While we can all appreciate the simple joys of a picturesque road trip across the United States, adding an element of intrigue, mystery, or even nerdiness often leads to more memorable experiences. Reddit users recently discussed the best road trip ideas for the ultimate nerd. Here are 12 of the top responses:
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When asked for “nerdy road trip ideas” the r/Roadtrip community didn’t disappoint with its responses. However, one suggestion stood out more than the others. That suggestion was a “birdwatching road trip.”
In response to the recommendation, one Reddit user shared the experience of a recent trip they took to Magee Marsh. They said, “I went to Magee Marsh near Toledo last year around migratory bird week and saw license plates from all over the US and Canada,” before explaining that it “was like a circus with everyone there.”
2. The Center Of The United States
Arguably a more unique road trip idea, some users suggested taking a trip to the “Center of the US.” One Redditor commented, “I took a trip to the center of the US once, just to say I’ve been there.”
Thanks to one Redditor, we also know there are two places to visit. The user in question said, “Oh, but which one? There’s a geographic center and a population center. I’ve been to the Belle Fourche, South Dakota geographic center but not out to the actual marker.”
If you truly want to be the ultimate road trip nerd, you might just have to visit both!
3. Geology-Focused Road Trip
One lucky user told the community that they “live in a perpetual road trip” and that geology is a driving factor behind their travels. They went on to tell readers the best places to visit. Their top recommendations included “Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico.” Other suggestions were “South Dakota and Wyoming.”
Unsurprisingly, other Redditors were impressed. One reader simply left a comment saying “Wow! The possibilities are endless.” With so many awesome landscapes to explore, it’s hard to disagree!
4. Meridian-Baseline State Park
Meridian-Baseline State Park is a favorite amongst roadtrippers visiting Ingham County and Jackson County. For those who haven’t heard of it, Meridian-Baseline State Park is a historic 108-acre preservation park in Michigan.
One user told readers “that the state was able to purchase land for a parking lot and access to monuments,” making it much easier to visit. The same user admitted that “it’s fairly underwhelming as far as parks go but the monuments showing where the misaligned baselines hit the meridian are impressive.” They also think the “tri-state border markers are kind of cool.”
In response, one nerdy traveler wrote, “I think that’s the totally nerdy aspect of it that appeals to me…” and that “it’s kind of like geocaching, only in cars instead of on foot.”
5. The Manhattan Project And The Cold War
If you prefer to focus your road trips around history, the Manhattan Project and the Cold War could provide all the adventure you need. One Redditor left a comment that read, “My nerdy interests are around the Manhattan Project and the Cold War. I don’t have the time or money to do them in one trip, so I am adding them piecemeal. Last spring, I visited the Trinity site. Very powerful and worth the trip.”
He then left readers with some much-needed inspiration through a list of potential points of interest. These included the “Site of the first nuclear reactor in Chicago, Oakridge Laboratory in Tennessee, Hanford Nuclear Site, and White Sands New Mexico.”
6. The Mile-Long Dual B29 Aircraft Runway
Another community member told readers to “Visit The Mile-Long Dual B29 Aircraft Runway.” The B29 was one of World War II’s largest aircraft, featuring state-of-the-art technology.
While this already makes it a pretty cool place to visit, things are taken to another level because so few people know about the location. According to Reddit, “Even the locals don’t know it’s there,” even though “500,000 people stationed there in the 1940s.”
7. Spooky Monster And UFO Road Trip
Let’s face it: no road trip for nerds is complete without some conspiracies, ghouls, aliens, and monsters, and luckily for us, Redditors weren’t afraid to leave their spooky road trip destinations. One user said, “I love visiting sites of famous monster sightings/UFO stuff,” before leaving readers with a list of otherworldly locations.
His recommendations included “Various Sasquatch statues around the Northwest, the Mothman in West Virginia, Roswell New Mexico, and Marfa Lights.” Oh, and who could forget the “Lizard People in Washington DC.”
8. Nerdy Dad Trips
If you’re a father looking to take your children on a nerdy dad trip, this next road trip idea is perfect for you. One father said he loves “nerd dad trips” and even shared his top 5 road trip destinations.
In his opinion, the best road trips for nerdy dads are the “Hoover Dam (Border AZ and NV), Thomas Edison National Historic Park (West Orange, NJ), Ford Rouge Factory (Dearborn, MI), Oriental Institute of The University of Chicago, and Launch Control Center at Delta-01 (South Dakota).”
9. State High Points
A unique way to explore more of America is to visit “state high points,” which is something a lot of road-trippers already enjoy doing. One keen traveler told Reddit that he’s been taking his family “on off-the-beaten-path trips to get to state high points for years.”
They’ve “hit several tripoints, the geographic center of the US, 45×90 in Wisconsin, and lots of random attractions listed on Roadside America.” You could easily do something similar!
10. Paper Map Only Road Trip
Why don’t you take a more traditional approach to your next road trip by simply following a paper map? – something very few of us do anymore. This road trip idea came from someone who’s “a bit of a geography nerd.”
He told Reddit that he’s “always wanted to do a paper maps-only road trip” because it would be “much more spontaneous and entertaining.”
In reply, one reader shared his experience: “I did that and would find interesting town names, state parks, and I found a waterfall once. That was the NatGeo road atlas set.”
11. Unique Records And Movie Locations
Some road-trippers prefer to hit the road in search of places that hold strange world records or have featured in famous movies. The user who suggested this idea kindly gave us some examples, including the “World’s largest balls of twine (there are two in the US)” and the “Geographic centers of the USA (two actual and one monument).”
As far as movie filming locations go, the opportunities are endless. You could visit Big Bear Lake, where more than 32 films have already been filmed, the Griffith Observatory, which has featured in almost 50, and the Philadelphia Museum Of Art, which famously featured in Rocky.
12. Bike Riding Road Trip
This last idea proves that not every road trip has to be driven. Instead, you could hit the road by bicycle, which is exactly what one Redditor did. He told Reddit he “did a bike ride of a minimum of ten miles in ten states in ten days once.”
The idea came to him after he “took a ride in Missouri in Mark Twain’s hometown.” He considers this to be a great way to explore more states and we find it hard to disagree.
With that in mind, why don’t you hook up your bike to the back of your vehicle so you’re ready to explore off-the-beaten-track next time you’re on a road trip?
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