50 US tourist attractions you've never heard of

Each state has its iconic landmarks, but there are plenty of attractions that fly under the radar.

New York has the Empire State Building, but it’s also home to Letchworth State Park, unofficially known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.”

We’ve rounded up the most worthwhile but lesser-known tourist attraction in every state.

While some of these places have a significant amount of visitors each year, they remain hidden gems to many out-of-state travellers.

An earlier version of this post was written by Jill Comoletti and Eliza McKelvey.

ARKANSAS: The only facility in America that preserves the Ozark heritage and way of life, the Ozark Folk Center is located in the state parks of Mountain View and offers a restaurant, cabins, and concerts.

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FLORIDA: Originally a winter home built by businessman James Deering in 1910, the Villa Vizcaya is now a national historic landmark and museum complete with stunning gardens located in Miami. The lavish estate has an intriguing history and is definitely worth a visit.

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IDAHO: Balanced Rock is exactly what it sounds like: a 48-foot rock that is perched precariously on an approximately 3-foot pedestal. After getting a close-up look at the rock, have a picnic in nearby Balanced Rock Park.

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KANSAS: The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center has the second-largest space artifacts collection in the United States and the largest amount of Russian space artifacts outside of Moscow. In other words, it's a great place to learn about space.

MASSACHUSETTS: Plum Island is the perfect summer getaway for nature lovers. Enjoy miles of sandy beaches that are home to more than 800 species of birds, plants, and other wildlife. You'll also find a couple of great year-round restaurants.

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NEW MEXICO: Pecos National Historical Park features the remains of an Indian pueblo and offers plenty of areas to explore. Take a ranger-guided ruins tour or venture 1.25 miles to the Pecos pueblo on your own. On the weekends, van tours to Civil War sites and the Forked Lightning Ranch are also available.

NEW YORK: Letchworth State Park is known as the 'Grand Canyon of the East,' probably because of its towering cliffs that reach as high as 600 feet. The gorge also features three major waterfalls formed by the rushing Genessee River. Take a guided walk, go white water rafting, or even take a hot air balloon ride.

NORTH CAROLINA: The NASCAR Hall of Fame is home to 150,000 square feet of artifacts and interactive exhibits that appeal to everyone, regardless of their car knowledge. Test drive a racing simulator to feel like you're actually racing in NASCAR, and make sure to visit the Race Week exhibit, which takes you behind the scenes to see how drivers prepare for a race.

NORTH DAKOTA: The International Peace Garden lies on the border of North Dakota and Manitoba, Canada, and serves as a token of friendship between the U.S. and Canada. This botanical garden is spread across 2,339 acres, and visitors can choose to visit a number of sites including a bell tower, a 9/11 memorial, and a large floral clock.

OKLAHOMA: Turner Falls Park is located within the Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma and offers a bunch of outdoor activities. See the 77-foot waterfall, swim in the mountain water, and make sure to visit the abandoned Collings Castle.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Brookgreen Gardens was named one of the top 10 public gardens in the U.S. by TripAdvisor. This incredible attraction has art exhibits, a butterfly garden, and an accredited zoo, among other things. Luckily, admission tickers are good for a week so don't worry if you don't manage to see everything in one day.

TENNESSEE: The Lost Sea, which is 140 feet below ground level, is the largest underground lake in the country. A guided tour will give you the chance to observe the area's caverns, which are full of interesting geological formations. You will also get to take a glass bottom boat ride along the lake.

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UTAH: Natural Bridges National Monument was Utah's first national monument. It features three stunning natural bridges, named 'Kachina,' 'Owachomo,' and 'Sipapu' in honour of Native Americans who previously lived in the area. Hiking trails and overlooks allow for close-up views of these natural phenomena.

VERMONT: Lake Champlain ferries can take you from Vermont to upstate New York in just over an hour. Try taking a ferry from Burlington to Port Kent, New York, and take in the beautiful mountain views. You might even catch sight of 'Champ,' the rumoured Lake Champlain monster.

VIRGINIA: Luray Caverns make up the largest series of caverns in the eastern U.S. As well as exploring this cave of stalagmites and stalactites, you can also visit the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum, get lost in the garden maze, and fly through the Rope Adventure Park.

WISCONSIN: Ten Chimneys is the enormous estate in Genesse Depots built by broadways legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. There are estate tours which showcase the Lunts' private collection of memorabilia and artifacts, as well as exhibitions, and even shows.

WYOMING: Located in Jackson Hole, the National Museum of Wildlife Art overlooks an elk refuge and houses American art from both the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum building itself is impressive -- it's 51,000 square feet and was inspired by the ruins of Slains Castle in Scotland.

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