Monday, March 28, 2011

Top East Coast USA Road Trip Destinations

The east coast of the USA was made for driving. From Maine to Florida, you'll experience big cities, small towns, National Parks, beautiful beaches, and some of America's best known historical sites. It's one of the most popular road trip routes in the USA, and it's easy to navigate. Here are some of the highlights that you'll experience on an east coast road trip:

Acadia National Park
This stunning Maine coastal National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, in northern Maine. It is one of the few east coast destinations that has mountains on the water. From here, you can witness what most consider the first sunrise of the east coast, Cadillac Mountain. Pristine ponds and winding backroads take you to luscious Maine forests and rugged coastline that stretches for miles. This should be a must-see on your trip to Maine.

The hub of New England, Boston isn't just a town full of sports rivalries and old statues. It's a great place to eat, walk around, and enjoy history. Even if history isn't your thing, you'll be able to soak up amazing food in the North End, experience great shopping on Newbury Street, or take a scenic harbor lighthouse tour to some of the most breathtaking lighthouses in America. There are also a lot of beautiful hotels in Boston to choose from (you should really stay at a nice place in this city - it's worth it).

Times Square - Yellow Cab
New York City Times Square Cabs - Print from AllPosters

New York
It's difficult to get "in and out" of New York City, and it can be a maddening experience for those that haven't driven amongst the local New Yorkers before, so be sure that you're up for an adventure before you plan out this trip! If you're up for a challenge, New York has some the best food and some of the most famous views and attractions in the world. Since most bypass New York on a road trip in favor of more car friendly destinations, we're going to pass on to the next city (though you should really visit sometime!).

Some have described similarities between Boston and Baltimore before, and they wouldn't be entirely incorrect. Both cities share a deep history with roots from Colonial times, both share historical memories from famous leaders, and they both have some of the most intact cobblestone streets from the "old days". This city is only 26 miles from Washington DC, but boasts its own set of attractions you shouldn't miss out on like the National Aquarium and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Washington DC
Our nation's capitol is a city that's all about being free. No, not freedom and liberty, we're talking about free admissions! It's incredible how many amazing museums and national treasures are absolutely free to see, and can't beat anything else in the USA. From the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument to the Smithsonian, it's all free, and all unbelievably cool.

There's so much to do and see in Florida, it's hard to sum it up in one paragraph, but here goes nothing... the sunshine state has more beaches than anywhere else in the USA. It's also the warmest state in the United States, and can brag about it's world class cities like Tampa and Miami, but also it's tropical destinations like Key West and Naples. The driving aspect of Florida is really a treat. Try taking scenic Route 1 along the coast to catch a closer glimpse in towns like Daytona Beach, the Florida Keys, and Fort Lauderdale.

The east coast has many more great destinations in South Carolina like Myrtle Beach, Savannah, Georgia, and the Outer Banks. For these small towns and regions, you'll have to leave the major highway and hit the all American backroads. Ready for the journey?
Plan Your East Coast Road Trip Here

Monday, July 26, 2010

Massachusetts to Oregon Road Trip

On this blog, you may have seen some of the popular road trip routes that run east to west or west to east, but one of the most exciting of them all is the northern road trip route. This route is very straight in appearance, but actually serves as the "mother road" to see the bulk of the northern United States. The name of this road? Well, there's two roads really. I-90 and I-80 serve as the main interstates that connect the states of Massachusetts and Oregon. A Massachusetts to Oregon road trip will take approximately 5 days, but comfortably, about 12 days.

This route also has little side detours like Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Badlands National Park, the city of Chicago, Cleveland, Utah, and if you have time, the state of Washington. You can start in Cape Cod, or you can start in Maine, if you have the time. This route is also especially scenic during the fall months, making it one of these some of the best fall road trip destinations.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cape Cod Road Trip: From Bourne to Provincetown

cape cod

Cape Cod was practically made for road trips. The mere mention of Cape Cod to some travellers is synonymous with road trip. Sure, there’s beaches, hikes, and bike paths that are only accessible via foot or bike, but the drive to Cape Cod and through Cape Cod is especially memorable. Just drive on by the sand dunes between Truro in Provincetown, the backroads that lead to Nauset Lighthouse in Eastham, or take the “mother road” of all routes on Cape Cod, Old King’s Highway, and you’ll know exactly why Cape Cod is prime road trip territory.

Planning a Cape Cod road trip is just like any other road trip, except for a couple of things. First, you have to keep in mind that many Cape Cod beaches are private. The ones that aren’t private are going to charge you a fee to use the beach, which can really add up over a week’s stay. That means you’ll need cash (credit isn’t accepted at most of them). Next, the speed limit all over Cape Cod is low, even on the main route, Route 6. There are also cops all over Cape Cod’s backroads and on Route 6 clocking people, so watch your speed. Tickets can be very expensive, and speeding, cocky tourists are just what Cape Cod police are on the lookout for! Lastly, know that things close early on Cape Cod. Plan to eat at normal times, this isn’t New York City. Many of the restaurants on Cape Cod are also fairly expensive, even for “regular” American food like hot dogs and hamburgers. Keep this in mind, and maybe pack a cooler and visit a grocery store to save some cash. Also, don't forget about the road trip essentials to keep you entertained and happy.

Some must-see places on your Cape Cod road trip:

The Cape Cod Canal

Some people whizz right by one of Cape Cod’s best scenic destinations. It's located in the town of Bourne, and is the unofficial gateway to the Cape. Yeah, sure, it’s man-made, but it also has 7 miles of bike paths on each side of the canal, and has a lot of interesting boat traffic that comes and goes on the canal. The Cape Cod Canal is located right on Route 6, you can’t miss it if you’re headed to the Cape. The best parking areas are by the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge and the Bourne Scenic Park area, which is in between the Sagamore and Bourne bridges.

Old King’s Highway

This departs from Route 6 as Route 6A, travelling through the towns of Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, and Orleans. Along the route, you’ll find art galleries, antique shops, craft stores, town centers, furniture stores, old Cape Cod homes, and tucked away views of Cape Cod Bay. Venture off the main road to find some real coastal beauty at Yarmouth Port and along the shores of Brewster.

Route 28

This isn’t the most scenic road on Cape Cod, but at certain points, it does lead to some real stunning Cape Cod beauty on the Nantucket Sound. Between Hyannis and Chatham, you’ll find miles of public and private beaches. Bust out the map and travel up and down the backroads along the southern shore of Cape Cod to find hidden beaches and seaside views of marshes, wildlife, and beautiful shoreside homes. Route 28 itself, however, can be very congested in the summer, so keep this in mind for when you’re planning your trip. Weekdays are often far less congested than weekends.

Route 6, Between Orleans and Provincetown

While Route 6 is the furthest inland you can get on most of Cape Cod, it gets quite beautiful once you hit the Orleans Rotary. After that point, you’ll reach the towns of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown, or the Outer Cape region. This is where the Cape gets really interesting. The east facing beaches of these towns have the most rugged surf on Cape Cod, while on the west side, the beaches are a lot calmer. These Cape Cod Bay, or west facing beaches, are perfect for a relaxing day with kids and family. For surfers, people looking for beaches without kids, and beautiful sunrises, then the Atlantic Ocean facing beaches are more suited for you. The beaches in these towns are all located off of Route 6, and no more than two miles from it. Some of the most popular ones are Marconi Beach, Rock Harbor, and Nauset Light Beach.

The Backroads of Provincetown

There aren’t that many roads in Provincetown, but the few that do run through town are especially impressive. A drive down Race Point Beach Road seems like you’re on an island far away from Massachusetts. The road offers views of Race Point Light, which can be seen in the distance at points. If you’re feeling really adventurous, walk out the two miles to the light from the side of the road. At the end of Race Point Beach Road, is… you guessed it, Race Point Beach. This beach is one of the best on Cape Cod, and has outstanding views. The sand on the beach is also pure white, and there’s plenty of boat traffic nearby to gaze out upon.

Here’s some recommended reading before and after your next Cape Cod trip:
* Things to do on Cape Cod
* Towns of Cape Cod
* Top Ten Places to See on Cape Cod

If you're travelling from the west coast, you might find this guide useful:
* Boston to California Road Trip

Friday, January 15, 2010

Palm Springs Road Trip

Greetings from Palm SpringsPalm Springs, California is the perfect destination for a road trip for California residents, Arizona residents, or if you're on your way to Las Vegas. Located about 95 miles east of Los Angeles, the Coachella Valley region which contains the famous desert community of Palm Springs is easily accessible via Interstate 10. From I-10, Highway 111 forms a convenient belt loop around the biggest towns of the valley. Here are some of the towns located in the valley:

Palm Springs:
The glue that holds the valley together, Palm Springs is the hub of Coachella Valley, but located furthest east and closest to Mount San Jacinto. Home to many famous celebrites in the 50's, 60's and up until today, the town features a star studded sidewalk of Hollywood stars (much like Hollywood Boulevard, but much safer). Palm trees line the streets of the beautiful desert homes in this town, and are even available for rent by some of the owners.

Further down Palm Canyon Drive, you'll come across the Indian Canyons. These natural surroundings are an oasis of palms set against the backdrop of the beautiful San Jacinto Mountains. Hiking trails lead you through the 3 major canyons, Andreas, Palm and Murray Canyon. The Agua Caliente tribe is the largest land owner in the town of Palm Springs.

Further down the road on Highway 111, you'll find the following towns:
* Rancho Mirage
* Cathedral City
* Palm Desert
* Indian Wells
* La Quinta
* Idyllwild (this town is actually located not on Highway 111, but further up the mountains on Pines to Palms Highway)

La Quinta Golf Course, California, USA

Palm Springs and Palm Desert are the largest resort communities within the Coachella Valley area. Palm Desert seems a bit more updated, while downtown Palm Springs has an old school, 40s/50s/60s feel to it. If you're headed to Palm Springs, the heat is considered unbearable by some in the peak summer, being in the high 90s to even 110 F and up. In the winter, temperatures are much more mild, in the 70s and 80s during the day. Nights all year round are much cooler.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Best Fall Road Trip Destinations

fall foliageFall is one of the best times of year to take a road trip. While some areas will have colder temperatures and even snow, the crowds are less, the temperature is perfect for walking, and the foliage lights up the hillsides, mountains, small towns, and big cities alike. However, not all fall road trip destinations are created equal! Some destinations are harder to get to in the later fall months because of snow, like Yellowstone and Yosemite. Here, we'll list five of the best fall road trip destinations you should consider taking a road trip to this fall season, for their accessibility, brilliant foliage, or lack of huge crowds!

Key West Sunset1. Key West. When the going gets tough, head the furthest south you possibly can in the United States to the beautiful Florida Keys! Key West is the final Key in this island chain, boasting an average temperature of 77-88F during the fall! It also has some of the best bars you'll ever visit, period.

2. New England. Sure, it's typical of fall, and it can sometimes be crowded when leaf peepers crowd the skinny backroads of New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Mass, but there's beautiful foliage to see in other spots in New England, like Western Massachusetts, the Connecticut Valley, and along the shores of Rhode Island. Enjoy the less busy weekends along the coast, while experiencing the fall foliage of the Granite State (that's New Hampshire) and the Green Mountains on the weekdays. You'll miss the crowds, and enjoy cheaper rates.

3. Zion National Park. Zion experiences a beautiful burst of color during the early fall season. Yellow birch trees and beautiful fir trees provide outstanding contrast against the flowing, cool waters of the Virgin River, and majestic mountains surrounding the river. Head here before the end of October, when chances of snow start to increase, and the temperatures really start to plummet! You might think Utah is a state that stays warm for much of the year, but the roads can be very difficult to navigate during the cold weather months as snow blankets the highways of high elevation towns and cities.

fall central park4. New York City. I can't think of a better time of year to head to the Big Apple than autumn. In the summer, traveling around the city can be unbearable. In the fall, the air seems cleaner, cooler, and much more enjoyable for a walk through Central Park or in Times Square. You'll also see less crowds (until after Thanksgiving), and less waits. Not much of a city driver? Manhattan is just a train ride away from many cities in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Upstate New York.

5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tennessee and North Carolina both have bragging rights to the South's sublime scenery of the Smoky Mountains. Greens flip to yellows, then transition to oranges and reds throughout the elevations, as a mist creeps up the mountainsides, providing some of the most dramatic scenery you'll ever experience. For a real treat, drive the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This tremendous road drives through two National Parks, and traverses 469 miles of America's favorite natural scenery.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Boston to California Road Trip

boston to california road trip
Left: Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, Boston
Photographic Print

Boston to California, are you nuts? Driving from Mass to California will take roughly five days of continuous 8 hour driving per day, but more comfortably, will take about a week. If you live in Massachusetts or California, you're in luck, because you're in the perfect area to drive to via road trip. You'll get to see the best the country has to offer and you can switch up your driving route on the way back to see a whole new set of destinations.

So what will you see along this route?

Starting in Boston, you'll see the Berkshires of Massachusetts along I-90, the upstate part of New York, which is close to the Hudson River Valley, the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, and Niagara Falls, and you'll have the option to either drive through Canada above Lake Ontario or south of it. Go south and you'll drive through the Cleveland, Ohio, and right underneath Michigan into Indiana (be sure to stop at the Indiana Sand Dunes!). This should take two days, or more if you're planning on spending some time in any of the local areas (which you should).

Further west, you'll drive through the city of Chicago and into the heartland. This is where the trip might get a little bit boring. From a few miles outside of Chicago to South Dakota and Nebraska, you'll drive through endless corn fields and farmlands. My suggestion would be to make these long driving days if you can handle it, since there's not much to do around (sorry Nebraska and Iowa) these areas.

After much driving, you'll approach a recognizable crinkle in the earth. The land will start to slope upwards as you head up I-90 towards the Badlands area of the United States. The Badlands is kind of like a dividing line between the grassy, flat farmlands and the wide open, dusty, hilly, yet interesting terrain of the west. Progressively the landscape gets more mountainous as you head further west. Consider it a foreshadowing of the western scenery to come.

Further to the west in South Dakota lies Mount Rushmore, along with the Black Hills region. This area is very close to the Wyoming border, and again the elevation starts to rise up from the flat lands to the east. As you cross over to Wyoming, you'll be near the famous Devil's Tower National Monument. This monument you would recognize from Close Encounter's of the Third Kind. It's slightly off the main path, but worth the drive out. The famous biker rally, Sturgis, is also nearby.

Grand Teton with Barn
Grand Teton with Barn
Art Print

Head west again and you'll find Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. These two parks are amongst the best in the United States, known for their geysers, amazing mountain scenery, bison herds, and spectacular landscape of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. If you're staying in the area, Jackson Hole is a nice town to spend a few days and enjoy the scenery. It's also central to many of the attractions nearby.

You're getting close to California at this point, but you've still got a few more states to pass through. Heading southwest, you'll pass through Utah. This state is a road trip in itself, so you'll have to decide whether you have more time to spend in this incredible state.

Last stop before California: Nevada. Don't let the state fool you, it's one of the biggest in the country and can take a sizable amount of time to travel through. On the north side of the state, you'll find Lake Tahoe and Reno, to the south, Death Valley, Las Vegas, and Great Basin National Park. Like Utah, there's a lot to see in this state, but they are very spread out. Plan accordingly!

Finally, last stop, California. California is an easy vacation, with vineyards, sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, beautiful National Parks, desert cities, Disneyland, Hollywood, the list goes on and on. The best approach to seeing the most in California is to break it down into two mini road trips. Start in the northern section and pinpoint what you'd like to see. Make a circular tour arcing back towards the coast, and travel south. In the southern portion of the state, also take the arc approach. Once you pass below Santa Barbara, you can plan to head southeast towards Palm Springs, then back to the southwest towards San Diego, and back north to Los Angeles. Then, if you have time, you can take the southern road trip route home to see a whole new set of destinations.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Head to Utah and Experience A Drive Like No Other

Utah the Unique
Right: Utah the Unique
Art Print

Utah was made for driving and road trips. It's backcountry like no other, with unparalleled views of canyons, rivers, overlooks, mountains, Bighorn Sheep, winding roads, sandstone arches, hoodoos, eagles, coyotes, archaeology and small towns. A road trip to Utah is also the best way to see the state.

If you're flying in, you're probably going to be headed into Salt Lake City, the largest city in the state. The city is set against the backdrop of some beautiful mountains, nestled into a valley, with dry salt beds and the Great Salt Lake to the west.

Rock Formations on a Landscape, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA
Rock Formations on a Landscape, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah, USA
Photographic Print

Utah also has some of the best National Parks to choose from in the entire country, like Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce, Zion and Arches. These five National Parks are all located in the southern portion of the state, and can be driven to within just a few hours drive between each destination.

The best time to visit? Spring and fall are less crowded, and less hot. Summer temperatures are nearly unbearable for many visitors, with 100 degree temps a regular occurrence. Visit in Fall for incredible foliage, and spring for gushing rivers and snow capped mountains.

Also nearby, you may want to check out the Grand Circle region, which Utah is a part of.