The 13 Best U.S. Road Trips, According to T+L Editors
From the Pacific Coast Highway in California and the High Road to Taos to routes through the Northeast and American Southwest, these are our favorite U.S. road trips. The appeal for others lies in setting out for the unknown, with the possibility of discovery and (mis)adventure around the next bend. After all, when the urge to travel strikes, hitting the road is the most spontaneous way to get your fix. Even a day trip can refresh your perspective. While routes through California and the Northeast left a big impression on the T+L staff, so did the chance to get behind the wheel in the American Southwest.
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There is a lot to love about Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ve lived here for a couple of years now, and I’m always finding new hidden gems. While learning how to travel during coronavirus, I’ve realized that most (if not all) of my travel throughout the rest of 2020 will be domestic. This means I get to explore more of the places near home I’ve yet to see and revisit my favorite spots.
Today, I’m walking through four underrated spots within a four-hour drive from Charlotte.
Solo travelers share how they'll explore the world after lockdown, and it involves more nature adventures and bucket-list trips
Some solo travelers told Insider that they are eager to hop on the next flight out of the country, while others have no desire to travel anytime soon.Brooke Saward recently posted a photograph in Barcelona, Spain, even though she hasn't left her home in South Africa for months.
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Looking for a mountain escape? Try Boone, North Carolina
Driving time: Two hours © The Points Guy You’ll get a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Mile High Swinging Bridge in Boone, North Carolina. (Photo by sshepard/Getty Images)
If you’re looking for a mountain getaway, Boone is an excellent choice. It’s a short two-hour drive from Charlotte, and it has pretty much everything you could want out of a quiet weekend getaway.
During the summertime, you can go hiking, kayaking, fishing, ziplining. Boone is also home to Grandfather Mountain and Mile High Swinging Bridge — the highest suspension footbridge in America.
But in my opinion, it’s best in the winter. It’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains, perfect for skiers and snowboarders looking for a closer getaway than Vail this season.
7 Best West Coast Road Trips in the U.S.
Lively cities, charming coastal towns, beautiful beaches, rugged national parks, and more await. Stretching from San Diego, California, to Blaine, Washington, the West Coast of the United States encompasses over 1,370 miles from top to bottom. With so much beauty lying in between, including striking mountains, stunning national parks, and of course, the sparkling Pacific Ocean, this region is best experienced on the road, with a good number of detours to explore what lies inland, too.
Need a relaxing beach weekend? Check out Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Driving time: Three and a half hours © The Points Guy One of my favorite beaches within driving distance of Charlotte is Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. (Photo by Chad_Talton/Getty Images)
When you think of Carolina beaches, your first thought is probably Myrtle Beach. And while that is a popular tourist spot, I’ve always been a bigger fan of Wrightsville Beach farther north. The water is cleaner and the beaches are generally a little less crowded.
Related reading: Is now a good time to plan a trip to the beach?
There are plenty of places to rent right on the beach. But with Wilmington just a few miles away and plenty of public access points, you can also find lodging in town without sacrificing beach access.
Those interested in WWII history can also explore the Battleship North Carolina, which is docked along the Cape Fear River.
Going on drive-thru dates during the COVID-19 pandemic has rekindled my love of fast food
"While staying with my in-laws during the COVID-19 pandemic, drive-thrus became the only viable option for a dinner date with my husband."As I got older, my tastes became more sophisticated: cheese-laden roast beef sandwiches from Arby's, the Wendy's suite of loaded baked potatoes, and Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza became my new loves. I learned to tolerate chopped onions on my hamburgers, though it was decades before I came around on mustard.
Interested in unique breweries? Hit up Asheville, North Carolina
Driving time: Two hours and 15 minutes © The Points Guy The Omni (Photo by Caitlin Riddell/The Points Guy)
Fun fact: Asheville has the most breweries per capita in the United States. But the small town has a lot more to offer than just the great beer scene (though if you’re in town, I highly recommend getting a flight at Wicked Brews)
You’ll find plenty of unique shops to visit downtown — including one of my favorite independent book stores, Firestorm Books & Coffee. If you’re into art, the River Arts District houses artist studios in former factory buildings while downtown is home to beautiful architecture and plenty of galleries to visit.
Asheville is also nearby the Biltmore Estate, the historic family home of the Vanderbilts. The 8,000-acre estate has pretty much everything you could want in a getaway, including a winery, gardens, historical sites, a spa and a village to explore.
Want to play a round? Visit Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Driving time: Three hours and 45 minutes
What to Pack for a Road Trip
Sunglasses? Check. Snacks? Check. Consider packing these 30 road trip essentials before you head out on your next long drive.We’ve all been there on a bad road trip—eating meals that consist of only gas station food, getting lost on some bumpy back road, second-guessing car rental insurance decisions, or digging through a hopelessly overstuffed and disorganized car in the dark. It doesn’t have to be that way. With the right road trip essentials, you can stay well-fed, on track, and neatly organized, making your next trip the best one yet.
© The Points Guy With over 24 golf courses to choose from, Hilton Head is the perfect spot for a quick (Photo by CynthiaAnnF/Getty Images)
Another coastal getaway on this list is Hilton Head Island, home to more than two dozen championship golf courses. Casual golfers can play a round, amateurs looking to improve their swing can check out a class, and PGA fans can time a trip to watch a tournament.
Of course, there’s more than just golfing at Hilton Head. There are a number of family-friendly parks, playgrounds and beaches. Renting bikes and kayaks is also popular to explore the island and its waterways.
Hilton Head is also the most points-friendly destination on this list. You can stay at the Marriott Hilton Head or Westin Hilton Head Resort and Spa for just 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per standard night. There’s also Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, though it’s typically hard to find availability.
Related reading: Hilton Head for families: What to see and where to stay
All of these spots are on my destination list for 2020 — I actually got to visit Hilton Head with a couple of friends just a few weekends back.
Roadtrips are a great way to still quench the thirst to travel if you’re a little hesitant to fly right now. Just make sure that you’re using a great credit card for gas and maximizing your hotel or Airbnb bookings.
Featured image by Sean Pavone/Getty Images
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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Everything You Need to Plan a Road Trip .
Ready to hop in your car and experience all that America has to offer? Not so fast! Here’s what you need to do first to have the best vacation ever. The post Everything You Need to Plan a Road Trip appeared first on Reader's Digest.Of course, the first step in how to plan a road trip is to think about where you want to go and how long you want to be traveling. Your travel plans will be different if you're taking a solo trip, bringing along a special plus one, or traveling with kids. And from there, you have a number of other things to consider.