No matter what time of year it is, you’ll need some great road trip ideas to plan your vacation. I know, you probably think of the summer when you think of a road trip – but what about fall leaf-peeping or hitting the road for your own Spring Break (college or no, most people get antsy after a winter of being cooped up at home)? Even in the winter, there’s nothing like hitting the road in the search for snowy slopes calling your name or just giving in to the craving for some swaying palm trees and heading for Florida!
When you’ve just got to hit the road, these road trip ideas will help you plan a perfect trip no matter what time of year it is:
Year-Round Road Trip Ideas
I’m a huge fan of themed things like parties – they’re just plain fun – and that fun extends to road trips. Theme-out your road trip year-round with these road trip ideas:
- Movie Road Trip – Select your favorite movies (or even better, road trip movies) and build a road trip around them. For ladies who love the girly tear-jerkers, you could plan a Steel Magnolias road trip. For those who loved Sideways, what about a road trip to wine country (my husband would totally go for a beer-centric road trip)?
- Holiday Road Trip – What better way to celebrate than to plan a road trip around an upcoming holiday! There are places in the U.S. that are holiday must-sees and it’s great to make them a destination as well as stopping along your route at every holiday-oriented sight along the way. For example, Asheville, NC has a wonderful seasonal celebration around Christmas with not only the famed Biltmore Estate decked to the hilt, but also a fantastic Gingerbread House competition!
- Beach Road Trip – This is a great road trip for any time of year – just aim farther south in the winter and farther north in the summer. Make it a priority to hit a new beach every day and travel along the coastline soaking up the sun and devouring all the fresh seafood you can get your hands on.
- National Parks Road Trip – Build a road trip around our nation’s amazing parks. Just make sure to aim for parks that are at their best when you’ll be traveling (some popular parks are much quieter in the fall and spring). As with the beaches, head for where the weather is decent. If you’re going to be camping, make sure to make reservations ahead – some parks are booked as far as a year in advance.
- Literary Road Trip – Build your road trips around novels about travel. What could be better than a Jack Kerouac road trip? For inspiration, check out this great page/lens listing the best travel novels ever.
Spring Road Trip Ideas
If there’s anything better than driving through areas that are exploding into bloom in the spring, I don’t know what it is! A road trip through the South is a detailed itinerary that takes you from North Carolina through to Georgia, hitting every great sight along the way as well as every great garden.
A little north of that, this Brandywine Valley road trip has a little of everything: the beautiful DuPont mansions, a jazz festival, and wine tasting in the area’s excellent wineries.
If you live in the Midwest, this road trip from Chicago to Mackinac Island will have you hitting some great sights – just make sure to time it for Holland, Michigan’s annual Tulip Festival (the original plan was for the summertime, but the spring is a wonderful time to visit).
Going on Spring Break with your friends? This party-oriented list of road trip destinations will take you to some of the best party scenes in the U.S.
Summer Road Trip Ideas
The quintessential road trip usually takes place in the summer – from a getaway with your friends to a family road trip, the summer is a perfect time to hit the road and explore. This road trip ideas list includes a trip to Arizona and New Mexico as well as a road trip along the California coast. While you’re in California, you could tack on this California wine country road trip and enjoy the best that Napa and Sonoma have to offer.
Feel like hitting the beach, maybe strolling along a boardwalk? Look no farther than this guide to some East Coast beach destinations with famous boardwalks and that feature plenty of fun activities (both day and night).
Want some road trip ideas for further north? Ride up into New England, hit all the greats while you cool off, and chow down on some fresh lobster on this East Coast road trip itinerary.
The Midwest is wonderful to visit in the summer – see the great city of Chicago before meandering through the countryside and all the way up through Michigan to enjoy some Victorian charm at the lovely Mackinac Island on this Midwestern road trip itinerary.
If you’re thinking about a cross-country road trip, this road trip itinerary through the northern part of the U.S. may be just the ticket! You can take it in sections, too – whatever fits your lifestyle.
Fall Road Trip Ideas
I love road tripping in the fall –there’s nothing like getting out and seeing all the colors from the comfort of your car (though it doesn’t hurt to stretch your legs for a little stroll or hike through the woods). These fall road trip ideas should get you started planning a great leaf-peeping vacation of your own.
Want a complete itinerary? This free road trip plan is designed for a long weekend in Colorado, taking in the beauty of the golden aspens in September.
Halloween is a great time to hit the road and scare up a good time. Check out this list of the top ten Halloween destinations for some fun and spooky places to visit in October.
Winter Road Trip Ideas
Road trips in the winter? Absolutely! Who wants to be shut up in their home all winter? It can get very boring. This cross-country road trip itinerary can be used as one long trip or be broken into many trips. It rides along the southern part of this country which stays fairly warm compared to the rest of the country.
Want some real heat? Then you’ve got to hit the Keys! This road trip itinerary is my favorite – it rides from Key Largo all the way down to the famous and fun Key West with lots to see and do along the way.
If you like the idea of Florida, but you’re looking for a quieter getaway, this free road trip plan takes you to the Florida of yesteryear, through some of the most naturally beautiful parts of the state.
No matter when you get the itch to get out and explore, these year-round road trip ideas will get you ready to pack your bags and hit the road!