Now that spring is peaking around the corner, and roads are going from icy to dry once more, it is the perfect time to start planning a roadtrip. This list looks at 5 options for road trips routes from day trips to week long trips. Better yet – all of the routes listed can be traveled in reverse, allowing even more versatility for your planning needs!
1. The Pacific Coast Highway
If you’re looking for a quintessential west coast rosd trip, there’s no better option than cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway. This iconic road begins in Menecino County in northern California and follows the coast 600 miles down to Dana Point in southern California. You’ll he able to choose between traversing a portion of the highway for a shorter trip or the whole thing. A popular segment to traverse that includes the largest cities if from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Some popular stops along the route include Big Sur and Point Lobos State Reserve.
2. Portland, Oregon To Phoenix, Arizona
If you’re looking for a longer road trip that will showcase the full spectrum of what the west coast has to offer, consider cruising down the coast from Portland, Oregon to Phoenix, Arizona. The total straight through driving time of this route is 20 hours, but you’ll want to split it into at least 3 days – a week if possible – to have time to enjoy all the experiences along the route. The first portion of this roadtrip will take you through the lush forest of the Pacific Northwest and then down the Pacific Coast Highway along the Californian coast.
Once you reach Los Angeles, consider spending a day checking out the city or relaxing on one of the beaches. Then, you’ll start heading inland across the California and Arizona deserts to get to Phoenix. While desert may be synonymous with dry, arid, and empty land, spring is one of the most amazing times to visit. Not only will temperatures be far milder than in the summer, you also may get to see the desert blooming with life as wildflower season begins.
3. The Historic Columbia River Highway
This beautiful road showcases the wonder of the Pacific Northwest wonderfully. The full length of the highway spans 75 miles, making this a great option for a short but sweet trip. However, with notable stops such as Multnomah Falls along the way, you may want to consider stretching it into a weekend trip to along time to explore. Multnomah Falls Lodge offers some beautiful accommodations with a location hard to beat – right next to the towering waterfall that is it’s namesake – if you do want to split the trip into multiple days.
4. Los Angeles, CA To Joshua Tree National Park
Winter and spring are among the best times to visit Joshua Tree National Park thanks to milder temperatures. This makes it the perfect destination for a spring road trip. Even better, this route offers a great mix of urban and outdoor adventure. Start by spending some time exploring Los Angeles, then hit the road. Straight through, the drive takes a little over two hours. If you’re up to exploring some hidden gems, though, consider checking out the small town of Pioneer Town along the way. This unique town looks and feels like it fell right out of the old west – you can even. Once you get closer to Joshua Tree, you’ll want to decide where to stay. Take a few days to explore the park, then head back towards L.A. or onto your next trip!
5. San Diego, CA To Palm Springs, CA
If you’re looking for a shorter trip, consider this alternative route to Palm Springs, CA from San Diego, California. Instead of heading towards Los Angeles, add a visit to Anza Borrego State Park to your route. This road trip is the definition of short but sweet – the straight-through driving time is about 3 and a half hours. While you could feasibly do the entire trip in a day, you’ll likely want to spread it out over at least a weekend to have time to explore all three places. Anza Borrego has some great hiking trails, and spring is one of the best times to visit thanks to color temperatures and the annual wildflower bloom. Palm Springs, meanwhile, is the perfect place to spend an afternoon (or weekend) relaxing by browsing the town’s boutique shops or many high-quality hotels.
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