Whether you are feeling restless while waiting for your next big trip or looking to get out of the house for the day or two, this article gives you all the tools you need to create a memorial mini-trip close to home.
Start by creating a 100 or 150 mile radius map around your home location using Free Map Tools. Then import it to Google Earth (see the instructions below the map to generate and download a KML). This is a screen shot of my 150 mile radius map from my home in Nashville, Indiana
Once your map is open in Google Earth you will see the Placemarks and pictures that others have uploaded to the map. By clicking on the Tour Guide frames at the bottom of the map, it will take you in for a closer view of any area of interest. You’ve got to use this marvelous tool.
Look within your radial map for places you haven’t gone before – small towns, historic sites, museums, parks, college campuses, scenic areas and much more. You can start mapping out a nice one day or week-end trip to explore some things you have found. Here are some additional links to expand your search:
- List of Cathedrals in the United States – find something in any state of the union. I found the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in my 150 mile radius map in Covington, Kentucky that I now plan to visit soon.
- Locating Historical Sites This is a listing by state and then by town of many of the historical sites in the nation. I found the Corydon old capitol of Indiana, which is only about a hour away from my home. Besides the capitol building there are several other historic sites in the village — well worth an afternoon excursion.
- Discover the Forest Using this site, I found the Hardy Lake and Raptor Center. It has over 2,000 acres with a 741 acre lake and many recreational activities including the Raptor Center where you can see birds of prey up close.
- Use Alltrails.com to find your next hike. You can sign up and receive weekly suggestions of hikes in your area.
- Eventful.com It is always fun to take in a local festival, a concert or special event. This site will guide you to all this and more. I just found out that there is a Holiday Cheese Sampling at Tulip Tree Creamery in Indianapolis soon. I may have to check that out.
Once you know where you want to go, you will want to find good places to eat and perhaps a place to stay overnight. TripAdvisor will give you all of the top rated restaurants in any community. Look for the highest rated locally owned restaurants. Of course using sites like Expedia or Travelocity will help you find a conventional hotel. To make your trip a little more special, try Bed and Breakfast Finder to find that quaint little inn that will give the most memorable experience. The Prairie Guest House in Fisher, Indiana looks like a nice place.
You could also stay in the campgrounds of the state and national parks for an outdoors experience. O’Bannon Woods State Park is close to Corydon, Indiana (see above), so you could camp there on your week-end trip and also take in Marengo Cave and Squire Boone Caverns while you’re there.
I found all these interesting places using the links I’m sharing. I learned about a lot of new places close to me. Get started finding your next adventure in your own back yard whether you’re in Iowa, West Virginia or any other state. Even if you don’t get the chance to go for a while, perhaps the act of planning a trip will calm your wanderlust just a bit.
Watch for future blog posts on Calming Your Wanderlust including information on trip planning, exploring different cuisines, and using map tools. I will also be posting an article of a week-end trip on architecture and history in Southwestern Indiana. Subscribe to Enjoyfully.net to receive notifications of all future articles. Leave a comment on a new destination that you have found close to home.