Wanderlust. Exploration. Discovery. As quintessential elements of American culture, road trips satisfy every generation’s yearning for adventure. Their timeless appeal and endearing natural beauty cement these cross-country journeys as ideal vacations for the inquisitive soul. Whether you’d like to discover distant seas, peruse mountain peaks, or escape from monotonous suburban life, each of the following destinations will offer an engaging escapade with nature.
Overseas Highway, Florida
Blue skies merge with cerulean seas as you glide along the Overseas Highway from mainland Florida to Key West. Marine life lounges amongst tranquil waves. From snorkeling at Molasses Reef to chowing down on lobster sandwiches at Keys Fisheries Market and Marina, diversions abound. The real treasures linger below the Atlantic depths; coral reefs seething with moray eels, lobsters, chromatic schools of fish, and copious giant sea turtles populate Tavernier and Looe Key. If you’re looking for a breather, the Casa Marina Resort offers a luxurious spa and private beach, with opportunities for nearby kayaking, scuba diving, parasailing, and deep-sea fishing trips. For those with an RV, Boyd’s Key West Campground offers oceanfront camping grounds only a few miles from Key West’s bustling Duvall Street. A picturesque paradise.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
Classic California. Known as the epitome of a scenic drive, the route from San Francisco to San Diego along the Pacific Coast Highway offers breathtaking views of the ocean and coastal mountains. The trip is packed with must-see sites including: the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Monterey’s renowned “17 Mile Drive”, the hot spring baths of Big Sur, San Simeon’s 250,000 acre Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo’s Bubblegum Alley (a 70-foot long alley adorned with its adhesive namesake, donated by passersby), Santa Barbara’s Zoo and Botanic Garden, Malibu’s charming beachside abodes, L.A.’s Universal Studios, and San Diego’s Comic-Con. Prepare for a leisurely yet lively excursion. For adventurers with a motorhome, consider a detour to “The Springs at Borrego” RV resort and golf course. Located in the heart of California’s largest state park – the 600,000 acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – this resort features a nine-hole championship golf course and astronomy park.
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Don’t forget your rain jacket and bug spray for this trip. Beginning in Anchorage, hike down the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, then take the road south towards Seward, where you can stay at Exit Glacier Lodge, the ideal outdoors retreat. The staff packs lunch for early-rising fishermen, and those eager to catch king salmon and halibut tag along with Crackerjack Sport Fishing Charters. Prefer climbing instead of fishing? Join the Exit Glacier Guides for ice-climbing lessons and helicopter tours, allowing you to experience the ice at your own pace. On the road to the town of Homer, stop by the RV-accommodating Quartz Creek Campground to challenge the Sockeye Salmon, one of the toughest and most demanding sport fish in all of Alaska. Once you’ve reached Homer, embark on kayak amongst sea lions, orcas, humpback whales, and glaciers. Truly a trip for the bold.
Grand Canyon, Arizona, to Moab, Utah
Vermillion mesa walls blend into crimson valley floors, dotted by olive-green shrubbery. Documenting three-fourths of the earth’s geologic history in its crags and cliffs, the Grand Canyon earns its title as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. For an unforgettable 862-mile expedition through the best canyons in all of the Southwest, traverse the American landscape from the Grand Canyon to Moab, Utah. Starting from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, make your way down the North Kaibab Trail to Ribbon Falls, where you’ll find a shimmering cascade of water. Cross over to Utah and watch for Thunder Mountain Trail, an unparalleled mountain biking route known for tight switchbacks, steep drops, and a 1,200-foot climb. Next, journey to Zion National Park and dodge the crowds with a basic canyoneering course. Hitch your ride at Zion River Resort, an RV park boasting concrete parking pads, grills, and free WiFi, then head out for day excursions to Bryce Canyon National Park, famous for its peculiar hoodoos (cylindrical pillars of stone shaped by erosion). Still yearning for adventure? Drive through Boulder – making sure to stop by Hell’s Backbone Grill for superb Pumpkin Jenchiladas – before touring Capitol Reef National Park’s sprawling display of domes, arches, and canyons. Before wrapping up at Moab and testing out its expansive network of biking trails, camp in the Maze, the most remote region of Canyonlands National Park. Finally, lodge at Moab Under Canvas, a deluxe campground furnished with made-to-order breakfast, hot showers, and even wedding arrangements. For lifelong memories, look no further than the red rocks of the American Southwest.
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