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There’s nothing Americans love more than a good vacation. In 2018, we collectively logged 1.8 billion tripsfor leisure alone. But between all the amber waves of grain and purple mountains majesty out there, whittling down the options can be daunting.

That's why we looked at a year's worth of booking data to determine which attractions, well, actually attract the most visitors—thanks to some help from Viator (a TripAdvisor company). And since Americans plan to spend around 10% of their annual income on vacations, we also determined the average cost of each state’s most popular experience to show where you can get the most bang for your tourist buck.

Culture & Education experiences account for half of all top attractions costing less than $50

Exploration & Discovery experiences account for half of all top attractions costing over $100

 Iowa is the most affordable state for tourism with an average attraction cost under $20

• Montana has the highest average attraction cost, tipping the scale at over $400

 

america the beautiful

From the Field of Dreams movie site in Iowa to a riverboat dinner and dance cruise in Arkansas, some of the most popular experiences may raise some eyebrows. Oklahoma and Kansas travelers seem to especially buck travel tradition with their devotion to indoor skydiving.

Though many of the must-see favorites do show up: Yellowstone, the Rockies, Mount Rushmore, Key West, and Martha’s Vineyard all make welcome appearances.

The majority of top experiences (31%) focus on exploration and discovery–ranging from a budget friendly dolphin cruise in Alabama to a bucket list Grand Canyon helicopter tour taking off from the Las Vegas Strip–followed by cultural and educational opportunities like Philadelphia's Founding Fathers Tour at 25%. Understandable given a country full of vast natural resources and rich history:

 

Attraction Type Number
Exploration & Discovery 16
Culture & Education 13
Food & Drink 12
Adrenaline & Experience 10

But we didn’t stop there: we went beyond the top experience in each state, and mapped multiple top experiences for every state, by region. Keep reading to get an even better idea of what makes every part of the US so travel-friendly, as well as the average cost of the attractions in the region and state you're thinking of visiting.

 

Northeast

Average Attraction Cost: $70.50

 

With its big cities and shiny metropolises, it’s no wonder the Northeast is a fruitful place to explore. You can pick up an NYC Explorer Pass, take a ferry out to Martha’s Vineyard, or tour Portland, Maine and its beautiful lighthouses. New Hampshire and Vermont are the two gastronomical destinations in the region—delivering on their farm-to-table reputations—and history buffs can get their fix visiting the Gilded Age mansions of Rhode Island or the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania.

 

Midwest

Average Attraction Cost: $47.99

 

The Midwest’s experiences are as varied as the region itself. The Great Lakes area seems to lend itself to good food and drink: the Traverse City, Michigan Wine Tour takes the top spot in Michigan, while Indiana’s top 3 and Ohio’s top 2 are all gastronomical. The most popular attractions in Wisconsin and Illinois invite you to explore their respective big cities, while Iowa proudly showcases its contribution to sports films and Missouri rides the popularity of Branson.

The Midwest is also the easiest region on the wallet, boasting both the lowest average attraction cost of any part of the country and the state with the cheapest average attraction cost of any state (Iowa).

 

West

Average Attraction Cost: $175.63

 

The West is absolutely covered in natural wonders, so it’s no surprise that exploration is the most popular things to do out that way. California almost fell in line, too, but the Muir Woods & Wine Country tour—their most popular experience—felt like it had more of a viticulture character than not, so we classified it as food & drink. Notably, the Bay Area is home to all three of California's most popular travel experiences.

Be prepared to budget a little more for vacations in the West, as this is the region with the highest average attraction cost. More specifically, fun in the Big Sky Country of Montana will mean big bucks, as it is the state with the overall highest average attraction price tag.

 

South

Average Attraction Cost: $66.28

 

Many of the Gulf Coast states tend toward watery activities: Alabama’s dolphin cruise out of Biloxi, a Gulf fishing charter in Mississippi, and Florida’s Key West dinner cruise. Further north, the history of the Carolinas is on display, while the popularity of Virginia’s Busch Gardens is the region’s only strictly amusement-based experience.

 

States and their most popular Attractions, In Order of average price

 

State Average Price Attractions
Iowa $16.67
  1. Field of Dreams Movie Site Guided Home Tour in Dyersville
  2. Frank Lloyd Wright's Historic Park Inn Hotel and City National Bank Tours
  3. Zombie Scavengers Game - Des Moines
New Hampshire $25.00
  1. Meet the Winemakers: Seven Birches Winery Tour
Nebraska $30.28
  1. Great Platte River Road Archway Monument
  2. Omaha Food Walk Tour
  3. Omaha City History Walk Tour
Rhode Island $30.32
  1. Newport Gilded Age Mansions Trolley Tour with Breakers Admission
  2. Best of Newport Trolley Tour
  3. Newport Harbor Sightseeing Cruise
Maine $31.00
  1.  Portland, Maine City, and Lighthouse 2-Hour Tour
  2. Narrated Bus Tour of Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park
  3. Narrated Sightseeing Tour of Portland, Maine Aboard a Vintage Fire Truck
Oklahoma $32.71
  1. iFLY Oklakoma City Indoor Skydiving
  2. Spooks, Spirits, and Scoundrels Ghost Tour of Oklahoma City
  3. Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum Tickets
Connecticut $32.97
  1. Mystic Aquarium General Admission Ticket
  2. Sunday Brunch Cruise
  3. Admission to Mystic Seaport

 

Illinois $33.13
  1. Chicago Architecture River Cruise
  2. Chicago Crime and Mob Tour
  3. Skydeck Chicago Admission
North Carolina $34.00
  1.  Biltmore Admission with Self-Guided Audio Tour & Lunch
  2. Charlotte Comedy City Tour
  3. Charlotte's Historical City Tour
Missouri $36.00
  1. Amazing Acrobats of Shanghai
  2. Branson Show - The Haygoods
  3. Titanic Museum Branson Admission Ticket
Pennsylvania $36.00
  1. Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia
  2. Gettysburg Battlefield Bus Tour
  3. Double-Decker Hop-On Hop Off Sightseeing Tour of Philadelphia
Alabama $37.23
  1. Alabama Gulf Coast Dolphin Cruise
  2. Birmingham Civil Rights Tour
  3. The Secretly Awesome Tour
Georgia $39.52
  1. Savannah Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour 
  2. Savannah Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour
  3. Savannah Riverboat Cruises
South Carolina $40.07
  1. Charleston’s Old South Carriage Historic Tour
  2. Charleston Harbor History Tour
  3. Magnolia Plantation Tour with Transportation from Charleston
Arkansas $41.67
  1. Riverboat Dinner and Dance Cruise in Hot Springs
  2. 8th St. Market Food Tour Experience
  3. Museum Admission - The Galaxy Connection
Ohio $42.00
  1. The Nati in a Nutshell Cincinnati Food Tour Including Carew Tower Entrance Fee
  2. Best Bites and Sites Tour of Cincinnati-Streetcar Included
  3. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Admission, in Cleveland
Wisconsin $43.33
  1. Milwaukee Sightseeing City Tour
  2. Milwaukee Brewery Tour
  3. Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus Tour
Delaware $45.00
  1. Guided Kayak Excursion Rehoboth Back Bay 
Kansas $45.41
  1. iFLY Kansas City Indoor Skydiving
  2. Sorcerer's Secret Escape Room Kansas
  3. Bank Heist Escape Room Kansas
Minnesota $50.00
  1. SEA LIFE Aquarium Minnesota Admission Tickets at the Mall of America
  2. Historic Northeast Minneapolis Food Tour
  3. All-Inclusive 3-hr Craft Brewery Tour
Virginia $51.66
  1. Busch Gardens Williamsburg Admission Ticket
  2. Colonial Williamsburg Admission
  3. 2-Hour Richmond Historic Landmark Trolley Tour
Michigan $54.33
  1. 5-Hour Traverse City Wine Tour: 5 Wineries on Old Mission Peninsula
  2. Detroit Urban Exploration and Photography Tour
  3. Detroits Rise Fall and Renewal
North Dakota $55.00
  1. Fargo Favorites Food Tour
Texas $56.29
  1. San Antonio River Walk Cruise, Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Tower of the Americas
  2. Best of Austin Small-Group Guided Tour
  3. JFK Assassination and Museum Tour in Dallas
Massachusetts $58.72
  1. Boston to Martha's Vineyard Daytrip with Optional Island Tour
  2. Boston Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour
  3. Tour of Historic Fenway Park, America's Most Beloved Ballpark
Maryland $59.88
  1. Spirit of Baltimore Dinner Cruise with Buffet 
  2. Original Annapolis Seafood Crawl
  3. Baltimore Inner Harbor Sightseeing Tour
Indiana $65.00
  1. Massachusetts Avenue Food Tour
  2. Fountain Square Food Tour
  3. Indy Beer Mile
New York $70.00
  1. New York City Explorer Pass
  2. Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: Award-Winning, Small-Group Tour
  3. New York in One Day Guided Sightseeing Tour
Kentucky $70.17
  1. Bluegrass Horse Farm Tour
  2. Thoroughbred Horse Farm Tour in Kentucky
  3. Bourbon in the Bluegrass
Washington D.C. $75.40
  1. Washington DC Guided Night Tour
  2. Best of DC Including US Capitol, National Archives Reserved Access, White House and Lincoln Memorial
  3. Washington DC Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley + Arlington Nat'l Cemetery, Water Taxi Upgrade
Idaho $75.40
  1. Hells Canyon Jet Boat Tour
  2. Culinary and Cultural Tour of Boise
  3. Sunday Brunch Tour in Downtown Boise
Tennessee $77.50
  1. Discover Nashville City Tour with Admission to Two Attractions
  2. Nashville Showboat Lunch or Dinner Cruise on the General Jackson
  3. Grand Ole Opry Admission Ticket
Florida $79.78
  1. Key West Sunset Champagne and Appetizers Cruise
  2. Key West Full-Day Power Adventure: Sailing and Water Sports
  3. Speedboat Sightseeing Tour of Miami
Oregon $88.33
  1. Morning Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
  2. Mt. Hood Day Trip from Portland to Multnomah Falls and Hood River
  3. Willamette Valley Wine-Tasting Tour from Portland
Louisiana $89.00
  1. Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise
  2. Experience Cajun Country: Swamp Boat Adventure and Plantations Full-Day Tour from New Orleans
  3. Steamboat Natchez Jazz Dinner Cruise
Colorado $99.33
  1. Discover Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver or Boulder
  2. Small Group Tour of Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods from Denver
  3. Foothills Explorer Tour From Denver
Vermont $99.66
  1. Burlington Brewery Tour with Lunch or Dinner
  2. NEK Adventures Snowmobile Tour ~ St Johnsbury Vermont's #1 Attraction
  3. Burlington Puzzling Adventure
Utah $100.66
  1. Monument Valley Guided Tour
  2. Hell's Revenge 4x4 Off-Roading Tour from Moab
  3. Arches National Park 4x4 Adventure from Moab
Hawaii $102.90
  1. Paradise Cove Luau
  2. Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran
  3. Molokini Snorkeling Adventure Aboard the Calypso
 California $108.67
  1. San Francisco Super Saver: Muir Woods & Wine Country w/ optional Gourmet Lunch
  2. Muir Woods and Sausalito Half Day Tour (Optional Sausalito Ferry Ticket)
  3. Napa and Sonoma Wine Country - Full Day Tour from San Francisco
South Dakota $109.44
  1. Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills Tour from Rapid City
  2. Mount Rushmore and More Tour
  3. Private six door limousine tours of Mt Rushmore or Badlands or Devils Tower
Washington $109.99
  1. Mt. Rainier Day Trip from Seattle
  2. Seattle CityPASS
  3. Snoqualmie Falls and Seattle Winery Tour
West Virginia $111.12
  1. Whitewater Rafting Lower New River Gorge
  2. Beginners Falconry Experience
  3. New River Gorge Zip Line Canopy Tour
New Mexico $146.00
  1. Albuquerque Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight
  2. Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Ride at Sunrise
  3. Half-Day Santa Fe Food and History Walking Tour
Mississippi $160.83
  1. Half-Day Fishing Charter
  2. City Sightseeing Natchez Hop On Hop Off Tour
  3. Beauvoir General Admission Ticket
Arizona $175.09
  1. Upper Antelope Canyon Ticket
  2. 45-minute Helicopter Flight Over the Grand Canyon from Tusayan, Arizona
  3. Ultimate Grand Canyon Day Trip from Flagstaff or Sedona
New Jersey $208.00
  1. New York Helicopter Tour: City Lights Skyline Experience
  2. Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise from Cape May
  3. In-Depth: Niagara Falls, Philadelphia, Boston, D.C. & NYC Tour from New York
Wyoming $218.00
  1. Yellowstone Old Faithful, Waterfalls, and Wildlife Day Tour
  2. Grand Teton Wildlife Safari in Open-Air Vehicle
  3. Yellowstone Lower Loop Full-Day Tour
Nevada $240.00
  1. Grand Canyon All-American Helicopter Tour
  2. Ultimate Hoover Dam Tour
Alaska $345.67
  1. Whale Watch and Mendenhall Glacier Combo Tour
  2. Juneau Shore Excursion: Helicopter Tour and Guided Icefield Walk
  3. Juneau Helicopter Tour and Dogsledding Experience
Montana $460.10
  1. Half-Day Flathead River Whitewater Rafting Trip
  2. Enjoy a private tour of Yellowstone National Park! Gourmet picnic lunch included
  3. Half Day Scenic Float

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