This day trip is available for only a few months each year when the snow is plowed and finally melts away in mid-June, but when that window opens jump through it to take a road trip out and back on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park in Montana. You may see a family of bears crossing the street or a mountain goat or two hanging out in their natural habitat, and you definitely will see a slew of epic waterfalls (including the most beautiful ones in the state), sweeping vistas made for your smartphone’s pano mode, and massive conifers along this showstopper of a road. If you are staying at the magnificent West Glacier KOA, the start of Going-to-the-Sun Road is close enough (3-miles away) that you may want to make this 2-4 hour trek multiple times because it’s truly spectacular and unlike any other 50-mile stretch of asphalt in America.
Kentucky bourbon trail (with a designated driver)
“Traveling the Kentucky Bourbon Trail can take three days or two weeks. It is whatever you make it,” shares respected travel writer Jason Greene of One Good Dad fame. “Some stop by the gift shops and that’s enough for them. Others, like my brother-in-law and I, we wanted to take a distillery tour at each location we visited.” Greene points out that, “each distillery offers a history lesson, discusses how their bourbon differs from others and offers the happy ending of a bourbon tasting.” Having a designated driver each day of your road trip makes this possible. For a luxurious, Instagram-worthy place to stay during your bourbon trail road trip, check into the Kentucky Castle in, appropriately enough, the city of Versailles.
Oregon’s Splendor and the California Redwoods
Start in Portland with more Pip’s mini artisan doughnuts than seems wise (it’s okay, they are so small!) and a Timbers or Thorns soccer match at newly renovated and reopened Providence Park. Next, head east on the Historic Columbia River Highway for a bevy of cascades including legendary Multnomah Falls. Bring your swimsuits and towels because many of the waterfalls have wading pools to cool off and pose for photos with the rushing water overhead. Hang a right on Route 35 to start south toward Mt. Hood for a hike and to Bend, Oregon for a great meal at McKay Cottage. Continue to Crater Lake, for a drive along the rim road and maybe a hike down to the water. You’ll soon reach the majestic California Redwoods—Star Wars’ fans take note: this park was the stand-in for the forest moon Endor. Go as far south as Fern Canyon for a mystical short hike and an afternoon spent on the wild Pacific beaches there. Start driving north again but this time hug the rugged Oregon coastline with massive sand dunes until you reach Tillamook Creamery back up near Portland. Along the way, you will have experienced a diverse array of nature, city life, sports, and tasty cheeses.