Readers' Choice: 50 states, 50 winning attractions

What attraction was crowned the best in your state?

By 10Best Editors,

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. Voting has now wrapped up for the Western, Midwestern and Northeastern United States.

Click on each category below to see the full list of winners, and check back on Friday, January 19 for the announcement of our Southern winners.

Best Alaska Attraction: White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad — Photo courtesy of iStock / Chilkoot

The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad was built during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. Today the real treasures aboard this narrow gauge railroad – an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark – are the glaciers, gorges, mountains, waterfalls, tunnels and bridges on display as the vintage train climbs almost 3000 feet in just 20 miles.

Full list of winners: 10 best Alaska attractions

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.

Full list of winners: 10 best Arizona attractions

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.

Full list of winners: 10 best California attractions

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.

Full list of winners: 10 best Colorado attractions

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Best Connecticut Attraction: Lavender Pond Farm

The 25-acre Lavender Pond Farm features some 10,000 lavender plants — Photo courtesy of Romy Lee Photography

With the singular goal of making the world a more beautiful place, Lavender Pond Farm invites visitors to come and enjoy the 25-acre property, planted with more than 10,000 lavender plants. Guests can walk through the fields or pick up all-natural lavender products in the farm store.

Full list of winners: 10 best Connecticut attractions

Best Delaware Attraction: Air Mobility Command Museum

This Delaware museum is a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts — Photo courtesy of

Dedicated to military airlift and air refueling history, Dover's Air Mobility Command Museum houses more than 30 aircraft of varying sizes, as well as exhibits on the humanitarian and war efforts of the U.S. military.

Full list of winners: 10 best Delaware attractions

Best Hawaii Attraction: Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center — Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

One of Oahu's top attractions provides glimpses into the cultures of Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Fimi, New Zealand, Marquesas and Tonga). Each one maintains a separate village, where visitors are regaled with information about celebration and survival in ancient days. Demonstrations, performances, narratives, and even a luau are presented, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the spectacle and character of the past.

Full list of winners: 10 best Hawaii attractions

Best Idaho Attraction: World Center for Birds of Prey

World Center for Birds of Prey — Photo courtesy of iStock / chameleonseye

The World Center for Birds of Prey, an indoor/outdoor education center in Boise, brings visitors eye to eye with flying predators from around the world. A 1/4-mile trail winding through the surrounding restored wilderness offers opportunities to spot raptors in the wild.

Full list of winners: 10 best Idaho attractions

Best Illinois Attraction: American Writers Museum

American Writers Museum — Photo courtesy of AFP/Getty Images

This newly opened museum is already earning rave reviews. A celebration of the American writer, the museum features a timeline of literary history in the United States, interactive kiosks where visitors can search for authors who've lived or worked near them and an interactive space where visitors can write their own stories using pen and paper, old-fashioned typewriters or digital media.

Full list of winners: 10 best Illinois attractions

Best Indiana Attraction: Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park — Photo courtesy of Rain0975 / Flickr

Known as the Little Smokies due to its resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, Brown County State Park comprises 16,000 acres of narrow ridges, rugged hills and quiet ravines. It's one of Indiana's great fall color hot spots.

Full list of winners: 10 best Indiana attractions

Best Iowa Attraction: Maquoketa Caves State Park

Maquoketa Caves State Park — Photo courtesy of Phil Roeder / Flickr

There are more caves within this Iowa state park than in any other state park in the country. An interpretive center gives a geological and historical overview of the caves, while 6 miles of trails link the caves and other significant sites.

Full list of winners: 10 best Iowa attractions

Best Kansas Attraction: Eisenhower Presidential Library & Boyhood Home

Eisenhower Presidential Library & Boyhood Home — Photo courtesy of Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library

Visitors to the Eisenhower Presidential Library & Boyhood Home get insight into the 5-star general and 34th president's life and times. Exhibit topics include Ike's role in World War I, the historic Chisholm Trail and the president's boyhood home.

Full list of winners: 10 best Kansas attractions

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 OrleansHoumas 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.

Full list of winners: 10 best Louisiana attractions

Best Maine Attraction: Maine Windjammers

One of the best ways to experience coastal Maine is aboard an historic schooner — Photo courtesy of Maine Windjammer Association

Maine is home to one of the nation's largest fleets of historic schooners, and during the summer months, visitors can embark on a range of themed cruises from both Rockland and Camden. Each vessel is unique, making this one of the state's most singular experiences.

Full list of winners: 10 best Maine attractions

Best Maryland Attraction: U.S. Naval Academy

Naval history comes alive at one of the nation's most prestigious undergraduate universities — Photo courtesy of Maryland Office of Tourism Development

Annapolis' United States Naval Academy is one of the most selective undergraduate universities in the nation. On formation weekdays, visitors can watch as 4,000 midshipmen and -women perform a military march. The onsite Naval Academy Museum highlights America's naval history.

Full list of winners: 10 best Maryland attractions

Best Massachusetts Attraction: Tanglewood

The Boston Symphony Orchestra plays at Tanglewood throughout the summer months — Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

The summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, 200-acre Tanglewood also hosts summer concerts by a variety of world-famous musicians. The performance space includes a 5,000-seat main shed, as well as a more intimate 1,200-seat hall for chamber music and solo acts.

Full list of winners: 10 best Massachusetts attractions

Best Michigan Attraction: Gilmore Car Museum

There are so many vintage cars to explore at Gilmore Car Museum — Photo courtesy of Gilmore Car Museum

Auto enthusiasts will find one of the best car museums in the world in Hickory Corners. The Gilmore Car Museum's collection includes more than 400 cars and motorcycles from many eras.

Full list of winners: 10 best Michigan attractions

Best Minnesota Attraction: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Get in touch with nature at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory — Photo courtesy of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Saint Paul's Como Park Zoo & Conservatory features a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibit spaces, as well as a stunning tropical conservatory with an always changing display of seasonal plants and flowers.

Full list of winners: 10 best Minnesota attractions

Best Missouri Attraction: Branson's Entertainment District

Branson by night — Photo courtesy of Branson Convention and Visitors Bureau

Branson is known as the Live Music Show Capital of the World, so it's no surprise that this entertainment district has something for everyone. Besides 50 live performance theaters, the area has a walkable downtown with loads of shopping options.

Full list of winners: 10 best Missouri attractions

Best Montana Attraction: Makoshika State Park

Makoshika State Park — Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Tbennert

Makoshika is the Lakota word for "bad land" or "bad spirits," but visitors will find immense beauty in these pine and juniper studded badlands of Montana's largest state park. A triceratops skull sits on display within the visitors center, and the 11,538 outdoor acres afford opportunity for hiking, biking, camping and even disc golf.

Full list of winners: 10 best Montana attractions

Best Nebraska Attraction: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo — Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism

Continued investments have allowed Henry Doorly Zoo to offer one-of-a-kind exhibits to guests, including the world’s largest indoor desert where arid plants and animals – meerkat, peccaries, quail, gila monster, death adders, rattlesnakes and inland taipan, the world's most venomous snake – are visible inside a geodesic dome year-round in the heart of the Midwest. 

Full list of winners: 10 best Nebraska attractions

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.

Full list of winners: 10 best Nevada attractions

Best New Hampshire Attraction: Clark's Trading Post

Clark's Trading Post is a theme park fashioned after a Victorian main street — Photo courtesy of Dennis Jarvis / Flickr

One of New Hampshire's most popular family-friendly attractions, Clark's Trading Post offers a little bit of everything: Chinese acrobats, a steam train, water raft ride, climbing tower, magic show, antique photo booth and five museums located along a recreated Victorian main street.

Full list of winners: 10 best New Hampshire attractions

Best New Jersey Attraction: Silverball Museum

The Silverball Museum celebrates a favorite pastime, pinball — Photo courtesy of Rob DiCaterino / Flickr

Located on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, the Silverball Museum maintains a collection of some 200 classic pinball machines manufactured between 1950 and today. Visitors also enjoy classic 80's video games, air hockey, skee-ball and a cafe serving boardwalk treats.

Full list of winners: 10 best New Jersey attractions

Best New Mexico Attraction: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in New Mexico — Photo courtesy of

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. 

Full list of winners: 10 best New Mexico attractions

Best New York Attraction: Letchworth State Park

Letchworth State Park is sometimes called the "Grand Canyon of the East" — Photo courtesy of iStock / JimVallee

Nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the East," New York's Letchworth State Park is considered one of the most scenic areas in the Eastern USA. The Genesee River runs through a gorge cutting through the park, passing over three magnificent waterfalls along the way. Hikers have access to 66 miles of trail, and rafting, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking and hot air ballooning are also on offer.

Full list of winners: 10 best New York attractions

Best North Dakota Attraction: Scandinavian Heritage Park

Scandinavian Heritage Park — Photo courtesy of North Dakota Tourism

Strolling through Scandinavian Heritage Park in Minot is like stepping across the pond to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, thanks to a series of replicas. Highlights include a 30-foot Swedish Dala horse and a replica stave church.

Full list of winners: 10 best North Dakota attractions

Best Ohio Attraction: Toledo Museum of Art

Toledo Museum of Art has one of the best collections in the country — Photo courtesy of Toledo Museum of Art

Some 30,000 works of art – among the best collections in the country – are on display at the Toledo Museum of Art's 35 galleries. Notable artists represented here include Manet, Picasso, Rembrandt, Miró, Degas, Monet and van Gogh.

Full list of winners: 10 best Ohio attractions

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.

Full list of winners: 10 best Oklahoma attractions

Best Oregon Attraction: Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park — Photo courtesy of Christian Heeb / Travel Oregon

Crater Lake National Park's main claim to fame is that it houses the deepest lake in the country (1,943 feet) – a body of water so deep and so blue that it attracts half a million visitors per year. A majority of visitors come in the summer, driving the 33-mile Rim Drive loop, snapping their photos and heading out. Visitors who hop out of the car for biking, hiking or even snowshoeing in the winter months will find trails all to themselves.

Full list of winners: 10 best Oregon attractions

Best Pennsylvania Attraction: Presque Isle State Park

During summer, Presque Isle State Park offers visitors several prime swimming beaches — Photo courtesy of Presque Isle State Park

Visitors to Presque Isle State Park are in for a singular Pennsylvania experience: the state’s only formidable shoreline, which boasts a number of beaches. Beach 11 is the park’s most sheltered, and therefore most serene. Its shallow water is a safe option for visitors with little ones and boasts views of the Erie skyline. Beach 6, on the other hand, is a draw for young people, with its concession stands and volleyball courts. The flipside: it is often the most crowded.

Full list of winners: 10 best Pennsylvania attractions

Best Rhode Island Attraction: Roger Williams Park Zoo

Roger Williams Park Zoo ranks among the nation's oldest zoological parks — Photo courtesy of N.Millard/

The 40-acre Roger Williams Park Zoo is one of the oldest zoological parks in the nation, home to more than 100 species of animals. Visitor favorites include a Komodo dragon, red pandas, zebras, African elephants, harbor seals and sloths. 

Full list of winners: 10 best Rhode Island attractions

Best South Dakota Attraction: Reptile Gardens

Reptile Gardens — Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism

Reptile Gardens in Rapid City holds the Guinness Book of World Records title of the World's Largest Reptile Zoo. Opened in 1937, the botanical garden and zoological park is home to giant tortoises, prairie dogs, bald eagles and a giant saltwater crocodile, among other critters.

Full list of winners: 10 best South Dakota attractions

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.

Full list of winners: 10 best Texas attractions

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.

Full list of winners: 10 best Utah attractions

Best Vermont Attraction: Dog Mountain

Dog Mountain celebrates our four-legged friends with a dog park, hiking trails and art gallery — Photo courtesy of Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing

Situated on a private 150-acre farm in Vermont's stunning Northeast Kingdom, Dog Mountain offers a vast off-leash area complete with swimming ponds, hiking trails and a gallery with dog-centric works by folk artist Stephen Huneck. 

Full list of winners: 10 best Vermont attractions

Best Washington Attraction: San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands, Washington — Photo courtesy of Jim Maya / San Juan Islands

Off the northwest corner of Washington State lies an archipelago of some 400 islands and rocks, famous for stunning sunsets, pristine wilderness, sandy beaches and stellar wildlife viewing. The San Juan Islands, accessible by boat or plane, get half the amount of rain as Seattle, making them a popular escape.

Full list of winners: 10 best Washington attractions

Best Wisconsin Attraction: Door County

The expansive Door County boasts several historic lighthouses — Photo courtesy of Door County

Door County comprises some of Wisconsin's most scenic landscapes, including 300 miles of shoreline, five state parks, 11 historic lighthouses and 19 charming communities.

Full list of winners: 10 best Wisconsin attractions

Best Wyoming Attraction: Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center

Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center — Photo courtesy of AP Photo/Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, Matt Dillon

In the Pryor Mountains just outside of Lovell, wild horses still roam freely. This herd, derived from the horses of Portugal and Spain, have lived in the region for nearly two centuries. At the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, visitors learn about the historic significance of the horses and view live mustangs in the surrounding natural scenery.

Full list of winners: 10 best Wyoming attractions

That's all for now, but remember to check back here on Friday, January 19 to see which attractions our readers vote the best of the South.