7 Great Summer Road Trips

by May 28, 2023

The school year is quickly coming to an end and you may be dreaming about a vacation! Are you worried about finding a flight? No problem! How about you hop in a car instead? Let’s talk about 7 great summer road trips that are incredible vacation opportunities!

New York City, New York

The “Big Apple” is one of the most iconic cities in the United States! There is so much to do in this incredible city and it’s easy to vacation here for a whole week!

Parking in the city is limited and can be expensive. However, with 3 major airports and train stations easily accessible, it’s still a great option for a summer trip!

What can you do on a summer trip to New York City? Well, the possibilities are pretty endless!

Here are a few ideas:
  • See a Broadway Show: From Wicked to Aladdin to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, there is a show for everyone and every interest. There is something incredibly special about seeing a show in New York City, even if you’ve seen it before in another theater. So, get your tickets, grab a bite to eat before the show, and enjoy a night on the town!
  • Explore the History: From the Revolutionary War to the Statue of Liberty, the history of New York City is everywhere! There are guided and self-guided tours for you to learn more. Your travel advisor can help you find the best fit as you explore all of the history of this amazing city! Why not head out to the Statue of Liberty and visit Ellis Island?  There is even an Ellis Island Hard Hat tour where you can explore unrestored parts of the Ellis Island Hospital, used at its peak in the 20th century.
  • Visit the 9/11 Memorial: When the World Trade Center was struck on September 11, 2001, the world changed forever. Today, you can visit this memorial to honor those who lost their lives. It is no doubt an emotional, but powerful, experience.
  • Dining Experiences: From luxury dining to a traditional tea time or a New York-style pizza, you won’t go hungry in New York City!
  • Shopping: A visit to 5th Avenue is a shopping experience like no other! However, there are countless other shops including a huge store celebrating the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

San Diego, California

If you live in the Western part of the United States, there are several great cities to consider as you look at vacation options! San Diego, California is one option. San Diego is a popular cruise port on the west coast but this city has so much more to offer to its visitors!

Here are a few suggestions:
  • Visit the island of Coronado: With its charming vibe and stunning beaches, Coronado is the quintessential SoCal experience! The old Hollywood charm of the island will have you coming back for more.
  • Plan a day at the San Diego Zoo or Balboa Park: The San Diego Zoo is one of the most well-known zoos in the country. This is for good reason as spans over 100 acres and is home to over 12,000 different species of animals. The zoo is found in the beautiful Balboa Park, which is worth the visit alone. At Balboa Park, visitors can explore botanical gardens, walk along one of the many trails, enjoy great dining, and even visit one of the 16 museums.
  • Explore the Gaslamp Quarter: During the day, the Gaslamp Quarter is a charming district in the city to shop, grab lunch at one of the cafes, or just explore. In the evening, the nightlife is fun with rooftop bars and clubs that bring the area to life!
  • Head to the Beach: San Diego is known for its great beaches! La Jolla is one example where you can relax in the sun and then watch a breathtaking sunset. While you’re there, check out the sea lions (from a safe distance, of course). You can even go snorkeling in La Jolla Cove.

Washington, DC

The nation’s capital is a great option for a summer road trip! In addition to having so many monuments and museums for all ages, there are plenty of opportunities to be active too! Many of the museums and monuments have free admission too! Plus, the National Zoo is the home of some pretty famous residents: the Giant Pandas. Luckily, if you don’t feel like driving once you’ve arrived in the city, the metro is a good way to navigate. Plus, many of the most popular museums and monuments are within walking distance of each other.

If you opt for a road trip to Washington, DC, you could also extend the trip easily to other areas such as Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, or Williamsburg, Virginia. This would be a great trip if you have family members who enjoy history or spending time outdoors!

Here are a few ideas of how to spend your time in this city:
  • The National Zoo: This zoo offers free admission to guests and is home to the beloved Giant Pandas! If you are staying in the National Mall area, it’s easy to find the zoo using the Metro system.
  • Museums: Are you looking for the Museum of Natural History? Do you prefer the National Museum of American History? Both of these Smithsonian museums are located in the heart of Washington, DC along with several other museums that offer free admission.
  • Monuments: Do you want to see all of the famous monuments celebrating our nation’s history? Did you know that many are within walking distance of each other? Alternatively, there are open-top bus tours that go throughout the city.
  • Biking, Hiking, or Boating: If you are looking to spend some time outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities in Washington, DC. The summers are hot so many people enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating along the rivers. It’s also easy to find a bike path and there are some great hiking trails in the area too!

Niagara Falls, Canada

Head to Western New York this summer and it’s easy to cross over to Ontario and Niagara Falls. To enter Canada, all guests over the age of 16 are required to have a passport or passport card if they are driving. For any international travel, a valid passport is recommended for all guests. However, minor children, under the age of 15, are permitted to show their birth certificates. Once you’ve arrived in Niagara Falls, there is plenty to do for all ages.

Here are a few options to consider:
  • The Skylon Tower: The Skylon Tower offers both indoor and outdoor views of the Falls, two dining rooms, and the Skylon Fun Centre.
  • Niagara Falls History Museum:  Through photos, artifacts, and hands-on experiences, guests of all ages will learn about the history of the Niagara Falls region. From geological creation to the daredevils that dared to cross the incredible landmark, and the impact of the War of 1812, there is so much to see and do at this newly renovated museum.
  • Ziplining to the Falls: Are you feeling adventurous? Did you know that you can zipline over the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls? Don’t miss the breathtaking views of this one-of-a-kind experience as you soar 220 feet above the Niagara River Gorge!
  • Niagara Skywheel: The Clifton Hill Skywheel stands at 175 feet and it is an incredible way to see Niagara Falls. Get an outstanding view of both the American and Horseshoe Falls, the Niagara River, and many landmarks in the area.
  • Journey Behind the Falls or Boat Tours: If you want to be up close and personal with this iconic landmark, consider boarding the legendary Maid of the Mist. You can also journey behind the Falls and learn even more about how it was formed.

If you would like to go a little further away from the falls, head to Niagara-on-the-Lake. This charming town is located on the shores of Lake Ontario and is filled with quaint shops, nearby wineries, and 19th-century architecture. There is even a summer festival with different theatre productions. Your Key to the World Travel advisor can help you find the perfect hotel or vacation rental for your visit!

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The Great Smokey Mountains are a well-known vacation destination for those looking to get outdoors and explore! This is a great option for a family getaway. Gatlinburg, Tennessee is one place to consider staying. Whether you prefer a resort, hotel, or your own cabin in the mountains, you will find it here!

Once you’ve arrived, there is no shortage of fun either!

Check out these ideas:
  • Outdoor activities: Enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and more in the beautiful Smokey Mountains. You can go horseback riding and ziplining too. There are plenty of activities to choose from to enjoy that mountain air!
  • Visit Dollywood: This popular amusement park is a great choice for guests of all ages
  • See a show: There are several options for live entertainment as well. Consider seeing one of the many shows in the area after a day out in the fresh air! Head over to nearby Pigeon Forge to see one of the incredible shows there too such as Dolly Parton’s Stampede or the Hatfield & McCoy Stunt Show.
  • Visit a Winery or Distillery: If you’re looking for a taste of Tennessee, make sure you stop at one of the local wineries or distilleries.

Orlando, Florida

If you want to visit the Most Magical Place on Earth or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, why not extend your vacation and drive to Orlando, Florida? Orlando is home to over a dozen theme parks. However, this city has so much to offer outside of the theme parks. If you’re driving, it’s easy to plan a visit to both the Walt Disney World Resort and the Universal Orlando Resort! Then, you can explore the rest of the city too! If you’d like to incorporate some beach time into your vacation, it’s easy to drive to the east coast or gulf coast. Luckily, your Key to the World Travel advisor can help you plan a seamless trip, regardless of what you have in mind!

Here are a few ideas for an Orlando Vacation:
  • Theme Parks: There are over a dozen theme parks to choose from in the Orlando area. From Disney Parks to Universal Orlando to smaller options like Fun Spot America, there’s so much fun waiting!
  • Outdoor Fun: How about an airboat adventure through the Everglades? Do you prefer your own personal catamaran? Did you know that you can grab a clear kayak and journey through Rock Springs at Kelly Park? It’s the perfect way to get a crystal clear view of the wildlife around you! Alternatively, consider one of the fun mini-golf courses in the area such as Congo River Golf.
  • Zoos: There are several great zoos in the area. The Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens is home to over 500 animals. When you visit the Brevard Zoo, it’s not your “typical” zoo day. You can kayak past giraffes, touch a rhino, feed parrots, and more!
  • The Showcase of Citrus: Whether you pick your own citrus or mine for gems, there are a variety of activities available at the Showcase of Citrus. This estate is located approximately an hour from Orlando, with unique experiences for guests of all ages!
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium: The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is located approximately 90 minutes from Orlando on Florida’s west coast. This aquarium is known for its rescue and conservation efforts. Here, guests can feed stingrays, explore the working animal hospital, take a behind-the-scenes tour, and more.
  • Kennedy Space Center: Learn about the past, present, and future of space exploration at the Kennedy Space Center. Located approximately an hour from Orlando, visitors can talk with a real astronaut, witness a rocket launch, and so much more!

Grand Canyon & Sedona, Arizona

The Grand Canyon is a bucket list destination for many people. It’s also a great option for a road trip. Did you know that you can go “glamping” in the Grand Canyon? Did you also know that you can rent an RV for the ultimate road trip experience? It’s easy to visit both the Grand Canyon and nearby Sedona for an amazing vacation that you won’t soon forget!

Check out this must-do list:
  • Outdoor activities: From hiking and biking to jeep tours or yoga, there are plenty of opportunities to be outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather! In the Grand Canyon, consider riding a mule or rafting down the Colorado River.
  • Wineries: Try a variety of local wines at one of the wineries in the area.
  • Grand Canyon Railway: This train goes from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon and offers a scenic ride along the way!

More Summer Vacation Ideas

The list above is just a few destinations worth considering if you want to stay closer to home for your summer vacation. There are so many incredible opportunities for road trips and local travel. Your Key to the World Travel advisor is here to help you find the perfect fit for your vacation needs! Let’s get started today!


Are you considering a trip? Having a travel advisor means someone there to have your back in any occurrence. There is no additional cost to you and you have peace of mind knowing that your vacation is in good hands.

Contact your Key to the World Travel® advisor for your next trip, or send us a quote request to get started.

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