Spring is the perfect time to gather your family, friends, or your four-legged sidekick and hit the open road. And in the United States there are endless amazing spots to check out, from national parks to beaches and everything in between. We've compiled our top eight spring road trips that will help you shake the winter doldrums and celebrate spring with the windows rolled down.
Here are eight must-drive road trips for this spring.
1.) New York City to Cape May, New Jersey
We don’t need to tell you how much there is to do in New York City, from Broadway to baseball games to grabbing a slice of the world’s best pizza, you will never have a dull moment. And spring is the perfect time for all of this. But leaving the Big Apple and heading south on the New Jersey Turnpike will offer a great mini road trip with loads to see and experience.
While the drive is less than 200 miles, there are endless towns to stop in and explore. Here are some of our favorite spots on the way:
- Liberty State Park and the Statue of Liberty. Hit this first as you get out of the city, because yes, the Statue of Liberty is actually in New Jersey!
- Point Pleasant Beach. A quintessential Jersey beach town that is great for families (and has one of the cutest boardwalks in Jersey.)
- Asbury Park. A must see for any music lover, Asbury Park is where Springsteen first got his start.
- Atlantic City. No trip down the Jersey coastline is complete without a stop in AC. Whether you want to hit the slots or just grab some salt water taffy, Atlantic City is a spot you don’t want to miss.
When you get to Cape May, there are loads of gorgeous sights to see. Historic homes, boutiques and galleries are everywhere, and the Cape May bed and breakfasts are hard to beat.
2.) The Acadia All American Road, ME
If you are in the northeast, there are tons of beautiful and scenic spring drives to take. But the Acadia All American Road really takes the cake for us. This trip is only 40 miles, but driving through Acadia National Park is an experience you won’t forget. You can stop at Cadillac Point, which is the highest point on the North Atlantic coast, then stop at Jordan Pond and Sand Beach for even more stunning views.
3.) Asheville, North Carolina to Gatlinburg Tennessee
Spring is the perfect time for this southern style road trip through the Great Smoky Mountains. This two hour drive hosts lots to see and a few fun stops to make along the way. Here are some of our favorite stops for this short trip.
- Bryson City. This little North Carolina town has fields of wildflowers and gorgeous streams that run through it to make it a perfect spring stop. You can even go white-water rafting and fly fishing if the weather permits.
- Cherokee. This North Carolina reservation town is a great place to take in some history and appreciate the 18th century Cherokee lifestyle.
- Pigeon Forge. The home of Dollywood, Pigeon Forge is a popular vacation area with tons to do, especially if you are a country music aficionado.
When you get to Gatlinburg, you can head to the Anakeesta theme park for a day of adventure, get spooked on a Gatlinburg ghost tour, or go horseback riding at the Smoky Mountain Riding Stables.
4.) The Overseas Highway, Florida
The Overseas Highway runs for 113 miles, starting in Miami and ending at the most southern point of Key West Florida. With 42 bridges that make you feel as if you are literally driving on the ocean, it’s an unreal experience to take in. And while you may think that there aren’t a lot of places to stop on this journey, that’s far from the case.
- John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo. This park offers a ton of aquatic activities for you, from glass bottom boat tours to scuba diving.
- Dolphin Research Center. Located in Marathon, this center gives you the chance to get up close and personal with dolphins. If you’ve dreamed of swimming with dolphins, you can’t pass this up.
When you get to Key West, the restaurants and beaches are hard to beat. And this trip is not complete without a slice of Key Lime pie.
5.) Black River Scenic Byway, MI
This is a perfect road trip for all of the nature lovers out there. Starting in Bessemer, this route takes you to the largest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior. With countless sights to see, there is beauty to be found everywhere.
- See the waterfalls. There are six different waterfall areas along the way, depending on how far you want to hike.
- Visit Ironwood. This historic mining town is a great place to stop and take in some history, and even tour some old mines.
When you get to Lake Superior, there is no shortage of things to do. Whether it’s touring the famous lighthouses or taking a hike in the Ottawa National Park, this springtime trip is bound to reconnect you with nature.
6.) Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway, South Dakota
This 70 mile drive through Custer State Park boasts some stunning views of rock tunnels and granite spires, and ends at the iconic Mount Rushmore. This masterpiece of engineering is a must-see. In addition to seeing tunnels and bridges, there is a ton of wildlife to observe. When you get to Mount Rushmore, there is a lot to do (in addition to taking in all that the monument has to offer).
- Sculptor's Studio. This studio was built in 1939 as a second on-site studio for sculptor Gutzon Borglum. The studio features models and tools that are related to sculpting.
- Lincoln Borglum Museum. This museum explains the history of Mount Rushmore and is a must-do when visiting.
- Avenue of Flags. The Avenue of Flags is just that–an avenue of flags. It was initially established as part of the celebration of the United States' Bicentennial in 1976. It has 56 flags that represent the 50 states, one district, three territories, and two commonwealths in the United States.
7.) San Antonio to Austin, TX
If you are in the southwest, this Texas road trip is sure to not disappoint. In San Antonio you can catch the Fiesta Days from April 16-26, where you can see parades, music, and enjoy some great food. Afterwards you can head out on Bandera Road and take a scenic drive through Hill Country. Here are some great stops on the way:
- The town of Bandera. Known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World”, this quintessential Texas town is a no-brainer to stop in for a taste of true Texas.
- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. A 948- acre park with colonial missions. You can take a guided tour or just walk the grounds and take it all in.
When you get to Austin, it’s hard to go wrong. With one of the best music scenes in the country, pop into any restaurant, bar, or lounge to get a feel for the Austin scene.
8.) Pacific Coast Highway, California
There’s no bad time to take this iconic road trip, so why not do it this spring? Stretching from Dana Point in Orange County to Leggett in Mendocino County, this drive features white sand beaches, gorgeous mountain views, and ocean sights that are unforgettable. On top of stunning views, there are tons of places to stop along the way.
- Santa Monica Pier. This iconic boardwalk features an amusement park, concession stands, and beautiful places to stop and take in the scenery.
- Hearst Castle. Formally known as La Cuesta Encantada, Hearst Castle is a historic estate in San Simeon, that belonged to William Randolph Hearst, the publisher. This castle is an architectural marvel and a must-see spot on your drive.
- Point Sur State Historic Park in Big Sur. The 1889 Point Sur Lighthouse cannot be missed on your trip. It sits 361 feet above the Pacific Ocean on a large volcanic rock, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. This iconic bridge draws in ten million visitors each year to gaze at the 746-foot tall towers and sweeping main cables that make this bridge one of a kind.
When you arrive in Leggett, the natural beauty of the town is sure to stop you in your tracks. Be sure to see some of the largest trees in the world at Standish-Hickey Recreation Area or at Smithe Redwoods State Natural Reserve.
Those are our top eight road trips you need to take this spring.
Spring is all about reconnecting with nature, and these road trips are great ways to do so. But before you hit the road, make sure your car (and wallet) is up for the trip.
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