The Most Patriotic Place in Each State

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota


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National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Home of the Brave

With the Fourth of July approaching, America is about to enter peak patriotism mode. But there's more to celebrating the nation's birthday than just barbecue and fireworks. Take a look into U.S. history while saluting some of our most iconic locations in this virtual tour of the most patriotic place in each state and Washington, D.C. (Want to get an up-close-and-personal history lesson? Here are the Best Places in America to Travel Back in Time.)

Related: Vintage Photos of Patriotic Places Across America

Edmund Pettus Bridge

Alabama: Edmund Pettus Bridge

This National Historic Landmark bridge that crosses the Alabama River in Selma played an integral role in the establishment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. Today as part of the 54-Mile Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail, visitors can educate themselves about a struggle for racial equality that continues to the current day.

Related: Where to Donate for Racial Justice in Your State

Attu Battlefield
National Parks Service

Alaska: Attu Battlefield

The only land battle to take place on U.S. soil during World War II happened off the far western coast of Alaska on this ultra remote island in the Aleutian chain, which was invaded by the Japanese army in 1943. During the bloody 19-day battle, nearly all of the invading force of 2,900 Japanese soldiers were killed and the rest were captured by U.S. forces aided by Canadian air support.

Grand Canyon National Park

Arizona: Grand Canyon National Park

There's just something about America's second-most popular national park and one of the most magnificent Wonders of the World that makes you want to stand up and sing the national anthem. The iconic image of the American West and UNESCO World Heritage Site should be seen at least once in person by every American.

Related: Stunning Photos of Every National Park in America

Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum
Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum by Jkmattson (CC BY-SA)

Arkansas: Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum

This maritime museum on the shores of the Arkansas River in North Little Rock is home to the U.S. Navy tugboat Hoga (a National Historic Landmark that survived the Pearl Harbor attack) and the submarine USS Razorback, which was present when the Japanese formally surrendered to end World War II.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Don White/istockphoto

California: Golden Gate Bridge

This iconic California attraction and proud symbol of American ingenuity has been standing tall above the San Francisco Bay since 1937. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful bridges on Earth, the Golden Gate Bridge was the world's tallest and longest suspension bridge at the time of its opening.

Related: Incredible Feats of American Ingenuity Across the Country

Cheyenne Mountain Complex
Cheyenne Mountain Complex by Gonioul (None)

Colorado: Cheyenne Mountain Complex

Designed to withstand a nuclear blast, this vast underground complex near Colorado Springs was built beneath 2,000 feet of granite at the height of the Cold War in the early 1960s. The vast military installation carved into Cheyenne Mountain was once the home of the United States Space Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command.

Mark Twain House & Museum, Hartford, CT
Sean Pavone/shutterstock

Connecticut: Mark Twain House

As one of America's most celebrated authors, Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens) penned many of his most famous works, including "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," in this American Gothic home in Hartford. Currently open as a museum, the National Historic Landmark is noted as one of the world's top historic homes.

Related: Famous People's Homes You Can Visit

First State National Historic Park Misty Field by Greg Young
First State National Historic Park Misty Field by Greg Young by Jahoovy (CC BY-SA)

Delaware: First State National Historic Park

This unique park celebrates Delaware's role as the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Unlike most parks, First State National Historic Park is not a single location but rather a collection of seven historic sites throughout America's second-smallest state. Sights include The Green in Dover (where the ratification took place) and Old Swedes Church in Wilmington, the oldest church in America still used for worship.

Related: Things You Never Knew About New England

National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Sean Pavone/shutterstock

District of Columbia.: National Mall

Seems odd for an article about patriotic sites to leave out the nation's capital. So even though it is not of course a state, the District is more than worthy of inclusion on this list. The National Mall includes all the nation's most patriotic sites, from the White House and U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. The grounds also contain a large number of museums and war memorials.

Florida: Kennedy Space Center

Florida: Kennedy Space Center

Combined with the nearby Cape Canaveral Air Force Station off the east coast of Florida near Orlando, this site has served as America's main launching pad for human spaceflight since NASA's seminal Apollo program in the late 1960s. Learn about America's fascinating history exploring the universe at the vast Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.

Stroll Through Savannah's Historic District
Sean Pavone/shutterstock

Georgia: Savannah Historic District

One of America's largest historic districts is simply a joy to explore on foot, with 22 leafy, parklike squares placed along an organized grid throughout a charming district in central Savannah. Visitors will find an array of historic homes, churches, and sculptures near each of the squares, as well as the site where Tom Hanks famously waited for the bus in "Forrest Gump."

Related: Iconic Movie Locations You Have to Visit

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
MPI/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Hawaii: Navy Station Pearl Harbor

Few events are as ingrained into the American psyche as the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, forever deemed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt as "a date which will live in infamy." Visitors can explore the hallowed site where 2,403 Americans were killed by visiting the National Park Service's Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

Related: Awe-Inspiring Memorials and Other Places Honoring Our Vets

Old Mission State Park

Idaho: Old Mission State Park

Highlighting the oldest buildings in Idaho, this state park near Coeur d'Alene showcases the state's frontier spirit with sights that includes the 1853 Mission of the Sacred Heart church, the oldest building in the Gem State. The picturesque site includes nearby biking trails and informational exhibits.

Related: The Oldest Building in Each State

Lincoln's Tomb
Lincoln's Tomb by Rklawton (CC BY)

Illinois: The Lincoln Tomb

With Illinois known as the "Land of Lincoln," it's no surprise that President Abraham Lincoln's final resting place in the state capital of Springfield is the state's most patriotic place. The site includes a famous bronze sculpture depicting the face of America's 16th president, with visitors often rubbing the statue's nose for good luck.

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument
Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument by Noorin Khuja (CC BY-SA)

Indiana: Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument

This iconic image in downtown Indianapolis is one of many war memorials in the Hoosier State's capital city — home to more war memorials than any city outside of Washington, D.C. Topped with an observation deck, the 284-foot limestone monument was designed to honor Indiana's fallen and was the first memorial dedicated to the common soldier.

Iowa Old Capitol Building
Iowa Old Capitol Building by Billwhittaker (CC BY-SA)

Iowa: Iowa Old Capitol Building

Once the seat of state government when Iowa City was the capital of the Jayhawk State, today this gorgeous National Historic Landmark is best known as the central structure on the University of Iowa campus. Built in 1842 with its dome covered in 23¾-carat gold leaf, the site also houses a museum.

National Park Service

Kansas: Nicodemus National Historic Site

The only surviving Western town established by African-Americans during Reconstruction is memorialized in tiny Nicodemus, Kansas. The site includes a former schoolhouse, hotel, township hall, and two churches including African Methodist Episcopal Church. Today the site is operated by the National Park Service as part of the National Park Foundation's African American Experience Fund.

Churchill Downs Racetrack

Kentucky: Churchill Downs

It's hard to get more American than Louisville's iconic Churchill Downs racetrack. As the legendary home of the annual Kentucky Derby, the track opened in 1875 and today packs in around 170,000 spectators on Derby day. One of North America's top thoroughbred racing tracks, Churchill Downs has a museum and is home to more than 1,500 horses.

Jackson Square, New Orleans

Louisiana: Jackson Square

While this New Orleans photo-op spot can get touristy, it's one of America's signature public spaces and remains a stunning sight. It's where Louisiana was made a state after the Louisiana Purchase and features an often-photographed, controversial statue of President Andrew Jackson on horseback in front of the historic St. Louis Cathedral.

Related: Best Cheap Or Free Things To Do In New Orleans

 Stowe House
Stowe House by Magicpiano (CC BY-SA)

Maine: Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Maine is synonymous with writers such as Stephen King, so it is no surprise the state also provided inspiration for noted abolitionist and author Harriet Beecher Stowe when she wrote her masterwork "Uncle Tom's Cabin." It was in this home in Brunswick that Stowe lived while writing the 1852 novel; today the structure hosts the public Harriet's Writing Room as part of Bowdoin College.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

Maryland: Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

Is there anything more patriotic than the Star-Spangled Banner? It was at this Baltimore home in 1813 that Mary Young Pickersgill sewed her famous Star-Spangled Banner flag that flew over nearby Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The sight of the flag inspired Francis Scott Key to write America's national anthem.

Related: The American Flag's Most Iconic Moments 

Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock by jjron (CC BY-SA)

Massachusetts: Plymouth Rock

It may not be much to look at, but few can deny the historical significance of Plymouth Rock, within Plymouth Memorial State Park on the shores of Plymouth Harbor. Today the nation's founding rock is inscribed "1620" to signify the date of the Pilgrims' landing on the Mayflower.

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Michigan: The Henry Ford Museum

This massive history museum complex and National Landmark District in Dearborn tells the story of U.S. innovation while highlighting the country's love affair with the automobile. In addition to auto-centric exhibits such as the limousine that President Kennedy was assassinated in, America's largest indoor-outdoor museum complex houses the Rosa Parks bus and the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop.

Related: Fun Facts About Bicycles, From Boneshakers to the Wright Brothers

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Minnesota: Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Noted aviator Charles Lindberg grew up on the grounds of this scenic state park in central Minnesota near the town of Little Falls. The 569 acres include Lindbergh's boyhood home as well as several farm properties that once belonged to his father, Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh. The park runs along the Mississippi River with hiking, camping, and picnicking opportunities.

Related: The Best State Park in Every State

Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi

Mississippi: Vicksburg National Cemetery

This solemn site is the largest Union cemetery in the nation, the final resting place of more than 17,000 soldiers from the Civil War, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, First and Second World Wars, and Korean War. It is part of the Vicksburg National Military Park, centered around one of the most important battles of the Civil War.

Gateway Arch National Park

Missouri: Gateway Arch National Park

This more recently established national park houses the iconic Gateway Arch in St. Louis, one of the country's most recognizable architectural symbols. As the world's tallest arch and largest human-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, the 630-foot arch was built in 1965 on the west bank of the Mississippi River as a testament to America's westward expansion.

Drive Going-to-the-Sun Road

Montana: Going-to-the-Sun Road

Not only is this National Historic Landmark the main scenic roadway through Glacier National Park, it's also one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world. Even though the phrase "purple mountains majesty" from "America the Beautiful" was inspired by Pikes Peak in Colorado, it could just as well be referring to this stunning feat of American engineering.

Related: Most Beautiful Highway Drives in America

Freedom Park

Nebraska: Freedom Park

Military aircraft and war exhibits are the name of the game at this patriotic park nestled along the banks of the Missouri River in Omaha. Visitors can salute the World War II minesweeper USS Hazard and the Cold War-era submarine USS Marlin in addition to "Top Gun"-style fighter jets and a rescue helicopter.

Related: Awe-Inspiring U.S. Military Vehicles

Marvel At the Massive Hoover Dam
Matej Hudovernik/shutterstock

Nevada: Hoover Dam

This marvel of American engineering towering 726 feet over the Colorado River east of Las Vegas between Nevada and Arizona provides power for several Western states. Built during the Great Depression at a cost of more than 100 lives, the massive project shows that not even economic or physical calamity can slow the American spirit for innovation.

Josiah Bartlett House
Josiah Bartlett House by Magicpiano (CC BY-SA)

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett House

Fans of "The West Wing" might be surprised to learn that Josiah Bartlett was a real person. So real, in fact, that his Kingston home is now a National Historic Landmark. In addition to sharing a name with Martin Sheen's fictional character — a president from New Hampshire in the popular political television drama — Bartlett was one of the state's representatives to the Continental Congress and is thought to have been the second signer of the Declaration of Independence following John Hancock.

Atlantic City Boardwalk, New Jersey
Sean Pavone/shutterstock

New Jersey: Atlantic City Boardwalk

This signature American attraction may not be what it once was, but the Atlantic City Boardwalk remains a perennial image of American culture. Built as the nation's first boardwalk in 1870, the 5.5-mile pedestrian thoroughfare along the Atlantic coast is lined with a number of popular tourist attractions.

Related: Iconic and Beautiful Boardwalks in the Country

New Mexico Route 66 Museum

New Mexico: New Mexico Route 66 Museum

America's most iconic roadway is memorialized along one the best stretches of the 2,448-mile "Mother Road" connecting Chicago with Santa Monica, California. While Route 66 has been decommissioned since 1985, the spirit of its storied past can still be felt throughout the vintage motels and old-school diners that line its meandering path. The New Mexico Route 66 Museum in Tucumcari hosts the world's largest Route 66 photo exhibit.

Related: Route 66 Then and Now

Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, New York
Andrius Kaziliunas/istockphoto

New York: Statue of Liberty

Recognized throughout the world as an enduring symbol of liberty and democracy, the Statue of Liberty is without equal. Towering 305 feet over New York Harbor, the colossal copper statue and symbolic gift of friendship from France to the United States has stood guard on Liberty Island since 1886. In case you were wondering, the statue depicts the Roman goddess Libertas.

Related: Free or Cheap Things to Do in New York City

Wright Brothers National Memorial
National Parks Service

North Carolina: Wright Brothers National Memorial

Located in the small town of Kill Devil Hills (about 4 miles from the more famous Kitty Hawk), this memorial pays tribute to the world-famous Wright brothers and their celebrated role as inventors of the world's first working motorized airplane in 1903. Visitors can observe a replica of the Wrights' hangar and their first landing spot, as well as visit various memorials.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

North Dakota: Theodore Roosevelt National Park

An esteemed American conservationist, President Theodore Roosevelt is memorialized in this gorgeous 177-square-mile national park in the badlands of North Dakota. Originally drawn here to hunt bison before buying a ranch on the property, Roosevelt was so invigorated by the outdoors that he would go on to create the U.S. Forest Service while establishing five national parks as president.

Related: Historic National Park Photos for Vintage Views

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH

Ohio: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

With the exception of perhaps apple pie, few things are more American than rock 'n' roll. Immerse yourself in the culture of this quintessential music genre and defining American sound at this sprawling museum campus on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, which has added inductees annually since 1986, from Chuck Berry to Whitney Houston. Does Cleveland in fact rock? It most certainly does.

Related: Bucket-List Destinations for Music Lovers

Cherokee National Capitol
Cherokee National Capitol by Caleb Long (CC BY-SA)

Oklahoma: Cherokee National Capitol

Oklahoma's rich history in Native American culture is honored at this National Historic Landmark in the eastern Oklahoma town of Tahlequah. Formerly the capital city of the Cherokee Nation, the Cherokee Nation Courthouse served as the nation's capitol building from 1869 to 1907. It still operates as the tribal supreme court and judicial branch headquarters.

Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
National Parks Service

Oregon: Lewis and Clark National Historic Park

After exalted explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were sent out from St. Louis to explore the American West after the Louisiana Purchase, their final stop before returning home was Fort Clatsop along the south shore of the Columbia River near Astoria. Today, visitors can learn the fascinating history behind the expedition at Lewis and Clark National Historic Park.

Independence Hall National Park

Pennsylvania: Independence National Historical Park

Not only is this famous Philadelphia site home to the iconic Liberty Bell (which was named by abolitionists fighting slavery), it is also home to Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were debated and ratified in the late 1700s. Doesn't get much more patriotic than that.

Newport Historic District
Newport Historic District by Daniel Case (CC BY-SA)

Rhode Island: Newport Historic District

The culture of one of America's oldest cities is on full display through this 250-acre National Historic Landmark in the heart of Newport. Top historic sites include the Museum of Newport History, Trinity Church, Old Colony House, and White Horse Tavern, believed to be the oldest bar in America, serving drinks since 1673.

Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina
Gabrielle Hovey/shutterstock

South Carolina: Fort Sumter National Monument

This historic sea fort off the coast of the equally historic city of Charleston is noted as where the first shots of Civil War were fired. Today the pristine flag-draped island park a short ferry ride from Charleston showcases an array of patriotic sights, from historic cannons to informational displays.

Mount Rushmore

South Dakota: Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Pretty much a no-brainer on this one: With the immortal faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln carved into the granite rocks of the Black Hills in the town of Keystone, Mount Rushmore is one of the most photographed spots in America. It can get crowded and touristy, but the site is world-renowned and worth a visit for any patriotic American.

Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee

Tennessee: Graceland

Tennessee's crucial history in the development of American rock 'n' roll is showcased in several locations statewide, from the Beale Street Historic District to the Grand Ole Opry, but no site is more iconic than Elvis Presley's former residence of Graceland. The Memphis mansion estate and National Historic Landmark is the second-most visited house in the United States after the White House.

Related: Surprising Facts About Graceland and Elvis

The Alamo

Texas: The Alamo

"Remember the Alamo" served as a rallying cry for soldiers in a battle against Mexico during what was known as the “Texian Revolution." After the slaughter of Texas soldiers at San Antonio's Alamo Mission, the so-called Texian Army would go on to defeat the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto to establish the Republic of Texas.

Utah: Fort Douglas

Utah: Fort Douglas

Established during the Civil War in 1862 to protect mail and telegraph lines along a crucial transportation route, this National Historic Landmark District in Salt Lake City includes the Fort Douglas Military Museum and Fort Douglas Cemetery. The site was used as a POW camp for German prisoners during World War I, and today is home to the 51-acre Fort Stephen A. Douglas Armed Forces Reserve Center.

Mount Independence State Historic Site
Mount Independence State Historic Site by Zeph77 (CC BY-SA)

Vermont: Mount Independence State Historic Site

Historical reenactors help bring an important Revolutionary War battle site to life at Mount Independence State Historic Site on Lake Champlain in the town of Orwell. The well-preserved site is full of patriotic historical artifacts and a beautiful place to enjoy some of America's scenic beauty via 6 miles of peaceful hiking trails.

Colonial Williamsburg

Virginia: Colonial Williamsburg

In a state so densely packed with historic attractions — from George Washington's Mount Vernon to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello — choosing just one patriotic site in Virginia is not easy. But Colonial Williamsburg checks all the boxes with a full-scale living replica of Colonial Virginia in the middle of modern-day America. The 301-acre site is so full of star-spangled Americana that you'll be whistling "You're a Grand Old Flag" on your way out of town.

Related: Historic Places Across America That You Can Tour Virtually

Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Puget Sound Naval Shipyard by Jelson25 (CC BY-SA)

Washington: Puget Sound Naval Shipyard

It may not be the most beautiful sight, but this sprawling military-industrial facility in the town of Bremerton west of Seattle served an essential role repairing military fleets that were destroyed in the Pacific during World War II. The roughly 1,000-facility shipyard today includes a 189-acre National Historic District.

The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

West Virginia: The Greenbrier

If the entire U.S. Congress were in need of an underground bunker, they'd have West Virginia to thank for providing one. The Greenbrier, a 710-room luxury resort near the town of White Sulphur Springs, once featured a classified underground facility designed during the Cold War for that purpose. (It was thankfully never used.) Having since been decommissioned and declassified, the facilities can now be toured by visitors.

Milwaukee Soldiers' Home

Wisconsin: Milwaukee Soldiers' Home

Built in 1867 as a therapeutic and rehabilitative refuge for Civil War soldiers, the Milwaukee Soldiers' Home is one of just three surviving soldiers' homes in the country. Part of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers Historic District Northwestern Branch on the grounds of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, the 90-acre district contains some of the oldest and most historically significant buildings in the VA system.

Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons

Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park

America's first national park remains one its most spectacular, packed with an abundance of wildlife that serve as iconic images of America such as free-roaming wild bison and bald eagles. The massive 3,468-square-mile park (more than twice the size of Rhode Island) was founded in 1872 and welcomes more than 4 million visitors a year.

Related: These Yellowstone Vacation Rentals Get 5-Star Reviews from Renters