50 States, 50 Landmarks

You won't want to miss these historical sites in every state.

States A-L


ALABAMA: Civil Rights Memorial

A granite memorial in Montgomery (near Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, former parish of Dr. Martin Luther King) highlights 40 heroes of the civil rights movement.

ALASKA: Denali State Park

Home of Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America, this park boasts glaciers, grizzly bears, and breathtaking scenery.

ARIZONA: Grand Canyon

They don't call it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World for nothing, and thanks to the famous mule rides and Junior Ranger program, it's a can't-fail hit with families.

ARKANSAS: Ozark Folk Center

Mountain music, an interactive crafts village, and a country store make a visit to the Ozarks a trip into the heart of Americana.

CALIFORNIA: Golden Gate Bridge

Whether you drive over it, take a tour boat under it, or gaze at it from shore, this San Francisco icon welcomes 9 million visitors a year.

COLORADO: Mesa Verde

These astonishing cliff dwellings near Mancos -- especially Cliff Palace and Balcony House -- showcase the culture of the Anasazis, who lived in the Southwest some 1,000 years ago.

CONNECTICUT: Mystic Seaport

This 17-acre maritime museum offers families a chance to experience early American seafaring life on restored ships and in period buildings.

DELAWARE: Brandywine Valley

Washington and Lafayette met in Wilmington before the Battle of Brandywine; now kids can explore the past at the Delaware History Museum and Hagley Museum.

    FLORIDA: Kennedy Space Center

    From spaceflight simulators to tours of space-shuttle launchpads, this Orlando-area attraction is a science buff's dream.

    GEORGIA: Okefenokee Swamp

    Billed as the biggest swamp in North America, this natural wonder can be navigated by canoe or boat tour, or you can get directions for driving at the visitors' center in Folkston.

    HAWAII: Pearl Harbor

    A visit to the USS Arizona Memorial in Oahu includes a powerful film and a narrated ride out to the site of the attack. Then take a tour of the adjacent USS Bowfin submarine.

    IDAHO: Sacajawea's Birthplace

    The Lemhi County Historical Museum contains artifacts and information about this Native American woman who helped Lewis & Clark discover the Northwest Territory.

      ILLINOIS: Lincoln Home

      Relive the past at the house where Abraham Lincoln lived until he was elected president, and take in the four-block neighborhood of restored homes that surrounds it in Springfield.

      INDIANA: Vincennes

      The city is dotted with sites, including homes, churches, and museums, commemorating the state's history as a French fur-trading post.

      IOWA: Amana Colonies

      Historic houses, quaint shops, and museums, spread out over seven villages, honor the legacy of enterprising German settlers who arrived in rural Iowa before the Civil War.

      KANSAS: Dodge City

      Ride a stagecoach, watch a re-created gunfight, and examine Wild West artifacts at the Boot Hill Museum and Front Street reconstruction.

        KENTUCKY: Mammoth Cave National Park

        Guided, kids-only tours teach children about caving, ecology, and conservation in this park's 360 miles of cave systems.

        LOUISIANA: Steamboat Natchez

        Cruise the mighty Mississippi from New Orleans' bustling port, or try the aquarium/zoo cruise, with visits to the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo.

          States M-P

          MAINE: Acadia National Park

          Rangers offer kids' programs on the rocky coastline, or families can drive to scenic Cadillac Mountain. (For info on visitors' centers in three locations, go to www.nps.gov/acad.)

          MARYLAND: Fort McHenry

          See the flag raised over the fort that inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star Spangled Banner" during the Battle of Baltimore, and visit the barracks and guardhouse.

          MASSACHUSETTS: Freedom Trail

          Follow a painted line on the street as you walk the 2.5 miles from Boston Common past the Old North Church and site of the Boston massacre to Faneuil Hall.

          MICHIGAN: Henry Ford Museum

          Ford's Dearborn complex -- called the largest indoor-outdoor museum in the nation -- includes a re-created village with houses, farms, and shops, plus an IMAX Theatre.

          MINNESOTA: Minnehaha Park and Falls

          During a visit to Minneapolis, take in the 53-foot waterfall immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his Song of Hiawatha, and stay to bike and picnic.

          MISSISSIPPI: Vicksburg National Military Park

          Site of one of the Civil War's most important battles, the park includes 144 cannons and some 1,000 monuments and markers.

          MISSOURI: Gateway Arch

          Ascend to the top via tram, visit the Museum of Westward Expansion, or take a riverboat cruise at this family-friendly St. Louis attraction.

          MONTANA: Little Bighorn Battlefield

          Site of Custer's Last Stand, this park includes a museum of artifacts from the battle and the Custer National Cemetery.

            NEBRASKA: Chimney Rock

            Snap your picture at this famed rock formation in Bayard, a landmark in the westward expansion on the Oregon Trail.

            NEVADA: Hoover Dam

            Built in 1935 near Boulder City, this awesome engineering marvel spans the Colorado River and includes a film on the dam's construction and history and an observation deck.

            NEW HAMPSHIRE: Mount Washington

            Ascend to the observatory at the top of the highest mountain in the Northeast via the Mount Washington Cog Railway, which makes the picturesque climb at a steep tilt.

            NEW JERSEY: Cape May Lighthouse

            After riding a trolley through Cape May's historic district, you can make the 218-step climb to the top of its landmark lighthouse.

              NEW MEXICO: Carlsbad Caverns

              This huge site houses the world's largest network of caves; most visitors focus on the Big Room's surreal formations and eerie glow.

              NEW YORK: Ellis Island

              Kids can look for their ancestors at this restored immigration museum in New York Harbor, where more than 12 million people entered the U.S. in search of opportunity and freedom.

              NORTH CAROLINA: Wright Brothers Memorial

              Explore aeronautic memorabilia and climb Kill Devil Hill for a look at the 60-foot monument commemorating the Wrights' first flight in 1903.

              NORTH DAKOTA: Frontier Village

              The big draw -- and we mean big -- is the statue of a buffalo that dominates this re-created Wild West town in Jamestown, complete with jail, schoolhouse, and railway station.

                OHIO: Underground Railroad & Freedom Center

                This $110 million facility, set to open this summer in Cincinnati, honors the legacy of the Underground Railroad.

                OKLAHOMA: Robbers Cave

                Discover why Jesse James, Belle Starr, and Cole Younger used this Wilburton cave as their hideout, then canoe and ride horses nearby.

                OREGON: Mount Hood Railroad

                Rail buffs of all ages can enjoy the scenery at the base of Mount Hood aboard historic trains, with a stopover in pretty Parkdale.

                PENNSYLVANIA: Liberty Bell

                In its new location in Philadelphia's Liberty Bell Center, this symbol of freedom and nearby Independence Hall are must-sees.

                  States R-W

                  RHODE ISLAND: Newport Mansions

                  Prepare to be dazzled by the restored summer homes of the rich and famous, especially The Breakers, the jewel in the crown.

                  SOUTH CAROLINA: Fort Sumter

                  Starting at Liberty Square in Charleston, relive the start of the Civil War with a guided boat and land tour of the fort and harbor around Sullivan's Island.

                  SOUTH DAKOTA: Mount Rushmore

                  More than 400 people sculpted this surreal and historic monument to our nation's first 150 years; for the best views of the 60-foot sculptures, head for the Presidential Trail.

                  TENNESSEE: Great Smoky Mountains

                  Begin your visit in Gatlinburg, then go fishing or explore more than 800 miles of hiking trails in one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States.

                  TEXAS: The Alamo

                  Relive the fierce battle between Santa Anna and such American folk heroes as Davy Crockett and James Bowie at the famous mission and four-acre grounds in San Antonio.

                  UTAH: Olympic Park

                  Host to ski events during the 2002 Winter Games in Park City, the park draws crowds year-round for tours, virtual skiing, and access to the medal podium for an imaginary bow.

                  VERMONT: Shelburne Museum

                  You'll find more than 150,000 fascinating objects in 39 galleries, from antique quilts and old-fashioned toys to a covered bridge, a lighthouse, and a restored steamboat.

                  VIRGINIA: Colonial Williamsburg

                  Step back in time as you explore museums, homes, shops, and even a plantation in this town restored to full 18th-century glory.

                    WASHINGTON: Space Needle

                    You can see all the way to Mt. Rainier and Lake Union -- not to mention a great aerial view of Seattle below -- from the Needle's 520-foot-high observation deck.

                    WEST VIRGINIA: Lost World Caverns

                    Join a Wild Caves Expedition (suitable for kids 6 and up) in Lewisburg for a half-day of climbing, crawling, and getting muddy (pads, flashlights, and snacks provided).

                    WISCONSIN: Wisconsin Dells

                    Horse-drawn-wagon tours, amusement park rides, and the Circus World Museum are just a few of the attractions at this family destination.

                    WYOMING: Yellowstone National Park

                    Our first U.S. National Park offers horseback riding and a host of other activities as well as one of America's most enduring natural phenomena, Old Faithful.

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                      Copyright © 2004. Reprinted with permission from the June/July 2004 issue of Child magazine.