Like many of you, most of our staff and readers here at Winetraveler are eager to get back on the road and fulfill the feeling of wanderlust in our hearts. As restrictions due to COVID-19 continue to persist in many countries, United States citizens would do well to remember that they have a number of accessible options via road trip. Thus, enabling travel right at this moment.
We’ve seen a large spike in travelers searching for domestic road trips and booking things to do in states and regions across the U.S. Below, we’ll highlight the 10 of the best U.S. road trip itineraries on our app this year. The routes we mention in this guide cover a range of travel styles, suitable for individuals, groups, and families. Click on any of the destinations we mention to see a detailed travel guide for each. Which trip would you take first?
IN THIS GUIDE:
- Zion National Park
- The Pacific Northwest
- Florida’s Gulf Coast
- North Georgia
- The Midwest & Dakotas
- Long Island, New York
- St. Helena, Napa Valley
- Door County, Wisconsin
- California’s Pacific Coast
- New York’s Hudson Valley & Catskill Mountains
- Willamette Valley, Oregon
- …and more
Zion National Park in Southwestern Utah is an other-worldly region, almost mystical. The landscape here is one of the most unique in the world, carved out largely by millions of years of erosion courtesy of the now sporadically flowing Virgin River. Zion sits at substantial elevation, with the lowest point in the canyon resting at 3,666ft. The highest point in the park is found at Horse Ranch Mountain, which sits at 8,726ft.
This epic 1,492-mile road trip takes you through many of the most scenic spots along the northwestern coast of the United States from San Francisco to Seattle. Wineries, redwood forests, stunning views along the Oregon coast, Crater Lake, towering snowcapped mountains, powerful waterfalls, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Rainier await you.
Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast may not be the part of the state that most travelers think about when planning a vacation to Florida, but it’s this fact that makes it one of the state’s most beautiful hidden gems. Between Naples, FL and the Tampa Bay area, travelers can find pristine white sand beaches, barrier islands that boast some of the best sunsets in the world, and plenty of places to wine & dine in true Florida style.
A popular retreat for those looking to escape the urban confines of the city, the North Georgia mountains can be reached within a 1-2 hour drive of Atlanta. For those already living outside of the metro area, the North Georgia mountains are a mainstay of the weekend, providing day-trip-worthy hiking options ranging in lengths of .5 miles – 9+ miles, with terrain for all abilities. Each of North Georgia’s five key regions – Clayton, Dahlonega, Helen, Ellijay and Blue Ridge – can be considered wine trails in their own right, with multiple wineries close enough to each other to visit several in a day.
This unforgettable road trip into the “Wild West” weaves you north from Denver, Colorado upwards into Wyoming, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Across this ~1,200-mile road trip, you will drive through flat and barren land, rugged terrain with diverse and dramatic rock structures, small towns with populations less than 500 people, mountains, national monuments and parks, and miles upon miles of unsettled wilderness. Seemingly countless bison, deer, elk, prairie dogs and other wildlife roam freely. You may even see badgers, bighorn sheep and wild horses.
In years gone by, visitors didn’t hesitate to jump in a car or catch a train to make the pilgrimage out to the Eastern End of Long Island, known for its growing wine scene and sprawling farms. But this year, things are more complicated due to COVID-19 rules and regulations. Thankfully, local businesses in the North Fork have remained flexible, adaptable, and vigilant and continue to put safety above all else.
So here’s a sample itinerary for a 3-4 day long weekend of luxury wining and dining using St. Helena as your base (and including a few pit stops in neighboring Calistoga). This guide has a mix of a few different winery styles and takes you off the beaten track a bit. There’s something about this beautiful part of northern Napa Valley which keeps drawing wine explorers back to taste and learn more. Each visit to this region presents yet another layer to peel back and experience. This itinerary explores just one of those layers.
If you’re from the Midwest you might take various weekend escapes to Door County, but to many in other areas of the U.S., it remains an under-the-radar gem. It’s a precious peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan with 70 miles of quaint beach towns to discover. While Door County is a perfect spot for swimming, hiking, and warm-weather activities, a new wave of winter tourism is gaining popularity and visitors are enjoying the hygge culture. Read this itinerary to plan a relaxing trip to this humble region.
Thousands of travelers both foreign and domestic come to California each year in an effort to experience one of the world’s most epic road trips — California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Arguably one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, this breathtaking highway offers road trippers expansive landscapes and vistas, delicious food, complex and refined fine wine, endless coastal activities and a relaxed Californian vibe.
The Hudson Valley & the Catskills have long been a retreat for overwhelmed New Yorkers seeking refuge from big-city chaos. Whether it was families escaping to the Borscht Belt for the summer, artists flocking to like-minded communities, or adventurers seeking whitewater rafting, the Hudson Valley area was a go-to destination. Today, its accessibility makes it the perfect road trip destination for a day trip, a week trip, or more. Although the Hudson Valley is beautiful any time of year, fall is really when it’s at its finest. Take a long weekend to soak in the gorgeous red, orange, and gold leaves and give yourself time for a hike or apple picking. The picturesque villages seem set up just for that autumnal crisp air.
If you’re an oenophile or experiential wine traveler with a passion for cooler climate varietals, lush green countryside, unique boutique accommodation and delicious eats, the Willamette Valley wine region is sure to accommodate your travel desires. We went out and spoke with regional experts, winery owners and certified wine professionals in an effort to help our readers craft a Willamette Valley Itinerary tailored to their tastes.
While all of the above road trip routes are exciting and offer a wide range of things to do in each region, there are plenty of other unique destinations to visit throughout the United States! If you’re looking for more road trip ideas, be sure to do a quick search on our website or create a custom trip yourself.
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