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Grand Canyon, Arizona
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best outdoor adventure in every state

Check out the top 50 alfresco activities in the USA, from camping and hiking to swimming and witnessing natural wonders

By Tim Lowery and Time Out editors
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Ready to get out there, USA? We’ve singled out the very best outdoor adventure in each and every state, covering essentials like mind-blowing camping experiences on the west coast, epic hiking options out east, beach hangs in the south, bike rides in the midwest and much, much more. Consider it your primer for where to get some fresh air (and create some memories) no matter where you are in the States. And if you are thinking about hitting the road, do yourself a favor and check out our guide to how you can (and should) travel in the United States. Stay safe out there. 

RECOMMENDED: Your ultimate guide to the great outdoors

Top outdoor activity in every state

Orange Beach EITW
Orange Beach EITW

1. Alabama: Take a dip off Orange Beach

Alabama may not spring to mind when you think "sandy respite," but the state’s southern border features 32 miles of coastline hugging the Gulf of Mexico, where white sand beaches meet clear coastal waters in towns like Orange Beach. Beyond the sun and sand, the area boasts nature preserves, golf courses and fishing expeditions. 

Time Out tip: Wearing a mask is mandatory, and all visitors must remain six feet apart from those who don't live in their household. 

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Glacier Bay
Glacier Bay
Photograph: Shutterstock/Ruth Peterkin

2. Alaska: See icy wonders in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

With the glaciers fast retreating, now is the time to see this 3.3-million acre arctic paradise. Most visitors experience Glacier Bay’s fjords and ice rivers from a cruise ship, but those who go by kayak or skiff discover sheltered coves and hear trills of ruby-crowned kinglets. Boaters often spot humpback whales, sea otters, puffins or bald eagles perched on icebergs. On land, beaches reveal wolf tracks and trails wind through spruce-hemlock rainforest, crossing paths with black bears or moose. 

Time Out tip: Glacier Bay is partially open. Call 907-697-2230 for more information. 

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Toroweap point at Grand Canyon National Park
Toroweap point at Grand Canyon National Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

3. Arizona: Explore the Grand Canyon

This natural wonder cradles two billion years of geologic history, with 40 layers of rock shaped into buttes, spires and cliffs. Carved by the Colorado River, the 277-mile gorge is magisterial from any perspective, but it’s thrilling to venture below the rim. The safest place to start is the well-maintained Bright Angel Trail, which follows an ancient route past sculpted sandstone to a cottonwood oasis. For an overnight at the Grand Canyon, hikers can switchback steeply down to the river, a mile below the rim, where secluded campsites reward the effort. Look for elk, mountain lions and condors along the way, plus the 1,000 species of plants that survive in this semi-arid desert.

Time Out tip: The South Entrance is open.

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Buffalo National River EITW
Buffalo National River EITW

4. Arkansas: Snap limestone bluffs along Buffalo National River

The USA’s first national river begins in the Boston Mountains and flows north-eastwards through the Ozark Mountains. It's flanked by majestic limestone bluffs and dotted with dozens of waterfalls, and it’s ideal for hiking, camping and soaking up the state’s unspoiled wilderness. 

Time Out tip: The very best way to explore the river is to be on it, baby: plan to rent a canoe, raft or kayak. 

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Two Harbors Catalina Island
Two Harbors Catalina Island
Photograph: Shutterstock

5. California: Camp in Two Harbors on Catalina Island

An hour boat ride off the California coast, Catalina Island boasts summer-camp vibes with stunning views (and the chance to see wild buffalos when you're not snorkling). Located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, the Two Harbors Campground offers traditional tent camping and cabins with access to showers, toilets, fresh water, picnic tables, BBQs and fire pits. 

Time Out tip: Purchase your booze, grub and other goodies from the Two Harbors General Store and have your items delivered directly to your campsite.

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Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak
Photograph: Shutterstock

6. Colorado: Hike a 14er in the Rocky Mountains

What’s a 14er, you ask? As the name suggests, it’s a mountain at least 14,000 feet tall, and there are more than 50 to choose from in Colorado, from the 14,007-foot Sunshine Peak in the San Juan Mountains to the 14,440-foot Mount Elbert, the highest summit in the Rocky Mountains. 

Time Out tip: One of the most popular summits in the state is Pikes Peak, near Colorado Springs, which is a lofty 14,115 feet tall. A number of trails ascend to the top, including the most popular, the 13-mile Barr Trail. 

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Rose Garden
Rose Garden

7. Connecticut: Instagram your way through the Elizabeth Park Rose Garden

This bucolic space has the distinction of being the first municipal rose garden in the United States, not to mention being the third largest rose garden in the country. Nestled in Hartford, the park is free and open year round to the public, with six other gardens that have blooms from May until October, so there’s plenty to do even if you’re not present for the rose season in June. 

Time Out tip: Although there is a cafe onsite, picnicking is allowed throughout the park and visitors are also welcome to bring along dogs.

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Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Scattered1Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/

8. Delaware: Peep eagles in the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

There’s something surreal about the drive to this isolated refuge along the Delaware Bay near Smyrna, with its miles of fertile cornfields giving way to tidal marshland and a glorious silence. If bald eagle sightings get your heart fluttering, this is heaven. Along the 12-mile nature drive across the refuge, eagles, egrets, terns and herons hold court. 

Time Out tip: Time your visit with the spring and winter migrations. 

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Boca Chita Biscayne National Park
Boca Chita Biscayne National Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Florida: Set up camp in the Florida Keys

Despite being in sight of downtown Miami, Biscayne National Park feels like another world with amphibians and birds roaming the land and colorful coral and fish lurking just below sea line. Biscayne offers two campsites, Elliott Key and Boca Chita Key, both of which are on islands and, therefore, only accessible by boat. You’ll need to bring your own drinking water, but toilets are available. 

Time Out tip: What about showers, you ask? Those will have to wait until you’re back home. 

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Golden Isles, eitw
Golden Isles, eitw

10. Georgia: Hop the Golden Isles

Somehow these islands have remained largely under the radar, so they’re a great choice if you truly want to kick back and relax. St. Simons Island is home to unique boutiques, beaches, boating activities and coastal cuisine. For unlimited outdoor adventure, head to Little St. Simons Island. Meanwhile, Sea Island specializes in all things luxury, including the exquisite five-star resort and spa the Cloister. 

Time Out tip: Craving beaches and history? Jekyll Island has you covered.

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Waimanalo Bay
Waimanalo Bay
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Geoff Livingstone

11. Hawaii: Take a swim in Waimanalo Bay

Far from the busy streets of Waikiki, Waimanalo Bay beach provides a secluded, end-of-the-Earth beach atmosphere within a short drive of Honolulu. The beach is located on the windward side of Diamond Head and features shallow, warm water and fine-grain sand. Its mellow surf and calm current make it ideal for swimming and wading. And forget about trash—it’s one of the cleanest beaches in the entire island chain. 

Time Out tip: Visitors must remain six feet apart.

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TandemBase
TandemBase
Photograph: Courtesy TandemBase/Luanne Horting

12. Idaho: BASE jump off Perrine Bridge

Part skydiving and part cliff jumping, BASE jumping is one of the most extreme thrills you can pursue, largely because the relatively low-altitude launch points mean less time to deploy your parachute. Perched nearly 500 feet above the Snake River, Perrine Bridge is known worldwide for the adrenaline-charged activity and, unlike many other destinations for the sport, doesn’t require a permit.  

Time Out tip: The only prerequisite is courage, but TandemBASE guides newbies through the experience.

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Starved Rock State Park
Starved Rock State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

13. Illinois: Witness waterfalls in Starved Rock State Park

Located on the south bank of the Illinois River in LaSalle County, Starved Rock offers 13 miles of well established trails winding through 18 canyons, with views of gorgeous waterfalls and rock formations (including the 125-foot butte overlooking the river that gives the park its name). Guided hikes are available year-round, or you can set out exploring at your own pace.

Time Out tip: Some trails may have altered hours. Check ahead before you go. 

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Indiana Dunes
Indiana Dunes
Photograph: Courtesy Indiana Dunes Tourism

14. Indiana: Run down the Indiana Dunes

Nestled on the northwest (and only) shore of Indiana, this National Natural Landmark offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan. The park encompasses over 2,000 acres of shoreline, comprised of hiking trails and, of course, sand dunes. Chicago native and poet Carl Sandburg called the Indiana Dunes “to the Midwest what the Grand Canyon is to Arizona and Yosemite is to California.” Just a short drive or train ride from downtown Chicago, it’s an easy day trip from the city.

Time Out tip: Trail 2 is currently closed.  

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Field of Dreams, eitw
Field of Dreams, eitw

15. Iowa: Recreate that last scene in Field of Dreams

Decades after the release of the 1989 cult classic, fans still flock to the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville. There are few scenes more iconic than Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other ghostly baseball players emerging from the towering stalks of corn. Experience the magic yourself by taking in a Ghost Sunday pick-up game.

Time Out tip: You can even spend the night in the field’s historic farmhouse.

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Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Photograph: Shutterstock

16. Kansas: Walk through Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve boasts more than 400,000 square miles of, yes, beautiful prairie-tallgrass fields. You can wade through the fields (fun fact: tallgrass used to cover a large chunk of North America) and while doing so even spot a bison herd.

Time Out tip: While all trails are indeed open, the visitor center allows a max of 10 people at any given time.  

 

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Mammoth Cave
Mammoth Cave
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Allie Fox

17. Kentucky: Get low in Mammoth Cave National Park

The world’s largest known cave system is hidden beneath the Green River valley of central Kentucky. Limestone caverns, dripping stalactites and gypsum formations span 400 miles and are home to 130 species of wildlife. Only about 10 miles of Mammoth Cave are open for tours, which range from easy to arduous. Aboveground, 84 miles of hiking trails wind through old-growth forests, sandstone ridges, salamander-filled wetlands and hemlock ravines. On the Green and Nolin Rivers, paddlers drift past islands and springs, while fishermen await bass and catfish.

Time Out tip: Surface trails are now open.  

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Honey Island Swamp Tour
Honey Island Swamp Tour
Photograph: Creative Commons

18. Louisiana: Take the Honey Island Swamp Tour

Louisiana’s swamps are home to an abundance of wildlife, such as egrets, alligators, otters and herons. It’s a unique landscape that has to be experienced first hand. There are dozens of swamp tours around the state, but Honey Island, a protected nature preserve near New Orleans, is a good place to start. On the tour you’ll learn about the importance of the swamps, the wildlife, and the history of the region. Best of all, you’ll get an up-close view of the wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Time Out tip: Do not feed the gators. 

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Acadia
Acadia
Photograph: Shutterstock/Patricia Hofmeester

19. Maine: Check out the cliffs in Acadia National Park

Acadia spans 47,000 acres of rugged Atlantic coast, where fog rolls across granite boulders and spruce-fir forests catch the first rays of sun. Most of the park is on Mount Desert Island, which it shares with several charming towns, but it also extends to the Schoodic Peninsula and Isle au Haut. It offers moments of serenity, like an early-morning swim in Echo Lake, as well as adventure, like hanging off cliffs on the Beehive Trail. For a genteel take on mountain biking, cycle the 45 miles of carriage roads, which hug hillsides and reveal majestic sea views.

Time Out tip: 
Park Loop Road and select hiking trails are open.

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Assateague Island
Assateague Island
Photograph: Shutterstock

20. Maryland: Camping amongst horses on Assateague Island

This island has it all: beach camping, swimming, surfing, crabbing, kayaking and, oh yeah, tons of wild horses just roaming the grounds. With 37 miles of shoreline, there's plenty of beachfront campgrounds to go around. Just note that Assateague Island has both a state park and a national park. If you want a warm shower, then camp at the state park campground.

Time Out tip: Don't forget to lock up your food if you don't want the horses to ransack your tent. 

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Moshup Beach
Moshup Beach
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Jonathan Bell

21. Massachusetts: Bask in the sands of Moshup Beach on Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard fills up with vacationers in the summer, but most stay on the northern edge of the island. Down south, or “up island” as the locals call it, locals and island veterans head to Moshup Beach in the community of Aquinnah. Located below the sandy cliffs at Gay Head, the white sand beach is a sanctuary from the horde. There’s a cleared path to the beach, which takes about 15 minutes to walk.

Time Out tip: People who can't remain more than six feet apart are required to wear masks.  

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Copper Harbor Trails
Copper Harbor Trails
Photograph: Shutterstock

22. Michigan: Pedal along Copper Harbor Trails

Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is a magnet for active travelers and a real hidden gem for avid mountain bikers. Thirty miles of twisty singletrack trails outfitted with cedar-planked bridges and boardwalks let intermediate riders zip through white pine woods and climb up to 1,300 feet in elevation.

Time Out tip: We highly suggest taking the time to bask in the views of Lake Superior stretching to the horizon. 


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Superior Hiking Trail
Superior Hiking Trail
Photograph: Shutterstock

23. Minnesota: Peep leaves on the Superior Hiking Trail

The midwest’s most epic hike hugs the ridgeline of Lake Superior for 296 miles, from Duluth to the Canadian border. It climbs up bluffs 1,000 feet above the lake and down into forested river valleys, with the chance of moose, bear and beaver sightings en route. Maples blaze in the fall and wild berries abound in the summer. Though you can backpack the whole length, trailheads every five to 10 miles also make it doable as a day or weekend excursion. 

Time Out tip: The 18-mile stretch from Silver Bay to County Route 6 is a great sampler, passing several small lakes, birch groves and cliffs with panoramic Superior views.

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Gulf Islands National Seashore
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Roger Smith

24. Mississippi: Hit up Gulf Islands National Seashore

Stretching across the south-eastern coast of Mississippi all the way to Florida, the Gulf Islands National Seashore is one of the most peaceful stretches of beach in the country. A lazy sunny day is just one of the things visitors can enjoy here. You’ll also find several historic sites, abundant wildlife (including nesting sea turtles), hikes and educational tours.  

Time Out tip: Fort Barrancas Area is currently closed. The rest of the beach is open.  

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Route 66
Route 66
Photograph: Shutterstock

25. Missouri: Get your kicks on Route 66

The iconic “Mother Road” is one of the US Highway System’s original routes, starting in Chicago and winding its way across the country to Santa Monica. Covering eight states and approximately 2,500 miles, the historic highway is punctuated with pops of kitsch and classic Americana from a bygone era. 

Time Out tip: While in Missouri, join a guided tour of the 400-million-year-old Meramec Caverns. Jesse James famously used it as a hideout, and the Jesse James Wax Museum is just minutes away.

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Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
Photograph: Donnie Sexton

26. Montana: Hike Glacier National Park

Welcome to Big Sky Country, where you can go dog sledding, skiing, hiking and whitewater rafting to your heart's desire. Established in 1910, Montana's vast gem—it takes up more than one million acres—is older than the national park system itself and boasts one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes.

Time Out tip: East entrances from the Blackfeet Reservation are closed, as are all campgrounds. 

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Lauritzen Gardens
Lauritzen Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/S C Hargis

27. Nebraska: Smell the roses in the Lauritzen Gardens

The rose garden and the Japanese gardens, not to mention miniature versions of the buildings in Omaha’s skyline and a tiny running Union Pacific Train, are all on display in this gem. Train lovers can check out the real deal here, too: Two of the greatest locomotives ever to power Union Pacific Railroad sit at the southwest point of the property.

Time Out tip: If you need to refuel, check out the onsite Conagra Café.  

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Flume Trail
Flume Trail
Photograph: Shutterstock

28. Nevada: Bike the Flume Trail in Lake Tahoe

A fear of heights won't fly on this trail perched 1,600 feet above the blue waters of Lake Tahoe, but the incredible views are worth the jitters. Riders set off from Spooner Lake State Park and break a sweat climbing the smooth canyon road up to Marlette Lake. 

Time Out tip: The Flume Trail is the reward at the top—4.5 miles of singletrack, providing breathtaking views of Sand Harbor and mountains.

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white mountain national forest new hampshire
white mountain national forest new hampshire
Photograph: Shutterstock

29. New Hampshire: Hike White Mountain National Forest

Spanning more than 800,000 acres, White Mountain National Forest encompasses some of the most natural and beautiful wilderness in the Northeast, drawing visitors with its first-class hiking, skiing and camping. At its center is the 6,288-foot-high Mount Washington, part of the Presidential Mountain Range, which has long boasted the “world’s worst weather." 

Time Out tip: Psst: A trek up the mountain is not for casual hikers. 

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Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

30. New Jersey: Explore the marshes of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

For the cost of a car pass, one gains access to an eight-mile unpaved Wildlife Drive that winds through a salt-marsh refuge of startling beauty. Along the way, the marvel of an ecosystem situated along the North Atlantic Flyway is revealed. Spring and fall migrations are especially breathtaking. Stop to watch shorebirds dive for fish and shellfish and meander along pathways and up observation towers. Watch for osprey on special nesting platforms.

Time Out tip: Although the grounds are open, visitors must maintain a six-foot distance between other groups. 

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White Sands National Park
White Sands National Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

31. New Mexico: Dip your toes into the white sands of USA's latest national park

White Sands takes up 275 square miles of breathtaking landscape in New Mexico. Its most noticeable feature: miles of undulating dunes made of blindingly white gypsum crystals which were formed 10,000 years ago when shallows sea that had existed for millions of years dried up, leaving the gypsum behind. Though long a National Monument, White Sands was elevated to park status in December 2019. Four marked trails allow hiking, and since gypsum, unlike sand, reflects the sun’s heat, the dunes are easy on your feet. 

Time Out tip: If you’re so inclined, you can rent plastic sleds to slide down the dunes.

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camping
camping
Photograph: Collective Retreats

32. New York: Glamp on Governors Island

Want a swanky camping experience? Collective Governors Island has your number. A private water taxi will wisk you away to accommodations like the communal Three Peaks Lodge or a private tent with an en-suite bathroom and air conditioning. And don't expect mere hot dogs here: The on-site chef creates a multi-course, farm-to-table dinner every night.  

Time Out tip: Spend plenty of time enjoying those unparalleled views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
Photograph: Shutterstock

33. North Carolina: Stroll through Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Vacationers from both sides of the Mason-Dixon line flock to North Carolina’s Outer Banks to enjoy the warm water and endless miles of sand. The jewel of the area is the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, which is the farthest point from the mainland. The seashore is the largest stretch of undeveloped land along the Outer Banks and provides a great spot for surfing, fishing, walking or just soaking in the unobstructed views of the ocean. This is a place to chill, so don’t expect too much nightlife. 

Time Out tip: Visitors must remain six feet apart.  

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Maah Daah Hey Trail
Maah Daah Hey Trail
Photograph: Shutterstock

34. North Dakota: Spot antelope along the Maah Daah Hey Trail

If the midwest brings flat farmland to mind, this beloved trail system in the Badlands of North Dakota will certainly surprise you. Bike riders reach an elevation of 2,700 feet on the namesake route that runs 97 miles across high ridges, steep buttes and rolling prairies. 

Time Out tip: Keep an eye out for antelope, prairie dogs and coyotes on the trail that takes you across the Little Missouri River and up to Devil’s Pass, where a stellar 360-degree lookout awaits.

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Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills
Photograph: Meisam Fathi Salmi

35. Ohio: View waterfalls in Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills, a 2,356-acre park known for its towering cliffs, waterfalls and spectacular camping accommodations, is the perfect outdoor getaway for any nature lover. The popular state park has dozens of trails for every type of hiker, archery, mountain bike trails and fishing. 

Time Out tip: You can rent out a treehouse perched way up in the woods. Sleeping in a canopy of trees just might be the best stress reliever.

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Beavers Bend - Oklahoma - United States
Beavers Bend - Oklahoma - United States

36. Oklahoma: Take in the serenity of Beavers Bend State Park

Situated along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River, this leafy-green state park is brimming with gorgeous natural scenery. What's there to love? There’s hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, river boat trips, fishing, camping and more fun activities. 

Time Out tip: If you’d prefer not to camp, be sure to reserve your room at the Lakeview Lodge well in advance.

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Tillamook Head Trail
Tillamook Head Trail
Photograph: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/M.O. Stevens

37. Oregon: Photograph the trees on Tillamook Head Trail

Having just traversed the continent, William Clark climbed Tillamook Head in 1806 and “beheld the grandest and most pleasing prospect which my eyes ever surveyed.” See what so impressed him as you follow Lewis and Clark’s tracks from the town of Seaside to Ecola State Park. The 6.3-mile trail climbs over 1,000 feet through old-growth forest, with dramatic views of mountain ridges jutting into the Pacific. Keep an eye out for elk and eagles, plus migrating gray whales in winter and spring. As the trail descends toward Indian Beach, you’ll face Cannon Beach and its famous sea stacks (basalt rock formations), misted in fog.

Time Out tip: Ecola State Park, where this trail is located, is closed south of the Indian Beach Day-Use Area. The trail remains open. 

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laurel highlands
laurel highlands
Photograph: Shutterstock

38. Pennsylvania: Get away from it all in the Laurel Highlands

Short of, say, a bathroom break on the way to Pittsburgh, you probably haven’t spent much time in the wilds of Western Pennsylvania. This, friends, is a mistake. A picturesque region on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, Laurel Highlands is a prime fall destination, thanks to hundreds of miles of trails throughout eight state parks and two state forests. Take it all in at Mount Davis in Forbes State Forest, the highest point in the state, at 3,213 feet.

Time Out tip: Frank Lloyd Wright was a fan of Laurel Highlands; he built his iconic Fallingwater house on the Bear Run stream.

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Block Island
Block Island
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Brian S.

39. Rhode Island: Perusa Block Island

This tiny, beach-rimmed island sits a little more than 10 miles off the mainland. While it may not have the star power of Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard, this weekend getaway island offers equally appealing beaches and a quaint town with art galleries, specialty shops, and a range of dining experiences. There are trails for hiking and horseback riding, historic lighthouses, and even some prime bird watching. 

Time Out tip: Stock up on goodies at the farmers' market in Legion Park. 

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Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail
Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail
Photograph: Shutterstock

40. South Carolina: Cruise the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail

A top-notch bike trail is a welcome perk in most towns, but this one is truly the hub of its community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Running nearly 20 miles along the Reedy River on an old railroad bed, the paved route brought the once-sleepy town to life and continues to draw cyclists of all ages and skill levels to the stretch between Greenville and Travelers Rest.

Time Out tip: Want to leaf peep? Go in the fall. 


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Badlands
Badlands
Photograph: Shutterstock

41. South Dakota: See a full moon in Badlands National Park

This bizarre moonscape was created millions of years ago, when ash deposits and erosion sculpted sedimentary rock into rippled peaks. Fossils show that rhinos and camels once roamed here, but today these 244,000 acres are home to bison, bobcats and bighorn sheep. As long as they stay hydrated, the park’s 800,000 annual visitors find the Badlands fascinating to explore. Hikers scale the rocks to take in otherworldly views of the White River Valley and cyclists coast by colorful buttes and grass prairie. At night, the pitch-black sky reveals 7,500 stars and a clear view of the Milky Way; telescopes provide close-ups of moons and planets.

Time Out tip: Trails, campgrounds and roads in the north of the park are open.

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Cumberland Caverns
Cumberland Caverns
Photograph: Courtesy Cumberland Caverns

42. Tennessee: Go caving in Cumberland Caverns

Want to get in touch with your inner caveperson? Explore Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, which has more than 32 miles of underground passageways complete with super-cool rock formations, waterfalls and pools. 

Time Out tip: Overnight tours are currently suspended. However, day tours are still available. 

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Texas Hill Country
Texas Hill Country
Photograph: Shutterstock

43. Texas: Explore Texas Hill Country

The best way to witness the Lone Star State’s boundless beauty is by car. Hill Country is sandwiched between San Antonio and Austin and is known for its undulating hills and postcard-worthy bluebonnet blooms. The spellbinding expanse is dotted with charming farmland roads, award-winning wineries and orchards that churn out bushels of mouth-watering apples, peaches and pomegranates every year. For meat-lovers, Hill Country is also bursting at the seams with mom-and-pop barbecue joints. 

Time Out tip: Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has long attracted history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. Located just outside of Fredericksburg, the climbable pink granite mountain shows signs of human settlement that date back more than 10,000 years.

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Red River Adventures
Red River Adventures
Photograph: Nicole Morgenthau

44. Utah: Canyoneer through Moab

Known for its world-class mountain biking, Moab also has great canyoneering routes that take you from carved sandstone slot canyons to ancient ruins and water-filled pools. Red River Adventures offers several guided canyoneering routes, including the relatively easy-to-moderate Ephedra’s Grotto and Chamisa Canyon, both of which include hiking, scrambling and a couple of rappels. 

Time Out tip: 
The company also boasts day trips that combine canyoneering with rafting down the Colorado River. 

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Green Mountain national forest, vermont
Green Mountain national forest, vermont
Photograph: Shutterstock

45. Vermont: Hit up Green Mountain National Forest

Head to Green Mountain at any time of the year and you'll find something to do: hiking through colorful foliage in fall, camping and canoeing in summer, picnicing among wildflowers in spring. But winter is the best time to visit this Vermont wilderness, when the forest transforms into a snow-lover’s playground. 

Time Out tip: In addition to three alpine ski areas and seven Nordic ski areas, Green Mountain offers trails, snowmobiles, snow shoes and pretty much any other snow-based recreation. 

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Mount Rogers
Mount Rogers
Photograph: Shutterstock

46. Virginia: Climb Mount Rogers

Virginia’s highest peak rises 5,728 feet in the southwestern Blue Ridge Mountains, near the North Carolina border. Starting at Massie Gap in Grayson Highlands State Park, it’s a 4.5-mile hike to the top, partly following the Appalachian Trail. Most of it winds through rugged pastures, so you get wide-open views all the way—except at the summit, which is covered in dense spruce-fir forest. 

Time Out tip: The best part? Wild ponies graze on mountaintop meadows throughout the route.

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Manito Park, eitw
Manito Park, eitw

47. Washington: Walk through Manito Park

This diverse 90-acre park on Spokane’s historic South Hill, Manito is the city’s crown jewel. You’ll find a traditional Japanese garden, a formal English garden, a duck pond, several playgrounds, a lilac garden, a rose garden, a perennial garden, and a butterfly garden. During the summer, the Park Bench Café opens to serve food and drinks and host live music. 

Time Out tip: All year long you can enjoy the balmy temperatures of the conservatory. There’s even a Christmas light display in December.

Discover the ultimate guide to Washington

Berkeley Springs State Park
Berkeley Springs State Park
Photograph: Shutterstock

48. West Virginia: Get soaked in Berkeley Springs State Park

Say hello to America’s first-ever spa, operating since colonial times in the center of an idyllic park in the Eastern Panhandle. Visitors here are in famous company: The young George Washington was a regular patron, advocating for the Springs’ restorative powers. The nature-created, state-run spa offers unbelievable value for money in an incredible setting. 

Time Out tip: In the spa, enjoy a luxurious soak in your own private walk-in Roman mineral bath, then work out any remaining knots with a massage.

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Devil’s Lake State Park, eitw
Devil’s Lake State Park, eitw

49. Wisconsin: Sit on a bluff in Devil’s Lake State Park

Famous for its towering quartzite bluffs, Devil’s Lake State Park is the largest state park in Wisconsin. Carved out by a glacier during the last Ice Age, the park encompasses more than 9,000 acres of space where people come for hiking, rock climbing, biking and more. While the park is a great place to relax and enjoy some fresh air at any time of year, it is particularly beautiful in the fall.

Time Out tip: Camping is now available. 

Discover the best things to do in Wisconsin

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
Photograph: Shutterstock

50. Wyoming: Witness geysers in Yellowstone National Park

Fun fact: America’s first national park is bigger than Rhode Island and has been a jewel in the NPS's crown since 1872. Critters are everywhere in Yellowstone; geysers spurt regularly; sulphurous lakes bubble and boil; and massive waterfalls glint in the sun. Plus, don’t be surprised if you spot buffalo wandering right down the center divider of the two-lane road that connects the park. With challenging hikes into the backcountry as well as handicap-accessible wooden boardwalks, the wonders of Yellowstone are awesomely plentiful. 

Time Out tip: The South, East, West, North and Northeast Entrances are open.

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