America’s 44th state has been a popular travel destination for years. So much so that it has literally been paving the way for states following it (I do mean that literally — in some spots you can actually still see the wagon ruts in the dirt! ).  More than just a state that you pass through, Wyoming is the state of a few big firsts, the first national park and the first national monument each being one of them.

With a population roughly equal to the size of a big city and the size of its national forests larger than most cities in the United States, there’s something special about a state that allows you to get up close and personal with nature and, of course, the very best of America’s heartland.  But, outdoor adventure doesn’t mean you have to wear sneakers the entire time.

In honor of its 125th anniversary of its statehood and of its equally expansive history, it’s time to redefine how you explore those famous national parks, monuments, and forests in Wyoming you’ve heard so much about. From classic adventures like hiking to the scenic byways and historical sites, you’ll never forget your visit to Wyoming when you have these travel tips to get you started.

Work your way east to west (or west to east)
The best part about a road trip is letting yourself mark out the points of interest and that’s exactly why I like to think of Wyoming as the ideal road trip state. Keeping mind that you’re aiming to explore national parks and forests, use those landmarks as your go-to stopping points (say, for example, your goal is to see Devil’s Tower first and Grand Teton National Park last). Then, pick a theme for your vacation. If you’re an avid horseback rider, try visiting as many dude ranches as possible, or, if you and your significant other would rather relax, pick the very best spa locations along the way. Don’t be afraid to get a little off the beaten trail along the way either — that’s the part that makes road trips fun!

Do some research before you go
While the national parks are easily some of the biggest draws to the state, the state parks aren’t too shabby either. Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis is located smack dab in the middle of the state, making for a prime pit stop and excuse for a little R&R. Known for the largest hot springs in the entire world, you can take a relaxing dip in the 104-degree water any time of the year for free. If you stop there, you can also make your way up through Grand Teton and then through Yellowstone.

Take your time
Because of the sheer size of the national parks and forests, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore as much of them as possible. Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park can easily be grouped into a three or four-day adventure, especially if you save your pass for re-entry later in the week. Ditching the hotel for a camping vacation in the national forests will also help you to experience the natural beauty of one of the coolest states, too.

Whether you’re a young couple looking for a romantic vacation across the West or a couple simply looking to explore a part of the US you’ve never seen before, Wyoming will easily become your dream state. Trust me, you’re not going to want to leave it behind.

Whether you visit in the summer or finish off your road trip in the Fall to see all the leaves peaking, you’re bound to have an amazing adventure in Wyoming.