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1-4 day itineraries and things to do in popular states including New York, Boston, Chicago and Austin.

Jam-Packed 4 Days In New York Itinerary + Map

4 days in New York Itinerary

Looking for a jam-packed 4 days in New York itinerary with heaps of variations to suit every travel style? Look no further. Are you ready to join the ranks of those who fall in love with NYC just like Holly Golightly, Carrie Bradshaw, Godzilla and King Kong? Walk the streets of the Upper East Side like Blair and Serena, meet at the top of the Empire State Building like Tom and Meg (Sleepless in Seattle) and be prepared to have the song New York, New York in your head all day!

Let’s take a look at the top New York attractions, offbeat suggestions and how to fill four days in the city that does not sleep. We’ll focus on the best things to do in Manhattan, The Bronx and Brooklyn and detail everything you need to know before you go.

We have to apologize in advance, there is actually too much packed into this itinerary for four days but we wanted to cater for everyone’s NY bucket lists!

As always with Two Scots Abroad itineraries, you will see ‘alternative options’ which you can pick and choose from.

Have any questions? Just leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you. We’ve outlined the best photo and Instagram spots in New York throughout and there’s a map with everything we talk about pinned to it too.

Yellow Cabs NYC

Famous yellow cabs at Central Park

Four Days in New York Itinerary

One Day in NYC

Morning – Get Your Bearings + Times Square + Bryant Park

Your first day in New York will be the wildest because of all the adrenaline and excitement you will feel from the moment you land in John F. Kennedy (Queens) or Newark Airports (New Jersey).

Before we dive into the itinerary, we need to mention that there are five boroughs in New York titled The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.

Although it is unlikely you will spend time in each one during your four days in New York, it is still worth getting to know where each is and what they offer to help with your itinerary planning.

Five Boroughs New York Map

Manhattan is where most of the popular things to see in New York are such as Times Square, Central Park and the Empire State Building.

The Bronx is where you will go to see a Yankees game if you are a fan of baseball.

Brooklyn is where you will find the vintage theme park Coney Island and the hip Williamsburg. DUMBO appears in many Instagram feeds. Brooklyn and Manhattan are connected by the Brooklyn Bridge.

Staten Island has a free commuter ferry to Manhattan which offers (free) views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Also home to a discount shopping outlet called Empire Outlet.

Queens is home to JFK Airport and the New York Mets baseball stadium.

New York Yankees Advert

Yankees Baseball Team

The first stop on your New York itinerary is Times Square. With all the naked cowboys, raucous noise, and selfie-stick loving tourists, this is where you will finally realize that you are in the Big Apple, where over 50 million people visit every year.

If that does not impress you enough, for every dollar that tourists spend in New York, nearly 25 cents out of that is spent on Times Square alone.

Times Square is primarily for shopping (Swatch, M+Ms World, MAC), dining, (so grab breakfast or burgers, sushi, snacks at TSQMKT) and entertainment.

You will be surrounded by a lot of buildings showcasing neon signs, giant billboards and television screens full of corporate ads. If you have not started singing Alicia Keys’ signature phrase “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” now is the time.

The reason why this is one of the top New York tourist attractions is its accessibility and buzzing energy, no matter what time of day or night you visit.

Time Square Crowds NYC

Some people love the bustle of Times Square, others hates it! Where do you sit? Tell us in the comments below.

The best time to visit Times Square is early morning if you want to try and beat the crowds.

However, everybody goes there, and you will have to walk among a sea of people because that is just how busy New York always is.

The city never sleeps, remember? There will be many people dressed in Disney or Marvel characters, but you should avoid taking photos with them unless you enjoy getting fleeced for cash.

At times it is fun to take a picture with Wonder Woman.

But just before the camera flash goes off, a bunch of her friends suddenly join at the last minute, and then the experience sourly turns into an unwanted group photo where every single person demands money.

Take a break by sitting on top of the famous giant red staircase in the middle and grab some hot dogs.

This is where you should bring out that selfie-stick and take a photo from on top of the stairs with the entire backdrop of Times Square right behind you.

New York is also a foodie heaven, and you will find many places to eat everywhere you look. Some restaurants have also turned into gift shops and museums, such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Seafood Restaurant, inspired by the movie “Forrest Gump” with Tom Hanks.

They even sell boxes of chocolates that say the famous line, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

There are several souvenir shops on nearly every street you walk on. This is where you can buy the I Love NY t-shirts and wear them around Times Square.

However, if you can wait, we have budget-saving advice for souvenirs on day two.

Some of the iconic shops to visit in the area as Disney Store, Hershey’s Chocolate World, M&M’s World, Yankees Clubhouse Shop, MTV Store, and Grand Slam New York.

Try the free samples at Hershey’s! Visiting during winter? This is where the ball drops every New Year’s Eve. Read more about the best places to spend NYE here.

Times Square New York_

Hate crowds? Head to Hell’s Kitchen for a sit-down meal.

On your way, you might see extremely long lines of people. This is because they are all trying to get tickets for The Late Show or The Daily Show.

You can try lining up to participate if you are a huge fan, but there is no point in spending several hours in a line when there is so much else to see Prefer a takeout meal?

Head to Bryant Park, which is a short walk from Times Square. Bryant Park is 9.6-acres of green space in the madness of Manhattan.

During the warmer months, locals and visitors catch rays among the blades of grass or sit on the metal seats to people watch.

Visiting NYC in fall? Head to Bryant Park to see the foliage.

It doesn’t close when the snow hits either. Igloos and ice skating takes over.

The park also puts on a series of events throughout the year such as yoga classes, movie screenings and free concerts. Perfect if your New York vacation means relaxing with some American beers and burgers.

NYC is awesome for free gigs and concerts during the summer months.

Bryant Park has a hidden gem too, check out the toilets when nature calls to see more nature at the loos.

Head to Bryant Park, which is a short walk from Times Square.

Bryant Park is 9.6-acres of green space in the madness of Manhattan.

During the warmer months, locals and visitors catch rays among the blades of grass or sit on the metal seats to people watch.

It doesn’t close when the snow hits either. Igloos and ice skating takes over.

The park also puts on a series of events throughout the year such as yoga classes, movie screenings and free concerts.

Perfect if your New York vacation means relaxing with some American beers and burgers. NYC is awesome for free gigs and concerts during the summer months.

→ Get your bearings: Central Park is only a ten-minute walk from here, and you can just walk down towards the west and suddenly be amid an entire stretch of restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen where you will find every single cuisine.

You can also walk to the New York Public Library and Grand Central Station in just twenty minutes.

Don’t miss our New York State bucket list challenge!

Lush trees at Byrant Park. NYC

Alternative Lunch Option

Food halls should also be on your NYC itinerary because they are beneficial if you cannot decide what to eat and want to try a little bit of everything.

The Urbanspace Vanderbilt food hall (Vanderbilt Ave, New York) is a short stroll from Bryant Park and Grand Central Station.

There are over 21 vendors, and you can also try a typical New York pizza slice called “The Axl Rosenberg.”

This is a delicious mouthful of mushrooms, garlic, jalapenos, and hot soppressata.

For some healthier pizzas and salads, you can eat at the Whole Foods food hall that also has a lot of delicious sushi, fish, and wine.

Evening – Top of the Rock + Hell’s Kitchen Dining

Now that you have seen a couple of New York attractions on foot, it is time to see the concrete jungle from above during peak sunset hour so you can watch all the city lights come alive.

There are no shortage of observatories in the city but The Rockefeller Center has the best observation deck for night viewings called “Top of the Rock.”

Unlike other observation decks in the city, this is an outdoor area where you can feel every bit of wind in your hair.

This is one of the best things to do in New York and gets crowded, which is why you should always book tickets in advance.

With the Top of the Rock Observation Deck Flexible Date Ticket, you can always pick the dates which suit your trip and can skip the hectic line.

Enjoy the pink sunset glow from the deck and take a million photos.

It is also one of the best views because you see the Empire State Building that should always be the center of attention in all your panoramic sunset or night pictures.

You can see the view from the observation in the image.

Set aside one hour for your visit or stay until night to get this shot.

Top of the Rock has wheelchair access and is collapsible stroller friendly.

Professional photography and tripods are not allowed.

Next, treat yourself to dinner at any of the ethnic restaurants in the once-gritty, Hell’s Kitchen. This is where Marvel’s Daredevil was brought up!

Still raring to go for a night full of sin?

Check out a comedy at Hell’s Kitchen or a theater show on Broadway and have a nightcap at Hotel Ink 48’s rooftop (653 11th Ave) for unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River.

Midtown Manhattan from Rockefeller NYC

SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Experience

Probably the most popular thing to do for photography fans and young social media users is SUMMit One Vanderbilt but it is pricey so you are going to want to choose this over one of the other observation decks.

Located at One Vanderbilt, you can access the observatory line from inside Grand Central Station.

SUMMIT is 1401 feet high, 77 stories up and promises an immersive experience over a couple of floors.

The elevators flies up to the 91st floor to Transcendence I, in just 43 seconds.

The next room is Affinity, the one with the shiny balls you’ve seen on social media.

Views include Top of the Rock!

The next floor, 92nd, is Transcendence II which looks down on Transcendence I.

There is also a typical outside observation deck with views over to the Empire State Building.

For an additional fee, a glass elevator takes you to floor 93, Ascent.

If this sounds like the observatory for you, you can reserve a timed ticket here.

2 Days in New York

One of the best things about New York is that even if you do not have breakfast at the hotel, there are many carts on every street that serve hot bagels and pretzels.

Grab one of these to eat while walking to fuel up for day 2 in NYC.

Morning – Ellis Island + Statue of Liberty

Today we’re going to venture out to Liberty Island to see the glorious Statue of Liberty.

Keep in mind that this is one of the most popular things to do in New York and the lines reflect it.

Gemma (Two Scots Abroad) walked down to The Battery (Park) without pre-booking a ticket and turned on her heels back to the city when she saw the lines.

You can choose your designated trip date, time (morning) and type of ticket (standard or priority pedestal access) at GetYourGuide.

The Statue of Liberty tour includes a ferry ride and access to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island.

It also includes a multilingual audio guide.

If you want to visit the stone pedestal where Lady Liberty proudly perches you need to purchase the priority pedestal access option.

Note: Backpacks and tripods are not allowed on the pedestal access but there are lockers onsite.

Avoid the scams, go with a trusted cruise tour. You don’t have time to waste as it is a four-hour trip.

You might encounter some random ticket sellers who offer competitive prices that make pizza seem more expensive.

These tickets are usually not genuine, and you might never see the seller again right after paying.

Not bothered about seeing the exhibitions or visiting the pedestal?

Anyone with a ferry ticket can get access to the island and walk around, but you need a separate ticket to visit the Statue of Liberty.

The ferries run regularly on a continuous loop to the statue and back.

If you want to climb up to the crown, you will have to buy an additional pass several months in advance.

The crown tickets sell out super-fast.

Visiting the crown is not for the faint-hearted because you need to climb up to 340 steps, which is about 20 floors!

There are no elevators, so you must be in great shape.

It also gets sweltering and stuffy inside with temperatures 11 degrees higher than outside.

This, coupled with all the exercise during the intense stair climb, should inspire you to remove as many layers as legally possible.

The top of the crown is a minimal space with lots of little windows to see the view from.

If you look closely at the outside of Lady Liberty’s crown, you can see the windows to picture yourself on the other side of them after climbing a ton of stairs.

Set aside 3-4 hours for this New York point of interest.

Be ready for ferry security screening.

Statue of Liberty with NUC skyline

Alternative Option – United Nations

If this is your second time visiting New York, you don’t want to wait in line for Ellis Island or you have a particular interest in international issues and politics you may want to visit the United Nations.

This complex is the official headquarters of the United Nations (46th St & 1st Ave).

It features a museum with guided tours and exhibitions such as aid packages and tents for international relief.

A really cool feature of the tour is that you get to stand in the very same room where Malala Yousafzai delivered her speech on Global Education and Greta Thunberg asked the world leaders ‘how dare you’.

Yes, during the tour, providing it is available, you get access to the General Assembly Hall and Security Council Chamber.

United Nations NYC twisted gun monument

Afternoon Option 1

Canal Street Shopping + Chinatown

For the best bargains and genuine fakes, you should go to Canal Street, where several vendors have inexpensive souvenirs along Chinatown, especially the I <3 NY tees.

Canal Street is cash-only and haggling is welcomed. Be cautious of where your purse is at all times.

If you want more than the stereotypical items to bring back home, you should visit the Artists & Fleas market for hand-printed shirts, punk jewelry, and other arts and crafts related souvenirs.

The market is usually open until 9pm, which should give you plenty of time to shop around and explore all the different vendors.

From Canal Street, you are only two minutes walk from Cortlandt Alley.

At first, Cortlandt Alley might just look like a dingy street with no redeeming qualities but never judge a book by its cover!

This street is famous. It has brought alive many pages of scripts from the likes of Gotham, Law and Order and the film, Annie.

Just picture a man in a trench coat and hat solving a crime or even better, you might just catch a movie being made!

One of the best things about NYC is food from all over the world.

Since you are in Chinatown it would be rude not to sample some dim sum.

Chinatown buildings in NYC

Afternoon Option 2

One World Trade Center + 9/11 Memorial and Museum

A visit to the One WTC (Freedom Tower) and the 9/11 Museum combines an observatory deck and memorial museum.

The One WTC elevator takes only 47 seconds to get you to the top of the observatory viewing deck.

With advance One World Observatory skip-the-line tickets, you can skip all the lines.

The lifts also have a dynamic display that shows you how New York City transformed through history to become the world’s most loved concrete jungle.

There is also a thrilling Sky Portal with a glass floor that you can look down from! Hopefully, you are not afraid of heights or suffer from vertigo because this is the best part.

After the observatory, you can stop by at the cocktail bar for a gourmet experience while taking more shots of the iconic skyline.

If you visit One World Trade Center during Christmas, they set up a massive snow globe with incredible snowy displays.

The restaurant also serves Christmas themed food and drinks.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum is open until 8pm daily, and it is located on the site of the original Twin Towers to pay homage to the nearly 3000 victims of the 2001 attacks.

The museum takes you through an in-depth experience with testimonies, artifacts, and stories from survivors of the attack.

The surrounding reflecting pools provide a tranquil backdrop to the memorial, and all the interactive exhibits take you on a historical journey of the tragic event.

There are over 10,000 artifacts and more than 2,000 interviews, photos, and interviews from survivors.

The most notable is the permanent collection where the items are donated by a survivor named John Stiastny.

The largest room in the museum is called Foundation Hall.

This is 15,000 square foot space with a 60-foot-tall ceiling that is made from some of the original wall that wasn’t destroyed on 9/11.

This museum gets very crowded with tourists no matter what time you visit because this is an emotional experience for tons of people from around the world.

With the New York 9/11 Memorial & Museum Skip-The-Line tickets, you can bypass the queue to explore all the exhibits and interactive displays.

You can reserve your skip-the-line ticket here.

Photographers will want to swing by the World Trade Center Transportation Hub (Oculus) to see the vast white futuristic building. Pack your shades.

One World Trade Center Tower (AKA Freedom Tower) over Hudson River viewed from New Jersey NYC

Afternoon Option 3


Ride a city bike or walk over the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to get to Brooklyn.

You can pick up a Citibike, rent it for an hour and drop it off at a different location.

While you might not want to pedal around the fierce traffic of Manhattan, Brooklyn brings a slower pace to city life.

Brooklyn Bridge is one of the most popular places to take photos in the city. Capture the tangled webs of the bridge structure during the golden hour for best light but expect crowds.

Brooklyn Bridge at sunset NYC


Dumb name, incredible spot.

Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO) has started popping up in lots of Instagram feeds and too right, this cobbled corner of Brooklyn is cool without shouting about it.

Street art murals, vintage finds, photogenic coffees, DUMBO is a Millennial dream.

Not your style? Don’t let that put you off the area, Brooklyn Park is one of the best spots to capture the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges as well as the Manhattan skyline, day and night.

The park takes in Pier 1 to Pier 6 and has a dedicated bikeway if you want to pedal between the piers.

Need a refresher? Time Out Market New York is located in DUMBO and offers 2-4-1 happy hour drinks with a skyline view.

DUMBO Manhattan Bridge NYC


Even back in 2011 when Gemma stayed in Williamsburg, bars were serving cocktails in jam jars. Welcome to Williamsburg!

Art galleries, craft beer breweries and sustainable clothes shopping on Bedford Avenue.

Around on a Saturday? Check out the Brooklyn Flea market.

Food! This gentrified pocket of Brooklyn has no end to its offerings from tacos to tempeh. It’s not cheap though!

Sopranos fans should dine at Bamonte’s (32 Withers St) which has been serving Italian food to the public, not just acting mafia gang members, since the 1900s.

Coney Island

Let’s go back, way back into time and visit the vintage fairground.

Luna Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn is an old school theme park with rides such as the Cyclon Rollercoaster and cool photobooths which print off four frames, cue cute couple/pals pics like Gemma took.

Coney Island is also home to a beach and firework display every Friday during summer.

You’ve probably seen it before as it has been featured in many movies including the appropriately named, Brooklyn.

It takes around 45-60 minutes from Manhattan to get here using the D, Q, N or F train to Stillwell Avenue.

As you can see, you can easily spend a day in Brooklyn. It’s a great borough for accommodation too, especially if you are a foodie and/or like bars. We’ve provided some ideas for accommodation below.

Aerial view on Coney Island and Brighton Beach  NYC

Evening – Broadway

If you have time, grab a disco (afternoon) nap at the hotel and get ready to head out to watch a play at one of the famous Broadway theaters as part of your NYC itinerary for 2 days in New York so far.

The most popular Broadway shows are Hamilton, Moulin Rouge, Beetlejuice, To Kill a Mockingbird, Aladdin, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Book of Mormon.

Since you only have 4 days in NYC, you should carefully choose one performance because there isn’t enough time for more.

These performances get booked out several months (if not a year) in advance, especially if you want to see Hamilton.

You can either buy tickets online or try your luck by visiting the theatre box office.

If there are any last-minute seats available, the box office usually starts a standby list and offers them on the day of the performance.

This is a first-come-first-serve policy, so you might want to check for tickets first thing in the morning to add your name in the line before sightseeing.

Websites like Ticketmaster might have cheaper tickets that get sold out in a jiffy.

The box office ones are priced a bit higher because they know that your willingness to pay is higher since you are dying to see Hamilton (who wouldn’t?!)

A lot of famous celebrities do Broadway shows in New York.

In 2019, Tom Hiddleston and Jake Gyllenhaal were fan favorites with massive lines of people waiting every night just to catch a glimpse of them.

If you do manage to catch a show, there are plenty of restaurants in the area where you can grab dinner before heading back to the hotel for a nightcap.

New York has the best pizzas in the world (after Italy, I suppose).

The slices are often bigger than a person’s head, so you can always fill up on that if you do not want an entire meal at a restaurant.

In case you are hungry very late at night, there is an incredible retro-style diner called “City Diner” (2441 Broadway) that is open 24/7!

It is never too late or too early to enjoy a traditional fried chicken and waffle dish with a side of mac n cheese and unlimited coffee.

Broadway Show Ads New York

3 Days in New York

Morning – Empire State Building Deck

This is the best time to visit the Empire State Building because it will not be as crowded as later in the day.

The quietest hours are at 8am or 3pm.

Even if you wake up slightly later than 8am, you can buy tickets in advance that will help you speed past all the lines such as the NYC: Empire State Building General & Skip-The-Line Tickets.

This is an all-inclusive pass that guarantees fast entrance into the lifts and up to the observation deck.

The 86th-floor deck is also open-air just like Top of the Rock.

You will get to go up over a thousand feet to enjoy a complete 360-degree view of the whole city.

You can also head to the second floor and visit the multimedia exhibit to learn about the building’s construction and all the movies and TV shows it has ever been featured in.

If that isn’t enough, the recently restored lobby has incredible ceiling murals made from 24-carat gold leaves that form a gorgeous selfie background.

The observation deck will bring back all the memories of watching Kevin McAllister from Home Alone 2, or Chuck Bass holding a bouquet of flowers waiting to declare his love for Blair Waldorf.

This building is every bit as historical and romantic as you have ever imagined.

This is the best way to see every part of the city to marvel at how big it is.

The only downside is that when it gets crowded later in the day, you might have to be quick at finding a good spot or wait for others to finish taking photos.

That is why buying tickets in advance with a line-skipping option becomes a game-changer to enhance the experience.

A new observation deck on level 102 is also open to the public.

This will cost a little extra which you can upgrade to during your visit (availability permitting), but it is worth going for a visit when there are not that many people since it is a smaller deck.

If you do not want to spend the extra money, you will not miss out because both floors offer the same views of NYC.

The only difference is that the new one is slightly higher up with large floor-to-ceiling windows rather than an open space.

The Empire State has a variety of eateries if you skipped breakfast, need a pick me up or are ready for lunch.

Sucker for old romantic movies? You’ll find the flagship Tiffany’s closeby on Fifth Avenue. Remember your big shades and beehive, cue Moon River…

Shoppers, Macy’s is less than a five-minute walk away from the Empire State Building.

Empire State Building at night

Afternoon – Central Park, Fifth Avenue + Museums

Before entering the park, take a quick sidestep to the corner of W 59th, where you can see The Plaza Hotel that was featured in Home Alone 2 and Gemma’s favorite, The Sopranos.

Just ten minutes from the hotel is the famous shop, Bloomingdale’s (1000 Third Avenue 59th Street and, Lexington Ave).

Not here to shop? Spending 3 days in NYC without a relaxing visit to the magnificent Central Park would be sacrilegious.

Wollman Rink rain Central Park NYC New York

Do not underestimate how big Central Park is at 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in length and remember to throw in temperatures of 85°F/29 °C in July!

The park runs from the south at 59th Street to the north at 110th Street (and Harlem, tonight’s focus).

It also takes in the west at Eighth Avenue and east at Fifth Avenue.

The great thing about its size is that you can step into nature at many points throughout Midtown and Upper Manhattan or exit to catch an attraction and we’ll suggest the best ones below.

It is spectacular seeing the skyline behind all the fresh greenery and colorful flowers while relaxing in a quiet zone.

Some of the best activities in the park are Belvedere Castle, Strawberry Fields – a tribute to John Lennon from The Beatles, Alice in Wonderland statue and the famous Carousel.

Strawberry Fields Central Park New York_

If you enjoy taking photos, you should go to the famous North Woods and catch the scenic waterfall.

During summer or spring, you can row a boat (from Loeb Boathouse ) to see the ducks and swans.

During winter there are two ice rinks in Central Park.

The park also hosts a lot of live music concerts and theater performances.

You might even stumble upon a great musician busking on the sidewalk or get interviewed by Humans of New York if you sit on one of the benches looking like you have a great story to tell.

There are over 25,000 trees to give you plenty of natural beauty in the heart of the city.

There are pedicabs for short trips, but you might need to practice some price haggling tricks before approaching the drivers.

Or you can rent a bike on the outskirts of the park and cycle around it as Gemma did during her first trip back in 2011.

Book fans will want to exit on Fifth Avenue to check out the selection of books at Albertine (972) and that glorious hand-painted ceiling.

Shoppers, sidestep to the glamorous Upper East Side and strut the streets like Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen.

Don’t forget to rub it in everyone’s faces when you sign off all your gorgeous Instagram photos with killer captions ending with the iconic “XOXO.”

The Upper Eastside isn’t just about shopping though, in or close to the park is The Metropolitan Museum of Art* (1000 5th Ave, nice rooftop) and the Guggenheim (1071 5th Ave) which looks like a collapsible cup on Fifth Ave.

*Realistically you could spend over a day in the Met so if this is a priority, plan for it.

Beautiful skyline of Central Park and New York city from Rockefeller Observatory - Top of the Rock - New York, USA

Alternative Afternoon – Catch a Yankees Game, The Bronx

Did you really go to New York if you didn’t catch a ballgame?

Leaving Manhatten, take the train to the next borough, The Bronx, to see professional baseball in action at the Yankees Stadium.

You’ll need some snacks to keep you going during the 3.5 hours game, pick up overpriced burgers and fries at the stadium.

New York Yankees Advert

The game is broken up into innings and the best part is when the crowd sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

It’s really easy to get to the stadium, just hop on the number 4 train and watch for the 161st Street/Yankee Stadium subway station.

Less than ten minutes walk away you can dance down a set of famous steps… The Joker Stairs at 1165 Shakespeare Ave.

Note: some games are played in the afternoon, others are in the evening. Check out the schedule before you finalize your itinerary.

Yankees Stadium New York_

Evening – Dinner in Harlem

It’s time for dinner, let’s head to Harlem for the best soul food in the world.

Sylvia’s restaurant on Malcolm X Boulevard is practically a Harlem landmark that has been serving the most delicious southern comfort food since 1962.

The restaurant has been operating by several generations of Sylvia’s family.

They make the best collard greens, mac n cheese, black-eyed peas, fresh cornbread, fried chicken, candied yams, and so much more.

The restaurant was also featured on MasterChef. Enough said.

If you make it to Sylvia’s before 5 pm, you can also take a quick stroll up the street for a couple of blocks to see the National Jazz Museum (58 W 129th St Ground Floor, 2203).

This is a tiny museum but has a lot of informative exhibits and recordings that bring the history of Jazz in New York to life.

After dinner, enjoy a show at one of Harlem’s jazz joints such as Paris Blue (dive bar) or Showman’s Jazz Club (bigger).

Still up at 23:30?

Go back to Times Square, to see the Midnight Moment, which is the world’s longest and largest digital light show synchronized across all the electronic billboards.

The show starts every night between 23:57 and midnight, and it is a great way to end your perfect 3 days in New York.

Brownstone houses in Harlem New York City.

Four Days in New York

Morning – Greenwich Village

By day four the excitement of being in a new city has probably worn off, your feet will be feeling it and maybe, just maybe, you’ve got a tender head from the night before.

Today is for mooching about some of NYC’s nicest neighborhoods. First up is Greenwich Village.

“The Village” bucket list items include wandering about the brownstone townhouses and leafy streets which you may recognize from the big or small screen!

Does 64 Perry Street, and 66, look familiar?

This is where Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City typed away on her laptop sharing her woes of relationships and shoe theft in this crazy city.

Guys, before you take your designer handbags and Manolo Blahniks for a photoshoot remember this is someone’s property and they paid a whopping $9.85 million for it.

Not a fan of SATC? No stress.

Apparently all the cool kids lived in The Village in the 90s/early 2000s, go find the Friends apartment at 90 Bedford Street/corner of Grove Street.

Once the star stalking is over, it’s time for people-watching and Washington Square Park is the ideal spot to do this.

This is the green space with the famous arch (below) and chess-playing locals.

Gemma witnessed a flashmob dance here, you just never know what is going to happen in NYC!

Music fans will want to hang out at Cafe Wha, like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix did.

Moving away and up above the city, the High Line is New York’s park in the sky.

Utilizing old railroads, the city developers created a pedestrian walkway surrounded by plants, art installations, seating areas and photo spots.

Since it is elevated, you can get between areas of the city without directly breathing in car fumes!

The High Line is well used so visitors will feel safe as you stroll from one neighborhood to another.

The urban park starts at Gansevoort Street (which has an elevator) in the Meatpacking District, taking you through Chelsea and ends 34th Street (ramp entrance).

There are exits throughout the route.

Washington Square New York

Afternoon – Chelsea + Hudson Yards

If you do not have enough time to visit Chelsea Market, then you should call up the airlines to extend your trip to 5 days in New York.

This market is a MUST SEE with all capital letters.

When Vanessa Williams writes about saving the best for last, she must have surely made a quick pitstop to Chelsea Market before penning those heartwarming lyrics.

Chelsea Market is the best urban food court with over 40 businesses and restaurants selling everything under the sun.

You can buy fresh homemade bread from Amy’s Bread Bakery, try a juicy lobster roll from The Lobster Place, and the best gelato from L’Arte del Gelato.

If you love desserts, do not forget to hit Fat Witch Bakery for the best brownies and cupcakes in the city.

This is the largest food hall in NYC, and you can find every type of food here.

It is also open until late, so you can be as gluttonous as your heart desires, and no one would blame you.

Chelsea Market is in the Meatpacking District between 15th and 16th streets so you can walk off the High Line and into Chelsea.

Chelsea Market Clock New York Chelsea Market New York.shutterstock_335697647

The ‘Whitney’ Whitney Museum of American Art can also be found in this district. Book before arriving as tickets have timed slots and they sell out.

The Whitney has a terrace, access is included in the price.

Behind the market, you should visit the Hudson River Park and walkway to enjoy a beautiful skyline view across the river when all the lights in the city sparkle after sunset.

Instagram fans, the famous Flatiron Building, the skinny tall one, is a 20-minute walk away!

There’s just too much to do in New York.

The Edge at Hudson Yards is another viewing platform which you literally can’t miss at over 1000 feet in the city.

The Vessel at Hudson Yards is also a popular Instagram spot. Snap the outside and the inside inspired by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio.

Blue skies at Historic Governors Island NYC

Plan Your Trip to New York

Getting to New York

The two airports used by most international and national flight paths are John F. Kennedy (Queens) or Newark Airport (New Jersey).

JFK to Manhattan can take anything between 45 – 120 mins by private transfer/taxi.

The subway takes around 65-75 mins using the A, E, J or Z lines depending on where in Manhattan your accommodation is.

Newark Airport AirTrain is the most efficient way to get between Newark and Manhattan with a stop at Penn Station and World Trade Center.

You can also take Greyhound buses for short trips to New York from other states, such as New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, etc.

The Greyhound buses might not be the most comfortable because of worn-out seats in older vehicles, but they drop you right in the middle of the city at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

This bus terminal is literally in the heart of the city.

After you get off the bus, up the escalator and out on the street, the first thing you will see is the New York Times building.

Then on your right side, you will see the Empire State Building in the distance. Welcome to New York City! Make sure you have your camera ready.

From here you will find a long line of traditional New York yellow cabs parked outside, but if your hotel is close to Times Square, you can walk and do some casual sightseeing, while sweating with your luggage

If you are catching a train into New York, you will probably stop at Grand Central Station, which is one of the three transit hubs in Manhattan.

From here, you can catch the 42nd Street Shuttle or “S” train to Times Square.

Most Amtrak trains stop at Grand Central. The other drop off is Penn Station.

Views Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights Promenade in NYC in New York

Getting Around New York

While most of your Manhattan adventure will be done on foot there will be times that you have to use the NYC public transport system to save time, distance and your poor feet!

The New York Subway may seem daunting at first but it is the quickest way to get around.

Also, be prepared for all walks of life using the subway.

Note: Not all of the trains run underground.

The subway runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year but not every line will run all day and night.

Use the official map, Google Maps (provides exits) and the official MTA app (no 4G required for map) for the best routes.

Focus on the numbers and letters not the colors for line navigation planning.

Look for Uptown (north) or Downtown (south) to ensure you are going in the right direction.

Express trains are great for speed but not if your stop isn’t included!

There’s no loop like many European subway/metros.

To pay for the subway you need a Metrocard which comes in pay per ride or 7 days unlimited for $33.

To work out if this is worth it for your four day trip to New York, 33/4= $8.25 then calculate $2.75 per ride x how many times you think you will use the subway.

The pre-paid card saves time as you don’t have to waste in line for the machines.

Note: Not all machines take card so have cash on you if buying per ride or topping up.

New York’s famous yellow cabs are all around the city and easy enough to hail by putting your hand out.

Gemma struggled to get a cab from Manhattan back to Brooklyn! Luckily her parents were in town so their hotel sorted one out for her.

Brooklyn Subway NYC New York

New York Accommodation

New York Hotels

  • Pod Times Square: Affordable, cool, excellent location on West 42nd Street which is a 9-minute walk to Times Square.
  • Moxy Hotel: Modern yet budget-friendly Moxy chain often.
  • Pod Brooklyn: Want to be where the hip kids are? Pod is also based in Williamsburg.

New York Packing List

  • Comfortable walking shoes and hiking boots – I swear by Salomon Ellipse trek shoes US / UK
  • Camera and battery
  • Battery pack for your phone – I vouch for Ankers range US / UK
  • Osprey bag cover US / UK
  • Eco water bottle like Tree Tribe US / UK
  • Filter and purifying water bottle like Water To Go [quote TSA15 at checkout for 15% off]
  • Bamboo cutlery set if dining at the markets or getting takeout US / UK
  • Skross universal travel adaptor with USB slots US / UK
  • Pacsafe safety net US / UK
  • Hydration tablets US / UK if participating in craft beer, wine and cocktails.
  • If visiting in winter, pack layers, tights, waterproof outwear, hats, scarves and gloves. Don’t underestimate how cruel NYC winters can be. Yes, thats Gemma in a Vancouver hat in NYC. Bold.
Prometheus Rockefeller Christmas Tree ice rink NYC New York

New York Instagram Spots

  • Times Square with flashing lights
  • Grand Central
  • Empire State Building
  • Top of the Rock for views of the Empire State Building
  • Flatiron Building with NY yellow cabs
  • Central Park boats, Belvedere Castle or The Lake
  • The Met Rooftop Bar
  • Guggenheim warped levels
  • Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue
  • World Trade Center Transportation Hub (Oculus) for white futuristic white space
  • The Vessel at Hudson Yards for brass robotic platforms
  • The Edge at Hudson Yards space-like viewing platform
  • DUMBO Brooklyn Park for bridge views, Washington Street for building framing
  • Brooklyn Bridge for ‘on the bridge’ shots
  • Domino Park views of bridges
  • Coney Island for throwback vibes
  • 64-66 Perry Street is Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, be respectful of residents
Domino Park views, sunset, night, Williamsburg, Manhattan, Brooklyn over the East River path NYC New York

New York Map

Please find our New York attractions map here.

Final Words

A trip to New York is exhausting yet exhilarating. It’s the city that gives you the chance to wear your I Heart NY tee like a tourist one day then blend in with a flat white like a local the next.

Its cultural fusion serves up the best food, its subway zips you quickly between neighborhoods and boroughs and its dramatically changing seasons gives you a reason to visit frequently.

This guide to New York written by Two Scots Abroad and their writer, Shipra. Shipra has fallen madly in love with NYC and cannot wait to go back again because 4 days in New York were not long enough. She is still trying to get tickets to see Hamilton and hopes for the best. See more guides by Shipra on Two Scots Abroad here: Chicago, Boson and Dubai.

21 Best Places to Visit in October in USA: Fall Colors, Festivals & PYO

Best places to visit in USA in October

Looking for the best places to visit in October in USA? Get inspired to explore! Whether you’re seeking those classic fall colors, fun festivals, or Halloween destinations, October in the US offers an incredible variety of options.

We adore the US in fall and have also written about National Parks in October, best things to do October, Oktoberfest in the US, and best Caribbean islands to visit in October, some of which will be introduced in this guide.

Best Places to Visit in October in USA

October in the US means pumpkin patches and apple picking, hayrides and haunted houses. From the delicious to the terrifying, October is the perfect month for cultural activities across the country.

Traveling in October often yields better prices and smaller crowds, too. Take advantage of off-peak prices while the kids are all in school and parents are busy.

Although, if you are hoping to see peak fall colors, book accommodation well in advance.

Note there is a holiday weekend in October (the second Monday), so you’ll want to avoid popular spots if you’re seeking more affordable travel.

If you’d prefer destinations with guaranteed fewer crowds, check out our guide to the best places to visit in the US in September or the start of the holiday season in November.

Best Places to See Fall Colors in USA

Fall colors in the USA are iconic.

The deciduous trees start losing their leaves in preparation for heavy winter snow falling on bare branches. But, before those leaves fall, they shift from standard green to a wild variety of reds, oranges, and yellows.

This fiery display offers a last hurrah before the depths of winter take over.

If you’re keen to see this beauty for yourself, there’s no better place to travel in autumn than New England.

But while the region is synonymous with autumn colors, there are several other places to see fall colors in the US that you just shouldn’t miss!

Echo Lake from Bald Mountain Franconia New Hampshire

Best Places to Visit in New England in Fall

New England in the fall offers a stunning display of color. From the multitude of state parks to the rolling Appalachian Mountain Range, this region is a must for fall colors!

An autumn road trip through New England is required, with every bend of the road providing more beautiful vistas.

1. New Hampshire and Vermont

New Hampshire and Vermont are utterly idyllic this time of year and they are less than a three-hour drive apart, making it one of the best places to vacation in the fall as you can visit in both without the hassle of a lengthy East Coast road trip.

Plan a weeklong road trip, staying in quaint B&Bs along the way as you explore the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Hopefully, both will be colorful mountain ranges during your trip!

Stowe Gondolas in Vermont

Did you know that Montpelier in Vermont is the smallest state capital city in the US?

Don’t forget to pick up seasonal chocolate at Rabble-Rouser on Main Street.

It really is a chocolate box town not to be missed any time of the year but especially in fall.

Montpelier in Vermont also features in our most romantic places to visit in the US.

You can read the guide here.

30 minutes drive from Vermont is Stowe.

While Stowe is the ‘ski capital of the East’, it is also paradise for autumn fans because of its sea of foliage.

Home to some of the best breweries in Vermont, you’re going to want to check out a craft been tour in Stowe.

Fall scene at Sleepy Hollow Farm in Woodstock Vermont

2. The Berkshires

In Western Mass (few locals actually say the full state name of Massachusetts), you’ll find yourself in the Berkshires.

October in the Berkshires is a jaw-dropping scene straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Rent a cabin and bask in that natural, blissful beauty.

Known for its farm to table food scene, plan for full bellies as well as cozy autumn walks.

Berkshires. Lakes with tree and boat

3. Maine

Looking to get outside?

Hike the trails of Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor, Maine, which also features in our guide to the best national parks to visit in October and free things to do bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

The Beehive and Cadillac Mountain are personal favorites.

You will need a vehicle pass which is separate to your park pass to drive up Cadillac so be prepared!

The best time to see fall colors in Acadia is around the end of September into the first week of October but this can change so keep an eye on foliage reports.

The beauty of October in New England is only countered by the volatility of the weather.

You could get warm days of sushine or early snow. You never quite know, so it’s best to be prepared for anything!

With luck, you’ll enjoy clear blue skies as a backdrop to those vibrant autumn leaves.

Mid-October is usually a safe bet for leaf-peeping, but keep an eye on general seasonal conditions to see if it will be an early or late color change.

» You may also like | Things to Do in New England

Bass Harbor Head Light on cliff Acadia National Park Maine

Best Places to See Fall Colors Outside of New England

New England gets most of the attention for the best place to see fall colors in the US. But it’s certainly not alone!

4. Autumn in Michigan

Michigan’s fall colors are another sight to behold.

While the state hasn’t gained the same reputation as the New England states, it’s a fantastic alternative to the more popular Vermont fall road trips.

Michigan’s locations which particularly look lovely during autumn are Tahquamenon Falls and the River Road Scenic Byway.

Check out this nifty fall color map before you set off to see Michigan glow up.

Montana and Wisconsin also provide stunning fall colors.

5. Visit Virginia and West Virginia in the Fall

Another alternative option: Virginia and West Virginia.

Virginia is for Lovers and West Virginia is known as Wild and Wonderful, so you’re bound to fall in love with this natural beauty.

Road trip along the 105-mile Skyline Drive to bask in the beauty of the Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

This autumn road trip must be on your bucket list!

6. Explore Upstate New York

Leave NYC and you’ll quickly reach the Hudson Valley, making Upstate New York another stunner of a trip.

From natural beauty to the renowned local food and drink scene, this region boasts plenty to entertain you for a long weekend.

Check out the local farms and small breweries and wineries in the region to complete your fall-themed fun.

Love Halloween? Check out The Blaze in New York’s Hudson Valley for The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.

Located in an 18th-century landscape, over 7,000 illuminated jack o’lanterns are designed and put on display for visitors to be amazed at.

That’s not all! There’s a planetarium, a windmill, the Headless Horseman and much much more.

» You may also like | New York State Bucket List

Hudson River valley in Autumn New York State

7. Southern Appalachia in Autumn

Asheville, North Carolina (Lin Cove Viaduct picture below), and Chatanooga, Tennessee, are both popular autumn destinations in this region.

Throughout the region, there are plenty of small towns to explore and boundless vistas for those who enjoy hiking.

Take advantage of an extended October vacation, with hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for elk-spotting and leaf-peeping.

Asheville is a popular city which features in our guides to the best places to visit in the US in November, most romantic locations and where to spend spring break!

Linn Cove Viaduct on Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Best Festivals in October in the USA

October festivals range from food-focused to outdoor fun which is an added bonus to consider when choosing the best fall vacation spot.

Add these fun October festivals to your calendar and book your trip accordingly!

8. Cape Cod

Wellfleet OysterFest: Held on Cape Cod, MA, annually the weekend after Indigenous Peoples Day (more commonly referred to as Columbus Day).

Cap Cod also features in our guide to places to visit this May as an idea for a Mother’s Day getaway.

There’s no denying the the Cape is expensive so you might be interested in our guide to the free things to do in Cape Cod.

9. Albuquerque

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: Held every October over a 9-day period, this hot air balloon festival attracts visitors from around the world.

Follow the crowd, this is one October event you absolutely cannot miss.

Albuquerque features in our cheapest places to visit in the US! Check out costs here.

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

10. Hawai’i

Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival: Typically held every October, the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival extends your summer vibes with the warmest water temperatures of the year plus extraordinary food and drink.

Let your tastebuds wander.

The location of the festival is announced on the website.

You can find out more about Hawai’i’s islands in our guide to warm winter destinations.

Kauai Hawaii blue sea, dramatic cliffs

11. West Idaho 

The Trailing of the Sheep: Ready for a quirky alternative?

Head to Idaho and join the Big Sheep Parade during this annual October festival.

The festival features sheep herding dog competitions, wool sheering, music, food and the parade at Sun Valley where over a thousand herded sheep take to the street while crowds watch.

Bonus points for their Scottish connections!

Sheep herding is a big tradition in Idaho which locals want to celebrate and educate others about.

This is “One of the Top Ten Fall Festivals in the World”.

12. Portland, Maine

Head to Portland, Maine, to enjoy eclectic local food at the Harvest on the Harbor before you continue your New England road trip for fall colors.

Portland’s restaurant scene is booming!

Fancy Portland? It’s expensive, so you’ll appreciate this guide to free things to do in Portland, ME.

Portland Head Light Maine close up

13. New Orleans

Voodoo Music & Arts Festival: Visit New Orleans to see some of the world’s top bands and artists perform in New Orleans’ historic City Park.

New Orleans also features in our guide, best places to visit in February and March for Mardi Gras.

Read this guide for more ideas on things to do in New Orleans in the fall.

Shotgun New Orleans

14. San Francisco

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival: San Francisco in October offers comfortable temperatures and this recently-added annual festival.

It’s an alternative (or addition) to the more traditional Fleet Week events. Head to Golden Gate Park with a picnic and enjoy the tunes!

See our San Francisco Itinerary and guide to California in fall for more.

Temple surrounded by fall trees at San Francisco Tea Garden

Best Halloween Celebrations in USA

Halloween is a favorite US holiday, but there are definitely some places that do it better than others.

Check out these top places for Halloween and plan your next costume!

(Just remember the tips from above. Learn the history and understand cultural appropriation first.)

15. Salem, Massachusetts

Learn the terrible history of the Salem Witch Trials during this 1-hour guided tour.

The tour includes Salem’s most prominent attractions such as Ropes Mansion, Old Burying Point Cemetery and Witch House.

Also learn the stories of modern witches and Halloween celebrations.

Salem celebrates its past and present all October-long.

Witch City Mall Salem Massachusetts

Even the cop cars have witches on their logo.

Check out the Haunted Happenings for details.

Prices for hotels in Salem increase in October and reach their peak during the days surrounding Hallowe’en so if you plan to stay in Salem during the spooky season, be prepared to pay and book early.

» Read next: One Day in Boston Itinerary

Witch House in Salem with sign

16. Sleepy Hollow, New York

Sleepy Hollow, of literary Headless Horseman fame, attracts plenty of visitors to the Hudson Valley in New York throughout the month of October.

Visit Philipsburg Manor or Lyndhurst Castle, depending on how much fright you can handle.

17. San Antonio, Texas

Celebrate Dia de los Muertos in San Antonio, Texas, with ofrendas, poetry, dancing, local vendors, and more!

This free, two-day event honors Mexican and Latin American traditions, attracting big crowds every year.

Colorful umbrellas of restaurants along the San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas

18. St. Helens, Oregon

Head to St. Helens for a town-wide celebration a la Halloweentown, the old-school Disney Channel film.

The town revives its role annually.

Bonus: Fans of the Twilight films can also visit a film location while there.

19. New Orleans, Louisiana

Second only in scale to Mardi Gras, the Halloween celebrations in New Orleans are massive.

This city is vibrant all year round, but Halloween highlights the locals’ particular affinity for costumes and masks.

If Mardi Gras interests you, read our guide on the best places to visit in March.

20. Irvington Hallowe’en Festival

Head to Indianapolis for a week-long Hallowe’en celebration!

Expect house decor, vendors, games, ghost tours, competition and a 5 mile run.

21. New York City, New York

For the Dogs: Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in NYC. It’s an annual classic!

And, for the humans, the NYC Village Halloween Parade is another classic.

Check out Bootsy The Corgi looking dashing for the show. Give Bootsy a follow on Instagram!

Save for later! Pin to your planning board

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12 Best Texas Beach Towns Lone Star has to Offer

Galveston Beach Texas beaches

When you think of visiting Texas you probably have a vision of its large cities like Austin, or maybe one of its national parks such as Big Bend, but did you know that there are a number of Texas beach towns you can visit?

There are many popular beaches on Gulf Coast of Texas aka the Texas Coast, which friends day trip to and families enjoy annual vacations at.

Within a few hours’ drive from any of the major cities, you can dine on seafood and go boating in the Gulf of Mexico.

Here is your guide to the top beach towns Texas has to offer, so you can pack up the car for a beach day or stay for an extended trip. 

Remember to pick up your trash, visitors complain that this is an issue on many of the beaches in the Lone Star State, be the solution.

You may also like our Austin to Big Bend road trip itinerary and our beach packing list with free check list.

Beach towns in Texas map

The Best Beach Towns in Texas

Houston Beaches aka Ocean City Texas

Houston is a fun city to visit for its urban attractions such as shows at its theaters, live music, food, and NASA’s astronaut training.

However, another big plus for the Bayou City is its proximity to the Gulf Coast making it one of the most popular beach getaways in Texas.

1. Galveston Beach For a Lively Vacation

There isn’t just one beach in Galveston Island, there are actually 32 miles of Gulf coast sandy shores for you to explore.

Starting with East Beach and running all the way down to Galveston Island State Park, there are seven beach areas.

Galveston has the world’s longest continuous sidewalk which is well used by joggers, cyclists and skaters.

Visitors love that you can rent umbrellas and chairs, and bathrooms dotted along the beach area.

There is also plenty of parking at affordable rates. Pack a wagon to carry your beach day gear.

The downside of Galveston is that the water can be rough.

This Texas beach is lively with its Seawall bars and restaurants and rollercoaster at Pleasure Pier.

You can get bearings and learn about history, architecture and culture during this coach tour.

Galveston is often cited as one of the best places to live in Texas for its costs, as it one of the most affordable beach towns in TX.

Things to do at Galveston Island

  • Watch a concert at East Beach
  • Enjoy cool alcoholic beverages too – the only beach which allows this
  • Get judgy at the annual sandcastle competition
  • Jump on a ride at the Pleasure Pier
  • Set sail on a paddlewheel boat tour
  • Scoot along on a segway
  • Dress up for Mardi Gras at Galveston
  • Watch the July 4th fireworks
  • Bike around the bay
  • Birdwatch or go fishing
  • Catch a wave surfing
  • Sail the waves kayaking
  • Watch a 3D movie at Moody Gardens
  • See a show at The Grand 1894 Opera House
  • Tee off at the golf course
  • Sail the skies on the zipline
  • Relax on the Lazy River at Palm Beach
  • Have a nosey at the Galveston mansions

What are you favorite things to do in during your Texas beach trip to Galveston?

So which is the best beach in Galveston? Younger visitors like the alcohol laws and concerts at East Beach while families love the award-winning Stewart Beach. Which is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below.

There is so much accommodation to choose from on Galveston Island.

From Texas beach resorts to private holiday rentals, there’s something for every type of trip and visitor.

If you’d prefer a day trip to Galveston, check out this tour from Houston.

Hotels in Galveston

2. Sunny Beach, Galveston For a Dog-Friendly Beach Trip

Sunny Beach is another Galveston beach worth mentioning for its fishing opportunities and because it is dog friendly.

You can park on Sunny Beach which means you don’t need to plan carting your beach tents, coolers, and water sports gear from the parking lot.

The road down to Sunny Beach is an 8-mile drive.

3. Pirates Beach, Galveston For Upmarket Rentals

Arrrr, me matey!

If you’re looking to rent accommodation in a small beach community, consider Pirate Beach in Galveston.

This beach area is well maintained with high end rentals and manicured gardens.

Pirate Beach Rentals

While Pirate Beach is more upmarket, it can still be classified as cheap Texas beach vacations as group rentals come in at under $200 per night.

Although some properties do have a three night minimum rule.

4. Bolivar Peninsula (Crystal Beach) For Fewer Crowds

Another one of the popular beaches near Houston is Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula.

It is a relatively quiet beach that allows beach camping which is great if you are keeping costs down during your vacation. 

Boasting 27 miles of sandy beaches and plenty of activities for guests, it’s not just its location in the Southeast of Houston that is an appeal.

For nature-lovers, this area is full of wildlife and is a popular bird-watching destination.

The peninsula is part of the Great Coastal Birding Trail, where you can observe spoonbills and blue herons in their natural habitats.

History enthusiasts can visit Fort Travis, which was built in 1836 to protect Port Galveston.

After a day of exploring, enjoy some seafood on the water at Stingaree Restaurant or Hardheads Icehouse and Grill for live entertainment with your meal.

While in the area, you can stay at Boardwalk Resort.

It provides guests with easy beach access and plenty of on-site activities.

There is a pool, as well as a splash area for children. Enjoy a game of mini-golf or foot billiards with your family. If you feel like relaxing, hop into a hammock or hot tub overlooking the water.  

Music fans will enjoy the line up of (mostly) free music.

Houston to Crystal Beach takes just over 1 hour 30 mins by car.

One of the ideal beaches in Texas for spring break.

Where to Stay

5. Freeport aka Surfside Beach For Food, Golf & Beach Days

Freeport is just an hour south of Houston.

You will find a quiet town where you can drive your car right up to the waters of Surfside.

You can also go jet skiing in the nearby Old Brazos River.

Stop by the Freeport Municipal Golf Course for a few rounds of golf.

At Surfside Beach, dining options include Red Snapper Inn for fresh seafood, and Scott’s beach Bar.

Entertainment comes in the shape of live music at the Brick House or the Sundown Restaurant.

There are some accommodation is located right on the sand in Surfside, so you won’t have to walk far to get your feet wet.

Fun fact: Surfside was once Old Velasco, the ‘Boston harbor of the Texas Revolution.

Where to Stay

6. Lighthouse Beach, Port Lavaca For Famiy Texas Coast Vacations

Families enjoy time at Lighthouse Beach because it has a splash pad, picnic tables, and a kid’s playground to keep the wee ones entertained while they run around in the fresh ocean air.

Bamboo umbrellas dot the sandy beach for those who require some shade, you will need to pack sun loungers though.

There’s a path leading out to the boardwalk over Lavaca Bay which provides nice views over the water and fishing opportunities.

The sunsets are a big draw.

Lighthouse is one of the best family beaches in Texas.

7. Rockport Beach For Clear Water

Rockport Beach is a just under three hours from Houston and San Antonio and just over three hours from Austin.

It is the state’s first Blue Wave beach making it the cleanest and one of the clear water beaches in Texas.

Visitors like that the water is shallow, great for families.

There are fishing opportunities and local shops that sell bait.

Rockport has BBQ grills and picnic areas for beach meals by the sea.

You can walk along a designated path to visit the Little Bay Shores.

No dogs are allowed on the beach.

clear water beaches in texas

Where to Stay

BBQ on beach

8. Port Aransas For Fishing

This small beach town is located at the end of Mustang Island, and is one of the beaches near Corpus Christi.

While it is quieter than other locations, there are still plenty of things to do.

Some people call Port Aransas the fishing capital of Texas, with fishing competitions happening almost every weekend during the summer.

After exploring the 18 miles of beaches, stop by the Port Aransas Art Center, which features work from local artists.

Irie’s Island Food is popular with locals while The Crazy Cajun provides tasty Cajun dishes such as jambalaya and shrimp boil.

The best event of the year is SandFest, the largest native-sand sculpture competition in the USA. 

Where to Stay

9. McGee Beach For A City Beach

Heading a little inward to Corpus Christi Bay you’ll find McGee Beach.

Less people visit this beach which is great if you can’t deal with crowds.

Another bonus is that you don’t have to pack to much beach stuff as there are canopies, umbrellas, cabanas, and chairs for rent.

Beach amenities include showers, bathrooms, and parking.

There’s a boardwalk at the beach, and a marina close by.

McGee Beach is right off Corpus Christi Downtown so you’ll find plenty of food options a short walk away.

Birds eye view over Corpus Christi in Texas Skyline Cityscape.

10. North Padre Island Close to Corpus Christi

North Padre Island is located just north of the Padre Island National Seashore and is completely different from South Padre.

It is only a 20-minute drive from Corpus Christi making it easily accessible, allowing visitors to take advantage of the attractions in the city with ease.  

At North Padre Island you will find world-class fishing, fun shelling, and local events and festivals throughout the summer. 

From late June to mid-August you can witness baby turtles make their way from hatching on the shore till they enter the waters.

Beaches include Whitecap, Little Shell, and Big Shell.

For some family-friendly fun, you can hop aboard the USS Lexington.

Where to Stay


11. South Padre Island – Texas Beaches Vacation Variety

Located right on the southern border of Texas, South Padre Island is a very popular spring break destination with plenty of entertainment for more laid-back vacationers.

The Island is known for its clean waters and tropical climate making it one of the most beautiful beaches in Texas.

Expect not only white sand beaches in Texas at Padre Island but also blue water beaches. 

In fact, it is located at the same longitude as Fort Lauderdale.

You will find swimming easier here since the Laguna Madre Bay is a “hyper-saline” bay, meaning it has a lot of salt in the water.  

South Padre is the furthest beach from the big cities located about 5-6 hours from Austin or Houston. 

Being so far south is what makes it a great destination. 

If you are looking for high-adrenaline fun when you aren’t relaxing on the beach then give windsurfing a try.

For family-friendly fun check out Schlitterbahn Waterpark, home to dozens of waterslides or enjoy the fishing opportunities both from the shore and deep sea.

After a long day in the water, enjoy the Mexican influence in the many restaurants.

You cannot eat enough tacos, nachos or ceviche – dreamy South Texas beach vacations, you’ll agree!

Sunset at South Padre Island Beach in Texas

12. Boca Chica Beach, Texas’s Last Beach in the South

Boca Chica Beach is the last beach in our guide on where to vacation in Texas on the beach, and the last beach in the state before it hits the border of Mexico.

While the skyline of Boca Chica is quite industrial, the buildings don’t block out the sun, and the structures that surround the beach are space rockets which is pretty unique!

Locals love the lack of tourism, dog walks, and grassy dunes.

There are also some great shell picking opportunities.

Boca Chica State Park is close by.

Looking for more beach vacation ideas? Here’s our guide to beach towns on the East Coast.

South Padre features in our guide to spring break destinations for students.

Texas Beach Towns Packing List

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Texas have beaches?

Yes! I know that is a surprise to many as think of Texas a desert and cities but there are a number of great beaches beach towns in Texas.

Which is the cleanest beach in Texas?

Rockport Beach was awarded the first Blue Wave Beach status.

What are the bacterial levels in Texas beaches?

Texas Beach Watch runs lots of tests to evaluate the levels of bacteria in the sea. Check out daily results here.

Is beach camping allowed in Texas?

Yes, at specific beaches like Crystal Beach making it one of the best vacation beaches in Texas for visitors trying to budget travel.

Which is your favorite coastal town in Texas? Tell us in the comments!

Save for future planning

Texas beach vacation, texas beaches, texas beaches with kids, Corpus Christi, Texas road trips, Things to do in Texas, San Antonio, South Padre, Port Aransas, Galveston, Rockport, Springbreak

About the author – this guide to the top Texas beach destinations was created by Two Scots Abroad and Honeymoon Always.

Epic USA Bucket List: 150 Things to do in Every State

Diverse landscapes from deserts to waterfalls, free things to do like beaches and national parks, food from the farm, and nightlife in the city – whatever is on your USA bucket list, we’ve got it covered.

With fifty states offering four seasons full of activities, you will find the best places to visit in USA have all year round attractions for solo trips, couple vacations, family gatherings, friends getaways, bachelorette parties, and romantic elopements.

So, whether you are a local looking for staycation itinerary suggestions or a visitor ticking off the big USA bucket list travel ideas, this guide details the top USA attractions and things to do in each state.

Missed your favorite? Tell us in the comments below.

Note: We give you more than just the top 100 things to do in America because this is a country with over a thousand cities, more than 400 national parks, and a population of 300,000+ people, think how many businesses that equates to and how much culture you can experience, all in the USA!

You may also like our guide on how to plan a trip to the USA.

Now, let’s kick off our article on what to see in the USA.

US Bucket List – Over 150 Places to Visit in the USA

We’ve split the following USA bucket list into sections featuring fun things to do in each state, from Alabama to Wyoming, food to festivals.

Alabama Bucket List

  • Explore the natural preserves, white sand beaches, and coastal waters at the beautiful Orange Beach.
  • Buy some precious and interesting items at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro.
  • Train like an astronaut at Huntsville Space Camp.
  • Drink craft beer, eat meat and two and throw axes in hip Huntsville.

How many places to see in America’s Yellowhammer State have you experienced?

Marshall Flight Center Huntsville

Alaska Bucket List

  • View Denali peak, alpine ranges, and glaciers in the Denali National Park.
  • Kayak through icebergs and glacier-carved fjords near the coastal waters.
  • Get amazing views of the Mendenhall Glacier from the observatory at the top of the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Centre.
  • Observe the beautiful animals from the Pack Creek Brown Bear Viewing Area inside Tongass National Park.
  • Try the locally sourced products and seafood on the menus of Alaska’s restaurants.
  • Grab your partner and take to the floor at a pub or club.
  • Shop Alaska’s modern and traditional arts and crafts.
  • Have fun at the 5-day festival dubbed Golden Days in July.
Denali National Park grizzly bear in a field

Arizona Bucket List

  • The Grand Canyon is one of those places to see in the USA before you die.
  • Take a dip in Havasupai Falls situated in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon.
  • Experience the wonders of Mother Nature at the Painted Desert.
  • Enjoy the serenity and vistas in the desert town of Sedona. Sedona is enclosed in spiritual whirlpool energy, and many people experience a lift in spirit when they visit the town.
  • Go wine tasting at the wineries on the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
  • Eat mouthwatering foods like chimichangas, Navajo tacos, posole, and salsa.
  • Attend the Arizona Taco Festival at Salt River Fields, Scottsdale, held in October every year.

Scottsdale also features in our guide to free things to do in Phoenix, Arizona, for its Scottsdale Artwalk.

view of the Grand Canyon from a helicopter cockpit

Arkansas Bucket List

  • Go on a hike along the bank of the Buffalo National River and explore the river on a canoe, kayak, or raft.
  • Get breathtaking views of Arkansas from the top of Mount Magazine State Park.
  • Take a dip at Hot Springs National Park.
  • Drive along the Ozark Scenic Byway in Arkansas in the fall.
girl paddling along the Buffalo River in Arkansas

California Bucket List

  • Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge in northern California to get impressive views and have a surreal experience. More San Fran? Read this.
  • Get thrill rides at California Adventure.
  • Go wine tasting in Napa Valley that is home to more than 450 vineyards.
  • Hike by the waterfall in Yosemite, one of the most romantic national parks.
  • Make your visit memorable by eating some fantastic Mexican foods like burritos and guacamole at Highway 99.
  • See geological wonders at Yosemite National Park. The park is enclosed by high granite peaks like Half Dome and El Capitan and is heavily forested with pines.
  • Backpack the national parks in California.
  • Have fun at the Fresno Fair in Fresno’s Central Valley.
  • Check out the art and enjoy beach walks at Carmel-By-The Sea.
  • Visit the lavender farms during summer.

You may also like our guide, places to see in California, which offers some of the best things to do in the United States for nature fans and art enthusiasts.

aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge

Colorado Bucket List

  • Have fun with activities like skiing, biking, hiking, and dining in Aspen.
  • Try jet skiing, rafting, tubing, and kayaking in the lakes and rivers of Colorado.
  • Do adventure activities like paragliding and skydiving.
  • Climb a 32-two foot ladder and then crawl through a tunnel to get to Balcony House.
  • Take a free ride to Telluride Mountain Village Gondola. Jump on the gondola, relax, and take in the breathtaking views!
  • Taste some wine at the vineyards on the Western Slope in Palisade and Grand Junction.
  • Feast on Colorado’s fruits and vegetables and make friends at the farmers’ market.
  • Drink, eat, see a show in the Mile High City, Denver.

How many of these things to do in America have you done so far? Tell us in the comments!

Denver Colorado

Connecticut Bucket List

  • Try scrumptious farm-inspired culinary and finest seafood at celebrity chef-owned restaurants, and get delightful experiences with agri-tourism and wine and beer tours.
  • Take a fall foliage road trip to the beautiful town of Kent.
  • Have a pizza in Mystic. Just like the 80s movie. Wander around the town reading the historic plaques.
  • Photograph Connecticut’s covered bridges such as Hartford Turnpike Bridge in New Haven.
  • Buy local at Westport Farmers’ Market.
  • Relax at the 83-acre park with sandy beaches, Cove Island.
Mystic Seaport, CT

Delaware Bucket List

  • Get inspired by Du Pont’s all 77 exquisite collections of arts and antiques at the 47,000 square feet Nemours Estate in Wilmington.
  • Visit the Ryves Holt House and other historic buildings in Lewes.
  • Spend time fishing at one of the best Delaware beaches.
Lewes Delaware purple house street view

Florida Bucket List

  • Bring storybook fantasies to life for your children in Walt Disney World.
  • Drink Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • Ride the loops at Universal Studios.
  • Dine and drink cocktails on iDrive.
  • Have lunch with an astronaut at Kennedy Space Center on the Space Coast.
  • Seek out the small-town East Coast beaches.
  • Party in Miami.
  • See the Art Deco of Miami Beach.
  • Tour the Dry Tortugas National Park and enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters.
  • Glide through the Everglades while on gator watch.
  • Soak up the sun at Siesta Key Beach, the US’s number one beach.
  • Swim with manatees in Florida’s Nature Coast – this is honestly one of the best experiences in America.
  • Visit the oldest US city, St Augustine.

Disney definitely makes it into top 100 places to visit in America for foreigners searching for fun in the sun.

You may also like our Florida bucket list.

Sandy path leading to Siesta Key Beach at Florida

Georgia Bucket List

  • Kick back and relax at the little-known Golden Isles in the mainland port city of Brunswick.
  • See amazing monumental architecture at the Savannah Historic District. It is one of the largest districts of its kind in the United States.
  • Experience genuine Southern hospitality and enjoy locally made cuisines like tomato pie, fried chicken, and shrimp and grits at the 70-year-old Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta.
  • Go shopping and dine at a fine restaurant at Pone City Market in Atlanta.
  • Sip from the source and enjoy delicious wines with picturesque views at the Georgia Wine Country in Dahlonega.
  • Attend the Rhythm & Ribs BBQ Festival in Tifton. The festival is held in March each year.

Savannah features in our warm US destinations guide which you can read here.

Atlanta skyline view with blue skies

Hawaii Bucket List

  • Take a snorkel tour with your family or friends to the astoundingly scenic Hawaiian Islands.
  • Relax and unwind all the stress of your daily life under the Hawaiian Sunshine on the beaches of Hawaii.
  • Hike along the cliffs to Puu Pehe, a rock formation rooted in Hawaiian mythology.
  • Have fun at one of the traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian-style party called Luau feast.
  • Embark on a sunset cruise and witness some of the best likely sunsets.
  • Tantalize your taste buds with traditional Hawaiian cuisines like Poi, Laulau, Kalua pig, and Lomi Salmon.
  • Enjoy a warm winter trip to Hawaii.

Kauai Hawaii blue sea, dramatic cliffs Idaho Bucket List

  • Have mountain biking adventure on the trails of The Route of the Hiawatha.
  • Chase the waterfall at Shoshone Falls.

Illinois Bucket List

  • Hike on the trails while watching beautiful flowing waters and canyons at the Starved Rock State Park.
  • Enjoy the famous Italian beef sandwiches and deep-dish pizza at the restaurants.
  • Touch the shiny bean in Chicago.
  • Get festive at the Chicago Christmas parade on Magnificent Mile.
  • See the fall colors at Chicago’s parks and join in fall activities like Oktoberfest.

If you like getting lost in big cities, a weekend in Chicago is something you have to experience in USA.

Fall colors at Lincoln Park with Chicago skyline

Indiana Bucket List

  • Experience the weekend festival vibes at Festival Country in the south of Indy.
  • Engage in outdoor adventure activities in Brown County.

Iowa Bucket List

  • Trip along the scenic Great River Road in the east of Iowa and do shopping and dining in the beautiful towns, such as Le Claire and Dubuque.
  • Celebrate Iowa’s farm heritage at the 11-day-long Iowa State Fair.

Kansas Bucket List

  • Get amazing Instagram photos at Rocky Kansas High while touring within 30 miles of the interstate in east-west Kansas.
  • Get a break from the busy city life by escaping to the 116-acre Ernie Miller Nature Center and see the wonders of nature.

Kentucky Bucket List

  • Enjoy art performances, attend exhibitions, and do other fun things at Kentucky Artisan Center.
  • Be close to nature at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Louisiana Bucket List

  • Explore Eunice, Mamou, and Lafayette for amazing food, culture, and music in Louisiana.
  • Try the local specialty cuisines comprising pork, rice, and seasonings in Boudin.
  • Get stupidly drunk on Bourbon Street and listen to jazz in New Orleans.
  • Get involved in Mardis Gras which features in our US in March travel guide.

Partying in NOLA is one of the most fun things to do in North America for folk who like an alcohol fueled weekend with lots of dancing.

Bamboulas New Orleans

Maine Bucket List

  • Swim in the alpine pond situated between three peaks on Tumbledown Mountain near Mount Blue State Park.
  • Take a kayak ride to explore the picturesque islands in Merchant Row.
  • Do a New England road trip covering Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
  • Take a foliage tour of New England to see the region at its best.
  • Hike the highest mountain in the US, MT Katahdin.
  • Vacation at the Rangeley Lake region, regardless of the season.
  • Take a picture of Lumberjack Paul Bunyan.
  • Watch the first sunrise in the US at Lubec.
  • Catch the unique Bed Race at Bar Harbor. Yes, locals run down the road with beds.
  • Drive through Acadia National Park, one of the US top 10 visited parks.
  • Go shopping at Freeport.
  • Eat all the oysters in Portland.
  • Get ‘that’ pic of Cape Elizabeth at sunset.
  • Visit the Trolley Museum at KPT.
  • Spend time in the young, lively and liberal Ogunquit for food, bars and beaches.
  • See the beacon of light that is Nubble Lighthouse in York.
  • Go scuba diving at Rockport.
Stunning Sand Beach  in Acadia National Park in Maine

Maryland Bucket List

  • Experience nature walks, adventure sports, and buzzing city life in Maryland.
  • Enjoy local, regional, and international Irish music, dance, and cuisine, besides attending workshops and exhibitions at the Maryland Irish Festival held in November each year at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

Massachusetts Bucket List

  • Visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.
  • Take a trip to Coast Guard Beach and enjoy great swimming.
  • Explore history strolling on the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail in Boston.
  • Take a trip back in time in the Old Sturbridge Village. Don’t forget to visit the history museum and other interesting historical landmarks like Tantiusques.
  • Go to the Boston or Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day parades.
  • Cheer on the Boston Red Sox from atop the wall at Fenway.
  • Hunch some famous foods like fluffernutters, grilled blueberry Muffins, and Boston baked beans.
  • Relax at Waldon Pond. Read more about the best lakes on the East Coast here.
  • Eat Dunkin Donuts!
  • Beach hop in Rockport or paint the famous Motif No. 1.
  • Check out the Singing Beach at Manchester-by-the-Sea.
  • Learn about the witch trails in Salem.
  • Visit Hancock Shaker Village or Mass MoCA at the Berkshires.
  • Party in Provincetown at Cape Cod.
  • Drink and dine on Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Smell the sea air and appreciate the peace on Nantucket.

If you’re wondering what to see in America which relates to the nation’s colonial history, make 24 hours in Boston you starting point.

Close up  n Trinity Church in Boston

Michigan Bucket List

  • Get a horse-drawn carriage ride in Mackinac Island State Park. Enjoy the high limestone bluffs, beautiful vistas of sparkling water, and vibrant scenes.
  • Swim and relax on the beach at Holland State Park. The park comprises separate Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan constituents on the north of the channel that links Lake Macatawa with Lake Michigan.
  • Spend a couple of hours sailing on Lake Michigan. Explore the dramatic multicolored Pictured Rocks cliffs and unique sandstone creations like Miners Castle and Chapel Rock.
  • Enjoy freshly picked cherries and have fun at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City every July.
  • Put your ice skating skills to the test at Campus Martius Park in Detroit.
  • Eat scrumptious foods like Detroit-style pizza and Greek Salad.
  • Take a tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and enjoy the rugged beauty and thrilling adventure, including mountain biking, sea kayaking, and dog sledding.
buckets of cherries at the festival in Michigan

Minnesota Bucket List

  • Have fun in Brainerd, which is famous for its trails, parks, shops, and restaurants.
  • Visit the beautiful Munsinger Clemens Gardens to see beautiful flowers, annuals, and perennials.
  • Take a tour of Minneapolis‘ Grand Rounds to get impressive views of the downtown skyline.
  • Attend the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee that features a mix of delicious food, shows, and jousting.
  • Enjoy delicious foods like walleye, lefse, and lutefisk.
  • Take a boat ride on the Boundary Waters.
canoe on the edge of Boundary Waters in Minnesota

Mississippi Bucket List

  • Venture deep into the forests and wildlife refuges to watch birds and wildlife, including migratory birds in Mississippi.
  • Have the ultimate Mississippi experience by visiting a corn maze, spending the night in a sharecropper’s hut, fishing on the Gulf Coast, or picking organic vegetables and fruits from the farms and orchards.

Missouri Bucket List

  • Get a Jeep-drawn tram ride through the Fantastic Caverns in Springfield to explore the state’s wonderful underground phenomenon.
  • Visit the Titanic Museum and get acquainted with the tragic experiences that the crew and passengers of Titanic endured during the ship’s maiden voyage.

Montana Bucket List

  • Do snowshoeing and skiing at the Big Sky Resort in the winter.
  • Do a tour of Yellowstone National Park.
  • Look out for grizzlies and American Bison/buffaloes!
  • Enjoy the Cowboy Capitol.
  • See the sunset from The Rimrocks in Bozeman which features in our guide to fall in Montana.
Herd of bison in Montana

Nebraska Bucket List

  • Walk between colorful daffodils, tulips, and other beautiful flowers and celebrate the onset of spring in Sunken Gardens.
  • Get on an off-road jeep tour at Fort Robinson State Park or walk the trails at Chadron State Park.

Nevada Bucket List

  • Take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon or a hot-air balloon ride over Las Vegas.
  • Have fun at live music shows or take Slotzilla Zipline Thrill Ride at Fremont Street, Las Vegas.
  • Enjoy amazing sights, gambling, nightlife, food, neon signs, and dancing fountains in the buzzing city of Las Vegas.

» Check out our Las Vegas itinerary!

Welcome to Las Vegas sign at night

New Hampshire Bucket List

  • Make stops along the scenic Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire’s Route 112.
  • Drive through Dixville Notch in fall for awesome colors.
  • Take amazing pictures inside the Ice Castles in North Woodstock.
  • Hike up Bald Trail or Artist Bluff for views over Echo Lake, Franconia.
  • Get adventurous with tame mountain escapades or thrilling adventures like river rafting at Mt. Washington Valley.
  • Send the summer lazing by Lake Winnipesaukee and playing arcade games at Funspot.
Red topped Wentworth Covered Bridge in Jackson, New Hampshire

New Jersey Bucket List

  • See the most extensive collection of fluorescent rocks in the world at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum.
  • Get amazing views of Atlantic City from Steel Pier amusement park.
  • See the Victorian-style holiday homes in the Old Victorian Cape May, the heyday stylish resort town of the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Head over to Ocean City Boardwalk and walk along the world-famous and award-winning boardwalk.
  • Try some of the state’s popular foods like pork roll, sloppy joe, and Trenton tomato pie.
  • Dine at the 24-hour diner.
  • Gorge on a Taylor Ham (pork roll).
  • Shop at Wawa.
Steel Pier New Jersey

New Mexico Bucket List

  • Cross the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge and get priceless views of the surrounding areas.
  • Get lost in New Mexico’s wilderness areas like Gila Wilderness or the Bisti Badlands and create unforgettable memories.
  • Get high at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
  • Hop on the famous Route 66, in a Cadillac or on a bike. USA road trip bucket list must!

Albuquerque features in our guide to US cheap cities to visit. Find out more here.

Typical architecture of Santa Fe the State Capital of New Mexico USA

New York Bucket List

  • Walk from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn on the Brooklyn Bridge and take some selfies.
  • Get amazing views from the top of the Empire State Building and explore the immersive experience.
  • Take a free ride with the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty.
  • Visit The MET or American Museum of Natural History, the top two impressive museums in New York.
  • Get lost in Central Park on the twisting paths and make amazing discoveries.
  • Get dazzling experience with the digital displays, billboards, and flashing lights in Times Square.
  • Pay respects at the 9/11 Memorial.
  • Try Manhattan clam chowder and New York-style cheesecake and pizza.
  • Dine at Montauk’s famous beachfront restaurant and snap the lighthouse of ‘The End’.
  • Drink wine at Fingerlakes, the biggest wine region in New York.
  • See the foliage at Lake Placid.
  • Spend a night at Singer Castle on Dark Island.
  • Eat wings in Buffalo.
  • Spend time at the Grand Canyon of the East, Letchworth State Park.
  • Visit the vineyards of The Valley (Hudson).
  • Go hiking at The Catskills.
  • Sport fans shouldn’t miss Cooperstown.
  • Explore Boldt Island from May – October.
  • Go see the fantastic waterfalls at the Niagara Falls State Park on the US-Canada border.

Our NYC Guides

Views Manhattan from Brooklyn Heights Promenade Brooklyn Bridge in NYC

North Carolina Bucket List

  • Photograph the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
  • See wild horses ride along the beaches of the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.
  • Have fun swimming, shopping, or dining at the Wilmington area’s Carolina, Kure, or Wrightsville beaches.
  • See the fall colors of the Blue Ridge Mountain.
  • Visit the very first documented commercial gold find in the USA at Reed Gold Mine.
  • Slide down Sliding Rock, Pisgah National Forest (image).
  • Learn about the early 1800s at the Historic Rosedale Plantation, which presents information on “the five generations of the Frew, Caldwell and Davidson families, and the enslaved and free African Americans that lived and worked on the land.”
Sliding Rock Falls on Looking Glass Creek in Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina, USA in the autumn season

North Dakota Bucket List

  • Explore the famous Theodore Roosevelt National Park and take pictures with the amazing canyons while seeing bison grazing along the road.
  • Enjoy open-air, broadway-style music at the Medora Musical along the hills of Medora.

Ohio Bucket List

  • Take roller coaster rides at Cedar Point in Sandusky.
  • See the marvellous Great Serpent Mound situated along Ohio Brush Creek in Adams County.
  • Hike through forests, caves, and rock formations on the trails at Hocking Hills.
  • Visit Ohio College in Columbus during the cherry blossom season. See our guide to the US in April for more.
  • See spectacular waterfalls and beautiful scenery in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. There are around 100 waterfalls in the valley. Most of them are located in the northern part.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with buckeye candy.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park waterfall view

Oklahoma Bucket List

  • Explore amazing artworks by artists from Europe, Asia, America, and Africa at the Philbrook Museum of Art.
  • See and photograph bison, longhorn cattle, and elk roaming free at the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve.
  • Visit Mukogee in spring for the Azalea Festival at Honor Heights Park.
  • Learn more about native influence and culture at Five Civilized Tribes Museum.

Oregon Bucket List

  • Feast on famous Oregon oysters.
  • Walk the Cannon Beach towards Haystack Rock featured in our romantic places to visit guide.
  • Feel the spray of Multnomah Falls- which is especially beautiful during fall in Oregon.
  • Test the notorious beer scene at the Ale Festival this winter in Portland.
  • Try the food trucks, every type of food, fast in Portland.

» Read next | How to spend three days in Portland

Portland Itinerary Portland 3 day itinerary

Pennsylvania Bucket List

  • Hike the trails or swim and take a sunbath at the scenic Presque Isle State Park.
  • Try some delicious Asian, Mexican, or Italian food at the new restaurants in Pittsburgh.

Rhode Island Bucket List

  • Witness an impressive sunrise from Fort Adams State Park in Providence, and then go to the Johnson and Wales Culinary Arts Museum to learn about the traditional food history.
  • Spend some peaceful moments at Narragansett Bay.
  • Eat chowder in Newport.
  • Be in awe of the mansions at Newport Cliff Walk.
  • See the WaterFire festival in Providence.
  • Wander through the grounds of the Ivy League Brown University.
Sachuest Beach Second Beach Rhode Island surf

South Carolina Bucket List

  • Do shopping, walk along the scenic river, and stroll through the peaceful streets of the beautiful Georgetown.
  • See the largest old-growth bottomland hardwood forest at Congaree National Park.
  • Photography Rainbow Row in Charleston.
  • Get a tan at Folly Beach.
  • Catch dolphins at Hilton Head.
  • Learn about the freed people of Mitchelville, part of the Gullah Heritage Trail.
  • Take the family to Myrtle Beach.
Facade of the Rainbow Row houses Charleston

South Dakota Bucket List

  • Try the famous Snickers Salad and Klub at the restaurants in South Dakota.
  • Visit the Badlands National Park to see nature’s blessings, including protected wilderness, grasslands, and towering mountains.

Tennessee Bucket List

  • Get a boat ride and explore the intricate cave system of the famous Lost Sea, an underground lake.
  • Explore the history and heritage of Tennessee at the Museum of East Tennessee History.
  • Stomp out a line dance in Nashville.
  • See where Elvis lived at Graceland, Memphis.
Graceland in Tennessee

Texas Bucket List

  • Go to Hamilton Pool – a breathtaking natural oasis situated 23 miles west of Austin. The pool developed naturally when the dome of an underground river broke due to huge corrosion thousands of years ago.
  • See space artifacts and attend fun shows at Space Center Houston.
  • Walkway along the San Antonio River and see parades and artisan walks.
  • Experience canopy tour, flying through cypress and pine timberlands in Spicewood.
  • Try the slow-smoked pit barbecue, one of the delicacies, of Texas, and don’t forget to taste the famous Texas wine.
  • Head over to the National Polka Festival to have fun with your family.
  • Drink craft beer and eat Tex Mex in the cool city of Austin.
  • Attend the annual 10-day festival, South By Southwest.
  • Take a road trip to Big Bend and sleep under the stars.
  • Catch a ballgame at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Astros stadium.

» Did you know? Two Scots Abroad got hitched in Austin!

Camper Van Big Bend Texas

Utah Bucket List

  • Be adventurous climbing to the top at the Brave Angels Landing.
  • Explore the lofty sandstone monoliths, slot canyons, rock creations and suspended gardens at Zion National Park.
  • Run like Forrest Gump and check out the mesa tops at Monument Valley.
Monument Valley Utah

Vermont Bucket List

  • Pay your culinary condolences at Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard in Waterbury Village.
  • Spend time in the Queen City of Burlington drinking craft beer and people watching.
  • Have fun outdoors hiking, biking, waterskiing, waterboarding, and lake cruising at Basin Harbor.
  • Visit the Lake Champlain Islands for tranquility.
  • Go skiing in Stowe or Killington.
  • Buy Rabble-Rouser chocolate in the smallest state capital, Montpelier.
  • Leave a message for your dog angels at Dog Mountain.
  • Enjoy the serene and calm atmosphere of the picture-postcard village of Woodstock.
  • See a show and admire art in the liberal, Brattleboro.
  • Try award-winning cheese in Grafton.

Vermont is particularly special in fall. Here’s our list of places to visit to see spectacular foliage in the US.

New England Road Trip Itinerary Burlington Vermont

Virginia Bucket List

  • Relax and enjoy amazing views while driving the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain views and waterfalls along the way will surely lift your spirit.
  • Attend the annual Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester and enjoy tasty apples.
  • Get epic views of Virginia from Mt. Rogers, the tallest peak in Virginia. It has a height of 5,729 feet above mean sea level.
  • Head over to the James River for swimming, rafting, or kayaking.
  • Spend a day or two camping in Shenandoah National Park.
  • Explore the forests and the vast network of trails, such as the long-distance Appalachian Trail.
  • Don’t forget to try Virginia wine and Virginia oysters.
  • Pay tribute to King Neptune and have fun at the Neptune Festival, Virginia Beach, every September.
Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia

Washington State Bucket List

  • Eat chowder at Pike Place Market and drink in the first-ever Starbucks in Downtown Seattle
  • Go boating on Ballard Locks.
  • Hit the slopes at Mount Spokane.
  • See the tulips explode with color at Skagit Valley.
  • Read our Washington bucket list next.
Pike Place Market sign at night

West Virginia Bucket List

  • See spectacular waterfalls at Blackwater Falls and Elakala Falls.
  • Visit Harpers Ferry and explore the rocks where the Shenandoah River meets the Potomac River.
  • While you’re there, see the historic high street, too.
  • Dark tourism fans should check out Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, the abandoned theme park from the 1920s.
Harpers Ferry High Street West Virginia

Wisconsin Bucket List

  • Meet Door County’s cool and friendly community and have fun at the lighthouses, beaches, and forested state parks.
  • Drive on the scenic Wisconsin Great River Road parallel to the magnificent Mississippi River.
  • Grab some good luck by rubbing the nose of the honey badger statue at the Wisconsin Capitol Building in Madison.

Check out our guides to free things to do in Madison, Wisconsin in fall, and Wisconsin in winter.

Madison Wisconsin Capitol Building

Wyoming Bucket List

  • Experience winter and summer adventures like skiing, snowboarding, rafting, and horseback riding at Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park.
  • Take a dip at Hot Springs State Park – the largest single mineral hot spring in the world and known for its relaxing effects.
Grand Teton National Park Wyoming

Washington, DC Bucket List

  • Take a free, guided tour of the US Capitol building, home of the US Congress.
  • Explore the beauty of nature while hiking in Rock Creek Park and enjoy some recreational activities.
  • Do some quality shopping and dining in Georgetown.
  • Explore the free Smithsonian Museums.
  • Attend a concert or show at the Kennedy Center.
  • Explore the attractions and historical buildings in the old town of Alexandria.
  • Have fun at fall-themed celebrations like Oktoberfest, focused on food, beer, and games.
  • Taste mouth-watering foods like smoked sockeye salmon, sauteed geoduck, and oyster stew.
  • Visit in March for the Cherry Blossom Festival and April for peak bloom.
Cherry Blossom tree next to US Capitol Building in Washington DC

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Final Words

How long will it take to cover all these things to do in the USA? Let us know how many you’ve done in the comments below! About the author

Anne is a big fan of the USA with its vast landscapes, captivating culture, diverse culinary and thousands of activities.

20 Best Things To Do In The USA In October

Kid. Pumpkin. Fall scene

Looking for the best thing to do in the USA in October? From fall colors to fancy dress, farm visit and festivals, this guide details activities that can be done at home and also events across the country.

Fall is the perfect time to visit the US with its cool temperatures, halloween celebrations, historically important events and pretty foliage. So let’s dive into these fun and informative activities in October in the USA.

We absolutely adore the US in fall and have also written about National Parks in October and best places to visit in October some of which will be introduced in this guide.

You may also like our guide to the recommended things to do in the US in September or US in November.

USA in October: Things You Must Do!

Growing up in New England, these are staples of October activities. I hope you get to try them all out for yourself!

1. Go Apple Picking

Pick your own apples for eating or to make pies! Apple crumble is a personal favorite.

Top tip: Seek out a family-owned farm where the crowds will be smaller and the experience much more enjoyable!

Treat yourself to a caramel apple before you leave.

2. Take the Kiddos to a Pumpkin Patch

There’s not much to do at a pumpkin patch, but kids seem to find them indescribably fun to visit.

If your little will sit still, it’s always a good photo op.

Pumpkins Littleton New Hampshire

3. Carve a Pumpkin

All ages enjoy this activity and its end result.

Not very artistically talented? Don’t worry, there are plenty of patterns you can buy and follow for a quality jack o’ lantern.

Pumpkin patch in Newport Rhode Island

4. Vist Jack o’ Lantern Festivals

Want to be wowed by light? The Blaze at Hudson Valley in New York State light up over 7,000 illuminated jack o’lanterns

Pumpkins are carved by professional artists so get ready to be impressed.

That’s not all! There’s a planetarium, a windmill, the Headless Horseman and much much more.

The Jack O’Lantern Spectacular in Louisville, Kentucky is another event worth noting.

You may also like our guide to Upstate New York in fall.

Batson River truck pumpkins Kennebunk Maine

5. Taste the Seasonal Flavors

Pumpkin Spice Lattes and cinnamon-scented everything — autumn is a season doused in seasoning.

Remember to take your clean reusable cups if drinking spiced lattes as a takeout.

But there’s s’more….

S’mores, ciders, and apple pie are everywhere too.

Take advantage and indulge your sweet tooth.

6. Get Outdoors!

October is one of the best months for temperatures across the nation.

The summer humidity has faded but evenings are still warm enough to enjoy al fresco.

This is the time for camping and hiking as much as it’s perfect for BBQs and beach walks.

For example, Texas enjoys a pleasant 70 to 80°F in October, making it one of the best months to visit Big Bend National Park for hiking.

Or hike among the fall colors at an east coast national park.

Dog Canyon hike Big Bend National Park. Craig, hat, bag.

7. Explore a Corn Maze

Try to navigate your way through, or — better yet — make it a competition and race your partner through the maze! Just don’t knock over all the little kids ambling around.

This is unique to the States. It’s not a fall activity that is done in the United Kingdom!

Corn Maze Sign.

8. Take a Haunted Hayride

Some are actually scary while others are more of a laugh.

Gauge your own fear-factor and book accordingly.

Shelburne Orchards Vermont pumpkin hay

9. Visit a Haunted House (or Woods!)

A haunted house is one thing — you’ll walk around with the occasional fright and laugh about your fears upon exiting. But a haunted woods is a whole other beast.

Go ahead and just try to pretend like you’re not scared of what lurks between the trees after one of these experiences…

10. Learn About The Witch Trials

Why not visit Salem in Massachusetts to learn about the USA’s witch trials?

This is where a number of hearings and prosecutions took place between 1692 and 1693.

The accused? Those who were thought to have been practising witchcraft.

The accusers? Girls as young as 11 years old and then those accused themselves brought forward more names.

Witch House Salem Corwin House

Salem highlights its past and present all October-long although you will experience a spooky season all year round here.

The 1960s TV show, Bewitched and the movie Hocus Pocus has many filming locations here.

Check out the Haunted Happenings for details.

The best places to stay in Salem book out fast over the Hallowe’en weekend so be sure to reserve a bed when the diary opens around November the year before.

Elizabeth Montgomery Statue.

11. Get Your Costume Ready for Halloween

From swanky NYC parties to trick-or-treating in the suburbs, Halloween is celebrated by all ages and types.

Top tip: Be mindful of your costume choice.

12. Visit Halloweentown

Head to St. Helens in Oregon for a town-wide celebration a la Halloweentown, the old-school Disney Channel film.

The town revives its role annually.

Expect street performers and cast photo opps!

Can’t make it to Oregon? Check out the Halloweentown movie drinking game.

Fan of the Twilight films? Check out its filming location in St. Helens.

13. New Orleans and Spooky Tours

While New Orleans is more known for Mardi Gras, its Halloween celebrations are also worth visiting.

This city is vibrant all year round, but Halloween highlights the locals’ particular affinity for costumes and masks.

All year round, visitors take part in the voodoo tours in New Orleans which will be especially thrilling in October.

Check availability here.

One Day Sign New Orleans

14. Halloween Dog Parade in New York

Be prepared to coo and say ahhh at the annual dog parade at Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade in NYC.

Humans get crafty with costumes for their puppers!

15. Annual Historic Irvington Hallowe’en Festival

Head to Indianapolis for a week-long Hallowe’en celebration!

Expect house decor, vendors, games, ghost tours, competition and a 5 mile run.

16. Ooo at the Foliage

October is when the leaves turn red and orange and create a magical landscape in forests and by lakes.

New England is the best place to see the fall colors but there are a few other locations, which you can read about here.

Fall colors birds eye view Lincoln New Hampshire

17. Fall Train Rides

Hop aboard a fall train ride in New Hampshire and see the glorious foliage while staying cozy in a cabin.

Vintage trains depart historic rail stations in North Conway and Lincoln and ride through small New England towns and the autumn hues of the state’s mountains and hills.

Window Valley Train North Conway New Hampshire windows 2

18. Dia de los Muertos Celebrations

Head to San Antonio in Texas to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, with ofrendas, poetry, dancing, local vendors, and more!

This free, two-day event honors Mexican and Latin American traditions, attracting big crowds every year.

Colorful umbrellas of restaurants along the San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas

19. Learn Important History

October in the US includes the Columbus Day long weekend.

Learn why celebrating Columbus is problematic.

There’s been a push to change the name of the national holiday to Indigenous Peoples Day, in honor of the First Nations and their significance to this land and culture.

Next, study up on major issues with the “Pilgrims and Indians” tropes.

Thanksgiving is in November, but you’ll start seeing these problematic symbols in October.

Here’s a helpful resource to learn more about this whole season in the US.

Sunrise over Plymouth Harbor Massachusetts

20. Celebrate Oktoberfest

Many cities and towns around the US put on huge Oktoberfest events featuring parades, dancing, food, and of course, beer!

Many participants dress up in lederhosen and dirndl for the festival.

Read more about it in our guide to Oktoberfest in the US.

Oktoberfest couple with beer

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