Bluebird Chic ambassador Amy Kingsford of amykingsfordva.com shares her ideas for creating a “Backyard Bucket List” and exploring the beauty and adventure right in your own backyard.
I’ve always considered myself to be an adventurous person, one who appreciates experiences over “things.” I LOVE to travel and up until recently, I used to think that adventure could only be experienced by traveling to far-off places and seeing the world’s most popular landmarks. It wasn’t until the Summer of 2016, when I realized that there was so much adventure and beauty to be experienced right in my own backyard!
I’ve lived my whole life in Northern Utah. As a teenager, I used to dream of leaving the state where I grew up for someplace far more exciting. My 17-year-old self could never have known that I would never see more beautiful landmarks and experience more genuine adventure than I would in my very own home state.
I hear you saying, Yeah, I’ve been all over my home state and I’ve seen it all! And that’s what I thought too! Until my family and I created our “Backyard Bucket List.” We set out to experience everything our state had to offer that year! And even with 1-2 day trips scheduled a month during the school year and 2-3 longer trips scheduled each month during the Summer we quickly realized there was no way that we could possibly experience it all in just one year! In fact, we’re still plucking away at the bucket list my family and I created together that summer!
Read on for tips on creating your own “Backyard Bucket List.” And rather than approaching it with the challenge of trying to fit it all into a year as we did, I would urge you instead to take your time with it and really enjoy the process of exploring the place you live!
1. Look for national and state parks, monuments and historical sites closeby.
In Utah, we are a bit spoiled when it comes to our national (and state) parks and monuments, but the good news is as of 2013 every state has at least one nationally registered site and plenty of state parks to visit. So you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one closeby!
You can find a complete list of nationally registered parks, monuments and historical sites here. And here is a list of the state parks in each state.
2. Keep your eyes open for charming “local” spots.
Every once in a while you come across a place that piques your interest as you happen by. I say check it out, what have you got to lose?!
If you truly invest time in exploring your home town and/or state with open eyes and an adventurous heart then you are likely to happen upon plenty of these one-of-a-kind attractions with a distinct local flair.
If you’d like to try to compile a list of these charming spots in a particular area you plan on visiting, I’d recommend looking on OnlyInYourState.com
3. Explore ghost towns, hideouts and places of legend.
While there may be little to “see” with these types of locations there is often a wonderful sense of history or legend to be gained from visiting them. There wasn’t much left of the old railroad towns of Lucin and Terrance but a few bricks, some railroad ties and a small cemetery. But the history behind such a place can’t help but be appreciated and navigating there certainly added to the adventure!
To find ghost towns near you check out GEOTab’s Ghost Towns of America.
4. Take a chance on hidden gems that may border on the “unusual.”
Every state has its fair share of curious wonders. These could include silly museums or artifacts, unique architecture or structures, or even places with an “interesting” back story.
I’ve visited quite a few “unusual” landmarks in my travels and to tell you the truth they are rarely a disappointment. These Sun Tunnels are nothing more than four cement tubes positioned in the middle of the Great Basin Desert. But it turns out that during the winter and summer solstice the sun sets and rises inside of them-making for some absolutely awesome photos!
And this children’s playground is made entirely from recycled farm equipment. It’s not necessarily the safest playground in the world, but certainly one of the most remarkable I’ve seen.
If you’re looking for a list of some of the more odd spots in your area, I’d suggest checking out Atlas Obscura.
Now that you’ve got a few ideas of where to start, you can start creating your own “Backyard Bucket List” and start enjoying all your home town and state has to offer!
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