The Best Weekend Road Trips You Need to Take This Summer

A yellow van in a parking lot beside the ocean.

I don’t know about you, but summer is sneaking up on me faster than I can believe. It feels like I was just planning my winter vacation yesterday!

Warmer weather means it’s time to start thinking about your summer plans, which hopefully include a nice, luxurious vacation. If you can’t take a grand international journey this summer, however, don’t stress! I’ve put together a list of awesome road trips you can take in one weekend—perfect for a mini-getaway that won’t break the bank.


Cushioned lounge chairs lining a pristine pool at The Delano Miami.

Miami // Key West

This is a classic road trip every Floridian should take at least once in their life. There are so many stops along the route to Key West you could easily spend more than one weekend road tripping this stretch of highway. The 165-mile drive from Miami to Key West is filled with quirky hole-in-the-wall shops, the best seafood restaurants, and beautiful views.

Things to do:

  • Take a sunset cruise
  • Grab brunch at Blue Heaven in Key West
  • History of Diving Museum in Islamorada
  • Green Parrot Bar in Key West
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Visit the Hemingway House

 

The entrance to the Wort Hotel in Jackson Hole, lit by warm lamps.

Jackson Hole // Yellowstone

I encourage every traveler to put "visit national parks" at the top of their bucket list, especially Yellowstone! Located 60 miles from the south entrance of the park, Jackson Hole is the ideal Yellowstone base camp one of the best preserved western towns in the country. You truly feel like you’re on the set of an old-timey western film here! Don’t let the sunshine fool you, though—Yellowstone is known to receive some snowfall even during the summer. Pack those jeans and jackets!

Things to do in Jackson Hole:

  • Visit the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar
  • Take a scenic drive
  • Hike Goodwin Lake or Hidden Falls

Must-sees in Yellowstone:

  • Old Faithful
  • Grand Prismatic Spring
  • Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Yellowstone Lake

 

Colorful graffiti covering cement structures in the River Arts District of Asheville, NC.

Blue Ridge Parkway // Asheville

The Blue Ridge Parkway connects two national parks, Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but the drive itself is gorgeous enough you could spend an entire weekend just on the parkway! Millions of people flock to the parkway during its peak month of October but there is still plenty to see and do in the area during the summer.

Things to do:

  • Crabtree Falls
  • Grandfather Mountain State Park
  • Visit Asheville, North Carolina
  • Biltmore Estate

 

A person walking through the gentle surf beside a pier at sunset on Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island (or AMI, as the locals say) is one of the most underrated destinations in Florida. This laid-back beach town has stayed true to its small-town charm despite becoming a budding tourist destination. You won’t find any chain restaurants or large office buildings here. It’s all white sand, turquoise waves, and island vibes in AMI.

Things to do:

  • Go shopping on Pine Ave.
  • Made-to-order donuts at the Donut Experiment
  • Dine at the Sandbar restaurant
  • Relax on the beach

 

The Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge over the Cooper River in South Carolina.

Charleston

Charleston is THE classic summer destination! The southern charm of this town can’t be beat. Between the historic landmarks, outstanding restaurants, and exquisite shopping, you definitely won't want to miss out on a visit to Charleston this summer. Plus, it’s centrality makes it a pretty easy location to get to for most southerners!

Things to do:

  • Visit Rainbow Row
  • Sullivan’s Island
  • Shop on King St.
  • Eat at Poogan’s Porch

 

Comfy chairs arranged around a roaring bonfire at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock in Arizona.

Sedona

As one of the hottest weekend destinations in Arizona, Sedona offers everything from hiking to shopping. One of the most popular reasons people visit Sedona (besides the great views) is to be fully immersed in a vortex. Vortexes are places where energy is prominent and projects out of the earth and supposedly exist in only a few places in the entire world. You can visit Sedona to meditate, soak up the good vibes, and get a psychic reading, or go the adventurous route with a hike or a jeep tour of the famous red rocks.

Things to do:

  • Take a hike
  • Enjoy a jeep tour
  • Get a psychic reading
  • Shop for local art
  • Ride the Sedona Trolley

 

The roof of the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver against a backdrop of city lights and a dusky purple sky.

Vancouver

Surrounded by some of the most incredible natural beauty in Canada, Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city that can please everyone from outdoorsy types to shopaholics. Museums, hiking, shopping, and good eats are just a few of the things you can experience in this unique city. My favorite spot to visit is the Vandusen Botanical Garden!

Things to do:

  • Brickhouse pub
  • Bloedel Conservatory
  • Visit Neptoon Records
  • Museum of Anthropology

 

The beautiful Pacific Coast Highway sandwiched between azure ocean and rolling hills.

Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway is known as one of the most scenic highways in the world. You can cruise a portion of the highway if you're pressed for time or opt to drive the whole thing from Washington to San Diego for a longer trip. The route can be done in one weekend if you don’t stop, but I recommend taking your time and enjoying everything this stunning route has to offer!

Things to do:

  • Stop in Malibu
  • Santa Monica Pier
  • Park your car and watch the sunset
  • Big Sur

Courtnie Nichols

TravelBash, 14260 West Newberry Road #325, Newberry, FL, 32669