Travel read: 101 Places You Gotta See Before You’re 12! Here are 10.

If travel seems overwhelmingly expensive, or just plain overwhelming, turn it down a notch. That’s the message in the book 101 Places You Gotta See Before You’re 12! by Joanne O’sullivan. Plus there’s not the word “die” in the title. That’s uplifting.

Although this book is aimed towards children, it offers a fresh way to look at travel for adults as well. Each page touts a different wonder to tantalize ones fancy. Instead of specific places, there are themes so that no matter where you live, you may not have to travel far to check destinations off the list. Some don’t cost a dime.

Each offering is presented in eye candy pages complete with facts and details for finding out more. It’s like having all the best field trips in the world right at your fingertips.

First up, A Lighthouse. Did you know Michigan is the state with the most? There are 124. To find lighthouses in North America, check out this web site that features legendary lighthouses.

Here are are 10 more gotta see suggetions. See these, and there are only 90 more to go:

A Working Farm: Here’s a way to see where food comes from and get it fresh. “The closer your food is to where you came from, the, the better it is for you,” is one of the ideas behind this suggestion. To find working farms that are open to the public in the U.S., the book suggests checking with a county extension agent. Other countries have working farms open to the public as well. In New Zealand, staying on a working farm is a popular lodging option. At Offbeat Travel, there’s an account of one person’s 21-day farm stay tour. In case you can’t make it to a farm, here’s a virtual 4-H farm tour.

A Ghost Town: Head to one of these and wonder why everyone left. There are ghost towns to be found about everywhere, but particularly in the western part of the United States. Montana is filled with them. One I like in particular, because of its location up a long road in the Pintler Mountains, is Granite. To find other ghost towns, check out

A Big Cave: This suggestion has a two-page spread that includes cave detail definitions. Sure you might know what a stalactite (hangs down) and a stalagmite (goes up) are but what about an anthodite and helicite? Mammoth Cave in Kentucky is the largest cave in the world. To find others in the U.S., click here. To pep up cave travel, go to one that once was a salt mine. Several countries have them.

A Battlefield: It doesn’t matter which one you go to. The idea is to take time to ponder what events passed on the ground where you are standing. These are the places where lives and history were changed. Here’s a Web site to help you find Civil War battlefields.

A Great Estate: Head to where the rich, rich, rich people once lived before the word McMansion hit our vocabulary. The book suggests Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. Jeremy recently suggested mansions in the Hudson Valley of New York. In India, many mansions have been changed into hotels, and several are not particularly expensive. Check out Heritage Hotels to find one.

A Haunted Place: This is one of Gadlings favorite topics every October. Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana is described as being the most haunted home in America. Haunted Prisons, ships and hotels could keep you busy for awhile.

A Place of Worship: This is where you visit a religious place that is not your religion. If possible attend a service. The point is to learn about the symbols and belief systems of other religions and notice just how similar religions are. Here’s something I didn’t know. There are more than 200 Hindu temples in North America.

A Very Big Thing: This is a suggestion that says “road trip.” It doesn’t matter what big thing you look for, just make sure it’s big. One suggestion I have is the world’s largest penguin in Cut Back, Montana. The book gives locations for finding Paul Bunyan and his blue cow Babe and the largest catsup bottle in the world.

Backstage of a Theater: Here’s where you check out the secrets behind the magic of what happens when the curtain goes up. I recently toured the Renaissance Theatre in Mansfield, Ohio. This gem of a theater has a history that started back in Vaudeville. My favorite part was seeing the dressing rooms where people get ready to perform. Jerry Lee Lewis was performing there the day after I toured. Along the walls leading up to the dressing rooms are black and white photos of the various performers like Jay Leno back when he was doing stand-up.

The Middle of Nowhere: This is a place that you’ll know it when you see it. It’s a place in the world that makes you say, “we’re in the middle of nowhere. Three summers ago when we were driving through Wyoming, my then 3 year-old son looked out the window and said, “We’re the only one here.”

The other 90 suggestions are also compelling. The Orlando Sentinel said that 101 Places You Gotta See Before Your 12 is “an odyssey for kids.” I say, forget what it does for kids. It sure makes me excited to get out in the world–plus it comes with a fold out map of the U.S. and stickers to mark where you’ve been.

I checked the book out from the library. It’s now overdue, and I can’t renew it. That means I’m just going to have to buy a copy. It’s terrific.

The photo is of Greenpoint Lighthouse in South Africa.