America is home to 328 million people connected by four million miles of roads, and it’s full of surprises. The states are packed with fantastically fascinating things to see, do, and taste, from coast to coast and beyond. In many parts of America, it’s not yet time to savor them again. As the COVID-19 crisis continues, summer 2020 might be best spent close to home, dreaming of ribbons of asphalt and wide-open landscapes. So, to appreciate the wonders this country holds, we’re taking a virtual road trip across each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Welcome to 50 States of Wonder, Atlas Obscura’s guide to some of America’s most curious sights. Each week we’ll be presenting new roundups—state by state, with fun themes to explore—highlighting wondrous places in the Atlas.
Some are shaped by nature, from a four-acre lake shimmering at the bottom of a Tennessee cave to a petrified redwood forest in California that was razed and covered by an ancient volcano. Others are the work of people, from riotously colorful botanic gardens in Alaska to an installation of brightly painted, half-buried Cadillacs in Texas. America is ancient and new, constantly remade and reimagined, and there are unsung, overlooked treasures everywhere you look.
We hope that these 51 virtual excursions—kicking off with Alaska, D.C., Maine, and Nevada—will help your mind roam. Let’s imagine that we’re all piled in a car together, relishing the sights and remembering that when this pandemic passes, wonders will await. And if you do venture out this summer, be sure to be safe and respectful. Follow all applicable local, state, and federal guidelines. Remember that outdoor spaces are safer than indoor ones. Maintain social distance and wear a mask.
For the next several months, we’ll be taking new digital journeys two or three times a week and highlighting them in our newsletters. We’re looking forward to riding along with you.