(Photo: Design Turnpike/Corbis)
Let’s face it — no one state in the country has the corner on the awesomeness market. There are things in every state that make you go “Wow!” With no strict definition of “cool” in mind, Yahoo set out to bring you one thing in each of the 50, designed to make you want to jump on a plane, train, or automobile and explore this very cool country of ours.
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The gaping cavern entrance at Cathedral Caverns State Park (Photo: Robert/Flickr)
Alabama Cathedral Caverns boasts the widest entrance of any commercial cavern in the world. The gaping entrance measures 126 feet wide and 25 feet high. That, my friends is a big hole in the ground.
Alaska With so much to see in Alaska, the easiest way to cover miles is to hop on the on the Alaska Railroad. The Seward to Anchorage Coastal Classic is your ticket to glaciers, wildlife, and spectacular mountain views.
Arizona Titan Missile Museum is a chilling look back into the Cold War era. The missile is the single remaining Titan II missile open to the public.
Arkansas The only active diamond mine in the country — Crater of Diamonds State Park near Murfreesboro — lets you dig for your own gems. You’re bound to find some cool ice.
California Black sand beaches are hot! But they are also one of the coolest things to see in California. Black Sands Beach in the north and San Diego’s Blacks Beach in the south will have you covered.
Head to Colorado to dine in a vintage plane. (Photo: Trip Advisor)
Colorado Want to dine in a 1953 Boeing KC-97 tanker? The Airplane Restaurant in Colorado Springs may change your mind about airplane food forever.
Connecticut We here at Yahoo feel the need to salute any state with an official “Chocolate Trail.” The state’s tourism site even has a list of stops along the trail, as if your nose wouldn’t lead the way. We like ours warm and gooey.
Delaware House, off I-95 (Photo: Ben Schumin/Wikimedia)
Delaware If all Interstate rest stops were as cool as the one on I-95 near Newark maybe road trips would be easier. This one, with its environmentally sensitive and sustainable design was dubbed the “Rest Stop of the Future” when it was built in 2010. When exactly will all the others catch up?
The Bat Tower (Photo: Averette/en.wikipedia)
Florida The coolest attempt at natural pest control is found on Sugarloaf Key. The Sugarloaf Key Bat Tower was built in 1929 to house bats that were to eat disease-carrying mosquitos. Apparently the bats had other ideas and flew the coop.
Georgia We love manta rays. Who would have thought you could see them in Georgia? The only manta rays in a U.S. aquarium are housed in the massive Ocean Voyager exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium.
Get a taste of royal life at Iolani Palace. (Photo: Corbis)
Hawaii Royalty rocks. We may not have American royalty, but we have a palace. Iolani Palace in Honolulu is the only palace in America that was built for actual royals.
Idaho For some hot-springs coolness head to Idaho, which has the most useable hot springs of any state, 130 soakable spots in all.
Illinois Statues are not usually cool. Why else would we all work so hard at striking lame poses in front of them? But a statue of Michael Jordan? Doesn’t get any better than that. See it at the United Center in Chicago.
Indiana The RV Hall of Fame and Museum in Elkhart is home to Mae West’s 1939 Chevrolet Housecar. There’s not an RV on the road today as groovy as that.
Iowa The world’s largest truck stop is the Iowa 80 at Exit 284 on I-80 near Walcott.
Monument Rocks – Mother Nature’s wonderful work. (Photo: Lane Pearman/Flickr)
Kansas A stop at Monument Rocks makes you want to say “Toto, I’ve a feeling we aren’t in Kansas anymore.” But you’d be wrong. These rock formations sprout from the badlands in eastern Kansas.
Kentucky The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville is home to the world’s biggest bat (and every tour has a free souvenir: a mini bat).
Louisiana If bridges are your thing, this is the state where you’ll find the longest. According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world. You can’t even see land for more than eight miles in the center. There aren’t many lakes worthy of their own country song, but this one — and the bridge that crosses it — are just that worthy.
Maine The world’s largest rotating globe can be found in an appropriate place: the headquarters of famed mapmakers DeLorme in Yarmouth. It even has a cool name: Eartha.
On Assateague island, large populations of beautiful, wild horses roam free. (Photo: Getty Images)
Maryland There are so many tributes to man-made things in Maryland; perhaps that very fact is what makes the Chincoteague ponies on Assateague Island the thing we love most in the state.
Massachusetts The largest solid-granite monument is not in the nation’s granite-filled capital, where you might think. It’s the National Monument to the Forefathers in Plymouth. Cool for history buffs; cool for patriots.
Michigan The largest college football stadium is none other than the Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan with 109,901 seats. It even has a cool nickname: “The Big House.”
Minnesota Trying to give the famed Wisconsin Dells some competition, the tallest indoor water park in the country is the Water Park of America. Get your suit on.
Mississippi Where Coca Cola was first bottled in 1894. You can get the full history at the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum. Not much cooler than an ice-cold Coke.
Missouri The world’s largest subterranean lake is a mecca for scuba divers. The Bonne Terre Mine has 17 miles of navigable shoreline, all underground. It’s the coolest boat ride in the country.
Cut Bank, Montana – home to the largest talking penguin. (Photo: Jasperdo/Flickr)
Montana Cut Bank is one of many U.S. cities claiming to be the coldest spot in the nation, but it also has the largest talking penguin to go with its claim. That’s worth repeating: the largest talking penguin. Definition of cool.
Nebraska Carhenge rises out of the western prairie of Nebraska. Though arguably not as cool as Stonehenge in the grand scheme of things, this road side pile up is worth the photo stop.
Nevada Instead of depositing your life savings in the Las Vegas casinos, chill out at Great Basin National Park’s Lehman Caves, where the temperature is a chilly 50 degrees year-round.
New Hampshire Mine your own gemstones at Ruggles Mine, which will even rent you a handy little rock hammer.
New Jersey If you want a cool photo of the Manhattan skyline, Liberty State Park is your spot. From here you get the skyline, plus unrivaled views of Ellis Island and Lady Liberty.
New Mexico Anything large enough to be seen from space is cool. That alone qualifies the ancient Carrizozo Malpais lava flow. See it up close in the Valley of Fires Recreation Area.
The stunning view from the gardens at Oheka Castle. (Photo: Oheka Castle)
New York The second largest private residence ever built in the United States is the Oheka Castle. Sometimes it’s better to come in second.
North Carolina Brace yourself and take your motion-sickness meds. This state is home to some of America’s curviest roads. The most famous is an 11-mile adventure with 318 curves called the Tail of the Dragon. Wild name, wild ride.
North Dakota This is probably not where you’d think the geographical center of the continent is, but there’s a 21-foot high monument that says so near Rugby.
Ohio The 1,444 mile-long Buckeye Trail circles the state. What a perfect way to see Ohio.
The world’s largest praying hands in Tulsa. (Photo: jill, jellidonut…whatever/Flickr)
Oklahoma The world’s largest praying hands are 60-feet tall (in case you wondered) at the entrance to the Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
Oregon The largest independent bookstore in the world is Powell’s City of Books. It occupies an entire city block in Portland.
Pennsylvania In this industrial state, factory tours are not hard to find, but for something different, try the best sounding of them all at the Martin Guitar Museum.
Rhode Island The Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile trail that snakes along the shore in Newport, letting you see how awesome it can be to balance between nature and architecture.
South Carolina Piers are cool no matter the length. But the Apache Pier in Myrtle Beach is 1,206 feet long, making it the longest wood pier on the East Coast.
The a-maize-ing Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. (Photo: Corbis)
South Dakota Besides those famous faces carved into the mountain, South Dakota is home to the world’s only Corn Palace. Yes, really. An ode to corn. Coolness on the cob.
Tennessee The world’s only Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is in Gatlinburg. Maybe it should have a meet up with the Corn Palace?
Texas State Highway 16 only ranks as the fifth longest state highway in the country, but it passes through some of the state’s coolest places like Fredericksburg, Llano, and Kerrville. There’s wine, wildflowers, and barbecue. What else would you want from a road trip?
Utah This state is home to six of the world’s 10 longest natural stone arches. The longest is Landscape Arch in Arches National Park.
Vermont In homage to cool dogs everywhere, the Frisbee Dog Monument can be found at Middlebury College. It was actually a pie plate in the memorialized first game of catch because the Frisbee wasn’t invented for another 10 years.
At the heart of southwest Virginia’s art and music scene is Heartwood. (Photo: Heartwood)
Virginia For exploring the local art, music, and culture of southwest Virginia, Heartwood is where the cool kids hang. And besides that, the name is cool.
Washington This state has the most named glaciers in the continental U.S. It’s just that cool.
West Virginia Billed as the “Walk of Your Life,” if you have trekked across the catwalk of the New River Gorge Bridge, we hereby crown you the coolest people we know.
With some of the biggest indoor and outdoor parks in the country, it’s no wonder that Wisconsin Dells is known as the water park capital of the word! (Photo: Wilderness Resort/Facebook)
Wisconsin The largest indoor water park complex — as well as the most indoor water parks in one community — is found in the Wisconsin Dells. The Wilderness Resort has more than 200,000 square feet of wet and warm fun year-round.
Wyoming Let’s face it, Wyoming is just cool. It’s got Yellowstone and Grand Tetons National Parks. And then there’s the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, where you can see Ronald Reagan’s Winchester rifle.
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