Do-it-yourself projects are big these days. Why not apply it to vacation planning? Pick up a visitor's guide from your state's department of tourism to see what strikes your fancy. You might spend a long weekend checking out regional weirdities or points of pride (which are often one and the same). In southern Illinois, for instance, you'll find the world's largest ketchup bottle in Carbondale, the grave of Robert Stroud (aka the Birdman of Alcatraz) in Metropolis and the Home of the White Squirrels, the town of Olney.
You could also plan a longer pilgrimage -- to significant sites in Mississippi blues history, for example, or a tour of Gutzon Borglum's sculptures (he carved a lot more than Mount. Rushmore). Or try actually visiting those attractions you see advertised on billboards along the interstate every time you take your oldest kid to college.
In closing, we wish you bon voyage. And if you go to Olney, bring us back a pack of white squirrel playing cards.