State Secrets: 50 Little-Known Local Destinations

We asked 2,000 parents to share their local go-tos so you can be in the know too. Check out our top pick per state—this is a list you’ll definitely want to save!
  • ALABAMA
  • ALASKA
    • Meet Santa and his reindeer at the real-life Christmas village in North Pole, near Fairbanks. “It’s a must-do for our family once a year,” says one mom. 
  • ​ARIZONA
    • Dramatic pinnacles and spires, formed from eroded volcanic rocks, create an otherworldly landscape at Chiricahua National Monument in southeast Arizona. 
  • ARKANSAS
  • CALIFORNIA
    • The so-called “Ellis Island of the West,” Angel Island, in the San Francisco Bay, gives kids a look at the country’s immigration history. 
  • COLORADO
    • “It’s fascinating to [learn] how coins are made.” Find out how it happens on a free tour for kids 7 and up at The Denver Mint. (Be sure to make a reservation!) 
  • CONNECTICUT
    • A perfect spot for make-believe play! Tour the medieval-style Gillette Castle in East Haddam, and spend some time walking around the gorgeous grounds. 
  • DELAWARE
    • Get your beach and woods fix at Holly Lake Campsites. Near Rehoboth Beach, it also has an on-site swimming pool and mini-golf course. 
  • FLORIDA
    • One mom raved about the Gulf Coast’s Cape San Blas for its lack of crowds and awesome scalloping. Kids will love looking for shells—the beaches are full of ’em! 
  • GEORGIA
  • HAWAII
  • IDAHO
    • The Wild West is alive and well in Idaho City! Tour this old mining town’s original buildings, including a post office, prison, and blacksmith’s.
  • ILLINOIS
  • INDIANA
    • The Conner Prairie living history park, in Fishers, teaches kids about life in 19th-century Indiana. “They do a great job of acting out history!” 
  • IOWA
  • KANSAS
    • Take a spin on the ice-skating rink, see a show at the kids’ theater, or visit the free kids’ crafting area at the Crown Center in Kansas City. 
  • KENTUCKY
  • LOUISIANA
    • Head to Camp Salmen Nature Park in Slidell to spot wildlife and enjoy the playground built to accommodate kids with special needs. 
  • MAINE
  • MARYLAND
    • To get away from it all, one mom suggests the lake town of Flintstone: “The night sky has so many stars, I could spend hours just looking at them.” 
  • MASSACHUSETTS
  • MICHIGAN
  • MINNESOTA
  • MISSISSIPPI
    • The Gulfportarea Lynn Meadows Discovery Center’s “Kids Street” exhibit takes playing house to the extreme with an entire kid-size suburban 
  • MISSOURI
    • Stroll through towering statues of giant eyeballs, balloon poodles, and more at the Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. Bonus: It’s free! 
  • MONTANA
  • NEBRASKA
    • Fontenelle Forest in Omaha recently opened the Raptor Woodland Refuge, where you can spot birds from walkways suspended high above the ground. 
  • NEVADA
    • “Everyone hears ‘Vegas’ and can’t think past the Strip,” explains one mom, who says the city’s Springs Preserve nature center is her favorite spot for families. 
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE
    • We may never know for sure who built America’s Stonehenge in Salem, but this mystical maze of manmade rock formations sure is cool to explore. 
  • NEW JERSEY
    • Cuddle up in the car and get ready to enjoy a double feature at Vineland’s family-friendly Delsea Drive-In. “Cheap and fun!” 
  • NEW MEXICO
    • Interactive exhibits on everything from animation to bubbles bring hours of fun at the Explora science center in Albuquerque.
  • NEW YORK
    • Sneak away to Covewood Lodge on Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks for scavenger hunts, capture the flag, and weekly campfires! 
  • NORTH CAROLINA
    • Don’t miss the sea turtle rescue hospital on Topsail Island, where kids can view the creatures and learn about the island’s conservation efforts. 
  • NORTH DAKOTA
  • OHIO
    • Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, which was once owned by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company cofounder, has a children’s play area and numerous walking paths. 
  • OKLAHOMA
    • Robbers Cave State Park in Wilburton was once the hideout for outlaws Jesse James and Belle Starr. Now families can head there for hiking and camping. 
  • OREGON
    • The World Forestry Center in Portland really speaks for the trees! Learn about sustainability and wildlife through interactive exhibits.
  • PENNSYLVANIA
  • RHODE ISLAND
  • SOUTH CAROLINA
    • Skip the more developed state beaches and head to Edisto Beach, where simple seaside pleasures like swimming and boating reign supreme. 
  • SOUTH DAKOTA
    • The Children’s Museum in Brookings offers “so many things to do!” Pick corn at the toy farm, play in a sensory room, and more. 
  • TENNESSEE
    • Fort Donelson battlefield in Dover gives kids a firsthand look at the Civil War with a log hut like the ones soldiers lived in and cannons that were used in battle.
  •  TEXAS
  • UTAH
    • Learn about space exploration at the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City. No time for a show? It also has free hands-on activities open to the public. 
  • VERMONT
    • Don’t miss the children’s farmyard at Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre nonprofit working farm focused on sustainability. 
  • VIRGINIA
    • It’s all about the sea at Nauticus in Norfolk. Touch real horseshoe crabs, build a remotecontrolled underwater vehicle, or tour the battleship Wisconsin.
  • WASHINGTON
  • WEST VIRGINIA
  • WISCONSIN
  • WYOMING
Family Fun

Comments

Be the first to comment!



Parents may receive compensation when you click through and purchase from links contained on this website.