11 Hidden Gems on the Ultimate Road Trip Through the Northeast

A road trip is only as good as the pit stops you make along the way. Here are 11 under-the-radar destinations that are worth a detour on your next swing through the Northeast.

1. Great Vermont Corn Maze—Danville, VT

This amazing corn maze stretches over 10 acres. The maze takes around two hours to complete and features ten-foot-tall corn, bridges, and underground tunnels. Every year the maze features a new design that can be seen from a bird’s eye view. The corn maze alone is worth the trip, but there’s also a petting zoo to up the ante.

2. Museum at Bethel Woods—Bethel, NY

Right next to the untouched field that once served as the location of the legendary Woodstock Festival sits the Museum at Bethel Woods. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of videos, photographs, and artifacts of all things ‘60s and psychedelic. The museum gathered up authentic items from Woodstock, including clothing worn on stage and brightly colored vehicles. Guests are invited to climb inside a technicolor bus and imagine they are on their way to the next groovy jam.

3. The Spillway—Linesville, PA

Known as the place “where ducks walk on the fishes’ backs,” this attraction features a population of carp so dense that, well, ducks can walk on it. The bizarre tourist spot attracts over 300,000 visitors a year. A small shack provides white bread to feed the frenzied fish. A local study deduced that on average, each visitor throws around 2.4 pounds of bread in the river.

4. Museum of Bad Art—Somerville, MA

The MOBA is dedicated to artists whose skill level doesn’t match their enthusiasm. The little museum has grown considerably since its conception and now boasts two locations: one in a basement and one in a movie theater lobby. When one painting from the collection was stolen in 1990, the museum offered $6.50 for its safe return. After the ransom of $5,000 was not paid, the purloined painting was eventually just given back for free.

5. Salt Lake Arcade—Glendale, RI

The Salt Lake Arcade is supposedly the oldest penny arcade in the country; it opened in 1931. The arcade offers a variety of games, both new and old. Best of all, there hasn’t been any inflation—the arcade’s vintage games still only cost a penny to play.

6. Andres Sculpture Park—Brookline, NH

A collection of statues are scattered throughout the woods surrounding an artist’s house. Visitors can simultaneously enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and the strangeness of the art by hiking the trails of this outdoor museum to discover over 70 pieces of abstract art from around the world. Maps are available online that show where each of the park’s works can be found.

7. Punkin’ Chunkin’—Bridgeville/Dover, DE

What better way to get rid of your old Halloween pumpkins than by shooting them into the sky with a cannon? Every year on the first weekend after Halloween, the good people of Delaware compete to see who can rocket their pumpkins farthest. There are a variety of different divisions, including air cannon, trebuchet, and human powered. There’s also a separate competition for children, and theatrics (fans pick their favorite). Each team gets three shots, one per day. It’s a fairly safe sport—the only casualty in the history of Punkin’ Chunkin’ was a duck that was struck by a pumpkin.

8. The Desert of Maine—Freeport, ME

Maine is known for its lush natural beauty, but it’s not totally green. The 40-acre Desert of Maine was originally part of a family farm in the late 18th century, but after years of poor crop rotation and mismanagement, the land turned into a sandy expanse of dunes. After the original landowners gave up the plot in the early 20th century, it was turned into a tourist attraction complete with its own sand museum.

9. The Singing Beach—Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA

There are plenty of great beaches in the Northeast, but Manchester-by-the-Sea is particularly convenient for Bostonians to visit. Even better, the beach “sings”! When visitors walk on the beach’s sand, it squeaks underfoot with a distinctive sound that’s known as singing. The phenomenon is the result of the sand’s chemical composition and size, and it’s sure to get a laugh when you first set foot on it.

10. Kaaterskill Falls—Palenville, NY

This dazzling waterfall is over 250 feet fall and cascades down in two tiers that make it one of New York’s tallest and most memorable. But Kaaterskill Falls offers more than just a stunning view – it’s also the inspiration behind any number of iconic artistic achievements. Washington Irving mentioned the falls in “Rip Van Winkle,” and the influential painters of the 19th century’s Hudson River School used the rushing waters as a model. It’s worth a visit to see what all the fuss is about—maybe the sight will inspire you to create something iconic.

11. Charles Island—Milford, CT

From its location in Long Island Sound, Charles Island doesn’t look all that imposing. It’s only 14 acres, but Charles Island is home to enough legends and folklore to fill an island twice its size. The island is supposedly the hiding place of famed pirate Captain William Kidd’s treasure—in true pirate fashion, Kidd cursed the island—as well as the stolen treasure of a 16th century Mexican emperor. Thanks to all the stories of buried riches, the unassuming island has become a favorite destination of treasure hunters. If you’ve got the urge to break out your metal detector, this may be the island for you.

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The Most Popular Tourist Attractions in Each State

Hot air balloons drifting over the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hot air balloons drifting over the Rio Grande River in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Greg Meland/iStock via Getty Images

In 2018, Americans took about 1.8 billion trips for leisure purposes alone, the U.S. Travel Association reports. But what types of attractions do they visit during those trips? Thanks to new data from Groupon and Viator, a TripAdvisor company, we now have the answer.

Map of the Northeast of the United States, showing a few of the most popular tourist attractions in that region
Groupon

Groupon mapped out each state’s most popular travel experience and classified them according to price, type, and region. Tourists in the northeast United States tend to gravitate toward what Groupon describes as “exploration and discovery” activities, like the Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia, Maine's Portland City and Lighthouse Tour, and the day trip from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard.

Map of the Midwest region of the United States, listing a few of the most popular tourist attractions in those states
Groupon

The Midwest is by far the cheapest place to vacation, with the cost of attractions in the region averaging about $48. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and North Dakota are great states to visit if you’re looking for a top-ranked food tour, while South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois offer plenty of educational tours and experiences (including a movie site tour for Field of Dreams fans).

Map of the Southern region of the United States, listing some of the most popular tourist attractions in that area
Groupon

Experiences in the South are fairly varied. Visitors have plenty of options, whether they’re looking for a historic tour of Asheville, North Carolina's Biltmore Estate (the largest privately owned house in the United States) or a day of thrills at Virginia’s Busch Gardens amusement park. Tourists in the South do seem to prefer watery activities, though—the region is popular for dinner cruises and dolphin watching.

Map of the Western region of the United States, listing some of the most popular tourist destinations in the area
Groupon

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the West is easily the most expensive region for visitors, averaging about $176 per attraction. Tourists in this region tend to gravitate toward experiences like helicopter tours and hot air balloon rides, all of which push the region toward the pricey end of the scale. Still, if you’re looking for astounding natural beauty, there are few places with more variety than the American West.

Driving This Thanksgiving Holiday? Here’s the Worst Time to Leave, According to Google Maps

Marcos Assis/iStock via Getty Images
Marcos Assis/iStock via Getty Images

For many people, cooking the turkey correctly or dodging political arguments with family members aren't the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving. It's having to share the road with millions of other travelers on the way to Thanksgiving dinner. If you're hoping to make this element of the holiday a little more tolerable in 2019, plan your day with data from Google Maps.

As Travel + Leisure reports, Google Maps recently published a roundup of Thanksgiving travel tips, including the absolute worst times to hit the road. You may think that leaving the day before Thanksgiving will give you a head-start on traffic, but according to Google, Wednesday is the busiest travel day of the week. Congestion peaks between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday in many parts of the country. If you have no choice but to travel on November 27, plan to leave earlier in the day before roads get too crowded.

It pays to leave the house early the day of the actual holiday. Around 6 a.m., roads will be clear in most major cities, with traffic gradually increasing throughout the morning and peaking as early as noon.

As people who regularly travel for Turkey Day know, getting to dinner on time is only half the headache. Traffic can be just as brutal on the way home. To make the journey as painless as possible, plan to leave first thing in the morning—ideally on Sunday, when most travelers have completed the trip.

Traveling for Thanksgiving is rarely as simple as driving to and from dinner. If you plan on making pit stops along the way, Google has travel information for that as well. According to Google search trends, "ham shops" are busiest at noon the day before Thanksgiving, and outlet malls reach peak traffic around noon on Black Friday. Here are some more stress-free travel tips for the holiday season.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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