The best attraction to see from your car in every state
Though traveling internationally might still be off the table this summer, road trips could be an alternative way to get out of town.
But no road trip is complete without a few stops to take in the best sights America has to offer — from wacky roadside attractions to stunning vistas. The best part? You don’t even need to get out of your car to see most of them.
Here’s the best thing to see from your car in each state.
ALABAMA: Native American mounds in Moundsville
The archaeological park is home to the remnants of an ancient Native American city that was once one of the largest in America. Moundsville can be enjoyed both from the car or on foot.
ALASKA: Denali National Park near Talkeetna
Driving between Anchorage and Fairbanks on the George Parks Highway will offer some of the best views of Denali, North America’s tallest peak at 20,310 feet. According to the park’s website, visitor centers plan to reopen on July 1.
ARIZONA: Monument Valley near Kayenta
Twenty dollars will get you a front row seat to some of the country’s most incredible natural wonders inside the stunning Monument Valley, which sits off of US 163. The 17-mile long drive is perfect for nature lovers, but even those who hate the outdoors can enjoy the views from inside their vehicle.
ARKANSAS: Christ of the Ozarks in Eureka Springs
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil is one of the new seven wonders of world, but if you don’t plan on making it there, there’s always Christ of the Ozarks. It’s the third-largest Jesus statue in the world and a popular place for prayer — but most people can’t stop talking about its striking resemblance to a milk carton.
CALIFORNIA: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
The Golden Gate Bridge is a must-see when in California. You could just drive over it, but there are parking lots on either end that allow you to take in the legendary side views.
COLORADO: The Rockies
The I-70 from Grand Junction to Denver will take you right through the incredible, snow- capped Rockies.
CONNECTICUT: Louis’ Lunch in New Haven
Are there two things more American than road trips and hamburgers? This historic restaurant, which is a short detour from the I-95 in New Haven, claims to be the “Birthplace of the Hamburger Sandwich.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the restaurant is only open for takeout for the time being.
DELAWARE: Brandywine Valley near Greenville
Take a quick detour across Delaware’s Brandywine Valley, along the I-95 corridor, to get a glimpse of history: The rolling hills are where the 1777 Battle of the Brandywine took place, when George Washington and his army faced British General William Howe. It is also lined with stunning mansions and gardens.
FLORIDA: The ocean near the Florida Keys
It might sound like a cop-out to say that the best thing to see from your car while driving through Florida is the ocean, but it’s true. Traveling on the Seven Mile Bridge to Key West is a turquoise sight for sore eyes.
GEORGIA: Oak trees near Savannah
Known as “The Forest City,” Savannah, Georgia, is known for its arching live oaks covered with picturesque Spanish moss.
It is also the state tree of Georgia.
HAWAII: Pineapple fields in Honolulu County
You could stop at Dole and try your luck inside the world’s largest botanical maze, but you’ll see plenty of pineapple fields just by driving along Kamehameha Highway. Even better, there will be plenty of fruit stands to grab a snack from along the way.
IDAHO: Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood
US 95 is home to Dog Bark Park, a hotel that doubles as the world’s biggest beagle.
ILLINOIS: Chicago’s skyline and Lake Michigan
The stark contrast of sparkling Lake Michigan on one side of the car and the towering architecture of downtown Chicago on the other side while driving down Lake Shore Drive is stunning.
INDIANA: Covered bridges
Indiana’s back roads are famous for its covered bridges, which call back to a different era.
IOWA: The Mississippi River in Allamakee County
You can’t go wrong when taking the Great River Road along Iowa’s portion of the Mississippi River. You’ll understand why this river is so legendary.
KANSAS: Castle Rock in Gove County
Driving through the flat lands and dusty roads of Kansas might not be the most exciting part of a road trip, but one way to kill time is by seeing Castle Rock. The land formation is just 11 miles off I-70.
KENTUCKY: The Nada Tunnel in Powell County
This 900-foot tunnel on Route 77 used to be a railway, but now drivers use it as a short cut to the Red River Gorge canyons in Daniel Boone National Forest.
LOUISIANA: Bourbon Street in New Orleans
While the famous New Orleans street does get packed with revelers at night, the street is actually drive-able. If you don’t have time to stop and take it in, at least drive through it to get a sense of what all the fuss is about.
MAINE: Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor
A trip to Maine isn’t complete without visiting Acadia National Park. You can see its best landscapes while driving on the Acadia Park Loop, but there are several views worth pulling over for.
MARYLAND: Chesapeake Bay in Queen Anne’s County
See historic monuments, towns, and the famous Chesapeake Bay Bridge along the way, or make a pit stop for a taste of those famous Maryland crabs. Even if you don’t stop, the views from the car are breathtaking.
MASSACHUSETTS: The Witch House in Salem
Drive through the notorious town of Salem and pass by The Witch House, formerly the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin and the last standing building with a connection to the infamous Salem Witch Trials.
MICHIGAN: Fields of flowers in Holland
After you get off the Gerard R. Ford Highway, drive down Holland’s main roads to see the 200,000 colorful tulip bulbs that stretch across the entire town.
MINNESOTA: The Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth
Yes, it’s pretty goofy, but no trip around Blue Earth, Minnesota, is complete without checking out this statue — the town birthed the famous frozen veggies after all. The statue, which has been around since 1979, attracts over 10,000 visitors a year.
MISSISSIPPI: The Windsor Ruins in Claiborne County
These columns, the last remaining bits of what was once the largest antebellum Greek Revival mansion ever built in Mississippi, are surrounded by beautiful, towering trees. It’s a popular pit stop for photographers, ghost fanatics, and history lovers, and is only 20 minutes off Highway 61.
MISSOURI: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis
The massive Gateway Arch is one of St. Louis’ biggest tourist attractions. Instead of paying to go to the top, just drive by it on your way through the city and check this landmark off your bucket list.
MONTANA: A glacier in Glacier County
Driving along the Going-to-the-Sun Road is popular for anyone passing through Montana, but the Jackson Glacier Overlook is a must-see. It’s one of the only places from which you can see a glacier from the road.
NEBRASKA: True farmland
Driving down any one of Nebraska’s highways or byways will give you a true slice of America — rusting windmills, water towers, rolling fields of crop and all.
NEVADA: Seven Magic Mountains in Clark County
This quirky roadside art installation by Ugo Rondinone makes for a great Instagram snap. The brightly colored balancing rocks sit 26 miles outside of Las Vegas, right off Veterans Memorial Highway, and they are the perfect addition to an otherwise dull landscape.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: The Kancamagus Highway
Driving on the Kancamagus Highway is the No. 1 thing to do in New Hampshire. That’s because the highway winds across the state and through the heart of White Mountain National Forest, making for incredible views. In autumn, the trees feature fiery shades of red, yellow, and orange.
NEW JERSEY: Lucy the Elephant in Margate City
Many might call Lucy a tourist trap, but the six-story elephant is actually a National Historic Landmark, and the oldest roadside attraction in the US, having been built in 1881. She was once a real estate office, then a bar, but now she’s just a sight to see. If you need to stretch your legs while driving down the Atlantic City Expressway or the Garden State Parkway, take a detour and climb inside.
NEW MEXICO: San Miguel Mission in Santa Fe
While driving through New Mexico, make sure to pull off in Santa Fe to see America’s oldest known church, which was built between approximately 1610 and 1626.
NEW YORK: The Empire State Building in New York City
The best thing to see from your car window in New York is the iconic Empire State Building jutting out from the skyline. The 102-story skyscraper in Manhattan is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.
NORTH CAROLINA: The Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 470-mile parkway that goes from North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountain National Park to Shenandoah National Park and Virginia’s Skyline Drive, passing through dozens of beautiful hardwood forests, Appalachian mountain towns, pristine lakes, pastoral highlands, and hot spots like Asheville. It’s also an All-American Road, and America’s longest linear park. In the fall, its foliage is unbeatable.
NORTH DAKOTA: Buffalo
Driving through Theodore Roosevelt National Park almost guarantees that you’ll see a buffalo or two, but just in case you don’t, there’s always the world’s largest buffalo (which is 26 feet tall and 46 feet long, and weighs 60 short tons). This monumental sculpture sits right off I-94.
OHIO: The World’s Largest Basket in Dresden
If you’re driving through Ohio, this basket is a must-see. However, it’s not really about the weirdly shaped building — it’s about imagining the 500 people that have to go to work inside that basket every day (yup, it’s home to a company that makes baskets), which will give you a chuckle for the rest of your trip.
OKLAHOMA: The Blue Whale in Catoosa
This large whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma, has become an iconic stop for tourists traveling along Route 66. The pond it sits in used to be a popular swimming spot for locals, but its adorable back story is pretty much the only real draw now. Hugh Davis built it for his wife, who loves whales.
OREGON: Waterfalls near Portland
You can see several stunning waterfalls from the Columbia River Gorge while driving along the Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway. If you want a closer look, there are several walking trails off the road that can take you to bridges overlooking the falls.
PENNSYLVANIA: Amish country near Lancaster
Pennsylvania’s famous Amish country along Route 30 is definitely worth driving through. The historic towns, which are full of horse drawn carriages and humble farm homes, are like a blast from the past.
RHODE ISLAND: Ostentatious mansions in Newport
Ocean Drive in Newport will take you through the Ocean Drive Historic District, and thus past the many ostentatious homes built here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as it was a favorite spot to summer for the wealthy. If your legs need a stretch, take a stroll down Cliff Walk.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Colorful streets in downtown Charleston
Driving through the charmingly colorful streets of downtown Charleston is magical. This town, crawling with history, fantastic food, and stunning beaches, was named one of the best cities in the world by Travel + Leisure in 2019.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Mount Rushmore in Keystone
A short detour off I-90 and US 16 onto State Road 244 will lead you into Black Hills, where you won’t even have to stop your car to see Mount Rushmore. For a better look, there are plenty of stops along the way where you can pull over.
TENNESSEE: The Parthenon in Nashville
If time or money won’t allow you to visit the real one in Athens, this full-scale replica awaits your visit in Nashville. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.
TEXAS: The Alamo in San Antonio
Home to the famous Battle of the Alamo in 1836, which was a key moment in Texas’ War of Independence from Mexico, the Alamo is Texas’ most visited historic landmark.
UTAH: Canyons and cliffs in Moab
The canyons and cliffs of Moab are sights to be seen, and thanks to I-70 you can drive right through them. While the most well-known geological formations are a bit off the beaten path, there’s still a lot of beautiful landscape along the road.
VERMONT: Statues of whales’ tails near South Burlington
Located on I-89, the statues will make you think you’re staring out at the ocean. The two sculptures of whales were designed by Jim Sardonis in 1989 as a symbol of the planet’s fragility. The statues are called “Reverence.”
VIRGINIA: Shenandoah National Park near Front Royal
Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park runs along the ridge of the mountains for 105 miles — pretty much the entire length of the park. Its views are some of the best in the state.
WASHINGTON: The Space Needle in Seattle
The Space Needle is one of the most well-known structures in the US. Visitors can enjoy a meal at its revolving restaurant, take in the incredible views of downtown Seattle on its Observation Deck, or simply drive by and marvel its beauty.
WASHINGTON, DC: The Washington Monument
You can see pretty much every monument in the capitol from the comfort of your car. Driving by them might put you in a bit of traffic, but if you don’t have enough time to explore them all on foot, driving around the city is a good alternative.
WEST VIRGINIA: The New River Gorge Bridge in Victor
The New River Gorge Bridge allows cars to continue on US 19 over the New River. The 3,030-foot steel arch bridge was once the world’s longest single-span arch bridge (it’s now the third longest), and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains.
WISCONSIN: The World’s Largest Six Pack in La Crosse
Wisconsin is home to tons of local breweries, as well as beer giant Miller Coors. Since you can’t throw one back on the road, make a pit stop to see these clever storage tanks — built in the ’60s, they are now the world’s largest six-pack, and a clever ad for La Crosse Lager.
WYOMING: Devil’s Tower in Crook County
The aptly named 1,267-foot-tall rock formation that was fittingly the site of alien thriller “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is one of the world’s most alien-looking places. It’s only 30 minutes off I-90 and hard to miss from the surrounding roads.
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