America's Best Road Trip Destinations
We showed you our favorite games and gadgets for making road-tripping a comfy adventure in Better Homes & Gardens' July 2019 issue. Now we've asked our editors about their favorite road trips around the USA: and what made them most memorable.
MEDICINE BOW, WYOMING and COLORADO
Mallory Abreu, Home Design Editor
Last May, my friend Kevin flew from our hometown in Connecticut out to Des Moines, Iowa to visit. We planned to spend a day in town, then embark on a week-long road trip from Iowa to Colorado, visiting Wyoming's national parks, Kevin's cousins in Steamboat Springs, CO, and finally Denver.
We left early that Saturday and headed to a bed and breakfast right on the edge of Wyoming's Medicine Bow National Park. We stopped in Laramie on the way and visited the University of Wyoming (we're both suckers for collegiate architecture!), and walked around the center of town to stretch our legs and soak in the old western atmosphere. Then, we were off!
At the B&B—Old Corral—we had the best bison burgers of our lives, visited a tavern, and hiked the Medicine Bow loop. A couple days later and we were back in the car, heading for Steamboat Springs!
One of Kevin's cousins is a white water rafting and rock climbing instructor, so when we got to Steamboat (just a 3 hour drive from Laramie) he took us on a rafting trip—an experience unlike any other river you'll battle. The current was swift and aggressive, and the ride thrilling. We spent the next few days doing day hikes, walking the dogs, eating gyros and stacked sandwiches, and catching up since our days all growing up in the same hometown.
Denver was our final stop before heading back to Des Moines, and we turned on Amy Poehler's audiobook Yes Please for some hands-free entertainment. The switchbacks were treacherous in some places, but the book kept me calm and was easy enough listening to not distract. We visited the D bar in Denver and sat at the pastry counter, where we watched a woman create beautiful churros, milkshakes, and miniature cakes. And to end on a high note, we visited Fiddler's Green for a Paul Simon show.
The trip was exciting at every step of the way and allowed us to see a bunch of new places in a short amount of time. And best of all, the time in the car was a great way to reconnect with an old friend!
Diana Dickinson, Features Editor
Last spring my husband Mark and I drove from Iowa to Florida—our first long road trip (1,200 miles) and more importantly our first time traveling with Frank, our Jack Russell terrier. We usually leave Frank at home when we take a trip but our dog-sitter was unavailable and the place in Florida was dog-friendly so we thought, "why not?"
The drive took 19 hours and for 18 of them, Frank was on my lap. Any attempt to put him in the backseat was unsuccessful. At one point I attempted to sit in the back seat and let Frank ride shot gun, but Frank came back to join me. En route I was his emotional support human, but once we got to our place in Eastpoint, he was fine. There we visited with Frank's brother, Pez, and got some much-needed sun after the harsh Iowa winter.
Will we return to Florida? Definitely. Will we bring Frank? Perhaps.
ROAD TO HANA—MAUI, HAWAII
Amy Panos, Deputy Home Editor
I'll never forget driving the famous Road to Hana on Maui, Hawaii. After a day of oohing and aahing over rainforests and waterfalls, my husband and I did what the rental car companies say you're not supposed to do.
Rather than turning around at the town of Hana and going back from whence we came, through the more populated part of the island, we kept going. Past the black-sand beach and Charles Lindbergh's grave at a little church overlooking the Pacific, we found ourselves on the desolate back side of the volcano that created this island, on a one-lane road that hugged the cliffs, in the pitch black, with the gas gauge licking E. Not a good situation.
As we inched our way along in the dark for two tense hours, the only sign of life was a random cow that crossed in front of us and we could hear the Pacific surging below us. Worst-case scenarios played through my head. What if we plunged off a cliff and into the ocean? How many days it would take to find us if we actually did run out of gas? I have three little kids at home. How did I let myself get into this situation?
I'm not sure if we were ever in any real danger, but it sure felt like it. I'm not going to lie: it was a little bit terrifying but also exhilarating, like we were adventurers on some distant planet. I am a person who always plays it safe, so to have gotten through this extreme situation was a heady feeling. When we finally made it back to civilization, I was so shook that it took a warm bath and a pizza to settle me down. I'll never, ever forget the Road to Hana, and especially the road back.
Laura Engel, Graphic Designer
My boyfriend and I took a trip to South Dakota, around the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Black Hills, Devils Tower, Custer State Park, and Bridal Falls.
We stopped along the way in Sioux Falls at a restaurant that had amazing Greek food called Sanaa Cooks (and vegan options for me). And just wandered around that cute area for a bit. It was a perfect place to stop to break up the trip.
What made the trip so great is how everything is in a few hours driving distance. We reached so many iconic destinations in just a few days and every place we went was picture-perfect.
One of our favorite spots was this cabin in Custer State Park with no internet connection.
It was amazing to get away from the real world and just crack open a bottle of wine and actually just sit down and talk to each other in this cute little cabin in the woods.
To keep entertained on the drive, we listened to and finished a couple of true-crime podcasts. Our favorite was Dirty John.