After a relationship has tanked to the point of no return, there’s nothing quite like getting in the car — either by yourself or with a bestie or two — and taking your mind off everything on the open road. So queue up Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” and set the GPS for one of these epic post-breakup road trips.
Your post-breakup mood: “Bring on the vino.”
Where to go: The Finger Lakes, NY
The scenic drive on routes 5 and 20 in the Finger Lakes region of central New York offers a 135-mile “corridor” that crosses a ton of lakeside hotspots. Start in Ithaca and make a day trip to Cayuga Lake for a Water to Wine Tour, which lets you cruise from winery to winery by boat. When you’re back in town, soak up some of that vino at Moosewood Restaurant, the iconic vegetarian eatery that’s said to be one of the inspirations of the plant-based movement in the ’70s. The next day, head to the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Trail for lunch at F.L.X. Weinery, a casual spot where all the locals go for an array of gourmet hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, and French fries. Don’t miss tastings at Glenora Wine Cellars, Fox Run Vineyards, and Belhurst Estate Winery. When you’re wine-d out, check out the oil and vinegar tasting at F. Oliver’s (the squash seed and grapeseed oils are musts), or take a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga class on Canandaigua Lake.
Your post-breakup mood: “Flirting my way back into the game.”
Where to go: Colorado
There’s something about mountain towns that inspire serious flirtation. Maybe it’s the adrenaline pumping through your body after an epic run down a mountain trail on skis, a snowboard, or a bike. Or maybe it’s the fact that, for those interested in the male species, Colorado’s male-to-female ratio is very much in your favor. (Denver got its nickname — “Menver” — for good reason, after all!)
Start in Denver and drive to Breckenridge for great food, plenty of microbreweries, and the opportunity to participate in every mountain sport ever created. From there, continue west along I-70, taking in stunning mountain vistas until you reach Glenwood Springs. After a soak in the healing waters at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, drive over Independence Pass to Aspen. (Note: Don’t attempt this during the snowy winter months, when the road closes because it’s too treacherous to travel — and skip this hairpin-turns-everywhere road if you get carsick.)
You’ll find more great food and bars in high-end Aspen, plus luxe accommodations at reasonable prices at The Sky Hotel. Into the great outdoors? Hike the Maroon Bells from Aspen to Crested Butte, a stunning 12-mile walk through wildflower-filled trails with epic views. Rather road trip? Take the 100-mile spectacularly beautiful drive over the Elk mountains to the Butte for — you guessed it — even more great food, brews, and a laid-back mountain town vibe.
Your post-breakup mood: “Take me to a spa — stat.”
Where to go: Arizona
Yes, it’s home to the country’s retired snowbirds during winter as well as major league baseball training camps in early spring, but Arizona is also a veritable mecca of world-class spas. To wit: The mac daddies of all spas — Canyon Ranch and Miraval — are located in Tucson and will both make you feel so blissful that you’ll never want to leave. In addition to a little pampering at the spas across the state, there are plenty of other attractions to inspire you when you decide to swap that terry cloth robe for real clothes.
Start in Tucson at The Ritz Carlton Spa Dove Mountain, where you’ll find eco-holistic treatments based on the traditions of the Sonoran Desert. From the Desert Gemstone Ritual in which you allow your spirit to choose a stone that calls to you, to the Hohokam Stone Massage based on Native American traditions, there are many options that’ll help heal a broken heart. From here, skip the freeway and take the scenic routes 77, 79 and 60 to Scottsdale, making a beeline for the Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. After spending a few minutes in their waterfall tub you’ll feel like any leftover “gunk” from your breakup wash away.
When you’re feeling refreshed, hit the road again and take routes 87 and 260 to Sedona, where there are powerful energy vortexes beneath the red rock landscape — swirling centers of energy that are reportedly conducive to spiritual healing, meditation, and self-exploration. Stay at Mii Amo, voted one of the world’s best destination spas, which offers customized, all-inclusive packages that include treatments, fitness and nutrition counseling, spiritual practices, and pretty much everything else you can think of that’ll help heal your heartbreak.
Your post-breakup mood: “It’s my breakup and I’ll cry if I want to.”
Where to go: Nevada
The Nevada desert mountains and empty road of Highway 50 is the perfect place to get some headspace and let your emotions flow. After all, it’s home to what Life magazine coined the Loneliest Road in America, thanks to its hauntingly beautiful landscapes and very little traffic — you can go 20 miles or more without seeing another car. That means it’s the perfect place to sob as you listen to old Alanis Morissette albums. Nobody will hear you.
This road starts in Fernley, near the California border, and stretches 287 miles to Ely, near the Utah border. Make your first stop in Fallon, an old cowboy town that was home to the real Navy base featured in the film Top Gun. From there, hit Austin to watch or try world-class landsailing — just like normal sailing, except you sit in a three-wheeled go cart-like vehicle instead of a boat — or soak in the nearby hot springs. If you’re feeling a little down, stay in the old mining town Eureka, right in the heart of Highway 50 and known as the Friendliest Town on the Loneliest Road in America. Stay here at The Jackson Hotel, built in 1877, then celebrate the fact that you survived this old Pony Express in Ely at Great Basin National Park, where you can go spelunking in Lehman Caves, fishing on Baker Creek, or hike the 13,063-foot Wheeler Peak (the second highest peak in Nevada).