What is the definition of visiting a state?

Well, hell. Using that metric my total would go from 47 to 2.

New metric: “Must have licked a native inhabitant of that state”.

OK, that raises my total a few.

I don’t know… it’s a weird thing. I mean, I’ve been to Georgia (stayed in La Grange for a few days, attended a wedding), and at some point drove to Auburn to meet a college friend who lives in Montgomery and had lunch at a local bbq place.

I guess theoretically I can say I’ve been to Alabama, but it doesn’t feel like it. My visits to Oklahoma are similar- just driving through on the way to destinations in Kansas, even though we stopped and ate. It only feels slightly more like I visited either state than it does like I’ve been to Illinois because I’ve switched planes and gone through Customs at O’Hare a couple of times.

There are other states that I definitely visited, but don’t feel like I got the full experience because most of my visit was either on the road or spent in the larger metro areas. I mean, going to Colorado and spending your time in Denver is most likely not the full enchilada, for example.

In my personal lexicon, I use the terminology “been to” vs “been through” to distinguish. Like, “I’ve been through North Carolina” on my way from NYC to Orlando, but I wouldn’t say I’ve “been to” North Carolina.

I agree on more than just airport/driving through on the Interstate*.

With one exception: my dad, near the end of his life, started making a list of how many states he’d been to. As he was getting close to all fifty, we were helping him lighten up on the rules: “How about on that car trip to California in, what was it, '64? Didn’t we drive through a corner of Utah? Oh, yeah, we ate at that diner and laughed at the No Bad Language sign!”


*though getting off the freeway and taking some rural highways through small towns would count in my book.
I guess I’d specify “experiencing the state”, getting a feel for the cuisine, the ambiance, and the people.


Note (for next post): Mama_Zappa, what if you get out of the train at some of the stops and walk around? We took the Empire Builder to Seattle, and the train stopped for twenty minutes in Redwing, MN. We had a nice walk through an antebellum river town, just before sunset on a beautiful evening, and I feel like I’ve “been” there.

Spending a night in a state definitely counts as visiting in my book. I would also say that doing any activity not directly related to passing through would count - e.g. if you go to a nearby state to visit a theme park, but do not stay the night there, it counts. Simply stopping off the highway to get food - even if you research and find a local restaurant or whatever - does not.

There are a handful of states I’ve travelled through, versus really stopped in. Many years ago, we went to a wedding in western Illinois. We drove there (from NC). Instead of taking the most direct route home afterward, we went a bit further west so I could say I’d been west of the Mississippi River - then went more southeasterly to get back home. So I could say I’ve “been to” Iowa though we never even stopped the car.

We flew into Rhode Island for a trip to the Boston area. Our time in RI was basically: land, get rental car, drive to Massachusetts". Again, “been through”.

This spring, we’re taking a cross-country train trip - and several of the states the trains go through are ones I’ve never even been through - Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska. If I don’t even put my feet on the ground there, that barely even counts as “been through”!

I once knew a young woman who, by one metric in this thread, had never visited the state in which she lived her whole life, as the only restaurants she’d ever eaten in were national chain fast food restaurants.

When my wife and I were doing our 50 state goal (completed November 20, 2008) our rules were we had to stay in each state at least 1 week. Driving through and airport stops did not count towards that.

If I got 51% of the vote in each county/parish I have been in, and 0% of the vote in each county/parish I have not been in, I would win both the popular and electoral election for POTUS.

Hate to sound like I’m bragging, but I am, so that’s how it comes across. :stuck_out_tongue:

I count Arkansas and Tennessee, even though my trip was only 2 days total. I was on a road trip from my home in Texas to Chicago. We spent the first night in Texarkana on the Arkansas side. The next day we stopped at Graceland, did the tour, and I even had an authentic Elvis fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. While at Graceland we had to turn around after a family member back home was in a wreck (luckily with no injuries). We stopped and spent the night in Little Rock, then came back home to Texas the next day. In my book both of those states count.

On the other hand, I don’t count the hour or so I spent in the Denver airport on a layover on the way back from San Francisco.

Does swimming in the Delaware from the Jersey coast count as visiting Delaware. Note that for some reason, the boundary between NJ and DE is defined as the high water of the river on the Jersey side. And there is a square mile or so of “Delaware in NJ” consisting of landfill added after the border was drawn. Does stepping on that count. Just for the record, I will add that I’ve done neither of those two things, but driven through Delaware numerous times to get somewhere else and have stopped a few times, including a pleasant afternoon at DuPont Gardens.

IMO no and yes. Boots on ground. Wading in a river doesn’t count, no matter where the border is.

YMMV. I have added Ft. Mott State Park to my bucket list, just because of the border weirdness.

I consider I have visited a state if my eyeballs have personally viewed it from AGL, while my body was physically in the state.

Going by the definition of eating at a non-chain restaurant I’m debating as to whether I can say I’ve visited Oklahoma. On the same road trip I mentioned earlier when I moved from NC to CA, I stopped at some mom and pop restaurant in western Oklahoma near the Texas state line for dinner. It’s about the only memorable meal I had on that trip, if only because I ordered a barbecue plate and was served a different style of barbecue than what I was accustomed to in North Carolina. Of course I knew about different regional barbecue styles, but that might have been my first time actually experiencing them.

I’m still going to say I haven’t visited Oklahoma, because I didn’t actually go there and seek out a local barbecue joint; it just happened to be a restaurant that was conveniently located near the interstate which I was passing by when I decided I was ready to stop for dinner.

I’ve “been to” Pennsylvania and Utah; for the former, I drove on I-90 by the lake, and never got out of the car, and for the latter, there’s a picture of me with one limb in each state at the Four Corners monument.

Do those count?

IMO, yes. I walked around 4 Corners a bit and counted NM. I’ve spent extensive time in the other 3 states, but that was my only trip to NM. Still, boots on the ground, it counts for me.

I guess I’d have two standards: a more complex one for people who want to experience as many different cultures as possible (or styles of BBQ, Wildabeast). And a loose one for people who want to rack up as many “State Points” as possible.*

*ps, there is no prize. And pretty much no one else cares if you flew or drove through all fifty.

My first and for a long time only exposure to Utah was Four Corners, and I’m not even sure what I did in the specifically Utah portion (there’s typically a lot of open-air souvenir booths around there, spread over all four states).

Then I passed through the SLC airport a number of times, flying between Montana and Ohio.

Eventually, though, on one of those flights, I volunteered to get booted from an overbooked flight, and ended up spending a night in a hotel in Salt Lake City, and wandered around Temple Square a bit and saw the sights (and, of course, bought and ate food). That pretty clearly counts by any standard, so any ambiguity I might have about Utah is thereby resolved.

My most iffy one is New Hampshire. On a family vacation one year, we went to New England, and did Mainey things in Maine, and Vermonty things in Vermont, and Massachusettsy things in Massachusetts, and so on, but we only passed through New Hampshire on the way to and from Maine, and only stopped at all for the sake of doing the bare minimum to meet our personal standards for having “been in” a state.

Actually, come to think of it, I think the same is true of North Dakota.

Did you see the Old Man of the Mountains (may he rest in peace) on your way through Franconia Notch? If so, you can count NH.

For me, no, not in any meaningful way. But you can count them however you want to.