I consider myself well read when it comes to U. S. history and travel, so when I find a book that challenges what I know I feel compelled to share. The book, National Geographic’s 50 States, 5000 Ideas made me realize I still have a lot to learn about states. This book is the perfect companion for those who want to explore the country and dive a little deeper into the diversity of each one.
The book runs alphabetically from Alabama to Wyoming and includes the 10 Canadian provinces. Each state features 4 to 6 pages filled with detailed information about the major cities. This can include everything from tourism information (think tourist office addresses and e-mails) to types of landscapes found in each state. The accompanying photography is spectacular. Inset boxes on each page feature “Hidden Treasures”, “State of the Art”, and “Local Flavor” to inspire visitors to explore off the beaten path.
Check it out
Of course I have to pick a state to investigate, so I chose my home state, Arizona. I was pleasantly surprised by the facts shared in the book. Not only does it share major city highlights, it offers up some of the lesser known attractions. Phoenix has a Musical Instrument Museum people love to visit and Tucson has Mission San Xavier del Bac, the oldest intact European structure in Arizona. These aren’t the most common places to explore, but they are definitely worth visiting.
I love the “State of the Art” boxes for each state where they shares famous books, songs, movies, etc. connected to the destination. For Arizona they chose “The Painted Desert” song by 10,000 Maniacs and the original Psycho movie. I had no idea either one was related to the state, but now I want to go find them and see if I can make the connection.
Another favorite is “Local Favor”. The book is spot on for Arizona. They share the ingredients for Sonoran hot dogs (a favorite of mine), and explain the importance of date fruit in local communities. There are only a few foods for each state, but the author did a nice job selecting some of the more interesting options.
Who should read this book
If you’re a fan of travel in general, this is the book for you. Gorgeous photography, fun facts, interesting history, this book has it all. Kids will enjoy reading it too and you probably find inspiration for your next family trip. I can see this being a book I leave on the table for the kids to pick up and leaf through. Odds are they will find several road trip ideas in this book and we’ll be off exploring in no time.
• Paperback: 288 pages
• Publisher: National Geographic (February 7, 2017)