48 State Tour - Excluding Hawaii & Alaska

Old May 9th, 2010, 08:03 AM
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48 State Tour - Excluding Hawaii & Alaska

The family and I are going to start touring the States for 1 year, by car, in a few weeks...we'd like to go as Green as possible and would LOVE some insight on Scenic and Historic Sights to see along the way. Not interested in amusement parks or Zoos...

Any info would be helpful as well as camping tips

Amish Sights/areas

Great National Parks

Great Kayaking Places

Good Camping Sights

Great Photographing Sights

Farms to visit and learn from

Beaches
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Old May 9th, 2010, 08:34 AM
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The Lonely Planet USA guidebook would be a good place to start.

Hope you have lots of money saved up. A week per state isn't going to allow you to see much.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 09:22 AM
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Your question is arguably the broadest such question I've ever seen here. Agreed with Placename, you've got a lot of research ahead of you. Fodor's, Frommer's, Lonely Planet, Time Out, Let's Go, and such all have excellent books for combing through, and doing a search here under various state headings will likely being up ideas. Definitely look into such things as national parks and national monuments if you're a camper.

You may also decide that some states merit more time than others. One could easily spend several weeks in states such as California or Texas, for example.

Plus I'd seriously consider time of year and match it with the state. For example, if you want to come to Vermont or Maine in early spring, you might find spring skiing if you're lucky but not much else -- several attractions are seasonal. And I'm not so sure I'd want to visit North Dakota in January or February, myself.

All that being said, I think it's a great trip concept assuming you have the funds. Have fun planning and executing the idea.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 09:45 AM
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I think the first thing to do is map out your route, taking into consideration the weather. As mentioned above, I wouldn't want to be doing New England, the mid-west states, or really any of the northern states in the middle of winter, for example.

I'm sure there are many itineraries already mapped out, and I agree that you need a good guidebook. This forum is great for help, but your question is HUGE!!
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Old May 9th, 2010, 11:42 AM
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Welcome to the forum. We are a very active and helpful group that you might come to know well over the next year as you travel the 48 states. I'd suggest that you post specific inquiries for the states you are visiting one at a time after you do your own research and look at all the posts that are archived here. Much of the information you seek is probably already posted somewhere here. Look at the top right hand corner of this page and you will find a search function. When you post, let us know your family's interests, ages and any budget considerations as well as your specific questions.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 11:53 AM
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I suggest you read William Least Moon's "Blue Highways" asa beginning.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 12:55 PM
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I would start at NPS.gov and map out a route that hits as many NP's and NM's as possible. Once you have a basic route you can come back here and fill in the trip with specifics of what to see and do along the way. Try to hit those states in the top half of the country in the summer and those in the bottem half in the winter.

foresstcamping.com is a great site for campgrounds run by various government agencies which will probably be your cheapest camping options. If you are going in an RV lots of info is on the RV.net website.

You might also want to do a google search to pull up the routes and experiences of others who have done this before you. Have a blast!
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Old May 9th, 2010, 03:39 PM
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Not sure where you're from - but in much of the northern half of the county camping is not an option in late fall or winter - and in much of the southern part camping in summer would be hell.

I think you need some average weather guides, info as to when mountain passes and areas of parks close for the season - and info on how long in advance you need to reserve to be sure of getting room.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 04:27 PM
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Ok, I'll dive in with some ideas for Iowa. Nobody ever asks about touring Iowa!

First, I would suggest coming here in late summer. The entire state will be full of green rolling fields, and sunrises and sunsets are lovely that time of year. There will be farmers' markets all over the state, with the best the state has to offer in terms of what we grow in our gardens and fields.

Interstate 80 cuts right through the middle of Iowa, from the Mississippi to the Missouri rivers, and there would be lots to enjoy if you take that route. I would suggest stopping at the Amana Colonies: www.amanacolonies.org

and then Pella (home of Pella Windows, but that's not why I'd stop there): www.pella.org. It's was originally a large Dutch settlement and is a beautiful little town near Lake Red Rock, which is really a pretty place to explore: www.redrockarea.com.

From there you could stop at Newton and get a tour of the Maytag Dairy Farms: www.maytagdairyfarms.com. It's a pretty cool little place to see.

For more farm tourism, head a bit further west on I-80 and stop at the Living History Farms on the west side of Des Moines (Urbandale): www.lhf.org.

Finally, I would strongly suggest you hit the famed Iowa State Fair, which runs August 12-22 this year. If you go, give yourselves a FULL day there. You don't get any more "Iowa" than the State Fair!

So, while lots of people think of Iowa as a fly-over state, there is a lot to see and do here - granted, it's not much in the winter, but if you're here in the summer and fall, I think you'd enjoy it.

I hope you and your family enjoy safe and happy travels!
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Old May 9th, 2010, 04:39 PM
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Many of the state park camp sites book very quickly here in Wisconsin. You can register for a camp site 11 months in advance. Holiday weekends are booked almost immediately for the more popular parks.
Wisconsin DNR has a wonderful web-site which showcases many of the exciting activities Wisconsin has to offer.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Kentucky has a wonderful state park system, Mammoth Cave National Park, Lexington area horse parks, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, Boonesborough Fort, Fort Harrod, Louisville museums including Churchill Downs, the Bourbon Trail,the variety of the mountains of Appalachia to the Mississippi River, and much, much more. It is a beautiful state. Check on line for tourist information.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 02:32 AM
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I would investigate all the 4-H programs in each state and activities they have for kids. I would include attending a public speaking/demonstration competition. First, it would give your kids some great insight into public speaking and what other kids talk about. If you're lucky, and generally we are, some of the kids are going to talk about some great activities and raising their animals. We judge 4-H public speaking/demonstrations so talks can range from school type science reports to logging with our draft horses to favorite sports/activities like fishing with the grandparents. Each county has special interest clubs and you could certainly learn a lot if you attending clinics or mini fairs that train kids on how to properly care for their animals and showmanship.
I think NH might have one of the most active working steer clubs in the country. I am always amazed at how well kids handle some huge animals but beginners usually start off with a young team and train them on obstacle courses so they learn voice commands. In our county, the kids also learn how to carve the yokes since the team is going to need a new yoke as they grow. This is a lot different from the pulling competitions you might see at fairs.
You will also find some interesting events at farm museums. Also check into events called "steam ups" and antique tractor shows. In Maine, the seacoast is great but do not forget to include a visit to a logging museum when college teams are competition in logging events. Leonard Mills near Bangor ME was nice. Also Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor is more about work vehicles and the logging industry and not like the fancy antique car museums. We like to visit Musterfield Farm Museum in N Sutton NH for old time Farming Days in late August. You'll see antique tractors, some great old buildings and people demonstrating how to do things, revolitionary war encampment, tractor parade, and 4-H kids with their working steers doing an obstacle course in the woods. Don't miss Canterbury Shaker Village north of Concord NH.
If you visit a steam engine event most of the guys have built/restored the antique engines. The antique tractors are fascinating.
Owls Head Transporation Museum near Rockland ME has events on weekends when people bring in their personal vehicles. Sometimes they have antique planes and fly them. Check their schedule.

Teach your kids to ask questions. Some of the people who exhibit their vehicles have some interesting stories. You might be able to put in some volunteer time at a horse rescue farm.

Although you won't be visiting Alaska, mushing is popular in some areas of the lower 48. While visiting the Common Ground Fair in ME one September, I saw some Chinook dogs on display. The family was helping bring the breed back. That winter while volunteering at a sled dog race, I saw the same people with their dog team. The race used to be held in Center Sandwich NH/Tamworth area where this breed originated and where sled dogs were trained for polar expeditions.

Every state has a dept of Agriculture. Look for PYO farms and farmers markets. I'm going to guess you have already read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 03:43 AM
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Thank you soooo much for all the good info Barblab, Iowagirl, Carolyn...and all others. Yes, I've done my research and I do have a little book called Passport which includes every NP there is here in the US. Neat little thing if you guys want one. We already mapped out how we are going and when, was just curious if there are any hidden little adventures in each state, which I'm sure, that only some of the locals would know about.

Iowagirl, you got me all excited about touring Iowa...so I'm really siked!

My questions were extremely broad...I'm just new to this and wanted to ask as much as possible...but I'll check state to state on here and get more info...

You Guys Rock!! Thanks again~
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Old May 10th, 2010, 04:08 AM
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I would probably just ask for specific advice on each state or area you plan to visit. Ask about a month in advance. Maybe give us an idea about your first 4 or 5 weeks and we could elaborate some on that.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 04:58 AM
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Do you have a website or blog started for your trip? This would be a good way to stay in touch with family and friends and also get suggestions along the way. Maybe your kids (ages?) could design and update it as a project. I for one would love to follow our trip.
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Old May 10th, 2010, 06:59 AM
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<just curious if there are any hidden little adventures in each state>

You might want to re-post into some of the specific state forums here (use the tag to indicate state)? There are people who are experts on California, New England, the mid-west, for example, who might not think to read/reply to a question as broad as this one.
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