Close to home: 51 fresh summer destinations

The Famous Potatoes state is swingin' with the addition of two new courses to the Idaho Golf Trail. Falcon Crest Golf Club in Kuna, southwest of Boise, mixes natural terrain with other elements to make each hole a "one of a kind" experience. Jug Mountain Ranch in McCall, a par-72 course designed by Donald Knott, was named second-best new public course under $75 by Golf Digest earlier this year. 800-847-4843; Idahogolftrail.com — Jayne Clark

Illinois

An over-the-top water park with a Down Under flavor flows into Yorkville with the mid-June opening of Raging Waves. Billed as the state's largest water park, the Australian-themed attraction covers 45 acres and features splashy options as a three-story head-spinning contraption called The Tornado, 18 slides, a wave pool, a raft ride and massive replicas of marsupials. 630-882-6575; ragingwaves.com — Jerry Shriver

Indiana

It has been a dozen years since koalas last showed their cuddly-wuddly selves at the Indianapolis Zoo, but that streak ends Memorial Day when Bamba and Muuri settle in for a three-month residency. The 3-year-old Australian natives are on loan from the San Diego Zoo and will be accompanied by their trainer, who will feed the creatures all the eucalyptus leaves they can eat. 317-630-2001; indianapoliszoo.com — Jerry Shriver

Iowa

A sea change takes place along the unspoiled shore of Appanoose County's 11,000-acre Rathbun Lake, referred to as "Iowa's Ocean." In August, the gates open to Honey Creek Resort State Park, a $44 million project serving as the flagship among Iowa's 90 state parks. Honey Creek features a 105-room lodge, convention center, 18-hole golf course, spa, restaurant/lounge, indoor water park, boat-docking spaces and 9.7 miles of trails. 641-724-9600; honeycreekresort.com — Jerry Shriver

Kansas

Long before there were Stuckey's along the Interstate, there were stagecoach stops along the Santa Fe Trail. Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site in Olathe, the last station still open to the public, now features a new $3.3 million Heritage Center with exhibits of the 19th-century Western migration. The Mahaffie family home, icehouse and wood-peg barn canalso be toured. 913-971-5111; olatheks.org/Mahaffie/about — Jerry Shriver

Kentucky

If your knowledge of frogs starts and ends with kissed princes and little boys' pockets, hop over to the Newport Aquarium's Frog Bog. The new exhibit, which spotlights the environmental dangers facing amphibians, features 30 species of frogs and an updated, Frogger-type video game with an interactive pad that lets kids do the jumping. 859-261-7444; newportaquarium.com — Laura Bly

Louisiana

Starting in New Orleans and winding north to Shreveport and east to Tallulah, the newly designated African-American Heritage Trail encompasses more than two dozen noteworthy sites, from Grambling University to the Alexandria birthplace of poet Arna Bontemps, a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Plot your trip online, where "voices from the trail" stories are narrated by actor Louis Gossett Jr. 800-334-8626; louisianatravel.com — Laura Bly

Maine

For the first time, 11 of the state's museums have joined to create the Folk Art Trail, a statewide exhibition in multiple locales. Visitors can drive a circuit to Portland, York, Waterville and elsewhere to view portraits, dolls, decorated furniture, trade signs, pottery, weather vanes and more. mainefolkarttrail.org — Kitty Bean Yancey

Maryland

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