Taking the great American road trip

landscape rock mountain desert valley vacation cliff arch park landmark canyon terrain national park world road trip west american geology badlands plateau western wadi westworld butte mountainous landforms

Credit To

Whether you live in America or halfway across the world, just about every self-proclaimed traveller has dreamt about driving across the country as part of a great American road trip. After all, the U.S. is an absolutely huge place, and the fact that you can reach every inch of it by car, without any sort of roadblock, is incredibly appealing. Road trips are the perfect option for those looking for an affordable and adventurous holiday, but only if you plan them really well. Keeping that in mind, here are four things you should do to make your great American road trip truly great.

35102535_10156308396004976_8538634282845863936_o

  1. Plan A Rough Itinerary

Whether you like it or not, most road trips do come with a time limit, so it’s vital that you have a route and rough schedule planned before you hit the road. There are a number of incredible American road trips you could consider, but, if none of those appeals to you, then you could always use a road trip planner to create one of your very own. Just make sure that you’re not driving too much each day, as this is dangerous and could also ruin the experience for you.

IMG_1397

  1. Look After Your Car

When you’re travelling long distances in your car, it’s more important than ever that you take proper care of it. With that in mind, you should make sure that you have your car inspected by a mechanic at least a week before you set off. You should also pack your car with tools, a spare tire, a brake bleeding kit, a tire pump, and more, and learn how to complete basic repairs and maintenance. This way, you will be able to help yourself if and when there’s an issue on the road.

IMG_1537

  1. Choose The Right Companions

Although you could head off on your own, road trips tend to be a lot more fun when you take friends or family with you. That being said, this is only true when you choose the right companions. You’re going to be stuck together in a car for hours at a time, so it’s vital that you bring people that you really get along with. Unless you really love driving, you should also make sure that whoever you bring is willing to share the wheel time with you.

  1. Budget Your Money Wisely

Road trips can be incredibly affordable and budget-friendly, but this is only true when you spend time planning your budget and manage your money wisely. With gas, toll costs, food, souvenirs, attractions, and more, road trips can get incredibly costly very quickly. To avoid this, you need to consider all possible road trip costs and decide how much money you’re going to spend on each one. You should also have an emergency stash of cash for any unexpected expenses.

IMG_1214

Heading off on a great American road trip is a dream for most avid travellers, but this dream can quickly turn nightmarish if you’re not prepared. To ensure you have an amazing time, make sure you remember the advice above.

Travelling across Europe

Scotland

Europe is huge, so to travel across it would take you a very long time. So, we’re not suggesting that you attempt to tackle it all, but we do think that you should go for some of the best bits. Europe is truly stunning, and there are some incredible destinations that you could visit along your travels. But, we’re bet you’re wondering how we think you would be able to afford all of this? Well, it’s simple. Pack a bag, take a tent with you, and cut out all of the rubbish of hotels and jumping from flight to flight. Once you’re in Europe, getting on a plane and stopping in fancy hotels isn’t what you have to do. There’s so much freedom to pretty much go wherever you want, however you want. If you love the idea of camping, then see if we can get you to travel across Europe!

venice-1578425_1280

Image Source

Where To Go

Amsterdam 1

Europe is the perfect mix of city breaks, beach locations, mountainous wonders…and anything else in between. If you’re looking for something that’s super varied, then you’ve pick the right part of the world to travel. If you were looking to explore some incredible mountains, mixed in with beautiful culture and people, then Switzerland is the place to go. It’s arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and it’s landscape revolves around white top mountains, and picturesque villages. If you were looking for something a bit more beachy, then Spain is the place for you. All of the coast of Spain is filled with tourist hotspots, beautiful beach locations, and a pretty cheap time. In both of these locations you will be able to find campsites where you can set up shop, and it’ll be pretty easy for you to get around and explore as well!

What To Pack

It all depends on how long you’re going for. If you’re going for a few weeks, then you’re going to have to pack plenty of pants and socks, and enough clothes for around 10 days. Then, you’ll need to sort your camping equipment, and you’ll definitely need to make sure you get absolutely everything. From a floor topper, to the tent itself, it’s all going to have to come with you. You can see more here if you’re looking to find out what is needed for a camping trip. As long as you have the essentials, you can keep picking things up in every country that you go to. Make sure you also take things like suncream, a pack up phone, and a portable charger with you!

Amsterdam houses

The Logistics

You can either get around by train, bus, or plane. If you’re taking flights, make sure you find out whether it would be cheaper to get the Euro train, or a cross country train. If you are getting flights, always shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal!

The Cloisters

IMG_3190

The MET Cloisters

The Cloisters are a treasure of New York City. A medieval castle, with the most beautiful grounds, stunning architecture,  and glorious artifacts in the galleries and chapel. The Cloisters are an extension of the MET – the Metropolitan museum of art. The location is in the charming and peaceful Fort Tyron park, in the Washington Heights neighborhood of upper Manhattan.

IMG_3223

IMG_3226

A mini getaway

A  visit to the Cloisters, almost seems like a mini getaway from the chaos of Manhattan. You don’t even feel like you are in New York City! The peace and quiet makes a visit to this unique museum so calming and relaxing.  You feel as though you have stepped back in time, and the location makes it so much more charming. As the scenery is stunning.

IMG_3181

IMG_3182

IMG_3184

IMG_3185

IMG_3186

What to see

The grounds of the Cloisters are so charming, and a favorite of mine is to visit the gardens. With multiple gardens on offer no trip would be complete without exploring at least one.

Cloister gardens

  • The Cuxa Cloister
  • Saint Guilhem
  • Boonefont
  • Trie

The Cloisters contains an impressive selection of chapels and halls, all with stunning architecture and art work.

Halls and Chapels

  • Gothic chapel
  • Fuentiduena chapel
  • Langon chapel
  • Romanesquet hall

15267587_10154641440939976_100959737058867614_n

Views of the Hudson

A highlight of the Cloisters is the view of the gorgeous Hudson river. After exploring the exhibits and gardens, head to the balcony to take in these sights. These sights will also include the George Washington bridge and views of New Jersey. I have visited the Cloisters multiple times and the prettiest time to visit is during the fall to see the gorgeous fall colors along the Hudson.

Hudson river

IMG_3202

IMG_3203

IMG_3206

Fort Tyron park

Before or after exploring the cloisters, I would recommend walking through the absolutely beautiful Fort Tyron park. Considered to be one of the city’s most beautiful outdoor pieces of art.

18077295_10155106703144976_6236852229216154460_o

15181610_10154641440984976_856806814669134319_n

15253372_10154641440864976_7062336894116156144_n

IMG_3225

IMG_3227

IMG_3228

Getting to the Cloisters

Located in Northern Manhattan, you can take the A subway (Blue express line) uptown to the 190th street subway station. From the station you can either follow the signs to the museum, by walking through the stunning Fort Tyron park. Or take the M4 bus to Margaret Corbin Dr/Cloisters museum.

IMG_3194

IMG_3192

IMG_3191

 

 

Acadia National Park

IMG_7382

Maine

The breathtaking treasure of the north Atlantic coast, Acadia National Park is located in the state of Maine. Maine is the northeastern most U.S state, and is a part of the “New England” region. The state of Maine, is boarded by the state of New Hampshire to the west, the dramatic Atlantic ocean to the southeast and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and northwest. From its natural beauty, stunning views and friendly and welcoming locals, a trip to Maine is well worth it. And the magical Acadia National Park is the true gem of this charming state.

IMG_7391

IMG_7394

IMG_7395

IMG_7396

Acadia National Park

Acadia National park is one of the oldest U.S National Parks, east of the Mississippi river! It was first established as a National Monument in July 1916, and was then changed to a National Park in 1919. The majority of the 49,052 acres of the park is located on Mount Desert Island, which is the largest Island of the coast of Maine, and is also the 6th largest island in contiguous U.S.

Acadia is the highest rocky headlands along of the Atlantic coastline of the U.S, and has a large abundance of biodiversity. Here you can explore a range of landscapes, from the rocky coastlines, to forests, ponds, marshlands, fields and mountains! A true nature lovers playground.

IMG_7562

IMG_7563

IMG_7577

IMG_7581

IMG_7600

IMG_7617

IMG_7627

Highlights and must sees

Bass Harbor head lighthouse

Visit the charming lighthouse, with views of the rocky coastline, and stay to watch a breathtaking sunset. There are also hiking options from here.

IMG_9697

IMG_9700

IMG_9710

IMG_9714

 

Sand beach

A gorgeous beach that is nestled between granite mountains and rocky shores.

IMG_7409

IMG_7410

IMG_7413

IMG_7419

IMG_7424

IMG_7427

Ocean trail

Walk from sand beach to otter cliff. An easy walk, with the most breathing views of the Atlantic ocean.

IMG_7438

IMG_7448

IMG_7466

IMG_7493

IMG_7495

IMG_7497

IMG_7531

IMG_7544

IMG_7550

IMG_7567

IMG_7568

IMG_7575

IMG_7595

Thunder hole

A natural rock inlet where you can see and hear the waves crash with a thunderous boom and high flying foam.

IMG_7639

IMG_7640

IMG_7641

IMG_7655

Park loop road

27 miles long, this route connects the parks lakes, mountains, forests and rocky shores with many observation points along the way. A great introduction to seeing the beauty of Acadia.

IMG_7352

IMG_7405

IMG_7500

Cadillac mountain

Drive or hike the impressive Cadillac mountain. This gorgeous mountain sits at 1,5350 ft above sea level and provides stunning views of Acadia. The perfect place to watch the sunrise.

Bar harbor

A charming sea side town on Mount desert island, and is known as the gateway to Acadia. With charming boutiques and restaurants this is a popular town to visit when exploring Acadia.

IMG_7051.jpg

 

IMG_7663

IMG_7665

 

Acadia National park is a truly magnificent place. There is so much natural beauty and diversity to explore.  It is one of my favorite U.S national parks and a highlight from our travels in the United States. A true gem of the east coast.

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

Heading South

Over the Christmas/New Year holiday period we decided to drive to New Orleans for New Years Eve. We left New York City, five days before Christmas heading south. The only ‘plans’ and accommodation we had wasn’t until the 30th, so we could enjoy the drive and see where we would end up! Looking at the map of the USA, I also decided that I would love to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the way down. So we headed for the Blue Ridge Parkway.

IMG_6427

Scenic drive

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an absolute dream, the scenery is breathtaking.  It is America’s longest linear park, stretching 469 miles, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Shenandoah National Park. Located in the States of North Carolina and Virginia. Parts of the Appalachian mountains are also included in the parkway.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is a nature lovers dream, rich in biodiversity. There is so much variance in the fauna, flora, climate and geological features.

 

IMG_6432

Peaks of Otter

Before we left NYC, we had decided that we would rather camp in various National forest or State forest camping grounds, so the trip could remain relatively unplanned and be more cost effective. So the first area that we stayed at, was Peaks of Otter,  now being that this was in the middle of December and we did not do any research, the visitor center and camping area is actually closed at this time of year! It was raining and getting late, and as our car is set up for sleeping in ect we still stayed near the visitors center. The next morning we woke up to a blanket of fog, I felt that the thick fog enhanced the beauty. Peaks of Otter surrounds the Jefferson National Forest, and provides breathtaking views. You can take multiple hiking trails near the visitor center. Due to the fog being so thick, we decided to hike the shortest route, the elk run loop. This hike offers a self guided ecology walk, with displays along the walk describing the forest community, very cool.

IMG_6381

 

IMG_6377

 

IMG_6383

IMG_6385IMG_6384IMG_6393.jpgIMG_6387.jpgIMG_6410IMG_6412

Overlooks

Next stop along the parkway, the Head Foremost Mountain overlook and the Arnold Valley Overlook.

IMG_6420

IMG_6423

IMG_6430

IMG_6434

The fog had still not cleared up by lunch time! I can only imagine how spectacular these views are on a clear spring or summers day.

IMG_6439

IMG_6444

Curtis Creek

For our second night, we camped at Curtis creek, a camping ground nestled in the mountains at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains. This campsite was open (Closes December 31st) and works on a first come, first serve system.  Near the camp ground, there are multiple hiking trails on offer, plus the pretty creek.

IMG_6484IMG_6487IMG_6494

Nantahala National Forest

After hiking during the morning at curtis creek, we drove to Asheville, N.C to spend the day there ( a separate blog post). After Asheville, we continued the journey towards the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This time, camping in the Gorgeous Nantahala National Forest. Nantahala is Cherokee for “land of the noonday sun” a very fitting name for this beautiful forest. The forest is half a million acres of pristine woodlands. A true beauty to explore. Our campsite for the night was located at Lake Santeetlah, a mountain lake surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest. A really pretty and relaxing place to camp.

IMG_6513

IMG_6524

IMG_6588

IMG_6590

IMG_6599IMG_E6594

IMG_6611

 

Next stop – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

21616280_10155597136604976_3367786643713737581_n21761454_10155597136574976_7352484575666478403_n22007821_10155621081359976_1956248582602944377_n22007970_10155621081469976_6953742483708157272_n22008001_10155621080794976_8290140861620509780_n22008018_10155621080979976_5912125149572102502_n22045641_10155621080704976_1333929641632646179_n22045688_10155621081584976_3493219746091267408_n22045789_10155621083059976_6730454091533533579_n22045822_10155621081909976_1810883342588031010_n22045855_10155621082329976_8970694967498327939_n22045873_10155621080899976_2178343996781786713_n22045927_10155621082009976_6195079026851273394_n22045946_10155621082434976_8885789444566764913_n22046096_10155621081899976_6710953969842333857_n22046171_10155621081674976_2393893439232321407_n22046424_10155621081364976_2560847935553621545_n22046448_10155621082279976_3900301029680633436_n22046642_10155621080779976_7464968259505062145_n22046888_10155621081039976_1848278775961053189_n22046905_10155621081449976_2881297656528791220_n22046950_10155621081984976_4287737271090270153_n22046959_10155621081684976_8295119651082528404_n22050125_10155621081779976_2241786165156724380_n22089006_10155621082439976_1369302597388810650_n22089134_10155621082544976_6042787449391716308_n22089190_10155621080869976_3010693551719162402_n22089204_10155621082634976_7968060732556936169_n22089420_10155621080659976_8508152094647843522_n22089604_10155621082774976_8372543586905375675_n22089737_10155621081189976_2499994760764808101_n22090128_10155621081249976_1497190070055558127_n22096082_10155621081769976_3904035849946151969_o22140928_10155621082349976_8537036492943434523_n

Bryce Canyon National Park

IMG_1951

Bryce Canyon

The natural beauty of Bryce Canyon National park is incredible. The views from above and from within are truly breathtaking. The major attraction is the spectacular crimson colored hoodoos, pillars of rock created by erosion. Bryce Canyon has the largest collection of hoodoos in the world, attracting nearly two million visitors annually. Bryce Canyon is located in southern Utah, in Utah’s canyon country. A four-hour drive from the famous Las Vegas, Nevada and two hours from the beautiful Zion National Park 

IMG_6339

Hoodoos

The main attraction is of course, the gorgeous collection of hoodoos. The best place to view the hoodoos are from the Bryce amphitheater, which has the largest collection of viewpoints.  With four main viewpoints (Bryce point, inspiration point, sunset point and sunrise point) and access to numerous hiking trails, this is the perfect area to start a journey exploring Bryce Canyon.  

IMG_1998

IMG_2001

IMG_6336

IMG_1995

Hiking opportunities

Bryce Canyon has a range of hiking trails from easy to strenuous. As an introduction to Bryce canyon, I would recommend beginning with the Rim trail hike, here you will be hiking the rim of Bryce amphitheater, viewing the gorgeous hoodoos from above, walking between sunrise and sunset point. Rim trail is classified as easy. Please note that the rim trail is not a loop, so the hike can range from 1 to 8 hours, depending on when you turn back around!

A step up from the Rim trail hike, would be the Queens/Navajo combination loop, this is classified as moderate and is also regarded as the most popular hiking trail. Highlights will include viewing Thor’s hammer and the two bridges. If you are looking for more strenuous hikes, I would recommend the Peekaboo loop, here you will hike through the heart of the park, with stunning views of the hoodoos and also viewing the wall of windows. Fairytale loop is another great strenuous hike, providing you with a chance to see the Chinese wall, tower bridge and tall hoodoos. Away from the Bryce amphitheater at the northern end of the park is Mossy cave, an easy hike away from the crowds.

BC hike

Bryce Canyon hiking

Hoodos

Highway 63

A breathtaking scenic drive through the park. Provides a great opportunity to view some of the major overlooks, with 13 viewpoints along this 38 mile round trip. Highlights include the natural bridge,  Rainbow and Yovimpa points. If you only had one day to explore Bryce canyon, I would recommend completing this loop and stopping off at the major viewpoints.

IMG_2164

IMG_1966

IMG_1963

IMG_1960

IMG_1956

IMG_1951

IMG_1960

IMG_1966

IMG_1988

Mossy Cave

If you have more than a day I would recommend a visit to Mossy cave. A hidden gem at the northern end of the park. provides an opportunity to get up close with the hoodoos without descending.  It is an easy hike along a stream side to view this pretty cave. Depending on the time of year you may also see a waterfall or icicles in the cave! A peaceful hike without the crowds.

IMG_2048

IMG_2061

IMG_6342

IMG_6358

IMG_6367

Bryce Canyon is a truly remarkable place. The scenery is stunning and the opportunities for hiking and photography are endless. A true nature lovers playground! Photos don’t do justice, you really need to explore Bryce Canyon in person to surround yourself in this natural beauty. A unique, and breathtaking landscape. One of my favorite national parks that I have visited so far.

BC NP

Convertible

Flower

Zion National Park

IMG_1694

IMG_1710
Road trip from Las Vegas to Zion

IMG_1709IMG_1724IMG_1737IMG_1745IMG_1746IMG_1776IMG_1780IMG_1816IMG_1836IMG_1844IMG_1888IMG_1899IMG_2193IMG_1915IMG_1924IMG_1940IMG_1946IMG_6251IMG_6273

Everglades National Park

1798401_10152266676839976_385533635_n1779092_10152266676214976_1636841270_n1926749_10152266676499976_1526694078_n1546307_10152266676769976_1788382962_n1002663_10152266676129976_1513362876_n993027_10152266676934976_629389409_n1888714_10152266676419976_1384019171_n1897733_10152266677064976_186948495_n1939465_10152266675939976_1517585119_n1959960_10152266675524976_1519669711_n1966956_10152266676029976_1554499248_n1982048_10152266676324976_1412230816_n1800196_10152266675399976_536934404_n1920467_10152266674964976_1298856139_n

Grand Canyon National Park

1186228_10151823339354976_1280589076_n451001253_10151823340999976_370201798_n1001425_10151823339444976_1996695982_n1006054_10151823343509976_1326387152_n1148867_10151823341254976_492907666_n1148970_10151823343999976_75322570_n1150319_10151823340439976_448894185_n1175374_10151823339769976_591132008_n1006331_10151823340254976_1037743567_n1175643_10151823339049976_1692033604_n1175747_10151823340624976_1660901546_n1185295_10151823342459976_520629056_n1185806_10151823343884976_99438630_n1186929_10151823343824976_218401780_n