Offbeat road trips are on the rise
Monday, June 16, 2014
The travel industry is definitely bouncing back. Bookings and projections all show the promise of profit in the coming months. Yet there is another travel trend that is showing signs of growth — road trips.
During the recession, vacationers had to come up with innovative and inexpensive ways to satiate their wanderlust. They needed to get away, yet do it in the most economical way possible. Cutting down on air fares was the first thing that came to mind, so they turned to the road.
Soon, this economical practice showed its innate promise of freedom and wonder. Now that they have had the taste of the adventure, Americans want more.
The travel industry isn't disheartened by this trend either. Instead, they have quickly caught on and have come up with innovative ways to cater to this taste. Lonely Planet, an online travel guru for vacationers, has outlined the best road trips to take this year. The buzzword for 2014 is offbeat — easy trips with something new in store.
Among the top recommends are:
- Coastal New England: A 250-mile drive from Gloucester, Massachusetts, to New Haven, Connecticut. Enjoy great marine-scapes and savor awesome seafood all the way.
- Ivy League Tour: Combining college tours with the spectacular fall colors seems to be on parental agendas already, and this 300-mile road trip will cover the historic campuses of Harvard, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth through three states.
- Michigan's Gold Coast: This drive along the shores of Lake Michigan will bring unforgettable experiences of orchards and wineries, beach dunes and charming little B&Bs.
- The Blues Highway and Cajun Country: The lure of the Deep South is enduring, but in a road trip it can be addictive. The 1,000-mile road trip starts in Memphis, down Highway 61 south all the way to N'Awlins and then Lafayette. This cultural odyssey combines food, history, music and the bon temps ("good times") at their best.
- Monument Valley and the Trail of the Ancients: This 300-mile road trip of Utah's canyon country starts from the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park and goes deep into the Four Corners region, where modern and ancient Native American cultures merge. In between, travelers will have hair-raising experiences with the Moki Dugway hairpin turns, dramatic backdrops and strange-shaped sandstone monoliths of the Valley of the Gods.
Of course, the fact that people will be experimenting with their travel plans does not necessarily mean that classic road trips are going to be discarded. As more Americans get on the road, favorite options like Route 66 — which runs through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California — will still top the charts. What aided as a trade route is now one of the best cross-country travel routes for road trips.
What's more, recognition for this trend has come in spades even from the auto industry, which opened the 2014 NYC Auto Show with the announcement that they have some of the best cars for road trips this year. From the 2015 Jeep Renegade to Chevrolet's new 625-horsepower ZO6 Convertible, the auto industry is all set to cater to the road-trip mania.
As the travel section of Fox News put it, road trips are as popular as American pie, but the roads less traveled will be on the platter more from now on. Their studies have predicted that Santa Ynez Valley and Los Alamos in California; Leesburg, Charlottesville and Floyd in Northwestern Virginia; Mobile Bay and Bay St. Louis in Alabama; the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Ohio's Hocking Hills Region will rule in choices for offbeat road trips this year.
So if you missed out on Willie Nelson's tour bus sale and you're still worried about the lack of space for your long road trip, no worries. Word’s out that the Austin-based company that bought it is planning to rent it out.
Your offbeat road trip might just be a great luxury experience as well.
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