Travel: Cheap Destinations for All 50 States

WeirdPlacesMy regularly scheduled Friday post is on its way, so my vast readership (hi mom!) need not worry! In the meantime, I wanted to celebrate 2 months of The New York Budget with an extra post.

I have a goal to visit all 50 states some day. I love New York, but I also love experiencing new places. My sister’s husband once said, “if it isn’t happening in New York, it probably isn’t worth knowing about”. Granted, he said this as a joke, but it made me realize that I do want to know what is going on in the rest of the country (and the rest of the world, but that is for another blog post). You may not realize it, but each and every state in the USA has something weird, interesting, and worthwhile to visit. And the stranger it is, often the less expensive it is as well! Just like with your saving techniques and investments, a little thought and planning will save a ton of money and make for a better overall experience.

On my quest to visit every state, I plan on visiting as many of the following strange attractions as possible, state by state:



  • The Santa Clause House – I may save this one for when I have kids, but it sounds pretty magical. Complete with live reindeer!
  • Igloo City – Weird concept. Again, this would be one I would visit, only if I happened to be in the area. Great photo op though!


  • Biosphere 2 – No, not the sequel to the classic Pauly Shore movie, Biodome. This would be an amazing place to visit!
  • Oatman, AZ – Old west ghost town? Worth a shot!



  • Mystery Spot – Ok, this one is a little more well-known, but I have always wanted to step into an optical illusion!
  • Museum of Pez Memorabilia – Do I want to see the world’s largest Pez dispenser? Does the Pope wear a funny hat?
  • Cabazon Dinosaurs – Dino museum with the largest dino replicas around.


  • Cano’s Castle – A castle made out of beer cans (and other aluminum trash). I can imagine feeling really awkward visiting this place. What an experience!
  • Swetsville Zoo – This zoo has NO live animals. They are all built out of metal. Colorado, I am sensing a theme here…



  • World Championship Punkin Chunkin – Be sure to watch some of the videos on the site. They say more than I ever could. I will have to make sure to time this one correctly though as it seems to be in early November every year.
  • Fountain of Youth – Another “if I’m passing nearby” attraction. Mainly for the photo op.

D.C. (Bonus Coverage of our Capital District!):

  • Newseum – A museum dedicated to journalists and their stories.


  • Skunk Ape Reasearch HQ – Dedicated to proving, once and for all, that Bigfoot really is real!
  • Whimzeyland – Ok, a house decorate with bowling balls. I think I may have gone too far down the rabbit hole…



  • Pu’uhonua – Sort of like “home base” in the game of tag, if you broke the ancient Hawaiian gods’ rules, you could be safe by reaching this place.
  • (Hawaii only has one weird attraction because there are too many beaches and too much good food that would keep me entertained)


  • Spud Drive-In – World’s largest potato, located at this drive-in movie theater.
  • Oasis Bordello Museum – The only former brothel house-turned museum that I know of.




  • Albert the Bull – World’s largest Bull Replica. Maybe I should have done a separate post with all the “World’s Largest” destinations. Would make for a fun photo album!
  • Villisca Ax Murder House – Ok, this one isn’t as cheap. And you might die. But I would still visit.



  • Big Bat – World’s largest bat and glove. Because, you know, Louisville. Oh, and of course the actual museum that goes with it.
  • Hillbilly Garden – Putting this down on the “facing my fears” to do list.
  • Vent Haven Museum – That “fears” to do list just got a little longer.


  • Voodoo Museum – Exactly where you SHOULD find a voodoo museum – in NOLA.
  • Tabasco Tour – I bet they even have tastings! Yum!


  • Eartha – World’s largest rotating globe. I wonder if I can see my apartment building…
  • Chocolate Moose – Do not, I repeat, do NOT eat the world’s largest moose made out of chocolate. Thank you.



  • The Mapparium – This is the only one on the list I have actually been to and it is very cool. Go INSIDE a globe.





  • Leila’s Hair Museum – A tribute to human hair and human hair as art. If they serve soup here, I would avoid it.


  • Steer Montana – Largest steer (won a lot of “awards” in the early 1900s) taxidermied for your enjoyment.



New Hampshire:

New Jersey:

  • Hitler’s Toilet – Yes, yes, yes! This is the kind of weird crap I am talking about (pun intended). And it’s amazing how un-caring the owner is in the video.
  • World’s Largest Lightbulb – Yet another “world’s largest” – way to go Edison.

New Mexico:

New York

  • World’s Smallest Church – New York is the only state to understand that there is an oversaturation of “world’s largest” things.
  • Sing Sing Prison Museum – Near the actual prison, a museum that celebrates one of the country’s most infamous prison’s.

North Carolina:

North Dakota:

  • Tommy the Turtle – World’s Largest Turtle drives the World’s Largest Snowmobile. Double Whammy!





  • Mercer Museum – A castle museum. Cool already, but it also has stuff like a vampire killing kit.
  • Insectarium – Bugs, bugs, everywhere!

Rhode Island:

South Carolina:

South Dakota:






  • Natural Bridge Wax Museum – Not just for viewing wax people, but for seeing HOW wax people are made.
  • Foamhenge – Nobody is mystified by how they moved the not-so-heavy foam into place. This one will save you the cost of a trans-atlantic flight though!
  • DEA Museum – History of drug enforcement!


West Virginia:



Wow! That took a lot longer than I expected! Let me know what crazy destinations I missed!

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28 thoughts on “Travel: Cheap Destinations for All 50 States

  1. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life January 2, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    I’ve been to at least 40 states and haven’t seen a single one of these attractions.
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  2. cat January 2, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    you don’t have every state listed.

  3. Dee @ Color Me Frugal January 2, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I’ve seen the Paul Bunyan statue in MN. Actually, there are a couple statues, but I’ve seen the one in Bemidji that this link references. Yes, this is a rather unique collection of attractions. I’ve lived in Iowa, North Dakota, and Ohio and I’ve even never heard of any of those attractions!
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    • Mr NYBudget January 2, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      It was a lot of fun researching this post. Definitely not my normal subject matter, but I thought it would make for a fun diversion!

      I definitely want to make it out to the Paul Bunyan statue. I used to love that story as a kid!
      Mr NYBudget recently posted: Travel: Cheap Destinations for All 50 StatesMy Profile

  4. Carolina January 5, 2014 at 4:44 am

    You could fill this list with strange attractions from just Washington. But if you were to pick only one you would have to visit the Gum Wall near Pike Place Market. Not only can you visit it but you can even make your own contribution.

    • Mr NYBudget January 5, 2014 at 9:31 am

      Wow! I just looked up pictures of the gum wall. That is a LOT of gum! I’ll put that on my list for sure.

    • Kerry February 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      There is a Bubblegum Alley in San Luis Obispo in California as well!

      • Mr NYBudget February 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm

        Nice! I am a little grossed out by the idea, but more intrigued, I think!

  5. Jana @ Jana Says January 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    I’m originally from New York but have lived in Delaware my entire adult life . Punkin Chunkin is freaking ridiculous. I’ve never been, and have a strange curiosity to go, but it’s been around FOREVER, only gaining national popularity over the last few years. People are fanatical about it, just like they are the Apple Scrapple Festival (we have all sorts of good stuff here in tax free shopping Delaware).

    I did not, however, know we have our very own fountain of youth. We go to the beach all the time so I’ll have to take a detour down Route 9 to check it out.

    • Mr NYBudget January 11, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      The punkin chunkin is definitely towards the top of my list in terms of these unique attractions. Seems so silly and great! And I bet the people doing it turn it into a bigger event than just catapulting a few pumpkins (which already would be entertaining!)

  6. J. Money February 14, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    I’ve been to the Voodoo Museum in Louisiana! It’s freaky! (And, sadly small)
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    • Mr NYBudget February 14, 2014 at 4:53 pm

      I am definitely going to try to make it there when I head down for FinCon!

  7. Maggie@SquarePennies February 18, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    We were disappointed with the unclaimed luggage place. It was just junk. Maybe airline workers picked through it first to get the good stuff? You can find better stuff at Goodwill.

    OTO, we enjoyed the Paul Bunyan statue. The kids liked to pose for pix with it. Across the street from it is Morrell’s Trading Post. Our kids found it fascinating even though it’s just a tourist shop. There are nicer gift shops for adults along the same street. If you stay at a hotel on Lake Bemidji there you can have a relaxing beach vacation in clear, clean air. Paddles boats and canoes are usually included. Go see the start of the Mississippi River nearby at Lake Itasca so the kids can walk through the trickel where it starts. Another great picture!
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    • Mr NYBudget February 18, 2014 at 6:08 pm

      Too bad about the unclaimed baggage center, but sounds like those other places you mentioned are a lot of fun!

  8. shalee April 7, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Villisca Axe Murder house isn’t that bad. Could be because I grew up near it but it’s a bunch of bologna to be scared.

    • Mr NYBudget April 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Shalee – that’s good to know. I still think it’d be interesting though!

  9. Donella June 7, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    You should try Hillbilly Hotdogs in WV. It is crazy fun.

    • Mr NYBudget June 8, 2015 at 10:11 am

      I just found the website. I LOVE their theme song.

  10. Fran December 24, 2015 at 12:29 am The corn Palace in South Dakota, totally watched the billboards and thought – gotta say we went there, since we were close and, hey, there’s nothing else but corn around!! The outside murals on the building and much of the other decorations inside and out are made with corn – regular feed corn and different colors of Indian corn. Don’t need to go back, but if your close – you gotta see it just to say you saw it!

  11. Melissa May 8, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    You forgot the Garden of Eden in Lucas, KS, very cool place

    • Mr NYBudget May 9, 2016 at 8:57 am

      Thanks Melissa! That’s definitely now on my places-to-go when I make it out to Kansas!

  12. Shelia Adam January 22, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    The museum of disability history here in Buffalo, NY. This sounds kinda interesting

    • Shelia Adam January 22, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Also, if you come at the right time, sometime in March, you may be able to catch the peep eating contest at the Broadway market. Gives me one heck of a sugar rush just thinking about it!

  13. Cez of eTramping February 18, 2017 at 12:23 am

    What a great post, it’s nice to have a little something about each state all in one place. Thanks for sharing!
    Cez of eTramping recently posted: Beating the Budget: 8 Tips for Travel when You’re a Financially Challenged StudentMy Profile

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