American Tourists in the 1970s- In Photos

I’m going to come out and wear my ‘American traveler’ banner for a second. We Americans have quite a reputation around the world when it comes to traveling. Some of the stereotypes…that we’re big tippers, big spenders, and friendly are innocuous enough (although not always true). Others, such as that we’re loud, obnoxious, and dress like we were set loose in an athletic apparel store in the dark, I find a little unfair. After all, you only notice the people who are doing that and totally miss the rest of us who aren’t.

Still, I take all stereotyping with a grain of salt. The truth is, I’m fortunate to have such a powerful passport which allows me to freely travel to many places in the world. I’m grateful.

Still…let’s talk about those stereotypes for a moment. The stereotypical image of an American tourist is one of white sneakers, Hawaiian shirts, and large cameras hanging from necks. Perhaps there is a fanny pack which is stuffed to the brim with maps, travel documents, and other essentials (and for you Brits and Australians out there, we’re talking about the convenient travel pouch which is strapped around one’s waist and not the naughty connotation you’re most likely picturing at the moment- I learned that one in the most amusing way possible, by of course saying it to an Australian and watching them laugh hysterically).

Anyway, back to the tourist fashion. I would like to introduce you to the photography of Roger Minick, who went on a road trip around the Western United States with his wife in the late 1970s and took pictures of vacationers along the way. He is well known for his series in which he documented tourists in the National Parks around the United States and his photographs have been featured in exhibits around the world and have published in many different books. These photos do a lovely job of demonstrating the tourist fashions of the period, and I would love to share a few of my favorites with you here! They really are quite delightful.

What I love so much about these photographs is that they really capture the essence of the time period but also give us a window into the lives of people in the 1970’s as they enjoyed their vacations and travels- not so different from you and I today, really.

It’s especially fun for me to see these delightful retro photos in some of the places that I myself have step foot in and have taken similar photos in front of. My clothing choices were arguably far less exciting, however.

With that, I give you amazing 1970s street style…travel edition!

What do you think of these photos?

View more of his work at





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