Best Road Trip Destinations for This Christmas
Gear up for the ride of a lifetime
“Home for Holidays” is a very popular and familiar refrain during December. But for a growing segment of Americans and international travelers, Christmas-time has become a popular time to travel.
There are couple of reasons why this is the case. For some, it may be the easiest time to take off between Christmas and New Year. Further, many families live scattered all over the state, so a fun location to celebrate Christmas in, makes perfect sense. Also for some travelling during Christmas may be the most affordable way, if you know where to deal.
Minnesota & Wisconsin: Ice caves
Duluth to Hayward
Distance: 240 miles, round trip
Time: 3-5 days
For this trip, get an early start, as this roughly 240 mile loop starts in Duluth and immediately crosses into Wisconsin on state route 13 for a visit to the spellbinding ice caves of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore lining the Bayfield Peninsula on Lake Superior. And if you’re lucky enough, you can hike into the surreal world of icicles and whorled frozen drama, if the ice is solid. And on your way back, be ready to be dazzled by a massive and free million-light Christmas extravaganza on the shore of lake Superior.
Alaska: Northern Exposure
Anchorage to Talkeetna
Distance: 226 miles, round trip
Time: 3-5 days
This 226-mile, out and back will make you feel like an Ice Road Trucker. An hour on the north of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway, stop off in the Mat-Su valley to Nordic ski on the 10K trail system designed by Olympian Bill Spencer, in the middle of 8,060-acre Government Peak Recreation Area. On the George Parks Highway, at mile 98.7, turn right on the Talkeetna Spur Road. There ditch the asphalt for a breath of fresh air with a fixed wing flight around the snowy peaks. Go at sunset and catch the alpenglow on Denali. Bed down at Talkeetna Roadhouse. The owner, Trish Costello, bakes famously large and gooey cinnamon rolls.
Nevada & Utah: New Year’s Eve in Zion
Las Vegas to Zion National Park
Distance: 244 miles, one way
Time 7-10 days
Las Vegas is all about the make belief. Think about it, artificial trees, artificial snow, artificial ice and reindeer. And watch the Bellagio fountains dance to “Santa Baby” and catch La Reve at Wynn in Las Vegas before bombing 244 miles northeast on I-15 through the dry desert to the cliffs of Zion and spooky hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park. Time it with New Year and join REI on six-day snowshoeing adventure that includes trekking across a forest plateau and taking a New Year’s Eve hike up Walter’s Wiggles, a series of 21 steep switchbacks to Scout Lookout in Zion.
New Mexico & Colorado
Santa Fe to Wolf Creek Ski Area
Distance: 152 miles, one way
Time: 3-4 days
It will be hard for you to extract yourself from the silver coin margaritas, green chile stew, festive farolitos, and wafts of burning pinon pine drifting through Santa Fe, but the early season skiing at Wolf Creek Ski Area is definitely worth it. The winter wonderland you’ll find along U.S. 84 on this 152 miles is classic Southwest, varying from the flat-topped peak of 9,862-foot Pedernal, in Georgia O’Keefe’s old stomping grounds near Abiquiu, to the jagged white San Juans.
Whether you’re retired or just adventurous, you probably love a good road trip. You don’t have to drive far to find a great road trip in U.S, probably just about anyone has their favorite part of the highway in their part of the country.