered the most recognized state symbol, this park honors residents who played a role in armed conflicts on behalf of the United States. Anchored by the retired BB-60 battleship named after the state, it’s now a museum that hundreds of thousands of people visit annually.

2. Alaska: Glacier Bay National Park

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Glacier Bay National Park is the stunning, untouched wilderness of quintessential Alaska. The highlight of the Inside Passage, this park’s 3 million acres of glaciers, rainforests, mountains, and wild coastlines are set within a larger World Heritage site. It’s no wonder this beautiful undeveloped land is one of the most popular attractions in the state.

3. Arizona: Grand Canyon

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Tourists come from around the world to see the magnificent Grand Canyon. It displays Arizona’s iconic geography of deep canyons, rock formations, and the mighty Colorado River, which carved this 18-mile-wide canyon. In 2022 alone, nearly five million people traveled to view the canyon’s stunning vistas from The North or South Rim sections of this National Park.

4. Arkansas: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Image Credit: Crystal Bridge Museum of American Art.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art celebrates the state’s natural beauty, the culture of its indigenous people, and art from five centuries of Americans. Set in a 120-acre Ozark forest, the unique building curves to match the shape of the hillside and is as beautiful as the artwork it contains.

5. California: Golden Gate Bridge

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This infamous red bridge outside of San Francisco symbolizes the innovative spirit of the city, region, and state. For over 30 years, this engineering marvel was the longest suspension bridge in the world. One of the most popular things to do in California, visitors can join free walking tours, explore the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and learn about the site’s rich history through exhibits.

6. Colorado: Garden of the Gods Park

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Putting all of Colorado’s natural beauty on display, it’s not a surprise that Garden of the Gods is one of the state’s most popular and frequently visited attractions. This National Natural Landmark features otherworldly 300-foot sandstone rock formations against the backdrop of Pikes Peak mountain. After one visit, you’ll see it as the best park in America and a place fit for the gods to assemble.

7. Connecticut: Mystic Seaport Museum

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For more than 85 years, people have visited Mystic Seaport to appreciate the state’s place in American maritime history. The town of Mystic was a significant seaport and now is home to one of the leading nautical museums. Visitors can see four National Historic Landmark vessels, a 19th-century coastal village, and a working shipyard that restores historic boats.

8. Delaware: Cape Henlopen State Park

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Cape Henlopen encompasses Delaware’s historical significance and coastal beauty all in one landmark. Visitors can tour the Fort Miles Historical Area, part of our nation’s coastal defense, relax on the beach while looking for wildlife, or choose various activities like boating, fishing, clamming, kayaking, or windsurfing.

9. Florida: Cinderella Castle

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Magic Kingdom’s iconic castle is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Walt Disney World, the most visited vacation resort on the planet. It welcomes over 52 million people yearly to The Happiest Place on Earth, where fairy tale amusement awaits over 27,000 acres.

10. Georgia: Centennial Olympic Park

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Built to commemorate its Olympic legacy in 1996, this 22-acre open space public park is now home to famous Atlanta landmarks like CNN, the Georgia Aquarium, and The Coca-Cola Museum. The crown jewel of the city’s downtown entertainment district, people can visit the Fountain Rings Plaza, attend an event, or relax in the acres of open lawn space in the city’s center.

11. Hawaii: Volcanoes National Park

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When you think of Hawaii, you think of volcanic islands meeting the sea. Volcanoes National Park brings infamous Hawaiian images to life in one of the most diverse landscapes in the world. Born from the same lava visitors hope to see, this national park starts at the ocean and rises dramatically to 13,677 feet.

12. Idaho: Shoshone Falls Park

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The “Niagara Falls of the West” is taller than its New York cousin and is the state’s largest natural wonder. Spend an entire day, or more, exploring all Shoshone Falls Park has to offer, from swimming, hiking, boating, and relaxing picnic areas with waterfall views.

13. Illinois: Millennium Park

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Chicago’s 25-acre downtown park includes large public spaces stretching all the way to Lake Michigan and showcases modern architecture, which was born right out of the city’s local firms. Featuring both the Pritzker Pavilion, a famous bandshell-shaped performance space designed by Frank Gehry, and the iconic mirrored three-story Dream Cloud sculpture, it’s a must-visit spot for tourists and locals. Millennium Park is a year-round attraction offering ice skating, Lurie Gardens, the Crown Fountain, Art Space Programs, and other special exhibitions and events.

14. Indiana: Falls of the Ohio State Park

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Considered a key historical site in Indiana, this state park is home to 390-million-year-old fossil beds and ancient sites from every era of history. Bring your history buffs or school-aged kids to see science at play and view key discoveries in the very places where they happened.

15. Iowa: Effigy Mounds National Monument

Image Credit: National Park Service.

Iowa’s green landscape and wetlands created by the Mississippi River produced the perfect setting for these 1,000-year-old mysterious American Indian mounds. Visitors can discover the history of these 200-plus effigy mounds in the shape of animals as they walk along the Yellow River Bridge Trail.

16. Kansas: Botanica, the Wichita Gardens

Image Credit: Visit Wichita.

Botanica celebrates the state’s horticulture history in an artistic and educational setting. The beautiful 18 acres of gardens, lush greenery, and more than 50 elegant sculptures showcase plants well suited for the Kansas environment.

17. Kentucky: Churchill Downs

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Home to the iconic Kentucky Derby, this Louisville sports complex is the mecca of horseracing. Over 150,000 people flock to Churchill Downs in their Derby Day finest to sip a Mint Julep while watching the fastest two minutes in sports.

18. Louisiana: Bourbon Street

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The highlight of New Orleans, this iconic 13-block section of The French Quarter is famous for its bars, clubs, and entertainment. It is a must-see attraction for 17 million annual visitors looking to experience Louisiana’s drinks, food, and music.

19. Maine: Portland Head Light

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A symbol of coastal Maine’s defensive role, Portland Head Light was a part of America’s hard-won independence by warning against British attacks. Visitors can also enjoy the adjacent Fort Williams State Park’s 90 acres of hiking trails and oceanfront picnic areas.

20. Maryland: Assateague State Park

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Assateague State Park displays the undisturbed beauty of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Located on a barrier island, this park features a long stretch of beach, popular with sunbathers, swimmers, and surfers. However, the island’s infamous wild horses draw people looking to observe them from afar.

21. Massachusetts: Plimoth Patuxet Museums

Image Credit: Visit New England.

The Plimoth Patuxet Museums pay tribute to 400 years of state history and the crucial role Massachutes played in creating America. Created to bring to life 17th-century Plymouth Colony and Native cultures, actors act out seven decades of history for millions of schoolchildren and visitors annually.

22. Michigan: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore showcases the best of Lake Superior, one of four Great Lakes Michigan touches. America’s first National Lakeshore, this undeveloped 60,000 acres of land offers miles of beaches, hiking and kayaking in the summer, as well as skiing, ice fishing, and snowmobiling in the winter.

23. Minnesota: Mall of America

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The largest mall and entertainment complex in North America, the Mall of America draws tens of millions of people a year. With over 5 million square feet of space, more than 500 stores and restaurants, Nickelodeon Universe, a Sea Life Aquarium, and two mini-golf courses, there’s something for everyone.

24. Mississippi: Grammy Museum

Image Credit: GRAMMY Museum.

It’s only fitting that the birthplace of America’s blues, and the state with the most Grammy winners, has its own Grammy museum. It honors Mississippi-native musicians like Elvis Presley and B.B. King, who founded beloved music styles like blues, jazz, rock and roll, and hip-hop.

25. Missouri: Gateway Arch

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St. Louis’s iconic Arch symbolizes the state’s role in America’s westward expansion. At 630 feet, it’s our country’s tallest man-made monument. Since its completion 50 years ago, more than 140 million people have visited this stainless-steel creation, designed to illustrate the shape a chain makes when held at both ends.

26. Montana: Gates of the Mountains

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The Lewis & Clark expedition’s most recognizable landmark is located in Montana, where they spent most of their time. Lewis himself named this stunning riverfront canyon The Gates of The Mountains. This 28,000-acre Wilderness Area and 1200-foot limestone cliffs remain largely the same as Lewis & Clark saw them more than 200 years ago.

27. Nebraska: Carhenge

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In a state that celebrates independent thinkers, nowhere is that evident more than in Carhenge. A recreation of the ancient Stonehenge but with cars, this unique and modern art creation is a quirky Nebraska pop-icon and a Top 10 Worldwide Attraction Award recipient.

28. Nevada: Fountains of Bellagio

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When you picture Nevada’s Las Vegas, odds are the iconic fountains of The Bellagio Hotel come to mind. These 200-foot-tall fountains put on a choreographed show, with lights and music, multiple times daily. It’s not a surprise that this free attraction is voted the #1 activity in Las Vegas.

29. New Hampshire: Mount Washington Observatory

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Mount Washington Observatory is perched on the highest peak in the state and the Northeastern U.S., offering opportunities for education, exploration, and scientific discovery in both the summer and extreme New England winter conditions.

30. New Jersey: Liberty State Park

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You can experience the state’s innovative spirit and historical significance all in one New Jersey landmark. Millions of people come to this waterfront park a year to take in stunning views of the Manhattan skyline, visit the state-of-the-art Liberty Science Center and the biggest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, and catch ferries to The Statue of Liberty. Locals also love it for its hiking, biking trails, picnic areas, and performance spaces.

31. New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns

Entrance to the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico
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In the land of enchantment, delight in the underground surprises in this piece of the Guadalupe Mountains. The star attraction of this National Park is 119 underground limestone caves and resilient subterranean grass, plants, cactus, and trees.

32. New York:Times Square

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Experience for yourself the energy and edginess of New York in the world-famous Times Square. This portion of Broadway and Seventh Avenue between 42nd and 47th streets features more than 50 billboards and the largest LED display in the world. More than 50 million people a year bask in the neon lights of Broadway and take in the character and culture of the city that never sleeps.

33. North Carolina: Biltmore Estate

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Built by George Vanderbilt, The Biltmore is the largest privately-owned home in America and is now the state’s most popular attraction, drawing over a million visitors a year. This National Historic Landmark consists of gardens, a winery, a farm, shops, hiking & biking trails, restaurants, and various hotels. Come for a day from nearby Asheville, or stay on-site for a weekend getaway.

34. North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

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Theodore Roosevelt National Park offers 70,000 acres of undeveloped land to explore in a state known for wide-open, uncrowded spaces. The Land of The Legendary honors the president who laid the foundation for the National Parks system and returned to these same Badlands throughout his life.

35. Ohio: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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The iconic triangular class structure is not just a building unlike you’ve ever seen before but is unlike any museum you’ve experienced before. As you walk through the exhibits and learn the stories of your favorite musicians, you feel connected through more than just a love of music but a shared history.

36. Oklahoma: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Image Credit: National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

America’s leading Western history and culture institution is appropriately located in Oklahoma’s Cowboy Country. Visitors can experience the cowboy culture and legacy in tours, historical exhibits, and live performances and see more than 8,000 Western, American Indian, and Rodeo artwork and artifacts.

37. Oregon: Mount Hood

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Visible from across the Pacific Northwest, Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in the state and one of the most iconic landmarks in the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge. A favorite year-round destination for skiers, hikers, climbers, and campers from Portland and across the country.

38. Pennsylvania: Independence National Historical Park

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The state’s motto of virtue, liberty, and independence is exhibited at the site where the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. Classified as both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Park, it is visited by more than 5 million people a year looking to experience one of the most important sites of American history.

39. Rhode Island: The Breakers

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The crown jewel of Newport, this opulent summer home of the Vanderbilt family, symbolizes the state’s coastal draw for the rich and famous. Now the number one tourist attraction in Rhode Island, visitors can tour this 70-room Italian-style oceanfront mansion and learn the folklore of this infamous family.

40. South Carolina: Rainbow Row

South Carolina Rainbow Row
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Symbolizing Charleston’s continuous reinvention, this series of once rundown, now joyfully updated homes is one of the top tourist destinations in the city. This street of colorfully painted residences is the country’s longest cluster of Georgian row houses. Walk the streets of Charleston to experience for yourself why it’s the Top Vacation City in America.

41. South Dakota: Mount Rushmore

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial features a 60-foot granite likeness of four U.S. presidents gazing out over South Dakota’s Black Hills. A monument to democracy, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln were chosen to represent the country’s birth, growth, development, and preservation.

42. Tennessee: Clingman’s Dome

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One of the most iconic images in Smoky Mountains National Park is also the highest point in Tennessee. A trip to the most visited National Park in America is incomplete without a drive to high elevations to view mountain ranges from the 54-foot observation tower.

43. Texas: The Alamo

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One of the most widely recognized Texas monuments is a tiny mission-style building in downtown San Antonio. Dubbed the Shrine of Texas Liberty, it was on this site in 1836 that Texas, an independent self-governing republic, was born from the Mexican state of Tejas. Visitors can learn about the history, gardens, and buildings, including its infamous basement.

44. Utah: Crawford Arch

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Zion National Park, the most popular of the state’s five National Parks, features Crawford Arch, a stunning, massive ribbon of rock. One of the most visible geological formations in the park is perched a thousand feet off the canyon floor overlooking the Human History Museum at the base of Bridge Mountain.

45. Vermont: Ben & Jerry’s Factory

Ben and Jerry Factory
Image Credit: Ben & Jerry’s

The iconic, off-beat Vermont-based ice cream brand turned its first manufacturing building into a museum offering tours and a scoop shop. Ben & Jerry’s made Vermont ice cream famous for its creative and cleverly named flavors. If you’re short on time, pop into the scoop shop to try exclusive flavors offered only in Waterbury.

46. Virginia: Shenandoah National Park

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While only just over 70 miles from Washington, D.C, Shenandoah National Park is a world away from the bustling capital. Stretching over 200,000 acres, the park offers stunning panoramic views, birdwatching, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and camping. Called America’s most accessible National Park, it’s bucket list-worthy for your next-day trip, long weekend, or week-long vacation.

47. Washington: Space Needle

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This iconic Seattle Skyline building was initially created for The World’s Fair and now draws over one million visitors yearly. Make your way to the top of the 600-foot tower for stunning views of Washington’s beauty, including Elliot Bay, Puget Sound, Cascade & Olympic Mountain ranges, and Mount Rainier, the tallest peak in the state.

48. West Virginia: The Greenbrier

Image Credit: West Virginia Tourism.

This National Historic Landmark and world-class resort has hosted half our country’s presidents, royalty, celebrities, and guests worldwide since 1778. See for yourself why the 11,000-acre hotel and on-site mineral springs have been drawing people from around the globe to West Virginia’s mountains.

49. Wisconsin: Harley-Davidson Museum

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Born in Milwaukee, Harley-Davison has a worldwide cult following for its high-quality, customizable motorcycles. Fans can explore The Harley-Davidson Museum with interactive exhibitions about the culture and love of the sport, as well as a collection of Harley-Davidson memorabilia and motorcycles.

50. Wyoming: Old Faithful

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The most iconic spot in beloved Yellowstone National Park, the Old Faithful geyser erupts in a highly predicted pattern, much to the delight of 4 million visitors annually. Dubbed the world’s most famous geyser, it performs a natural show every 74 minutes, shooting thousands of gallons of scalding hot water over 100 feet into the sky.

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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

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