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Summer Wise: Hometown (or College Town) Touristing

June 30th, 2009 admin

As we pack up to move out of state for med school, one of my biggest regrets is not taking advantage of all the awesome tourist opportunities San Diego–and Southern California–has to offer.

Sure, I visited Disneyland, had famous apple pie in Julian, and ate some amazing New-York style pizza at a hole in the wall in Hillcrest, but that doesn’t even make a dent in my touristing dreams!

A Touristing To-Do List

With the lazy days of summer stretching out before you, now is the perfect time to start making your touristing to-do lists–one for your hometown, and one for your college town. This is going to be your go-to guide when you hit a boring weekend or need a fresh idea for date night.

Where to Start

Start by listing your local hot-spots at home and at school–the ones you’ve always heard about, but never been to. This might be as simple as midnight glow-in-the-dark bowling (a real hit where I grew up), a teeny hamburger joint, or a nearby amusement park. This is going to be your version of 1,001 Places to See.

It doesn’t have to be huge daytrips. In fact, starting simple can be the most fulfilling. (For example, when we touch ground on the east coast, I will be visiting a Dunkin’ Donuts soon afterward–and I’m really excited about it. Haha.)

Wild and Wacky

Once you’ve listed your hometown’s acclaimed “best breakfast burrito” dive, it’s time to move on to the “bigger and better.” One of the best sources for truly strange–and often little-known–tourist attractions is the Weird U.S. book series. (Some states have entire books dedicated to them!)

Another recent (and FREE!) find for wacky tourist spots is RoadsideAmerica.com, a continually updated site devoted to helping you find offbeat tourist attractions in your state. For starters, they have a top-twenty list of weird creatures not far off the beaten path.


Once you’ve got your lists, it’s time to hit the road. Don’t forget to take lots of pics to post and share with your friends (a good tool for recruiting fellow travelers), and as you start marking items off your list, try to add more!

photo by porah

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