Just as the framework — number of legs and length of each one — of my upcoming advanture evolved over the past few months (as I shared last Thursday), so has the the list of places I plan to visit.
Initially, I had hoped to visit a national park or, in the 20 (or 21, if you don’t count Idaho, which has just a small part of Yellowstone within its borders) states without one, a state park in each state.
But after spending 95% of the past 12 months fairly isolated, the idea of spending 6 weeks camping alone didn’t appeal to me. I wanted to be around other people even though I would be traveling solo.
I googled “Most beautiful towns in each state” and found a list that looked promising. As I read the descriptor for each town on the list, I noticed that the primary criteria for inclusion were number and beauty of city parks, architecture of homes and/or downtown area, and views such as mountains, the ocean, etc.
While those are certainly nice things to enjoy on a vacation, they weren’t quite what I was looking for. I tried several other criteria and happened upon a list of the “best downtown shopping districts in every state”. Because I’m not a shopper per se, I almost passed on this one. But because I do enjoy meandering in and out of cute boutiques, mom-and-pop stores, etc., and because I want to support small businesses as much as possible, I clicked on the link.
The opening paragraph mentioned cafes, indie bookstores, boutiques, and quaint attractions. I was intrigued and began working my way through the list. By the time I’d read the descriptor and looked at the accompanying images for state #10 (Georgia, by the way), I knew this was the list I was going to use for my trip. But I decided to hedge my bets a bit.
I posted in a (Facebook) solo-women’s travel group I belong to, asking other members to share the towns they would include on such a list. I asked that they only share a town they had personally visited and that they share no more than one town per state.
I was amazed at the number of responses I received: suggestions for over 35 states and multiple suggestions for almost every one. I added each town to the original list I had downloaded and began researching the towns in the states I plan to visit this Spring.
Eventually, I had one 1st-choice and one back-up town for each state. Using Roadtripper (a wonderful app that is a godsend when planning a trip), I was able to quickly create the itinerary for each of the 3 legs of my upcoming advanture.
Now it’s time to plan what I’ll be taking and count down the days until my tentative departure date of April 19.
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What towns have you visited that had wonderful downtowns filled with mom-and-pop businesses, quaint cafes and coffee shops, and interesting attractions? Share your thoughts via a comment. Who knows? Maybe I’ll add your suggestion to my itinerary!