Traveling with your bestie is bound to be epic no matter where you go, but a road trip ups the ante. One of the misconceptions is that road trips require a lot of time and thus, many travelers put it on the back-burner. If you can’t dedicate a month or two for a cross-country road trip, consider touring a state instead. Don’t have a car? No worries! You can always rent one or bum off your friend’s ride. Whether getting your”Kicks on Route 66″ or chasing waterfalls in Hana, these 5 road tips won’t disappoint.
1) Route 66
Let’s start with the most epic road trip of them all! Route 66 runs between Chicago and Los Angeles, totaling more than two thousand miles. The old road is legendary and for good reason. From neon signs to random truck stops in the middle of nowhere, this is anything but your average road trip. There are lots of strange yet oddly fascinating attractions along the way like the Cadillac Ranch west of Amarillo, Texas. Here you’ll see 10 classic Cadillacs covered in graffiti and nose-deep in the dirt. There’s also a motel with wigwam shaped rooms, the famous Twin Arrows Gas Station and Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch to keep you entertained, albeit a little confused!
2) The Pacific Coast Highway
While I’ve visited other Cali cities like Los Angeles and San Diego, I haven’t done the epic drive yet, so that’s definitely on my bucketlist this year. If starting from SF, make a stop at Muir Woods and marvel at the 500-plus year old redwood trees that tower above. Then, make your way to the somewhat hidden Stinson Beach and take in the panoramic view from the historic lighthouse. Cultural buffs will love Hearst Castle that overlooks San Simeon and houses artwork, colorful gardens and decadent pools (Neptune and Roman).
3) Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina
As an East Coaster who was born in D.C. and raised in Northern Virginia, so I had to add this adventure to my list. In total, the drive is 469 miles and while you and your bestie will have a blast, consider bringing your special someone. It’s a rather romantic route! At Milepost 334, you’ve reached Little Switzerland, a small village with restaurants and shops. A few miles down the road is Crabtree Falls & Meadows. It’s home to a 70-foot waterfall and a perfect spot for a picnic at the campground. If traveling during the hot summer, cool off at Skinny Dip Falls, a popular watering hole. Personally, though, I’d recommend making the trip in the fall. There are so many beautiful leaves!
4) The Florida Keys
Craving some fun in the sun with your bestie? Then, the Florida Keys are calling your names! Most people start the journey in Miami, so if you’re from out of state, search for flights into MIA. Driving from Miami to the Keys is a straight shot on Route 1, making this a good option for first time road trippers. Start your Florida vacation off with a slice of homemade Key Lime pie at Mrs. Mac’s Kitchen. Adventure-wise, many scuba divers rave about John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, where there are 250+ spices of tropical fish not to mention dozens of types of coral. Unless you’re severely allergic to cats like me, you might enjoy a trip to the Hemingway Home.
5) Road to Hana, Hawaii
I didn’t get to drive the Road to Hana when I was in Maui but I wish I did! Technically, the drive takes about three hours but most travelers spend much longer on the road, as there are so many scenic stopping points. Winding 50 miles past waterfall pools, vibrant gardens, lush rain forests and seascapes, you’re likely to feel like you’ve entered an enchanted forest. While driving to and from Hana in a day is possible, it’s much better to allocate more time. If you’re an experienced windsurfer, make a stop at Hookipa Beach Park. Otherwise, sit back and take in the view. There are lots of scenic stops but Keanae Lookout is arguably the most impressive.
Have you been on an epic road trip? Tell me in the comments below!