2018 was a big year for us. We visited 9 states, 2 National Parks, and traveled to countless places we’ve never been before. All of these unforgettable trips made for one hell of a year. But now that marital bliss is over and the real world is settling in once again, we need to reevaluate our adventures for 2019.
We both have full time, 8 to 5 jobs that we love and have no intentions of giving up. We have roots in St. Louis, and our families cozily tucked into a few Midwestern cities. We spent a lot money and vacation time time on travel in 2018. 2019 is going to be a step back from these big trips. It’s going to be a reset (so hopefully we can save up some resources for a bigger anniversary trip at the end of the year!)
In 2019, we are staying local and we are staying cheap. Here’s what we are looking forward to this year.
Jason is a huge Elvis fan! (His Mother-Son Dance at our wedding was “Memories.”) Over the past few years, he’s taken his love for Elvis beyond his music and movies, and has started to learn more about his life. He read the massive, two-part Elvis biography (“Last Train to Memphis” and “Careless Love”) that totaled over 1,000 pages of Elvis. This year, Jason will get to visit Elvis’s home that he has read so much about for the very first time. A few years ago, we were able to visit Elvis’s Honeymoon Home in Palm Springs, but that quick stop will be nothing compared to the hours we will get to spend visiting the Mecca of Elvis. This is, by far, the trip he is looking forward to most of all.
2. Hot Springs National Park
We started our commitment to the National Parks in 2014 when we visited the Grand Canyon. In 2016, we visited Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Channel Island, and the Petrified Forest National Park. In 2017, we visited Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This past year, the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial, a symbol of home for us, was upgraded to The Gateway Arch National Park, and we added Mammoth Caves and Acadia to our list of places visited. Aside from a little bit of a slow down in 2015 (what were we thinking!?), we’ve been consistently visiting National Parks for five years. Despite the declared “slow down” on travel, the National Parks will always be a part of our lives and our travel plans.
In 2017 when we visited Cuyahoga, it was because it was nearby and we would be able to see it in a few days. Again, we look to that in 2019. Hot Springs National Park is close enough for us to drive, stay for the weekend, and head home. Once we knock out Hot Springs, the rest of our parks will be a 10+ hour drive or a plane ride away.
While we’re at Hot Springs National Park, we also hope to visit the Bill Clinton Presidential Library and see a bit more from is home town. From what I’ve heard, the drive from Southern Missouri and into Arkansas is absolutely beautiful, and I’m very much looking forward to it.
3. The Missouri National Landmarks
Missouri was just granted it’s first National Park, The Gateway Arch National Park, in early 2018, but we’re also lucky enough to have five other National Landmarks. We’ve been trying to see them all for a few years now, and 2019 will be the year we see them all. We constantly find ourselves going back to visit the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (a great place to visit if you haven’t been there yet!) but here are the other Missouri sites we will be visiting this year:
- George Washington Carver National Monument
- Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
- Ozark National Scenic Riverways
- Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
4. Las Vegas
Put this one on our list of “Hopefully.” We absolutely LOVE visiting Vegas, and if we have a little bit of time to spare, we will absolutely be adding this one to our list again in the next couple of months.
What else should be on our Must-See list for 2019? Welcoming any and all affordable destinations!