Summer is the season of hitting the open road, and a road trip helps you save big—especially if you’re traveling as a group. Make sure you follow the best car maintenance tips before heading out to avoid any bumps along the road.
Choosing the right destination can be tricky. You want to take advantage of the great weather but avoid overly-hot destinations. If you’d prefer a less crowded environment, choosing a destination that isn’t having a huge festival is a must.
Families are looking for places where the kids will be entertained, but there are also plenty of options for the kids at heart. Here are some of the top summer destinations to start planning now. Book hotels and entertainment early to get the best discounts.
Think you have to wait until Mardi Gras (a surprisingly family-friendly party)? Think again. Mardi Gras brings over one million visitors to the city, and the weather can be unpredictable. However, New Orleans is a party city year-round. In the summer months, you can ensure a nearly tropical environment and plenty of festivals that aren’t nearly as crowded as Fat Tuesday. Stay near the French Quarter and be walkable to everything from the Voodoo Museum to the famed beignet shops.
DC has four distinct seasons, and summers are particularly beautiful. It’s right after cherry blossom season, so the city isn’t quite as crowded. All of the federal and state museums are always free to enter. However, if you want to visit the White House, you’ll need to request a tour well in advance through your congressperson. Flexibility is a must.
Ashland is home to the largest Shakespeare festival in the world. It’s an arts-centric town very close to the California border. You can also access the redwoods from this charming little town where a park full of swans flanks the outskirts. Also, check out the numerous charming shops and meandering creeks that wind through the city.
New York City
It’s a myth that everybody leaves New York in the summer because of the heat—but at least, the latter is true. Yes, New York can be very hot in the summer months, but as long as you have air conditioning, you can take advantage of the most exciting city in the country without hordes of tourists. Take a sunrise carriage ride in Central Park and plan well in advance to get crown tickets for the Statue of Liberty. Only a handful of tickets are available every day, and this is one attraction you don’t want to miss. You’ll be shocked by how relatively small the crown is when you’re inside it—and it visibly shakes side to side.
Napa Valley, Sonoma, and wine country, in general, are just a short drive from San Francisco. In the summer months, the vineyards are gearing up for grape-stomping season. A great way to check out this city is on the bike, with rentals available in the heart of every town. However, cycling from winery to winery might not give you the workout you’re looking for. It’s too tempting to lounge in tasting rooms and explore the unique tastes and flavors the valley is known for.
No matter what type of road trip you have in mind, the destination is just part of the fun. What you experience along the way is often what really makes memories. Give yourself time to stop, explore roadside attractions, and take a detour or two. You never know what you might discover along the way, both about your surroundings and about you and your loved ones. To make it extra special, commit to zero-screen time every day and soak up the adventure.