The time has come for that icon of carefree bliss, the Spring Break road trip. Regardless of your age or occupation, nothing beats the feeling of hitting the open road with a carload of friends and/or family with the honest intention of little else than having a good time. Some of my favorite road trips had very little to do with reaching a destination, and everything to do with enjoying a glorious spring day in transit. With this in mind, here are some of my favorite suggestions for a killer Spring Break road trip.
Old World Charm Meets Hipper than Thou: The Texas Hill Country- I am a native Texan, but I never tire of driving the hilly, winding roads of central Texas. Blanketed with wild flowers and populated by deer, farms, fruit stands, and awfully friendly folks; this trip will keep you smiling. Be sure to stop in Fredericksburg for shopping, art galleries, excellent German restaurants, antiques, The National Museum of the Pacific War, and gorgeous bed and breakfast options. Austin and San Antonio are worth visiting any time of the year. Boasting tons of live music, nightclubs, theatre, museums, concerts, and excellent restaurants in every genre, these cities are a fabulous starting point for your Spring Break road trip. Other towns to see include Comfort, Boerne, Gruene, and Mason. If you happen through Brady, you must stop at Hard Eight Barbeque for a steak. This trip can be completed in a day, but I suggest taking at least two to really get a feel for the area.
Jazz and Oysters: Shreveport to New Orleans- If for no other reason, take this drive because you will see such a wide range of landscapes. Shreveport sits on plains similar to those of north Texas and Oklahoma. As you drive south into bayou area, everything seems to magically convert around you. Shreveport is home to several very nice casinos with great midweek deals for travelers. Stay at the Horseshoe and try your luck at a few table games before wending your way down to the Big Easy. Along the way you will find great eats, nice people, and beautiful land. In New Orleans, grab a Hurricane while exploring the charm and mystique of the French Quarter. Again, this trip can be made in a day or two. . . but why rush such a great experience? New Orleans has a breezy feel, a languid patois, and lots of fun for all ages.
Bucolic Bliss: Upstate New York- Imagine small villages perfectly arranged between green hills, flowers, and a natural landscape to shame any painting. Then go to upstate New York and see it for yourself. Filled with lovely shops, large parks, and waterfalls, Casanovia is a must see. Its close proximity to Syracuse will provide you with all the comforts of a city, but the back roads will set a perfect backdrop for your spring Break road trip adventure. Crank up the radio and head out into horse country.
Cruise Control: California’s Pacific Coast Highway- Let’s be honest: this will be crowded. I have never taken this road trip myself, but a close friend went on her honeymoon and loved it. They visited beaches, vineyards, and golf courses. The only problem? Lots of traffic mars this drive a bit. There is certainly a lot to see, and this is an iconic Spring Break road trip. If you are willing to brave the crowd, the rewards are huge.
Barbeque and Blues: Memphis to Nashville- Tennessee is a beautiful state. Its hills and mountains make for a fun drive, and its cities are caches of music, food, and adventure. See Graceland, catch an up and coming songwriter, and enjoy every second of the drive. Both cities are chock full of culture, art, music, food, and a little kitschy fun.
Amish Country: Morgantown to Lancaster Pennsylvania- If you don’t mind sharing the roadway with horse drawn buggies, this is quite a trip. This drive may be more for families, unless you are looking for an ironic backdrop for loud car stereos and debauchery. Check out the slower pace of life and look back at our country’s history. Lots of great food, produce, furniture, and clothing are available all along the way. A stay in a lovely bed and breakfast can easily extend this daytrip.
The Sampler: San Francisco to Yosemite National Park- For the tourist who wants it all, try the big city followed by the wilderness. Get your sophistication fix in San Fran with its wine bars, fine dining, nightlife, and culture; then drive 3-4 hours on Highway 160 for a camping adventure. A Spring Break road trip to die for, this should definitely fulfill your inner wanderlust.
Soul Searching: The Grand Canyon- For those who need a little perspective on life, nothing is quite as humbling as the Grand Canyon. Experience the desert, excellent southwest food and culture, and forget about your day job for a few days. A side trip to Santa Fe can also do wonders for the soul.
Historical Hospitality: Southern landmarks- I love driving through the south because of the great food, beautiful country, and rich history. Civil War landmarks dot the entire south. It is not hard to envision all the battles we learned about in high school while atop a green hill. Vicksburg Mississippi is a lovely town with lots to offer road trippers.
The Unexpected: An unplanned road trip- My all time favorite. You don’t have to have an itinerary or a destination in mind. Just point the car out of town and turn where it feels right. These spontaneous excursions have led me to beautiful isolated swimming holes, my favorite restaurants, great shopping, once in a lifetime sights, and great memories with my friends, family, and pets. Remember to have a map of your state with you, a little extra cash, and a change of clothes in case you decide to stay awhile. This might well be the best road trip of your life.
No matter where you wander on your Spring Break road trip, have a great time. Anywhere you roam with friends is special, and any trip could end up being your favorite.