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A road trip with the girls can make for one of the funnest vacation escapes, with the chance for plenty of time to chat while you check out the scenery, and perhaps enjoy a few unexpected adventures along the way. For the best of the best, consider a girls’ getaway that involves one of these fantastic road trips.
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The Florida Keys
Head south from mainland Florida on the Overseas Highway for an especially unforgettable road trip. The route spans 113 miles as a series of roads and 42 trans-ocean bridges all the way down to America’s southernmost point, Key West, which means that not only will you enjoy lots of jaw-dropping ocean scenery, but the chance to party ’til dawn when you arrive. The longest of the bridges is Seven Mile Bridge, which stretches seven miles across azure waters, linking Knight’s Key with Little Duck Key, though you’ll enjoy incredible panoramic views of coastal flats and islets the entire way. A snorkeler’s and diver’s paradise, if you want to discover the area’s spectacular underwater world, this is probably the best region in the continental U.S. to view brilliant colored fish and coral reefs, with a number of dive sites to stop at along the way, including the 70-square-mile John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo.
You’ll also have the opportunity to take day cruises or sunset sailing trips, visit interesting historic attractions like Ernest Hemingway’s House and more.
Tuscany sampler, Italy
Taking in some of Italy’s most breathtaking scenery and exciting medieval cities, this Tuscany sampler road trip may be the ultimate girls’ getaway. It stretches for about 100 miles, from Florence to Orvieto. Start out by taking in the spectacular Renaissance architecture and fine art in Florence, and then head south to explore Chianti wine country. You’ll find a number of great stops along the way for tasting too, like L’Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano. Following the backroads to Siena, gaze at the impressive Duomo and people watch in the 12th-century square, Piazza del Campo. In Montalcino, be sure to pick up one of the country’s most beloved wines, Brunello di Montalcino, before driving east to soak up quintessential Tuscan landscapes with lush green hills, wildflower-filled valleys, cypress trees and hilltop towns. Finishing in Orvieto, this striking hilltop town famous for its remarkable Gothic Duomo, offers many picture-perfect-postcard spots.
California's Highway One: Laguna Beach to Big Sur
The Pacific Coast Highway has long been considered a “dream drive.” Technically, it starts in Washington State, but one of the most famous stretches is in California, beginning in Laguna Beach and culminating in Big Sur along the central part of the coast, though you can also do it vice versa, of course. Laguna Beach has often been referred to as Southern California’s prettiest beach town – it hosts countless art galleries, an art museum and hosts a ton of art festivals, while surfers and sun worshippers share coves and gorgeous stretches of sand. From there, head north and stop at the Santa Monica Pier to ride the iconic Ferris wheel and check out the shops. Next stop, legendary Malibu, home to lots of celebrities, beautiful stretches of sand, outstanding eateries and fun shopping opportunities.
Further north, you can take a slight detour inland to enjoy a day of wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country, home to a diverse array of wines, made from grapes near the ocean in Lompoc up to the inlands of Happy Canyon. About 100 miles more, and you’ll reach Hearst Castle in San Simeon, a must-visit along the way, where you can tour one of America’s true castles. Finally, in Big Sur, you’ll enjoy unbelievable views that include deep gorges cutting through rugged mountains, pine forests that extend to the edge of sandy beaches and even cascading falls plunging to the sea below, as well as one of the world’s most unique beaches, Pfeiffer State Beach, a rare purple sand beach.
Sedona to the Grand Canyon, Arizona
Head to Sedona to begin this road trip, but be sure to check out this spectacular town with awe-inspiring red rock scenery before hitting the highway. Located just two hours north of Phoenix, it’s also renowned for its vortexes, where locals and visitors can take part in healing meditations and breathing exercises in the powerful spots that are considered transformational for many. If that’s not for you, Sedona also offers world-class spas and fantastic trails for hiking and mountain biking. Driving along the Red Rock Byway onto the Grand Canyon Loop, you’ll want to stop at many picture-worthy places, like the San Francisco Peaks and Painted Desert.
Savannah, Georgia to Asheville, North Carolina
Thinking of a tour of the south? This great girls’ trip traverses a little over 300 miles, starting in the historic town of Savannah, with its magnificent antebellum architecture that sits alongside the Savannah River among giant live oak trees draped with Spanish moss. It preserves its past with elegance and pride that can be seen throughout the beautiful mansions, Colonial public buildings and cotton warehouses, and also offers eateries with fabulous food and plenty of top-notch places to shop. Once in Asheville, you may want to stick around a while to enjoy hiking in the surrounding mountains, and exploring Biltmore Estate, another one of America’s very own “castles.” The city is also becoming increasingly popular for its brew scene, with 11 breweries yielding one of the highest per-capital total in the country. One of the best spots to sample what the city has to offer is at The Thirsty Monk, featuring some 50 local beers.
The Ring Road, Iceland
This drive of a lifetime is one that you’ll want plenty of time to savor – at least a week – in order to take in some of the most amazing views on the planet. Start out by taking in the panoramic vistas from the top of Reykjavik’s Hallgrimskirkja Church, before heading to the Golden Circle, where you can stand in awe as Strokkur Geyser erupts and marvel at powerful waterfalls and the rainbows that develop in their mists. Fantastical surprises await around nearly every turn, from viewing the unique cliff of basalt columns on a black sand beach, to cruising among a maze of floating icebergs and visiting the extraordinary Lake Myvtan region to whale watching and discovering the magical mysteries of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The grand finale? A soak in the healing waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Finger Lakes, New York
Finger lakes are a chain of lakes in central New York State, named as such as they’re shaped like finger. Formed by glaciers, they extend from about a 75-mile long line, from Syracuse to Rochester. In between, you’ll pass tranquil farmland, charming towns and hundreds of wineries. While the drive is beautifully scenic year round, if you go in the fall, you’ll enjoy some of the most brilliant autumn foliage that can be found in the entire country. One of the best ways to experience it is by taking a loop road trip that starts and ends in Ithaca, traversing some 175 miles. In addition to the opportunity to taste great wine, you can get out and enjoy a number of natural gorges with cascading waterfalls, picnics, hikes and enjoy a hot air balloon ride.
The Pacific Coast Scenic Byway follows the Oregon coast along Highway 101 in Oregon, and is considered one of the country’s most spectacular drives. It starts on the south end in Brookings, and travels nearly 340 miles to Astoria in the north. Along the way, you’ll enjoy lots of awe-inspiring, unobstructed natural vistas including some of the most magnificent beaches you’ll ever see, wind-sculpted dunes, seaside cliffs and soaring mountains. Look out to the Pacific, and you’ll spot unique rock formations, some of which are home to large colonies of sea lions and seals, and, between November and June, grey whales often pass by. When you reach Astoria, you’ll be in one of the state’s most historic cities, though it may best be known as the setting of the popular 1985 film, “The Goonies.” Enjoy strolling through streets lined with historical architecture, and for one of the best views, visit the Astoria Column, where the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River and snow-covered volcanoes of the Cascade Mountain Range can all be seen.