Summer is the season for long, warm days and, sometimes, even longer nights. All across the United States, festivals from the famous—such as Burning Man—to the obscure—like Texas’s sassy Mosquito Festival—take over and draw in thousands of locals and out-of-towners alike for food, music, art, and culture.
There’s no better way to learn a place than by what, and how, it celebrates. For places like Chicago, Portland, and Tallassee, it’s all about food. Dover, Brooklyn, and Seattle turn to music. New Orleans, to beer. Of course, there’s more to a destination than a summer festival (and most regions have too many to list), but each state puts its own (sometimes eccentric, always thoroughly authentic) spin on the festivities, whether that means thousands of spectators watching crabs racing on a track or a contest where the loudest clucker (not a chicken, but a human impersonating one) wins.
One thing’s for sure—somewhere in these 50 states, there’s something for everyone. Through some digging, we’ve come up with what we think are the most fun, quirky, genuine, and exciting things happening this summer in America. From California to New York, wherever you are and wherever you will be, there’s a state close by that’s preparing to give visitors exactly what you want, packaged as a vivid snapshot of what it means to be from there. Hit the one in your area or take a road trip out of town to check out some of the coolest events going on in June, July, August, and September. Separated by region, here are the 50 best things to do in all 50 states.
Photo by Photo by Simon Abrams.