Ever since humanity’s existence began, we have roamed the earth. The purpose of our quests has differed, but almost all of us, at some point in our lives, go out in search of something. Humans have searched for food, water, shelter, discovery, knowledge, other people, solitude, self-realization, adventure, and the list goes on and on. There are no two words in the world of friendships and relationships that can spark quite the same excitement as “ROAD TRIP!” Road trips signify memories, laughter, problem-solving, togetherness, and the kind of fun that cannot be had any other way. Whole movies are dedicated to this rite of passage between friends, families, couples, and even strangers. After the pandemic has kept us all at home more, a lot of people have missed traveling. Even people who would normally not be drawn to roaming have started to feel the pull of the siren call to take a road trip. Our shared humanity reminds us that traveling the earth is what we are made to do, and it is what we have always done. As hope of normalcy looms on the horizon, it is time to plan our trips and embrace our inner wanderer. In the words of J. R. R. Tolkein in the Fellowship of the Ring, “Not all those who wander are lost.” A fitting quote from a story that is essentially a fantastical road trip through Middle Earth. But if it has been a while since your last road trip, you may find yourself unsure of where to go or what to do. You know you need to hit the road, but you need a little inspiration, right? How about five cool road trip ideas? Before we get into the ideas though, there are some road trip tips to keep in mind first.
Road Trip Tips
- Consider a rental car. Make sure you shop around for the best deal as the price will vary from company to company and from location to location. When you have chosen the right rental car company, you will be more confident in getting your road trip started.
- Confirm rental requirements. When you rent your car for your road trip, make sure you know how many miles you are allotted, whether you are to return the vehicle with a full tank or an empty tank, what you are liable for in terms of damages, and what to do in the situation if you experience a breakdown.
- Procure travel insurance. This saves you from worry, and it keeps you covered in the instance that the unforeseen happens. It is better to be safe than sorry.
- Map out your gas stations before you set out. You do not want the most memorable event of your road trip to be how you got sunburned walking 25 miles to get gas. Don’t let that be you.
- Gear up wisely. As the scout motto goes, “Be prepared.” You will want to be sure that you have safety gear, snacks, clothes, and whatever else you will need for a successful road trip. Make a packing list that is specific to your trip, so you will be ready for anything.
- Have fun. With all the planning and prep work you have put in, do not forget to have fun. You are making memories and on your own quest for fun or adventure or whatever motivates you. So, smile and embrace your journey.
Now that you are all set with your road trip tips, where to, right? Remember to think outside your area. The cool thing about modern-day travels is that a plane ticket can set you down in the perfect place to start from and shorten the time it takes to start the fun part of your road trip. So, as you expand your way of thinking about where a road trip can begin, here are five cool road trip ideas to get you started thinking about where you want to go.
5 Cool Road Trip Ideas
1. Lake Lanier in Georgia
Lake Lanier is located just 45 minutes north of Atlanta, Georgia. During the summer months, Lake Lanier is the perfect destination for a quick road trip. You can stay at the Lake Lanier Islands resort, and you’ll be happy to learn that they offer golf, hiking, boating, water sports, a spa, and even beach volleyball. Lake Lanier also has a water park with water slides, a wave pool, and a sandy beach. If you are planning a trip around the winter holidays, do not rule this destination out. Lake Lanier is home to the largest animated light show in the southeast with its Magical Nights of Lights. There is a holiday display of lights that is six miles long!
2. Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
The beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular scenic drives in the United States, and it spans 469 miles. It travels along the southern Appalachian Mountains, and there is never a bad time of year to see and travel through the Appalachian Mountains. Every season offers its own unique beauty and experience. The Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Along your route, you will see amazing sweeping views with breathtaking natural beauty, and you’ll also find your fair share of recreational activities. There are so many notable stops to take along the way, and if your road trip is during the fall, you will have a photo collection worthy of its own Instagram album.
3. The Chattanooga Riverfront in Tennessee
Chattanooga’s riverfront offers a 16-mile riverwalk that has both walking and biking access. The downtown district is easily walked, and it has beautiful landscaping. For art lovers, Chattanooga offers a lot of public art pieces and the Bluff View Art District. One of the most peaceful places to visit on your road trip to Chattanooga is the Tennessee Aquarium, and if you love to visit museums, they offer the Creative Discovery Museum. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink, and you can even catch a minor-league baseball game at the park on the bluff above the downtown area. The famous Chattanooga Choo Choo is a great place to find good food and is now a luxurious hotel where you can stay in one of their vintage sleeping cars if you’re planning to stay overnight.
4. The Ghost Town of Nelson in Nevada
Just a 45-minute drive southeast of the Las Vegas Strip is the ghost town of Nelson, Nevada. The ghost town used to be an old mining town. There are half-rusted cars, crashed airplanes, and rattlesnakes in freezers. Rattlesnakes are common to this part of the country, so you will need to be on the lookout. However, there are lots of cool photography opportunities, and you can take a tour of the gold mine. The gold mine tour goes through Nevada’s richest mine, which operated for almost 80 years before World War II.
5. St. Augustine in Florida
St. Augustine is about a two-hour drive from Orlando, but it is well worth the drive. Known as the “Nation’s Oldest City”, St. Augustine has several historical sites that have been well-preserved. Several forts and ghost enthusiasts will be delighted to find that there are many graveyards to tour and a reportedly haunted lighthouse. St. Augustine has a distillery, an alligator park, a wild reserve for displaced exotic animals, and several museums. Plus, who doesn’t love a day at the beach? These are five great ideas. The biggest problem is picking just one. The best part about each of these destinations is that they are within a reasonable distance from an international airport. So, if you do not live within a reasonable distance from them, you can fly into the airport location nearest your destination, pick your rental car up at the airport, and get your road trip started.
Whether you are ready to stretch your traveling legs after the pandemic, in search of adventure, or just want to reconnect through the time-honored tradition of a good road trip, there are lots of neat destinations to choose from in the United States. Before you go, make sure you freshen up on your road trip tips, pack wisely, and plan your road to making new memories. Above are just five cool road trip ideas, but they are a good place to start as you plan your own road trip. Make sure you do your homework on rental car companies and choose the right one for you, but save the wear and tear on your own vehicle by choosing to rent a car. When you rent a car, you’re not even limited to your area. An inexpensive plane ticket can put you in the perfect place to start your road trip to the place you’re ready to explore.
Sources: The Scientific Reason You Love to Travel | Travel & Leisure Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien | GoodReads Road Trip Packing List | Pack Hacker