The Best Road Trips in the U.S.: 6 Must-Do Drives for You & Your Family by Donna John
Summer is around the corner, which means families and friends are planning their vacations and road trips. The April/May issue of AARP The Magazine has six of the best drives – three well known and three off the beaten path – in America for all ages to travel in their RVs and cars. Here are your must-see stops!
Heart of Vermont: Start up Route 7 in the state’s southwest corner. Drive north through postcard-pretty towns such as Rutland and Shelburne. Stay at quaint inns and bed-and-breakfasts. Key stops are the Shelburne Museum for folk art; the Village Creeme Stand in Bristol for a creeme, a Vermont-style soft-serve ice cream. When to go? Summer, fall for the foliage and winter to ski.
South Texas: Starting in El Paso, cruise east on Interstate 10 toward Big Bend National Park. Spend a few days in the park before heading on to San Antonio (visit the Alamo). Wrap up in music city, Austin. Key stops are Alpine, for the Museum of the Big Bend, and Terlingua, an old mining ghost town at the edge of the park. When to go? Choose spring or fall because summer gets steamy.
Lake Michigan: Start in Ludington on Lake Michigan’s east coast, following the shoreline north through beach towns, then along the southern edge of the lushly forested Upper Peninsula (UP). Key stops are Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and Escanaba in the UP for top-notch fishing. When to go? Summer, or fall is a gorgeous time for leisurely leaf peeping and apple picking.
Route 66: When it comes to road trips, it doesn’t get much more American than U.S. Route 66. The legendary highway, which stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles, turned 90 last year. Key stops are Arizona’s Petrified Forest, and “Ugly” pie at the MidPoint Café in Adrian, Texas.
Overseas Highway (Miami to Key West): All the photos in the world of the Overseas Highway can’t do it justice. It’s like driving on top of water. The highway separates the Atlantic on one side from the Gulf of Mexico on the other, spanning a 113-mile chain of islands with 42 bridges, one of them seven miles long. It’s visually intoxicating and peaceful.
Pacific Coast Highway (Los Angeles to San Francisco): California is pretty smug about having it all. Mountains and deserts. Skiing and surfing. Bustling cities and acres of farmland. And no road showcases the state’s contradictory wonders better than California’s State Route 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway. The PCH is one of the most storied stretches of pavement in America, one that any self-ordained road warrior must take on at least once.