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Three offbeat USA travel ideas for women

by Sarah Johnson
(Minneapolis, MN)

View of AT&T Park and Bay Area from Upper Deck Taken by Sarah Johnson

View of AT&T Park and Bay Area from Upper Deck Taken by Sarah Johnson

View of AT&T Park and Bay Area from Upper Deck Taken by Sarah Johnson Cooperstown Sign Taken by Sarah Johnson

What if you only make an occasional trip to the spa and aren’t a big shopper? I live alone and work to support myself so while I love to travel and experience new places, my budget has a way of reminding me what I can and cannot do! Even so, I’ve often found many unusual vacation experiences right here in the good ol’ USA.

I’m a passionate baseball fan and have traveled to many major, minor and independent league stadiums around the country. A couple of years ago, I embarked on a solo trip to the beautiful city of San Francisco and their spectacular ballpark, AT&T Park. I took time to envy their majestic upper deck views of the bay and commiserated with a friendly usher about their “summer” weather. (If you’re going to San Francisco in the summer, bring a jacket. Seriously, just bring one. You’ll thank me later.) Many teams have giveaways and special offers geared toward women like the “wine, women and baseball” events the Minnesota Twins offer.

You know that pesky budget I mentioned before? If you’re looking for an eclectic experience that won’t kill the pocketbook, consider a brewery tour. Most of them are free and even offer complimentary samples at the end of the tour! (Obviously you have to be over 21 to partake in the samples.) I especially enjoyed the Miller Brewery Tour in Milwaukee, where you not only learn about the process of creating the perfect amber colored liquid but can also share in the history of the area and visit their “beer cave.”

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, there are a multitude of different options available for those seeking paranormal activity or just interested in spooky stories from the past. Two that I signed up for are the Real Ghost Tours in Minneapolis and the Ghost Tour of Strasburg, PA. I thought the one in Minneapolis was hokey (it mainly consisted of walking around with drumstick-like divining rods) but I was fascinated by the stories of haunted mansions, historic roads and infamous residents in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country.

Whenever I’m traveling solo, I never want to stay somewhere “cheap” but I also don’t want to blow hundreds of dollars on a hotel room that I’m going to be using as glorified sleeping quarters. One suggestion: look into campgrounds. I visited Cooperstown, New York last year for the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. As a small town of roughly 2,000, the choices for lodging fell into two categories: commute an hour or more each day to stay somewhere less expensive or pay $200 per night to stay at a motel.

Not very appealing so I began exploring other options and stumbled across a KOA Campground located a mere ten miles from Cooperstown. They have “kabins,” small bare bones accommodations that were very reasonably priced but also provided a roof over your head in case of inclement weather. While they’re not the most glamorous accommodations, if you can bring your own sheets and some trail mix for breakfast, you’re good to go at a fraction of the price. And I didn’t find it creepy at all- on the contrary, there were a lot of families and the campground owners were very welcoming.

Travel is what you make of it- don’t let anyone tell you what your vacation should look like or how you should spend your time. While some might find it odd that a single, petite female would spend time alone at a campground in upstate New York, my trip to Cooperstown is one of my most cherished memories. As much as you can, I encourage you to get out there and explore what our great country has to offer. Safe travels!

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