The New American Road Trip
At some point after puberty and before mortgage payments, that summer ritual our parents used to make us do became something we couldn't do without. And the rules have changed. Cars are faster, highways are better, and there's cool stuffreally cool stuff that doesn't involve buffets or Dollywoodjust about everywhere. Stop sitting on those vacation d
Rules of the RoadShotgun Responsibilities: Stay awake (really), open cattle fences, fix snacks, and cue up fresh podcasts of This American Life
Climb a volcano, surf the sand, and dine on an organic farm
ASTORIA Wines from Shallon Winery are subtle as sea stacks—chocolate and orange?—but tasty nonetheless (shallon.com).
PORTLAND A 30-mile mountain-bike ride (bikegallery.com; pumpclub.org) through Forest Park fronts views of Mount Hood and brings on a thirst for the best brews in America’s craft-beer capital. Our pick: BridgePort IPA (bridgeportbrew.com). Dinner, literally, on the farm: Plate and Pitchfork (plateandpitchfork.com).
NEWBERG Sweethearts favor drive-in movies and bench seats (99w.com).
GOLD BEACH Chinook swarm up the Rogue River starting in July; steelhead arrive in late August (wildriversfishingservice.com).
EUREKA Born Again Boards shapes 1930s-style recycled-redwood longboards (bornagainboards.com) for the breaks near Eureka’s jetty. On the road, the Avenue of the Giants detours off 101 through redwood forests (aveofthegiants.com).
WEAVERVILLE Miller’s Drive-In, on Main, still delivers burgers and shakes to your car (530-623-4585).
MOUNT SHASTA Up you go (shastaguides.com).
TALENT Be sure to get reservations at New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro (541-535-2779).
CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK Pedal the 33-mile rim road (martyscycleonline.com).
MAUPIN Nothing brings the Deschutes River’s redside rainbow trout up like early-summer salmon flies (deschutesangler.com).
MOUNT RAINIER Summit with Everest guide Dave Hahn (rmiguides.com).
Do Vegas like a playa, explore a new slot canyon, and rediscover the ancients
Rules of the RoadGoogle Maps is the best. True That. Double True.
MALIBU The surf almost matches the people watching (malibusurfshack.com).
TWENTYNINE PALMS Only early arrivals get to camp at J-Tree’s Hidden Valley and Ryan campgrounds, with bouldering just beyond the tent flap (nps.gov/jotr). Walk a mile and you can camp anywhere.
LAS VEGAS Red Rock Resort opened last spring, with guided horseback riding, climbing, and biking (redrocklasvegas.com). And don’t get all sanctimonious about sin: Hit the Palms’ new club, Moon, which has a retractable roof that doubles as a giant video screen (palms.com).
GRAND CANYON Einstein and Teddy Roosevelt both stayed at El Tovar, a classic lodge 60 feet from the south rim (grandcanyonlodges.com).
LEES FERRY Raft the Canyon (oars.com).
ESCALANTE The new Slot Canyons Inn overlooks the Escalante River, and the innkeepers arrange horseback rides and hikes in Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument (slotcanyonsinn.com).
MOAB Desert Highlights’ new one-day canyoneering trip through Pleiades Canyon, in the La Sals, descends seven waterfalls (deserthighlights.com). With prime access to the Slickrock and Porcupine Rim trails, Moab’s Sand Flats Recreation Area resembles a (mountain) biker bar come evening (discovermoab.com).
BLANDING The Southwest is covered with ancient ruins, but few people visit the petroglyphs and multistory dwellings of Hovenweep National Monument (nps.gov/hove).
FLAGSTAFF Chris Sharma’s hijinks in Rampage popularized Priest Draw, a bouldering area in the Coconino National Forest (fs.fed.us/r3/coconino). Saturn’s rings are just beyond the 24-inch telescope at Lowell Observatory (lowell.edu).
IMPERIAL SAND DUNES RECREATION AREA Embrace the interminable desert between Flagstaff and San Diego (blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/elcentro.html).
SAN DIEGO La Jolla Shores attracts swimmers, snorkelers, and kayakers with its clear, calm waters (sandiegobikeandkayaktours.com).
CORONA DEL MAR Bonfires still go at Corona Del Mar State Beach (parks.ca.gov).
Top out on empty peaks, soar in a glider, and bed down in luxury
Rules of the RoadFOR GAS MILEAGE: The A/C is more efficient on freeways. On surface streets, roll down your windows.
ESTES PARK Start your climb of 14,255-foot Longs Peak from the Meeker Park campground before dawn to avoid thunderstorms and tourists (nps.gov/romo).
FORT COLLINS New Belgium, the birthplace of Fat Tire Ale, offers free tours and tastes of limited editions (newbelgium.com).
LARAMIE High Plains Outdoor Institute runs climbing courses at Vedauwoo, a mess of granite dollops known for wide cracks (hpoiadventure.com).
LANDER Camping in Lander City Park is free and doubles as walk-to lodging after a night out seeing local country bands (landerchamber.org).
PINEDALE Skip the crowded Cirque of the Towers for the 11-mile trek to the Wind River Range’s Midsummer Dome (jhmg.com).
JACKSON The Cathedral Traverse—Teewinot, Mount Owen, and the Grand Teton—is the new “It” route for Jackson climbers (exumguides.com). Cast for fine-spotted cutthroat (highcountryflies.com) or raft the Class III Snake, south of town (jhww.com).
VICTOR The Victor Emporium Old Fashioned Soda Fountain has served huckleberry shakes since the fifties (208-787-2221).
DRIGGS Soaring hawks and climbers on the Grand Teton are among the views during a glider ride along Teton Pass (tetonaviation.com).
PARK CITY Locals have helped build some 350 miles of singletrack, including the 30-mile Mid Mountain Trail (whitepinetouring.com). With triple-headed showers, Hotel Park City’s 46 new cottages, open since December, represent the tonier side of mountain hospitality (hotelparkcity.com).
KAMAS The High Uintas Wilderness is bigger and less visited than the Wasatch. Hike the 18-mile Four Lakes Basin Trail (fs.fed.us/r4/ashley).
DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT Float Split Mountain Canyon, on the Green River (adrift.com).
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS By midsummer, the Yampa River is ideal for kayaking newbies (backdoorsports.com).
BOULDER Buy an inner tube at the Conoco at Arapahoe and Broadway and float Boulder Creek through town. Coors Light tallboy optional.
Catch trout on a fly, ride killer singletrack, and swim in hidden pools
Rules of the RoadDuct-taping a spare key to the frame is not the same as having AAA.
TREXLERTOWN Friday is race night at the Trexlertown Velodrome (thevelodrome.com).
JIM THORPE Locals devour the tight root- and rock-studded singletrack of the 9.5-mile Mauch Chunk Ridge Trail (bikejimthorpe.com).
BUSHKILL The Delaware River supports rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, and shad (flyfishingguideservice.com). Campsites along the Delaware are free, first-come for canoeists, and by far the most secluded option in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (nps.gov/dewa).
NORWALK It takes less than an hour to paddle to sandy seclusion on Grassy Island (norwalkct.org). Or, from Branfor, explore the rugged granite shorelines that ring the Thimble Islands, in Long Island Sound (actionsportsct.com).
WESTPORT Paul Newman’s new organic Dressing Room makes a good fuel stop (dressingroomhomegrown.com).
NORTH CONWAY Sticks and Stones, a new 1.5-mile freeride trail, ups the ante, with planks and banked ramps, on the way to a nest of singletrack in the Green Hills Preserve (redjersey.com).
RUMNEY Southern New Hampshire’s sport-climbing hub contains 500 schist routes (mooneymountainguides.com).
HANOVER Use a canoe to scout the banks of the Connecticut for rope swings left hanging by college kids (dartmouth.edu/~lcc).
QUECHEE One of New England’s best swimming holes: Quechee Gorge (vtstateparks.com).
LAKE GEORGE Thirty-two miles of open water and summer breezes make George a mandatory stop for sailors (yankeeboat.com).
STATE COLLEGE Out past Penn State, spring-fed streams grow trout like watermelons (sprucecreekflyco.com).
Eat like a southerner, camp in the trees, and meet the gators on their turf
In the city, catch fish from the Chattahoochee, the country’s southernmost brown trout river (riverthroughatlanta.com).
MACON Grits, collards, and sweet-potato pie; load up on Mama Louise’s soul food at H&H Restaurant (mamalouise.com).
BAXLEY Blackwater and expansive cypress swamps make the Altamaha River a spooky classic of a deep-South canoe trip (southeastadventure.com).
FOLKSTON Though not as spooky as the eyes glowing back at you on a night paddle of the Okefenokee (okefenokee.com).
JACKSONVILLE Clean sets roll into the Poles surf break, at Katheryn Abbey Hanna Park, after northeasterly storms from the Atlantic (aquaeast.com).
ST. MARYS A twice-daily ferry runs to Cumberland Island, with its grown-over plantation ruins (nps.gov/cuis). Farther up the coast, Jekyll Island’s pristine driftwood beaches lie tangled in live oaks and windrows (jekyllisland.com).
ST. SIMONS The classic seafood shack: the Crab Trap (saintsimons.com/crabtrap).
HILTON HEAD Late-night turtle watchers await the emergence of loggerhead hatchlings (coastaldiscovery.org).
CANADYS A paddle-to treehouse adds a novel approach to canopy living (canoes.com).
OUTER BANKS Tailing red drum are the bonefish of Pamlico Sound. Sight-cast to them with a fly, or surfcast for bluefish and pompano (outerbanksflyfishing.com).
KITTY HAWK Fly a glider like the Wright brothers (kittyhawk.com).
CHAPEL HILL Remember college, no matter where it was (carolinabrewery.com).
ASHEVILLE The Green River Narrows is the most notorious Class V kayak run in the Southeast, but just upstream it’s mellow Class II (greenriveradventures.com). After boating or riding Laurel Mountain (pro-bikes.com), locals get their swill on at Jack of the Wood (jackofthewood.com).
HOT SPRINGS River-board the French Broad (extremenc.com).
CLAYTON If Burt Reynolds and his ill-fated Deliverance posse had gone with Wildwater Ltd., they might have made it down the Chattooga River’s Section IV (wildwaterrafting.com).
TALLULAH FALLS And if they’d known how to climb, they might have made it out of Tallulah Gorge (granitearches.com).