How to Travel All 50 States
Hands on experience is one of the best ways to learn and grow, and there is nothing better at this than travel. Here is how to travel all 50 states…with kids!
Your 50 State Travel Goal Timeframe
How you approach your fifty state travel goal will all depend on how much time you have to get it done. If you have teenagers that you want to START a 50 state travel goal with, then your travel plans might look like longer road trips with many states visited in one go.
If you have lots of time (i.e. retirement or homeschooling) and can take your sweet time, then we encourage you to read more about the benefits of slow travel.
For my family, we started right when our youngest was born, and are ending right when our oldest graduates high school, so we have roughly 15 years. (As of now, we are 3.5 years in and have traveled to 14 states). I would call that a good amount of time. So, when we want, we can take our travel slow and really get to know a region.
Your Travel Goal & Your Geography
Your travel plan will also be different depending on where you live, where you can drive to, and where you need to fly to.
My family lives smack-dab in the middle of the country. We had a plan to hit the states easiest to drive to in the Midwest first – when our kids were little. We flew with the kids only to a few states when we had family events, or to the beach as necessary. I do love living in the Midwest, but beaches are not drivable!
You can see our 50 State Travel Journal on this page in detail. But, in here is a general map of our leisurely last 4 years of fifty state goal travel.
We have flown to Salt Lake City, Utah, and to Destin, Florida / Orange Beach, Alabama. The rights of the states so far, we drove to.
We have ten years left to get to our goal, and we are enjoying every minute of it! It is great to be able to have the time to find the best each state has to offer. Moreover, we do not fret about visiting some states more than once. For example, we will be back again in Florida this year for the beach, and we will be back again in 2022, for Disney World. (Pandemic Willing!)
As my two girls get older, we will be flying to hit west coast states one or two at a time. Additionally, we will be flying to the east coast to hit one or two states at a time. However, when it comes to the states in New England, our plan is to hit multiple states, as the geography allows.
We are saving bigger cities (like New York City) for when our girls are bigger. Moreover, certain states we already visited when the girls were younger, as they might not be quite as exciting, and it’s okay that the photo albums might serve them better than their actual memories. (Like South Dakota? Sorry, South Dakota… We did have a lot of fun in Souix Falls, and we will be back!)
How to Travel 50 States in 5 Years
For those of your that say, “Hey! That’s great that you have 15 years. Good for you, but what about us adventures that want to knock out this goal in five years or less?”
You are amazing. Yes, you can totally travel to all fifty United States of America in less than five years. You will just need a bucket of money for plane tickets, or you will need to be willing to drive long hours! This is perfect for those families that love a good road-trip.
Road Trips Across America
The United States of America is 2,800 miles wide and 1,582 miles top to bottom (according to Mapsoftheworld.com) and 3.797 million square miles in area. We have a lot of ground to cover. Here are some example road trips to help you plan how you can get to each and every state.
East Coast Road Trips
Trip One: The Northeast
- New Jersey – Fly into Newark, drive two hours to Atlantic City
- Pennsylvania – Drive one hour to Philadelphia
- New York – Drive 1.5 hours to New York City
- Connecticut – Drive 1.5 hours to New Havel
- Rhode Island – Drive roughly 2 hours to Newport
- Massachusetts – Drive about 1.5 hours to Boston
- Maine – Drive almost 2 hours to Portland
- New Hampshire – Drive 2.5 hour to Mount Washington
- Vermont – Drive 3 hours to Woodstock,
- At this point, you have driven a total of about 16.5 hours. Then drive back for 5 hours to the Newark airport (and hit up Albany, NY on the way.)
Trip Two: The Middle Eastern States
- West Virginia
Trip Three: The Southeast
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Southern Road Trips
Trip Four: The South
Trip Five: The Southwest
- New Mexico
Midwestern Road Trips
Trip Six: The North Midwest
Trip Seven: The Midwest
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
West Coast Road Trips
Trip Eight: The Mountains
Trip Nine: The West Coast
- Hawaii – You just cannot road-trip your way to Hawaii. Sorry, but it will be worth the flight! May I suggest the Big Island and Maui? The kids will love the contrast in topography and it will give them a very good feel for Hawaii as a diverse whole.
- Alaska – I suppose you can drive to Alaska! However, most of you will fly or even take a cruise.
Your Planning, Traveling, Documenting
There isn’t just one solution to fifty state travel. You will need to do a lot of planning, traveling and then documenting to meet your goals and enjoy the process.
You can read about my favorite tools for planning and documenting, here.