Travel signs. You see them when your driving, biking, hiking or taking a walk. You see them on the highway, on a two-lane road in the country, in the big city. You see them at parks, beaches and everywhere else imaginable. I’ve been fascinated with these travel signs as long as I can remember. On family road trips, I’d watch the exit numbers on the freeway go up, waiting eagerly for the next sign indicating how many miles it was to the next big town or city, wondering what the difference was between green, blue and brown signs.
I don’t know what kind of sign is better than a welcome-to sign, whether you’re entering into a new village, town, city, state, province or even country. When I am somewhere, for the first time especially, I’m thinking a new place equals new possibilities. More and more towns and places are putting up elaborate welcome-to signs to try to showcase their place. To this day when driving north or south on I-75 I get goose bumps when I see the welcome-to state signs especially Georgia when going south and Michigan when driving north.
Highway Signs. Numbers everywhere. Some questions you might be thinking: How can I be on a road that has four different highway designations one northbound, another west, yet another something else. Which way am I really going? How can I be turning onto a road going east off of a road going east? I’m on HWY-32, when did that happen? In all honesty, the more numbers, highways, confusion there is, the better I like it. Lot’s of numbers and lot’s of places to explore. The photo I took of Georgia State Route 141 below caught my attention because I noticed the gas price in the picture of $2.38. I took this last year. Boy those were the days! Ohio State Route 2 is part of the Lake Erie circle tour. There is a circle tour for each of the Great Lakes, which I highly recommend going on. So scenic. I’ve done the Erie, Michigan and Huron circle tours so far.
Lots of cities, parks and others places have signs sprinkled about, giving the tourist or new person in town guidance to some their best and most popular destinations. The first one below is in Queenstown, New Zealand highlighting streets and where visitors can get information. The one below that within Leelanau State Park indicates how far your away from other points across the lakes. If it was only that many miles to drive to those places. Parks use them too as the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney, Australia below indicates how to get to the various gardens and attractions. The comprehensive city ones like the one in Auckland highlight attractions, provide a map and even provide the current time.
These days with GPS devices and your enabled smart phones you always know how far your away from somewhere. Your also better enabled to answer the questions posed above. What did people do before GPS? They relied on physical maps and the mileage signs along the interstate. At least to me though there is still nothing like seeing a freeway sign indicating how far you have until your next destination or seeing highway signs indicating the next biggest city in a certain direction.
I’m not just fascinated by directional signs and ones along the highway. Spending a lot of time at parks and beaches, I’ve seen my far share of signs including yes/no on fishing and swimming, no wake and smoking signs. For a photo, nothing beats a backdrop with a sign in front. The beginning of some hiking trails have signage estimating how long it’ll take to hike to the final point, waterfall or a scenic view. Whether it’s an hour or a two-day hike nothing beats seeing the sign marking you’ve made it all the way as I did at Kea Point overlooking Mount Cook in New Zealand.
Travel signs do a great job of helping people get around, lead them to popular destinations and warn them like if roads are slippery or you should not swim there. Whether on a day road trip, navigating through a big city or hiking at the park I’ll continue to photograph and be in awe of the signs I come across. What kinds of travel signage do you like? Which cities, states, countries and other places do you think does the best job at guiding their visitors through signs?