The Best Road Trips Guide offers readers’ contributions for some of the best road trip vacations down south and across the U.S. Some of the best family vacation getaways include trips to Key Largo, Key West, Texas and Tennessee – even consider a trip out west to Washington State but we’ll save that one for another page. Taking a road trip down south is always relaxing and enjoyable, but inclement weather can put a crimp in your family vacation plans. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 450,000 weather-related injury crashes happen each year.
Be aware of weather conditions before you take a road trip vacation down south:
- Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, but the prime time for hurricanes in Florida vacation spots is late summer and early fall;
- Tornado season varies, but is at its worst from March to May, and the late spring and early summer days are the most risky for road trips in the central southern states;
- Summer weather months bring fire weather into the western states from June to October, peaking in July.
Cissy Petty on the best time to road trip to the South
If you find yourself driving into bad weather, try to pull over and find a safe place to wait. If you’re driving, be mindful of the other cars around you, especially during high winds, rain or hail. Slow down, and be cautious of slick spots, standing water and how managing your brake and steering capabilities. Keep the radio turned on to a station providing weather updates for the area.
“We’ve never run into dangerous weather conditions during a road trip,” says Cissy Petty of New Orleans, Louisiana. ” We came close in Iowa, though, as we heeded hurricane warnings. While road tripping in New Orleans in 2007, we caught a glimpse of the water spouts (tornadoes) on Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Borgne. Luckily, they were far in the distance and we quickly put alot of distance between our car and the funnel clouds.”
Cissy Petty weighs in on Key West, Florida vacations, while Jeremy Elliot of Buffalo, New York ponders the northernmost Key- a trip to Key Largo. Tim Brand of Memphis brings us up to speed on Tennessee family vacations, while Jeffrey Dowd of El Paso talks Texas, and Anthony Pierpont returns to take us through Washington State.
Top 10 Great American Road Trip #9: Our Contributor Cissy Petty, a Lifelong Academician and Student Affairs Adviser Points Out That Key West Vacations Offer Funky Fun and History.
Key West offers partying, sun-drenched days and a laid-back lifestyle you’ll love.
- Key West is the most popular of Florida vacation spots in the Keys.Stroll through beautiful Old Town to admire the colorful homes or to join the party at one of the many local bars.
- Outdoor activities rule on Key West vacations. Diving and snorkeling are popular daytime attractions in Key West. Or with a little bit of planning, charter a boat and go dolphin watching or sport fishing for a relaxing afternoon.
- Search for spots frequented by Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams when you vacation in Key West. A rich literary history exists here, as many writers have spent time in the area.
Jeremy Elliot: Key Largo Trips Offer Natural Beauty.
Key Largo is a favorite road trip for our family; you’ll return home refreshed and revitalized after a visit to this beautiful Florida vacation spot.
- A trip to Key Largo, in the northern tip of the Keys, offers coral barrier reefs, art galleries, and close proximity to the Florida mainland. View the wrecked Navy ship in the National Marine Sanctuary outside of Key Largo.
- Key Largo is known as the diving capital of the world. Charter a boat and go deep sea fishing or just enjoy a tour of the ocean when you visit this Florida vacation spot.
- The Everglades are easily accessible when you take a trip to Key Largo. Go hiking and bird-watching in the Everglades- you’ll be inspired by their beauty.
Tim Brand Travel Ideas: The Johnson City to Gatlinburg Tennessee Family Vacation.
Take a road trip through the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park to experience mountain culture and beautiful natural landscapes. There’s plenty to do on a vacation in Tennessee with family:
- When you take a road trip from Johnson City to Gatlinburg, you’ll find plenty to do upon your arrival. In the city, there are endless shopping and restaurant choices to occupy your entire family.
- Gatlinburg offers the antidote to the city’s hustle and bustle just outside of town. Get a few blocks off the beaten path to explore rivers, streams, and densely wooded forests on your Tennessee family vacation.
- On your driving trip from Johnson City to Gatlinburg, make a pit stop at Pigeon Forge Tennessee. Pigeon Forge offers a large amusement park and go-carts, bumper boats and water boats for visiting kids.
Top 10 Great American Road Trip #10: The El Paso to Marathon Texas Road Trip by Jeffrey Dowd.
A quick trip through Texas is made longer by the many good stops along the way.
- The El Paso to Marathon Texas tour takes about five hours, without stopping.Follow I-10 east to US-90 for just over 200 miles to reach your destination. While in El Paso, learn about the origins of the United States from the southwestern viewpoint. The Chamizal National Memorial celebrates the ability of two differing nations (U.S. and Mexico) to harmoniously negotiate a border dispute. But there is so much more. Learn about the different cultures, the original borders of the United States and Mexico, The Camino Real’s place in history, the Rio Grande as a natural demarcation line, and so much more.
- Along the road trip from El Paso to Marathon Texas, artists love visiting Marfa.In Marfa, you’ll find plenty of museums and galleries including the Chinati Foundation’s modern art collection.
- Big Bend National Park is on the road from El Paso to Marathon Texas and worth a stop. Big Bend includes mountains, deserts and rivers, and bird watchers come from far away to spot the nesting peregrine falcons.
Anthony Pierpont Drives from Everett to Ellensburg Washington.
“We never get tired of driving through the Cascades,” says Anthony. “We often drive through Washington after visiting California. It’s one of the prettiest mountain ranges in the country, and never ceases to amaze with its beauty and grandeur.”
Beginning at Puget Sound, the trip from Everett to Ellensburg Washington winds its way up into the Cascade Mountains. Remember to have your camera ready for plenty of photo opportunities as you enter the Cascades! From Route 2 East, continue past the Glacier Peak and Leavenworth on the road from Everett to Ellensburg Washington. Turn after Leavenworth onto Route 97, to meet your destination. It’s a trip you’ll enjoy year after year.
We thank our contributors:
- Cissy Petty, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Jeremy Elliot Buffalo, New York
- Tim Brand Memphis, Tennessee
- Jeffrey Dowd El Paso, Texas
- Anthony Pierpont St. Paul, Minnesota