My wife and I enjoy traveling. We like the experience of going someplace we have never been before and discovering new things. So when we approached our wedding anniversary this year, we thought long and hard about where we wanted to go.
Initially, we considered going to Las Vegas. We could stay in a hotel off the Strip, gamble at one of the casinos the "locals" go to, as opposed to the "tourist" casinos, and save a few bucks on accommodations along the way. But when we started pricing flights, we decided we didn't want to spend the majority of cash we had saved for the trip on airline tickets.
We thought about a few other places to spend our anniversary...a location which has a casino (my wife likes playing the penny and nickel slot machines) and considered Reno, St. Louis, and a few others. Finally, we decided upon our romantic vacation getaway destination.
That's right...Tulsa. It's a mere two hour drive from where we live, has a large casino and resort, and most of all...we've never really been there. We have lived in Oklahoma for a few years now, and we have not spent any significant amount of time exploring our own backyard.
When people think of going on vacation, they often don't think about the things that are within a couple of hours of driving distance of where they live. How about you? Have you really explored the attractions in your state as if you were a tourist? Every state has a tourist destination, but the locals often overlook them because, well...they're for tourists. But people travel to your backyard for a reason. There is something there worth visiting. That's easy to overlook when you live in the area.
For example, the Tulsa area is home to one of the largest aquariums in the Midwest, if not the country. It also has the Philbrook Museum of Art (that's the one in the photo at the beginning of this article. Yes, that's in Tulsa, Oklahoma), the Cains Ballroom (the home of Western Swing) a large zoo (voted America's favorite), an air and space museum, a rocking nightclub scene in the Blue Dome district and upscale shopping in Utica Square. There are also opportunities to take in opera performances and the city boasts not one, but two symphony orchestras. Yes, I'm still talking about Tulsa. Yes, the one in Oklahoma.
The point is I didn't know about any of these attractions until this week, and they are all just two hours from home. You don't have to travel halfway across the country, at great expense, to take in some great sights and spend a romantic weekend with your significant other. Check out the convention and visitors bureau web sites of some of the cities near you.
Who knows? You might be missing something great in your own backyard.