There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashioned road trip to motivate you to venture out into the world. Road trips are a fun tradition for any group of people wishing to have a good time exploring outside of their comfort zones. Not only do you get the opportunity to see different places, but you also get to craft a memorable experience.
People may think road trips are specifically done by younger folk during high school or college. But let’s not forget older age groups – in particular, senior adults – love to explore the world once they retire (given all the free time).
With this in mind, seniors should keep in mind there are different types of road-trip styles. Depending on preference, road trips can be divided into either local or interstate trips – or both! Either of these options will guarantee unique and rewarding experiences for everyone involved.
Two Types of Road Trips
Local, In-State Road Trips
Before you try to bite off more than you can chew with an interstate road trip, you should first consider trips within the state where you live. By doing so, you’re more likely to discover and explore things like historical monuments, national parks, or towns that would’ve never crossed your mind.
Fortunately for you, a list has been compiled of popular local, in-state routes which include recognized locations to visit. Among the states listed, most of them range from across the entire intercontinental United States and have been carefully selected for your optimal enjoyment.
Travel Time: 1 hour and 30 min
Expect views ranging from the Oswego Harbor Lighthouse to Sodus Bay with many traditional farms as you drive through the scenic countryside.
Travel Time: 1 hour and 30 min
Situated between the Catskills and Berkshires, the Taconic State Parkway route will take you along a picturesque countryside. Some notable locations include the Chatham Brewing Company, the hot air balloon rides in Ghent, and the famous Spotty Dog library in Hudson Valley.
Travel Time: 7 hours and 39 min
The I-86 Beer Trail is considered one of the longest road trip routes in New York State, yet contains some of the most recognized craft beer breweries in the country. If you’re a fan of craft beer and love long journeys, then this route is just for you.
Travel Time: 11 hours and 32 min
Experience a worthwhile trip that covers the most significant natural landmarks the state of Pennsylvania has to offer. Notable locations included: Ricketts Glen State Park, Cherry Springs State Park, Dinosaur Rock, and more.
Travel Time: 11 min, or 11 miles
From the town of Erie in Pennsylvania, Lake Erie’s Peninsula Drive is quite a short distance in contrast to other road trip destinations on the list. Don’t worry, though – travelers here will be captivated for hours on end with the many trails and beaches the peninsula has to offer.
Travel Time: 1 hour and 20 min
Ride along the Laurel Hills region of the Allegheny Mountains where the beautiful mountain foliage captivates its visitors. Travelers will also have the opportunity to visit the home of the renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright and natural wonders such as the Youghiogheny River or the Laurel Hill State Park.
Travel Time: 2 days
A long road trip such as the Rocky Mountains route guides travelers from Denver to Estes Park, with crucial pit stops along the way in Boulder and Fort Collins. This route will exhibit must-see locations such as the Fort Collins breweries, the Waltzing Kangaroo, Long’s Peak, and Dream Lake – among many other hot spots.
Travel Time: 7 days
The ideal trip to experience the best Colorado has to offer, this scenic route demonstrates the jaw-dropping views of the Colorado mountains. Travelers can find comfort eating at iconic restaurants like The Lariat or Arrowhead as they drive near Trail Ride Trail, God’s Peak, and the A-Basin.
Travel Time: 10 days
For anyone interested in exploring all of the natural parks Colorado has to offer, then this is your chance. This road trip route covers a distance of a couple hundred miles where visitors get the opportunity to see many local mountain towns – including the ruins in Mesa Verde National Park.
Travel Time: 4-5 days
Traveling in The Cascade Loop takes people through the Methow Valley and the Cascade Mountains. The sights on this journey include the extravagant Washington state countryside along with activities in the Future of Aviation Center, Mukilteo Lighthouse, or the Centennial Trail. Some food stops worth checking out are the Snohomish Bakery and Nana Carmela’s.
Travel Time: 1-2 days
There’s plenty of activities to do and partake in when traveling down Mount Baker Highway. Travelers will have the chance to stop by Graham’s Restaurant and The North Fork Brewery for food and drinks, as well as a couple of hiking trails in the region like Artist Ridge, Body Creek, and more.
Travel Time: 3-4 days
The Olympic Peninsula Loop provides notable locations and activities for any interested travelers to participate in. Particular points of interest on the loop include Olympic National Park, hiking trails, and Kalaloch Beach.
Travel Time: 2 hours and 16 min
Scenic Byway 12 is a journey that will take you from Capitol Reef National Park to Red Canyon, which is quite a route to behold. It’s known as the “All-American Road”, and this stretch of land will take you down a range of winding roads through the desert while you behold places like Escalante Petrified Forest State Park or the Dixie National Forest.
Travel Time: 13 min
A popular route for avid food lovers, the state’s famous Fruit Way provides a plethora of dining options to any interested visitors. The most recognized spots and must-see for people are: Maddox Ranch House, Petingill’s Fruit Farm, and the surrounding fruit stands near the sides of the road.
Travel Time: 38 min
Commencing this trip in American Fork Canyon, anyone willing to start their trip here will feel welcomed by the beautiful foliage of the mountainside forest, particularly in the fall. As one moves between the mountain range for however long one wants to, you can end your journey in the Sundance Resort where you can relax with all the amenities that resort life has to offer.
Interstate Road Trips
The other type of road trip available for any senior willing to undergo the journey is an interstate road trip. What does this entail, exactly? Well, interstate road trips are routes that – by definition – involve crossing at least one or several state lines. These kinds of journeys are usually associated with numerous hours or even days of travel. Some of the most famous interstate trips stretch from one coast of the United States all the way to the other.
Be that as it may, American car culture has delivered us numerous routes that venture throughout distinct regions of the United States. As a result, it has allowed people seeking the thrill of an unforgettable experience to embark on some of the longest trips of their lives. Thankfully, there’s more than one option to choose from below.
Total Travel Time: 2 weeks
Locations: From Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California
One of the most iconic interstate trips in the country, the officially recognized Route 66 is one that begins near Lake Michigan, takes you across the Midwestern states, and finally ends in southern California.
Texas’s Cadillac Ranch
Stop on by Texas’s Cadillac Ranch and be amazed by this bizarre, yet captivating art decor that has lasted decades and gotten only more popular.
World’s Largest Rocking Chair
Witness the world’s largest rocking chair in Fanning, Missouri. Enacted as part of an April Fools Day ceremony in 2008, the owner created this enormous chair to attract more customers to his feed shop – as well as beating the previous record of the biggest rocking chair held in Franklin, Indiana.
Dinosaurs of Holbrook
An oddity in itself, Holbrook, Arizona possesses a display of various dinosaur figures along Route 66 that were once part of a museum exhibit many years ago.
Pacific Coast Highway
Total Travel Time: 10 Hours
Locations: From San Francisco to San Diego
A 10-hour journey along the Californian coast that takes you from the northernmost border with Oregon all the way to San Diego. You’ll be guaranteed to have a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean, Redwood forests, and coastal towns.
Golden Gate Bridge
Don’t forget to pass through the city’s most famous landmark before leaving San Francisco. When traveling over the bridge, visitors will have a clear view of the San Francisco Bay – and Alcatraz Island in particular.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
You might recognize the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk from many Hollywood movies set in California. This boardwalk has been a staple of American cinema since the 1960s and has persisted as a popular destination for people of all ages.
Hearst Castle is the revered prestigious National Historic Landmark situated in the city of San Simeon, California. This is a must-see location that can be accessed through a castle tour and cannot be missed given the grandiose size and wonders this castle offers.
The Loneliest Road
Total Travel Time: 1 day and 16 hours
Locations: From Ocean City, Maryland to West Sacramento, California
Not only is this the oldest coast-to-coast road in America, but much of it takes travelers through large stretches of solitary land for hundreds of miles on end – thus earning it the nickname “Loneliest Road in America”.
When traveling from the East to West Coast, this casual stop at Nevada Beach will leave you feeling relaxed after many hours on the road. Situated in Lake Tahoe Basin of Nevada, the Nevada Beach Campground provides weary travelers with remote campsites near the shoreline for enjoying a scenic view of the mountains.
Great Basin National Park
Another jaw-dropping wonder located in the state of Nevada, the Great Basin National Park is known for its ancient bristlecone pine groves and the Lehman Caves found at the base of the great mountain formations.
Eureka Opera House
Built and opened in 1880, the Eureka Opera House has been the main auditorium and convention center in the town for decades. When driving down Route 50, make sure to stop by the town of Eureka and give the opera house a look.
Total Travel Time: 3-4 hours
Locations: Florida City to Stock Island
Although a rather short travel time in contrast to the other routes on this list, the Overseas Highway earns its spot due to the engineering marvels that made this project possible. The highway can be driven quite easily in a single day, and it strings travelers across the Atlantic Ocean into a series of islands off the Gulf of Mexico. The serene beaches and sunsets are enough to captivate interest in this region.
Duval Street is the primary tourist attraction in the Florida Keys recognized for its historic homes and annual Hemingway Days Festival. For any lucky travelers, a trip here will keep you busy for hours.
Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Butterfly and Nature Conservatory in Key West is an awesome place for those nature lovers that wish to be surrounded by dozens of butterflies in an exquisite environment.
Dry Tortugas National Park
The Dry Tortugas National Park is located in the Gulf of Mexico, which has a $15 entrance fee for visitors. The island is home to the 19th-Century Jefferson and a popular diving site because of the Windjammer Wreck, an old shipwreck from 1875. Besides this diving site, the island has a protected coral reef area for marine life conservation.
Great River Road
Total Travel Time: 36 hours (non-stop driving), or 4-10 days
Locations: Lake Itasca Park, Minnesota to Venice, Louisiana
The Great River Road is not a single route, but rather a general route which travels from the north to the south of the continental United States. This route earned its name because it follows the trajectory of the Mississippi River. As you drive down the Great River Road, you’ll leave the great plains in the north behind to eventually meet with the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.
Formerly known as Fort Saint Anthony, Fort Snelling is a historic military fortification located between the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The fort held pivotal importance to protect fur trading in the region in the early 19th century. It later served as the central trading location following the Civil War.
Mud Island Park
Mud Island Park is an island found in the city of Memphis, Tennessee, and is home to a 52-acre park where visitors are encouraged to traverse its many trails and open theatre.
Delta Blues Museum
Dive into the rich history of Clarksdale, Mississippi in the Delta Blues Museum, where you’ll learn about the beginnings of the Blues – thus earning a new appreciation for the genre.
It’s clear to see that there is a multitude of possibilities for a senior to enjoy and craft the ideal road trip that best suits their interests! Whether you enjoy short, long, local, or interstate routes, it is up to you to decide where you will go next. At the end of the day, though, it’s the journey – not the specific destination – that will make the experience the most rewarding.