Of all the things I collect as we travel, my all time favorites are state welcome sign pictures. Thankfully, in this one photography regard, my husband is as crazy as I am! We’ve gone to GREAT lengths to get pictures with state signs as we cross borders. Unfortunately, as diligent as we are about making the effort- we still don’t have pictures with all the welcome signs from states we’ve traveled to.
Why, you might ask? Well, if you’ve ever tried to collect state welcome sign pictures, you probably don’t have to ask that question. And if you haven’t- I will begin this post by saying it can be really difficult! With safety always being our number one priority, sometimes taking a picture isn’t an option!
A few reasons I love to collect state welcome sign pictures:
- Free travel souvenirs
- Fun way to document your children’s growth if you take them multiple times for the same state
- Great way to keep track of the states you’ve visited
Now that I’ve given you a few compelling reasons to make the effort to take state welcome sign pictures, let me reiterate- it’s not always easy! Here are a few tips we’ve learned over the years to collect the pictures safely.
- Welcome Center: The absolute easiest way to take these pictures is when there is a welcome center shortly after the state border on major interstates. In most cases, there are replica signs set up just like the ones you find at the actual state line. Occasionally, there aren’t the official welcome signs and you may have to improvise. Every once in a while you can find a welcome sign at just a regular rest stop, but your best bet is the Welcome Center.
- Back Road: Another easy way to get a state sign picture is by crossing into the state on a back road. Most of the time these roads provide the official sign, but with a safe stopping area. Whenever we can take an alternate route to the interstate when we know we’re close to state lines, we attempt to do so. One word of caution, watch closely for the sign. Often there is no warning, and if you miss it you will struggle to backtrack!
- First Exit: If the first exit off a major interstate isn’t too far from where we pass the state line, we often get off at that exit and go searching for a sign. Typically within a few minutes we’re able to locate the state line and often there are great signs. While they still might be along a major road, the locations are often much safer than the side of interstates. Not to mention, there are better places to pull the car over!
- Huge Shoulder: I hesitate to share this because I’m not 100% sure it’s legal…but if we can safely pull off to the side of an interstate and there is a huge grassy area between the road and the sign- we do occasionally attempt this picture. Again, safety is ALWAYS our first concern so we only do this if we are absolutely certain it’s a good situation. Also, we are much more likely to do this on a smaller interstate (not a major 10-lane highway!)
- Google It: Occasionally if we are struggling to find a good place to take a state welcome sign picture, we google it. We have the best luck when we google our specific interstate and the state sign we’re searching for. Sometimes it can be frustrating and there is a lot of misinformation out there (things change and not everything online gets updated!) But, we had had success finding signs this way. A fairly comprehensive database can be found at this website.
- Airport Exits: Not all airports have great signs, but sometimes they do! Even if you aren’t specifically flying to a state, if you pass a major airport during your travels it is worth it to do a loop around the terminal!
Again, I just want to reiterate (for like the 10th time)- safety is ALWAYS our first priority! Please use extreme caution as you collect these pictures!
Do you have specific pictures you try to collect as you travel?
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