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50 Surprising Facts About America's Favorite Summer Tourist Attractions

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Alcatraz
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Fact-Finding Missions

America's popular summer tourist spots — whether visited in person or this year, via a virtual road trip — are often destinations imbued with layers of history, symbolism, memorable moments and sometimes, just plain ol' surprises. Join us as we traverse the country in search of some surprising facts about some of the nation's most beloved sites. (Do you prefer the off-beat? Here are 87 Weird Tourist Attractions Across America.) 

Related: 50 Tourist Traps That Locals Still Love

Hoover Dam in Boulder City, NV
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Hoover Dam | Clark County, Nevada

It truly took a village here. If you're doing the Nevada thing, then you'll likely include this Great Depression-era marvel, dedicated in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. If you think the Hoover Dam looks massive, you're right Indeed, an entire city — Boulder City — was built to house the 5,000 workers needed to complete the dam.  

Related: 36 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Las Vegas

24dupontchevy
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Biltmore Estate | Asheville, North Carolina

This site was ahead of its time. The 250-room castle, the legendary family home of George and Edith Vanderbilt, remains America's largest home and a leading attraction of the region complete with 8,000 acres of grounds. This 1895 estate, a prime example of Gilded Age living, was actually quite ahead of its time, as its site shares: "Biltmore was a pioneer in sustainable-land-use practices in 1895 and has long operated its farm and field-to-table program." Now you can even take a virtual tour of the estate from the comfort of your own home.

Related: 89 Iconic Buildings and Monuments Across America

I-10 | San Antonio River Walk
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The Riverwalk | San Antonio

Say "I do" among the hubbub. The popular urban waterway — where tourists dine, shop, take a boat ride and more — is also a popular wedding destination. Yes, a cypress tree planted some 100 years ago created what's come to be known as Marriage Island, which is said to even be a good sign as some see it as a heart-shaped space. More than 200 couples tie the knot here each year; perhaps you'll get to toast them on your visit.

The Lost Sea Adventure
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The Lost Sea Adventure | Sweetwater, Tennessee

This site dates back to the prehistoric times. The heart of The Lost Sea Adventure, nestled within the Southern Appalachian Mountains, is not just another roadside attraction. No, this tourist destination takes visitors on a tour of America's largest underground lake — as recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records. It's part of an elaborate cave system known as Craighead Caverns, which have been "known and used since the days of the Cherokee Indians." And historically, animals would wander deep into the cave and lose their way, as evidenced by "a giant Pleistocene jaguar whose tracks have been found deep inside the cave." Grrrr.  

Salem Witch Museum Witch Trial Sites
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The 1692 Salem Witch Museum | Salem, Massachusetts

More than just a Halloween trick. In a town filled with kitschy witch-themed attractions, this museum is a site with a serious spin: "The mission of the Salem Witch Museum is to be the voice to the innocent victims of the Salem witch trials, while also bringing awareness to the root cause of witch-hunts from 1692 to the present day. By understanding this history, through audiovisual displays, guided tours, educational events, and discussion, we strive to connect this tragedy to the modern-world and highlight why history matters."  

International Rose Test Garden, Portland, Oregon
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International Rose Test Garden | Portland, Oregon

Stop and really smell the roses. Portland is known as the "City of Roses," a nod to its ideal climate for cultivation, but it also boasts the country's oldest officially operated public test garden. Its history is deep, its blooms even more. This site boasts some 10,000 roses. Happy counting!

Related: In Full Bloom: Photos of Gorgeous Botanical Gardens in All 50 States

Gateway Arch National Park
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Gateway Arch National Park | St. Louis

Design appreciation can be subjective. The Gateway Arch, a landmark that honors this Midwestern city's role in the Westward Expansion of the United States back in the 19th century, is a soaring (630 feet) and futuristic monument. But it was not without some controversy about its design, by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen in 1947 with construction following in 1963-65. The arch's design was at one point compared to an arch imagined by Mussolini (hence references to fascism), and it was also likened to a cricket wicket.   

Disneyland, Anaheim, California
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Disneyland Park | Anaheim, California

One man can make a real mark. This storied destination has been welcoming generations of families since its 1955 debut. Unlike today's mega parks, often corporate efforts created by large teams, Disneyland holds the distinction of the only theme park both designed and completely built under the direct supervision of its namesake, Walt Disney. 

Related: 25 Ways Disney Revolutionized Entertainment

Gaze At Grand Central Terminal
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Grand Central Terminal | New York City

Raise a historic glass. The Big Apple's teeming transportation hub, welcoming locals, commuters and tourists since 1913, has quite a few surprises within its iconic façade. Perhaps its most elegant is an off-the-beaten-path Gilded Age bar now known as The Campbell. Renovated in 2017 — but losing none of its original charm thanks to its historic landmark status — the iconic watering hole's focus remains the main space, for years known as The Campbell Apartment. Over time, the stunning interior served as the office of John W. Campbell, a railroad tycoon, and it's said, as both a jail and a gun storage room. Cheers!

Related: A Virtual Weekend Vacation in New York

Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco, CA
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Alcatraz Island | San Francisco

Flowers can brighten any setting. Say Alcatraz and you might start thinking isolation, prisoners, attempted escapes — and yes, Clint Eastwood. Now, part of the National Parks Service and designed to reveal "stories of American incarceration, justice, and our common humanity," Alcatraz Island is also a botanical wonderland, a landscape dotted with old roses, fig trees, bulbs and an array of succulents.

Related: The Best of California For Budget Vacations

Neon Museum
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The Neon Museum | Las Vegas

There's a bit of history within one of Sin City's historic venues. The Neon Museum, which is said to offer "the history of Las Vegas through neon," is indeed a colorful tribute to this nonstop tourist mecca complete with more than 200 unrestored signs (illuminated with ground lighting at sunset) plus numerous restored signs on all the time. But for an even more "hands-on" trip into this nostalgic world, its Visitors Center was crafted out of the historic La Concha Motel lobby, a mid-century modern design saved from demolition in 2005 and put in place here the following year. 

Related: 23 Iconic and Unique Motels Across America

Cedar Point, Cedar Point, Ohio
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Cedar Point | Erie County, Ohio

Hold on tight! You may know Cedar Point is "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World," but did you know how many are on site? Yes, fully 18 operational roller coasters including the 120-mph Top Thrill Dragster and, introduced in 2018, Steel Vengeance — said to be "the tallest, fastest and longest hybrid roller coaster in the world." Though the amusement destination marks its 150th anniversary this year, it is holding off on the celebrations until 2021. 

Related: 17 Roller Coaster Facts for Restless Thrill Seekers

Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee
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Graceland | Memphis

The Tennessee mansion famously owned by iconic singer-actor Elvis Presley remains a nearly 14-acre estate open to the public. For all the Elvis-related memorabilia and lore on site, the thing that has no connection to The King is the home's name. Nope, it came with it — the home's original owners, a family named Moore, named the property in honor of their "Aunt Grace."

Related: Elvis' Pet Chimp Wasn't the Only Unusual Thing About Graceland  

Willis Tower
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Willis Tower | Chicago

Not for the faint of heart. Those afraid of heights are clearly not among the bold who visit this skyscraper, the second-tallest (1,730 feet including its antenna towers) in the Western Hemisphere. Its Skydeck and 103rd-Floor glass viewing platform known as The Ledge attracts more than 1.7 million visitors each year. And, on a clear day, visitors can see four states — Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.  

Related: America's 25 Tallest Buildings: How Many Can You Name?

Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
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Yellowstone National Park | Idaho, Montana and Wyoming

Now that is big. Yellowstone.org reports that the crossing-state-lines park encompasses 3,472 square miles (that's more than 2 million acres) making it "larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined." And another thing, it's also home to more than 500 geysers, which represent more than half of the world's geysers.

Newport Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island
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Cliff Walk | Newport, Rhode Island

More than just a place for a pretty stroll. Visitors have free daily access to this famed (and at times precarious) walk, which combines the shoreline's natural beauty with glimpses of the fabled resort's Gilded Age architectural treasures. But not only is the walk a lovely little workout, it also had quite a pedigree: a National Recreation Trail in a National Historic District. Talk about checking off quite a few boxes!  

Related: The Most Romantic Place in Every State

Polynesian Cultural Center, Laie, Hawaii
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Polynesian Cultural Center | Laie, Hawaii

The power of television. This destination is billed as a "Polynesian-themed theme park and living museum," open since 1963 and filling more than 40 acres on the northern shore of Oahu. Its website tells us it wasn't always an award-winning destination: "In the earliest years, Saturday was the only night villagers at the Polynesian Cultural Center could draw a big enough crowd to fill the 600-seat amphitheater. Following the tremendous boom in Hawai'i tourism industry, however, and promotional appearances at the Hollywood Bowl and on TV's Ed Sullivan Show, the Center began to thrive. By the late 1960s, the amphitheater had been expanded to almost 1,300 seats. Villagers staged the evening show every night (except Sundays) and sometimes twice a night to accommodate peak-season crowds."    

Related: The Best of Hawaii on a Budget

Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour in Waterbury, VT
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Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour | Waterbury, Vermont

Still sweet. With its factory tours on hold at the moment, Ben & Jerry's is still welcoming visitors to its Scoop Shop and gift kiosk at the site of its first factory. Fill the gap by taking a self-guided tour of the Flavor Graveyard, where you can take a "socially distant" walk through the history of some of the brand's "dearly de-pinted," those retired or limited-edition flavors. You can even vote for which flavor you'd like to see "resurrected." We're intrigued by Sugar Plum!  

sea glass museum ft bragg
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International Sea Glass Museum | Fort Bragg, California

There's a lot of trash talking going on here. Think sea glass and a feeling of calm may overtake you. Milky hues, smooth surfaces … a walk on the beach discovering natural treasures. Well, this destination not only celebrates the beauty of sea glass but spotlights its iffy origins. This museum is designed to explore the way broken glass, the result of trash that lands in the ocean, is tumbled into something beautiful. As Atlas Obscura notes: "Fort Bragg began dumping the town's waste in the ocean after the 1906 earthquake, and it washes up today as tiny pieces of sea glass. Thanks to the previous generation's proclivity for throwing their garbage in the ocean, Fort Bragg is home to beaches with the highest concentration of sea glass in the world." 

Related: 55 Surprising Facts About America’s Beaches

Grand Canyon National Park
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Grand Canyon | Coconino County, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is a wonder, something not to pass up — and certainly a destination to add to your bucket list, even if you need to postpone the visit for now. No overnight sensation, the Grand Canyon, the Grand Canyon Conservancy shares, took 3 million to 6 million years to form, with erosion continuing to alter its shape.

Related: 33 Historic National Park Photos for Vintage Views

Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, MA
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Flying Horses Carousel | Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

What a mane! Martha's Vineyard has hosted the nation's oldest operating platform carousel since … 1884 when it arrived at the resort from its original home, New York City's Coney Island. It was built in 1876, and it features stationary animals with manes of actual horse hair — and glass eyes. Talk about craftsmanship.  

UFO Museum and Research Center, New Mexico
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International UFO Museum and Research Center | Roswell, New Mexico

Facts or fiction? This museum, a nonprofit corporation, is "dedicated to the collection and preservation of materials and information in written, audio and visual formats that are related to the 1947 Roswell Incident and other unexplained phenomena." But its gift shop is certainly all about playfulness. From the flying saucer-themed socks to the "Got Aliens?" bike plates, there's certainly a sense of humor operating here … right?

Coney Island, New York
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Coney Island | New York City

When it comes to Coney Island, you think miles of boardwalk, beach, amusement park rides and sideshow attractions but the seaside spot also sports the world-class Aquarium for Wildlife Conservation — and that feature begins even before you enter. The "First Symphony of the Sea" is a 332-foot long, 10-foot tall cast-concrete sculpture wall created by artist Toshio Sasaki. It was installed in 1992 and features a free-standing wall with an ocean theme including waves, fish, and more.

Related: 40 Iconic and Beautiful Boardwalks in the Country

The Indy Racing Experience
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Indy Racing Experience | Indianapolis, Indiana

A need for speed. Visitors have the chance to not only see the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway track that's long played host to the Indy 500 but can drive (or take a ride) in an Indy or stock car. Buckle up.

Café Du Monde | New Orleans
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Mystic Seaport, Connecticut
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Mystic Seaport Museum | Mystic, Connecticut

Ship ahoy! This veteran family attraction plays host to the Charles W. Morgan, the only remaining example of an American whaling fleet that once included nearly 3,000 vessels. It's America's oldest commercial ship "still afloat" — built and launched in 1841. But it doesn't simply stand and look pretty: Back in 2014, the Seaport Museum capped a five-year renovation, the Morgan set out on its 38th voyage, this time visiting New England ports to raise "awareness of America's maritime heritage and calling attention to issues of ocean sustainability and conservation."

mt rushmore stairs
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Mount Rushmore National Memorial | Black Hills, South Dakota

Step lively. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln grace this massive iconic — and once again drawing criticism — sculpture completed in 1941 under the direction of Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln. A trail to see the site, which you can begin at the Sculptor's Studio, features more than 400 stairs. Don't worry, as you can enter from the Grand View Terrace for a shorter climb.   

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum | Boston

All out in the open … This museum, an elegant destination for art, music and gardens noted for its iconic courtyard, makes no bones about it being the site of a headline-grabbing robbery. Its website prominently invites you to first "Meet Isabella" and then click through to read about "The Theft," the 1990 night when 13 works were stolen in the "single largest property theft in the world." 

Related: The Best Things To Do In Boston

Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles
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Griffith Observatory | Los Angeles

Stars of a different kind. Those in search of celebrities in California often head to L.A. but here, the most impressive stars are in the sky. Visitors can peer through telescopes, tour exhibits, see planetarium shows and take part in special events – but the place has an unsung hero. Welsh-born businessman Griffith J. Griffith was the driving force in the creation of Griffith Park and its observatory, but in 1994, it was discovered that Russell W. Porter, a key figure in the astronomical world, had an "extensive role of creating the initial conceptual drawings for Griffith Observatory and later serving as a consultant for the building's architects."

Related: Hollywood: Then and Now

Cape Hatteras Light Station, North Carolina
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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse | Outer Banks, North Carolina

More than just a pretty picture. Perhaps the country's most iconic lighthouse, the Cape Hatteras Light Station has quite an important job, as it "protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast," according to the National Park Service. "Offshore of Cape Hatteras, the Gulf Stream collides with the Virginia Drift, a branch of the Labrador Current from Canada. This current forces southbound ships into a dangerous 12-mile-long sandbar called Diamond Shoals. Hundreds and possibly thousands of shipwrecks in this area have given it the reputation as the Graveyard of the Atlantic."

Related: 18 Spectacular Lighthouses to See Across America

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
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Golden Gate Bridge | San Francisco

Tony Bennett would be proud. The nationally known suspension bridge boasts a vivid hue (known as "international orange") not in recognition of "the Golden State" but in homage to its design during the Art Deco era. In a break from most bridges being completed in dull neutrals, NPR tells us, "The color came about thanks to Irving Morrow, the Golden Gate's consulting architect, who noticed the striking reddish-orange primer painted on some of the steel." It was said to blend with the surrounding hills and offer a contrast to the water and sky — and, of course, it doesn't hurt when the trademark fog rolls in.

Related: 17 Incredible Feats of American Ingenuity Across the Country

Grand Ole Opry, Nashville, Tennessee
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Grand Ole Opry House | Nashville

A country tradition continues. Weekly concerts for radio broadcast began at Ryman Auditorium back in 1925, continuing until 1974 when "The Opry" moved, necessitated by disrepair, to the Grand Ole Opry House. In respect for its history, the original Ryman stage, including its inlaid circle of wood, made the move. Despite a 2010 flood, the iconic element was restored and continues to carry on country music history today. 

Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, New York
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Statue of Liberty | New York City

Welcome to New York. The Statue of Liberty, a 19th-century sculpture created by artist Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, has been an iconic element of New York Harbor since its 1886 dedication. But the Lady didn't always live alone — National Park Rangers in charge of her care (and their families) made up a small community entitled to live on Liberty Island. Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, destroyed the last residence, ending a long tradition. 

The Liberty Bell, Philadelphia
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Liberty Bell | Philadelphia

We need an X-ray here … What kid on a trip to the Liberty Bell doesn't want to bring home a small replica of this homage to America's independence? It will no doubt remind them of the well-rounded tour that has been designed around this icon — and that includes a most unusual element, X-rays of the bell displayed to show its inner workings and its iconic crack.    

baseball on national mall
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The National Mall | Washington, D.C.

Play ball! The iconic downtown park in the nation's capital, sited between the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument, is more than just a promenade and place for memorable gatherings. It actually has a sporting element with some multiple softball fields, volleyball courts, rugby fields and more.

space needle
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Space Needle | Seattle

Observe this. This Pacific Northwest observation tower is a Washington State landmark, with 2018 renovations making the journey skyward even more … daring. A new rotating glass floor on the lower level allows quite the downward glance, from 500 feet no less, while floor-to-ceiling windows on the upper level bring the city into sharper focus.

falling water
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Fallingwater | Mill Run, Pennsylvania

A master's masterwork. Considered perhaps the masterpiece of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this house remains protected and preserved by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. A tour of the home provides a primer on Wright's "organic architecture" — including his innovative concepts on glass: "It also plays a role in illustrating the engineering properties of the house's cantilevered design where glass meets glass to create an 'invisible' corner window. Wright uses this technique to show there is no need for the traditional vertical supports at the corners of his rooms, and the absence of a corner mullion provides an uninterrupted, if not dramatic, view to the outdoors. From the exterior, especially when the house is lit at night, the glass seems to disappear entirely and enhancing the effect of Fallingwater as a 'lantern in the forest.'"

Related: 20 Bucket List Buildings in America You Need to Visit

Fort Worth Stockyards, Fort worth, Texas
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Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District | Fort Worth, Texas

Bringing the Old West back to life. Fort Worth's nickname is Cowtown — and it's easy to see why, even today. The town and its cowboys, we learn, "formed the core of the great cattle drives" of the 19th century. Today, visitors can experience it again, when genuine Texas cowhands drive Texas Longhorns, the Herd, in the twice-daily Cattle Drive here." Stand back.  

Central Park, NY
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Central Park | New York City

Ready for its closeup. Central Park is one of Manhattan's most scenic attractions, an urban oasis of more than 800 acres filled with a zoo and gardens, picturesque bridges and concert venues, ballparks and jogging paths, lakes and ponds, sculptures and even a castle. It all adds up to a destination that just doesn't draw the locals and visitors alike but also a parade of film crews, starting with "Romeo and Juliet" in 1908 and continuing well into the hundreds ("The Apartment," "Ghostbusters," "Elf") today.

Related: 33 Idyllic Parks That Bring Nature to the City

Hearst San Simeon Estate
Hearst San Simeon Estate by Teemu008 (CC BY-SA)

Hearst Castle | San Simeon, California

A legacy of splendor. The National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark is synonymous with famed publisher William Randolph Hearst. While Hearst indeed conceived of the stunning creation, built between 1919 and 1947, it was designed by a woman, architect Julia Morgan. Ahead of her time, Morgan was the first woman to earn an engineering degree from a California university and also studied architecture at the noted Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, becoming the first woman to receive a certificate in architecture from the school.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
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The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation | Dearborn, Michigan

More than just automobiles. The innovative spirit of Henry Ford lives at this museum designed as a testament to American ingenuity and history. Its collections include a staggering 26 million artifacts with tens of thousands of those digitized for online access. Stories told touch on everything from agriculture to the environment, design, energy, communications and social transformation. What you might not expect? The actual bus on which Rosa Parks made her landmark stand in 1955, now restored, as well as Buckminster Fuller's iconic Dymaxion House.

Everglades National Park
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Everglades National Park | South Florida

On a very big scale. This park boasts the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and was established to protect the singular ecosystem. Within the River of Grass, the trees in the deepest part of the 13,000 acres of the Corkscrew swamp, "represent the largest stand of old-growth cypress on Earth. Some of these trees have survived droughts, lightning strikes and 35 hurricanes during the past 500 years." Standing tall, still.

Related: Stunning Photos of Every National Park in America

The Gateway Walk
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The Gateway Walk | Charleston, South Carolina

A secret "garden." Visitors to Charleston might ask where The Gateway Walk is — but it's not a specific place. It's actually an informal trail through the notably picturesque city that, Discover South Carolina says, "feels like you've stumbled upon the secret backyard of this beautiful city. It feels like you're seeing things that maybe you aren't supposed to see, though the trail is completely open and welcoming of the public. It's one of the most fun, unexpected and undiscovered ways to see some of the most famous places in Charleston."

Related: 19 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Charleston

Denali National Park, Alaska
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Denali National Park & Preserve | Interior Alaska

A mountain by any other name. What ever happened to Mount McKinley? If you keep hearing about Denali but wonder about Mount McKinley, both in Alaska, worry no more — it's the same thing. According to the National Park Service, "On the eve of the National Park Service's 100th anniversary, the name of the highest peak in North America changed from 'Mount McKinley' to 'Denali.' The timing of the change not only helps mark the agency's centennial, it shines a light on the long human history of the park, and illuminates a naming debate that has lasted more than 100 years."  

Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton Township, New Jersey
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Grounds for Sculpture | Hamilton Township, New Jersey

Out of the box — and into the garden. This 42-acre museum, sculpture park and arboretum was envisioned by J. Seward Johnson, a sculptor and philanthropist, to make contemporary sculpture accessible to all. Instead of a stuffy museum setting, he took a daring approach creating "a place where audiences could experience sculpture in a familiar, accessible and informal setting." That was 1984; today, the site features nearly 300 sculptures and represents hundreds of artists.  

Related: Circus World and Other Weird Museums Across America and Beyond

Lucy The Elephant
Lucy The Elephant by Adam Moss (CC BY-SA)

Lucy the Elephant | Margate City, New Jersey

We love Lucy! Those visiting Atlantic City simply must make a quick detour to visit this roadside (seaside?) attraction, an oversize example of "novelty architecture" built in the late-19th century by James Lafferty of Philadelphia. Its original purpose was to attract attention to the area's real estate. The National Historic Landmark was more than just a tourist stop — in the early 20th century, it operated as a tavern — and earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Lucy would be operating as an Airbnb as a publicity stunt, a nod to a time in its past when it did indeed serve as a residence. 

Johnson Victrola Museum in Dover, DE
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Johnson Victrola Museum | Dover, Delaware

There's always room for a bit of "Puppy Love." Diehard music fanatics making a tour of their beloved vinyl's history likely have this spot, a tribute to Dover native E.R. Johnson — founder of the Victor Talking Machine Co. in 1901 — on their bucket list. Sure, the museum is a treasure trove of vintage players (complete with hand cranks), early recordings and a re-creation of a record shop. But its extensive display dedicated to Nipper — you know, the signature RCA dog — that's most unexpected.

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park - Harlem, New York City, USA
The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park - Harlem, New York City, USA by Marie (CC BY-NC-ND)

The Cloisters | New York City

From contemporary New York to medieval Europe. The Met Cloisters, a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art situated within Fort Tryon Park in Washington Heights, is one of New York City's unexpected journeys into the past. Specializing in art and architecture of medieval Europe, this is a specialized destination that features some 2,000 works of art from medieval Europe, "largely dating from the 12th through the 15th century and including exquisite illuminated manuscripts, stained glass, metalwork, enamels, ivories, and tapestries, are exhibited in this unique context."

Darwin Twine Ball Museum, Minnesota
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Darwin Twine Ball Museum | Darwin, Minnesota

String, apparently, is pretty heavy. The Darwin Twine Ball Museum honors "the largest Twine Ball in the World made by one man, Francis A. Johnson." Sure, you may see it's big — 13 feet in diameter and 40 feet in circumference — but you'd never be able to tell its weight, a whopping 17,400 pounds.

Mall of America
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The Mall of America | Bloomington, Minnesota

How many hours? Open since 1992, this four-story retail and entertainment giant — the largest retail shopping mall in the country — has more than 2.77 million feet of retail space (plus an amusement park), more than 520 stores and a 1.2 million-gallon aquarium. It all draws more than 40 million annual visitors. Think you can tackle it with ease? Well, according to Minnesota Fun Facts, "86 hours is the length of time it would take to complete your visit to the Mall if you were to spend just 10 minutes in each store." And that's not stopping for lunch!