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3 Amazing Road Trips You Should Take This Summer

posted: 06/14/16
by: Katie Morton
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  • Image Credit: iStock
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    Hit the Open Road

    With all the exotic locales available — even for even the budget-conscious traveler — road trips may seem, well, underwhelming. But trust us, nothing beats the wind in your hair, the changing landscapes the U.S. offers, and the uplifting power of a killer playlist. Tempted yet? You should be. There’s no better time to gas up and set the GPS for an unforgettable summer road trip. Use these three road trips to inspire you, but check out other trips by state and by area of interest (yes, there’s a road trip for cheese lovers — and history buffs).

  • Image Credit: iStock
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    West Coast: Pacific Coast Highway

    The scenery on Pacific Coast Highway Route 1 is straight out of a Hollywood movie set. It’s universally considered one of the most epically stunning stretches of road in the world. The route begins at California’s northern border with Oregon and continues down to San Diego. Along the way, you’ll wind through stretches of road showcasing wild waves and snowy-capped mountain ranges.

    To Do: Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The charming, oceanside town of Carmel offers shopping, casual dining and sun-soaked verandas. If you’re interested in whale watching or sailing, day trips and boats offer excursions. Visit the Redwood National and State Park for awe-inspiring views of old-growth redwood trees.

    To Eat: Stop at Casanova, Carmel’s most romantic restaurant, for a formal dining experience you’ll love.

    To Stay: End the day in Santa Barbara and indulge in a restful night at their El Encanto hotel. Unwind after a long day on the road with an alfresco meal under the night sky and a soak in their Jacuzzi tubs. If camping’s more your speed, Redwood National and State Park offers sites for tents and RVs.

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    East Coast: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    The route through Cape Cod to Provincetown Harbor is worth driving at a slower pace so you can take in the scenery. This drive is chock full of quintessential New England beach views, colonial flavor and sailboat-dotted harbor vistas. As you travel through Sandwich, Yarmouth and Orleans, admire the history and stunning architecture of the captains’ homes, originally constructed during the 18th Century.

    To Do: Relax on one of the Cape’s many beaches, then when you’re bored of sitting, stretch your legs by climbing the sand dunes. Take in some culture at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Catch a ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. Chatham is home to a world-famous local population of great white sharks; so if you’re interested in marine life or conservation, don’t miss their "Jawsome" local events.

    To Eat: The Lobster Pot in Provincetown is a must stop for lunch! They feature mouth-watering lob-stah rolls served with heart stopping, waterfront views.

    To Stay: Wequassett Resort and Golf Club offers 5-star, waterside elegance. Blue Water on the Ocean provides comfortable, relaxed accommodations for families looking for a more economical option.

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    The Ultimate US Road Trip: Route 66

    The multi-state stretch of Route 66 might be the most iconic American road trip. Route 66 meanders through eight states—Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. In total, Route 66 winds through approximately 2,000 miles of highway.

    To Do: Well, drive, for one… It’s a long drive, so make sure you’ve readied the car with an emergency kit, snacks, water and, of course, good tunes. Part of the fun of this drive is soaking in the nostalgia and meeting fellow travelers doing the same. Route 66 is replete with classic cars, diners and nods to a gentler, more relaxed era.

    To Eat: Hit up Cozy Dogs Drive In during your pass through Springfield, Illinois.  This family-owned joint serves corn dogs and other nostalgic favorites—just as they have been since 1940.

    To Stay: The blue and coral Blue Swallow Motel boasts out-of-this-world sunsets. Nancy Mueller, co-owner with husband Kevin, says, "People from all parts of the world sit here, talk, drink wine, listen to the neon buzz. Sometimes they end up traveling together.”

    The thrill of the open road and the natural beauty of our vast landscape combine to create the journey of a lifetime. Embrace summer wanderlust with your own epic road trip. Remember during your travels that part of the fun is the possibility of the unknown. Be prepared to explore off the paved road—sometimes the journey is the destination.