Which Summer Road Trip Is Right for You?

Like Europe? National Parks? Wine? We’ve got a route for you.

May 18, 2016 9:00 am

If you don’t spend some time embracing the open road this summer, you’re doing it wrong.

Why? Cheap gas prices, free National Parks and long security lines, for starters — a leisurely drive certainly beats the scenes at Chicago Midway captured earlier this week.

Which is fine. Nothing beats a road trip. (Everything beats a family road trip, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Don’t know where to go? A few ideas and destinations below.

For the Undecided
Roadtrippers is a free and eminently useful app/site filled with customized route planners and detailed trip guides you can narrow down by geography, timeframe and interest (be it natural wonders, attractions, hotels or “weird stuff”). Gotta dig a site that promotes an RV road trip based around UFOs.

For Drinkers
In the just-released American Wino: A Tale of Reds, Whites and One Man’s Blues, former Playboy nightlife writer Dan Dunn undertakes an epic 15,000-mile road trip to discover the secrets behind great wine. While a personal story at heart, Wino also makes for a great guidebook — a vineyard-themed sojourn isn’t the worst way to spend your summer.

For Off-the-Beaten-Path Excursions
The Global Commute is a site that encourages vacationers to travel with purpose — mainly, by taking a deep dive into local culture and being service-minded in their pursuits. Of particular note is their suggested 14-day Cuban Road Trip, which spans the entire countryside and offers unique guidelines (e.g., stay in a private casa particular, not a hotel). Do it before the country gets overrun with Best Westerns.

For Vintage Car Lovers
The newly-launched service Classic Car Travel offers road excursionists the chance to see Europe behind the wheel of a vintage Mercedes-Benz SL. You’ll tour the south of France and Tuscany with a small group, aided by an English-speaking tour guide and service team. Bonus: you’ll stay in some ridiculous boutique hotels (some based in ancient castles) and make pre-arranged stops at assorted vineyards and cultural landmarks.

For Car Haters
Like glamping is to camping, Trek Travel is to cycling. These are decidedly luxury excursions via bicycle, catered to your riding level and area of interest. Tour the California coast, commute between gorgeous villas in Barcelona or base your tour around stops at Michelin-starred restaurants across France.

For a WTF Experience
Overnight road trips that defy convention: that’s the idea behind Rental Car Rally. Take a team and your (preferrably shitty) car. Scour the most bizarre places on Earth. And … actually, let’s let the Rally guys describe it: “Ever dodged an egg fired from a nitrous-powered piece of PVC pipe? Humped an M65 Atomic Cannon on a military base while scream-singing ‘God of Thunder’ in zebra leggings? Explored an abandoned psych ward at 3am? Driven a pirate bus through the Mojave?”

For Seeing the Best of America
The National Park Service turns 100 this year. You might want to check ‘em out — we’ve got guides to lesser-known wonders, the ones with the best on-site lodges and when they’re free to visit.

This is but one installment of 37 Things a Man’s Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September


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