Family vacations are back in style it seems. According to data provided by the American Automotive Association, almost 80% of Americans are planning to hit the highway for a road trip this year.
So the real question here is where should you go exactly? For Americans, the options are essentially endless across the 50 states. Thanks to a number of factors, like the weather, gas prices and the number of national parks, some places lend themselves to read trips better than others.
If you’re planning to have a good old American road trip this year, we’re here to help you narrow down your choice, by listing the five best states in the United States for road trips coast to coast.
The state’s iconic Rout 1 may have taken a huge hit this year with bridge upkeep closing large sections of the legendary highway, but this still doesn’t mean that you should avoid California this year by any means. California is tied with North Carolina as the state with most scenic bypasses and it’s the state with most areas designed as national parkland, so there’s still much to see here. If you need any inspiration, just check out these 10 California road trips.
Recently, Wallet Hub ranked Minnesota as the happiest state in the United States, and if that isn’t a good reason to visit, nothing is. Basically, this road trip will surely make you smile. You can go on a trip from Duluth up the North Shore for a classic Minnesota experience. Along the way, you’ll be memorized by the views of Lake Superior before you eventually hit the boarder. If you’re traveling without a passport, you can go west and see the Superior National Forest and see the beautiful lakes and mountain views.
Texas is huge – clocking in at almost 270,000 square miles – so it’s not surprising that the state has so much to offer. First, you have a ton of road to cover, but luckily for you, we have a few suggestions that will make Texas a bit less overwhelming. Make sure to visit Lockhart, the small town that has possibly the best barbecue in the world and if you want to try some expensive wines, just drive down Highway 290 between Austin and you come across a number of high quality wineries.
4. North Carolina
Here we have a state that has one of the most well-known and iconic road trips in the country, which tops most “bucket-list road trip” lists online – the Blue Ridge Parkway – that runs for more than 400 miles through NC and Virginia. If you plan on visiting North Carolina, you should make the “craft beer nirvana” Ashville your home base – just make sure to drive through rainy and misty mountains with extreme caution. Moreover, don’t forget to leave your vehicle and take a few hikes on this trip – you simply can’t miss the hikes to Blowing Rock and Chimney Rock.
The main reason we’ve put Washington at the end of our list are the state’s gas prices – they are actually among the highest in the United States. However, if you have some extra money to spend this year, the gas prices shouldn’t stop you from exploring Washington. The state is actually of exciting sites – for instance, you have the temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park, perhaps the most well-known active volcano at Mt. St Helens National monument and of the highest mountains in the country Mt. Rainier that stands at amazing 14,000 feet.
Preparing for a Road Trip
Although the economy has managed to bounce back successfully,as Time reports, gas prices have spiked nationwide after Hurricane Harvey, so things aren’t actually ideal if you want save some money.
As a matter of fact, a road trip may end up costing you much more than you initially expected, if you don’t plan things out carefully. If you decide to go camping but want to pack light, you could opt for something like a rooftop tent from Tuff Stuff Overland or other companies like it. This could prevent you from having to book yourself an overpriced hotel/motel room and enable you to experience the wilderness as well. Therefore, preparing for a road trip beforehand could let you have the kind of fun you intended to.
So, if you’re looking to have both, an extensive and low-cost trip, you have to do some planning ahead.
Planning a budget
First, you have to determine the number of miles you’ll cover on your trip, and then see how much money you’ll need for gasoline. This will probably be your biggest expense. Just use an app like AAA’s Fuel Calculator, which allows you to see the costs of gas by entering the starting point, destination and the model of your car.
In addition to car insurance, you should do a general checkup of your vehicle before you depart. Therefore, check your fluid levels, lights battery and tires. And if anything needs fixing, don’t be afraid to spend some extra cash – for instance, if you have any problems with your breaks, go with a dependable manufacturer such as DBA to have a worry-free trip.
Once you plan your route and fix your car, you’ll be able to see how much money you can spend on things like logging and food. Nonetheless, you should download apps like Living Social and Groupon to find good deals for restaurants and apps such as Priceline to find cost-effective accommodations.
The variety of US topography and geography provides a view of every landscape imaginable – from lakes to oceans for everyone out there that has the means to travel by car. Deciding to hit the road is easy and for most people, deciding where to go is a bit more complicated – especially they working with a modest budget.
If you’re still overwhelmed by the prospect of paying for a vacation, you should consider driving somewhere a few hours outside of your city. In some cases, even the mere thought of escaping the city is enough to make your spirit soar. And don’t worry, you’ll probably be able to visit all of these states from our list at some point, after all, time is not your enemy.