ADVERTISEMENT

Top 5 of 2022’s Most Fun States in the US

By BT Editor
June 23, 2022
I Stock 610663444
IStock / FoxysGraphic
With summer here and 86% of Americans planning to take a vacation, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2022’s Most Fun States in the US.

We all define “fun” a bit differently, and hopefully the place in which we live caters to our personal ideas of entertainment. That’s not always the case, though, which may drive people to live somewhere new.

There are certain states where fun is not just an option but also a way of life. These states offer such a variety of activities that everyone will be able to find something that excites them.

With pure enjoyment in mind, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 26 key indicators of a jolly good time that won’t break the bank. They range from movie costs to accessibility of national parks to casinos per capita.

Here are the top 5:

5. Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Illinois is a great destination in summer, but the state's extensive cultural attractions and great shopping make it a fun place to visit any time of year. Chicago is the state's most popular destination, drawing travelers from across America and around the world.

4. New York

Lake Placid, New York

There is so much to see of this state between its tourist bookends, New York City and Niagara Falls. From the historic Hudson Valley, a majestic river lined with elegant estates to the great wilderness of the Adirondack and Catskill mountains. New York is magnificent for outdoors and sporting vacations and so much more.

3. Nevada

Tahoe, Nevada

While Las Vegas is the city you won't want to miss, Nevada is a state filled with incredible natural attractions, scenic drives, small towns, and wonderful opportunities for outdoor activities. National parks and recreation areas provide outstanding terrain for hiking, biking, climbing, horseback riding, and fishing.

2. Florida

Cape Canaveral, Florida

Florida is home to hundreds of miles of beaches, a variety of renowned amusement parks and national parks, vibrant and lively nightlife, and a vast array of unique tourist attractions that make it a one-of-a-kind vacation destination.

1. California

San Francisco, California

California is known as a premier travel destination, where travelers can Dream Big and enjoy limitless adventures, from the mountains to the beaches, the Redwoods to the deserts and from world-class cities to unique small towns, California inspires year-round travel, one visitor at a time.

To see where your state ranked click here!

Keep reading
InspirationFamilyBudget Travel Lists

Four Great American Trains to Discover

There is just something about historic railroads. Unfortunately, many of the engines and trains that have been saved are static. Lifeless. But there are places in America where you can see a steam engine come alive and run at speed (go fast), where you can climb America’s only accessible 14-thousand-foot mountain, ride on a 150-year old railroad lost in time and coming back to life in the beautiful valleys of central Pennsylvania and ride on the original subway cars from 1916 and 1930’s to places such as Coney Island in Brooklyn. This is where open windows, strap hangers and swaying cars are as fun as the rides found at Coney Island. Yes, there are great train rides this summer, and here’s a ticket to four of the most interesting. THE BROADMOOR, MANITOU & PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY (Manitou, CO to the summit at Pikes Peak – 14,115 feet) Climb every mountain. Well, there is only one 14-thousand-foot mountain in the US that you don’t have to climb. You can take the train. A unique train – a cog. At The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway reaches a height of 14,115 feet. This is where the words to the song “America the Beautiful” were composed. Completely rebuilt it is back and better than ever climbing up America’s Mountain. This iconic railway is one of only two cog railways in the U.S.Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences. The Railway runs every day. For information and reservations hop onboard at www.cograilway.com THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY (Williams, AZ on Rt. 66 to steps from South Rim, Grand Canyon) Courtesy Xanterra Travel Collection Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901 when it was built by the legendary Atkinson, Topeka and Santé Fee (ATSF). Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from Williams, AZ on historic Rt. 66 to within steps of the Grand Canyon South Rim and El Tovar. The pristine train, comprised of railcars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car, as well as vintage coaches with opening windows, departs at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:45 p.m. with a 2.5-hour layover at South Rim of Grand Canyon. The train rolls directly into Grand Canyon National Park, taking an estimated 70,000 cars off the road.During most of the summer and into early fall, the Railway pulls the daily train once a month with a steam engine built in 1923 and that runs on waste vegetable oil.There is no extra charge for the steam engine pulled trains. It be believed Grand Canyon Railway is the last standard gauge passenger railroad in the US where steam engines are still scheduled to pull revenue trains.You can save 30% on train tickets when you book in conjunction with any 1 or 2-night stay at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Visit thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE.-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724) for updated and current information on both the hotel and the train.It is now also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments, such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, etc. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit www.thetrain.com/charters. THE EAST BROAD TOP RAILROAD (Orbisonia, Central Pennsylvania) Courtesy of The East Broad Top Railroad It's one of the true treasures in American railroading. The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA and nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state-started train rides and historic railroad shop tours this spring. The 150-year-old railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than "standard" railroads) and industrial complexes in the country.It was already an antique when it was shut down in 1956; today is it a true treasure that far exceed the trains and tracks. The EBT still has six narrow-gauge steam locomotives, each awaiting their turn for restoration, one of which is expected soon. Initially, the railroad will offer one hour train rides in a vintage caboose, passenger car or even an open-air car on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic roundhouse and shops in Orbisonia to Colgate Grove and back. Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children.Reservations are strongly suggested. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285. THE NEW YORK TRANSIT MUSEUM & NOSTALGIA RIDES (New York City) Brooklyn Union Elevated Car Courtesy of The New York Transit Museum Yes, the New York subway is a railroad and a rather large one at that with 665 miles of mainline track and 472 stations that caters to more than a billion rides a year. It even has a museum in Brooklyn. Founded in 1976, the New York Transit Museum is dedicated to telling and preserving the stories of mass transportation – extraordinary engineering feats, workers who labored in the tunnels over 100 years ago, communities that were drastically transformed, and the ever-evolving technology, design, and ridership of a system that runs 24 hours a day, every day of the year.Housed underground in an authentic 1936 subway station in Downtown Brooklyn, the Transit Museum’s working platform level spans a full city block, and is home to a rotating selection of twenty vintage subway and elevated cars dating back to 1907.However, what most people don’t know is that this is not just a static museum. It maintains and operates a wide variety of vintage train cars dating back to 1907. These historic subway trains are occasionally run on what's called “Nostalgia Rides.” Some go to Yankee Stadium, other to Coney Island or the Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk, and some venture to historic cemeteries or decommissioned subway stations. We’re talking open windows, flickering light bulbs, hanging on to strap hangers and swaying cars. It’s a trip, and a trip back in time on the real things, right down to the rattan seats and car card (ads) that try to sell everything from bras and cookies, the ZIP code and baseball games at the Polo Grounds, Ebbets Field and of course, Yankee Stadium. For information on the museum and Nostalgia Rides visit www.nytransitmuseum.org.

InspirationNews

What's New? - June 2022

The First New Hotel Inside Grand Canyon National Park, in Over 50-Years, Opens to the Public Travelers headed to Grand Canyon now have a new option for in-park accommodations. After its $35 million reconstruction by Xanterra Travel Collection, Maswik South Lodge is the first new lodging inside the park in over 50-years and is just footsteps away from the Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. Booking is available now for stays. Constructed in 1971, the original 90 rooms have been replaced with 120 new lodging units across four new lodging structures in the same general location. The 4.5-acre property features two types of accommodations: 90 standard rooms and 30 kitchenettes. The rooms now include private balconies, and the buildings have elevators and interior hallway entrances. Maswik South is in close proximity to Maswik Lodge where guests can access the Maswik Food Court, Pizza Pub, Transportation & Activities Desk, and the Village Loop (Blue) park shuttle line. The new units are approximately a ten-minute walk from both South Rim itself and the Hermit’s Rest/Village Loop Shuttle Bus Transfer Station. Universal Orland Resort Unlocks Universal’s Great Movie Escape Universal Orlando Resort will soon debut Universal’s Great Movie Escape – featuring two next-level escape rooms that pack the innovative storytelling and theming the destination is known for into “can’t-miss” experiences inspired by blockbuster films Jurassic World and Back to the Future. Concepted and designed by the same creative masterminds responsible for the wildly immersive haunts of Halloween Horror Nights, Universal’s Great Movie Escape will bring two distinct and extraordinary escape adventures to the heart of Universal CityWalk. Through interactive state-of-the-art missions, captivating storytelling and intricately detailed sets, guests will be swept into the dinosaur adventures of Jurassic World or the time-traveling chaos of Back to the Future as they solve their way through a multi-sensory experience like no other. Universal’s Great Movie Escape will open later this year and tickets will go on sale in the months ahead. Find great deals on Universal tickets thru Budget Travel's deals. Natchez Trace Tiny House Village Opens in Hohenwald, Tennessee Courtesy of Natchez Trace Tiny House Village Natchez Trace Tiny House Village is the newest location from Petite Retreats, which has launched a series of unique accommodations across the country since 2016. The houses are part of Natchez Trace RV Campground, located about an hour southwest of Nashville in Hohenwald, TN, which offers plenty of family-friendly amenities and activities. Each of the six specially designed tiny houses at Natchez Trace measures 30 feet long, sleeps two to six guests and comes fully equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, satellite TV, and its own unique personality reflected in the carefully selected design and décor. The village is nestled among trees and has lakefront views. These tiny homes are full of character and personality, and are Green Certified by TRA Certification. Each home also includes sustainable items from IKEA, ensuring an eco-friendly vacation for all. CDC Lifts its Requirement for Travelers to Test Negative for COVID-19 Before Entering the U.S June 12, 2022, CDC will no longer require air passengers traveling from a foreign country to the United States to show a negative COVID-19 viral test or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board their flight. For more information, see Rescission: Requirement for Negative Pre-Departure COVID-19 Test Result or Documentation of Recovery from COVID-19 for all Airline or Other Aircraft Passengers Arriving into the United States from Any Foreign Country. Eureka, California is Celebrates One Year Anniversary of the Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park Zoo Courtesy redwoodskywalk.com The city of Eureka, California is celebrating the first full year of operations for the Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park Zoo this weekend and, there is much to celebrate. Over the last twelve months, the Redwood Sky Walk has garnered more than $4M worth of global media attention and helped steadily increase visitation to the community. Since the opening of the Redwood Sky Walk at Sequoia Park Zoo last year, guest counts have increased by 181 percent year-over-year and by more than 68 percent over two years ago. The Redwood Sky Walk sits inside the Sequoia Park Zoo, California’s oldest accredited community zoo, which is recognized for its quality by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and fully owned and operated by the city of Eureka. One ticket, which can be bought at the gate, provides global entry into both experiences. The Redwood Sky Walk is a one-of-a-kind affordable, family-friendly, and ADA accessible attraction that takes visitors more than 100ft up into the world’s tallest trees for an educational and engaging journey through the rich, hidden ecology of Northern California’s famed Coastal Redwoods.

Inspiration

Nearly Half of Americans Want to Travel to Space

To coincide with the inaugural space tourism mission, as well as the NASA rocket launch on Oct. 16, ValuePenguin surveyed more than 2,000 Americans about their views on space tourism. The main takeaway? While about half of Americans want to travel to space, only 19% are willing to shell out $100,000 or more to make this dream a reality.Key findings 49% of Americans want to travel to space. Men are more interested in space travel than women (56% versus 44%), while interest in space tourism decreases with age (63% of Gen Zers versus 38% for baby boomers).28% of both men and Gen Zers would choose a free trip to space over being debt-free. Among all consumers, 23% opted for a trip to space rather than the ability to wipe out their debt.Reality check: Of those consumers who want to travel to space, just 19% would shell out $100,000 or more to make it happen — and even that might not be enough. Seats on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo are estimated to start at a whopping $250,000 per person.60% of Americans agree that space travel should be accessible for everyone, not just those who can afford the exorbitant costs. On a similar note, 41% don’t think billionaires should be spending so much money on space travel.About 1 in 4 (24%) don’t think space tourism is ethical. For example, some scientists fear that frequent space travel could give way to climate change, harming the environment through a high rate of emissions-per-passenger, as well as soot released by the rockets. So, why are some people so eager to go to space while others are happy to stay home? The majority of those who didn’t want to go to space said it was because they simply were not interested in the endeavor (54%). Unsurprisingly, the potential risks also played a role with, 39% saying it’s dangerous and 29% reporting feeling too scared.Space travel is expensive, but some think the debt is worth it When you consider how expensive train and plane tickets are, it’s not all that surprising that the cost of space travel is unimaginable for most people. For both Virgin Galactic's Space and Blue Origin's New Shepard, passengers typically spent between $250,000 and $500,000 to secure their seat. That’s a pretty penny most people can’t afford to pay even if they truly did desire to go to space. Our survey found that the majority of consumers are interested in taking a free trip to space (34%) — but only 19% would be willing to spend at least $100,000 to make that trip happen. Of course, household income plays a big role in whether or not someone considers the experience worth a six-figure price tag: Among prospective space travelers with a six-figure household income, 33% would spend at least $100,000 on space travel. For some, the steep cost is well worth it. Almost a quarter (21% ) of consumers reported they would be willing to take on debt in order to travel to space; for Gen Zers, this figure skyrockets to 32%.Alternatives for space travel enthusiasts While space travel isn’t currently available to most people, there are plenty of alternative experiences that can make you feel closer to the cosmos. Even just a visit to your local planetarium can help educate you about what is known about outer space. Here are a few fun suggestions that can help you get your space fix without having to pay that six figure space travel price tag: Epcot’s Mission: SPACE. On your next trip to the Sunshine State, make a visit to Epcot’s Mission: SPACE at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., for some major thrills. Next, grab a bite to eat at the all-new Space 220 Restaurant, which makes diners feel like they’re having a meal in a faraway galaxy, thanks to the space-like views out every window.National Air and Space Museum. If you prefer museums over theme parks, head to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where you can learn more about the history of space travel and check out some impressive artifacts. Make sure to grab some astronaut ice cream in the gift shop on your way out.Kennedy Space Center. To learn more about how astronauts train for their big journeys into space, you can’t miss the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.Space Center Houston. For those living closer to the Lone Star State, a road trip to Texas’ Space Center Houston is a must. The NASA Tram Tour stops by the famous Apollo Mission Control Center — a sight space enthusiasts won’t want to miss.Fantasyland Hotel. If you want an outer space experience and an international getaway, consider Canada — in particular, a stay at the Fantasyland Hotel’s space-themed room in Edmonton, Alberta.Your local planetarium. For a super cost-effective option, see if your city has a local planetarium you can visit — no travel required. To read more on the survey's finding and methodology visit: https://www.valuepenguin.com/travel/americans-space-travel

Inspiration

Best Wineries to Visit in All 50 States

The dating reviews website MyDatingAdviser.com has ranked the best wineries to visit in all 50 states. There are more than 11,000 wineries across the US, which has doubled in the last decade. That is over 2,000 more options than even craft beer alone. There are many opportunities to visit local wineries and enjoy remarkable wines from some of the nation’s most reliable producers. If you’re planning a wine tasting getaway and looking for the best towns to visit in the USA, these wineries are a great place to start. The analysis of over 700 wineries across the USA reveals you can be whatever wine drinker you want. If you prefer a homegrown Bordeaux blend, you can find it. Or maybe you want a sparkling wine that can rival Champagne. The comprehensive list of the best wineries highlights a world-class wine scene that has taken generations of boundary-pushing to reach its excellence. The rank of wineries is according to the quality, popularity, and things to do in the area. Whether you’re looking to plan your next great wine country getaway or simply want to sample something unique next time you’re buying bottles online, these are the wineries to look for. Not surprisingly, California wineries came out on top. It’s no surprise that California wineries made the top of the list, with 16 wineries in the top 100 rankings, as California accounts for 90 percent of American wine production. There are more than 1,200 wineries in the state, ranging from small boutique wineries to large corporations with distribution around the globe. The best winery in California is Judd's Hill Winery and MicroCrush in Napa. Located only minutes from downtown Napa, near the foot of the Silverado Trail, Judd's Hill was given a score of 82.85 in the study. From fermenting grapes in their garage to opening a well-respected vineyard, they have come a long way to become a premium producer of fine wines. Here you can enjoy tastings, wine club, wine and food flavors tasting experiences as well as classes on blending. Interestingly, the study found Tennessee to be a popular state for wine tasting. The top three wineries are in Tennessee: Tennessee Homemade Wines, Sugarland Cellars, and Tennessee Cider Company - all in Gatlinburg. Most of the wineries in the state are located in Middle and East Tennessee. Since Tennessee is in a transition zone they can grow a wide array of grape varieties and make many different types of wines. There is also a fair demand for fruit wines in this state The number one winery to visit is Tennessee Homemade Wines in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This study found that Tennessee Homemade Wines in Gatlinburg, TN is the best winery in the USA, ranking first out of 746 wineries and with an overall score of 90.31 out of a possible 100. This winery is known as Gatlinburg's best local winery and producer of the best sweet wines in Tennessee. They specialize in local flavors like muscadine, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and peach. New York’s best winery is Three Brothers Wineries and Estates in Geneva. Three Brothers Wineries and States had a total score of 74.21. Here you can find three unique wineries, a microbrewery, and a café all on one estate in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York. Washington’s best winery is Chateau Ste. Michelle Vineyards Chateau Ste. Michelle is Washington State's oldest winery, located in Woodinville, Washington, near Seattle - given a total score of 82.47. It produces Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, and Riesling, and has winemaking partnerships with two vintners: Col Solare is an alliance with Tuscany's Piero Antinori. Courtesy MyDatingAdviser.com Best winery to visit in all 50 states: Alabama, Jules J. Berta Vineyards & Pizza (Albertville)​Alaska, Bear Creek Winery (Homer)​Arizona, Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Tasting Room (Cottonwood)Arkansas, The Winery Of Hot Springs (Hot Springs)​California, Judd's Hill Winery And MicroCrush (Napa)​Colorado, Balistreri Vineyards (Denver)​Connecticut, Jones Family Farm (Shelton)​Delaware, Salted Vines Vineyard & Winery (Frankford)​Florida, Panama City Beach Winery (Panama City Beach)​Georgia, Crane Creek Vineyards (Young Harris)​Hawaii, MauiWine​ (Kula)Idaho, Telaya Wine Co. (Garden City)​Illinois, Lynfred Winery (Roselle)​Indiana, Urban Vines Winery & Brewery Co. (Westfield)​Iowa, Stone Cliff Winery (Dubuque)​Kansas, Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery (Basehor)​Kentucky, Purple Toad Winery (Paducah)​Louisiana, NOLA Tropical Winery (New Orleans)​Maine, Cellardoor Winery (Lincolnville)​Maryland, Linganore Winecellars (Mt Airy)​Massachusetts, Plymouth Bay Winery (Plymouth)​Michigan, Fenn Valley Vineyards (Fennville)​Minnesota, Carlos Creek Winery (Alexandria)​Mississippi, Old South Winery (Natchez)​Missouri, Pirtle Winery (Weston)​Montana, Yellowstone Cellars & Winery (Billings)​Nebraska, Cellar 426 Winery (Ashland)​Nevada, Pahrump Valley Winery (Pahrump)​New Hampshire, Seven Birches Winery (Lincoln)​New Jersey, Cape May Winery & Vineyard (Cape May)​New Mexico, Casa Rondena Winery (Albuquerque)​New York, Three Brothers Wineries And Estates (Geneva)​North Carolina, Biltmore Winery At Antler Hill Village (Asheville)​North Dakota, Prairie Rose Meadery (Fargo)​Ohio, Gervasi Vineyard (Canton)​Oklahoma, Girls Gone Wine (Broken Bow)​Oregon, Willamette Valley Vineyards Tasting Room In McMinnville (McMinnville)​Pennsylvania, Mount Hope Estate & Winery (Manheim)​Rhode Island, Newport Vineyards (Middletown)​South Carolina, Duplin Winery (North Myrtle Beach)​South Dakota, Prairie Berry Winery (Hill City)​Tennessee, Tennessee Homemade Wines (Gatlinburg)​Texas, Messina Hof Winery (Bryan)​Utah, IG Winery (Cedar City)​Vermont, Snow Farm Vineyard And Winery (South Hero)​Virginia, Williamsburg Winery (Williamsburg)​Washington, Chateau Ste. Michelle Vineyards (Woodinville)​West Virginia, Lambert's Vintage Wines (Weston)​Wisconsin, Cedar Creek Winery (Cedarburg)​Wyoming, Big Lost Meadery And Brewery (Gillette)​ Here are a few tips for your next wine tasting: 1. Sight. Look down into the glass and hold the glass to the light. Tilt your wine, and roll towards the edges. The depth of color indicates the density and saturation of the wine. For example, a deep-saturated purple-black color might be Syrah or Zinfandel, while a lighter, pale brick shade would suggest Pinot Noir.Swirl your glass to look for “legs” or “tears” running down the side of the glass. Wines with good legs are wines with more alcohol and glycerin content, indicating they are more extensive, riper, mouth-filling, and dense.2. Smell. If there are no obvious off-aromas, look for fruit aromas. Wine is from grapes, and it should smell fresh. You can learn to look for specific fruits and grapes, and many grapes will show a spectrum of fruit scents.3. Taste. Take a sip, not a large swallow of wine in your mouth, and try sucking on it as if pulling it through a straw. You should encounter a wide range of fruit, flower, herb, mineral, barrels, and other flavors. Use your taste buds to help determine if the wine is balanced, harmonious, and complex. Information about the most famous wine varieties: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Burgundy are the most famous wine varieties across the nation.Chardonnay is the most planted variety, with 106,000 acres (43,000 hectares). However, it’s not a very popular grape and has declined in the past ten years.Another favorite, Cabernet Sauvignon, is in second place, with 101,300 acres (41,000 hectares). Plantings of Cabernet are stable and growing.The Burgundy grape Pinot Noir has seen a surge in growth and is now in third place with 61,800 acres (25,000 hectares). It’s the emblematic grape in Oregon, and the state is more or less synonymous with Pinot Noir. It also accounts for 60% of Oregon vineyards. Methodology To determine the best wineries across America, MyDatingAdviser.com compared over 700 of the best wineries on TripAdvisor. They then ranked the top wineries across the USA. This study took the winery quality, popularity, and things to do into account. The analysis was across six key metrics of winery perfection: 1) TripAdvisor rating, 2) Google reviews rating, 3) Number of TripAdvisor reviews, 4) Number of Google reviews, 5) Number of restaurants within 3 miles, and 6) Number of attractions within 6 miles. Each winery has a ‘Winery Index Score.’ This value represents the quality of the winery experience that you can have there. MyDatingAdviser.com is a US dating website committed to offering singles advice and reviews. Amy Pritchett started her website in March 2019 and has a passion for providing people love and relationship advice. Sources: California, Washington, and New York Wine production (America Wines Paper).Tips for wine tasting (WineMag.com)Most popular wine grapes in America (Forbes)

ADVERTISEMENT