Winter seems to be hanging on and if you’re like us, feeling restless and cooped up — it’s time to start planning. There are no set rules on how to plan your epic adventures, but here are a few things to consider:
When and for how long. Get your dates figured out. Where do you want to go, how far a drive is it, and how many days are available for exploring before you need to head back. Decide if driving there will take too much time. It may make sense to fly and then rent a car. It’s easy to plan and test route options using our free roadtrip planner.
The journey is more than half the fun. Enjoy the scenic vistas, hikes, beaches, museums, and historic sites along the way. Using our roadtrip planner, just a click on the map will display Nearby Places of Interest along your route - you never know what gems you’ll discover. If we don’t have content yet in your area - simply add your own places of interest and take advantage of all our trip planning features.
Accommodations. Try to book campsites or hotels as early as possible, especially if you’re traveling during peak summer vacation season to popular destinations. It does take away from the spontaneity - but after spending an entire day driving from campground to campground and ending up in a sketchy hotel many miles away from where we wanted to be (yes, we speak from personal experience) well, you get the picture. Find hotels and campgrounds.
Authentic experience is off the highway. Small towns welcome visitors with cozy amenities, delightful main streets, and friendly locals. Two-lane winding roads through rural landscapes add so much fun to exploring. The "in-betweens" as we call them, are a great opportunity to get a feel for the culture and landscape of the region. As time allows, consider small roads one way and take the highway back.
Is your car road-trip ready? — A roadtrip is not the time you want to see your fix engine soon light go on. Take care of known issues, get an oil change, check brakes and tire pressure, top off all fluids. Make sure your roadside assistance membership is up to date. And always begin your day with a full tank of gas. Check out our list of safety tips.
Printed Directions, GPS or mobile phone? Mobile phones are great for short trips in urban areas but for long roadtrips we recommend an actual GPS unit. That way you’re guaranteed to have connectivity through remote areas and you don’t have to panic when your phone battery suddenly shows 2% left. And directions on paper — they do come in handy. Learn more about exporting your trips.
Be flexible and relax. Don’t be afraid to modify mid-trip. You may hear about a must-see spot (I mean you’re this far already), or find a road that entices you to take it for no reason. You may realize you’re not cut out for that 8-hour non-stop driving stretch, or you’re having so much fun in one area and just want to chill. Don’t get bogged down by that we have to get there attitude, and enjoy wherever you are.
The America the Beautiful — Annual National Park Pass offers 1-year unlimited access to over 2,000 parks managed by the USDA Forest Service (your National Forests), National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the Bureau of Reclamation (USBR).
All those acronyms to say that it’s an amazing value for visiting public recreation lands. The pass pays for itself within 3 visits to National Parks as the average entrance fee is $30 — and makes it easy to visit cultural sites, wetlands, and recreation areas you discover along the way!
Get ready to rock, mountain climb, gush over geysers, and explore our newest scenic drive along the coast of South Carolina. Spring break, summer roadtrip, weekend getaway — head out and explore!
Coconino National Forest/Red Rock District Only: