Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in North America
Explore the cultural heritage and natural history of the Lowcountry ecosystem and Hilton Head Island at the Coastal Discovery Museum. Located on the historic Honey Horn Plantation, the museum features indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as guided walks and tours, offering a fun and educational day for visitors of all ages.
Located on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum is a powerful living memorial and experiential museum that honors the victims, survivors, and rescuers of the Oklahoma City bombing of April 19, 1995.
If you've ever dreamt of swimming with manatees in their natural habitat, Florida’s Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is where to go. Established in 1983, the 177-acre (71-hectare) refuge is home to America’s largest concentration of the 1,000-pound gentle giants. West Indian Manatees flock to the more than 70 turquoise-colored springs in Crystal River for warmth during winter. With hundreds of manatees in a small area, sightings are frequent.
Liberty State Park, a revitalized urban area in Jersey City, is a departure spot for ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Once an industrial area, the land has always been crucial for arrivals to the Big Apple: The 1,000-acre park has views of the New York City skyline, the Hudson River, and the Statue of Liberty.
More than 50,000 soldiers died in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, the bloodiest battle ever fought on American soil. Today, the Gettysburg National Military Park is a National Park Service–run memorial to the lives lost during those three fateful days of the American Civil War. The Gettysburg battlefield draws Civil War buffs and those who come to pay their respects and learn about this landmark event in American history.
Anyone curious about the history, heritage, and daily life of America’s Amish will be fascinated by the community at the Amish Farm and House in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This 200-year-old house—one of the nation’s oldest Amish attractions—hosts house and farm tours, cultural demonstrations, and interactive classes.
For those who like to rock, Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame salutes you. A pilgrimage destination for music fans of all ages, the museum recognizes artists and musicians who have shaped music history since Cleveland DJ Alan Freed first coined the term “rock ‘n’ roll” in the early 1950s.
Spend an afternoon shopping and people watching around the hip and vibrant Carytown neighborhood in west Richmond. The nine-block shopping area sits just south of the Museum District, only a couple blocks from the Museum of Fine Arts. Carytown boasts more the 250 shops, with everything from big name clothing stores to local boutiques and craft shops. You’ll find dozens of restaurants, cafés and bakeries, so there are plenty of choices when it’s time for a lunch break. Carytown is also home to the Byrd Theatre, a national historic landmark that is still in daily operation. Stop in to catch second-run movies for only $2.
Dedicated to the rehabilitation and protection of Canada’s native wildlife, the BC Wildlife Park in Kamloops is home to over 200 animals, including Arctic wolves, bison, and cougars, most of which have been rescued. Visitors can engage in activities ranging from observing grizzly bear feedings to holding a snake.
On a peninsula along the Baja California coast, the blowhole ‘La Bufadora’ is a marine geyser that shoots ocean water straight up into the air. It occurs naturally from ocean waves that push water into a sea cavern, which causes the pressure to build and then explode when the water recedes. Depending on the level of the tide, the water can climb as high as 60 feet from the sea.
It’s often seen after a short scenic drive from nearby Ensenada, and has become well known as a natural phenomenon of the area. Legend explains that one of the many grey whales that migrate off the coast here swam too close to shore, and that the geyser is reminiscent of the whale’s spout while waiting to be discovered. There are always beautiful views of the coast here, and a small local square with shops and restaurants nearby.
More Things to Do in North America
Acapulco's iconic attraction, made famous in Elvis flicks, Ray Austen stunts, and every cheerfully scrawled holiday postcard sent home ever since, are La Quebrada Cliff Divers. Beginning in the 1920s, these brave young men and women began leaping for the crowds some 45 craggy meters (150 terrifying feet) into a wave-crashed inlet just 4 meters (13 feet) deep. And that's if they time it just right.
The ritual begins with a prayer at the shrine to La Virgen de Guadalupe, carved into the cliff-top platform. Then, the divers carefully calculate when their target will have enough water to soften their fall. Finally, they leap. First in the afternoon, and as the sun sets, again. The final dive of the night plunges past torches into a sea of fire (lit with flaming gasoline), no easy feat.
Get your helmets and life vests ready—this family-friendly rafting river serves up class I, II and III rapids as it winds through Colorado shrub land and downtown Durango. Calmer than its wild upper reaches in the San Juan mountains surrounding Silverton 48 miles north, Durango’s stretch boasts calm bends as well as several named rapids including “Smelter,” “Pinball,” and “Santa Rita Hole,” as it passes the fairgrounds and the buildings of downtown. Though it still can be a wild ride, most guided tours will take kids as young as five years old. Rafting adventures run from May to September.
In the height of summer when the river is warmest and lowest, tubing is also a popular past time. The city runs shuttles from the parking and take-out at 9th Street at Schneider Park to the put-in near the Recreation Center where there’s free air fills for tubes. South of town a four-mile stretch of river has achieved notoriety as an excellent fly-fishing spot for rainbow and brown trout.
If you’re in Durango in the off-season, you can still enjoy the river and its downtown views via the Durango River Trail. The walking path has pedestrian bridges and sculpture installations and follows the course of the river through the city.
Encompassing 1,047 square miles (2,711 square kilometers), Alaska’s Kenai Fjords National Park is named after its numerous glacial-carved fjords—beautiful ice valleys that sit below sea level. The fjords run down the mountains into the iconic Harding Icefield, one of the largest ice fields in the United States with 40 tidewater glaciers flowing into it. The stunning landscape is also a wildlife-watcher’s dream, thanks to its abundant marine animals, birds, and other native wildlife.
Stretching roughly 3 miles (5 kilometers) along the La Paz coastline, the Malecón is a wide boardwalk that’s frequented by travelers, locals, joggers, families, rollerbladers, and cyclists alike. Lined with restaurants, bars, and shops and dotted with sculptures and benches, it’s the ideal spot for a stroll at any time of day and offers sweeping views over the ocean.
No visit to Juneau is complete without a close-up look at the Mendenhall Glacier, one of Alaska’s most popular attractions. The 13-mile-long (19-kilometer-long) glacier ends at Mendenhall Lake and is easily viewed from the historic Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. The glacier is beautiful on sunny days but arguably even more impressive on cloudy, drizzly afternoons when the ice takes on a deeper shade of blue.
Opened to the public in 2013, the Xihuacan Museum and Archeological Site offers a unique look at a pre-Columbian temple site as archeologists uncover it. Located in the area around Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, on Mexico’s Pacific coast, the archeological site include a religious pyramid about 45 feet tall and 300 feet square at the base, which remains only partially uncovered, and an ancient ball court that is one of the largest ancient courts in Mexico, second only to Chichen Itza’s. The nearby museum houses around 800 artifacts uncovered at the site, including ancient pottery, tools and art works, along with exhibits about the people who inhabited the area across more than four millennia.
With its rolling hills, roaming wildlife, and natural beauty, Custer State Park is one of the most scenic areas of South Dakota. Its clear streams, tall granite mountains, and open plains present much to see. Herds of bison, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, and even wild turkey are frequently seen from one of the park’s walking trails or scenic drives.
The Needles Highway, Wildlife Loop Road, and Iron Mountain Road are some of the most beautiful drives in the park. Five beautiful lakes and various streams provide opportunities to go fishing, kayaking, and swimming as well.
After gold was discovered in the Black Hills by Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, the area quickly developed. Today it is known more for its wide open spaces and events such as the annual buffalo roundup. There is more than 71,000 acres of wild land to explore, with tunnels, forest, bridges, and viewpoints to stop at throughout.
The tallest peak in North America at 20,310 feet (6,190 meters), Denali, formerly known as Mt. McKinley, is the centerpiece of Denali National Park and Preserve in south-central Alaska, an enormous area covering 6 million acres (2.5 million hectares). Founded in 1917, the park protects the native animals who roam free in its remote alpine tundra wilderness.
With steep emerald cliffs, lush valleys, and remote cascading waterfalls, the Na Pali Coast is one of Hawaii’s most beautiful regions, and no visit to Kauai is complete without a visit to this magical coastline. There are only three ways to explore the Na Pali Coast—by air, by sea, and on foot—and each offers its own unique perspective.
Spanning eight states and 2,448 miles (3,940 kilometers), Historic Route 66 has become a cultural icon, immortalized in song and on the silver screen. This romanticized road trip from Chicago to Santa Monica offers drivers an inside look at classic America—kitschy roadside attractions, diners, historic motels, and plenty of 1950s nostalgia.
The Breakers, the crown jewel of the Newport mansions and the summer estate of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, is an architectural and social archetype of the Gilded Age. The 70-room, four-story structure was built in 1895 and designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, who modeled it after 16th-century Italian Renaissance palaces.
One of Long Beach’s top attractions, the Aquarium of the Pacific is home to at least 11,000 aquatic animals across more than 50 exhibits that reflect the marine life of the Pacific Ocean. The nonprofit organization is the largest aquarium in Southern California and one of the most visited in the United States.
The Hoover Dam (originally known as Boulder Dam) is an inspiring symbol of American engineering, built during America’s Great Depression as the then-largest dam construction project in the world. Travelers have flocked here for decades to see picturesque views of Lake Mead and the Colorado River, and today, the dam receives more than 1 million annual visitors.
The Sea of Cortez (or Gulf of California) lies between the Baja California Peninsula and mainland Mexico. This stretch of the Pacific, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most diverse seas in the world and home to more than 3,000 marine species, including hammerhead sharks, sea lions, and sea turtles.