Wyoming is a western U.S. state defined by vast plains and the Rocky Mountains. Its famed Yellowstone National Park, a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area, is home to hundreds of animal species, dramatic canyons and alpine rivers. The park’s gushing geysers include the iconic Old Faithful. To the south is Grand Teton National Park, known for backcountry skiing areas, forested trails and Snake River.
Wisconsin is a midwestern U.S. state with coastlines on 2 Great Lakes (Michigan and Superior) and an interior of forests and farms. Milwaukee, the largest city, is known for the Milwaukee Public Museum, with its numerous re-created international villages, and the Harley-Davidson Museum, displaying classic motorcycles. Several beer companies are based in Milwaukee, and many offer brewery tours.
West Virginia is an eastern U.S. state in the tree-covered Appalachian Mountains. The town of Harpers Ferry, where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River, is the site of a famous Civil War–era raid. Surrounded by a national historical park, the town looks as it did in the 19th century, with many of the buildings open to the public as living-history museums.
Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest with terrain spanning the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to forested islands in Puget Sound. Its largest city, Seattle, is known for its thriving tech industry, vibrant music scene and famed coffeehouses. Its landmarks include the futuristic Space Needle, century-old Pike Place Market and Seattle Aquarium. Innovative glass art is displayed at Chihuly Garden & Glass.
Virginia, a southeastern U.S. state, stretches from the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, with a long Atlantic coastline. It’s one of the 13 original colonies, with historic landmarks including Monticello, founding father Thomas Jefferson’s iconic Charlottesville plantation. The Jamestown Settlement and Colonial Williamsburg are living-history museums reenacting Colonial and Revolutionary-era life.
Vermont is a state in the northeastern United States, known for its natural landscape, which is primarily forested. Part of the New England region, it’s also known for being home to more than 100 19th-century covered wooden bridges, and as a major producer of maple syrup. Thousands of acres of mountain terrain are crossed by hiking trails and skiing slopes.
Utah is a western U.S. state defined by its vast expanses of desert and the Wasatch Range mountains. Salt Lake City, the capital, is centered around Temple Square, headquarters of the Mormon Church and site of its majestic temple and tabernacle, with its massive dome and renowned choir. The Great Salt Lake’s buoyant waters attract swimmers and sunbathers, especially at Antelope Island State Park.
Capital: Salt Lake City
Texas is a large state in the southern U.S. with deserts, pine forest and the Rio Grande, a river that forms its border with Mexico. In its biggest city, Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts houses works by well-known Impressionist and Renaissance painters, while Space Center Houston offers interactive displays engineered by NASA. Austin, the capital, is known for its eclectic music scene and LBJ Presidential Library.
Tennessee is a landlocked state in the U.S. South. Its capital, centrally located Nashville, is the heart of the country-music scene, with the long-running Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and a legendary stretch of honky-tonks and dance halls. Memphis, in the far southwest, is the home of Elvis Presley’s Graceland, rock-and-roll pioneering Sun Studio and the blues clubs of Beale Street.
South Dakota is an expansive, sparsely populated midwestern U.S. state where rolling prairies give way to the dramatic Black Hills National Forest. Black Hills is home to 2 historical monuments carved right into towering granite peaks: Mt. Rushmore, the iconic depiction of 4 revered U.S. presidents, and Crazy Horse Memorial, a tribute to the storied Native American tribal leader.
South Carolina is a southeastern U.S. state known for its shoreline of subtropical beaches and marshlike sea islands. Coastal Charleston is a historic city, defined by pastel-colored houses, Old South plantations and Fort Sumter, where the Civil War’s opening shots were fired. To the north is the Grand Strand, a roughly 60-mile stretch of beachfront known for golf courses and the vacation town Myrtle Beach.
Rhode Island, a U.S. state in New England, is known for sandy shores and seaside Colonial towns. It’s home to several large cities, including Newport, which is famed for sailing and Gilded Age mansions, such as The Breakers. Providence, its capital, is home to Brown University, green Roger Williams Park, landscaped Waterplace Park and Riverwalk, with the famed WaterFire art installation.
Pennsylvania, a northeastern U.S. state and one of the 13 original colonies, has a diverse terrain, which includes wide stretches of farmland, national forests and mountains. Philadelphia, the Keystone State’s largest city, displays its rich history in Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed) and the Liberty Bell, an enduring symbol of American freedom.
Oregon is a coastal U.S. state in the Pacific Northwest known for its diverse landscape of forests, mountains, farms and beaches. The city of Portland is famed for its quirky, avant-garde culture and is home to iconic coffee shops, boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants and microbreweries. Highlights include the Native American art in the Portland Art Museum, the Japanese Garden and the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Oklahoma is a midwestern U.S. state whose diverse landscape includes the Great Plains, hills lakes and forests. Oklahoma City, the capital, is home to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, recognizing the state’s pioneer history, and the Bricktown entertainment district, popular for dining and nightlife. The poignant Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum commemorates the bombing here in 1995.
Capital: Oklahoma City
Ohio is a midwestern U.S. state stretching from the Ohio River and Appalachian Mountains in the south to Lake Erie in the north. On the shores of the lake is the city of Cleveland, site of the Cleveland Museum of Art and its renowned collection of European paintings and especially Asian art. Cleveland is also home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and close to expansive Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
North Dakota is a midwestern U.S. state dominated by the Great Plains. Its eastern city of Fargo showcases Native American and modern art at the Plains Art Museum. The area’s immigrant history is honored at the Scandinavian Heritage Association in the city of Minot. The Great Plains give way to the rugged Badlands near the border with Montana, where Theodore Roosevelt National Park spans the Little Missouri River.
North Carolina is a southeastern U.S. state with a landscape ranging from Atlantic Ocean beaches to the Appalachian Mountains. Charlotte, the state’s largest city, is home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and museums such as the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The state motto (“First in Flight”) honors the Wright Brothers, who flew their first plane in Kitty Hawk on the Outer Banks, barrier islands lined with popular beaches.
New Mexico is a southwestern U.S. state whose diverse terrain encompasses the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Its capital, Santa Fe, founded in 1610, is known for upscale spas and Spanish colonial architecture. It’s also home to a vibrant arts scene, as well as the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, featuring the artist’s iconic New Mexican landscape paintings, and the open-air Santa Fe Opera.
Capital: Santa Fe
New Jersey is a northeastern U.S. state with some 130 miles of Atlantic coast. Jersey City, across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan, is the site of Liberty State Park, where ferries embark for nearby Ellis Island, with its historic Immigration Museum, and the iconic Statue of Liberty. The Jersey Shore includes notable resort towns like historic Asbury Park and Cape May, with its preserved Victorian buildings.
New Hampshire, a U.S. state in New England, is defined by its quaint towns and large expanses of wilderness. In the north, White Mountain National Forest is known for winter sports areas and Mt. Washington, the region’s highest peak, with a cog railway to its summit. Also in the White Mountains are moose, black bears and part of the Appalachian Trail.
Nevada is a western U.S. state defined by its great expanses of desert, and by the 24-hour casinos and entertainment for which its largest city, Las Vegas, is famed. Las Vegas is home to elaborate theme hotels and luxury resorts that line its main thoroughfare, the Las Vegas Strip. The city’s also home to museums such as the Mob Museum, extravagant live shows and upscale shopping malls and restaurants.
Capital: Carson City
Nebraska is a midwestern U.S. state encompassing the prairies of the Great Plains, the towering dunes of the Sandhills and the panhandle’s dramatic rock formations. Lincoln, the capital and a vibrant university town, is distinguished by its soaring state capitol. The city of Omaha is home to the Durham Museum, which honors the state’s pioneering past in a converted railroad depot.
Montana is a western state defined by its diverse terrain ranging from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains. Its wide-open spaces include Glacier National Park, a vast wilderness preserve that passes into Canada. The park’s many snow-capped peaks, lakes and alpine hiking trails are showcased along its famed Going-to-the-Sun Road, stretching 50 miles.
Missouri is a midwestern U.S. state covered by grassy plains and the forested Ozark Mountains. Kansas City, on the Kansas border, has jazz clubs, the National World War I Museum and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, with giant shuttlecock sculptures on its lawn. St. Louis, on the Illinois border, is known for its 630-ft. Gateway Arch overlooking the Mississippi River.
Capital: Jefferson City
Mississippi is a southern U.S. state with the Mississippi River to its west, the state of Alabama to its east, and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Its Mississippi Delta region is considered the birthplace of blues music, honored at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale. Also in the region is the Vicksburg National Military Park, preserving the site of a critical Civil War battle.
Minnesota is a midwestern U.S. state bordering Canada and Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. The state contains more than 10,000 other lakes, including Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River’s primary source. The “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis and state capital Saint Paul are dense with cultural landmarks like the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Walker Art Center, a modern art museum.
Capital: Saint Paul
Michigan is a midwestern U.S. state bordering 4 of the Great Lakes. It contains more than 11,000 inland lakes, spread across its lower and upper peninsulas. Its largest city, Detroit, is famed as the seat of the U.S. auto industry, which inspired Diego Rivera’s murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Also in Detroit is Hitsville U.S.A., original headquarters of the Motown record company.
Massachusetts is a U.S. state in New England known for its significant Colonial history. In Boston, its capital, the Freedom Trail is a walking route of sites related to the American Revolution. These include the Bunker Hill Monument, commemorating the war’s first major battle in 1775. The city is also home to the Museum of Fine Arts and other notable institutions. The Red Sox pro baseball team plays at Fenway Park.
Maryland is a Mid-Atlantic state that’s defined by its abundant waterways and coastlines on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. Its largest city, Baltimore, has a long history as a major seaport. Fort McHenry, birthplace of the U.S. national anthem, sits at the mouth of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, home to the National Aquarium and Maryland Science Center.
Maine, the northeasternmost U.S. state, is known for its rocky coastline, maritime history and nature areas like the granite and spruce islands of Acadia National Park. Moose are plentiful in Baxter State Park, home to Mt. Katahdin, endpoint of the Appalachian Trail. Lighthouses such as the candy-striped beacon at West Quoddy Head, dot the coast, as do lobster shacks and sandy beaches like Ogunquit and Old Orchard.
Louisiana is a southeastern U.S. state on the Gulf of Mexico. Its history as a melting pot of French, African, American and French-Canadian cultures is reflected in its Creole and Cajun cultures. The largest city, New Orleans, is known for its colonial-era French Quarter, raucous Mardi Gras festival, jazz music, Renaissance-style St. Louis Cathedral and wartime exhibits at the huge National WWII Museum.
Capital: Baton Rouge
Kentucky is a southeastern state bounded by the Ohio River in the north and the Appalachian Mountains in the east, with Frankfort the state capital. The state’s largest city, Louisville, is home to the Kentucky Derby, the renowned horse race held at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. The race is preceded by a 2-week festival and celebrated in the Kentucky Derby Museum year-round.
Kansas is a Midwestern state that epitomizes the U.S. heartland with its Great Plains setting of rolling wheat fields. The Museum of World Treasures in Wichita, the state’s largest city, covers world history from dinosaurs to Elvis, while the open-air Old Cowtown Museum traces the city’s pioneer past. In nearby Hutchinson, the Cosmosphere displays the Russian Vostok and Apollo 13 spacecrafts.
Iowa, a Midwestern U.S. state, sits between the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. It’s known for its landscape of rolling plains and cornfields. Landmarks in the capital, Des Moines, include the gold-domed, 19th-century State Capitol Building, Pappajohn Sculpture Park and the Des Moines Art Center, noted for its contemporary collections. The city of Cedar Rapids’ Museum of Art has paintings by native Iowan Grant Wood.
Capital: Des Moines
Indiana is a Midwestern U.S. state known for its farmland and renowned auto race, the Indianapolis 500, held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the capital, Indianapolis, theaters and galleries line Massachusetts Avenue. The city’s Downtown is home to the iconic Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Canal Walk promenade and the Indianapolis Museum of Art and its wide-ranging collections.
Illinois is a midwestern state bordering Indiana in the east and the Mississippi River in the west. Nicknamed “the Prairie State,” it’s marked by farmland, forests, rolling hills and wetlands. Chicago, one of the largest cities in the U.S, is in the northeast on the shores of Lake Michigan. It’s famous for its skyscrapers, such as sleek, 1,451-ft. Willis Tower and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower.
Idaho is a northwestern U.S. state known for mountainous landscapes, and vast swaths of protected wilderness and outdoor recreation areas. The capital, Boise, is set in the Rocky Mountain foothills and is bisected by the Boise River, which is popular for rafting and fishing. The city’s riverfront Julia Davis Park is a downtown green space containing a rose garden, museums and a zoo.
Hawaii, a U.S. state, is an isolated volcanic archipelago in the Central Pacific. Its islands are renowned for their rugged landscapes of cliffs, waterfalls, tropical foliage and beaches with gold, red, black and even green sands. Of the 6 main islands, Oahu has Hawaii’s biggest city and capital, Honolulu, home to crescent Waikiki Beach and Pearl Harbor’s WWII memorials.