With 2015 making the final turn, heading into the home stretch, it occurred to me that I need to use my vacation time and am open to road trip ideas. Not such a bad thing to have in your pocket this time of year! I didn’t know where to start so I asked around and heard some pretty great suggestions here at RightTurn based on the coolest road trips they’ve ever taken.
- Cruise the California Coast
This trip consists of six days bursting with activities and stops at notable California locations. The first stop is San Diego, California. If you find yourself here, nothing beats spending the day at the famous San Diego Zoo. After a long day gazing at majestic wildlife, you can walk along the beach at Del Mar Park.
The next stop is a short, three-hour drive from San Diego. The City of Angels. It is what it is. It’s not like you’re going to go to California, drive up the coast, and NOT stop in L.A. Make the most of it while you’re there.
Five hours of drive time along the picturesque coastline gets you to Big Sur. The Bixby Creek Bridge welcomes you into Monterey, where you can hike on the Jade Cove Trail. After visiting Sand Dollar Beach with gorgeous views to see whales and dolphins, go farther north…
To Big Basin National Park. California’s first State Park, Big Basin has great trails to hike and backpack, including Alpine Lakes Loop, Summit Trail, and the Bristlecone Trails. There are also caverns and caves and mountains at Wheeler Peak to test your outdoorsy endurance without crowds, just solitude.
Then keep heading north toward San Francisco to see its number one tourist attraction — the Golden Gate Bridge. Other attractions include Alcatraz and nearby Napa Valley. For a beautiful city with great views of the water, San Francisco has plenty to offer tourists on a lengthy and sunny road trip.
This trip spanned over 500 miles and nearly 10 hours of driving with stops and time for wrong turns! Good thing the tires were in good working order since they did so much work in such a short amount of time. A Cali-coast road trip takes a ton of planning, but it’s one that is worth your while.
- The Canada Connection
You might want to take time of year into consideration on this trip. Or, if you have the right tires, you just might be able to brave the Canadian winter weather on this trip. From Cleveland, you can zip up to Niagara Falls for a fun and kitschy day trip, complete with a ride on the Maid of the Mist. The heaviness of the endless falling water surges and plunges deep into the pool below for memories that will stand the test of time.
After you’ve had your fill of water, hit Toronto (Canada’s baby New York City) and see some of the exciting arts and culture scene and historic distillery district. Oh, and the CN Tower — it’s tall and has a restaurant at the top!
When you’re done being part of the big city, get your motor running and head up to Muskoka, Ontario to get away from it all. There are plenty of things to do nearby, including golf, museums, snowmobiling, or biking. But mostly you can find areas to camp, fish, and just plain relax. This trip is a total of 405 miles and over 7 hours of drive time from Cleveland to Muskoka.
My favorite road trip is simple. I like to head to Chicago, even for a short weekend visit. The drive can be made in five hours in a straight line from Cleveland. Even after working until 5 p.m. on a Friday, considering it’s on Central Standard Time, you can get there and still have time for fun nighttime activities in your favorite neighborhood. Chicago’s traffic can by very trying, but worth it with all the great areas to hang out in, including Grant Park to see the Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute, or Millennium Park’s Bean. Other touristy stuff includes going to the Navy Pier for a carnival-like experience and a Ferris wheel ride. While you’re downtown, you can always go up to the 103rd floor of the Willis (it’ll always be the Sears to me) Tower and stand in the Skydeck.
If you get tired of the big name, tourism stops, then head to any of Chicago’s hip neighborhoods for shopping, food, and fun. There’s always something to do for everyone in Chicago. It’s the perfect-sized city that’s more robust that Cleveland, but not as overwhelming as New York.
As fun as the destinations are, it’s getting there that’s part of the experience. And as with any fun trip ideas, being prepared is important. And most people only think about checking their car’s oil and they forget about the only thing on their car that touches the road. The car can run in the best condition possible, but it ain’t moving an inch without tires. So make sure you’re ready when the road is calling you.
If you have fun road trip ideas, tell us in the comments below!