Going on vacation doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money. In fact, if you traveled somewhere and only paid for your hotel, you could probably get away with not spending much at all if you did a little research on free things to do in that area. To help you get started, check out our list of 100 fun free things to do across the United States. We’ve found the best free things to do in every state, so you can keep your dollars in your pocket!
Some of the places are landmarks, some are museums, some are quirky roadside attractions and others are natural wonders. You can even use our list to find some hidden gems in your own home state if you’re not going on vacation, but instead are just looking for something fun and free to do during the week or over the weekend. The places we found are good for people of all ages and make great day trips with your friends, date activities or family outings.
Read through all of the fun and free things you can do below for kids and adults. You may be surprised by some of them. You can even keep the list and check things off free activities as you go to them.
Fun Free Things to Do Near Me
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, AL
If you’re near the state capital, head to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Inside is everything from 19th and 20th-century American paintings to sculptures and there’s even an interactive art gallery for your kids to see.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens in Birmingham, AL
Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama’s largest living museum with a variety of 12,000 plants. It is open every day of the week from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm in the summer and 7:00 am to 5:00 pm in the winter.
Northern Lights in Fairbanks, AL
If you’re in Alaska, you have to see the Northern Lights. They can be seen at all times of the year, but are best mid-August through mid-April. Seeing all the colors dancing in the sky will be a million-dollar view, but it’ll be completely free.
Harding Icefield in Seward, AL
If you’re looking for an adventure, hike on Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park. The trail takes you through cottonwood and alder forests, a heather-filled meadow and above the tree line so you can see a magical view of the icefield. It’s about a 6-8 hour hike, which can be on the strenuous side, but it’s something you can only experience in Alaska.
Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ
Arizona is one state where you have to experience the beauty around you. Seeing Horseshoe Bend is one of those places. The hike isn’t very hard, so it’s pretty low-impact.
Arizona Falls in Phoenix, AZ
Who doesn’t love waterfalls? If you go down Indian School Road between 56th and 58th streets in Phoenix, you can see Arizona Falls. They are the state’s own little treasure and are created by a natural 20-foot drop on the Arizona Cana.
Walmart Museum in Bentonville, AR
Did you know Walmart has a museum? It does and you can find it in Bentonville, which is where the now super-store first started in 1990. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can go on a free self-guided tour at the Walmart Museum.
Riverfront Park in Little Rock, AR
If you’re a park lover, you have to check out Riverfront Park. It stretches 11 blocks, so it’s a great place to go on a nice day and walk around at. Along the way you’ll see sculptures, bridges, plaques and, of course, a beautiful view of the river.
Redwood National Park in Orick, CA
Redwood National Park is unlike any other national park. Why? It is home to the tallest trees on Earth. You’ll feel like you are walking through an enchanted storybook forest as you go on the trails. Don’t forget to bring your camera to document how small you look next to one of the trees. Tip: You can get free permits at the visitor center in Orick.
The Chinese Theatre Handprints and Footprints in Hollywood, CA
Do you love pop culture? Then you need to head to Hollywood Boulevard, to see all of the celebrity handprints and footprints that are in the sidewalk there at the forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre. Everyone from Frank Sinatra to Brad Pitt to C-3PO are included.
Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, CO
Do you ever wish you could meet a dinosaur? While you can’t meet one in real life, you can go to Dinosaur Ridge and actually stand in a three-toed impression that was left by a brontosaurus 150 million years ago in the bedrock. There are also lots of other exposed fossils and footprints along there, too. If you give yourself a tour instead of requested a guided tour, it’s free.
United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO
If one of your kids loves the air force, surprise them with a visit to the United States Air Force Academy. Free tours are offered there each day.
Elizabeth Park in Hartford, CT
Get ready to see more roses than you ever have before in one place. When you visit Elizabeth Park you can see 15,000 rose bushes and 800 different varieties of roses. The park first opened in 1904 and is now the oldest public rose garden.
Westport Astronomical Society in Westport, CT
Do you love stars? Then you need to go to the Westport Astronomical Society. It has a Dome Observatory that houses a 12.5″ Newtonian telescope that lets you see free weekly viewings of the night sky like you’ve never seen before.
Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, DE
Calling all plane lovers, this free tourist attraction is something people of all ages will enjoy. You can view over 30 military aircraft inside the Air Mobility Command Museum and even have a veteran show you around for free.
Rehoboth Beach in Rehoboth Beach, DE
If you find yourself in Delaware in the summer, take a dip in the Atlantic Ocean at Rehoboth Beach. It’s a fun place to spend an afternoon with your family and it won’t cost you a cent. How great is that?
Siesta Key Beach in Siesta Key, FL
You can’t go to Florida and not hang out at a beach. One of the prettiest ones there is Siesta Key Beach. It has been said to have some of the finest white sand in the world and it’s eight miles long. It’s a must when you visit and a great place to watch sunset, too.
The Hindu Temple in Tampa, FL
You’ll almost feel like you’ve been whisked away to India if you go to see The Hindu Temple. It is nestled amongst the trees on Lynn Road in Tampa and is so beautiful. Don’t miss out on going there if you’re in the Sunshine State.
Georgia Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, GA
You can’t not go to the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site when you’re in Georgia. You can learn all about one of the United State’s greatest leaders, tour his home and the Ebenezer Baptist Church across the street.
Anne Frank Museum in Sandy Springs, GA
History buffs will want to go to the Anne Frank Museum. It showcases the story of young Holocaust victim. The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays during the morning and afternoon hours
Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu, HI
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is located northwest of downtown Honolulu. You can even see one sunken battleship from the memorial. There’s usually a long wait for this, but it’s worth it.
Makaluapuna Point in Kapalua, HI
If you’re dying to see lava while you’re in Hawaii, go to Makaluapuna Point. There, you can see lava that has hardened, at a place referred to as Dragon’s Teeth, because that’s what it resembles. It’s something you can only view there, so don’t pass it up.
Hagerman National Fish Hatchery in Hagerman, ID
Want to do something interesting? Check out Hagerman National Fish Hatchery. It’s a unique experience where you can see incubation and early rearing of steelhead and rainbow trout. It’s open from 7:00 am-3:00 pm.
Idaho State Historical Museum in Boise, ID
The Idaho State Historical Museum features over 200 artifacts and documents. You can even find out about the legacy Lincoln left behind in Idaho. It’s a fun stop that your whole family can learn from.
Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, IL
You can go to a free zoo here called Lincoln Park Zoo. So if you love animals, make sure you go. It’s open every day.
Superman Square in Metropolis, IL
If you’re a fan of Super-Man, head to Metropolis. You can take a pic with a 15-foot-tall, three-ton Superman statue while you’re in Superman Square. A statue of Lois Lane is also nearby.
The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art in Indianapolis, IN
The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art is open to the public daily during exhibitions from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. It displays the works of emerging contemporary artists and is a must-see place. If you go on a Sunday, metered street parking is free that day, too.
Tiffany Stained Glass Trail in Richmond, IN
If you want to see something stunning, go to Louis Comport Tiffany Stained Glass Trail. It features nearly 70 stained-glass windows that are breathtaking to look at. First Presbyterian Church is available for viewing Monday-Friday from 8:00 am-5:00 pm.
Field of Dreams Movie Site in Dyersville, IA
If Field of Dreams is one of your favorite movies, you can actually visit where it was filmed. The movie released in 1989, and the site looks the same today. You can go there from sunrise to sunset.
Maquoketa Caves State Park in Maquoketa, IA
If you or someone you know loves caves, you should visit Maquoketa Caves State Park. It has more caves than any other state park in the country. It’s a bucket list item for sure.
Oz Museum in Wamego, KS
Kansas is Dorothy’s home in The Wizard of Oz, so it makes sense that they have an Oz Museum, right? The museum celebrates the movie and the book. It’s the ultimate Wizard of Oz-fan experience.
Truckhenge in Topeka, KS
No matter if you’re a truck-lover or not, you’ll find Truckhenge fascinating. It was created in 2000 and has elevated trucks displayed in an artsy way. It actually came to be because country officials were trying to get the owner to clean up his land and ordered him to “pick up the trucks,” so he did and now it’s something people from all over the United States come to see.
The Purple People Bridge in Newport, KY
The Purple People Bridge has been around since 1872 and it connects Northern Kentucky to Cincinnati, Ohio. It’s one of nine ways to cross the Ohio River, but it’s the only one that’s purple. It even has purple lights if you go at night.
21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY
If you love art, head to the 21c Museum Hotel. It has quirky and fun galleries that will make you feel like you’re visiting a museum in NYC. You can make reservations or just show up.
The Barataria Preserve in Marrero, LA
If you’ve never seen a swamp before and are curious, Louisiana has a bunch you can check out. The Barataria Preserve is a great place to go because you can see a swamp, without having to get on a boat. It has boardwalks that you can walk on instead, which makes the experience even better.
Gator Chateau in Jennings, LA
Want to see an alligator? Go to Gator Chateau. There is no admission charged, but you can donate if you want. It’s open Mondays-Saturday 9:00 am-5:00 pm and you can see them feed the gators if you go on Fridays at 3:30 pm June-September.
Wells Beach in Wells, ME
The next time you’re on the East Coast, visit Wells Beach. It’s a seven-mile-long beach. It’s not only pretty and relaxing, but lots of people go surfing there so you can give it a shot yourself or watch others.
Portland Head Light in Portland, ME
Instead of just going to the beach, go to one with a historical landmark. If you go to Portland Head Light, which is Maine’s oldest lighthouse, you can see the ocean too. It’s a neat sight to see.
Ocean City Boardwalk in Ocean City, MD
What’s better than being by the ocean? If that sounds like your dream day, spend time at Ocean City Boardwalk where you can take a three-mile-long stroll and see it while you walk.
The Awakening Sculpture in Oxon Hill, MD
You need to get a picture in front of The Awakening Sculpture for Instagram. It’s a piece of art that basically has hands and feet sticking up from the ground. It’s made of five separate pieces of metal and is giving the impression that a man is trying to free himself from the sand.
Harvard University in Cambridge, MA
You’ll only find Harvard University in Massachusetts, so why not explore it. It has been around since 1636 and is the oldest institution of high learning in the United States. From its old architecture to its libraries, it’s an amazing place to go.
The Freedom Trail in Boston, MA
The Freedom Trail was established in 1951. It’s a red-brick trail that covers 16 historical sites and stretches 2.5 mile. It will teach you almost all you need to know about Boston’s history if you walk the whole thing.
13-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan in Oscoda, MI
Michigan is home to many things, including a 13-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan. It can be found in front of Furtaw Field. It was said to have been part of the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Detroit in the 70s and then was brought to this town years later.
Thompson’s Harbor State Park in Posen, MI
A scenic place to visit is Thompson’s Harbor State Park. One of our favorite parts about it is that it’s along Lake Huron. Plus, it’s home to the largest population of state’s wildflower, the Dwarf Lake Iris.
Swan Park in Monticello, MN
Every winter, over 2,000 swans come to Swan Park. The park has a viewing deck overlooking the Mississippi River where the swans hangout so visitors can watch them. If that sounds like a dreamy experience you want to witness, the best time to go is late November to March.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, MN
The best things in life are free and that goes for touring Minneapolis, too. If you want to see works of art for free, go to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It has 40 works of art, including a “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture.
The Croswell Swinging Bridge in Croswell, MI
Kids will especially like the Croswell Swinging Bridge. It’s a suspension bridge that was built in 1905. It’s claimed to be the longest suspension bridge in the state, while some call it “Michigan’s scariest bridge” because it moves and sways.
Bad Axe Pioneer Log Cabin Village in Huron City, MI
You’ll feel like you’re in another decade once you see the Bad Axe Pioneer Log Cabin Village. Each cabin is a little different and contains things like antiques and household goods inside. It’s something unexpected and fun to come across.
Missouri Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO
You might have to pay to go inside the World War I Museum, but you don’t have to pay anything to see the Liberty Memorial outside. When you see it, you can also get a glimpse of the Kansas City skyline behind it, which is definitely a bonus.
Branson Landing Light Show in Branson, MO
Something unique you can watch is the Branson Landing Light Show. It’s dazzling and features a performance that includes water, fire, music and lights. It starts at noon each day and happens on the hour until 10:00 pm. People of all ages will want to watch this.
The Rimrocks in Billing, MT
The Rimrocks, AKA “The Rims,” are rimrock sandstone formations in Montana. You can go there to hike and some spots even are good to rock climb and rappel from. So depending on if you’re adventurous or not, you can make it what you want.
Sacajawea Park in, Livingston, MT
Sacajawea Park is a historical park located in Montana. It’s a great place to take your kids and tell them about Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark while you’re strolling where they once were years and years ago.
The National Museum of Roller Skating in Lincoln, NE
The National Museum of Roller Skating is so much fun! You can visit from 9:00 am-5:00 pm all week long. You’ll learn all about the history of roller skating and get to see the largest collection of them as well. Some skates there even date back to 1819!
Carhenge in Alliance, NE
Trust us, Carhenge is worth traveling to. It’s a quirky and unique replica of England’s Stonehenge, but in Nebraska. You can stop by and see it anytime during the year.
Great Basin National Park in Baker, NV
Great Basin National Park is simply beautiful. If you find yourself wanting to do something different in Nevada, besides Vegas, consider going here. It makes a great camping site or place to hike.
Ethel M Chocolates in Henderson, NV
Candy lovers need to check out Ethel M Chocolates. The best part is you can watch them make the chocolate. The factory is open daily from 8:30 am-6:00 pm and live production hours are typically until 4:30 pm on Monday-Friday.
Betty and Barney Hill Incident Historical Marker, Lincoln, NH
Are you a believer in aliens? If so, drive to the Betty and Barney Hill Incident Historical Marker.
The couple claims to have been abducted by a UFO right there while they were south on US3 in 1961. You can read all about it once you get there.
Diana’s Baths in North Conway in NH
No matter what time of the year you’re in New Hampshire, you can see Diana’s Baths. And we know what you’re thinking, but they aren’t literal bathtubs, they are waterfalls! Both kids and adults will enjoy this attraction.
Bridgeton Hall of Fame All Sports Museum in Bridgeton, NJ
Bridgeton Hall of Fame All Sports Museum is the place to go if you’re a sports fanatic. Inside, you’ll find memorabilia from all kinds of New Jersey athletes. In fact, there’s even a trophy room you can go in.
Discovery Seashell Museum in Ocean City, NJ
Discovery Seashell Museum is a landmark of Ocean City. There, you can see thousands of different types of shells from all over the world, from big to small. It’s a place we bet Ariel would be jealous of if she knew it existed.
Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM
Why not take a dip in the Blue Hole? It’s free and is a great place to go on a hot day. Plus, it’s in the middle of the desert, so it’s extra special to see.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge in Taos, NM
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is the fifth highest bridge in the United States. It’s 650 feet above Rio Grande and a beautiful construction. Plus, the view you’ll get when you’re up there is out of this world.
Goat Island in Niagara Falls, NY
Part of the Niagara Falls State Park, Goat Island is free to explore and has tons of amazing views of the falls. If you want to splurge a bit while you’re there, you can also buy tickets to board the Maid of the Mist boat tour, which will give you an up close and personal view of one of the world’s seven wonders.
Times Square in New York City, NY
If you’re in The Big Apple, Times Square is a must. It’s especially magical at night with all of its lights. You can find it on the intersection of Broadway and 42nd Street.
Pullen Park in Raleigh, NC
A cute pitstop for families is Pullen Park. It was the first-ever public park in North Carolina and today it has several playgrounds, trails and a miniature train that’s was built in 1950. It’s open all week during daylight hours.
Reed Gold Mine in Midland, NC
See where gold was discovered at Reed Gold Mine. It’s the site where the first documented gold was found in the United States. The tour is free, but if you want to hunt for gold yourself, panning for gold is $3.
Enchanted Highway in Regent, ND
Roadside art has never looked so good as Enchanted Highway. It’s a collection of the world’s largest scrap metal sculptures that stretch down a 32-miles of the southern part of North Dakota. To see it in person, drive north from regen to the Gladstone exit on I-94 east of Dickinson.
Painted Canyon Overlook in Watford City, ND
You haven’t truly seen the beauty of North Dakota until you go to Painted Canyon Overlook. It’s located right off 1-94 and gives you panoramic views of the state. It’s a dreamy stop you have to make.
Discover Mound City in Chillicothe, OH
Mound City is an Ohio gem. It’s located along the Scioto River and has a group of 23 earthen mounds. They are the only fully restored Hopewell earthwork complex and are super-special because of that.
Word’s Largest Corn Field in Dublin, OH
You’ve probably seen a corn field before, but you’ve never seen one like the one in Dublin. There, you’ll find the world’s largest corn field, which is made up of 109 human-sized ears of corn. Each one weighs 1,500 pounds, but don’t worry about having to eat them—they aren’t real.
Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum in Miami, OK
Vroom, vroom! The Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum is open all year and has over 65 vintage motorcycles inside. It’s a Route 66 landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which makes it even cooler to see in person.
Oklahoma Railway Museum in Oklahoma City, OK
Everyone loves trains, especially kids. That’s why the Oklahoma Railway Museum is so special. It’s open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Train rides do cost if you want to do that, but the museum part is free.
Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area in Otter Rock, OR
One memorable destination to go is Devils Punchbowl State Natural Area. It’s not only a beautiful place to watch waves crash, but it is a popular area for whale watching, too! Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Witch’s Castle in Portland, OR
If you don’t mind going on a short hike, you can see Witch’s Castle. It’s in the Forest Park and home to a slew or urban legends. Rumor has it that the stone structure is haunted, but you might not want to stay there long enough to find out.
Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, PA
Rocky fans will recognize the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the movie. You can even reenact the famous scene by running up the steps yourself. There are 72 of them, so get ready!
Dutch Haven in Lancaster, PA
If you’ve never been to Amish Country, now’s the time. One place there you’ll have to go to is Dutch Haven, a bakery which is famous for its shoo-fly pie! They’ll even give you a free sample so you can try it and see what all the buzz around the sweet treat is.
East Bay Bike Path in Bristol, RI
Get your exercise on in a fun way at East Bay Bike Path. You can start at the beaches in Bristol and then head on its 13.8 mile trail. Plus, along the way you’ll get some picturesque views.
Brown University in Providence, RI
No matter if you’re still trying to figure out where to go to college or not, there’s nothing quite like touring a historical school like Brown University. It’ll be a fun experience you and your family can go while you’re in the area.
Myrtle Beach in Myrtle Beach, SC
How can you resist going to the beach? Take a day and hit up Myrtle Beach and get some sunshine. It won’t cost you a dime.
Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, SC
Hey, Batter Batter! Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum will be a homerun attraction for you. It’s a baseball-theme museum you can visit for free. The museum will be open in June after it finishes up some construction.
Falls Park in Sioux Falls, SD
If you want to see waterfalls, go to Falls Park. The waterfall looks magical as it flows over many tiers of Sioux quartzite. It’s a place you won’t forget.
Storybook Island in Rapid City, SD
Parents will be transported back to their childhood and kids will be in awe as they walk through Storybook Park. It’s a magical park that has giant statues and playgrounds based on famous children’s stories. You can go any day from 9:00 am-7:00 pm until September 6.
Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN
There’s no doubt about it: Tennessee has some spectacular views. One place you can see how beautiful the state is, is at Lookout Mountain. It’ll be a priceless experience.
The Memphis Zoo in Memphis, TN
If you live in Tennessee, you don’t have to pay to get into the Memphis Zoo on Tuesdays. So if you haven’t taken advantage of that perk yet, do it ASAP. It’s one of the best zoos in the country, which means you’ll have loads of fun there.
The Alamo in San Antoni, TX
What’s great about Texas? You can visit one of the most important war memorials in the entire country there, like The Alamo. You can check out memorabilia from a battle and learn more about it.
24- foot Tall Dalmatian-Spotted Fire Hydrant in Beaumont, TX
Sometimes going to silly places is the best – and that’s exactly why you’ll want to go to the Fire Museum of Texas to see a 24- foot tall dalmatian-spotted fire hydrant. Fun fact: It was actually donated to the City of Beaumont by Walt Disney in 1999 to celebrate the re-release of the animated movie 101 Dalmatians.
Red Hills Desert Garden in St. George, UT
The Red Hills Desert Garden is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It has 5,000 water-efficient plants, a replica slot canyon, prehistoric dinosaur tracks that date back 200 million years and more. It’s something you and your family will always remember.
Temple Square in Salt Lake City, UT
Did you know that Temple Square is the most visited attraction in Utah? It offers free tours, so make sure you take advantage of it. It’s something you’ll regret if you don’t.
Harry Barber’s Miniature Castles in South Hero, VT
Attention castle-lovers, you need to see Harry Barber’s miniature castles. They were built by Harry Barber as a passion project and now have been viewed by millions of people. Tip: The best and easiest way to get to the castles is to bike around the island.
Quechee Gorge in Quechee, VT
Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach, VA
Yep, Mt. Trashmore is what it sounds like. It’s built on the site of an old landfill and shows that you can turn trash into treasure. The 165-acre-park has picnic shelters, trails, a skate park, a playground, fishing lakes and more!
Maymont in Richmond, VA
Have you ever heard of Maymont? It includes 100-acres of manicured gardens, a petting zoo, a nature center and tons of other attractions. Most of the things in the park are free, but some of them ask for donations.
Post Alley Gum Wall in Seattle, WA
Bring some bubble gum if you go to Seattle. Why? You have to place it in Post Alley on the gum wall. It started in the 1990s and is now a colorful, quirky display.
World’s Largest Radio Flyer Spokane, WA
Want an epic Instagram pic? Go to see the world’s largest radio flyer! It’s known as “The Childhood Express,” and you can take a pic inside it for everyone to see. It even has a slide so you can easily get back on the ground after you climb up it.
Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park in Summersville, WV
West Virginia is great because there are so many places you can go that bring you back in time. Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park is one of them. You can go there and learn about how West Virginia has changed throughout history.
New River Gorge Bridge in Victor, WV
The New River Gorge Bridge is beautiful. It’s a steel arch bridge 3,030 feet long over the New River Gorge. Make sure you go on “Bridge Day” (October 16) if you want to jump off it or watch people jump off it.
Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, WI
With over three million visitors each year, Devil’s Lake State Park is super-popular. It’s the largest state park in Wisconsin and an amazing place to hike at. You can’t go wrong spending a day there.
National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI
If you’re into quirky museums, visit the National Mustard Museum. It’s open all week from 10:00 am-5:00 pm. And while the museum is free, you’ll have to buy mustard if you want to take any home.
Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site in Riverton, WY
Thanks to the wind, the sandstone has been eroded into castle-like shapes at Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site. If you look closely in the rock, you can even see art created by Indigenous people. How cool is that?
Medicine Wheel in Lovell, WY
Medicine Wheel is a place that has stones are arranged in the shape of a wheel. It has 28 spokes coming from a central marker and measures 80 feet across. It was originally constructed by Native Americans and was used to predict astronomical events.