You might wonder why you’d want to take a winter road trip, but there are many benefits of seeing the USA during the quieter season. When winter comes, there are fewer tourists at some of the country’s most famous sights, and you benefit from cheaper accommodation. As long as you are well prepared, a winter road trip is an enjoyable experience that gives you a different view of a tourist trail. If you are looking for the best winter road trips, this guide shows you some of the best the US has to offer.
Florida’s Route 1 is a famous 113 mile drive, where you can enjoy warmer temperatures than in the northern states. This means there are lots of outdoor activities you can do along the way, including water sports and hiking, as well as taking in the scenery.
Another thing to do in The Keys is to enjoy the vibrant night-life and party until dawn! Or, if you prefer a more calming and relaxing vibe, go and see some of the many art galleries and museums.
Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park
In the summertime, Yellowstone National Park is a hotspot for tourists, but in the winter it is a completely different world. When taking a winter road trip here, you almost feel as though you have this beautiful park to yourself.
Start your journey at Mammoth Hot Springs, and enjoy the 52 mile Grand Loop Road. Keep your eyes open for wolves in the Lamar Valley, watch out for lone male buffalo, and hike or ski to see the impressive geysers in the Upper Geyser Basin.
California, Pacific Coast Highway
Fancy cruising from San Francisco to San Diego, enjoying some stunning coastal views and stopping at some amazing cities along the way? This famous route with its twists and turns takes you through a variety of areas, including sleepy coastal towns, golden beaches and lively cities such as Los Angeles. This is one of the best winter road trips you can do if you like to see some sights out of the tourist season.
Nevada, Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is one of the deepest lakes in the USA, and you can enjoy a winter road trip that sees stunning snow-capped mountain surrounding the clear waters and creating magnificent reflections. This 27 mile long road trip may not be the longest, but it is certainly worthwhile.
Along the way, you can enjoy a range of winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, or head out on the hiking trails at Sand Harbor, the Lake Tahoe National Park.
Tennessee, Great Smoky National Park
For a winter road trip that you’ll treasure, this route begins in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and gives you 81 miles of magical winter scenery. You will drive through tall forests as you head for Mount Cammerer. There are plenty of places where you can pull over to take in the enormity of the wilderness or explore some hiking trails.
South Dakota Highway, Badlands
If you like jaw-dropping scenery, then the 40 mile Badlands Loop Road is sure to please. The Badlands National Park is made up of banded canyons, formed by sediments that have been eroding away for millions of years. If you are looking for peace and quiet on a winter road trip, want to go looking for fossils, or want to explore this ancient place, the Badlands is worth a visit.
If you are a lover of marine life, then this amazing 480 mile coastal drive from California to Cannon Beach, Oregon, is one of the best winter road trips you can do. During the winter, gray whales are migrating, and can often be seen in the ocean. There are some stunning rock formations at Cannon Beach, including the Haystack Rock that lends an eerie atmosphere to the beach in winter.
When you do go for a winter road trip, always be prepared. Pack emergency supplies and warm clothing, even if you are going on a well-used road. Have plenty of water, food and book accommodation in advance. If you do not have your own car, what’s stopping you from renting one that can accommodate your needs? That way you won’t have to worry about getting stranded and can simply relax and enjoy your trip.
Rather than drive around the US in the baking heat, road trip when the temperature is more tolerable. A winter road trip means seeing America’s beautiful landmarks in a different light, making a unique trip. Grab a map, some pins and string and start planning the must-see places.