ShermansTravel » Blog » Road Trip
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.
The Appalachian Trail is an epic roughly 2,180-mile stretch between Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way up to Katahdin in Maine. For some, hiking through the trail’s 14 states is a months-long adventure filled as much with nature as new friends. “I love walking and thinking,” says Corky, 52, who’s been hiking the trail since April 5 and is expecting to finish sometime in August. “It’s stunningly beautiful here. It’s also about the people — you meet people you never would have otherwise.”
But for the rest of us — for whom tasting a smaller slice of the Appalachian is more realistic — Virginia’s Daleville, where we met Corky on a supply run, is a fantastic place to start. It’s just one of the many places were the trail crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway, a National Park that stretches 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. These parts have trails for all skill levels, not to mention a host of other outdoor activities when you want to take a break from hiking. Here, just four of the great paths you can take:
Eighty miles east of Raleigh, North Carolina, lies Kinston. Once a huge tobacco town, the city has started to undergo a bit of a renaissance in recent years. The area is now home to a large art collection, a craft brewery, outstanding restaurants, and a lot of history. Whether you’re on your way to North Carolina’s coast, or just looking for an affordable afternoon trip, there’s a little something in Kinston for everyone. Here’s how to spend an afternoon (or weekend) in this thriving North Carolina town.
The Big Island could easily have been named the “The Endless Island,” with its eight climate zones and 4,000-plus square miles of mostly raw landscapes to explore. You’ll land in a terrain that looks flat and moon-like — only to step on the gas and, to the east, find yourself in a mountain rainforest zone of lush emerald-colored canopy and moss-draped trees. And while Hawaii is known to be spendy, penny savers can still rejoice: This does not have to be a terribly expensive island…if you know where to look (and once you plunk down the fare to get there, of course). Here are some ideas to get you into that aloha spirit.
Perhaps you’re just passing through en route from Albuquerque to one of southern New Mexico’s must-hit natural wonders (like the superlative Carlsbad Caverns). Or maybe you’re caught up in the company of one of the many UFO hunters who descend upon this legendary little city in droves. But if little green men aren’t tops on your own personal agenda for visiting Roswell, New Mexico, there’s happily more to this city than just alien kitsch (though, thanks to the purported 1947 UFO crash here, there’s plenty of that, too). Art and nature lovers will find diversions worthy enough to deem Roswell a destination in its own right, while some memorable local dining and night spots will get you up-close-and-personal with some down-home New Mexican hospitality and chile-infused cooking. Here’s the scoop on what to see and do — and where best to eat, drink, and sleep — in Roswell.
Can’t wait for the Jurassic Park sequel, “Jurassic World,” to hit theaters in June? Have your own prehistoric adventure at one of these fun-packed dinosaur destinations.
The Field Museum, Chicago
Home to “Sue,” the largest, best-preserved, and most complete Tyrannosaurs rex ever found, The Field Museum is a must see for budding paleontologists and adventurers. After you’ve gawked at Sue’s 42-foot long frame and 58 dagger-like teeth, explore the museum’s dinosaur collection, part of the Evolving Planet exhibit. $31 adult, $25 students, $21 children 3-11.
With gas prices dropping to a national average of $2.20 a gallon — and many stations across the nation advertising gas under $2 — now is the perfect time to plan a road trip. Here are five of our favorite drives.
The Florida Keys Scenic Highway
Also known as the Overseas Highway — and the Highway that Goes to Sea — the Florida Keys Scenic Highway runs more than 100 miles from Miami to the southernmost point of Key West. Along the way, it crosses a whopping 42 bridges, including the infamous Seven Mile Bridge. While the typical drive takes four hours, you could spend days taking in scenic ocean views, exploring island culture, visiting local attractions like the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, and more.
Connect: Extend your road trip by picking up the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway in Miami and heading north.
White lighting, city gin, corn liquor, or hillbilly pop. Call it what you’d like, but moonshine has deep roots when it comes to swilling booze. Moonshiners were outlaws who distilled the high-proof alcohol deep in the woods, always looking over their shoulders to avoid arrest. Today, laws have been put into place that have allowed distilleries to create products that are actually worth drinking. Here, four of our favorite moonshine distilleries across the United States — most of which are free to tour and taste.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs between Virginia and North Carolina, is one of the country’s most scenic drives. The 105-mile road was built by the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps under President Franklin D. Roosevelt — taking more than 52 years to complete and encompassing over 11,000 square miles of land. We suggest spending at least a few days driving the parkway, stopping in the small towns along the way to soak up the Appalachian Mountains’ art, culture, and music. Here are nine highlights to consider for your itinerary.
Remember when it seemed like you could reach up and touch the Milky Way, the ribbon of stars that make up our galaxy? Thanks to light pollution, it’s becoming harder and harder to see — unless you get yourself out to dark and remote locales. Here are seven stargazing sites, all recognized by the International Dark Sky Association for their inky-black nights, that offer stellar views of the heavens above.
The Grand Circle — originally a loop to the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon national parks — covers much of northern Arizona and southern Utah as well as portions of Colorado, New Mexico, and a sliver of Nevada. Unless you have weeks to explore the area and a hefty travel budget, you can’t even begin to see it all. So how do you tackle it on a budget?
National wildlife refuges — protected lands managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service — offer many of the same recreational opportunities as national parks at a fraction of the cost. Some are even free, unless you plan to hunt, fish, or camp. We love these (mostly) gratis activities for experiencing the wilderness in a whole new way:
Why spend a fortune for just a few hours at a fabricated haunted house when you can explore truly spooky sites for a whole day in the wild? Some of the most haunted sites in America are part of the National Park system, with varied histories from Civil War bloodshed to tragic love stories. Here are seven with spectacularly spooky reputations:
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