10Best Readers' Choice is out to create the ultimate guide to America's best attractions. To do so, we're asking our readers to vote for their favorites region by region and state by state. After four weeks of voting, the first batch of results are in for states in the South and Southwest.
Click on each category below to see the full list of winners, and check back on Friday, July 7 for the announcement of our Pacific Northwest winners.
Best Arizona Attraction: Kartchner Caverns State Park
Kartchner Caverns State Park — Photo courtesy of AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Christine Keith
Two local explorers stumbled upon Kartchner Caverns in 1974 and revealed the existence of the caves to the property owners, James and Lois Kartchner, in 1978. Now a state park, this impressive cavern system continues to "grow" as dripping water deposits minerals on the existing formations. Features include Kubla Khan, the tallest column in Arizona, as well as one of the world's longest soda straw stalactites.
Best California Attraction: Balboa Park
Balboa Park in San Diego — Photo courtesy of iStock / f11photo
Encompassing 1,200 beautiful acres, San Diego's Balboa Park comprises several smaller attractions, including performing arts venues, 17 museums, numerous gardens and recreational trails. A free tram takes visitors around the complex, now listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Best Colorado Attraction: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Colorado — Photo courtesy of Denise Chambers/Miles
One of the most authentic steam-operated railroads in existence, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs for 64 miles between Antonito, Colo. and Chama, N.M., passing through the San Juan Mountains and the scenic Conejos Valley along the way. This moving National Historic Landmark represents one of Colorado's most spectacular day trips.
Best Louisiana Attraction: Houmas House Plantation
Houmas House Plantation and Gardens — Photo courtesy of Houmas House Plantation and Gardens
Located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Houmas House Plantation is one of the best along the River Road. Surrounded by 200-year-old oaks, the meticulously restored Greek Revival mansion and connected rear house occupies 38 acres of scenic gardens filled with indigenous Louisiana plant life.
Best Nevada Attraction: Nevada Museum of Art
Nevada Museum of Art — Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Godbey/TravelNevada
The award-winning Nevada Museum of Art, situated just south of downtown Reno, displays a permanent collection of 2,000 pieces divided into four themed sections: Altered Landscape Photography, Art of the Greater West, Contemporary Art and The Work Ethic. The outdoor grounds of the museum house several pieces from the Burning Man festival.
Best New Mexico Attraction: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in New Mexico — Photo courtesy of NewMexico.org
This spectacular rail journey was nominated in Colorado and New Mexico, both states where it operates, and it won over readers to take the crown in both categories.
Best Oklahoma Attraction: Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum — Photo courtesy of EPA/LARRY W. SMITH
Somber and poignant, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum commemorates those killed (and those who were forever changed) during the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The Memorial Museum recounts the story of that tragic day, while allowing visitors to hear oral histories from friends and family members of victims. The outdoor memorial includes a 318-foot reflecting pool, Survivor Tree, Rescuers Orchard and the Field of Empty Chairs, each chair representing one of the 168 lives lost.
Best Texas Attraction: San Antonio River Walk
San Antonio River Walk — Photo courtesy of Bob Howen / Visit San Antonio
Even in terms of total visitors, the San Antonio River Walk is the most popular tourist attraction in Texas. The 3 miles of stone pathways along the San Antonio River wind through the heart of downtown, providing easy access to restaurants, bars, shops, hotels and other attractions, like Market Square, Tower of Americas and Mission San Jose.
Best Utah Attraction: Temple Square
Temple Square in Salt Lake City — Photo courtesy of 2010 Douglas Pulsipher / Utah Images
One of Utah's most famous cultural attractions, Temple Square is home of the beautiful headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The 35-acre space contains more than a dozen attractions related to the Mormon faith, including the Church History Museum and two visitors centers. The all-volunteer Mormon Tabernacle Choir performances are free and open to the public.
That's all for now, but remember to check back here on Friday, July 7 to see which attractions our readers vote the best of the Pacific Northwest.