Planning a great road trip might start considerations like a final destination on a specific arrival date, but why not add some roadside kitsch and history along the way? My philosophy is that the journey is an equally-important part of the vacation. #TravelSlow #ConnectDeep.
Mobile apps and push notifications
Mobile apps are a great way to find these stops. I’ve used the apps below to both plan my itineraries and for impromptu pullovers. “Push notifications” within the apps make the impromptus easy as they are geo coded.
I’ll always remember being in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania on the way home from visiting President Franklin Roosevelt’s Hyde Park estate and presidential library. A notification came up on my phone from “Roadside Presidents” telling me that I was just 28 miles from the gravesite of FDR’s mistress, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd. Holy cow, Big Brother!
Shopping for apps
While mobile apps can help you find everything from destinations and cheap gas, to camping and lodging, finding the right app can be a real time suck. That’s why I’m recommending four my favorites. If you want to search on your own consider these tips:
- Stick to apps with a single focus. Mobile devices can’t handle complex menus and navigation gracefully
- Look beyond the star ratings and read the reasons for each rating. Some reviews won’t apply to you and others will be nitpicks
This is my favorite mobile guide to the weird and wacky along the road. The app features 75+ Themes, searchable by state including:
- Factory Tours
- “Sunset Alert” for shutterbugs
Price: $2.99-8.98 depending on content regions selected (and worth 10x more) for Apple devices only
Uses the “weird and wacky” curation experts of Roadside America to find hundreds of destinations like:
- JFK’s Bomb Shelter — FL
- Lincoln’s Target Practice Board — IL
- President Reagan Ate Here McDonald’s — AL
- Statue of Andrew Jackson’s Mom — SC
$2.99 Apple devices only
Field Trip pulls information from publications like Thrillist, Cool Hunting, Arcadia, Run Riot, Sunset, Inhabitat, Daily Secret and more. The app also informs users of deals that are nearby, as well as interesting architecture, historic places, restaurants, art, and other unique locations.
Once you install the app and log into your Google account, you can customize which sources you want to use, and the app runs in the background with automated alerts. I’m told the app works best on Android devices (duh, Google owns Android).
- Historic Places & Events
- Offers & Deals
- Food Drinks & Fun
- Movie Locations
- Outdoor Art
- Obscure Places of Interest
Free for Apple and Android
Researched and written by the history experts at History (History Channel)
- Get the facts about the history that’s hidden all around you
- Tours feature on themes like Al Capone’s Chicago, Nashville Music History, etc.
Free for Apple and Android