Figuring out what to do on vacation is tough. We get it. That’s presumably why you read travel stories and peruse websites to spark ideas. Or, at the very least, see who bought the most ad space on Yelp!
But you might also want to look at the activities people are choosing to spend their money on. That can be a difficult data set to collect, but thankfully the folks at Groupon have done the bulk of the work for you. Groupon took a look at the most popular offers for activities and attractions in every state, and made a list of the ones that sell the best. So no matter which state is next on your vacation list, here’s at least one idea for something to do (prices are on tours booked via Groupon).
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Alabama Gulf Coast dolphin cruise — from $20.88
Perhaps you don’t associate Alabama with dolphins jumping through the Gulf of Mexico, but head to the southern part of the state and you’ll swear you were in Florida — especially onboard a cruise that takes you from Orange Beach into the gulf for two hours of cruising with dolphins. During slower times, the crew will also pick up a crab pot, so you can see the fresh seafood being caught that day.
Whale watch and Mendenhall Glacier tour — from $152.25
Not surprisingly, all the most popular Alaskan tourist excursions are based in Juneau, where cruise ship port callers take advantage of their few hours on land. The most popular is a two-in-one tour where you’ll spend half the day spotting orcas, humpbacks, and other whales from a heated cabin. Then it’s off to the Mendenhall Glacier, where return buses leave every half hour, so you can spend as long as you like hiking and won’t have to worry about missing your cruise ship.
Upper Antelope Canyon — from $70
Well, this might explain why Antelope Canyon now feels more like a Disneyland queue than a natural attraction. If you can handle the throngs of “influencers” glued to their phones, this is one of the most spectacular natural formations in the Southwest, where light peers through the narrow cracks in the red rocks and casts marvelous shadows on the slot canyon below. Just make sure you show up at least 90 minutes early, or they may give away your spot.
Riverboat dinner and dance cruise — from $50
The history of Hot Springs, Arkansas, is some of the most interesting in the state. It was once a spa town set in the Ouachita Mountains of Central Arkansas that used to be an exclusive getaway for southern gentry. You’ll learn of the rise, fall, and rebirth of the area aboard the 5:00 PM dinner cruise on the Belle Riverboat of Hot Springs, where a tour guide takes you around Lake Hamilton telling the story of the springs. Once the tour and dinner are over, it’s time to dance as the boat circles the lake to a beautiful sunset.
Muir Woods and wine country with optional gourmet lunch — from $134
The top three attractions in Californiaf all center around the wilderness of San Francisco, and two-thirds of them involve wine. Color us shocked. The most popular, however, is an adventure that takes you from your hotel to Muir Woods. There, you’ll enjoy a guided tour through the serene redwoods before heading to Sonoma County’s Carneros region. There, you’ll hit three wineries for special tastings with the option for a food-and-wine-pairing lunch at a local restaurant. You’ll also enjoy free time on Sonoma plaza and a sparkling wine toast.
Discover Rocky Mountain National Park — from $129
No trip to Colorado is complete without a venture into Rocky Mountain National Park, and if you don’t feel like renting a car during your time in Denver, you can opt for a guided day trip. The eight-hour tour cruises along the Front Range to Boulder, giving you views of the dramatic Flatiron Rock formations. Then it’s on to the park, where your guide takes you on a wildlife viewing journey, stopping at the best locations for spotting moose, elk, and deer. Active folks, don’t stress; you’ll also have ample opportunities to get out and hike along the way.
Mystic Aquarium ticket — from $36.99
New England’s most popular aquarium is in little Mystic, Connecticut, where you can spend the day visiting beluga whales, African penguins, alligators, and tropical fish. Kids can reach in the touch tanks where they’ll have the chance to feel the sandy skin of sharks and stingrays. Take a tour of the animal rescue clinic to see how the aquarium works to help save endangered marine species.
Windsurfing lesson on Rehoboth Bay — from $150
Sure, you could spend your week in Rehoboth Beach relaxing and stuffing yourself with Kohr Brothers custard. But why not learn a valuable new skill like windsurfing with a two-hour lesson? By the end of the morning you’ll know how to pull up the rig, sail, turn, and steer. And in the relatively relaxing waters off the Delaware coast you won’t face nearly the traffic or stress you might if you tried to learn in somewhere like California.
Key West sunset champagne and appetizer cruise — from $63
Since theme parks don’t typically offer specials on Groupon — and neither do South Beach nightclubs — the most popular activity in Florida is this sunset cruise off Key West. Avoid the crowds at Mallory Square and escape onto this 60-foot catamaran, where you’ll find all the sparkling wine, sangria, and premium beer you can drink, as well as a front row seat to the southernmost sunset in America.
Savannah culinary and walking tour — from $56.95
Outside St. Patrick’s Day, there are really two things people come to Savannah for: history and food. Do a tour that combines both in a mile-and-a-half jaunt through the city, sampling foods like pork belly donut sliders, shrimp and grits, and honey. Along the way, you’ll enjoy Savannah’s famous dripping Spanish moss and elegant squares while learning the city’s history as you stroll through the 300-year-old City Market.
Paradise Cove Luau — from $102
What’s a trip to Hawaii without a classic Polynesian luau? The one at Paradise Cove may be the most extravagant on Oahu. During the five-hour fete, you can try spear throwing, haul in fishing nets to the rhythm of a conch shell, and learn the traditions of cooking in an imu (earth oven). You’ll also be treated to a fire dancing show and a full Hawaiian feast featuring roast pork and fresh seafood.
Hells Canyon jet boat tour — from $180
The Snake River may just be the scenic highlight of Idaho, and cruising along its sometimes turbulent waters surrounded by Hells Canyon is the best way to see it. The 54-mile jet boat tour lets you bask in the mountain sun, departing at 10:00 AM and coming back only once the distance has been covered. The relaxed trip included a noontime lunch, but you’ll need to get to the launch point on your own. That’s hardly a drawback, however, as the drive through Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is an adventure unto itself.
Chicago architecture river cruise — from $41.44
Somehow beating out the Willis Tower Skydeck and the Crime and Mob Tour, this journey through America’s most architecturally fascinating skyline is an education in the great building designers of the 19th and 10th centuries. For 75 minutes along the Chicago River, you’ll learn all about famous sites like the Wrigley Building, John Hancock Center, East Bank Club, and the Old Post Office. And since it offers over 20 tours a day, it fits into almost any Windy City itinerary.
Massachusetts Avenue food tour — from $62
Take a tour along one of Indy’s hottest streets, where old industrial buildings now house creative new restaurants and lively bars. Here, you’ll find the city’s oldest restaurant — The Rathskeller — and eat through high-end Midwestern offerings and traditional German fare. Along the way you’ll learn how the city’s food scene has developed over the last 150 years — and taste plenty of local beer to go along with it.
Field of Dreams movie site guided home tour — from $20
If you build it, they will indeed come. Especially if you’re on Groupon. Ok, so maybe Shoeless Joe Jackson and other long-gone baseball legends won’t wander out from the cornfields, but you can still visit the 1900s Iowa farmhouse and baseball park from Field of Dreams. The official tour includes a trip to the house and plenty of photo ops on the diamond.
iFly Kansas City Skydiving — from $76.32
Not sure what it says about Kansas that its most popular activities were two escape rooms and an indoor skydiving chain in suburban Kansas City. But you can’t go wrong spending an hour or so at iFly. For those who want the thrill of a freefall without the threat of instant death, this experience offers you the chance to fly in a vertical wind column with an expert instructor. After a short lesson, you’ll get a couple of 60-second falls in the tunnel and a personalized flight certificate to take home at the end.
Bluegrass horse farm tour — from $40
Horses and bourbon dominate the most popular activities in Kentucky. Take a trip behind the scenes of some of America’s most famous horse farms. You’ll see all that goes into breeding, raising, and housing thoroughbred racehorses, including up-close opportunities with these amazing athletes. You might even get a chance to feed them!
Steamboat Natchez harbor cruise — from $36
Channel your inner Mark Twain as you board this historic paddlewheel riverboat and cruise along the Mighty Mississippi. Live jazz plays on deck as you float past the New Orleans cityscape, enjoying the sights from a different vantage point. Though it’s not included in the price of admission, you’d be remiss to skip out on the buffet lunch, which offers Cajun specialties like cornmeal-crusted fish and red beans and rice. The boat leaves from the edge of the French Quarter, too, so you can continue your historic immersion even after the ride is over.
Portland city and lighthouse tour — from $31
Who better to teach you about life in Maine than a real-life local lobsterman? Take a tour with one along Portland’s waterfront, including the docks where these guys work and the Old Port District around it. You’ll also hit the road and visit three coastal lighthouses, including the Portland Head Lighthouse set atop a menacing rocky shore.
Spirit of Baltimore dinner cruise with buffet — from $99.62
Just edging out an Annapolis seafood crawl as the Old Line State’s top activity, this luxurious cruise through the inner harbor offers the perfect beginning to a big night in B-more. Step aboard the Spirit of Baltimore and feast on a sumptuous buffet including braised short ribs, Atlantic flounder, and a carving station. Then sit back and enjoy a cabaret show followed by a live DJ spinning hits for your dancing pleasure.
Boston to Martha’s Vineyard day trip — from $105
Getting out to “The Vineyard” can be a serious hassle, especially if you’re forced to deal with Boston’s famous drivers. Better to leave the driving to the pros and search Groupon for a Boston to Martha’s Vineyard day trip. You’ll be shuttled from Beantown to Falmouth for a 35-minute ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard. Once there, you’ll have the option to upgrade to a three-hour guided tour of the island or just spend the day wandering around. At 3:45 PM, it’ll be time to board the ferry back home, achieving a full-day experience with none of the transport hassle.
Five-hour Traverse City wine tour — from $59
The secret of Traverse City is out, though most people know it more for its abundance of breweries than for its spectacular wines. But this city — which sits on the wine-happy 45th parallel — is also home to some of the most scenic wineries in the world, perched on hilltops overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. Go on a guided tour and enjoy all the tastings you want without having to worry about driving home. Tasting fees aren’t included, but most won’t run you more than $5.
Sea Life Aquarium admission — from $23.30
The great thing about the Mall of America is that it’s the odd Minnesota attraction you can visit any month of the year. Ditto for the mall’s massive aquarium, Sea Life Minnesota, where 10,000 sea creatures live in replications of the Amazon river, tropical coral reefs, and Midwestern lakes. You can also effectively become part of the aquarium in Sea Life’s 300-foot tunnel, where you’ll walk along the sea bottom while tiger sharks and clown nose rays glide overhead. Visitors can also watch live shark and ray feedings, and learn about the successful breeding programs that have kept these animals on the planet.
Half-day fishing charter — from $450
Mississippi’s Gulf Coast is one of the more under-appreciated regions of the country. Here, you can find all the white sandy beaches and world-class fishing of Florida at a fraction of the price. Case in point: a private charter listed on Groupon that takes you out into the Gulf of Mexico for a half-day of hardcore fishing for about $150 less than you’d pay just east of here.
Amazing acrobats of Shanghai — from $35
If you’ve never been to Branson, it’s like a scaled-down Las Vegas minus the casinos and plus a lot more roller coasters. And if a day of getting dipped and dropped has you longing to sit back and enjoy some feats of human strength, go see the Shanghai Acrobats. These marvels achieve the same level of aerial acrobatics as you might see at Cirque du Soleil for a far cheaper price, all in the lush Grand Shanghai Theatre. There are three shows a day at 10:00 AM, 3:00 PM, or 8:00 PM.
Half-day Flathead River whitewater rafting trip — from $65.27
If you’ve never experienced a white-knuckle, adrenaline-fueled afternoon of whitewater rafting, this trip is the perfect way to dip your toes in. The three-ish hour tour begins with a pleasant float by Glacier National Park, where you’ll see some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in America. After four miles of that, you’ll slide into John Stevens Canyon and rush through nine Class II and III rapids — just fast enough to get you wet but not so treacherous you never want to do it again.
Great Platte River Road Archway Monument — from $12.84
Though a bit off the beaten path, this tourist attraction is worth a visit. It has life-size figurines that tell you stories of the Pony Express, the trans-continental railroad, and what life was like for early settlers moving west. Beyond walking through the massive red archway that stretches across I-80, you can also visit a replica sod house, let your kids run around the Trail Blaze Maze, and listen to a mocked-up Mark Twain tell you about his cross-country stagecoach journey.
Grand Canyon All-America helicopter tour — from $399.99
As ultra-luxe, “influencer”-worthy Vegas experiences go, this is one of the more affordable (and certainly the most naturally impressive). The trip begins with a limousine pickup from your hotel, then continues with a private helicopter flight to the west rim of the Grand Canyon. You’ll fly over the Hoover dam and onto a bluff overlooking the canyon, where you’ll enjoy Champagne and plenty of selfie time. You’ll then fly back over the canyon, through the desert, and past the glittering Vegas skyline, feeling like royalty until you remember you blew your whole hotel budget on this flight and you’re still staying at Terrible’s.
29. New Hampshire
Meet the winemakers Seven Birches winery tour — from $25
Seven Birches is one of the most impressive winemaking operations in America, and we do not say that lightly. Though the grapes aren’t grown onsite, the entire process — from crushing to blending to fermenting – is done inside the Riverwalk Resort at Loon Mountain, doing in a tiny space what some wineries do over acres. The wines are pretty solid, too, and after learning the process and touring the facilities you’ll get to try plenty of them. You’ll even get to taste a “wine in progress” to get an idea of what winemakers look for when polishing a final product.
30. New Jersey
New York helicopter tour: Skyline experience — from $244
It speaks volumes about the Garden State that its most booked Groupon depends on its proximity to New York. In addition to this tour, New Jersey’s next-most-popular experience was a tour of… Niagara Falls? Groupon logic, what can we say. That said, the state’s biggest draw has you boarding a chopper in Linden and flying past the Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, and the Brooklyn and Williamsburg bridges. Flights run from 7:00 to 10:00 PM, and it’s best experienced at sunset.
31. New Mexico
Albuquerque sunrise hot air balloon flight — from $158.99
See, we told you there was a lot more to Albuquerque than Breaking Bad tours! Like hot air balloons, which were the other thing the city was known for before Walter White came along. This three-hour tour has you witnessing the colorful desert sunrise from high above the city, with views of the Sandia Mountains and the Petroglyph National Monument all around. After about an hour in the air, you’ll land somewhere outside town, where a “chase crew” will have Champagne and a flight certificate waiting for you.
32. New York
New York City Explorer pass — from $132
New York City
In a city like New York, picking just one experience won’t be enough. That’s why Groupon’s most popular purchase in the state is a pass that gets you into the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, the Statue of Liberty, and other top NYC attractions. And best of all, it lets you skip the lines at several of them.
33. North Carolina
Biltmore admission with audio tour and lunch — price not available
Despite Billy Graham’s claims at the Charlotte airport, North Carolina’s most popular attraction is this 8,000-acre property, dubbed “America’s Largest Home.” It was constructed for the Vanderbilt family in 1895 and now stands as a living museum to Gilded Age splendor, complete with delicately manicured gardens and a winery. This pass gets you admission to the home and gardens, plus a self-guided audio tour and lunch at an on-property restaurant.
34. North Dakota
Fargo favorites food tour — from $55
No, this won’t be a trip through the culinary faves of characters from North Dakota’s best TV show. But it will take you through the restaurants that helped revitalize Fargo’s downtown, including a legendary doughnut shop and a German beer hall. Along the way, you’ll learn the history of the city, as well as stop by a local farmer’s market and the Plains Art Museum.
Nati in a Nutshell food tour and Carew Tower — from $49
This unique food tour finds you boarding a historic Cincinnati streetcar and making your way through tastings at three local restaurants. You’ll also stroll through a farmer’s market and Washington Park as you hear about how the city has brought itself back in the last decade or so. Your final stop is up 45 floors to the top of landmark Carew Tower, where you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of the city, across the Ohio River into Northern Kentucky.
iFly Oklahoma City — from $65.12
Look at you, iFly, the most popular thing to do in not one but TWO states. One would think in a state as vast and sweeping as Oklahoma, there’d be actual, toss-yourself-from-a-perfectly-good-plane skydiving that could top this. But iFly keeps the top spot here, just edging out the OKC National Memorial Museum and the OKC Ghost Tour.
Morning half-day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge waterfalls tour — from $65
The Columbia River Gorge could make a serious case for the most beautiful place in America. The canyon of jagged rocks is set against deep blue water with vineyards popping out from the hillsides. It’s also full of majestic waterfalls, which you’ll see on this half-day tour beginning with 249-foot Latourell Falls. Other falls on the tour vary by season, but the day always ends at Multnomah Falls, a 620-foot beast that draws over two million people a year.
Founding fathers tour of Philadelphia — from $39
Rocky statues and Paddy’s Pub aside, Philadelphia is one of the most historically significant cities in America, and sometimes trying to take it all in can feel a little overwhelming. That’s why spending an afternoon on this tour is an ideal activity, walking through the Betsy Ross house and the Old City, then on to Independence Hall and a home where George Washington once lived. You’ll also hit Washington Square and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before finishing with a cold beer and an optional Philly beer tour.
39. Rhode Island
Newport gilded age mansion and trolly tour — from $39.95
This 90-minute tour through stately Newport brings you past 150 points of interest along Ocean Drive, Bellevue Avenue, and world-famous Cliff Walk. After learning all about this one-time summer escape for the ultra-wealthy, you’ll get to tour The Breakers, the Vanderbilt home that is the Newport mansion by which all other Newport mansions are judged.
40. South Carolina
Charleston old south carriage tour — from $28
Locals may not love them, but horse-drawn carriage rides are the quintessential way to see all of Charleston’s historic charm. Belgian and Percheron draft horses take you through 30 blocks of the city’s historic district, covering 2.5 miles of road and 300 years of history. You’ll stop near meticulously preserved homes and traverse cobblestone streets, almost like you would have during the city’s original heyday.
41. South Dakota
Mount Rushmore and Black Hills tour — from $141.95
Most people’s knowledge of South Dakota’s striking Black Hills doesn’t extend much past Mt. Rushmore and Deadwood. But this region offers so much more, and the daylong tour from Rapid City sold on Groupon takes you through it all. The day starts with a pancake breakfast then continues on to Mt. Rushmore. After an hour there you’ll drive the scenic Iron Mountain Road before stopping for buffalo stew at the Custer State Park lodge. Continue through the narrow rock formations along the Needles Highway — if your bus can fit — and see the ongoing work at the Crazy Horse Memorial. Finally, your day ends with dinner in Fort Hays Old West Town and a new appreciation for South Dakota.
Discover Nashville tour with admission to two attractions — from $78
Locals might be surprised to see “Matching t-shirt bachelorette party bar crawl” somehow did not top Groupon’s list of most popular attractions. Though that’s probably only because there’s no Groupon for it. Lacking that, this guided tour going past landmarks like the Tennessee State Capitol and Riverfront Park takes the top spot. In addition to an education in the city, you’ll also get free admission to the National Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium — aka the “mothership of country music.”
Riverwalk cruise, hop-on hop-off bus and Tower of the Americas — from $55.99
Bit of a surprise in the Lone Star state that tourist-saturated Austin and booming Houston missed the top spot. But this combination ticket taking you through the best of the Alamo City gets the most love, beating out even tours of Daley Plaza in Dallas. Your day starts with a calming boat ride along the San Antonio River before jumping on a guided tour bus with 19 stops. Among those stops is the Tower of the Americas (whose observation deck is included in your tour) boasting the best views of the city and surrounding hill country.
Monument valley guided tour — from $75
This might be the coolest way to see the buttes and towers of Monument Valley that doesn’t involve a private pilot. On this tour, you’ll jump in an open-air vehicle with a Navajo guide, who will take you through little-traveled roads and restricted areas most tourists never see. Your guide will also hip you to a little bit of culture through ceremonial songs and music played on a Native American flute.
Burlington brewery tour with lunch or dinner — from $90
Much like a mouse will want a glass of milk with his cookie, so will you probably want a glass of beer with whatever else it is you came to Vermont to do. This tour scratches that itch with stops at four local breweries, including Magic Hat and Zero Gravity, with samples from over 15 beers. Plus, you’ll enjoy a beer-focused lunch or dinner at a local restaurant that may or may not involve pizza.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg ticket — from $71.99
There’s something decidedly appealing about a roller coaster park owned by a beer company. And when you see the German beer hall in this European-themed roller coaster park, you might think to yourself, “This is heaven.” Just be advised: There are nine roller coasters and three water rides at Busch Gardens, exactly none of which feel good with a stomach full of Berliner Weiss. Point being, your itinerary here should definitely be rides first, beer later.
Mt. Rainier day trip — from $145
On a clear day, Mt. Rainier seems so close to Seattle that you could seemingly walk there for lunch from your downtown office. That is not, however, the case, and getting to its snow-capped beauty and wildflower meadows requires over an hour’s drive. That’s why the day trip tour has been so massively popular on Groupon, picking up in downtown Seattle and taking guests right into the heart of Mt. Rainier National Park. During the trip, you’ll visit Christine and Narada Falls and get a private, 30-minute slideshow at the visitor’s center in Longmire.
48. West Virginia
Whitewater rafting at New River Gorge — from $96.57
If Montana’s most popular attraction is an ideal activity for those new to whitewater rafting, this trip is very much the opposite. The New River Gorge is the best whitewater you’ll find east of the Rockies, and though the scenery is beautiful, the river is not for the faint of heart. That said, if you like an afternoon of big drops and hard splashes, you’ll have the time of your life. Plus you’ll get a nice break for lunch next to the river.
Milwaukee city sightseeing tour — from $40
Milwaukee is a great Midwestern unknown, a place sports fans know for its hours-long tailgates and beer lovers know for its extensive brewing history. But there’s a lot more to this city by the lake, and during this tour you’ll learn all about it with stops at Milwaukee’s City Hall, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and, of course, Lakefront Brewery. You’ll also pass by the world’s only Harley-Davidson museum and stop for cheese samples at the city’s only cheese factory.
Yellowstone, Old Faithful, waterfalls, and wildlife day tour — from $265
Not that anyone would claim you can properly experience Yellowstone National Park in a day, but if you have limited time and want to get a little bit of everything, this 12-hour adventure is the move. Get up early and travel through Grand Teton National Park at sunrise, checking out the animals as they begin their day. Then move on to Yellowstone where you’ll stop at Old Faithful, Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley, and a number of other geyser basins. All while driving past elk, bison, bears, and moose, with commentary from a naturalist guide.