Sure, the beginning of summer usually means road trip, but why not take advantage of this fun means of travel year-round? Whether you decide to go all-out with an RV or drive down historic Route 66 with a couple of pals, these sites will help you plan. Even if you haven’t settled on a destination, but feel you’d like to get away from it all, you can find hundreds of adventures, on and off the beaten path. So grab your atlas and make a playlist, and don’t forget to pack a cooler, the highway is calling.
Tracks and Trails is a great site to browse if you’re considering planning a family road trip. If you know what region you would like to visit, you can click on a map of the United States and Canada. The destination spots for that area, and a list of packages to get you there, pop up. If you’re not sure, there is a menu of national parks, complete with enticing photographs, fun facts, and what to expect weather-wise. This site offers pre-packaged itineraries called “Adventure Kits” and packages are tailored to your interests, i.e., white-water rafting, education, photography, and more. It is geared toward those looking to rent an RV for a family vacation, but anyone planning a road trip should visit this inspiring site.
Road Trip America’s finest feature is the Map Wizard, where you can plot out the route you’d like to take, click “find road trip attractions,” and icons pop up to mark the spots for dining, historic sites, lodging, shopping, museums, roadside attractions, to name just a few. Click each icon to read up on each attraction. You get an overview of the history of the location, and tips on what not to miss. It’s amazing. There is also a sizeable forum for road trip advice, like tips for planning for fall and winter road trips, and saving gas by joining other travelers. Browse through lots of trip ideas, an A-Z guide of state-by-state attractions, or laugh out loud at the album of funny signs, like “Far Wood for Sale,” gall-durn it!
A self-described Relocated Yankee named Tara, who hails from Connecticut, but now calls Cary, NC home, writes planning Fun Road Trips. She resolved to create this site to share her love of travel, adventure, and the open road with anyone who cares to read about it. This is a fantastic starting point for anyone who is considering a road trip, and a great spot for well-seasoned travelers to share tips and stories of success and harrowing failure. You will find meticulous organization here, including advice on who to bring (don’t take your depressed best friend to a party beach), what to bring (packing the trunk like a pro), what to eat (make-ahead road snack recipes galore), prepping your vehicle (and making spare keys), and beating boredom (road games and songs). There’s also a great big section on RV travel that includes tips on choosing what size camper, where to rent (or buy), and camper etiquette.
Lolo and Herb created Cross Country Trips to document ten years of summer RV trips throughout the U.S. and Canada. This site includes lots of trip itineraries, a map with pushpin links to the places they’ve visited, recommended activities, reference guides, and tons of videos and photos. As you will see, the family is rather adorable. Watch Lolo enhance her son’s saucer speed “Griswold style” with a little non-stick spray on the sand dunes at White Sands monument, and try to ignore the schmaltzy musical accompaniment. This site stresses the importance of documenting road trips for posterity, especially where kids are involved. They will love looking back on those adventures. Looking at their huge catalogue of trips, from Yosemite to Martha’s Vineyard to Edisto Island will have you singing “I’ve Been Everywhere.”
Go RVing is by far the loveliest site to look at, although if you don’t have high speed Internet, best leave it alone. The home page features a forest full of critters who talk when you roll over them, and encourage you to click to learn more about affordability, activities, where to rent or buy an RV, and watch videos of families on RV trips. There is a gallery of motor homes of all shapes and sizes, complete with virtual tours, and even a section on green RVing that will change your mind about these leviathans. And for a fun diversion, check out the Hit the Road game where you earn points while learning about different RVs and travel destinations. And there are lots of tips for every type of traveler from families to empty nesters to tailgaters. Whether you are looking to bike through canyons, fish with your grandkids, reconnect with your spouse, or party with your friends, there’s an RV vacation that will suit you here.
Jose and Jill began their RV lifestyle rather unconventionally, leaving the warmth of their Florida home to spend the winter in New Jersey. The allure of travel haunted the couple with promises of small-town festivals and fairs, sightseeing, and national parks. Now “fulltimers,” they created this site to show you how to spend less and live more with an RV. Not to worry if you’re not ready to commit to life in an RV, there is a wealth of information on trip planning, including where to camp and what sites to see. There are also all kinds of tips on greening up your RV experience by creating less waste and saving energy by using solar panels.