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4 Top Spring Drives Across America
Embrace the great outdoors on a scenic road trip this season.
Whether you want to visit California wine country or check out the natural splendors in the Adirondacks, spring is the perfect time to catch colorful blooms and enjoy pleasant temperatures on a road trip.(Getty Images)
It's officially spring: flowers are beginning to bloom, temperatures are starting to rise and daylight saving time is in full effect, which means it's the perfect time to take a road trip. Whether you're itching to get out outdoors to explore striking natural attractions or check out quaint small towns and storied sights, there are plenty of underrated drives to enjoy this season. Beyond traditional road trip ideas like Route 66 or the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, these routes offer a chance to embrace quality time together while navigating under-the-radar destinations. So, if you're ready to hit the road, fill up the tank and check out these four less-traversed routes across the country.
[Read: Best Spring Vacations.]
A Road Trip Through North Florida
Florida has long been a popular spring break destination, with Fort Lauderdale and Daytona Beach serving as top-visited vacation destinations, however, many travelers may not know that northern Florida is filled with small charming villages. Driving from St. Augustine to St. Johns River to New Smyrna Beach, Florida, will take you from the country's oldest city through a picturesque and historic highway that crosses into a bustling, vibrant beach town.
This drive has a little bit of everything, from historic sites to natural attractions and beach retreats. Kick back and enjoy a trolley in St. Augustine while you take in the Spanish architecture or tag along a ghost tour. From St. Augustine, it's just a quick 30-minute drive to St. Johns River William Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway, which is full of citrus groves, canopied trees and wildlife. While you're in town, stop and do some canoeing and boating along the creeks and the river. Then, drive along the Atlantic coast to New Smyrna Beach, a town with plenty of daytime attractions and a vibrant nightlife. Flagler Avenue, located in New Smyrna Beach, offers an eclectic mix of unique shops, galleries, inns and restaurants. And the beach itself is a great place to unwind in a beach chair and relax, surf, bike ride or enjoy a dune buggy ride.
A Drive Through the Adirondacks
The Adirondacks contains miles and miles of scenic routes. From the iconic Lake to Locks Passage along Lake Champlain to the dark forests and whitewater of the Black River Trail, the Adirondacks features some of the most beautiful roadways in the world. Best of all, this drive offers plenty of things to do in Lake Placid, from fishing and canoeing to kayaking and whitewater rafting, along with excellent dining options. If you want to get lost along the Adirondacks' back roads, there are countless routes to choose from, including Mirror Lake Drive, the Riverside Drive Loop along Route 86 and 73 and the Ironman Loop.
[See: Most Scenic Road Trips.]
A Road Trip Through California Wine Country
With more than 4,000 wineries statewide, California is the perfect place to embark on a wine-themed road trip this spring. Sonoma and Napa Valley are packed with wineries you can tackle in a day, several days or a week. Many wineries offer free tastings of select vintages, as well as tours, making a road trip an excellent way to experience Northern California's premier wineries. Start the tour in San Francisco and hop across the Golden Gate to the land of rolling vineyards, legendary vintages and elevated farm-to-table cuisine. Both Sonoma and Napa Valley feature an abundance of scenic drives, and the Silverado Trail offers an excellent way to experience both regions. The trail runs between Napa and Calistoga and is less congested than Highway 29. And along the trip, you'll take in unforgettable views of gorgeous landscapes, which are especially picturesque in the late afternoon when the sun drifts down and illuminates the vineyards.
A Drive Through Southern Utah's Scenic Byway 12
Road-tripping through Utah is especially enticing for nature enthusiasts and shutterbugs, thanks to the area's diverse typography and awe-inspiring landscapes. In Southern Utah, take Route 12 from Panguitch to Torrey and you'll pass through twisting canyons, red rock towers and vast forests. With such natural beauty, you may find it difficult not to stop at multiple points along the way to capture photos of the picturesque region. And if you're longing for adventure, pack along a bike and enjoy riding along scenic, albeit challenging cycling routes.
About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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