Six of the Best Road Trips in the US
Since you don’t live under a rock, you undoubtedly have heard that airlines are having a heck of a time managing and keeping to their flight schedules. This means that passengers are having a heck of a time getting from one place to another on their own planned schedules. When your long weekend plans go awry after departing two days late, and your return date is questionable, frustration rises – the dog sitter hasn’t been scheduled, work schedules are disrupted, supervisors are annoyed, promises are broken (“sorry Mom, I’m not gonna make it there after all”). I needn’t go on.
If you are able to cancel or re-schedule your trip, what’s a good alternative in the meantime? A road trip of course! I do love a road trip. In this article I encouraged you to give your road trip the same degree of attention you’d give any trip, by having it planned and arranged by an advisor. Yes I know the fun is the unknown, but therein may also lie the hazards, so please let your advisor at least give your route a once-over, if only to pre-arrange excursions, overnight stays, tours, bike treks and what-have-you along the way.
This week, six of the best road trips in the USA are contained herein – perhaps right in your backyard. Better yet if you’re stranded for a few days, make the best of it by hitting the open road. If there’s one you’d love or would like to know more about, let me know…Washington’s North Cascades Highway? The Pacific Coast Highway?
The Blue Ridge Parkway – Asheville to Charlottesville
The heart of this storied road takes you through Southern farmland and misty ridge lines that give the region its colorful name. Pace yourself over the 400-odd miles of winding two-lane over the course of three or four days. The parkway itself starts at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains and meanders through several national forests on the way to the Shenandoah Valley.
Musts along the way: Mast General Store in Valle Crucis is one of America’s oldest. Grandfather Mountain nature preserve has a swinging footbridge over an 80-foot chasm. Chimney Rock near Asheville is an energetic climb with some of the parkway’s best views.
New England – Boston to Bar Harbor
This Mass-to-Maine classic is dotted with small-town main streets and roadside lobster and clam shacks. Zip up I-95 to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, then switch to U.S. 1 for the slower scenic route. Pull over for a nature walk complete in Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Nearby Kennebunk is the village of boutiques, galleries, and ice cream shops you came to New England to find, while Portland’s microbrew and artisan coffee scenes make for a great overnight or two. L.L.Bean’s Freeport flagship has outfitted locals 24/7, 365 days a year, since 1951. Put your new duck boots to use around Bar Harbor, where the drive becomes a nature tour on 27 miles of historic roads through Acadia National Park.
Four Corners and Monument Valley – Flagstaff to Telluride
Four Corners is the point Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah intersect, so make sure you take advantage of the photo op. The journey is the best part, though. The 525-mile drive rolls through Winslow, Arizona, (“Such a fine sight to see!”) into Petrified Forest National Park and the Technicolor hues of the Painted Desert. Highway 191 is the best route to take in Navajo country; Indigenous communities have called Canyon de Chelly home for thousands of years. Monument Valley, on Highway 163 farther north, is your Butch Cassidy or Thelma & Louise moment (portions both movies were filmed there). The atmosphere thins as you climb into Colorado, where Pueblo structures still stand along the Trail of the Ancients, and delightful mountain towns like Telluride are worth a stop for at least a cup of coffee.
The Low Country – Savannah to Charleston
Dear friends of mine just visited these two cities and came away with a tale to tell of memories made. History, gardens, white-sand adventure, barbecue: There’s much to discover among the palmetto- and Spanish-moss-lined roads linking these Southern sister cities. Take U.S. 17 out of Georgia’s oldest town and feel the past emerge at Old Sheldon Church Ruins, a 1745 chapel burned during Revolutionary times and again during Sherman’s March to the Sea. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge’s salt creeks and tidal marshes are worth exploring by kayak, while farther along, near Beaufort, stretch your legs (and views) with a climb to the top of Hunting Island’s 1875 lighthouse. Trees have big personalities around these parts and there’s none greater than the Angel Oak, a 300-year-old live oak outside Charleston – a walker’s kind of town with its grand old homes, historic row houses, and trendy shopping and dining scenes along Upper King Street.
Montana – Going-to-the-Sun Road
The 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road bisects Glacier National Park’s glacial lakes, valleys, and cedar forests, while climbing to an altitude of more than 6,400 feet. Many find the two-lane road’s cliff-hugging panoramas exhilarating, but, for some, it’s definitely a white-knuckles-on-the-wheel experience. It’s worth it for the spectacular mountain views that are accessible right from your car; you don’t have to get out into the backcountry to experience some epic scenery. Don’t Miss: The 5.4-mile Hidden Lake trail near the Logan Pass Visitor Centre, which cuts through alpine meadows before leading hikers to a popular overlook. Next Stop: A four-hour drive south in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains, the 23-cabin Triple Creek Ranch keeps guests busy on fly-fishing trips, cattle drives, and more.
Texas – Hill Country
This bucolic Central Texas region, north of San Antonio and west of Austin, is blanketed in bluebonnets in March and April and beloved by day-trippers looking to cool off in its spring-fed natural swimming holes in the summer. It’s all about slowing down here – in small-town general stores, at hilltop wineries, and with plenty of Lone Star style.
Stay here: The 107-room Miraval Austin, a wellness-centric retreat outside the city in the Balcones Canyonland Preserve. It’s a great place for solitude and to rest and relax. Don’t Miss: Krause Springs in Spicewood for swimming, and the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area outside of Fredericksburg for hiking – it’s the country’s largest pink granite monadnock. Nearby, in Texas Wine Country, dozens of tasting rooms welcome visitors, including Cosinteno’s favorite, Augusta Vin.
What's your favorite Sunday drive turned road trip? Florida's Overseas Highway? US1 through Maine? A1A on Florida's east coast? Let me know and perhaps you can plan your ride while you wait for your airplane.
'til next week.
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I create indulgent, transformative vacations for people who crave immersive travel. If you don't have the time to plan the details of your own well-deserved escape, don't know where to begin, or are simply longing to make unforgettable memories with those you love, then don’t wait another day. Let's talk.
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