North America

Spring & Summer Road Trips

Sometimes you just have to get in your car and drive. Read on for our road trip picks for Spring & Summer!

It’s no secret I love a good road trip – the more spontaneous the better – as I have previously written about here. Open road, good tunes, lots os possibilities. The whole experience is freeing and allows you to make all manner of stops, from big destinations, to national parks, and all of the roadies/small town gems along the way. I have found them to be the best way to really get to know a country, especially right here in America (*hear our previous Suitcase sojourn podcast episode on the subject). Make sure you have your apps downloaded to help you along the way (Waze, GasBuddy, TripAdvisor, Yelp, HotelTonight), and have an end destination goal, and have fun getting there. Many of the below are particular to spring because of the many flowers in bloom for the season. Some are our own, and some are pulled from this spectacular Travel + Leisure list.

West Coast

I actually just completed this one – from LA to Seattle! Everyone knows driving the down the west coast is a stunning sight, and it’s on most people’s bucket lists. There are 1,500 miles of wild coastline between the windswept sands of Washington State and the golden beaches of Southern California.

  • Pacific Coast Highway: From Seattle to Portland, on to Redwood National Park, San Francisco, Big Sur, Monterey, Los Angeles, and San Diego, there is no time like the present! If you have time for a detour, don’t forget to read our post about Cambria and Hearts Castle – it’s a must see.
  • Honorable mention goes to California desert stops: LA to Vegas, or Palm Springs & Joshua Tree, or longer still (but epic), The Grand Canyon.
  • Antelope Valley, California: from L.A., drive north to the town of Lancaster via Route 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway). Golden poppies bloom throughout the Mojave Desert region, but the 17,600-acre Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve claims a concentration of California’s state flower
  • Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon: Explore by driving from Portland through the Columbia River Gorge and on to volcanic Mount Hood, complete with waterfalls

East Coast

Everyone with so major cities, there are long stretches of open land to be discovered that do not disappoint.

  • Living in NY for many years, it was always an adventure to head upstate, or over to the cape in Mass
  • Acadia All American Road, Maine: The 27-mile Park Loop Road segment follows the high ridges of Bar Harbor down to Sand Beach and Otter Cliff and loops inland along Jordan Pond
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway, Maryland and Virginia: This green parkway reveals one floral show after another—591 wildflower species, from large-flowered valerians to Virginia bluebells—as you drive from the Great Falls of the Potomac through D.C. and south to Mount Vernon (And yes, there are cherry trees)
  • Merritt Parkway, Connecticut: Stretching from the New York–Connecticut state line up to the town of Milford, CT, the Merritt Parkway remains one of America’s oldest and prettiest parkways with 69 historic bridges and surrounding meadows

 

The South

In an effort to learn more about The South, I have taken a few road trips through different areas, but found May to be the perfect weather month too go (still not to hot or humid, and everything is in glorious bloom).

  • I wrote about one of my favorite trips – New York to New Orleans – here before, which I highly recommend. Zig zagging across those many states (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, turned out to be my favorite road trip yet! Also noteworthy…
  • Texas Hill Country Bluebonnet Tour:  start in Austin and take U.S. 290 west to Johnson City’s lovely Wildflower Loop. Then hightail it along U.S. 281 N to the town of Burnet, flowers galore!
  • Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, South Carolina: This National Scenic Byway sticks to an early Native American trail, through the low Piedmont Hills past waterfalls, covered bridges, and brook
  • Louisiana Great River Road: Follow the Mississippi River through a winding route from Baton Rouge through Creole Country to New Orleans. Look out for former sugar plantations and majestic antebellum plantation houses

Wild West

Also previously mentioned, was my last trip through Colorado + New Mexico, as well as Montana & Wyoming, were magnificent. These types of trips are much more about nature and national parks, and should absolutely be experienced at some point in your life.

Boulder

Author: Carrie Mitchell

Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)