Several months ago, Atlas Obscura invited you to come along with us as we journeyed—digitally—across all 50 U.S. states (and Washington, D.C.) in pursuit of the unsung wonders scattered across the country.
That was July. The COVID-19 pandemic was raging, and we hoped that a virtual journey would sate readers’ hunger for travel while many of us were hunkered down at home. We crossed our fingers that by the time the project wrapped, we’d all be able to safely sail the asphalt seas.
Now, it’s months later and the project is complete—and infections in the United States are higher than ever. To curb the spread of the virus, many readers and Atlas Obscura staffers will spend the holiday season far from loved ones and off the roads. We hope that you all continue to stay healthy and safe—and that these virtual guides bring you some joy in an isolating time.
There’s also no better moment to revisit some of our favorites.
In the East, we learned about Maine’s terrific trains, and the many horrors, hauntings, and hoaxes of New Jersey. In the Midwest, we visited Indiana’s leafy stunners, Iowa’s pop-culture pit stops, and Minnesota’s musical marvels. Down South, we saw Alabama’s animal monuments (including a magnificent statue of a boll weevil) and stone spectacles in Georgia. Out West, we dropped in on the gargantuan animals that preside over South Dakota, saw Wyoming’s wildest wooden buildings, found solace in shady spots in Arizona, savored Utah’s sweet-and-savory snacks, and zipped back in time to ancient California.
Of course, our guides just barely scratched the surface of all the things that make each state wondrous. When we asked readers to recommend spots in their stomping grounds, we learned about the fossilized stromatolites in New York State, a curious cadre of toy ponies in Lincoln, Massachusetts, prehistoric animals preserved under volcanic ash in Nebraska, and the sleek Sundial Bridge in Redding, California. If you’d like to tell us about wonderfully surprising places in your state, you can add them to Atlas Obscura yourself!
Think of our ode to the 50 States as a reminder of how expansive and exciting this country can be—a little bit of fuel to keep your wanderlust chugging. Someday, hopefully soon, we will explore again.