Do you like to travel? This group is for you!Planning a trip? Check out GovLoop’s Per Diem Calculator. Search by city or zip code and learn more about hotels, restaurants, events, and more, in cities across the country. We’ve even included links to Yelp reviews, to help you find the best places to stay, dine, or enjoy a night on the town.
Anybody Else Been to All 50 States?
January 28, 2010 at 2:05 pm #90394
Hi Everyone – When I was a kid, my dad was afraid of flying. So we drove everywhere. The cool part was that I got to touch a lot of states as we stopped en route to places like Texas, Florida, Ohio and California…and drove from places like Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa.At around 26-27, I realized I had seen about 37 states and thought: “What if I could see all 50 states before I turn 30?” So I set my mind to it and set up little travel itineraries – regional trips with clustered states – in order to accomplish that goal. And I did it!Have any of you been to all 50 states? Last week, I found someone else who had – a fellow GovLoop’er (Joey White)!If so, what have been your favorites (states, cities, places, etc.)?
January 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm #90456
Yes, I’ve been to all 50 states, though technically my visit to Hawaii consisted of waiting in a hanger for our plane to be fixed, and never saw anything beyond the hanger. Some of the other states were 70 mph states (zoom through at freeway speeds without stopping).
My favorites are along the Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountains, and extreme Northeast coast, though swimming in the Gulf of Mexico is far better for *swimming*.
January 28, 2010 at 4:43 pm #90454
I’d have to say my favorite states are Utah, Hawaii and California. Colorado and Alaska round out the Top 5.
But Minnesota will always be home and North Carolina is really growing on me! Good swimming AND the mountains here.
January 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm #90452
I guess the road trip nerd in me came out in my over-the-top excitement when Andrew told me he’d also been to all 50 states and then proceeded to name the same top 3 favorites as what I have. Hawaii, California and Utah are easy picks. I love the Carolinas as far as the East Coast goes. It’s pretty tough to beat some of the scenery in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Wyoming too.
Having worked in Yosemite National Park for a summer in college, where my great-grandpa worked for the NPS and my grandma was born, I don’t think any other place will ever beat it for me.
As far as cities, San Francisco and Charleston, SC, top the list.
January 29, 2010 at 2:27 am #90450
I’m still jealous over your summer in Yosemite. To spark some memories:
As an aside NPS.gov has a great multimedia collection from several national parks.
Here you go…take a one minute vacation:
More at http://www.openroad.tv
January 29, 2010 at 1:34 pm #90448
I wish i could go to all 50 States and actually someone in my office has, and now is close to visiting every country!
Of the states I have visited, I find Maine to be the most spectacular. I have lived in northern California, Idaho and part of the Northwest and find that Maine reminds me of the unparalleled beauty of rivers, lakes and crashing waves on ocean cliffs. I like that Maine is trying to preserve so much of this along with their agricultural heritage.
January 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm #90446
I love the ocean…and this video really seems to capture what you’re talking about Kathleen:
January 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm #90444
Great topic – i am stuck at around 35 or 36 States – finally made it to Hawai’i this year and it blew my mind….best place I have ever been to and I have been to over 50 different countries…
Kathleen – there are about 200 countries – how many has your buddy been to?
January 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm #90442
Nostalgia is settling in…
I really like the NPS site formats. For National Park junkies, their consistent format across all parks makes it really easy to plan road trips that include 8 or 9 national parks (yes, you can fit that many into one road trip, though I don’t think I’d recommend it for most people). I’m a big fan of simple, easy-to-use website layouts where I don’t need to go through too many clicks to find the information I want. The NPS has done a pretty good job of providing that.
January 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm #90440
Wow Paul, it’s great to hear that from someone as well-traveled as you! Hawaii was my 50th state. My wife and I went there 3 years ago for our honeymoon. I was blown away as well and determined to make it back every 5 years. I’m not sure if that’s realistic but I’ve got 2 years to make it happen!
Did you get to do multiple islands and if so, which was your favorite? We went to Lanai, Hawaii (Big Island), Maui, and Oahu. We had a really tough time choosing a favorite since they’re all so unique. However, if I were to return to just one island, it would probably be either Hawaii or Maui.
January 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm #90438
Hey Joey – We went to Hawaii for our honeymoon as well. Got to say that Kauai was our favorite. Fewer tourists and you’ve got the Waimea Canyon (“Grand Canyon of the Pacific”), the Na’apali Coast and much more. I’d say you’ve got to add it to your itinerary next time. We went to Maui, too, and were blown away by the sunrise at Haleakala!
January 29, 2010 at 7:45 pm #90436
You know what, I made a mistake. We went to Kauai, not Lanai. I don’t know how I did that. We loved it there too! We did Waimea Canyon and a few beaches as well as the Na Pali Coast and would love to go back. Like I said, ranking the islands is extremely difficult to do because they’re so different from one another.
We also did the sunrise at Haleakala, which was definitely worth the early rise!
February 1, 2010 at 2:36 pm #90434
It has taken me over 50 years (finally spent a couple of days in MN a couple of summers ago while driving along the northern half of Mississippi river). The wife has been with me to all the lower 48 during the past 46 years. We have lived in 6 different states (CA, TX, MA, RI, VA, AL) and, for what seems to be forever, our annual vacations have been 2 or 3 week driving vacations including the 4 years that we lived in England. The only time it was VERY difficult to do driving vacations was the 3 years we spent in Puerto Rico but we did manage to see almost all of the Caribbean nations.
NOT certain that I could “pick” a favorite, or even a long list of favorites. Every place we have been has something going for it that if I was to live another 50 years wouldn’t have any problem with going back to revisit or visit different things.
I spent some 16 years in the Navy, which enabled me to visit a whole lot of countries. During the 7 years that the wife and I lived overseas we spent probably close to full year visiting other places sorta nearby.
Somewhere about a year ago, someone asked me how many countries I had visited and spent some period of time racking the old gray matter and I believe that I came up with about 120 countries with the wife having visited about 70 countries with me.
February 1, 2010 at 3:22 pm #90432
Wow, Henry – that’s incredible on the 120 countries!
And you can’t get off that easily 🙂
How about: what was one of your most memorable trips?
February 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm #90430
Wow Henry, that is remarkable! I live in Minnesota and while I can’t exactly blame you for making flyover country your last state to visit, there are actually some very pretty areas in the state, particularly along Lake Superior to the north, the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers, and all of the lakes and woods up north.
I doubt I’ll ever come close to visiting 120 countries though. That’s just amazing. I’m with Andrew too, I’d love to hear about one trip in particular that stands out for you!
February 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm #90428
Overseas, would guess the 3 week driving tour of France where amongst other things “we” visited a significant percentage of the WWII battle fields and visited with dozens of french people who were there during the fighting… And because I could speak and understand french … The trip was made in the last 3 weeks of June which provided us with some inkling of what the weather/terrain was like during the battles.
A lot of the 120 countries were visited while on navy ships, which meant that in some cases didn’t see much past the sailor’s port that we were in, for example, IMO checking Brazil off because I spent two days in Rio De Janeiro going where most of the young sailors go is probably abusing the term visiting but…
Stateside would guess that when “we” completed the journey on the various NATIONAL highways will always stick with me(US1 from Key West Fl to Canada, US31 from Canada to Gulf of Mexico, US 83 from Canada to Mexico, US101 from Canada to Mexico, US 20 from Ma to Newport OR, US 50 from DC to Sacramento CA, and US 80 from Savannah Ga to San Diego). NOT a one of the trips was done NON-stop and in some cases took decades to complete (US 50 from 1960 until 2009, when we did the last part in Kansas) When we do these vacations we have always avoided the Interstates unless the old highway has in fact become the Interstate
Being wine drinkers, we take some pride in the fact that we have visited wineries, and bought wines from all the lower 48 states, our friends are usually amazed at the selection of wines we keep in our “wine cellar”
A common place for vacation destinations has been New Orleans, We visited there in July 2005 and both of us volunteered to assist after Katrina when we spent a full month there in Sept/Oct 2005 and it always amazes us the progress that is being made each time we go back (about once a year)
If we have time we OFTEN go to family events (xmas, thanksgiving, reunions, birthdays) via the “back roads” the most recent was where we spent 5 days getting to Houston TX. from Huntsville AL. (a distance of ~ 700 miles). And we have started the planning for our 30 day trip to Vista Ca. this summer, still haven’t decided whether the first part of the trip or the last part of the trip will be drive like crazy.
In all our travels we have only had 1 accident (took an off-ramp off the autobahn too fast and ended up in the ditch), minimal traffic tickets, and only involvement with law enforcement, where our car was broken into at Pt Reyes National Seashore
February 2, 2010 at 6:18 pm #90426
Hey Henry – Thanks for sharing…you’ve led a pretty remarkable life, eh? Pretty amazing.
There are some pretty amazing roads….and you’re right, you need to get off the Interstate to find them.
My favorite road was a winding, wild one between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe…can’t remember the number or the name…but we were stopped and held by police because they were shooting a car commercial on it…if we had a camera, I would made a commercial of my own (and probably would have been pulled over for real)! 🙂
February 5, 2010 at 8:04 pm #90424
Andy, my goal is to go to all 50 states by the time I’m 50. I’m now 43 and have been to 41 states…so I’m just off the one per year pace. Favorites- and there are so many- include Hawaii, San Francisco, and San Diego. Regular and more accessible vacation spots for us include Hilton Head and Edisto Island, South Carolina. I love the history and the scenic beauty of the United States.
February 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm #90422
Awesome, Jay – what do you have left? I may have some itineraries to share with you that can help you hit 2-3 at a time (at an enjoyable pace!).
February 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm #90420
I’m missing MT, ND, SD, NE, KS, OK, IA, Arkansas, and Alaska. Here’s the basic plan: 4 more trips… Yellowstone in 2011 will give us MT (I’ll be 44), a trip to Branson, MO in 2013 (46) and we’ll be able to hit OK, KS, and Arkansas, a trip to Mt Rushmore in 2015 (48) and we’ll drive all around and hit ND, NE, and IA, and then the crown jewel of Alaska in 2017 (50). I’m open to any ideas or suggestions you have. Thanks, Andy.
February 5, 2010 at 9:03 pm #90418
Hmm, flyover country…actually, there are some beautiful spots in that group!
Do you plan to drive or fly?
The Black Hills in SD are pretty. I wouldn’t make the trip there just for Mt. Rushmore, but between the Badlands, Black Hills, and Custer State Park, it’s a great area. Eastern Wyoming isn’t bad either (Devil’s Tower isn’t too far to the west). There are also the Badlands in western ND, which aren’t particularly impressive in my opinion, but were impressive enough to warrant national park status (Theodore Roosevelt National Park). In my opinion, there’s no other part of the state of ND that’s really worth visiting.
I don’t know what your 2011 trip would look like, but Glacier National Park is pretty amazing too and if you would be able to squeeze it in, that would be awesome! It’s not too far north of Yellowstone (by my driving standards, anyway).
As for the other states, I would say there isn’t much particularly remarkable (based on my experience) in OK, KS, or NE. Northeast IA (along the Mississippi River) is the only area of the state that I would actually visit (it’s a few hours from where I live and the bluffs and rolling hills make it a great drive). Arkansas has the Ozarks or even the hot springs, but beyond that, again, there’s nothing that stands out to me.
Good luck making it to 50! Some of these states are probably just a matter of passing through just to say you did, but hey, there’s no harm in that and ultimately, every state has a pocket of something that’s worth seeing.
February 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm #90416
Concur with Joey on everything…ways to make a couple of the places more interesting:
Fly into Des Moines, IA and drive across to Lincoln, NE. I agree with Joey that NE Iowa has some significant beauty, but so does western Iowa. Interesting terracing in the fields there. Schedule your trip for the fall for best effect and try to catch the Nebraska Cornhuskers in action in Lincoln…it’s really the only show in town (in the whole state!), so worth seeing the fans and experiencing it.
Branson is an good launching point for AK, KS and OK. Might also be cool to fly into Kansas City, eat some BBQ, listen to some blues, then figure out a path down to Branson that includes KS and OK…from Branson, it’s a short drive to AK.
February 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm #90414
Joey and Andy, thanks for the additional insights on sites, parts of states, and times of year to visit the remaining 9 on my list. I’m definitely going to have to keep some of these in mind! I had thought about going to Omaha for the College World Series as a way to get to Nebraska, but I like the sound of a Cornhusker football game. I hadn’t heard of Custer State Park either. I appreciate your time on this topic.
February 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm #90412
Also, if you’re up for caves, Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument are worthwhile. (I did Wind and enjoyed it but haven’t done Jewel.)
May 22, 2010 at 11:46 am #90410
Just added another US Highway to my “Cap”…
After spending a couple of days in Norfolk VA, at a conference, took US 58 all the way across the state of Virginia (the only place we left US 58 was where it became Interstate 81, and there we drove US 11 for 20 miles or so) Took us 4 days to drive the 600 miles or so. Saw a lot of Virginia that the people who are trying to get from point A to Point B in the shortest time possible (Read Interstate freeway) don’t even know exists. Spent additional time in such beautiful towns as Brodnaz, Clarksville, Buffalo Junction, Alton, Axton, Galax, Osceola, Gate City, Rose Hill and Ewing amongst others. Actually spent the night in South Hill, Martinsville and Abingdon. Wasn’t unusual to spend 2 hours visiting with total strangers, initially, over a meal or some other reason/excuse to spend a little time with REAL people. And in several cases the people would give us a guided tour of the community that they were very proud of.
Couple of observations:
My gosh what did we do before digital cameras? If I was required to develop and print all the pictures taken on the 4 day trip, would have almost had to float a loan and or would have been very selective in the pictures taken.
After a trip like this it reaffirms my faith that the American people will do what’s right for America. regardless or perhaps in spite of the hype on all the national news media
August 13, 2010 at 11:22 pm #90408
I have been to all 50 states and I really enjoy California, Washington and the Oregon coast. I find it all depends on the time of the year and the venue you are visiting. Sad, that many Americans will never see the diverse beauty our country offers. Tell them to get in the car and drive! LOL
September 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm #90406
As a former Nebraskan, I would recommend going to the western part of the state. Husker football is cool, but contrary to popular belief, it’s not all Nebraska is about. 🙂 If you’re into geology or fossils at all, this is a cool place to go. http://www.fossilfreeway.net/toadstool.php You could use Ft. Robinson as a base when you stay in the area and there are a couple of musuems to check out and other activities going on during the warmer months. This would work well with a trip up to SD.
September 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm #90404
I would love to experience all 50 states at some point in my life. We’re working on camping in all 50 states so we can see what the state is truly like instead of the scene from the car window on an interstate. I have probably been to roughly 25 or so states. (I don’t count lay overs or driving through the state as “seeing” the state so they don’t make the list). We’re up to 8 states for our camping so we’re going to have some traveling ahead of us. From everything I’ve seen so far, EVERY state is beautiful somewhere and the ones that have been the most “ugly” or uninteresting from the interstate usually have the coolest places hidden away on a back road. We live in an amazing country.
March 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm #90402
I just returned from my Philly, Chicago, Atlanta, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver trip to implement the DOC Secretary initiative CommerceConnect’s training. As I stood by Buffalo Bill’s grave on Lookout Mountain I saw where “the purple mountains’ majesty” were “above the fruited planes” and I wept at the beauty of it, and the loss of the buffalo and the American Indian population. It was also a priviledge and an honor to be selected for such a program and meet so many Feds interested in serving their customer; Government Rock Stars, all.
July 13, 2011 at 4:02 pm #90400
L P O’NeilParticipant
I’ve been to all 50 states and some of the commonwealths / territories too (USVI, Puerto Rico, etc) I’ve been to most states several times, even the flatlands.
Hawaii is my favorite (diversity, beauty, surprise) although I believe (and history may back me up) that Hawaii, a soverign nation at the time, was siezed by US commercial interests illegally.
Maine, Vermont, Montana, Oregon and New Mexico are my other favorite states. Alaska is gorgeous, and I hope to return there driving up the Al-Can Highway soon.
August 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm #90398
I have not yet been to all 50, but I am nearing the 40 mark. When I go on trips, I often go places to see friends and/or relatives so that really has slowed down my new state travel. I do consider myself to have an adventurous spirit, though, I moved to Oregon in 2004 without ever having set foot in the Pacific Northwest before.
Having been a Geography major, it would be hard for me to classify a state as one entity. Depending on the state, one end can be and often is completely different than the other end. So, I would like to add my top 5 cities that I have had the chance to experience in the United States: San Francisco, DC, Seattle, Kansas City (Missouri where I was born), and yes Portland, Oregon (though I would most likely never choose to live there again, it is great city).
And although I have yet to see all 50 states first hand; I have lived in 6 (spanning three different time zones) and been a registered voter in 4. Not too shabby for 33.
September 12, 2011 at 6:52 pm #90396
I’m planning on going to Maui sometime in May (I’ve never been to Hawaii) and am just trying to figure out the details (where to stay, get a car or not, etc.). I look forward to it. 🙂
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.