You’re driving down the road on a sunny day with, “Sweet Home Alabama,” playing on the radio. You’re rocking your favorite pair of sunnies and your new Parks t-shirt and you glance outside to see nothing but nature and the quiet road before you. You’re high on life.
Road trips – you know, you love em’. There is something special about the journey.
So whenever I’m feeling that travel itch, I tend to find myself searching Google Maps, rather than Google Flights. But with so many roads left untraveled, it can be difficult to decide your next destination. Here are 3 road trips that any adventurer is guaranteed to love.
The Oregon Coastline
It should be no surprise that this route made the list. Highway 101 runs for more than 500 miles along some of the most scenic areas the United States has to offer. Passing through Washington, Oregon and California, this trip should be on everyone bucket list.
The route is riddled with tiny coastal towns with quirky names and an abundance of adorable ma-and-pa-run shops. It can be a bit slow going as the route is full of twists and turns. But I can promise that you won’t be the least bit bored as you stare out the window. This road trip has been written about by numerous bloggers and travel guides, meaning you will have no trouble coming up with an itinerary. However, here are a couple of hidden gems that I would suggest you check out.
As you leave Washington State heading down the 101, you will cross the Columbia River on a spectacular truss bridge called the Astoria-Megler, which guides you into a historic seaside town named Astoria. The town’s coastline is jam-packed with maritime delights and its sidewalks are lined with quaint B&Bs and antique shops. As the oldest city in Oregon, its history lends a romantic ambience that rivals wherever it is that they filmed the Notebook. So book a cute vacation rental, curl your hair, and stroll the streets of Astoria in the moonlight; you definitely won’t regret it.
A small town in Oregon that is gaining fame for its finned residents (a pod of grey whales) who have made the area their home year round — an unusual thing for whales, who typically migrate during the year.
Originally, we hadn’t planned on stopping in this town, but after my boyfriend (Ben) ate some bad seafood in Seattle, we decided to park our camper and let him take a power nap while I got a bite to eat. I headed to seaside restaurant, where I was able to sit along the windows and watch the whales play in the bay. I was so captivated by this place, after I finished eating, I set up a camp chair at the town’s viewpoint, and drank coffee and watched the whales for hours while the sun set.
We planned our Oregon road trip with the aim of experiencing the sand dunes. As avid OHV riders, it was a trip of a lifetime. However, even after extensive research and planning, I was still blown away by the vastness and beauty of the dunes.
North Bend, is a small town found on the southern point of the dunes. The town was laid back and friendly, but I want to emphasize that magic of this place lies in the sand. With dunes that run for miles and miles, tracing along the ocean, a beer on the beach at sunset has never tasted so good.
Alaskan Dirt Road
Alaska can seem daunting for new adventurers. After all, it’s remote, it’s wild, and there are way too many television shows that imply everyone who lives there, survives off squirrels and moonshine. Oh boy.
While I can’t speak for the legitimacy of these bushman shows, I can promise you that Alaska is worth any effort it might take you to get there. This place will offer you a ‘Made Wild’ experience like no other. But planning a route and activities can be tricky. But don’t worry, I got you.
Top of the World Highway (cross the border at Poker Creek)
The name does not lie. This rugged beauty will offer unparalleled views as you make your way from Dawson, Canada into Alaska. There is no particular stopping point, or attraction so you will have to just trust me when I tell you, wing it and find out for yourself. Not knowing what’s around the bend is the most exciting part about road trips right? It’s a chance to tell your own story!
This little town is a southern port situated at the head of Resurrection Bay on the Kenai Peninsula. The snow-capped mountains that back the marina make the whole town feel like a movie set — we actually met someone with a pet caribou they were walking around town. #IsThisRealLife?
From deep-sea fishing to wildlife watching, this town is a mecca for adventure excursions. While these experiences can be a bit pricey, I would suggest you save up to splurge while in Seward. Indulge in a crab feast at one of the many amazing restaurants and sign up for an iceberg tour – we saw whales breeching, sea otter holding hands, and puffins puffin’ around. I swore I had died and gone to heaven.
If you’re ready to start planning your trip to the wild frontier, check out my previous blog for 5 tips for taking on Alaska.
Kiss the Toe in Dawson City
Now I know what you’re all wondering, and yes, it’s a real toe. And yes, you should kiss it. Not technically in Alaska, but located 66 miles from the Alaskan border, is Dawson City. This city was at the centre of the Klondike gold rush in the late 1890s and has retained its eccentric charm and frontier spirit all these years later. There is a ton to see and do, but what everyone needs to do is kiss the toe at the Sourdough Saloon. The legend hails that two bootleggers were caught in a blizzard while on a run. One of the men stepped off the sled and into the river. However, with the police on their tails, they had no time to dry off. After the frostbite had set in, his friend decided that the best course of action was to amputate (to ensure that he didn’t develop gangrene). To commemorate their narrow escape from the authorities and ingenuity, they stuck the toe in a jar of moonshine and kept it for good luck. Now you can join 100, 000 others from all corners of the globe, and kiss the pickled toe too!
Hippie at heart? Tofino should be calling your name. This tiny Canadian surf town is found on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Imagine the temperate forests of New Hampshire and the surfing vibes of California all rolled up into one tiny town that is all about living the good life.
The town is small, from point to point it’s less that 8 miles long, so it’s easy to see it all. However, to really experience Tofino the way it needs to be experienced, make sure you take your time, watch the waves, and in true Canadian fashion, say hello to the strangers you encounter.
Here are a couple of activities that I think you need to try out when you arrive.
We visited in November and the temperatures hovered around 30 degrees Farenheight. Brrr. Surfing was one of the last things I was excited about. However, after extensive pleas, Ben got me on-board (get it?). We rented surfboards and wetsuits and headed to Chestermere Beach and had an amazing day, trying something completely outside of our comfort zones.
Stay Somewhere Luxe
Tofino has mastered a unique combination of laid-back and luxury. This flower-child town is all about laying back and watching the waves, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do in style. There are a number of hotels and lodges located on the shore that offer a once in a lifetime experience. Ben and I were fortunate enough to stay at Long Beach Lodge Resort. And oh-my-god, this place was unreal. They made fresh-baked cookies every night, the fire was roaring, the views were next level, and we found starfish in the rocks at the beach – pinch me.
Kayak at Night for the Glow in the Dark Algae
Familiar with fireflies? What if we told you that same glow that fireflies give off can be seen in the ocean! See the stars like you never have before and check out the bioluminescence algae that light up the water in the moon light. It is an unreal experience that you will never forget. We promise!
What are you waiting for?! Venture out and see where the road takes you! There are so many roads out there just waiting to be traveled by you. And if you’re ever in doubt, always takes the scenic route!