How to visit every LDS temple in the continental U.S. in 79 days

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temple-trip

We live in an age of unprecedented temple building.

In just the last 15 years, the number of temples has increased from 53 to 141, with 15 more under construction and 14 announced.

But have you ever wondered what it would take to visit just the temples in the continental United States? How long would it take? How many miles would you need to drive? How much would you spend on gas? Wonder no more.

Note: This is just one proposed route — though it is a good one. It also includes only currently operating temples (none under construction or announced) and does not account for 2014 special closures. We accounted for one temple per day (excepting Sundays and Mondays, when most temples are closed), unless two temples are closer than two hours apart. 

  • Total miles of travel: 14,264
  • Total days needed for trip: 79 (including non-travel days, Saturday/Sunday)
  • Number of temples: 78
  • Cost of gas (assuming a 25 mpg vehicle and an average of $3.30/gallon): $1,882.81
  • Possible Church history sites visited: 8
  • Time spent in the car: 220 hours, 44 minutes
  • Number of needed hotels or places to stay: 55
  • Sights near temples include the following:
    Mormon Battalion Visitors Center near the San Diego Temple
    The Sacred Grove and Hill Cumorah near the Palmyra New York Temple
    Historic Old Nauvoo near the Nauvoo Illinois Temple
    The Brigham Young Winter Home and the St. George Tabernacle near the St. George Utah Temple
    Historic Kirtland, Ohio, located 150 miles north of the Columbus Ohio Temple
    Liberty Jail Historic Site near the Kansas City Missouri Temple
    Historic Winter Quarters near the Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple
    Historic Temple Square near the Salt Lake Temple

 

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Breanna Olaveson worked in the magazine industry before taking her writing from full-time to nap time with the birth of her first daughter. Her work has appeared in the Ensign, Liahona and New Era magazines, as well as Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley BusinessQ, Utah Valley Bride and the Provo Daily Herald. She lives in Utah county with her husband and three children. She blogs at www.breannaolaveson.com.

34 Comments

  1. Alana Reply

    The Tucson Temple hasn’t even broken ground yet and the Phoenix Temple isn’t done and I’m guessing several other Temples fall in this category. This plan won’t be able to happen for several years, but will save for a future trip.

  2. dave Reply

    Since I live in seattle, the start is good, but I need to find someone who we could team up with so as to avoid a one way rental.

    1. Joleen Reply

      Actually it would be nice if they did this in a loop so wherever you live you could start and end up back where you started. That’s what I was trying to do when I discovered this and thought, “Oh, someonej is done all the work for me :-)”… not quite, but this is very helpful.

  3. Melissa Reply

    Even though the article states that it doesn’t include those announced or under construction it includes several: 5 that have been announced (Tuscon, Star Valley, Meridian, Ft. Collins, and Cedar City) and 6 that are under construction (Provo City Center, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Payson, Indianapolis, and Hartford). Ft. Lauderdale will be dedicated in May. Also the Odgen Temple is undergoing renovation.

    However, this is still a great list. It will probably be impossible to ever have a trip that will include all the operating temples. It seems more are being announced all the time. One may just have to take the trip and enjoy those you can.

    1. Carmichael Hill Reply

      If the Columbia River Temple was “your” temple, you’d know that it is in Washington (Tri-Cities) and is already on the list.

  4. Sybil Ellis Reply

    This has been my dream since 1993. To date I have visited 60 operating Temples between Canada and the USA. I was just planning my 2014 visits when I saw this newsletter. The thing is that when I began this dream there were only 52 temples. President Hinckley came in and made it a real challenge for me; President Monson is maintaining the drive and my challenge continues to increase. Some I drive and some I fly to – would rent a car and visit more than one temples or, use public transportation depending on the distance. I think it was the Atlanta Georgia Temple that has stay over rooms for rent only to those who travel far to attend the temple. This is awesome and I do not know as yet if there are other temples with this facility. With Temples going up everywhere, I don’t think this facility will be encouraged.

  5. Cheryl Bourdet Reply

    Interesting list, but my thought was that I would not like to do this trip in 79 days, but spread it out over several years, so that we could attend sessions and sight see without killing ourselves just to get to another temple. To me it is more about attending the temple, not about getting to all of them in 79 days.

  6. Lori Reply

    I have visited 42 temples so far. I am working on getting to all of them in the US. It would be nice to create a website where others interested could join and we could offer lodging to each other while traveling to the various temples and sites.

    1. Laura Reply

      I LOVE your idea. I would even just love a driveway to park a little tear drop camper in. Some way to connect with people willing to let me park for a night or two. Someone to maybe steer me to a couple local attractions. As my kids said, they are all the same inside, so what’s the point if I don’t see a little of the country along the way right?

    2. Jessica Mason Reply

      I love love love that idea!!! I am planning a road trip to visit 45 of them next summer!!! And this would be a great way to do it!

  7. Juvenal Reply

    A fascinating topic, but, as previously mentioned, quality of attendance eternally trumps quantity. Over the course of more than forty years, I have been well blessed and privileged to perform endowments in sixty-five temples on four continents, fifty-four in the U.S. (including both temples in Hawaii). I don’t count a visit unless it includes a “visit” to the Celestial Room, hence my only counting endowment sessions as a qualified visit to the temple. The best part of temple visits is that my dear wife has been able to accompany me on almost half of them, also to four continents. We have a few more visits scheduled for this month, including Central America and Mexico. I discovered early in our marriage that my wife was hopelessly addicted to second honeymoons and that’s what these trips have evolved into. I highly suspect that that is where the five children came from, a vague theory I’m still attempting to confirm. These trips can easily become highly inconvenient and uncomfortable, especially when traveling in hot, humid climes, dealing with flat tires in the dark of night and prolonged encounters with very bad weather of all types. On all of these temple visits, I’ve always been able to count on being accompanied by a special new friend who deeply appreciates the effort to serve therein. The primary objective isn’t for the travel. As they say, it’s for the children. Of God.

    1. Joleen Reply

      We can never control the intent of someone else’s heart! Only Heavenly Father knows that and we should not be concerned about other people’s intent on why they want to do this. I for one would like to do it because I know that every temple is different and things are done just a little differently and yet they are all the same… It will remind me that Heavenly Father never changes and yet there are differences :-)… in just the few temples I’ve been to, it is amazing to me how each one is so different and yet the essential content is exactly the same and the ordinances done there are done by the same priesthood power! It’s like one Prophet told us to read the book of Mormon straight through if had never done that before and then you’ll do it again where it will take you a whole year or longer because you study and ponder and pray as you go. Neither is wrong, just different …. Do not judge other people on why they want to do this or in what time fashion they do it in. Look at yourself in the mirror and worry about you 🙂

  8. Carmichael Hill Reply

    Your Winter Quarters Nebraska Temple is shown right in the middle of Nebraska. In reality, the temple is on the north side of Omaha, on the very far eastern edge of the state just upstream from the Kansas City Temple. Was the point just misplaced on this map, or was it misplaced when you were making your time/distance calculations?

  9. Sister Midwest Temple Worker Reply

    Or you could stay home, go to your own temple, leave the limited few seats in our tiny temple for those who only have enough gas money to drive the hundred miles once each month. You could privately donate your floating expendable cash to fast offerings or a missionary. Heaven knows you don’t need one more thing to boast about.

    1. Steve Reply

      We have been to many of the “tiny temples” and have never run into the problem of bumping locals out of a session. Many times the temple staff were thanking us over and over for being there. The only time we had a full session was in Memphis and there were only 7 brethren. The rest of the room was filled by the sisters. In one temple we were one of only 3 couples in the prayer circle.

    2. Juvenal Reply

      We’re back in town from another edifying visit. When attending smaller temples, we avoid “bumping” temple district residents from their desired temple session by attending sessions that can be counted on for having a lesser attendance – daytime sessions during mid-week. They absolutely always have plenty of seats to spare. We call ahead the day of attendance to verify there will not be a conflict with overflow crowds since our schedule is flexible. There isn’t a decision to be made regarding a “better” disposition of family funds since we travel free worldwide. In other words, we put a great blessing to even greater use. Temple workers in the smaller temples are most particularly welcoming to us and consistently express their love for us taking the time to come to bolster their attendance numbers. Such was, once again, the case at the small temple I attended last week in southeastern Mexico. Ammon’s effective – and humble – use of boasting – in the Lord – is truly admirable and wholly worthy of emulation. All Latter-Day Saints understandably have a great satisfaction every time a new temple is announced or dedicated anywhere, obviating any sense of any single temple being somebody’s “own” temple. All temples everywhere are every Latter-Day Saint’s temples. Our tithing contributions irrefutably substantiate that. No one said it better than good King Benjamin when he explained that nothing that he did was for the purpose of boasting. Amen, indeed.

    3. DanaT Reply

      We just did a session in the San Antonio temple. There were seven sisters and four brothers. They brought people in from outside the session in order to have a complete prayer circle.

  10. DanaT Reply

    The San Antonio temple was the 50th temple I have visited. As with Juvenal, I don’t count it unless I’ve done a session. Since so many microfilms have been digitized, I’ve found scores of family names to be done. The temple sessions are in conjunction with our regular travels, and add an unforgettable dimension to our trips.

    1. Gary Z Reply

      My wife and I just completed 50 different LDS Temples (an Endowment session in each Temple at minimum) in a 2 1/2 year time from. Prior to 2015 we had only been to 4 Temples. We have been to all open Temples west of the Mississippi River except for Fort Collins, Star Valley and Medford, and 3 remaining to do in Texas: San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. We have done all 3 Temples in Alberta and the Vancouver BC Temple. We will catch those left to do west of the Mississippi this summer and the others that are not yet open: Idaho Falls, Tucson and Cedar City. Best time spend was days in the car with my eternal companion. On long drives you get to do a lot of talking AND listening. Oh, and by the way, not yet retired. These are our vacations. Very enjoyable.

  11. Diane Reply

    As a 13 year old Beehive girl in the 1960’s I wondered if I could visit all 13 temples! I have yet to meet that goal but have enjoyed visiting 10 of the original 13, and 24 others. I love being able to include a temple session at the local temple on our vacations and family reunions. I have a secondary goal now to attend as many different temples as the number of years we have been married. Looking forward to more opportunities in the future.

  12. Karen Reply

    The trick in all of this is their time schedules. They aren’t always open at the hour or day that you plan to be there. We have enjoyed serving in 63 so far including 4 continents . 8000 miles on the car in a month and 14 temples in that one trip. Visited 3 of our children and some other site seeing. Wonderful experiences!

  13. Deb Reply

    My mom took a lifetime to attend sessions in 81 temples. Twice she did 365 endowments in a year. That is a rich legacy.

    I just made a list and I made it to my 23rd temple a week ago. I went early for a work related conference. I am already 61, so I will not be getting to many more different temples.

    I am aware that the above trip is for the fun of planning it. I would not recommend taking it.

    My youngest son and I visited 5 Utah temples the week before he entered the MTC. We attended 2 sessions of General Conference, visited relatives, and finished getting things for his mission. It was a great final week before he started his mission.

    It did give me a feel for your above trip. Spread it out over years.

  14. Mike Roesler Reply

    Just purchased an RV today. Planning on leaving Reno, Nevada in September 2015 to visit all the Temples in the US. Everything is in the planning stages, but it is an exciting time. I will be traveling alone, hoping to meet many Saints along the way. Leaving as I said in September to visit the Temples in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah, before returning for Christmas to see our daughters and my other family members. January 2nd, 2016, I will be taking as long as it takes to see the remaining Temples and lots of sight seeing. Any suggestions, drop a note!!

  15. Larry Maycock Reply

    ,Breanna,
    Thanks for all the information . It’s been my wife’s and I goal to attend all
    the temples in the world . We made the goal in the 1980’s with about 40 to 50 temples
    We got to get going. We’ll start with your information and do the USA . Have you any information on the rest of the world? Thanks again!

  16. DNM Reply

    I am also interested in going to every temple in the world but I can’t see counting them if i Just SEE the temple…I only count those in which I have done an ordinance. This means all the Mondays and Sundays can’t count and you have to schedule closings, conference, maintenance dates etc.

    It would be cool to see who (if anyone) has been to every single temple. Remember that even if you have done it that when the next temple opens you are behind!

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