10 Road Trips for Spring
Most of us aren’t hopping on a jetplane this Spring break. It’s cool— no matter where you live in the U.S. you can road trip somewhere beautiful.
Obviously, road tripping is a particularly pandemic-safe alternative if you have access to a van or RV and are, therefore, in charge of your own sleeping arrangements and food. With a little planning ahead, however, you can secure a vacation rental somewhere ideal and make your day trips from a safe, clean home base.
Without further ado, here are our picks for the 10 best places to road trip around the country:
Utah’s Five National Parks
Offering otherworldly desert landscapes that are scorching in Summer but perfect in Spring, Utah offers five national parks— Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Zion — which are collectively called “The Big Five.” Road tripping is the perfect way to explore The Big Five’s magical trails and landmarks.
Mesa Verde National Park
Tucked away in the southwest corner of Colorado, Mesa Verde National Park preserves the archaeological sites that chronicle the heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived here from 600 AD to 1300 AD. Centuries-old history can be seen in hundreds of cliff dwellings. Explore the history of this place and explore hundreds of ancient cliff dwellings with a tour (either guided or self-guided), just don’t touch the dwellings, as they are easily damaged.
Blue Ridge Parkway
For a scenic drive through Appalachia, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers some of the best landscapes that the Southeast has to offer. Running 469 miles between North Carolina’s part of the Great Smoky Mountains and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, you’ll encounter nature and cities alike with plenty of opportunities to camp or stay in a vacation rental (plan ahead!).
Florida Keys Highway 1
As the longest north-south road in the nation, U.S. Highway 1 runs down the East Coast from the Canadian border to Key West. Florida’s section of Highway 1 makes a particularly beautiful road trip opportunity for those who live nearby. Florida’s Highway 1, also called the Overseas Highway, is a 113-mile stretch that is considered one of the country’s 31 All-American Roads, and offers seascapes central to the Florida Keys region.
Pacific Coast Highway
The PCH is one of the most popular road trips in the United States––for good reason. Running 1,650-miles, this highway goes along the coastlines of California, Oregon, and Washington, offering a diverse range of adventures. Spend one day exploring iconic Venice Beach, and the next breathing in the rich oxygenated air of the Redwoods of Northern California (note: part of the highway near Big Sur is currently closed due to landslide. Alternate route planning is required!).
We could not plan a better week-long PNW road trip than theblondeaborad.com did in this post. Written by a South African traveling in the U.S., the author takes you from San Francisco to Glacier National Park in Winter (so doing the trip in Spring should be a piece of cake!). She’s got you covered on all the not-to-miss places. *You're going to have to check ahead and see what's open and, perhaps, modify accordingly, but this is a great template for a route through the PNW that covers many of the most road-trip-worthy spots. (Also, if you have the time, take a side trip to Bend.)
The American Midwest is full of classic road trip landscapes! From the Green River Road in Wisconsin to Route 66 between Chicago and St. Louis, Lake Superior’s north shore and more, you might have to modify for our current pandemic times, but there is likely an available adventure or three in these suggestions by Travel + Leisure.
The Kancamagus Highway
Known by its First Nation’s name, the Kancamagus is New England's ultimate scenic highway. It is 36 miles of Route 112 between Conway and Lincoln, New Hampshire, and was completed in 1959, connecting these towns on the east and west sides of the White Mountain National Forest, which is 800,000 acres. There are overlooks, hiking opportunities, historic sites, and campgrounds along the way, punctuated by densely forested mountains and the dramatic Swift River.
Acadia National Park
The exhilarating 27-mile Park Loop Road through Maine's Acadia National Park is truly world-class for nature experiences. Though the route is not long, the sound of Atlantic crashing against the forests and views of the towering Cadillac Mountain make for high natural drama. Admission to the park is good for seven days of visits and the potential for camping in the park.
Letchworth State Park
Nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the East" for its dramatic gorge that drops 600 feet into the Genesee River below. Letchworth State Park is full of waterfalls, hiking, and biking opportunities. There are even cabins for rent, which are closed through Spring 2021 due to a cabin rehab project but are great to keep in mind for the future.
Clearly none of us are traveling like we used to, but trips like these have the power to take the edge off our wanderlust.
image credit: Dino Reichmuth