If there’s one thing that COVID taught me, it’s that there’s a lot to see closer to home.
I’ve always done more travel in the US than internationally, but I tend to be drawn back to the same places and there’s just soooo much to see in this country. Visiting all 50 states has always been a loose goal of mine, but when I started to plan out my travel schedule this year, I decided to really prioritize travel within the continental US and start picking away at travel to new states.
I’m not really a bucket list traveler. I don’t have rules on what counts as a state visit, but my goal isn’t just to cross states off my list. It’s to actually spend time in each state (in multiple places especially if it’s a large state) and really get a feel for what that state is all about.
In 2022, one of my big travel focuses is to drive the full Route 66 (all 2500 miles) from Chicago to LA which will bring visits to a few new states, but mostly visits to new areas of states I’ve already visited.
I’ll keep this list updated, not just as I visit new states, but as I add more content to this blog for states that I’ve already visited (like I said before, I like to go back to places multiple times).
Where I’m From & Where I’ve Lived (2)
Oklahoma: I’m born and raised in Oklahoma so I’ve done and seen a bit here, but like it often is wherever you’re from, you tend to spend your time just working and living and spend your travel time going to other places. But I’ve been making more of an effort to see and do things closer to home. I’m spending more time in Oklahoma City since it has so much to offer, but I’m also planning trips to places farther from home like Broken Bow and the Wichita Mountains. And I’ve got a list of Native American cultural sites that are maintained by certain tribes like the Cherokee complex in Tahlequah and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur. Find all of my Oklahoma posts here.
Hawaii: I lived on Maui for a while and spent my time exploring all of the different islands and then started this travel blog that was originally only about Hawaii so I’ve traveled back and forth to Hawaii a LOT. I’ve visited all six visitable islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii, Molokai, and Lanai and I’ve written a lot about it. Find all of my Hawaii posts here.
States I’ve Visited (22)
Alabama: This has been mostly a drive through (or overnight stop on a road trip) state for me on the way to Florida gulf coast, but I have spent a couple of days in the Orange Beach/Gulf Shores area. A trip to Birmingham is high on my list as I’m a huge Southern Living fan and I’ve also heard that it’s one of the best places to shop for French antiques outside of France. I also keep hearing a lot about Huntsville so I’d like to check that out as well.
Arkansas: Despite being so close to Oklahoma, I haven’t done much in Arkansas yet except drive through on the way to somewhere else. I love Bentonville though! And I have been to a Razorbacks game (pig sooie!) and that seems like an Arkansas right of passage. I’d like to spend some time in Little Rock to see the Clinton Presidential Library and the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. I also want to visit Hot Springs (the National Park here looks amazing) and dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
California: I’ve made it a goal to up my blog coverage of California like I have for Florida because there are DOZENS of places I want to go in California. I’ve done a bit of Socal including Disneyland, Laguna, the typical LA/Hollywood things, and San Diego but always in a bit of a whirlwind. High on my California list are Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Napa, and about a million other places.
Colorado: I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Colorado as it was one of the states we traveled to most when I was a kid. I’ve visited mostly in the summer, but one of my goals is to learn how to snowboard (well) so I have more of an incentive to go during the winter. I’ve spent quite a bit of time around Steamboat Springs and Ouray/Silverton/Telluride but also been to the Breckenridge/Keystone area a couple of times. I’d like to spend more time in Aspen and Vail (who doesn’t?) and check out Colorado Springs and Boulder.
Florida: Florida is hands down the state I’ve traveled to the most and I’ve made a big push in the last 18 months or so to cover it well for my blog. I’ve been to Disney a million times since I was a kid (I’m often an annual passholder), and we’ve always gone for family vacations to the gulf coast (30a is one of my favorite places in the world), to Longboat Key near Sarasota, and to Sanibel. I’ve traveled up and down the gulf coast pretty extensively, but I haven’t spent much time on the Atlantic coast. I did a couple of trips to Miami in 2021 and really started to like it (not a fan of South Beach on the first trip), and I’m still planning to go back to visit the Keys plus I want to go to Palm Beach, St Augustine, and Amelia Island. Find all of my Florida posts here.
Indiana: I’ve been to Indianapolis a few times to work the NFL Combine, but haven’t seen much beyond a downtown hotel, the convention center, and the stadium.
Illinois: This is a recent one for me. On my Route 66 trip to St Louis I crossed over to Illinois to see the Chain of Rocks Bridge. I’m planning my Route 66 Illinois road trip for later this summer and it will include plenty of time in Springfield to see all of the Abraham Lincoln sites plus of course, Chicago.
Kansas: Another state that despite being so close to where I live, I haven’t spent much time here. I’ve driven through it quite a bit, and spent some time in Kansas City, but I most recently clipped the corner on my Route 66 Kansas trip.
Louisiana: I’ve been to New Orleans a couple of times (only for a couple of days on road trips), but it’s been awhile.
Mississippi: So far this is a drive through state for me. But I’ve got my eye on Tupelo and Oxford and I’d like to see the new Civil Rights museum in Jackson.
Missouri: My grandparents live in Springfield, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time around there and Branson plus St Louis. And I’ve seen a lot more recently on my Route 66 Missouri road trip. Kansas City and St Louis are both cities that I’d like to spend more time in. Find all of my Missouri posts here.
Montana: One of my friends lived in Billings for a while and I visited several times. Montana is so beautiful! I’ve been to Yellowstone a couple of times, but it’s still on my list to make it all the way up to Glacier National Park.
Nebraska: I’ve only driven through Nebraska, but it’s surprisingly high on my list of states to visit again. My dad was born in Scotts Bluff and I’d like to check out Lincoln and Omaha.
Nevada: I did a quick trip to visit a friend near Reno and LOVED Lake Tahoe. I’d like to go back and spend more time there. And of course, I still need to go to Las Vegas.
New Mexico: I’d been to Santa Fe and through Albuquerque a few times when I was a kid, but my aunt and uncle just bought a house in Angel Fire so I’ve been spending more time in that area and it’s so beautiful! I really love Taos. I’m very excited for my Route 66 New Mexico road trip to finally get to stay at the Blue Swallow in Tucumceri and see more areas in western New Mexico. FInd all of my New Mexico posts here.
New York: I’ve been to NYC quite a few times and really love it. I’m planning to go back for the US Open this year. I’ve also spent quite a bit of time upstate around the Hudson Valley and Saratoga Spring. It’s a state that I’d like to spend more time in. I could go just to NYC multiple times a year and never be bored.
Pennsylvania: I’ve spent the day in Philadelphia as a day trip from Washington DC to see all of the historic sites like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross’ House, etc. But there’s so much to see in Pennsylvania that I feel like I definitely need a full trip (maybe a few).
South Dakota: It surprised me how much I liked South Dakota. We went mostly to see Mount Rushmore (which I LOVED), but everything I saw in the few days I was there made me want to go back for longer. Mount Rushmore was where I got my first National Parks Passport stamp!
Tennessee: I’ve been to Memphis a couple of times when the University of Tulsa played in the Liberty Bowl and I’ve seen Graceland and the ducks at the Peabody Hotel, but I’ve really been wanting to get back to Memphis lately. I did my first trip to Nashville earlier this year and overwhelmed myself with ALL of the country music things. I think I’ll be back. And I HAVE to see the Smoky Mountains and Dollywood at least once in my life. Find all of my Tennessee posts here.
Texas: Being so close to Oklahoma, I’ve been to quite a few places in Texas, but it’s such a huge state and I’ve got a long list of places I want to go and go back to. I recently visited Fort Worth for the first time and fell in love. I’ve made it a habit of shopping in Dallas (trying to do more there lately). And I’ve been to Austin, San Antonio, and the Hill Country. Find all of my Texas posts here.
Virginia: I visited Arlington and Mount Vernon when I was in DC, but Virginia definitely needs a full trip.
Wyoming: What’s not to love about Wyoming? I’ve been to Jackson and Yellowstone and they’re places that I would never get tired of visiting over and over. I’ve also been to Cody one of the times I did Yellowstone.
Washington DC: I’ve been to DC a few times and it just might be one of my favorite cities in the US. There is an endless amount of things to see and do and it’s one of those places that I could visit multiple times a year. It’s on my lifelong bucket list to visit when the cherry blossoms are blooming.
States I Haven’t Visited YET (26)