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A little over a year ago, we got back from a 10-day road trip that went through 17 states. Yes, you read that right–17 states in only 10 days! The total mileage ended up being around 4500 miles, and let me tell you, it was exhausting but SO worth it! My husband was about to graduate with his degree in ecosystem science and we knew we wanted to start a family, so we realized that we probably should take the opportunity to travel far and wide if we could. It only seemed right to take advantage of being so central while we still had the chance (we were living in Colorado until last May). We left on a Friday, and returned the following Sunday. The states we hit were Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma.
You must be thinking that with a road trip that long in such a short amount of time, we must have been doing nothing but driving. That is only somewhat true. We planned out in advance to have every day be a 13-14-hour day with approximately 7-8 hours of drive time. That math still left at least 5 hours of time for us to get a taste of every city and small, rural town we went through.
It was tiring. It was harder on some days more so than others when we saw places we wanted to explore so much more than we got a chance to, or when the camping out in the car hadn’t gone so well after motels fell through. However—and I can’t reiterate this enough—it was amazing. If you ever get a chance to just pick up and leave for 10 days and you haven’t seen much of the country, just grab a suitcase, food, lots of water, and some emergency supplies alongside a Rand McNally. Do not be afraid to be on your way! It will seem like a lot, and it is, but it will be worthwhile and one of the most memorable things you will do.
Some of the favorite highlights from our trip route were:
Marceline, Missouri: the quaint, childhood town of Walt Disney that beyond accommodating to out of town guests and holds a museum about Disney’s family.
St. Louis, Missouri: home of the Gateway Arch and some very…interesting tourists and people we found. It seems like a place you could find any sort of niche in, which is great!
Louisville, Kentucky: where Louisville Slugger got their name, and Kentucky Fried Chicken is headquartered. For being a big city, it has a small feel to it.
Bowling Green, Kentucky: they have an underground cave tour that is nonprofit, in the middle of gorgeous green scenery, and worth every single penny.
Nashville, Tennessee: the barbecue is wonderful and if you love country music you obviously just can’t miss going to see the Grand Ole Opry.
Asheville, North Carolina: just after the Smoky Mountains and filled with an abundance of waterfalls to go find and explore—which are my favorite natural phenomenon!
Charleston, South Carolina: our new favorite city in the country that most people don’t get enough credit to. It has amazing views, food, and their very own French Quarter.
Savannah, Georgia: this beautiful city had just been hit hard by Hurricane Matthew when we were there, so it was an even more humbling experience than we could have anticipated.
New Orleans, Louisiana: the river cruise on the Mississippi River (we took the Steamboat Natchez) is something you have to experience if you go, and the food is WONDERFUL. Red beans and rice anyone?!
Denver, Colorado: they have great views of the Rocky Mountains (which are huge) and you absolutely need to go their botanic gardens and aquarium. The aquarium especially.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: this city is too underrated. Bricktown especially is such a beautiful and welcoming community.
Check out more of the destinations we have visited in the Travel section of our blog posts, and be sure to follow along on our adventures here and on Instagram below! 😊
Remember, adventure is for everyone!