I tend to be a 'planner'. We usually have a good idea of where we'll be, when we'll be there, how long we'll be there and what kinds of activities we'll participate while we're there. For some people that's too structured, as they like to 'fly by the seat of their pants'…but for us…it's perfect.
When sight-seeing we tend to lean more toward things that pertain to our nation's history and culture. We also enjoy 'off the beaten path' type attractions.
We've been known to visit a cemetery to hunt down the grave of a family member, celebrity or famous outlaw - lots of history in a cemetery.
Several years ago, I stumbled upon a couple of websites that were perfect for our longing for 'off the beaten path' and 'odd' places to visit. Anytime I plan sight-seeing ventures, I use these gems to check out any area that we'll be passing through or staying in and usually find several fun places to visit.
If we plan to stop at an attraction on a travel day, we plan our route accordingly and use Google maps to make sure that we have room to park the truck and Heartland fifth wheel.
Roadside America (www.roadsideamerica.com)
Roadside America is, by far, my favorite resource for finding 'different' things to see and do. Their website has been around since the 1990's, but I've only been using it since 2011 or so.
They offer a website, phone app, and a Facebook page. You can search for attractions by state, keywords, city or by using an interactive map in both Canada and the US.
Because of Roadside America, we've visited and enjoyed numerous rock gardens, several pieces of the Berlin Wall, a bamboo forest, yard art made from bottles, dishes and crosses. Museums for retired fiberglass molds and wooden nickels were fun. We've seen painted rock displays decorated by soldiers showing pride in their units, several different miniature Statues of Liberty and replica Stonehenges. A graveyard in a Home Depot parking lot, a golden pyramid, a treehouse that seemed to go on forever and an African Village in Alabama were all quite interesting.
Factory Tours USA (factorytoursusa.com)
The second website is all about factory tours - beverages, snack foods, musical instruments, shoes, automobiles, etc. Their website offers an interactive map to help you in finding the tours in your area.
We've toured some really fun places using this source. We've been to Coors & Miller Breweries – free samples at the end, of course! A couple of chocolate factories…yum! Sweets Taffy Factory was fun to tour…more samples! At the Hyundai Factory we learned how to pronounce the word correctly…it rhymes with Sunday and Monday.
We sampled dozens of teas at the Celestial Seasoning plant. The SAS Shoe factory tour was very interesting…no free samples though. We were the only people on the tour at the Golden Flake tour and we sampled warm chips straight from the line and went home with more samples than we knew what to do with!
The best thing about many of these attractions? Most of them are either free or have a very minimal charge. We're all for saving our pennies and having fun too.