Five Amazing Weekend Road Trips
Throughout the United States there are some wonderful weekend road trips to be enjoyed. Here are ideas for five of these states, California, Florida, Texas, New York and Ohio.
Weekend in Big Sur, California
Route 1 is a great way to enjoy coastal California. One of the best stretches of this road for a weekend road trip is the Big Sur area. Just 90 miles it has plenty to explore for just a few days and offers some amazing views throughout the drive. Along this drive there are many beautiful sites to be seen and explored. The Los Padres National Forest is an excellent destination for hiking. Throughout the forest there are man trails allowing visitors to walk the coastline. Another great sight to watch out for in Big Sur is the endangered California Condor. The region is one of few where the bird can be seen. Visitors may also catch a glimpse of migrating grey whales in February, during that time of year the grey whales are migrating from Mexico to Alaska.
Beyond recreating the Big Sur road trip has much more to offer. There are three towns in Big Sur, Big Sur, Lucia and Gorda. Travelers can spend some time exploring these fun little towns and while traveling between each can enjoy the amazing vistas along the road and stop at many coastal overlooks.
Overseas Highway, FloridaThis amazing stretch of road is just a little over 100 miles, but it will fill a weekend road trip. The overseas highway takes drivers along some of the most beautiful and tropical region in the mainland United States. To make this a manageable weekend road trip, stick to the upper keys. Key Largo is the longest island in the Keys and it has plenty to offer. After exploring the Upper Keys, if there is time road trippers can venture down along the Overseas Highway into the Middle Keys to see even more. Starting in mainland Florida and traveling south to Key Largo one scenic option is to travel along the Card Sound Road to the north end of Key Largo. This region offers observation of some of the more natural access of the islands, including mangrove swamps and saltwater crocodiles.
One notable destination not to be missed in Key Largo is the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This park was the first underwater preserve in the US and is the only coral reef in the continental United States. Visitors can take glass-bottomed boat tours, or go snorkeling, diving and more to enjoy the abundant sea life.
Beyond Key Largo travelers can explore Islamorada, which is a strand of six islands, known as the Sports Fishing Capitol of the World. This region of the Keys is great for chartering a boat and going fishing for sailfish, bonefish and more. Also on Islamorada is Indian Key State Historic Park. The island once had a prosperous business salvaging the cargo from shipwrecks, today it is an excellent spot to swim, hike and explore the remains of the island's business.
For a longer road trip travelers can continue on to Marathon, which has a nice community and some wonderful parks. Visitors can cross the Seven-Mile Bridge, which crosses a channel that connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. After crossing the bridge travelers can explore Bahia Honda Key and come to the end of the road trip at Key West.
Lakes to Locks Passage, New YorkLakes to Locks Passage is a designated New York State Byway. It runs along the interconnected waterways of Lake Champlain, Lake George, Champlain Canal and the Upper Hudson River. Visitors to the byway will have access to 225 miles of historic and recreational sites, including a series of 32 “Waypoint Communities,” which have come together to provide visitors with walking, biking and driving tours of the region. To have an enjoyable weekend road trip visitors can choose a section of the road to explore in depth. Lakes to Locks Passage is a gateway to many recreational activities including, boating, biking, hiking, rock climbing and snowshoeing. Each town has unique historical and regional activities. The history of this region includes sunken ships in the waterways and lakes, lock systems built hundreds of years ago, battlefields and military sites, and even examples of daily life in the 1800s. Golfing and boating are also very accessible activities along the byway, most towns have golf courses nearby, and those located along the water have boat launches.
Amish Country Byway, OhioThis Ohio byway is a wonderful way to learn about the Amish culture in Ohio. The 70 plus miles of this roadway cross some of Ohio's beautiful hills and pasture. To limit this road trip to just two days visitors can only explore the Western region of the road. Along this section there are marshes, rivers, historic sites and much more. Weekend road trippers can start their journey on the Holmes County Trail, which not only offers great hiking but also offers opportunities to explore swamp areas, and the crop land of Amish country. The Croco House is another great stop along this byway. Croco House is on the National Register of Historic Places because of its role in the Underground Railroad and is a good spot to learn about that history in Ohio. Also along the byway is Killbuck Marsh, the largest freshwater wildlife marsh in the state.
The Easter section of the byway could take a bit longer to explore, but it also makes a good weekend road trip. This section offers plenty of historic destinations including the Victorian House Museum, the West Holmes High School Museum and more. One of the great features of the Eastern section of the byway though are the opportunities to learn about Amish country. Visitors along this section of byway can stop at Yoder's Amish Home, which is a demonstration of Amish life. In addition visitors can explore Heini's Cheese House and Country Mall, which has lots of cheese samples, Amish souvenirs and more. Other opportunities to learn about Amish Country can be found at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center and at Schrock's Amish Farm and Home.
Big Bend National Park Scenic Drives, TexasLocated in Southwestern Texas, Big Bend National Park is an amazing place to experience the natural wonders of Texas. This park offers some amazing scenic drives for a weekend road trip. There are miles of scenic drives, offering views into the different aspects of the park. The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive covers 30 miles of the park and offers views of some of the most amazing sights in the park. Along this drive there are many overlooks to enjoy the sights, as well as a visitor center, a camp store and more. Travelers exploring this scenic drive can learn about the local history at the Sam Nail Ranch and the Homer Wilson Ranch. Some of the geologic wonders are the Santa Elena Canyon which has 1500 foot limestone cliffs. Along these 30 miles road trippers will find plenty of recreational opportunities as well to round out the weekends activities.
Big Bend National Park has several other wonderful drives. For those travelers that have time the Chisos Basin Road is a great option. Just six miles, the road travels from the desert floor to the mountains. Visitors can see the desert and the basin along steep winding roads. Also along this drive visitors can enjoy hiking, stopping at the visitor center and enjoying the restaurant.
Throughout the park there are many destinations to enjoy beyond the scenic drives, so make sure to leave time for exploring some of these destinations as well. The Castolon Historic District has exhibits and some historic adobe buildings. The trails to Dog Canyon, Devils Den and the Fossil Bone Exhibit are also great options for weekend road trippers.