If you’re thinking of heading out on the road this summer, you’re not alone. In 2012 a vast majority of travelers used their cars to get to their summer vacation destination. How much of a majority? Close to 90% according to AAA. With airfares still high, it’s much cheaper to travel by car, especially for families.
The next question to consider is where to go. Below are a few ideas for a summer road trip that you can propose to your family. If you want to ensure a successful trip, you need to involve the entire family in the planning. While you may not be able to give everyone their first choice trip, you may be able to let everyone choose one favorite activity along the way. That way everyone will be invested in the enjoying the trip.
Rather than choosing a single destination, consider targeting a region of the US and making a true road trip where you visit several different cities and attractions in a specific area. New England offers a mix of big cities and small towns with a lot of historical landmarks. The western US has a plethora of national parks as well as outdoor activities and even some old mining towns. Other regions with lots to offer include the Gulf Coast, the Great Lakes, the California Coast, The Pacific Northwest and the South.
Here are just a few attractions that you could fit into a road trip through the Southwest/Western US:
- Phoenix, AZ
- Red Rocks of Sedona
- Grand Canyon
- Monument Valley
- Valley of the Gods
- Hoover Dam
- Las Vegas, NV
Another popular way to spend a summer vacation with the kids is to design a route filled with historical landmarks or museums and cultural sites. Traveling to Civil War battle sites or the art galleries of New England are theme vacations, but so is attending games at all the major league baseball stadiums in driving distance or driving to all the major theme parks in southern California.
Here are a few other ideas for theme vacations:
- roadside attractions on Route 66
- Rocky Mountain mining towns
- cowboy attractions in the Great Plains
- tribal landmarks in the southwest
For those who are tired of staycations but don’t have the money for a full-on vacation, consider planning a series of day trips to attractions in your area. Virtually every state has its own interesting destinations and most people are too busy dreaming of faraway trips to visit their own backyard. Just ask New Yorkers how many have been to the Statue of Liberty and how many people in Boston have walked the Freedom Trail.
While going to attractions in your own town counts as a staycation, driving one or two towns over or taking a day or overnight trip to a nearby lake, park, or beach is definitely a “road trip.” This is easier than it seems because most towns have something that they are known for or want to be known for and you can go check it out, whether it’s a museum, a factory tour or the deepest natural well in the US.
A little imagination, a few tanks of gas, and a desire to have a good time are all that’s really needed to plan a fun and memorable family road trip this summer. Enjoy!