Over the years, and especially since starting this website, I’ve had many friends ask me how I find so many crazy places to visit. In truth, it’s no single method but rather a compounding of many, including these:
There are a lot of useful travel websites out there. Many, such as TripAdvisor, will give you guest reviews and ratings. Others like Travel + Leisure will provide you with pretty pictures and perhaps grandiose ideas. Then there are sites that allow you to explore specialty ideas- including this one!
For example, did you know that The Map is a searchable tool? Some of my other favorite specialty sites are Atlas Obscura– which specializes in the unique and strange attractions around the world (it has helped me expand my bucket list), Unusual Hotels of the World– this one lets you make sure that wherever you’re staying is just as unique as your itinerary, and Indie Bound’s Store Finder– this one allows for you to seek out independent bookstores. If you spend just a little bit of time seeking what interests you, you’re bound to find some resource for those interests.
Find a Local Guide
Recently, a friend of mine linked an article on Facebook which featured unique and largely unknown Oklahoma attractions. Due to the knowledge of my Tulsa guide, I had already visited (or planned to visit) several, including the tunnels beneath Tulsa.
This same guide introduced me to Gardner’s, Phoenix, and Quizzy’s so far, among a host of delicious local restaurants. I personally used to give tours of Kansas City to friends- even some who had lived in the town their whole life. If you have a friend in town, especially with similar interests, you have one of the greatest resources a mere phone call away!
You can find them everywhere- hotels, gas stations and rest stops, other attractions, and even grocery stores. They’re those obnoxious displays filled with colorful pamphlets encouraging you to visit some “best,” “only,” or “largest” attraction in the area. Too often I see people walk past, ignoring this honest wealth of information. Amongst the balls of twine and mini-golf courses, you can find information on local historical sites, zoos, museums, specialized tours, hiking trails, and more. Oftentimes you can even get a discount for holding on to that flyer. Even if your trip is already full, you can pick up ones which seem interesting for your next trip into town and you already havea resource for planning.
Brown Sign Chase
Perhaps one of my favorite ways to take a trip is to have the flexibility to do something I call “brown sign chasing.” The act is pretty much exactly as it sounds- you chase down attractions you find advertised on the highway. Maybe you’re following the instructions on a billboard, maybe it’s a hand-painted sign, or maybe it’s the eponymous brown sign erected by the state telling you which exit to take for some historical site.
Never be afraid to stop someplace new if it interests you. I was lucky enough to have one of the best apple fritters in my life by taking an hour to drive off and visit an orchard, to see one of the coolest houses in my life by reading a brown sign. Keep your eyes open for anything- something as simple as realizing an independent gaming store is just off the highway could set you on a day long quest around a new city.
Get out and enjoy the adventure!