50 in 50: The Best Free Experience In Each State
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

50 in 50: The Best Free Experience In Each State

50 In 50
Nasha Smith
Nasha Smith Mar 2, 2021

Sometimes you want to treat yourself, and sometimes you want to be treated. If you’ve been looking for free activities in your state, or a state you’re visiting, we’ve curated this list to help you out.

Check out the best free experience in each state.

Alabama

The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts features art collections from the 19th and 20th centuries as well as a sculpture garden. Admission and parking are both free.

For hiking enthusiasts, Flattop Mountain is the ideal spot for panoramic views of the more popular Denali (Mt. McKinley) and the Aleutian Islands. It is the most climbed peak in the state, measuring 1,350 feet vertically. For the less adventurous, a short path to the overlook is available.

Arizona

The second Tuesday of every month is the free admission day at the Desert Botanical Garden from 8 am to 8 pm. Explore the plant-lined nature paths or hike to the top of the trails for a spectacular view of the mountains.

Arkansas

See the work of renowned American artists Georgia O’Keefe and Andy Warhol at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Admission is free, but tickets must be booked in advance.

California

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The Griffith Observatory has been featured in several Hollywood films. Visit the iconic landmark to gaze at the stars through telescopes. It’s one of the few places in La La Land where admission and parking are free.

Colorado

The Garden of the Gods is a National Natural Landmark located in Colorado Springs. The public park boasts larger than life sandstone rock formations against an impressive mountain peak backdrop.

Connecticut

Elizabeth Park in Hartford houses America’s oldest rose garden with more than 800 varieties of roses. It’s open from sunrise to sunset every day of the year. There is no admission fee, but donations are welcomed.

Delaware

The Dogfish Head Craft Brewery offers a free 25-minute Quick Sip Tour which includes a look at the brewhouse and four samples in the Tasting Room.

Florida

Disney Springs is a free alternative to Disney Parks. Among the multiple inexpensive activities are several free attractions including live entertainment, a Splash Pad, and fun play stations inside The Lego Store.

Georgia

Learn about one of America’s greatest leaders for free at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. Daily guided tours of his birth home are available.

Hawaii

The Royal Hawaiian Center offers free cultural classes like lei making, lauhala weaving, hula, and ‘ukulele playing.

Idaho

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Known for its excellent rock climbing and granite formations, outdoorsy types will love the structure of the City of Rocks National Reserve.

Illinois

The DeMoulin Museum in Greenville is by their own admission a little wacky as evidenced by the spanking machine, bucking goats, trick chairs, and guillotine. Admission is by donation.

Indiana

Visitors to the Arts Garden in Indianapolis can expect free lunchtime events from poetry readings to musical performances.

Iowa

Trekkie fans will find their tribe at the Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk in Riverside, Iowa. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.

Kansas

Oz Winery in downtown Wamego offers free samples during their daily wine tastings.

Kentucky

The Blue Grass state is known for its bourbon. Sample barrel-aged spirits from the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. Tours are complimentary. Take the Hard Hat Tour which details the bourbon-making process.

Louisiana

Louisiana’s music scene is legendary. Visit the Jazz National Historical Park in New Orleans for a self-guided walking tour to learn more about the state’s musical significance.

Maine

Thanks to L.L. Bean and a host of other sponsors, the Portland Museum of Art is free every Friday from noon to 8 PM.

Maryland

More than 1000 paintings of French artist Henri Matisse are on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Entry is free year round.

Massachusetts

History buffs will get a kick out of Boston’s Freedom Trail where you can visit 16 official sites that were integral to the American Revolution.

Michigan

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Please do go chasing waterfalls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Pack a picnic for a picturesque afternoon.

Minnesota

Believe it or not there is an entire museum dedicated to the history of SPAM® and a bunch of related memorabilia. Take one of the SPAM® Museum’s free guided tours during the weekend. But call ahead to request.

Mississippi

The Coastal Mississippi Mardi Gras Museum honors the 300+ year history of Mardi Gras on the Gulf Coast with a display of costumes, photographs and memorabilia of carnival celebrations past.

Missouri

Nature lovers will adore the rock-carved pools at Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park. It’s perfect for a swim on a hot day.

Montana

Delve into the history of the Native Americans at the Yellowstone County Museum close to the airport in Billings, Montana.

Nebraska

The only museum of roller skating in the United States resides in Nebraska. Revisit a childhood fave at the National Museum of Roller Skating.

Nevada

If your pockets are a little lighter after hitting the slots, visit the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden for a magical display cared for by the world’s leading horticulturalists.

New Hampshire

Merrimack Brewery takes you from the very beginning of the beer making process to the very end. The free Anheuser-Busch tour includes a visit with the famed Budweiser Clydesdales.

New Jersey

You don’t have to be an Ivy-leaguer to visit the Princeton University Art Museum where more than 90,000 works of art live. Admission is free to the historic site.

New Mexico

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The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, near Taos, is an epic tourist attraction that has popped up in films like Natural Born Killers, Twins, and Terminator Salvation. It is currently the tenth highest bridge in the United States.

New York

The best views of this city, that truly never sleeps, comes from the Staten Island Ferry. It’s always free to ride and provides an unobstructed view of the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island.

North Carolina

UNC Charlotte’s Botanical Gardens are tended to very meticulously throughout the year making it one of the most visually stunning attractions.

North Dakota

The Enchanted Highway features towering roadside sculptures including pheasants, soaring geese, and a giant yellow grasshopper.

Ohio

Dayton’s National Museum of the United States Air Force is the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum and a veritable candy store for aerospace fanatics.

Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Railway Museum is the hub for locomotive history. Admission to the museum is free but donations are welcomed. A 40-minute train ride is available for a nominal fee.

Oregon

Portland is known as the City of Roses. Find out why with a visit to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park where over 10,000 rose plantings are located.

Pennsylvania

Some of the state’s most important landmarks are free to enter including the Liberty Bell CenterIndependence Hall, and the U.S. Mint.

Rhode Island

The Cliff Walk along the Atlantic coast in Newport allows for unfettered ocean views and stunning waterfront mansions. The path is occasionally interrupted by rocky terrain and the entire journey can take up to three hours.

South Carolina

Baseball aficionados will appreciate a visit to the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library in Greenville which features artifacts from the player’s career and life.

South Dakota

It’s almost impossible to go through South Dakota without a stop at Mount Rushmore. But something a bit more off the beaten path is Storybook Island in Rapid City, a theme park showcasing multiple children’s characters. It is typically open Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Tennessee

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Knoxville Sunsphere is a 266 ft high steel structure culminating in a gold-colored glass ball. Three hundred and sixty-degree views of the city await at the top.

Texas

Michelangelo, Monet, and an assortment of classical antiquities are on display at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

Utah

The Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City uses out of this world exhibits to teach visitors about space and science. Admission to exhibits is always free.

Vermont

Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock offers free admission and samples of four grades of pure Vermont maple syrup.

Virginia

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly is an extension of the celebrated Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Washington

Satisfy your sweet tooth and indulge in a self-guided behind-the-scenes tour at Boehm’s Candies. Afterwards, enjoy a free sample at the retail shop.

West Virginia

Smooth Ambler Distillery is a bourbon lover’s delight, offering free tours and tastings of their artisan spirits.

Wisconsin

Go crazy for condiments at the National Mustard Museum where admission is always free, but donations are welcomed. Stop by the museum gift shop for free samples of the tangy sauce.

Wyoming

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Castle Gardens is famous for its petroglyphs dating back to AD 1000.

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