Gone But Not Forgotten… Lost Roadside Attractions

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     As time marches on and progress continues to physically change the shape of ourlandscape around us, we’re losing so many of the places that are embedded in our memory of years past. Places we so vividly recall visiting or spending time at… happy places of our youth or our children’s younger yearsfamily-vacation-stacked-car-clipart. Some were a wonderful escape from day-to-day life, like a fantasy world, when things were much more ‘carefree’. Others were places we passed or stopped at on those long family road trips when life was moved at a much slower pace than today. Take a journey back with me into time and let’s revisit some of those places.

royer-park-train-rosevilleI started this list about 10 years ago with maybe a few dozen listings of attractions that have since closed down, due to whatever reasons, or have been abandoned, some have suffered from fires, floods, earthquakes, recession, finances, lack of funding to keep open or lack of interest from the ever-changing demographics of visitors causing loss of interest. The places listed here cover several generations, time-wise, from our parents, grandparents or great grandparents era of the late 1800’s all the way up to those that have gone out of business since the millenium. Lots and lots of pictures and links for you to enjoy & learn more about on your own.

Roadside attractions, amusement parks, theme parks, water parks, unusual city parks,
family fun parks, aquariums, zoos, petting zoos, aviaries, monterey-carousel-inside-the-edgewater-packing-company2museums, military bases with special features, themed restaurants, exotic floral gardens, strange oddities, bizarre structures & statues, and the like are all included. Some of the most difficult to keep up were all of the miniature golf courses, larger video arcades, bowling alleys, dance halls, concert venues, luxurious theaters, large recreation centers, malibu-grand-prix-redwood-citythemed campgrounds, public pools, etc. I’ve tried to include those that stood out among the rest for one reason or another. But I’m well aware there are tons more out there that you remember from growing up at.

There are now over 400 listings focussing predominantly in California, Arizona, Nevada,dinosaur-park-sun-valley-az Oregon, Washington & British Columbia, Canada. As one would imagine, the list will never be complete as that would be virtually impossible to keep up with, but I’m constantly finding more places through research that I had either forgotten about, never knew existed, discovered recently or have been referred by readers like you.  Updates, accidental omissions and additional closures will continue being added on this list on and ongoing basis as time permits for me. Please feel free to give me your input and alert me of places you know about that I have not included.

route-66-hwy-signWith all that said, please sit back and revisit, learn about and enjoy the following post.Please bookmark it or ‘follow’ so you can come back here from time to time to see what’s new. Once again los and lots of pictures and links for you to check out more in-depth are included within.

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Remembering Lost and Forgotten Roadside Tourist Attractions and Amusement Parks on the West Coast

Road Trip Green Road Sign with Dramatic Sky and Clouds.

 

 

 

Songs About Olympic Sporting Events

As the 2012 Olympic Games in London are in full force, I kinda thought it might be fun to do a relatively small random list of  some rather interesting songs that feature sporting events held at this summer’s current world games in London. I have listed, in no particular order, an eclectic variety of songs that feature an Olympic sport/event in the title or within the lyrics of the song. The lyrics may only reference a sporting event, but not necessarily have anything to with it other than use it as a metaphor to get across other subject matter.

Videos have been provided for each listing. This is by no means a complete list, just a sampling of some of the more interesting and diverse music out there. Enjoy…….and feel free to comment at the bottom of this post…… including any other song suggestions you wish I would or should have included.

The Swimming Song – Vetiver

Basketball – by Kurtis Blow

Dive – by Steven Curtis Chapman

Sailing – by Rod Stewart

Rowboat – by Johnny Cash

Anyone For Tennis – by Cream

The BMX Song – by The Bouncing Souls

The Gymnast High Above The Ground – by The Decemberists

Equestrian – by U.S. Royalty

Cupid – by Sam Cooke [Archery]

Just A Song About Ping Pong – by Operator Please

Stars of Track & Field – by Belle & Sebastian

La Copa De La Vida (The Cup of Life) – by Ricky Martin [Soccer/Football]

Shooby Doo (The Waterpolo Song) – by Skau del Sol

Mama Said Knock You Out – by LL Cool J [Boxing]

Swimming – by Florence & The Machine

Bicycle Race – by Queen

Little Arrows – by Leapy Lee [Archery]

Sailing – by Christopher Cross

Eye of The Tiger – by Survivor (from the motion picture “Rocky”) [Boxing]

Run Like Hell – by Pink Floyd [Track]

Fun Family Attractions In British Columbia

Are you looking for some fun adventures or activities to enjoy with the whole family when boredom strikes or on you next excursion, vacation, weekend getaway or day trip in British Columbia? There is definitely no shortage of things to do in the lower BC mainland or Vancouver Island that the whole family can enjoy together. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, you’ve come to the right place for a preview of what’s out there to enjoy with the kids.

With Spring just around the corner as well as Spring Break just ahead, temperatures are on the rise and families are now beginning to plan ahead for the warmer months of stuff to do and places to go with the kids and family. Here you will find a fairly comprehensive directory and guide to family oriented adventures, amusements and fun attractions in British Columbia. The following listings include, but are not necessarily limited to, amusement parks, family fun centers, water parks, wildlife parks, zoos, aquariums, guided tours, “hands-on” interactive children’s museums, kid activity centers, family-oriented museums , exceptional parks, go-karts, train rides, miniature golf, larger arcades, ticket redemption centers, “soft-play” (bounce house type) play centers, a few lazer tag arenas, a few exceptional paintball arenas, a few aquatic centers that feature waterslides or water features, caverns that offer tours, winter resorts that offer snow-play attractions, and also unusual or unique attractions that may be geared towards kids or those that may appeal to all ages within the family or group. I’m also fully aware that there are bound to be additional attractions out there that I may not be aware of yet but would appreciate your input in letting me know those favorites of yours that I haven’t included yet. None-the-less, this should give you a decent selection of  places to check out before planning your next weekend getaway, road trip or family vacation.

I strongly encourage you to check out the individual attraction’s websites before planning a visit as quite a few of these listings are seasonal and subject to reduced hours  or days open – also there are a few requiring appointments or reservations in advance. Most will charge an admission or entrance fee… bearing in mind that virtually every one of these do have overhead expenses that keep them in business, or operating properly – while some are non-profit and depend upon public support (suggested donations) or funding of some sort to keep their doors open.  A few are even free of charge or have discounted admission days or times.

This will be an on-going update for the next few weeks… or longer… as time allows for me to continue verifying information and adding more.

Any omissions you may find or suggestions are welcome and encouraged as this will be continuously updated for quite some time yet.

Get out there and enjoy some of these with your family and/or friends! :)

* You should find these to be quite accurate and up-to-date (as of  March/2010) as I have personally verified each and every website individually before their inclusion in this post.

BC Mainland Attractions (Southern BC)

Planet Lazer – Laser Tag Play Centers located in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Kelowna, Langley, New Westminster, Richmond, and opening soon in Surrey and Victoria

Vancouver Island Attractions

Northern BC Attractions

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*** More attractions are always being added so keep checking back from time to time. Also, your suggestions about missing or left-out “family-type” amusements and attractions are always welcome. Please drop me a comment.

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More Fun Family Attractions can be found in the link(s) below:

Includes family attractions in the states of Oregon, Washington & Idaho


Fun Family Attractions In The Pacific Northwest

Are you looking for some fun adventures or activities to enjoy with the whole family when boredom strikes or on you next excursion, vacation, weekend getaway or day trip in Oregon, Washington or Idaho? There is definitely no shortage of things to do in the Pacific Northwest that the whole family can enjoy together. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, you’ve come to the right place for a preview of what’s out there to enjoy with the kids. Here you will find a fairly comprehensive directory and guide to family oriented adventures, amusements and attractions in the Pacific Northwest. The following listings include, but are not necessarily limited to, amusement parks, family fun centers, water parks, wildlife parks, zoos aquariums, guided tours, “hands-on” interactive children’s museums, kid’s activity centers, family-oriented museums, exceptional parks, go-karts, train rides, miniature golf, larger arcades, ticket redemption centers, “soft-play” (bounce house type) indoor play centers, a few laser tag arenas, a few exceptional paintball arenas, a few aquatic centers that feature waterslides or water features, caverns that offer tours, winter resorts that offer snow-play attractions, and also unusual or unique attractions that may be geared towards kids or those that may appeal to all ages within the family or group. I’m also fully aware that there are bound to be additional attractions out there that I may not be aware of yet but would appreciate your input in letting me know those favorites of yours that I haven’t included yet. None-the-less, this should give you a decent selection of  places to check out before planning your next weekend getaway, road trip or family vacation.

I strongly encourage you to check out the individual attraction’s websites before planning a visit as quite a few of these listings are seasonal and subject to reduced hours  or days open – also there are a few requiring appointments or reservations in advance. Most will charge an admission or entrance fee… bearing in mind that virtually every one of these do have overhead expenses that keep them in business, or operating properly – while some are non-profit and depend upon public support (suggested donations) or funding of some sort to keep their doors open.  A few are even free of charge or have discounted admission days or times.

This will be an on-going update for the next few weeks… or longer… as time allows for me to continue verifying information and adding more.

Any omissions you may find or suggestions are welcome and encouraged as this will be continuously updated for quite some time yet.

Get out there and enjoy some of these with your family and/or friends! 🙂

*You should find these to be quite accurate and up-to-date (as of mid-February/2010) as I have personally verified each and every website individually before their inclusion in this post.


Idaho – Fun Family Attractions

Oregon – Fun Family Attractions

* Oregon Skateboard Parks – Skate Oregon

Washington – Fun Family Attractions

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*** More attractions are always being added so keep checking back from time to time. Also, your suggestions about missing or left-out “family-type” amusements and attractions are always welcome. Please drop me a comment.

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More Fun Family Attractions can be found in the link(s) below:

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Songs About Boats Ships & Sailing

sailboats-bright-color-sailsThe smell of the ocean breeze reflecting off the waves, the wind feathering through your hair, the sails flapping in the wind – All reminiscent of a great way to spend a laid-back day cooling down and mellowing out – Be it on a sailboat or a houseboat. Sound like a plan? How ’bout some tunes to complement the feeling.cruise_ship

Maybe your plans are a little more formal and you’re heading out on a week or longer cruise to the islands or up to Alaska or Canada. Or for the real adventurer, even to the Caribbean or Mediterranean for an elite getaway.

In any event, music always helps make for a smoother journey. Here you will find songs from all eras and genres that mention boats, ships, cruises, sails, sailing, yachting, etc. in the title or prominently throughout the lyrics. This should help you build a pretty decent playlist for your mp3 or burn for your cd to take with you. And hey, if all else fails, at least you can put on tropical theme at your next pool party or get together on the beach, and let the music take you on a “mental journey” away from it all.

Enjoy! – Bon Voyage! 🙂

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Songs About Boats Ships & Sailing

  1. Banana Boat (Day-O) – Harry Belafontehouseboat
  2. Big Boat – Peter Paul & Mary
  3. Boat Drinks – Jimmy Buffett
  4. Boats Against The Current – Eric Carmen
  5. Boats To Build – Guy Clark
  6. Boats To Build – Alan Jackson
  7. Beyond The Sea – Bobby Darin
  8. Brandy – The Looking Glass
  9. Calypso – John Denver
  10. Closer To Home/I’m You’re Captain – Grand Funk Railroad
  11. Come On Down To My Boat – Every Mother’s Son
  12. Come Sail Away – Styx
  13. Crystal Ship – The Doors
  14. Dock of The Bay – Otis Redding
  15. Downeaster Alexa – Billy Joel
  16. Drive (For Daddy Gene) – Alan Jackson
  17. Dreamboat Annie – Heart
  18. Ghosts of Cape Horn – Gordon Lightfoot
  19. Gilligan’s Island Theme – TV Theme
  20. Harbor Lights – Sammy Kaye & His Orchestraviking-ship2
  21. Harbor Lights – Bing Crosby
  22. Harbor Lights – The Platters
  23. If I Had A Boat – Lyle Lovett
  24. I’m On A Boat – Lonely Island
  25. Key Largo – Bertie Higgins
  26. The Last Farewell – Roger Whittaker
  27. Longer Boats – Cat Stevens
  28. Lost Sailor – Grateful Dead
  29. Love Boat – TV Theme
  30. Michael (Row Your Boat Ashore) – Highwaymen
  31. Night Boat To Cairo – Madness
  32. On A Slow Boat To China – Kay Kyser & His Orchestra
  33. On The Good Ship Lollipop – Shirley Temple
  34. One Particular Harbor – Jimmy Buffett
  35. Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) – Enya
  36. Pirate Looks At Forty – Jimmy Buffett
  37. PT 109 – Jimmy Deanyacht-002
  38. The River – Garth Brooks
  39. Rock The Boat – Hues Corporation
  40. Red Sails In The Sunset – Guy Lombardo & His Orchestra
  41. Red Sails In The Sunset – Bing Crosby
  42. Red Sails In The Sunset – The Platters
  43. Redneck Yacht Club – Craig Morgan
  44. Ride Captain Ride – Blues Image
  45. Row Row Row Your Boat – (traditional folk song)
  46. Sail Along Silvery Moon – Bing Crosby
  47. Sail Along Silvery Moon – Billy Vaughn & His Orchestra
  48. Sail Away – Randy Newman
  49. Sail Away – Oak Ridge Boys
  50. Sail Boat In The Sky – Guy Lombardo & His Orchestra
  51. Delta-Queen-ship

  52. Sail On – The Commodores
  53. Sail On – Tom Grant
  54. Sail On Sailor – Beach Boys
  55. Sailboat In The Moonlight – Guy Lombardo & His Orchestra
  56. Sailboat In The Moonlight – Billie Holiday
  57. Sailin’ Around – John Prine
  58. Sailin’ Away On The Henry Clay – American QuartetSchooner
  59. Sailin’ Shoes – Little Feat
  60. Sailing – Rod Stewart
  61. Sailing – Christopher Cross
  62. Sailing Away – Chris DeBurgh
  63. Sailing Down The Chesapeake Bay – Henry Burr & Albert Campbell
  64. Sailing On The Robert E. Lee – Ray Noble
  65. Sailing On The Seven Seas – Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (OMD)
  66. Sailing To Paradise – Pablo Cruise
  67. Sailor (Your Home Is The Sea) – Lolita
  68. Sailor Man – Johnnie & Jack
  69. Sea Cruise – Frankie Ford
  70. Ship In The Bottle – Stonewall Jackson
  71. Ship of Fools – The Doors
  72. Ship of Fools – Robert Plantsailing_under_golden_gate
  73. Ship of Fools – Erasure
  74. Ship of Fools (Save Me From Tomorrow) – World Party
  75. Ship To Shore – Chris DeBurgh
  76. Ship Without A Sail – Ella Fitzgerald
  77. Shipbuilding – Elvis Costello
  78. Ships – Barry Manilow
  79. Ships That Don’t Come In – Joe Diffie
  80. Sink The Bismarck – Johnny Horton
  81. Sinking of The Reuben James – Woodie Guthrie
  82. Sinking of The Reuben James – Kingston Trio
  83. Six Months In A Leaky Boat – Split Enz
  84. Shrimp Boats – Jo Stafford
  85. Sloop John B – Beach Boys
  86. Sloop John B – Kingston Trio
  87. Smooth Sailin’ – TG Sheppardsport-fishing-boat-super-yacht
  88. Son of A Son of A Sailor – Jimmy Buffett
  89. Southern Cross – Crosby Stills & Nash
  90. Trains & Boats & Planes – Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas
  91. Two Pina Coladas – Garth Brooks
  92. When My Dreamboat Comes Home – Fats Domino
  93. When My Ship Comes In – Clint Black
  94. When The Ship Comes In – Bob Dylan
  95. When The Ship Hit The Sand – Little Jimmie Dickens
  96. Wooden Ships – Crosby Stills Nash & Young
  97. Wooden Ships – Jefferson Airplane
  98. Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot
  99. Yellow Submarine – The Beatles

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Here are a few more song posts with related travel themes on this site:

Islands In The Sun – Songs With A Tropical Theme

Songs About Airplanes & Flying

Songs About Trains – All Aboard!

Songs About Sun & Sunshine

Best National & State Parks In The USA

lush_winding_road,_olympic_national_park,_washingtonThere’s so much to see and do throughout the United States without spending a fortune to enjoy it. Now, more than ever in these leaner times, is the best opportunity to get out and enjoy some of our magnificent park and recreation areas. You don’t even need to plan a cross country trip (even though there is a temptation to plan for a future road trip) to be able to get away for a week or two (or at least a long weekend)  to enjoy the great outdoors with the family. Check out some of the featured parks below within your area. Links (directly to each site) are provided for each listing for more detailed information.

Best National Parks In The USA

 

Acadia National Park  (Maine)

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Acadia National Park was the First National Park East of the Mississippi River. People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast in the US. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

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Arches National Park  (Utah)

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Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. In some areas, the forces of nature have exposed millions of years of geologic history. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures that is unlike any other in the world.

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Carlsbad Caverns  (New Mexico)

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As you pass through the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas—filled with prickly pear, chollas, sotols and agaves—you might never guess there are more than 300 known caves beneath the surface. The park contains 113 of these caves, formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone, creating some of the largest caves in North America.

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park  (Ohio)

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One of America’s newest national parks is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Though it’s only a short distance from the urban environments of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The winding Cuyahoga—the “crooked river” as named by American Indians—gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. The park currently contains 133,000 acres, and within its borders features the Cuyahoga River and its valley and gorge, the Ohio and Erie Canal and Towpath Trail, city and county parkland, many buildings and historical elements, a railroad, hiking, bridle, and bicycle trails. The park is a refuge for flora and fauna, gives a sense of times past, and provides recreational opportunities and solitude for Ohio’s residents and visitors.

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Death Valley National Park  (California)

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Death Valley National Park is a “Land of Extremes” – The Hottest, The Driest, The Lowest – A superlative desert of streaming sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, multicolored rock layers, water-fluted canyons and 3 million acres of wilderness. Home to the Timbisha Shoshone and to plants and animals unique to the harshest desert. Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and one of the hottest places in the world. It is also a vast geological museum, containing examples of most of the earth’s geological eras. Death Valley National Park includes all of Death Valley, a 130-mile-long north/south-trending trough that formed between two major block-faulted mountain ranges: the Amargosa Range on the east and the Panamint Range on the west. Telescope Peak, the highest peak in the Park and in the Panamint Mountains, rises 11,049 feet above sea level and lies only 15 miles from the lowest point in the United States in the Badwater Basin salt pan, 282 feet below sea level. It’s three million acres of wilderness and rich cultural history make it a lifetime’s work to explore all that the valley has to offer.

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Denali National Park  (Alaska)

denali-national-park-alaska

Denali National Park & Preserve features North America’s highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall, Denali (as Alaskans call it) or Mount McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. Denali’s more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose.

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Everglades National Park  (Florida)

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everglades-national-park-floridaEverglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, significant to all people of the world. Unlike most other U.S. national parks, Everglades National Park was created to protect a fragile ecosystem instead of safeguarding a geographic feature. Thirty-six species designated as threatened or protected live in the park, including the Florida Panther, the American Crocodile, and the West Indian Manatee. Protecting the largest U.S. wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, the park is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America, and contains the largest mangrove eco-system in the western hemisphere. More than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles live within Everglades National Park.

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Glacier National Park  (Montana)

glacier-national-park-montana

Bordering Alberta, Canada, come and experience Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, waterfalls and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude. Relive the days of old through historic chalets, lodges, transportation, and stories of Native Americans. Coniferous forest is the predominant eco-system, although the forest is visibly different on the east and west sides of the Continental Divide. Trails wind through sub-alpine meadows full of wildflowers and alpine tundras. The park is one of the largest remaining natural grizzly habitats. In addition, the park is also home to two other endangered species – the Canadian Lynx and the Bull Trout. 23 species of fish live in park waters. Birdwatchers will find many species of waterfowl in addition to larger birds of prey, including bald eagles. Coniferous forest is the predominant ecosystem, although the forest is visibly different on the east and west sides of the Continental Divide. Trails wind through sub-alpine meadows full of wildflowers and alpine tundras.

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Grand Canyon National Park  (Arizona)

grand-canyon-national-park-arizona

grand-canyonGrand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. The land is semi-arid and consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the southwest. Drainage systems have cut deeply through the rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of desert basins.

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Grand Teton National Park  (Wyoming)

grand-teton-national-park-wyoming

Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park  (Hawaii) 

hawaii-volcanoes-national-park

kilaueaHawaii Volcanoes, located on the “Big Island” of Hawaii, encompasses 209,695 acres and an astoundingly diverse landscape. The park highlights two of the world’s most active volcanoes. The altitude in the park ranges from sea level to the summit of the earth’s most massive volcano, 13,677-foot Mauna Loa. Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, offers insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. Arid deserts exist within a few miles of lush rainforests and tropical wildlife. Breathtaking views abound in natural splendor and glory and beckon the adventurous explorer.

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Mesa Verde National  Park  (Colorado)

mesa-verde-national-park-colorado

Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 spectacular cliff dwellings – structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs, including Cliff Palace, which is thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

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Mount Rushmore National Monument  (South Dakota)

mount-rushmore-national-monument-south-dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is host to almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. They come to marvel at the majestic beauty of the Black Hills and to learn about the ideals of democracy and freedom represented by the granite portraits of Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Over the decades, Mount Rushmore has grown in fame as a symbol of America-a symbol of freedom and democracy and a hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds.

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Olympic National Park  (Washington)

olympic-national-park-washington

Olympic_NPA Land of Contrasts and Variety – Here you will find Pacific Ocean beaches, rain forest valleys, glacier-capped peaks and a stunning variety of plants and animals. Roads provide access to the outer edges of the park, but the heart of Olympic is wilderness – a primeval sanctuary for humans and wild creatures alike. It provides habitat for many species, like the Roosevelt Elk, that are native only to the Pacific Northwest coast. Enormous Sitka spruce and Douglas fir, hundreds of feet high, can be found in the Hoh and Queets rain forest valleys on the west side of the park. Thick, furry, epiphyte moss and dense, vibrant vegetation give a beautiful environment in these unique temperate rain forests, which receive fifteen feet of rain per year on average from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

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Rocky Mountain National Park  (Colorado)

rocky-mountain-national-park-colorado

This park is a living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. The elevations range from 8,000′ in the wet, grassy valleys to 14,259′ at the weather-ravaged top of Longs Peak. This provides visitors with opportunities for breathtaking adventures.The park is split by the Continental Divide, which gives the eastern and western portions of the park a different character. The east side of the park tends to be drier, with heavily glaciated peaks and cirques. The west side of the park is wetter and more lush.

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Smoky Mountains National Park  (Tennessee/North Carolina)

smoky-mountain-national-park

Smoky_Mountain_NPGreat Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian history. The mountains have had a long human history spanning thousands of years—from the prehistoric Paleo Indians to early European settlement in the 1800s to loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in the 20th century. This park strives to protect the historic structures, landscapes, and artifacts that tell the varied stories of people who once called these mountains home.

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Yellowstone National Park  (Wyoming/Montana/Idaho)

Majestic Mountains Water Reflection Trees Hd Wallpapers 1080p

Old_Faithful_YellowstoneEstablished in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world’s most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

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Yosemite National Park  (California)

yosemite-national-park-california

yosemite-np-half-domeYosemite is home to nearly 2,000 varieties of plants and animals, including giant sequoias. Yosemite’s geology is world renowned for its tall waterfalls and granite rocks. American Indians also have called Yosemite home for perhaps 8,000 years, and along with early pioneers and guardians, have left behind a rich history.

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Zion National Park  (Utah)

zion-national-park-utah

In 1909, U.S. President  Taft named the area a National monument  under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. However, in 1918, the changed the park’s name to Zion. A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile park is Zion Canyon, 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the Virgin River. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, this unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity.

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Best State Parks In The USA

 

Alaska – Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park and Beaver PondBeyond the foothills at Anchorage’s edge lies the third largest state park in USA.  A 500,000 acres of some of the most accessible hiking, skiing, camping, wildlife viewing, snowmachining, rafting, and climbing in Alaska. Those of us lucky enough to live here feel the influence of Chugach State Park almost daily. The mountainous backdrop to Anchorage reminds us that, although we live in an urban setting, we really reside in the middle of a vast wilderness. The Chugach foothills are a beacon for changing weather and resident wildlife have been known to wander into town.

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Florida – St Joseph Peninsula State Park

St_Joseph_Peninsula_state_parkSt. Joseph Peninsula Park has  striking dune formations, miles of virgin white sand beaches, and a heavily forested interior. Dr. Beach once rated this beach as the best beach in America. This 2,516-acre park is bounded by the waters of St. Joe Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Dynamic and dramatic views abound for miles.

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California Big Basin Redwoods State Park

BIg_Basin_Redwoods_State_ParkEstablished in 1902, Big Basin is California’s oldest State Park. Home to the largest continuous stand of Ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco, the park consists of over 18,000 acres of Old Growth and recovering Redwood Forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000 feet. The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, warm ridge tops.

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Oregon Sunset Bay State Park

Sunset_Bay_State_ParkSituated in one of the most scenic areas on the Oregon coast, Sunset Bay State Park features beautiful sandy beaches protected by towering sea cliffs. Only a short walk from the beach, the campground has sites for tent camping and RV’s, as well as cozy and comfortable yurts. Day-use and picnic facilities are located along the bay to allow easy access for beachcombing, fishing, swimming, and boating.

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Florida John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Coral_Reef_State_Park_FloridaJohn Pennekamp  is the nation’s first underwater park. Formed in the 1960’s, Pennekamp Park represents over hundred square miles of mangrove shoreline, grass flats, and of course our famous coral reef. Adjacent to Pennekamp is the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary.

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Utah Wasatch Mountain State Park

wasatch_mountain_utahWasatch Mountain State Park is in beautiful Heber Valley and is Utah’s most developed state park. Tucked away in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, the park is both a summer and winter destination. One of Utah’s finest and affordable 36-hole golf courses is found here.  Soldier Hollow at Wasatch Mountain State Park was the 2002 Olympic Winter venue biathlon and cross-country events. Soldier Hollow is open year-round to the public for cross-country skiing, tubing, biathlon, snowshoeing,  and many more events.

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New Hampshire – Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia_Notch_State_ParkFranconia Notch State Park is located in the heart of the popular White Mountain National Forest. Franconia Notch is a spectacular mountain pass traversed by a unique parkway which extends from the Flume Gorge at the south to Echo Lake at the north.  Franconia Notch was once the home of the famous Old Man of the Mountain, the same “Great Stone Face” immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Daniel Webster. While you are here, visit the Flume Gorge Visitor Center and walk through Flume Gorge, ride the aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain, and explore the New England Ski Museum. Also, you can swim at Echo Lake, net a trout while fly fishing at Profile Lake, ride your bike on the Recreational Trail, watch for rock climbers, hawks, and falcons on Cannon Cliffs, or hike on the Appalachian Trail.

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Tennessee – Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park

Fall_Creek_FallsFall Creek Falls State Resort Park is one of the most scenic and spectacular recreation areas in America. Its waterfalls, cascades, sparkling streams,  timberland, gorges and an unmatched variety of recreation facilities. Fall Creek Falls is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies, plunging 256 feet into a shaded pool at the base of its gorge.

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Texas – Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo_Duro_Canyon_State_Park_TexasLocated about an hour’s drive from Amarillo lies the grandeur of Palo Duro Canyon, a  sixty mile-long and eight hundred foot-deep canyon carved out of the Texas High Plains. Visitors to 16,402-acre Palo Duro Canyon State Park are treated to towering cliffs layered with bands of red, yellow, purple and white. Patches of juniper, mesquite, sunflower and prickly pear cacti adorn the canyon slopes, while red clay and veins of white gypsum blanket the ground.

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Michigan – Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

porcupine-wilderness-parkPorcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is over 60,000 acres  and is  one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. Towering virgin timber, secluded lakes, and miles of wild rivers and streams make a visit to the “Porkies” a trip to remember.  This park Park was established in 1945. Since then, many changes have taken place in the way we live; however, the Porcupine Mountains are almost unchanged. The remote interior with its towering pine and hemlock seems to defy time, and the solitude of the park is mysterious and exciting.

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Check out more travel-related posts (all within this website):

►50 Most Popular Tourist Attractions In The World

►Most Popular US Attractions: State By State

►Remembering Lost & Forgotten Roadside Tourist Attractions & Amusement Parks On The West Coast

Most Popular US Attractions: State By State

Should anyone be planning any family vacations, excursions or road trips in the near future or even planning ahead for the holidays, this “numbers survey” might give you an idea of what others have done over recent years. There could be some helpful tips here or just a guide for your planning of where to go, what to see, places to shop, places to visit, camping opportunities, or just the opposite, what to stay away from if you’re looking to avoid crowds. The places listed here could also give you some research ideas ….. searching for more information online.

The information collected below has come from various sources including statistics from the National Park Service, state tourism offices, listed attraction’s own websites, Wikipedia (only as a last result) and other statistical websites. The attendance figures are based upon annual visitors to the attractions (some are exact figures while others are rounded off or estimated). Keep in mind that in determining the top attraction draws, the tourism industry is very controversial as well as competitive in it’s methods.

Listings Are Alphabetically – State By State


Use the links provided for easy access and navigation!

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*** For additional information, as well as your convenience, link(s) have been included underneath each listing. These links should lead you directly to the attraction’s website, the local city or state office of tourism, the state or national park service or another informative resource.


Most Popular Attractions in the USA

 

 ALABAMA

space-and-rocket-center

United States Space & Rocket Center

Huntsville, AL

Annual Visitors — 509,000

http://www.spacecamp.com/museum/

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/home/index.html

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ALASKA

Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Skagway, AK

Annual Visitors — 935,940

http://www.nps.gov/klgo

http://www.travelalaska.com/Regions/ParksDetail.aspx?ParkID=

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 ARIZONA

grand-canyon-2

Grand Canyon National Park

Northwestern Arizona

Annual Visitors — 4,425,314

http://www.nps.gov/grca/

http://www.thecanyon.com/

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ARKANSAS

hot_springs_national_park

Hot Springs National Park

near Hot Springs, AR

Annual Visitors — 1,238,147

http://www.nps.gov/hosp/

http://www.arkansas.com/state-federal-parks/national-federal-parks/hot-springs.aspx

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CALIFORNIA

disneyland-sign

Disneyland Park

Anaheim, CA

Annual Visitors — 14,721,000

Disneyland

http://www.wdwinfo.com/disneyland/disneyland-theme-parks.htm

* great site for Disney history & nostalgia >> Yesterland

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COLORADO

rocky-mountain-lake

Rocky Mountain National Park

near Estes Park, CO

Annual Visitors — 2,757,390

http://www.nps.gov/romo

http://rockymountainnationalpark.com/

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CONNECTICUT

hammonasset_beach_state_park

Hammonasset Beach State Park

Madison, CT

Annual Visitors — 1,9000,000

http://www.ct.gov/dEP/cwp/view.asp?A=2716&Q=325210

http://www.friendsctstateparks.org/parks/hammonasset_beach.htm

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DELAWARE

delaware_seashore_state_park

Delaware Seashore State Park

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Annual Visitors — 1,200,000

http://www.destateparks.com/park/delaware-seashore/

http://www.beach-net.com/Parkdelshore.html

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FLORIDA

walt-disney-world-castle-statue

Walt Disney World / Magic Kingdom Park

Lake Buena Vista, FL

Annual Visitors — 17,063,000

http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/

http://www.wdwinfo.com/

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GEORGIA

stone-mountain-park-georgia

Stone Mountain Park

Atlanta, GA

Annual Visitors — 4,000,000

http://www.stonemountainpark.com/

http://www.atlanta.net/visitors/stone-mountain.html

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HAWAII

waikiki-beach

Waikiki Beach

Honolulu – Island of Oahu, HI

Annual Visitors — 3,670,000

http://www.waikikibeachwalk.com/

http://www.gohawaii.com/oahu/plan/things_to_do_on_oahu/attractions/points_of_interest/waikiki

http://www.aloha.com/~lifeguards/waikiki.html

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IDAHO

silverwood-theme-park

Silverwood Theme Park

Athol, ID

Annual Visitors — 558,000

http://www.silverwoodthemepark.com/

http://www.visitidaho.org/thingstodo/view-attraction.aspx?id=31026

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ILLINOIS

navy_pier_downtown_chicago

Navy Pier

Chicago, IL

Annual Visitors — 8,600,000

http://www.navypier.com/

http://www.chicagotraveler.com/chicago-navy-pier.htm

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INDIANA

indiana_dunes

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Lake Michigan’s south shore (near Porter, IN)

Annual Visitors — 1,833,596

http://www.nps.gov/INDU

http://www.nps.gov/indu/planyourvisit/campgrounds.htm

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IOWA

amana_colonies

Amana Colonies (National Historic Landmark)

Amana, IA

Annual Visitors — 800,000

http://www.amanacolonies.com/

http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/amana/

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KANSAS

flint_hills

Flint Hills Tall Grass Prairie (National Preserve)

near Strong City, KS

Annual Visitors — 250,000

http://www.nps.gov/tapr/

http://flinthillstallgrass.org/

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KENTUCKY

land-between-the-lakes-national-recreation-area

Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area

Between Lake Barkley & Kentucky Lake (Kentucky/Tennessee)

Annual Visitors — 1,259,773

http://www.lbl.org/Home.html

http://www.tnvacation.com/vendors/land_between_the_lakes_national_recreation_area

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LOUISIANA

french-quarter-new-orleans

The French Quarter

New Orleans, LA

Annual Visitors — 5,000,000

http://frenchquarter.com/

http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/fq/

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MAINE

ll-bean-flagship-store

L.L. Bean Flagship Store

Freeport, ME

Annual Visitors — 3,500,000

http://www.llbean.com/shop/retailStores/freeportFlagshipStore/flagship/flagship.html

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MARYLAND

assateague-island-national-seashore-maryland

Assateague Island National Seashore

Assateague Island (a barrier island along the Maryland & Virginia coast)

Annual Visitors — 2,011,438

http://www.assateagueisland.com/

http://www.nps.gov/asis/

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MASSACHUSETTS

faneuil-hall-marketplace

Faneuil Hall Marketplace (Quincy Market)

Boston, MA

Annual Visitors — 20,000,000

http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/

http://www.faneuilhall.com/

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MICHIGAN

henry-ford-museum-michigan

The Henry Ford Museum (Edison Institute/Greenfield Village)

Dearborn, MI

Annual Visitors — 1,500,000

http://www.hfmgv.org/

http://www.thehenryford.org/

http://www.michigan.gov/hal/0,1607,7-160-15481_19267_20424-54578–,00.html

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MINNESOTA

mall-of-america-overview1

Mall of America

Bloomington, MN

(additional photo at bottom of this post)

Annual Visitors — 40,000,000

http://www.mallofamerica.com/

http://www.bloomingtonmn.org/page/1/mall-of-america.jsp

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MISSISSIPPI

natchez_trace_parkway_mississippi

Natchez Trace Parkway (National Park Service)

444 mile long parkway stretching from Natchez, MS to Pasquo, TN

Annual Visitors — 4,200,000

http://www.nps.gov/natr/

http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/2285/

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MISSOURI

jefferson_national_expansion_memorial_arch_st_louis

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Arch

St. Louis, MO

Annual Visitors — 1,954,810

http://www.nps.gov/jeff/

http://www.gatewayarch.com/Arch/

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MONTANA

yellowstone-national-park-lower-falls

Yellowstone National Park

NW Wyoming (predominantly), SW Montana, E Idaho

Annual Visitors — 2,000,000

http://www.nps.gov/yell/

http://www.travelyellowstone.com/

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/

http://www.yellowstonepark.com/

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NEBRASKA

henry_doorly_zoo_nebraska

Henry Doorly Zoo (Riverview Park)

Omaha, NE

Annual Visitors — 1,388,014

http://www.omahazoo.com/

http://www.visitomaha.com/listings/index.cfm?action=display&listingID=57137

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NEVADA

las-vegas-strip-night_view

Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas, NV

Annual Visitors — 30,000,000

http://www.vegas.com/attractions/

http://www.visitlasvegas.com/vegas/index.jsp

http://www.lasvegasmaps.com/stripmap.html

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

white-mountain-national-forest

White Mountain National Forest

New Hampshire/Maine

Annual Visitors — 5,000,000

http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/white_mountain/

http://www.visitwhitemountains.com/

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NEW JERSEY

atlantic-city-boardwalk

Atlantic City Boardwalk

Atlantic City, NJ

Annual Visitors — 4,000,000

http://www.atlanticcitynj.com/visitors/thingstodo/attractions/boardwalktour.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_City,_New_Jersey

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NEW MEXICO

albuquerque_biological_park

Albuquerque Biological Park (BioPark)

Albuquerque, NM

Annual Visitors — 1,123,000

http://www.cabq.gov/biopark/

http://www.bioparksociety.org/aquarium

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NEW YORK

times-square-manhattan-new-york-nyc-crossroads-world

 

 

times-square-new-york-nightlife

Times Square

Manhattan/New York City

Annual Visitors — 37,600,000

http://www.timessquarenyc.org/

http://timessquare.com/

http://timessquare.nyctourist.com/

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NORTH CAROLINA

blue-ridge-parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway (National Park Service)

469 mile National Parkway along the Blue Ridge Range of the Appalachian Mountains through North Carolina & Virginia

Annual Visitors — 10,943,831

http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/

http://www.virtualblueridge.com/

http://www.nps.gov/blri/

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NORTH DAKOTA

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

near Medora, ND

Annual Visitors — 516,804

http://www.nps.gov/thro/

https://www.ndtourism.com/whatdo/attractions/attraction-details.asp?AID=990

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OHIO

cedar-point-amusement-park-resort-1

Cedar Point Amusement Park

Sandusky, OH

Annual Visitors — 3,200,000

http://www.cedarpoint.com/

http://wikitravel.org/en/Cedar_Point

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OKLAHOMA

oklahoma_city_national_memorial

Oklahoma City National Memorial

Oklahoma City, OK

Annual Visitors — 500,000

http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/

http://www.nps.gov/okci/

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OREGON

crater-lake-oregon

Crater Lake National Park

South Central Oregon

Annual Visitors — 415,686

http://www.nps.gov/crla/

http://www.oregon.com/trips/craterlake.cfm

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PENNSYLVANIA

independence-hall-philadelphia2

 

Independence National Historic Park (Independence Hall)

Philadelphia, PA

Annual Visitors — 4,076,638

http://www.nps.gov/inde/planyourvisit/index.htm

http://www.independencevisitorcenter.com/

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RHODE ISLAND

roger-williams-park-zoo

 

 

Roger Williams Park Zoo

Providence, RI

Annual Visitors — 505,409

http://www.rogerwilliamsparkzoo.org/

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SOUTH CAROLINA 

broadway-at-the-beach-south-carolina-night

broadway-at-the-beach-south-carolina-waterfront

 

Broadway At The Beach

(entertainment/shopping complex)

Myrtle Beach, SC

Annual Visitors — 14,000,000

http://www.broadwayatthebeach.com/

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SOUTH DAKOTA

mount-rushmore

 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

near Keystone, SD

Annual Visitors — 1,789,328

http://www.nps.gov/moru

http://www.mountrushmoreinfo.com/

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TENNESSEE

great_smoky_mountains_national_park_sign

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tennessee/North Carolina

Annual Visitors — 6,940,000

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/index.htm

http://www.gatlinburg.com/things-to-do/national-park/

http://www.tnvacation.com/vendors/great_smoky_mountains_national_park/

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TEXAS

san-antonio-riverwalk-newer

San Antonio River Walk (Paseo del Rio)

San Antonio, TX

Annual Visitors — 5,100,000

http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/

http://www.sanantonioriverwalk.com/

http://www.visitsanantonio.com/visitors/play/the-river-walk/index.aspx

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UTAH

temple-square-salt-lake-city-night

Temple Square

Salt Lake City

Annual Visitors — 5,000,000

http://www.visittemplesquare.com/

http://www.utah.com/mormon/temple_square.htm

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VERMONT

ben-jerry-ice-cream-factory

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory

Waterbury, VT

Annual Visitors — 293,000

http://www.benjerry.com/scoop-shops/factory-tours/

http://www.central-vt.com/web/benjerry/index.html

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VIRGINIA

 

blue-ridge-parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway (National Park Service)

469 mile National Parkway along the Blue Ridge Range of the Appalachian Mountains through North Carolina & Virginia

Annual Visitors — 5,365,474

http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/

http://www.virtualblueridge.com/

http://www.nps.gov/blri/

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WASHINGTON

pike-place-market-seattle

Pike Place Market

Seattle, WA

Annual Visitors — 10,000,000

http://www.pikeplacemarket.org/frameset.asp?flash=true

http://www.seattletravel.com/pikesplacemarket.html

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WEST VIRGINIA

new-river-gorge-national-river-west-virgina

New River Gorge National River

southern West Virginia

Annual Visitors — 1,212,854

http://www.nps.gov/neri

http://www.visitwv.com/companies/165/176

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WISCONSIN

devils_lake_state_park_wisconsin

Devil’s Lake State Park

near Baraboo, WI

Annual Visitors — 1,300,000

http://www.devilslakewisconsin.com/

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/ORG/LAND/PARKS/specific/devilslake/

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WYOMING

Yellowstone National Park

NW Wyoming (predominantly), SW Montana, E Idaho

Annual Visitors — 3,066,579

http://www.nps.gov/yell/

http://www.travelyellowstone.com/

http://www.yellowstonenationalpark.com/

http://www.yellowstonepark.com/

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WASHINGTON DC

national-mall2

National Mall & Memorial Parks

Washington, D.C.

Annual Visitors — 25,000,000

http://www.nps.gov/NAMA

http://www.nps.gov/mall

national-mall-washington-dc-overview

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Additional Useful Travel Links on this Site

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The World’s Most Popular Tourist Attractions according to attendance records – Lots of pictures included here with direct links to the featured listings – Here is the link…..

►50 Most Popular Tourist Attractions In The World

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The Best National & State Parks in the USA is worth a look for planning your next camping trip – Pictures of the parks are featured as well as direct links to the featured parks – Here is the link…..

►Best National & State Parks in the USA

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Nostalgia-minded Remembering Lost & Forgotten Roadside Tourist Attractions & Amusement Parks On The West Coast is an older post (May/2009) that is still being updated and worth checking out – now featuring almost 200 fun and memorable roadside attractions, amusement parks and kitschy tourist traps of years past that no longer exist today. Definitely a trip down memory lane — See how many you had been to and still remember – Lots of pictures are featured here with many historical and fan club links to the featured attractions – Here is the link …..

Remembering Lost & Forgotten Roadside Tourist Attractions & Amusement Parks On The West Coast

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Below is another picture inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota which annually draws over 40,000,000 visitors for shopping, entertainment, dining and people watching.