Winter Road Trip Destinations
Where to go when you have to use your vacation days by New Year’s Eve.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: December 17th, 2011
Winter time isn’t the biggest road trip season—we all know that. But air travel is expensive, sometimes prohibitively so, and when you still want to get away during the colder months, driving might be the only option. But where should you go? Whether you’re trying to break free from your vitamin-D-deprived slump or you already live somewhere sunny and are desperate to see snow, here’s a few great ideas for winter road trips this year.
West Coast/Southwest/Pacific NW
If you’re out west, there’s always the option of hitting Vegas—but chances are, you already knew that and thus have aleady done so at least once. Instead, why not hit the road on the Pacific Coast Highway and check out locales near Seattle or San Francisco. Since you’re not traveling during prime “vacation months,” traffic will likely be lighter, but you’ll still get to see all the roadside attractions.
On the Columbia River between Oregon and Washinton lies Stonehenge, a scale replica built by Sam Hill to memorialize WWI soldiers.
In Northeast California, check out the Lava beds, a national monument that is home to a network of lava bed caves—partially connected underground tubes formed by rapidly cooled lava.
Along the same “nature” vein, Avenue of the Giants, located in Northern California takes you through a forest of giant redwoods. Drive your car through a massive hollowed-out tree truck, or check out a two-story tree house in another hollowed-out tree trunk. Trees are usually pretty boring, but this sounds kind of neat, doesn’t it?
If you’re sick of your sunshine-state lifestyle and just want a cloudy day, maybe with some snow, head over to Memphis, Tennessee. This year so far, Memphis has gotten more snow than the typically-drowning-in-snow-by-now city of Buffalo, New York. While you’re there, you can check out things like Graceland, Sun Studio, and the Memphis Rock N’ Roll Museum. Try your luck on the Kookamonga burger at the Kooky Canuck, which is made with four pounds of meat; if you finish in under an hour, it’s free (but we can’t promise you won’t get a stomachache). For the kids, we recommend hitting the Children’s Museum of Memphis, the Memphis Zoo, or checking out the march of the famous Peabody ducks.
If Memphis doesn’t sound like your thing, or if you like your beach town but want a slight change of scenery, maybe it’s time to head down to the Florida Keys. With such attractions as Key West, Islamorada, and Key Largo, which was so nice that the Beach Boys sang about it (see: “Kokomo”), there’s plenty of sight-seeing, beach-laying, and sun-catching to go around.
Ah, the Midwest. It’s frigidly cold here during the winter, so it’s unsurprising that if you live in the Midwest, you’d want to skip town to a warmer place for a bit. Though not technically warmer, you can always hit Bourbon Country down in Kentucky and warm yourself up via the ol’ “liquid blanket” that is brown liquor.
If you’re looking to stay inside once you’ve reached your destination, why not head up to the Mall of America in Minnesota? Or, head into Chicago—there’s plenty to do there as far as museums, family fun, famous restaurants, and other sightseeing.
If you feel like braving the cold, check out Illinois’ Starved Rock State Park for a little outdoor adventure, or Wisconsin’s Cave of the Mounds National Landmark. Cave of the Mounds is open year round and tours last one hour.
The Northeast is home to a handful of great metropolitan areas, like New York City, Philadelphia, and Boston. If you live in one of these and haven’t been to some of the other big areas, take a roadtrip to one of the cities you’ve yet to visit.
If you’re trying to get away from the hustle and bustle, though, take a longer drive down to a city like Asheville, North Carolina – not quite the northeast, but NC is on the east coast and we’ve heard nothing but good things about Asheville. It boasts milder temperatures than what you’re probably used to, but also offers panoramic scenery in the form of snow-capped mountains.