The classic road trip is more popular than ever as we seek ways to explore while staying safe and socially distant. Whether you pile into the family SUV or rent a spacious recreational vehicle, here are five places to hit the open road.
1. Colo-Road Trips
The Colorado Tourism Office has made it easy for road-trippers to explore the state's 24 Scenic & Historic Byways. A new microsite includes an interactive map that enables travelers to explore options by region, interest or season. Travelers seeking inspiration can also access insider tips and side-trip suggestions within more than 150 Colo-Road Trip itineraries, making multiday adventures easy to plan. The flexible itineraries offer suggestions for historic attractions, active adventures, and highlight cultural opportunities. Visitors to the site can also peruse for picnic, dining, hiking and lodging suggestions.
Contact: https://www.colorado.com/colorados-scenic-historic-byways; https://www.colorado.com/colo-road-trips
2. The Beartooth Highway
Visitors who travel this extraordinary byway experience the visual trifecta of Montana, Wyoming and Yellowstone Park, home to the Absaroka and Beartooth mountains. The windy, cliff-hugging 68-mile stretch introduces road explorers to one of the most diverse ecosystems accessible by auto. It's also the highest elevation highway in the Northern Rockies. Stunningly beautiful, the "All-American Road" showcases wide, high alpine plateaus, painted with patches of ice blue glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. Plan for many stops so the driver can take in the long views!
3. California Dreaming
For majestic coastal scenery and seaside breezes, pile in the car for a trip up (or down) our western shore. Begin in ultra-hip Santa Monica, California, and wind your way past the Hearst Castle. Push north to Carmel and then on to the storied city by the bay, San Francisco. Other road trip options in this sun-drenched state include a taco tour, an itinerary that features the best surf spots, or uncover the bizarre attractions you'll find in the California desert by following the state's Amazing Desert Oddities itinerary.
4. Seward Highway, Alaska
The road that connects Anchorage to Seward is a 127-mile treasure trove of natural beauty, wildlife and stories of adventure, endurance and rugged ingenuity. Take a day or several to explore the region that has earned three-fold recognition as a Forest Service Scenic Byway, an Alaskan Scenic Byway and an All-American Road. The drive begins at the base of the Chugach Mountains, hugs the scenic shores of Turnagain Arm and winds through mining towns, national forests and fishing villages as you imagine how explorers, fur traders and gold prospectors might have fared back in the day. Expect waterfalls, glaciers, eagles, moose and some good bear stories.
5. The Lighthouse Trail in Maine
Travel the 375 miles between Kittery and Calais, Maine, visiting lighthouses along the way, and learn about the dangers that seafaring vessels and their crew endured along the craggy Northeastern coast. Hear tales of shipwrecks and ghosts and of the difficult and lonely life led by those who kept the lights burning brightly. If possible, visit the Maine Lighthouse Museum, where artifacts and hands-on exhibits for children provide an enticing break.
Contact: www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.com; www.VisitMaine.com
Lynn O'Rourke Hayes (www.LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com