Geographic Bucket List

Our son is coming for a whirlwind visit — Woohoo! As we plan how we’ll invest our time together, we’re referring to the “Idaho Bucket List” we received when we met up with friends at “Story Story Night” in downtown Boise.


Published by Boise State Public Radio, the lengthy list includes:

Spend the night in a forest fire lookout
Picnic at Shoshone Falls on the Snake River
Pan for gold
Bike the Hiawatha Trail
Catch an Idaho trout

What sights or activities would you take visitors to see or do in your neck of the woods?


69 thoughts on “Geographic Bucket List

  1. Love this list, Laurie. It isn’t just the natural wonder list but experiences that bring you close to natural wonders. Here in VIrginia, we have Reddish Knob, Smith Miuntain Lake, the Skyline Drive, and beautiful farms. Every day we eat breakfast on the deck and marvel at the view.

  2. We’re near Philadelphia, where there are historic sites, great museums, and activities along the waterfront. We’re not too far from the Jersey beaches (we say going to the shore here) 🙂
    In the summertime, there are now lots of popup parks and beer gardens in the city. And there are many beautiful areas outside of the city, too–Laurel Hill cemetery, Valley Forge, Longwood Gardens. . .

  3. This is such a coincidence, Laurie!

    I have a friend visiting me in Maryland from New Hampshire. The day she arrived, I picked her up at the airport (Reagan National), and we drove through DC and around The Mall. I took a wrong turn at one point, and we landed in Eastern Market. We walked around the booths and displays and went inside to the delis and other stands. I love it there. But she’s partially disabled, so walking around for long periods of time isn’t doable. So we only stayed for an hour and then we drove back to my home in the Maryland suburbs.

    If she were able to hike and bike, the trip and choices of where to take her would be EASY! But it’s been a challenge, I wil not lie. I’ve taken her to shopping areas (malls, outdoor squares) where there are plenty of places to stop and rest or use the facilities. People watching seems to be something she enjoys, so maybe we’ll go into Georgetown today and find a restaurant with outdoor seating. I also have a friend who manages the planetarium at the community college. Perhaps there is a show planned this week.

    Thank you, Laurie! I hope you have a wonderful visit with your son and check off some of those bucket list items. Idaho sounds lovely!


    • Paula — It sounds like your friend is in great (and sensitive to her needs) hands! Accidentally making your way to the Eastern Market sounds like it was an excellent adventure! 🙂

  4. Although visitors would enjoy various art museums (Cummer Art Gallery & the Museum of Contemporary Art) along with the Museum of Science and History, the big draw is the beach in Jacksonville. Just 12 miles east of our home is the Atlantic Ocean, great for walks, sun-bathing and surfing. Water sports in general are big here. My brother-in-law Bill has a boat and kayaking and canoeing always available.

    St. Augustine, the Oldest City in the US, is just 30 miles south and has much to offer: the oldest school house, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, the Old Fort, and fascinating Spanish architecture. Our PA relatives wanted to go there first thing when we moved to Jacksonville. We’d take you too if you came!

    Have a high old time with your son. We know, of course, the best thing about his visit is being together, no matter what you do.

  5. That’s a very interesting list and they all sound like fun. I hope you’ll all have a lovely time together
    Around here, depending on the time of year: swim/surf in the sea, strolling and bird watching at one of our wildlife sanctuaries and hiking the South Downs Way (1oo miles through West and East Sussex and Hampshire) either in its entirety or just parts of it: simply delightful!

  6. This area is a treasure of historic sites. When friends and family visit with us we often take them to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home, only one of several nearby presidential homes. Acitivities in the arts also abound as well with lots of theatre and music venues. There is a running list of festivals all year long, including The Virginia Film Festival, The
    Virginia Festival of the Book and more.

    For those who are more active there are the Blue Ridge Mountains, just 20 or so minutes down the road with lots of scenic hiking trails including the Appalachian Trail which begins in Maine and winds south into Georgia. Ivy Creek Natural Area is right here with a wonderful list of activities and guides tours for both adults and children.

    Though I haven’t done it yet there are hot air balloon tours as well. I think the fall when the leaves are at their peak would be a spectacular time to go.

    Have a great visit with your son!

  7. I live in SE Wisconsin; midway between Milwaukee, Wi and Chicago, IL. When my Canadian Cousins (Calgary, Alberta) come in for reunions we normally enjoy lots of visiting with little site seeing. However, one of their big requests during one reunion week was to go to Wrigley Field in Chicago to see the Cubs play (our family has roots in Chicago) and another year we went to see the Milwaukee Brewers play; both teams and ballparks have their charm.

    In SE Wisconsin there are so many other potential places to place on a bucket list. I think outdoor activities would be key … backpacking the Glacial Drumlin State Park trail; Kayaking/Canoeing the Little Fox River, the Lower Wisconsin River (so. 92 miles of 430 great for family outings no dams or portages), or just the small local Nippersink Creek or boating/kayaking/stand boarding on Lake Geneva’s lake (with historic mansions built after the Chicago Fire of interest all around it). One of the newest National Wildlife Refuges is named Hackmatack (alas only a few acres in Wisc. and IL we have purchased are not able to be visited) … an area nearby at Glacial Park in McHenry County, IL … is great for biking, hiking, seeing birds, etc. A visit to Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee (or Chicago’s Botanic Gardens) would be a great place for the less active. I won’t even start to list all the other museums in Chicago and Milwaukee.

    Children would enjoy the Chocolate Fest in Burlington or visiting the Jelly Belly candy factory. Great America theme park with all too many rides is just south of us in Gurnee, Illinois

    And who could come to Wisconsin and not go on a Cheese Factory Tour (one place uses real bricks in the making of brick cheese) or a tour of the Miller Brewing Co. or for that matter local apple cider and wineries in the area. Farmer’s Markets abound as well.
    Or step back in history at the many museums (even without going to either city)… perhaps Old World Wisconsin’s outdoor experience of the life of 19th century pioneers.
    The little town of Twin Lakes (pop. 6,000 plus) where I live has a “big” water show.
    What would be on the list would certainly depend on the visitors’ interests of course. I think we have everything just on a smaller scale. I still have going to experience the Grand Canyon on my bucket list.

  8. Puget Sound – some place on the water. My husband and daughter are off on a Kayak adventure of the San Juan Islands in a week.

    I am just enjoying my car rides to and from Physical therapy these days; the glorious sunshine and beautiful gardens and flowers. My kiddos will be here for the 4th of July for a few days – lucky me.

    Hope you have a wonderful visit with your son. WhooHoo! What fun

    • Patricia — Kayaking off the San Juan Islands sounds like they’re going to have a wonderful adventure! As you continue to heal, I’m so glad you find things to be grateful for, and you’ve got a visit with your kids to look forward to. Whoohoo!

  9. I live in the UK, South Yorkshire. There is plenty to visit around (the Yorkshire Dales and the North Yorkshire Moors are beautiful), and I also love York. I like big houses, but my all time favourite has to be ‘Castle Howard’. If you’ve watched ‘Brideshead Revisited’ is the house that “plays” Brideshead. 🙂

    • Olga — Ohhhhhhh, I think your neck of the woods sounds glorious! And your comment about big houses and Castle Howard has caused me to add “Brideshead Revisited” to my must-see movie list! 🙂

  10. Mayne Island is a remote island and so there’s not much…
    Oh, who am I kidding…
    -Hike around the lighthouse and up Mount Parke. The views are breathtaking.
    -Play disc gulf at Dinner Bay Park
    -Soak in island culture by visiting the gallery and the home studios
    -Learn about island history by visiting the museum and the church grave yard
    -Support island businesses by shopping locally at the stores at Miners Bay, the Fernhill Mall and the farmers’ market (every Saturday, in the Summer)
    -Enjoy delicious treats and meals from a fine collection of local eateries
    -Get lost. So you can ask for direction and meet a few islanders.
    and… and…

  11. In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, we have the Panam Games coming up in July. But that’s not where I would take visitors to my city. I would take them far away from the maddening crowds to places like the Toronto Botanical Gardens, High Park, and Black Creek Pioneer Village – to name a view. And then we would sit in my backyard garden, enjoying the garden and a glass of wine.

    That is if it isn’t raining.

    My son and his girlfriend/partner are coming here for our Canada Day July 1 and I hope it is sunny and warm, not the rain posted on The Weather Network’s forecast calendar.

    Laurie, enjoy your visit with your son.

    • Sharon — You painted such a beautiful word picture. And I’m absolutely confident that the weather will behave itself for your son and his girlfriend’s up-and-coming visit! 🙂

  12. what a smorgesboard of traveling information here in one site. I’m in Vermont and happen to have the grandkids et al this week and last. On our list (other than what we do at home): canoeing on the Connecticut River, climbing Camel’s Hump (or any of the gazillion other places), biking on the east-west year round trail that runs about a half mile from our home, Farmers’ Markets, Fairbanks Museum with the worlds largest collection of stuffed fuzzy, furry things (kids love it). We can get lessons on how to climb a tree, and Later in August we’ll have the Corn Maze ready to roll. But mostly I just love to sit and watch them romp in the fields. I’ll save this post to my bookmarks under Travel ideas. thanks Laurie.

  13. What a timely question Laurie. I am off in the morning to introduce a friend to Saturna Island. It is almost within spitting distance from Mayne Island but will take me 3 hours and 2 ferries tomorrow morning to get there. Crazy I know but it promises to be a beautiful day and I shall have my big lens on the camera just in case we come across a pod of Orcas. We are going to spend three days walking trails and hanging out on this beautiful next-door island.

    • Terrill — And if I know you like I think I know you, this up-and-coming adventure may well stir your creative bent and trigger a post (or two) and some breathtaking artwork! 🙂

  14. Hi Laurie

    Kaikoura is an amazing place.

    The obvious things are a whale watch tour – to see the resident sperm whales, and a swim with the dolphins tour.
    Both consistently score high as life long memories with those that do them (I’ve done both many times). The Dolphin swimming scores highest with most younger folks. Both are just under $200.
    If you are into birds, then the Albatross Encounter tour is amazing.

    So much else here.
    We have a place up at Ohau where baby seals go up a small stream to a large pool at the base of a waterfall and practice swimming there (a long way from sharks), There can be up to a hundred small seals cavorting in the pool. If you just sit quietly on a rock at the edge of the pool they will come up and investigate you – sniffing your outstretched fist and brushing it with their wiry whiskers.

    We have so many interesting walks here. Walking around the peninsula looking at seals and rock pools and bird life. Walking or cycling along river margins or up Mt Fyffe (5,200 ft). Lots of walks, from half an hour up to multi-day.
    The Kaikoura mountains are amongst the fastest growing on the planet. They are steep, and twisted strata from the immense pressures of colliding crustal plates can be seen in many places. In some places dinosaur fossils are clearly visible in rocks and cliffs.

    There is a place where the KT (Cretaceous Tertiary) boundary layer (marking the extinction of the dinosaurs, and containing high levels of iridium indicating probable large asteroid impact) is relatively easily accessible (a two hour 4wd trip followed by a half hour walk).

    There are many rare and endangered and weird plants, if one knows where to look.

    We have one massive tree here that is about 1,500 years old.

    We have lived here 17 years, and are still finding new and interesting places to visit.

    Just in the last two weeks we have had a very rare leucistic sparrow (a colour variant that is mostly white, but not an albino as the eyes are still dark) showing up to eat at our feeding tray most days. Took a short video of it yesterday –

    Next summer we are going to do a 5 day rafting trip down the Clarence (Waiau Toa) river.

    There are enough 4WD trips yet to do that I can fill quite a few summer weekends to come.
    Kaikoura is an amazing place to live – and the only way to get such stunning beauty is with active tectonic uplift (ie large earthquakes) – so there is always risk associated with living in such beauty.

  15. Fun read. I’m in Ottawa – the capital city of Canada (no, it’s not Toronto), so there are all the Parliament Hill attractions to see, but we also have nature all around the city and in the city, so I would hop on bicycles and explore.

  16. Laurie, like you, I’m expecting an out-of-state visitor in a few days. He’s been here before so I try to vary the sights we see. 50 miles to the South lies Atlanta with it’s fascinating “Gone With the Wind” history and museums. As a thoroughly modern city Atlanta has an excellent rapid transit rail system, we can jump aboard and tour the City and it’s attractions without dealing with traffic and 27 different streets names with Peachtree in them. An hour’s drive to the North and we are in the Blue Ridge mountain range and at the trail head of the Appalachian Trail. Turning West, the remarkable Booth Museum of Western Art and the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville, Ga. To the N.E. the mysterious Georgia Guide Stones, called America’s Stone Henge is worth the trip. Farther to the South , Augusta has one of the most beautiful golf courses in the World where the Masters is played. Only a little farther South on the Ga. coast, lovely Antebellum Savannah graces the river she is named for. 15 minutes from my front door is Gibbs Gardens, a World renown Botanical Garden containing the largest Japanese garden in the U.S.. Mile after mile of back roads bring rural American life up close and personal, while glittering night life and culture are only a train ride away. Plenty to do here, limited only by our time and energy! I hope y’all will have the time of your lives!

    • Sandi, Man-O-Man you’ve got adventures sprouting from the trees in your neck of the woods! I think the mysterious Georgia Guide Stones would be at the top of my list, followed by the trailhead of the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge mountains. Then on to the multitude of offerings the bustling metropolis of Atlanta has to offer. Then again, poking at a brush-pile fire at dusk, out back of your place, would be a pleasant pastime too! 🙂

    • The Coastal Crone — I betcha the “USS Lexington Museum” is fantastic! When you visit your nephew in Idaho, you’re going to fall head over heels in love with this great state! 🙂

  17. That is an impressive list you have there Laurie , you will have such fun . I love the idea of spending a night in a forest fire lookout .
    Wales is full to the brim of beautiful things but firstly I’d take my tourists to Cumdudi, a tiny cove down the road from where live , to watch seals bask in the sunshine and In the autumn watch as they teach their young .
    Or after having a delicious Sunday lunch in The Hungry Trout see Dolphins swim around boats just off the harbour …bliss…so glad we came to live here.

  18. Oh boy….I could write a few pages of “must dos” while visiting us. But the top ones would be visit Niagara Falls and all the fun attractions there first, take a jet boat ride on the rapids at the bottom of the Falls, visit the Buffalo Zoo, tour the Buffalo Naval Ships, eat chicken wings at the Anchor Bar, hike the trails on our 34 acres and then horseback ride them, take a boat ride completely around our Island, and for sure end with a tour of Old Fort Niagara! Fun post! Tina

  19. Unfortunately beauty isn’t just limited here, it’s also man-made. The lovely geography they’ll experience is referred to “simulacra”. Magic kingdom, animal kingdom, Hogwarts, twister, seaworld, busch gardens, cypress gardens (lego land). There is a plethora of fake geography here in central Florida.

  20. That’s a great list of activities! Ours are all about water…beach, spending a day on an uninhabited island, diving and snorkeling, shelling, dolphin watching, wading & shore birds. That’s a full water bucket 🙂 Have a wonderful visit with your son!

  21. Wow, great question, Laurie. I would take visitors to Ingapirca, the largest Inca ruin in the country, probably—among a LOT of other things. Hope you had a great visit with your son!

    Just so you know. This summer I’m going on two-month RV trip with my nearing-ninety Godmother and her cat Pepe le Mew. I leave for the US in a week. The RV is huge, 37-feet. My Godmother will be driving and towing an SUV the entire way. She was a Flamenco dancer during her entire professional life. I’m going to try to blog about our trip and write a book about the 64 beautiful years she and my Godfather, a Venezuelan movie star (I kid you not!), were married, until Raul died last fall one month shy of his 97th birthday.

    Hope you are well. Sorry to have been away so long!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • Kathy — Oh my goodness, gracious, sakes alive it’s good to hear from YOU! The up-and-coming adventure you have planned with your Godmother sounds like it will be a complete and total blast — I look forward to reading about it on your blog 🙂

  22. What a great list and conversation, Laurie! We live at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in the Mohawk Valley, and 40 miles NE of our capitol, Albany. So we could either rough it in the mountains -visit the Adirondack Museum or sight see at the Capitol. Our area is rich in Native American and Revolutionary War history and has lots of museums. We are also near Saratoga and this is racing season. That’s just for starters. 🙂

  23. We live near Concord MA where there is history, lush green parks, and the houses of writers’ extraordinaire, all over. We take our visitors for walks around and through the history, through the lush green trees and the hush of history humming around us.

    • Roughwighting — I would love to sit quietly in the homes of the writers’ extraordinaire to see if I could hear the walls talk, and maybe — just maybe — share a few writing secrets…

  24. Your neck of the woods is a scenic paradise, and no wonder you are taking full advantage of it Laurie! Wonderful to hear this priceless visit is upon you and Len! As of late I’ve been directing friends and relatives to various book and art festival sin my area. As you well know the richness of those experiences pay incalculable dividends! : Have a great week my friend!

  25. Laurie, this afternoon my Mum came up and took the kids to what’s known as our local fish & chips joint: Fisherman’s Wharf at Woy Woy. For 14 years and more, they’re had the best seafood in the area by a country mile and it’s changed hands and we won’t be going back. It’s made me feel that local landmarks like this need to have some protection. New owners must attain certain standards or they’re quickly removed. I just hope they move on sooner rather than later before the words gets out xx Rowena

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