The Four Best Road Trips to Take in 2020
November 8, 2019
Utah’s Grand National Park Tour
Distance: 432 miles
Driving Time: 8 hours, 30 minutes
Trip Length: 5 Days
Highlights: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
Utah makes it easy to understand why the United States is known for having the world's best road trips. Beyond its five insane national parks, endless cascading red rock, and other-worldly landscapes, Utah is a mecca for both families and hardcore outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you visit to take in the sites or scale some precarious big walls, it's all offered here.
However, Utah's unique landscape is threatened by diminished conservation efforts. In 2017, government efforts decreased the size of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly one million acres. When visiting these fragile environments, I encourage you to donate to a non-profit environmental agency, such as The Wilderness Society, to help protect our natural land.
Northeast Fall Color Road Trip
Distance: 416 Miles
Driving Time: 9 hours, 33 minutes
Trip Length: 5 Days
Highlights: Lake Placid, Adirondack Mountains, White Mountains, Mount Washington, Portland, Acadia National Park
Around every corner, something is hidden in plain sight: a mountaintop fire tower free for camping, a quaint small town straight out of an overly-romantic Hallmark movie, a small rock outcrop that appears to be expertly manufactured to watch the sunset.
Mount Washington, the Northeast's tallest point, holds the record for the strongest wind ever recorded, an astounding 231 mph. Just north in Maine, many visitors strap on their backpack for section hikes along the Appalachian Trail or head to the coast to eat Lobster flavored ice cream in Acadia National Park. Whatever it is you're looking for, you can find it up here.
Lake Superior Circle Tour
Distance: 1,201 Miles
Driving Time: 22 Hours
Trip Length: 10 Days
Highlights: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Marquette, Copper Harbor, Porcupine Mountains, Ironwood, Duluth, Tettegouche State Park, Terrace Bay Falls and Gorge, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Agwa Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Tahquamenon Falls
A circle tour of Lake Superior is meant for those with a love of northern pines, an itch for backroads & bonfires, and an appreciation for America's largest freshwater lake. Don't expect many upscale RV parks or Holiday Inns. Here, it's wild and untamed—just the way locals like it.
What you will find along the route is a rarity in today's world: secluded beauty. Long sandy beaches, raging waterfalls, and endless rock formations without another person in sight. Lake Superior has some of the cleanest and clearest water in the world. Not to mention many of the towns along the way have damn good beer. Try Ore Dock Brewing.
California’s Highway 1
Distance: 450 Miles
Driving Time: 11 Hours, 30 Minutes
Trip Length: 7 Days
Highlights: Morro Bay, Pfeiffer Big Sure State Park, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Shark Fin Cove, Half Moon Bay, Muir Woods Redwood Forest, Point Reyes National Seashore, Bodega Bay, Fort Bragg Seaglass Beach
California's Highway 1 is something of an American classic. I'm sure you've heard of it, the two-lane coastal highway stretching from San Diego to Northern California known for its epic Pacific views and population of young vanlifers searching for the California dream.
Although an extremely popular route, the highway does offer a one-of-kind perspective on America's western coast. It's the best road trip in the world to crank up some 80s rock, roll down the windows, smell the ocean, and let time roll as slowly as it wants. Pull off often for picnics, views, and bathrooms, and get an early start at popular spots such as McWay Falls.
Soulful adventurer. Probably lost. Definitely eating ice cream.
In her late-teens, Shalee drove out of her small hometown watching the sunset behind her along the two-lane highway. Her ventures began in Michigan, where she taught herself to travel on a budget. Today, Shalee shares her tips and stories to thousands of readers interested in adventure, budget, and outdoor travel. Learn more about her here.