One of the reasons we homeschool is so that we can travel.
It is both a blessing and a curse that I am in a perpetual state of planning for the next adventure, even when that next adventure is only back to Philly to see family for Mother’s Day.
We love our home but both my husband and I dream of someday traveling the U.S. with our kids to roam this awesome country. Seriously, my husband’s dream car is an all-wheel-drive Sprinter van!
The thought of deciding which landmarks matter, locating them, and planning a route is daunting, though – – even for a super-planner like me. For a while I was going to use the sites from World’s Largest to lead us but, as it doesn’t cover the entire country, I think I’ve found something better.
Thank goodness for smart and fun people like Randy Olson, a PhD candidate in Michigan State University’s Computer Science program, who created an algorithm using an itinerary that
- included stopping at least once in every state in the lower 48,
- only stopping at National Parks or landmarks,
- and only being able to take the trip by car.
With no traffic, this trip will take approximately 224 hours (9.33 days) of driving in total.
Here are the sites:
- Grand Canyon, AZ
- Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
- Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID
- Yellowstone National Park, WY
- Pikes Peak, CO
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
- The Alamo, TX
- The Platt Historic District, OK
- Toltec Mounds, AR
- Elvis Presley’s Graceland, TN
- Vicksburg National Military Park, MS
- French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
- USS Alabama, AL
- Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
- Okefenokee Swamp Park, GA
- Fort Sumter National Monument, SC
- Lost World Caverns, WV
- Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, NC
- Mount Vernon, VA
- White House, Washington, DC
- Colonial Annapolis Historic District, MD
- New Castle Historic District, Delaware
- Cape May Historic District, NJ
- Liberty Bell, PA
- Statue of Liberty, NY
- The Mark Twain House & Museum, CT
- The Breakers, RI
- USS Constitution, MA
- Acadia National Park, ME
- Mount Washington Hotel, NH
- Shelburne Farms, VT
- Fox Theater, Detroit, MI
- Spring Grove Cemetery, OH
- Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
- West Baden Springs Hotel, IN
- Abraham Lincoln’s Home, IL
- Gateway Arch, MO
- C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, KS
- Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, IA
- Taliesin, WI
- Fort Snelling, MN
- Ashfall Fossil Bed, NE
- Mount Rushmore, SD
- Fort Union Trading Post, ND
- Glacier National Park, MT
- Hanford Site, WA
- Columbia River Highway, OR
- San Francisco Cable Cars, CA
- San Andreas Fault, CA
- Hoover Dam, NV
The realistic timeline of finishing the tour is about 2-3 months, which means that even Schoolers could take this trip on summer vacation!
Mr. Olson not only created a list of landmarks to visit, but also created a second road trip with a more urban feel with stops at the TripAdvisor-rated Best City to Visit in every contiguous U.S. state.
Here is the original post he wrote, which explains it all.
I don’t know when we will get our Sprinter. And I don’t know when we will do this trip. But with half the work done for us, I know that someday, we’ll do it. I hope you will too.