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.