Fun in Sopchoppy, Florida, a U.S. election swing state (courtesy dfbphotos at Flickr Creative Commons)

The U.S. Presidential elections will go one way or the other on November 6 (Election Day) but in the meantime, let’s drop all those red/blue, left/right arguments and take a quick look at some interesting things to see in four of the swing states that are considered key to the election – sometimes called tipping point states.

Ohio

Did you know that there is an Amish community in Ohio?

It’s a big one, and located in a pretty part of the state amongst rolling hills. Slow down, spend some time and stay there. Plenty of good food including cheesemakers and lots of crafts….but be careful driving around Amish buggies.

In Cincinnati, don’t miss the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. It’s right on the Ohio River; slaves sometimes referred to it as the “River Jordan” because it was the border between slave state Kentucky and the free state of Ohio.

Pennsylvania

Don’t miss the incredible artistic and cultural renaissance happening at the former Bethlehem Steel plant; seeing SteelStacks was a highlight of my recent travels.

If you’re interested in Civil War history there are many unique Pennsylvania Civil War trails, including an extensive one near Gettysburg called Journey Through Hallowed Ground.

Florida

In this state, you go north to see the South. Northern Florida and the Florida Panhandle have a very Deep South vibe and culture, with moss-draped trees, spring-fed watering holes and canopy roads overtopped with enormous trees. Parts of southern Florida also have that feel, but Miami and the Keys are on their own multicultural planet.

To combine Southern style and the ocean, head to tiny Apalachicola or Cedar Key on the state’s Gulf coast. They are not beachy communities, but they are uniquely Floridian.

Virginia

Politicians have gotten in trouble in the past for referring to the areas outside of northern Virginia (the Washington, DC suburbs) as “the real Virginia,” but it is true that outlook and attitudes are different between rural southern and western regions and the diverse, urban section near the District.

No matter where you go in the state, however, you’ll run into some sort of historic building, marker, story or monument. The United States is a young country, but much of our measly few hundred years of existence happened in some part of Virginia, starting with Jamestown Settlement in 1607. Yes, that’s before the Pilgrims arrived up in Massachusetts.

Awww, heck, if none of that does anything for you, just go hit the beach.

Political pundits say that Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa are also considered swing states. I don’t have that much travel experience in any of them, but if you do, please give us a shout down in the comments about some places we should visit there. Thanks!

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