Child 1: “Mom, Dad…he’s hitting me…”
Child 2: (Waving hands 2 or 3 inches from sibling’s face) “I’m not touching you. I’m not touching you.”
You turn up the radio in the hopes that you can drown out the backseat madness long enough to answer the next “Are we there, yet?” with an enthusiastic YES!
Ah, yes…it’ll be road trip season soon, which means that within a couple of months, many of us will be setting out on the cross-country journeys that are designed to offer some reprieve from the daily grind of work, traffic, home…rinse and repeat. Granted, by the end of the road trip, I’m sure that we’ll be longing for work as a reprieve from the grind of “I have to go to the bathroom”, stop, repeat…
Road trips have long been an American tradition as they can be easily facilitated, provided that you know where you’re going and what you’ll encounter along the way. We have covered the important elements of preparing for a road trip in another segment, so today, we’ll point out some of the great road trip destinations across the United States.
For our purposes here, we’ve divided the country into four segments, so when we say “Southeast”, for example, remember that it may stretch as far as Arkansas. Got it? Great, let’s get this show on the road, shall we?
The Northeastern United States is rich in history. From the first European settlers to the creation of our government, vacations to this region of the country can be fun for Mom and Dad, while remaining incredibly educational for the kids. Our recommendations include:
Washington, D.C. has several great attractions that can be enjoyable for just about anyone. From the various monuments to the White House and Capitol building, tours can help you “wear out” the kids during the day, while including some perspective that they won’t soon forget! I’d recommend dropping by the Smithsonian, as well. When it comes to documenting American history, few places are better!
Here are a few resource links about Washington, D.C.:
Why did we use a sub-region of a region of our national road trip map? Well, because we don’t have all day here, and there’s plenty to note! From ordering high-quality but cheap (and we mean REALLY cheap) lobster in Maine to enjoying an autumn drive through New Hampshire, you can find something for everyone in New England. Boston, New York City, and a wide variety of attractions are all within striking distance once you make the journey north (or east, depending on where you’re starting from)!
Here are a few links that can help you find attractions in New England:
The southeastern United States is underrated, in my opinion, as a road trip destination. Is that because I spent a large majority of my childhood throughout the region? Yes, yes it is. But the fact remains…if you haven’t visited the South, you HAVE to check it out! Great food, nice people, and unbearable heat always make for a solid trip. Although, with that last point in mind, I’d recommend heading there in the Fall or early Spring.
Charleston, South Carolina
Now, I’ve spent some time in Charleston, and I must say, it is probably my favorite city in the country! But, don’t take my word for it! Nestled on the coast, the downtown vibe feels like you’ve gone back in time. Visitors can stroll through “The Battery”, which is a city park area complete with cannons from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, or take an informative tour of Fort Sumter, which is the location of the first shots fired to begin the American Civil War! Cobblestone streets and a friendly atmosphere make Charleston a great road trip destination. For more information:
Here’s a great video that gives you a brief tour of the city:
Do you like beaches? Do you like great food? Do you like affordable prices? If not, then don’t waste your time going to Florida. If so, read on!
Florida is one of the nation’s most popular retirement destinations for a reason. While many will discuss Miami or Orlando (due to Disney World), we like to remind you that there’s an entire state to explore! Try visiting St. Augustine (on the Atlantic coast) for a nice change of pace that delivers some historical value. Or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, venture out into the “panhandle”, and see what some of the rural Floridians are up to. Either way, Florida is great – and remember, it’s a cliché destination for a reason…because it rocks!
Here are a few links that can help you explore Florida before you embark:
Though the southwestern United States is spread out, it can be a great road trip location for families. The coastal cities like San Diego or San Francisco are beautiful, while some of the other, more rural destinations can provide a unique, educational experience. We all know about the Grand Canyon, and while some may not have visited, going into detail about it just seems a bit redundant. Instead, we’re going to point out a couple of gems that you may not have considered…
Do you love “westerns”? Did you watch Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in “Tombstone” and wanted to see what life was like back then? If you answered “yes” to one or both of these questions, then Tombstone, Arizona is your place! Visitors can enjoy a re-enactment of the OK Corral shootout, while basking in the beautiful, warm weather (provided that you aren’t there in the summer – it’s just brutal, then). It should be noted, however, that Tombstone isn’t very big, so it makes for a great “layover” location on your road trip!
Want some more info? We’re glad you asked:
Interested in a map-making anomaly? You can stand in four states at the same time, when in the right spot! “Four Corners” is a location that is the boundary of Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. The area is quite scenic, and it’s a fun experience for children and adults alike. Navajo culture abounds at this national park, so be sure to take some time to relax and enjoy! For more information, check out the following resource links:
We’ve reached the final quadrant of our cross-country road trip! Still with us? Great! The northwestern United States is ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL if you enjoy outdoor scenery, wooded areas, and of course, some refreshing precipitation. But, there’s a lot more to this region than nature hikes…
Portland, Oregon is a beautiful city located in the northwestern corner of the state. Visitors enjoy scenic drives, a great downtown area that includes shopping and nice restaurants, and of course, the ability to take a quick jaunt into Washington. Outdoor loving families should always consider Portland to be the perfect road trip destination, as the drive can be just as enjoyable as the destination.
Learn more about Portland, OR here:
National monuments are great learning experiences for kids, which is why Mount Rushmore remains one of the most popular family road trip destinations in the country. Located in South Dakota, the mountainous carving of four of the most popular American presidents is truly something to behold. The park is fun and informative, while the surrounding area is gorgeous.
Interested in Mount Rushmore? Check out these links:
The Home Stretch
Well, that’s what we have for you here! Taking road trips can be an incredible experience for the entire family. Sure, they can try your patience, but in the end, anytime we get to spend time with our families while touring some of our country’s hidden gems, we all win.
And, if you want some more information about road trips, watch “National Lampoon’s Vacation”. It’s all in there…