Close to home: 51 fresh summer destinations

Railroad enthusiasts should make tracks to North Platte when the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center opens June 12. The 115-foot-tall structure offers a 360-degree view of Union Pacific Railroad's Bailey Yard, the world's largest rail freight classification yard. Each day along the 315 miles of tracks, 15,000 rail cars pass through, and about 3,000 are sorted into newly configured trains. The Tower also should be a prime viewing spot for the whooping crane migration along the Platte River. 308-660-3776; — Jerry Shriver


The Silver State may have miles of wide open space, but since November, outdoors enthusiasts in the Reno area need only veer off Interstate 80 to witness a wild scene inside the cavernous Cabela's. The store, which dubs itself as the "world's foremost outfitter," boasts a two-story "conservation mountain" populated by big-game trophies and "museum-quality" dioramas. 800-237-4444; — Jayne Clark

New Hampshire

The most visited cultural attraction in New Hampshire (The Children's Museum of Portsmouth) moves to new and bigger quarters in Dover and is due to reopen as The Children's Museum of New Hampshire in July. Tripled in size and housed in a historic red-brick armory, it's constructed to modern eco-friendly specifications. The museum will offer interactive exhibits such as a human-size kaleidoscope and a dinosaur-detective learning game. — Kitty Bean Yancey

New Jersey

Hold the slots and Texas Hold 'Em. Atlantic City's effort to transform itself into an upscale destination continues with the June opening of The Water Club, A Signature Hotel by Borgata — a $400 million, 800-room non-gaming addition to the popular Borgata casino resort. The resort city's first major non-gambling resort is betting that visitors will ante up $279 or more a night and up for a two-story spa, outdoor and indoor pools, and rooms with 40-inch flat-screen TVs. 800-800-8817; — Kitty Bean Yancey

New Mexico

The Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, a museum, arts and events venue that showcases the state's 19 Pueblo Indian communities, unveils a $2 million face lift and expansion June 30. The new structure incorporates Pueblo artwork and indigenous materials. The restaurant, the city's only Native American-owned eatery, has expanded its seating and hours (it'll now serve dinner and Sunday brunch) and boasts bread baked in traditional earthen ovens, New Mexican lamb, buffalo tenderloin and other Southwestern specialties. 866-855-7902; — Jayne Clark

New York

Psychedelic! Nearly four decades later, the hippie-dippy 1969 Woodstock music fest gets its own museum. The Museum at Bethel Woods, due June 2, contains artifacts, photos, and documentary and performance footage (including a movie screened on the windshield of a bus painted in wild colors). One film on four huge screens makes visitors feel as if they're in the festival crowd. Woodstock vets also can record their experiences. The museum is on the site of Woodstock festivities, next to an arts center with a 15,000-seat concert venue. 866-781-2922; — Kitty Bean Yancey

North Carolina

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