We love taking road trips! You have the freedom to really see things, make impromptu stops, and even change your plans – freedom you don’t always have when traveling by plane. Road trips can be less expensive than air travel, too. (I say “can” because it really depends on gas and hotel prices, airfare prices, and where exactly you’re going!)
Today I wanted to share a quick tip with you that we discovered quite by fluke on our road trip last year. At every US capitol building, you can get a “passport stamp” saying you visited there! Our kids picked up these cute passport books at one of the buildings we visited, but note they will really stamp ANY piece of paper. You could easily craft your own passport book with your kids.
My husband has this goal of taking our kids to see every US capitol building (and now that my kids have their passport books, they want to get all the stamps, too!). The cool thing about visiting capitol buildings? It’s completely FREE. It’s also a great way to learn a little bit more about each state.
Each building has its own quirks and fun things to do. We loved Oregon’s capitol building for the spray park in front and the climb to the top of the tower tour. (Although some of the narrow passageways started to trigger my claustrophobia!) Other random things to do at capitol buildings:
- Buy a postcard from each capitol building. They are great, inexpensive souvenirs.
- Let your kids play outside. Most all of the capitol buildings we visited are in park-like settings – perfect for kids to run around and get out some steam. You might even pack a picnic lunch.
- Take some family photos. Some of the best photos we took of our family were at capitol buildings. They make great backdrops for cool trip photos!
- Take a tour and learn what there is to do. Check in with the information desk – you might find that there are special tours running in the building. The Washington State capitol building also has really neat coloring books for kids to take home (also, FREE).
- Chat with the governor. Well, I don’t know how possible this may be, but we frequently have found the people working at the capitol buildings are super friendly and will say “hi” to you.
What other things do you think may be fun for a family to do at a capitol building?
My kids also adored Utah’s capitol building for their rolling green grassy hills.
Last year, my kids started their passport books by adding 5 stamps (Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, and Montana). This year, we hope to add 5 more. We’re thinking the last stamp will be Hawaii (and what better place to end up to celebrate?)
A final, most important word if you end up deciding to make a passport book or visit state capitol buildings: make sure you know what the visiting hours are before making your trip! We nearly missed the Helena, Montana cutoff hours which would have been sad indeed as we booked it across Wyoming just to pay a visit for our stamp.
I hope this gives you a fun idea of what you might do on your next roadtrip! Did you know about this?
Looking for more roadtrip ideas? Check out these posts:
- Roadtrip: Tips for Getting Organized
- Junior Ranger Program: FREE Program at US National Parks
- FREE National Parks Days
- Tour Report: Montana Capitol Building