By Lynn O’Rourke Hayes
The classic road trip is always a family favorite. Here are four ideas that will encourage you to hit the open road.
Many visitors to the heart of the Southwest are surprised by the diversity found in the Grand Canyon state. From cactus-strewn deserts and crimson canyons to swaying grasslands and towering pine forests, there is so much to see and do in Arizona. Begin your adventure in Phoenix, a sprawling metro area known as the Valley of the Sun. You’ll find world-class resorts, dozens of top-notch golf courses, scores of hiking and biking trails, and a slew of award-winning eateries. When you’ve soaked up enough sunshine, head north to spectacular Sedona, home to stunning red rock vistas unlike any you’ve seen elsewhere. Explore via more than 400 miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through a wonderland of colorful stone, forest and creek beds. Next up: The Grand Canyon. Whether you drive or arrive via the Grand Canyon Railway that gets underway in Williams, you’ll soon understand why it’s a treasured wonder of the world.
From sunrise to sunset, the canyon is the main attraction. However, with so much to see and do, a stop at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center can help make the most of your time while exploring the state’s most impressive landmark.
For more: www.TheTrain.com; www.VisitArizona.com; www.NPS.gov/grca
Skyline Drive, Virginia
Meandering along the crest of the mountains through the woods and past spectacular vistas, Virginia’s Skyline Drive begins in Front Royal and twists and turns southwest through Shenandoah National Park, home to magnificent scenery that include cascading waterfalls and fields of seasonal wildflowers. Hike in the shade of oak trees along the Appalachian Trail, discover the stories from Shenandoah’s past, or explore the wilderness at your leisure.
For more: www.nps.gov/shen
The Colorado Tourism Office has made it easy for road-trippers to explore the state’s 24 scenic and historic byways. A microsite includes an interactive map that enables travelers to explore options by region, interest or season. Travelers seeking inspiration can also access insider tips and side-trip suggestions within more than 150 Colo-road trip itineraries, making multi-day adventures easy to plan. The flexible itineraries offer suggestions for historic attractions, active adventures and cultural opportunities. Visitors to the website can also peruse for picnic, dining, hiking, lodging and even road trip music suggestions.
For more: https://www.colorado.com/colorados-scenic-historic-byways ;https://www.colorado.com/colo-road-trips
The Lighthouse Trail in Maine
Travel the 375 miles between Kittery and Calais, Maine, visiting lighthouses along the way and learn about the dangers that seafaring vessels and their crew endured along the craggy Northeastern coast. Hear tales of shipwrecks and ghosts, and of the difficult and lonely life led by those who kept the lights burning brightly. If possible, visit the Maine Lighthouse Museum, where artifacts and hands-on exhibits for children provide an enticing break.
For more: www.MaineLighthouseMuseum.com; www.VisitMaine.com.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com. Copyright 2023 FamilyTravel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.