December 27, 2015

Collecting Maps From The 50 States - An Experiment



My map bag

Last updated February 15, 2016

I like to collect maps. I have a modest collection that includes a few state maps, a map of the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, and some trail maps I've picked up during camping and hiking trips. I am also interested in planning future adventures around the United States.
How can I get the benefit of paper maps AND plan my trips? (hint: the answer is below)

After browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble in early December, I decided I wanted to get a map from each state. However, individual state maps cost around $5-10. I don't want to pay that kind of money. Was there anything available on the web?

Turns out, yes, there is. Many states offer travel guides by mail, including state maps. States maintain websites from their tourist boards and commissions where you can enter your mailing info, and you'll get maps in the mail. Bingo! Many of these guides include a wealth of information on regions, campgrounds, attractions, and other things to see. Since it is in a nifty guide, it helps you focus your efforts so you're not paralyzed by typing "things to see in XYZ state" into Google. Guides provide a whole inventory of cool stuff in each state, the best things they have to offer.

So, I submitted requests to each state. If a state didn't have a request page on the web for a package that indicated it included a highway map, I emailed the Department of Transportation to request a map. This page is a writeup of this experiment to see what kinds of travel info and maps I receive.

Plus, everyone likes getting mail.

The free state maps page from Hey, It's Free really helped get me started. The person running this site did a lot of the up-front research to get the ball rolling. Thanks for finding all those links!

My map bag

Time to fill this baby up. My map bag is cool, no?

What They Sent

Here is what each state sent. I will post pics of things too if I can.

StateStatusWhat they sentPhotos
AlabamaWaiting
AlaskaReceived
(1-16-16)
  • State vacation guide
  • Map Received from the state DOT, late January
IMG_20160116_230139

Alaska
ArizonaReceived
(12-31-15)
  • State visitor's guide
  • State transportation map
Arizona
ArkansasReceived
(1-8-16)
  • An informative set of books with pretty photos:
    • Arkansas Tour Guide
    • State Highway Map
    • Arkansas Adventure Guide
    • Arkansas Fall/Winter 2015-2016 Calendar
    • Arkansas State Parks Guide
    • More information cards (postage required)
Arkansas

Arkansas Travel - More Information Cards
CaliforniaReceived
(12-28-15)
  • California vacation guide, with tear-out state map
  • California "road trips" insert
  • Requested a state highway map of DOT since it was a tear-out map
California
ColoradoReceived
(1-4-16)
(1-15-16)
(1-16-16)
  • State travel guide (1-4-16)
  • State map (tear-out from the guide) (1-4-16)
  • State bicycling and scenic byways map (1-15-16)
  • State highway map received (1-16-16)
Colorado

Colorado Biking and Byways Map

Colorado
ConnecticutReceived (Feb. 2016)
  • Travel guide
  • Request in to DOT for highway map
IMG_20160212_175206
DelawareReceived (Jan. 2016)
  • State travel guide (small booklet)
  • State highway map
Delaware
FloridaReceived
(12-31-15)
(1-4-16)
(1-14-16)
  • State visitor's guide (12-31-15)
  • State highway map, by request to the DOT (1-4-16)
  • State camping guide (Camp Florida) (1-14-16)
Florida

Florida

Florida Camping Guide
GeorgiaReceived
(1-4-16)
  • A large package from Georgia! Includes the following:
    • State travel guide
    • State highway map
    • Letter from the governor
    • Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites
    • Georgia's Atlanta Campaign Trail (civil war)
    • Visit Savannah
    • Atlanta street map
Georgia
HawaiiReceived
(1-15-16)
  • Hawaiian Islands travel guide
  • No state map apparently available, emailed HI DOT to ask
Hawaii
IdahoReceived
(1-11-16)
  • State RV and camping guide, with tear-out Idaho map
  • State travel guide and 2 highway maps
  • Directory of guided outdoor adventures (Feb. 2016)
Idaho Recreation and Campground DirectoryIdaho

Idaho Guided Outdoor Adventures
IllinoisReceived
(12-29-15)
  • Illinois travel guide
  • State highway map
  • Brochure of IL state parks
Illinois
IndianaReceived
(1-16-16)
  • State travel guide
  • State highway map
  • Indianapolis travel guide
Indiana & Indianapolis
IowaReceived
(12-31-15)
  • Iowa state travel guide
  • State transportation map
Iowa
KansasReceived
(1-4-16)
  • Kansas official travel guide
  • Kansas state travel map
  • Kansas state parks
  • Kansas outdoors
  • Byways of Kansas
  • Kansas River Water Trail Map
Kansas
KentuckyReceived
(12-26-15)
  • Visitor's Guide
  • State Highway Map
  • Kentucky State Parks Brochure (Feb. 2016)
Kentucky

Kentucky State Parks
LouisianaWaiting
  • After requesting a map from the DOT, I was informed that the state does not mail paper maps anymore.
MaineReceived
(1-9-16)
  • State travel guide
  • State highway map
Maine
MarylandReceived
(12-29-15)
Maryland sent a whole goodie bag! Of note, there were five brochures on the civil war, each unfolding into a map of it's topic. An African-American heritage brochure has maps on things like the underground railroad and other points of interest.
  • Maryland visitor's guide
  • State highway map
  • Road trips brochure
  • African-American Heritage points of interest
  • Civil war brochures
    • Civil war trails
    • Baltimore: A house divided
    • Gettysburg
    • John Wilkes Booth 
    • 1864 Attack on Washington
Maryland
MassachusettsReceived
(1-11-16)
  • State highway map (after request to DOT)
Massachusetts
MichiganReceived
(1-11-16)
  • State highway map (after request to DOT)
  • State travel guide and map (sent after DOT map request)
MichiganIMG_20160127_084938
MinnesotaReceived
(12-24-15)
(1-5-16)
(1-7-16)
  • Visitor's Guide
  • State Highway Map
  • State Bicycle Map
  • Southern Minnesota Guide
  • Minnesota ATVventures offroad trail rider book
  • Minneapolis / St. Paul guidebook, city map, and Institute of Art brochure (1-5-16)
  • Visit Grand Rapids, MN guidebook (received 1-7-16)
Minnesota

Minneapolis - Minnesota

Grand Rapids (Minnesota)
MississippiReceived
(1-4-16)
  • State travel guide
  • State highway map
  • Mississippi Blues Trail map/brochure
Mississippi
MissouriReceived
(12-26-15)
(12-29-15)
  • State Highway Map (by request to the DOT) (Received 12-26-15)
  • State travel guide and state highway map (Received 12-29-15)
Missouri Missouri
MontanaReceived
(1-7-16)
  • Valuable package of resources for outdoors people!
    • State visitor guide book
    • State highway map
    • National Geographic Greater Yellowstone Region map - Includes Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and surrounding areas in MT, WY, ID (geotourism map)
    • National Geographic Crown of the Continent map - Glacier National Park and Canada above Glacier area (geotourism map)
Montana + National Geographic Maps
NebraskaReceived (Jan. 2016)
  • State travel guide
  • Highway map after request to DOT (received one week later, Feb. 2016)
IMG_20160212_175351

Nebraska

NevadaReceived
(12-28-15)
  • Nevada travel guide
  • Requested a highway map from DOT on 12-28-15 since one was not included
Nevada
New HampshireWaiting
New JerseyReceived (Feb. 2016)
  • State travel guide
  • Request in to DOT for state highway map
New Jersey
New MexicoReceived
(12-26-15)
(1-9-16)
  • State Highway Map (by request to the DOT)(received 12-26-15)
  • State travel guide (1-9-16)
New Mexico

New Mexico
New YorkReceived
(12-28-15)
  • New York travel guide
  • State highway map
  • Winter travel guide (Feb 2016)
New York

New York
North CarolinaReceived
(1-14-16)
(1-15-16)
  • NC State Winery Guide (1-14-16)
  • State highway map (1-15-16)
  • Travel guide (Feb. 2016)
North Carolina Winery Guide

North Carolina

North Carolina
North DakotaWaiting
OhioReceived
(12-31-15)
  • 2 state maps after a request to the DOT
  • State travel guide
  • Pull-out state map
  • Arts in Ohio
  • Fall/Winter 2016 - In Ohio
Ohio

Ohio
OklahomaReceived
(1-4-16)
  • Oklahoma's package was very impressive! They had so many things that it was shipped in a parcel box.
    • Large, glossy and embossed leather-appearance travel book
    • Oklahoma state map
    • Oklahoma Indian Country guide
    • Oklahoma western experiences brochure
    • Great Plains Trail of Oklahoma map and info - Western Oklahoma Scenic Drive Map
    • Oklahoma State Park and Outdoor Recreation Guide (a thick book!)
Oklahoma

Oklahoma
OregonReceived
(12-26-15)
(1-15-16)
  • "Passport to Bounty" - a literal passport book that has "stamps" you can put in it when you visit certain locations (12-26-15)
  • Oregon Scenic Bikeways map (12-26-15)
  • Oregon travel guide (1-15-16)
  • Oregon state highway map (1-15-16)
Oregon - "Passport to Bounty" and Bike Map Oregon "Passport to Bounty" Oregon - "Passport to Bounty" Oregon - "Passport to Bounty"

Oregon
PennsylvaniaReceived
(12-28-15)
  • Two state highway maps, one for a friend! (by request to the DOT)
Two Pennsylvania maps!
Rhode IslandWaiting
  • After a request to the DOT, the state informed me that they do not print paper maps anymore.
South CarolinaReceived
(1-4-16)
  • State travel guide
  • State highway map
South Carolina
South DakotaReceived
(12-30-15)
  • South Dakota vacation guide
  • State highway map
South Dakota
TennesseeWaiting
TexasReceived
(1-4-16)
  • State travel guide
  • State highway map
Texas
UtahReceived
(12-26-15)
(12-30-15)
(1-8-16)
  • Moab Travel Planner (Received 12-26-15)
  • Bryce Canyon Travel Guide (Received 12-30-15)
  • Two identical packets received (Received 1-8-16)
    • Life Elevated - State Travel Guide 
    • State Highway Map
Utah - MOAB planning guide Bryce Canyon Travel Guide (Utah)

Utah
VermontReceived
(1-5-16)
(1-14-16)
  • Vermont state travel guide
  • Vermont Campground Guide
  • Vermont State Parks
  • State highway map received separately after request to DOT (1-14-16)
Vermont

Vermont
VirginiaReceived
(Feb. 2016)
  • State travel guide
  • State highway map
  • State scenic roads & byways map
  • State campgrounds brochure
  • Virginia's Civil War pamphlet


Virginia
WashingtonNot ComingThe State of Washington does not send travel guides or state maps for free anymore.
West VirginiaWaiting
WisconsinReceived
(1-4-16)
  • A treasure trove of resources!
    • Wisconsin travel guide
    • Wisconsin state highway map
    • State campground directory
    • Official biking guide
    • Wisconsin State Park visitor activity guide
    • Wisconsin state lodging directory
    • Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail (Central Sands Region)
    • Great Wisconsin Birding & Nature Trail (Southern Savanna Region)
Wisconsin
WyomingReceived (Jan. 2016)
  • State travel guide
  • State highway map
Wyoming

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