Readers Choice

10Best Readers' ChoiceChosen by readers of USA TODAY and 10Best

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    #10 - Sixth Floor Museum - Dallas, TX

    The Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas's Dealey Plaza is housed on the sixth and seventh floors of the old Texas School Book Depository warehouse. It was from this sixth floor window that came the bullet which killed President John F. Kennedy, and the museum not only chronicles the assassination and how it changed history, but the legacy of the man and the President.

    Photo courtesy of Aneese/iStock

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    #9 - The White House - Washington, DC

    The White House -- the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States -- has housed every single U.S. president since John Adams in 1800. Designed by James Hoban and built during the last years of the eighteenth century, the neoclassical Washington, DC landmark has come to symbolize the entire executive branch of the government.

    Photo courtesy of Huyangshu/iStock

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    #8 - Lincoln Memorial - Washington, DC

    An imposing marble likeness of the nation's sixteenth president sits beneath the words "In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever."  Completed in 1912, the neoclassical structure of the Lincoln Memorial has since become one of the most iconic landmarks in Washington, DC.

    Photo courtesy of FrozenShutter/iStock

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    #7 - Mount Vernon - Alexandria, VA

    Mount Vernon, the home of the nation's first president George Washington, has long been one of the most popular and most visited historic estates in the country -- over 80 million people have visited since 1860. Some 500 acres of the estate and grounds have been preserved, and visitors can pay respects at the graves of both George and Martha Washington.

    Photo courtesy of Pierrette Guertin/iStock

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    #6 - Monticello - Charlottesville, VA

    Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, located outside Charlottesville, Va., is one of the country's great iconic American estates. Maintained and operated by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the property's home is considered to be one of Jefferson's great achievements. Touring its rooms and walking the gardens allows a fascinating and personal look into the life and mind of one of the Founding Fathers.

    Photo courtesy of Tony Fischer

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    #5 - Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Medora, ND

    In 1883, a young Theodore Roosevelt went bison hunting in Dakota Territory. What he saw there helped inspire the conservation policies that would define his presidency. He helped create five national parks and well over a hundred national forests. In 1947 -- long after his death -- President Truman established Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park in "Teddy's" honor.

    Photo courtesy of Medioimages/Photodisc

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    #4 - JFK Presidential Library & Museum - Boston, MA

    The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum honors the thirty-fifth president. Located on a 10-acre plot overlooking the Atlantic ocean, the museum recounts the life and times of JFK, while the library houses a collection of historical materials covering the Kennedy family as well as the political climate during the mid-twentieth century.

    Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

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    #3 - The Hermitage - Nashville, TN

    The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's beloved estate just outside of Nashville, started as a modest log cabin when Jackson purchased it in 1804. The man whose face graces the twenty dollar bill eventually converted The Hermitage into a 1000-acre, wildly successful cotton plantation, and his log farmhouse into a stately mansion.

    Photo courtesy of Rennett Stowe

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    #2 - Ronald Reagan Presidential Library - LA, CA

    Set atop a hill overlooking Greater Los Angeles, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library celebrates the long and storied career of Ronald Reagan. Visitors to the foundation can stand in a replica of Reagan's Oval Office, board the actual Air Force One that served seven U.S. presidents and see a piece of the Berlin Wall -- a symbol of Reagan's efforts in helping to end the Cold War.

    Photo courtesy of Ming-yen Hsu

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    #1 - Mt. Rushmore & City of Presidents - Rapid City, SD

    Nowhere is our early presidents' legendary status more evident than at Mount Rushmore, where the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln grace a granite cliff face in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota (each head is about 60 feet tall!). In nearby Rapid City, the City of Presidents in historic downtown commemorates the nation's past presidents with life-size bronze statues.

    Photo courtesy of Wirepec/iStock

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South Dakota Attractions Score Tops

Presidential libraries, homes figure large in winners list

The public has spoken, as we reveal the top getters in our latest Readers' Choice contest, for Best Presidential Attraction.  If you're looking for a list of places to take the family this summer, we cna' think of a better list.  History definitely comes alive in each of these winning locations.

The contest nominee which resonated most with readers of USA TODAY and 10Best was the dual entry from South Dakota: Mt. Rushmore and the presidential monuments in nearby Rapid City.  

The 10 contest winners also included two beloved stops in our nation's capital, two presidential libraries, three former residential estates, one wildlife preserve and the scene of a tragedy which changed America forever. 

All winners in the 'Best Presidential Attraction' contest category are as follows:

  1. Mt. Rushmore & City of Presidents - Rapid City, SD
  2. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library - LA, CA
  3. The Hermitage - Nashville, TN
  4. JFK Presidential Library & Museum - Boston, MA
  5. Theodore Roosevelt National Park - Medora, ND
  6. Monticello - Charlottesville, VA
  7. Mount Vernon - Alexandria, VA
  8. Lincoln Memorial - Washington, DC
  9. The White House - Washington, DC
  10. Sixth Floor Museum - Dallas, TX

Congratulations to all our winners!  We're proud to recommend you as attractions in our great nation.    

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Meet the Experts

Libby McMillan

A longtime travel journalist, 10Best Content Manager Libby McMillan has seen much of the USA and has checked several presidential attractions off her must-see list.  She likes the thought of kids seeing as many presidential attractions as they can, to bring history lessons to life.  

Travis Seward

As Editor in Chief of 10Best since its founding 11+ year ago, Travis Seward has absorbed more travel media than many readers come across in a lifetime.  He's also seen a good portion of the USA, and appreciates historic architecture, beautiful grounds, and a great story . . . all of which are present in these 20 nominees.  

Lydia Schrandt

One of 10Best Photo Editor Lydia Schrandt's earliest trips -- one that went on to inspire her love of travel -- was to Washington, DC where she had the opportunity to tour several presidential attractions. She believes that to truly understand a destination, the United States included, you first must look to its past.