We hope you had a chance to explore fall’s incredible palette of color on one of our scenic drives or on a trip created using our Road Trip Planner.
Since our last newsletter, we added a number of handy new features to the site and road trip planner and have been steadily bringing out new scenic drives. We are especially happy to launch the New Hampshire scenic drives we drove this summer. Winding roads, breathtaking scenery, wow! And to make your travels easier, we now sell White Mountain National Forest Passes.
Free entrance to National Parks and National Forests on Nov 11-13
The final fee-free days for 2011 are coming up. Mark your calendar and take advantage of free entrance to the National Parks and many National Forests, including the Southern California National Forest and Coconino National Forest in honor of Veterans Day Weekend, Nov 11-13. Planning ahead? Next one is Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend, January 14-16, 2012.
Holiday Special — Free Shipping on America the Beautiful Annual Pass
Got a nature lover, road-tripper, avid hiker or camper on your holiday list? An America the Beautiful Annual Pass makes a fabulous gift, offering one-year of unlimited access to over 2,000 parks across the U.S. And until December 31, 2011, we’re giving you free shipping.
With winter season approaching quickly, be aware that some roads are closed in winter and the weather can be unpredictable. Please check for road closures and conditions before heading out, have a full tank of gas, and allow a little extra driving time for safe and happy travels.
Now in New Hampshire
Growing up in New Hampshire, I’ve had the chance to explore many of New England’s back-roads and locally-known “secrets”. I’ve been looking forward to adding New England to myscenicdrives.com since we launched a year-and-half ago, so it gives me great pleasure to announce the first set of scenic drives in New Hampshire.
White Mountain National Forest Passes are required to park at trailheads and some day-use areas. These fees help support and maintain high-quality recreation facilities. Save time by purchasing yours online before heading out.
Beginning with a few of the classics, these are the “must-see” roads of New Hampshire — and of course there’s more to come. Let us know your favorites.
Find new Scenic Drives with our Side Trips and Map Surfer
We’re always developing new ways to help you find scenic drives and plan road trips. Our latest features make it easy to find side trips and get inspiration by interacting with our maps.
Some of the best experiences are short side trips off our main scenic drives. And sometimes (thanks to your suggestions!), we hear about a great road but have not had the time to put together the full description and interactive map that you have come to love from us.
Until now, these gems have been in a feature we call Side Trips, which you may have noticed in our Recommended Stops or when using our Road Trip Planner.
Today, we unleash side trips to a more prominent position on our main, State maps page. Click “Show Side Trips” in the green bar above the map and voila — yellow square icons appear on the map. When you hover your mouse over the icons, it will provide details about the scenic route.
You can easily add these side trips to your road trip plan or get directions by clicking on the link that appears when you hover. Keep in mind that Side Trips do not have turn-by-turn directions, so you may want to print out a copy of the Side Trip.
Zooming and Panning on the State Overview Maps
Our maps are automatically adjusted to ensure that the entire drive or state is displayed, and sometimes, that’s small. We have always included the ability to click “Expand Map” so users can zoom and pan in our Drives and Places of Interest, but our state overview maps didn’t have that… until today.
Now after choosing a State, you can zoom and pan to highlight particular areas on the overview map. Used with our new Side Trips feature, finding the perfect scenic drive is easier than ever.
Need inspiration for your cross-country road trip? Not sure what’s on the way? Use our Map Surfer!
Don’t miss out on great roads close to where you’re already traveling. Choose a state, click “Map Surfer” from the green bar across the top of the map and once enabled, more of our scenic drives will appear when you pan and zoom on the map. Add the scenic drives that catch your eye to our Road Trip Planner and you’re ready to hit the road.
Road Trip Planner Updates
Many of the changes we do to improve your experience on myscenicdrives.com take place behind the scenes, with little fanfare. But we do want to share the excitement of some of the larger features just added to our Road Trip Planner.
Planning your Activities
Imagine you are planning a road trip to San Francisco and intend to spend a few days exploring. Perhaps friends have mentioned museums or restaurants you shouldn.t miss. With our previous version, you would have to add them as a specific stop on your road trip plan or make notes.
Now with Activities, you can simply add these items to your San Francisco stop. Click on Activities to expand the menu and drag any existing stops or search results into Activity. Activities are just like regular stops, except that we do not provide directions to them and they are not scheduled, but they will be exported to your GPS as places of interest (for all devices that support them) and will be on your printout.
Activities are presently not available on iPad and Mobile devices.
Improved Printed Directions
We’ve updated the printed directions to make them even easier to use.
Instead of just offering a list of stops, we now provide a rich overview that summarizes your travels for each day. At a glance, you know how far you’re traveling and which stops you will see along the way, allowing you to ensure that you have enough time to visit each one.
The printed map is now on a separate page and larger than before. This is especially useful for longer trips.
We are now including the stop number in the driving directions, allowing you to quickly reference the directions with the maps. This number system is also included in the user interface as well. And you now have the option to print out each day’s travel on a separate page. While this can be really useful for long trips, we also encourage you to consider the environment before enabling it :).
To Do Lists
The new To Do List guides you through the Road Trip Planner by making it simple to get directions, highlighting days with very few hours of driving, reminders for finding overnight accommodations, and more helpful suggestions to come.
Have something you’d like us to check or remind you? Let us know!
To Do Lists are presently not available on our mobile editions.
Improved Route Optimizations
If you are planning a cross-country road trip, more than likely you have many stops planned. We’ve now improved the way we calculate the optimal routes and even the most complex routes are optimized in several minutes. Don’t need such a fine-tuned plan right away? Our Rough Optimizer is not 100% precise, but provides a rough idea in seconds.
Some of our smaller features this month:
- We’ve added the ability to create trips without our From/To wizard by selecting . This feature is partially a power-user feature, but it is also handy for when you want to search for destinations using our Finder.
- We have also added a Vehicle Type option to the Trip Properties which will help us develop specific features and routes in the future.
Our favorite features are the ones you suggest, so keep them coming.
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina