We’re giving you five epic road trip ideas to take in different parts of the United States. We have long cross country road trips, coastal road trips, and even some of the iconic road trips you see in movies – like the Hwy 1 in California. We love a good road trip at the Travel Squad and have taken many together! Some of these road trip ideas are from our own trips, and others are the so-called best road trips to take in USA that are still on our bucket lists.
There is something quintessential about a road trip that brings you back to childhood playing car games, sharing snacks, and photo bombing each other when we fall asleep. These are road trips to take with your best friend, your lover, your family, and anyone as adventurous as you are to get lost, see weird stuff, and realize it’s not always the destination, but the journey that really makes the trip.
Road Trip Ideas
- Ultimate American Southwest Road Trip
- Highway 1 in California Road Trip
- The South Road Trip
- Utah’s Mighty 5 Road Trip – if you take this trip, make sure to check out our 10-day Utah’s Mighty 5 Road Trip Itinerary!
- East Coast North to South Road Trip
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad podcast. Today, we’re going to go over five Epic Road Trips ideas for you guys. We had an episode in the past episode, 51, talking about how to have the most Epic Road trip ever giving tips. But here we are in this episode, actually giving you road trip ideas in terms of itineraries for you.
2 (1m 19s):
I love me a good road trip, pack up the car, load up the dog, get all the snacks together and hit the road. They say, it’s not the destination. It’s the journey, right? But with road trips, you get the best of both worlds. It also is really good for bonding. I’ve had some of the best conversations in the car with just like one person or the group that you’re with. Makes it really fun. There’s always a weird gas station or something odd happening on the road. That makes the journey just as fun as where you’re going.
1 (1m 49s):
Yeah, absolutely. Road trips can be so much fun. The wide open road, new destinations, and so many snacks gotta pack up your snack game, your cooler game, all of that. Cause you’re gonna be on the road for a little bit of time. So I’m super excited to dive into these five Epic Road Trips, ideas.
2 (2m 6s):
I mean, who doesn’t love peeing on the side of the road.
1 (2m 8s):
I do that all the time.
3 (2m 11s):
1 (2m 12s):
We have perfected this, you know, the trick is you pull to the side of the road and you open the passenger door and then you open the passenger backseat door as well. So you kind of have this little stall and then he squat down between it. And then you pee. You have a makeshift little toilet, so no one can see you coming in either direction and it works great.
2 (2m 34s):
You know, it wouldn’t be TSP without us talking about the bathrooms.
3 (2m 38s):
I mean, bathrooms on a road trip are essential. They’re going to happen. You’re going to need to make that break. You mentioned P what if there’s something else on the side of the road? I don’t know about that quite yet. Luckily we’ve all avoided it, but it could be a potential. And that’s maybe where those crazy little gas stations come into play. That’s where you’re gonna have to go.
1 (2m 57s):
So number one on our list is the ultimate American Southwest road trip. This is actually a combination of two road trips. We’ve done on two separate occasions, but we’re combining them into one for an Epic Road Trips.
2 (3m 12s):
This road trip will take you anywhere between five to seven days, depending on how much time you spend looking in those gas stations and how fast you drive.
3 (3m 21s):
Yes. And when we say ultimate American Southwest road trip, what are we talking about? We’re talking about driving through Arizona, hitting all three national parks. So Warroad national park, petrified forest national park, grand canyon, national park, working your way to Paige Arizona to go to antelope canyon. If you’re not familiar with antelope canyon, Google it, you’re going to be impressed valley of fire state park in Nevada and making a perfect Southwest road trip to get those desert vibes in place for you.
1 (3m 50s):
So we have a few squad tips specifically about this one that we recommended and because it mostly goes through the D is there an Arizona? Arizona is extremely hot in the summer. So it’s best to visit in fall, winter or spring for that reason
2 (4m 5s):
And bring the sun protection no matter what time of year it is because it’s still really sunny in Arizona in the winter.
3 (4m 11s):
I need this tip. Most importantly, we know my fair sensitive skin cannot protect it. So do bring that sunscreen when you’re out in the desert. And most importantly, we say it all the time. We say it again, because it is so important. Download offline maps on your phone, through your Google maps app. You’re definitely going to need it. When you go out to these remote areas, you don’t want to be lost out there without it. So download it.
2 (4m 35s):
I was recently road tripping from Nashville to great smoky mountains, national park. And I did not download offline maps.
1 (4m 44s):
I wasn’t there with you.
2 (4m 45s):
Yeah. So we had service most of the time, but once you actually get into the park, you lose it. And we were at the trail, so we were fine. But then from the trail to the hotel in Gatlinburg, we didn’t have any service until we got in to the town. So we went off old fashioned signs.
1 (5m 0s):
Oh, wow. Look at you found it. So first we’re going to talk about and you can hear all about Savara in episode 61, the highlight of sorrow national park is the cacti, the Solaro cactus. They get very, very large. They’re like 50 to 75 feet tall. They’re very impressive, beautiful desert landscape with beautiful mountains in the background. So it is a really nice place and really nice national park to visit for that.
3 (5m 30s):
What’s interesting about Savara national park is it is separated into two sections. And in between it is the city of Tucson, Arizona. There is a Western and Eastern district. Each one of them has their own unique thing about it, but either way, you’re still going to get those desert vibes. And you’ve never seen CAC die so large in your life. I mean, these things are as tall as trees, quite impressive, so thick and dense. It’s a forest of CAC die and very, very impressive.
1 (5m 57s):
And then we’re suggesting to go to petrified forest national park. This national park is known for the petrified trees that have turned into really beautiful, colorful crystallized stone. This park also has a lot of different vistas and views points of the painted canyon. So highly recommend to follow the road and do a few stops along the way. So you can get the best of the entire park.
3 (6m 20s):
And what’s really interesting about petrified forest. National park is a lot of the trails that they have are relatively small. I’m talking like a mile or less, so it’s not going to be really a lot of hiking. It’s not like super mountainous in this area, but you have these trails that give you those scenic overlooks. And most importantly, seeing those petrified crystallized logs that have turned pretty much to stone that looked like crystallized rocks. I mean, it’s quite impressive when you really see and unique that it’s out there in the middle of the desert
1 (6m 48s):
And be sure to feed the painted desert, the Rocky Badlands and the distance have these a variety of like red, orange, pink, and purple hues. Very, very beautiful to see
3 (6m 59s):
Along with this portion of the road trip, the grand canyon and American staple, how can you not go to the grand canyon?
2 (7m 6s):
We have an episode that talks about the grand canyon that’s episode eight way back, but it is amazing. It is grand. As you hike from the top of the rim down into the canyon, you realize just how big it is. You’ll definitely want to do it because yeah, it is America’s national park
3 (7m 22s):
Seriously. And I mean, it’s millions of years in the making the Colorado river carving it down and you see the canyon quite impressive, but do keep in mind what goes in must come out. I mean, you’re starting at the top of the rim. If you’re hiking into the canyon, you have to hike up and out. So again, that’s why we go back to the tip that we said really avoid the summer. It’s going to be hot. So I don’t think a good time to do it then. But grand canyon
2 (7m 49s):
South kebab trail would be a good one to go down. It’s about six miles down to the bottom of the canyon and then six miles right back up.
1 (7m 56s):
Yep. We did start that trail. We didn’t make it all the way down, but we attempted. And then, you know, it’s fun hiking your way back up.
2 (8m 2s):
Good point. You don’t have to go all the way down. If you’re on this road trip, you need to get to the next spot. You can go down as much as you want and turn back.
1 (8m 9s):
Yeah. There’s several different viewpoints for you to enjoy and then turn background. But also while you’re at the grand canyon, there is a desert view drive. It’s about a 25 mile scenic drive along the canyon rim. So if you can’t hike this as another good option for you and the grand canyon is huge. I mean, it is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and over a mile deep.
3 (8m 34s):
But going back to the point that you said Kim, about good point, you don’t have to hike all the way down. If we’re doing a road trip, you’re moving onto the next thing. And that’s exactly why we didn’t complete the hike all the way down. We were on a time limit and we were continuing on to page Arizona where they have antelope canyon. Now antelope canyon is this narrow slot canyon that just has amazing. It is on Navajo land. So you do have to go onto the reservation, have guided tours to do it. You can’t just show up and go in there, but absolutely impressive to be in these narrow slot canyons and have this unique perspective of the desert all to yourself and just realize that these things were really carved from running water and wind.
3 (9m 16s):
And when yeah,
2 (9m 17s):
There are two canyons, lower antelope canyon and upper antelope canyon. Both of them are beautiful. We did lower. And another good reason to go in winter. Is there less crowds? Our guided tour had no other people on it. And usually in summer there lines out the door
1 (9m 34s):
And you have to wait in that hot, hot heat. Oh, I’d be miserable. We were so lucky to have the tour by ourselves. We did the lower canyon and you just really get a beautiful sandstone formations down there. The slot canyon, you see beautiful orange, red, deep purple hues. And it’s very funny to climb down a set of ladders and then you have to squeeze through some passageways. So it’s really cool to experience
2 (10m 1s):
Just in that same area. You’ll want to stop at horseshoe bend overlook. This is the part of the Colorado river that goes around in a horseshoe shape. There’s really not much to see other than that. So you won’t spend too much time there, but it’s absolutely worth going to get your picture there.
3 (10m 17s):
Absolutely. I mean, you’re at the top and you see literally where the Colorado river makes a U-turn and a sense in creating that horseshoe shape. It’s a very famous location out in the Arizona desert, Google it, see it really, really breathtaking. And if you’re passing along the way, there’s no reason to not stop, but to finish off this epic American Southwest road trip, you’re going to want to end up just outside of sin city, Las Vegas. So maybe that is where you want to end instead of valley of fire state park, which is just a little bit north of Las Vegas, but at the same time, you’re out here amazing desert views that are really unique and just short outside of Las Vegas that most people, if they’re not even doing a road trip, don’t even know that this is here and should be going.
1 (11m 1s):
Yeah, it’s Nevada’s oldest and largest state park. It has Petrik lifts, rock formations, dramatic red sandstone formations. There is what looks like a fire way. We did this hike and it’s not very long. It’s only like a mile and a half round trip leads you to a really cool sandstone formation that alternates the striations of red and tan sandstone stripes in a wavy pattern. The sun reflects off of it and it looks like a fire wave.
3 (11m 29s):
You know what I really like about this road trip? This is like classic Americana. This is the frontier. I mean, quite literally from the Mississippi river over, it was pretty bare and flat. And then you get out here and this is an amazing road trip to really see and feel like, wow, this is what everyone came out west for
2 (11m 46s):
The great American Southwest.
3 (11m 48s):
It really is
2 (11m 49s):
Moving on to road trip. Number two, this is also very epic and very well known for California. The highway one road trip.
3 (11m 58s):
Yes. So highway one is an Epic Road trip to take here in California that follows along the coast. We briefly kind of touched about on it. Two episodes back in episode 119, when we were mentioning, you know, top 10 places in California to go. A lot of the places that we had mentioned are here along the coast, that you will experience. So kind of go back. Listen, we talk a little bit more about the cities, but you follow the beautiful California coast from flat beautiful white sand beach areas all the way through big Sur, the jagged cliff edges and crazy ocean views all the way up into Northern California, where we get to the red woods and the forest.
3 (12m 39s):
And so this provides that epic through fare of California and the scenic coast that we have
1 (12m 45s):
This trip is perfect for beach lovers because it’s along the coast, you’ll need a, probably about five to seven days, depending on how much time you want at each stop as well. So we do talk about part of this on are not big Sur big surf road trip in episode 11, but the first destination we had to start with was San-Francisco. And we definitely believe you’ve need to spend at least at a minimum one day here, enjoy views of the golden gate bridge. Get clam chowder, go to the pier and hear more about San Francisco in episode 48.
2 (13m 19s):
We’re going to take you north to south on this road trip because it’s easier to get off the highway one and see the stops. Next one down the list would be Santa Cruz. Another cute small beach town has a boardwalk has an amusement park that looks out onto the beach. It’s a great place, but I wouldn’t say you need more than a day here. You could even make it a stop for a couple of hours.
3 (13m 41s):
Really great spot to kind of get into the redwoods that they have out here, not the big tall ones that are further north, but there are redwoods along the coast and real mountain forest vibes here in Santa Cruz, work your way down south to famous Monterrey. It has the aquarium cannery row, where they had the seafood industry out there where they did a lot of canning of fish and tuna and things of that nature. So it has its history and lore. And then after leaving Monterey, then you get into the famous big surf stretch of the California coast, going through Bigsby bridge, which is a classic iconic bridge that spans a canyon along the coast. And then you get into San Louis Obispo, Pismo beach, Santa Barbara, Ventura all the way down to San Diego.
3 (14m 25s):
I mean, truly stretch of California and all its great coastal cities.
1 (14m 29s):
Yeah. And do some research on what you want to do in these areas. Like for example, Santa Barbara is known for the wineries and the beaches and it’s not very far from solving, which has the Danish pastries and architecture. You could spend a day there. So there’s a lot to do. And then once you hit all the beaches like Malibu, Santa Monica, each of those beaches have something unique in that beach town, do some research about what you want to do, what you want to experience on this trip and plan from there
2 (14m 57s):
As a California native, this is probably my favorite road trip on our list today.
3 (15m 2s):
It’s an epic one. For sure. What’s funny is we’ve all driven the entire stretch of one pretty much, but never in a continuous road trip. We’ve all done little portions of it here and there, but I can’t wait for the one day that we really just drive it up all the way or from north to south or south to north.
1 (15m 19s):
So the third road trip we’re going to talk about is actually road trip. We haven’t taken yet, but we do have plan and it’s a road trip of the south.
2 (15m 27s):
We’re planning this trip for may of 2022. We’ve been planning it for a while. Actually. This was something that we were going to do back in 2020, September of 2020, but because of COVID and things shutting down and not being open, we decided to do another one. So the road trip here is going to hit four states, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and good old Tennessee.
3 (15m 53s):
And along the way on that, we’re going to hit two national parks, congruency national park in South Carolina and great smoky mountains in Tennessee and Kim you’ve already been to great smoky mountains. Haven’t you?
2 (16m 5s):
I have, I went in November of 2021. Absolutely amazing the fall colors, gorgeous, beautiful, but I’m looking forward to seeing it all green and the trees completely full.
3 (16m 18s):
I’m excited to do this one as a squad trip and you’re going to need a total of about seven days to do this. One of all the places that we just listed, but let’s talk about the places that we want to take you along on this road trip.
1 (16m 30s):
First stop on the road trip is Savannah, Georgia. It’s such a historic city. We really want to explore that. We want to go to some of the cemeteries, some of the manners, the worms, low historic site. And I’m super excited because of the history and the haunted newness of the city. We also want to do a ghost tour.
2 (16m 51s):
We settled on anywhere between five to seven level of scary,
3 (16m 56s):
Five to seven. I decided on 10 ladies, I want to go real balls to the wall And that’s right. You guys plan this trip without me on it. When we were on another squad vacation, which is a O K, but I’m going for a little bit more scary. It would be my preference on that one lady,
1 (17m 12s):
But we’re going to walk the town. We have several sites that we’re going to see. We’re going to go to the river and see the cobblestone streets and go to the markets in that area as well. And you know, any forest Gump fans out there, we’re going to go to the park where Forrest Gump scenes were shot. So that’ll be interesting
3 (17m 29s):
Where he sat on the bench, right? Yes. And if anybody is an American history buff, you know, the place in history that Savannah has, especially civil war history. So if you’re really into that real cool city to go and experience that aspect of it,
1 (17m 44s):
But I’m also really excited for the Southern food that we’re going to have in Savannah. So I’m really looking forward to some comfort food.
2 (17m 53s):
I can tell you, after going to Tennessee recently that the Southern food is five star
3 (17m 60s):
Five-star. You want to know why it’s five star. They cook everything with like butter and lard and it makes it so delicious. I say that with the utmost respect, I love Southern food and I’m really, really excited about the food offerings that we’re going to have on this trip. You did the research a little bit, Brittany, I think one place was called the old pink house. You have to make reservations, but what’s really famous about it and why you wanted to go here and we will be going when we do this one in may.
1 (18m 25s):
Well, it has a really super elegant setting with chandelier’s 18th century architecture and it’s elevated Southern cuisine. So I think it’ll be really nice. And you know, I plan to wear a dress while I’m here so that I don’t have to worry about the butter popping. My button
3 (18m 44s):
Gives you a little bit of that Southern charm, basically they all Beyonce of it. So I’m excited
1 (18m 48s):
And it’s also supposed to be haunted.
2 (18m 50s):
Yeah. I’m looking at a picture of it right now and it looks haunted.
3 (18m 53s):
There’s my 10 out of 10 level on scale. All right. So we’ll do a mile tour, elevate it with the
1 (18m 59s):
2 (18m 60s):
7, 7 0 5
3 (19m 1s):
Is mild five, the middle
1 (19m 4s):
Thai food at a level five,
3 (19m 6s):
But you can’t compare spice to stuff like that. That is something completely different. No, no, no, no. You can’t put spice on the same scale as like other stuff they lie about that, you know,
2 (19m 14s):
It will lock you in a room. We’ll call all the spirits out. We’ll turn off all the lights and we’ll crank it up to 11 for you.
3 (19m 22s):
I don’t want 11, 10, 11 is too much.
1 (19m 25s):
We plan on spending one full day in Savannah and then we’re going to move on to Charleston, South Carolina. So in Charleston, South Carolina, I’ve planned us a self guided walking tour. I will be our tour guide for the day, but there is a really cool pineapple water fountain starting at the waterfront. We’re going to go to rainbow road to see all the beautiful, colorful residences. And we’re also going to pass by some historic homes, the city market. And we do plan to go to a plantation while we’re there.
3 (19m 59s):
Yeah. I think the Drayton hall plantation is America’s oldest preserved plantation. And you know, it’s one of those things that it is part of American history and I’m very interested to see that aspect of it. I really haven’t been to the south yet. And so I’m excited for this portion of it in terms of just the architecture and food. I mean, I can’t stress enough the food. Can you show me when you’re talking to five star? I know it too, but you get me all hyped up about it.
2 (20m 25s):
Ribs, Mac, potatoes, biscuits, and gravy,
1 (20m 29s):
2 (20m 30s):
3 (20m 31s):
And that’s one thing that I really love about when we go different places is try and regional barbecue cuisine. I mean, each one is different. There’s Kansas city, barbecue, Texas, barbecue, Carolina, barbecue. Believe me. I’m about to be trying to carry a lot of barbecue on route here in South Carolina,
2 (20m 46s):
I’m excited for the Southern accents. I love the way they talk. And they’re so friendly.
1 (20m 53s):
They are very friendly Southern hospitality, you know, obviously.
2 (20m 56s):
Yeah. It’s like, you know, I walk my dog in my neighborhood in here in San Diego and we try not to look at each other
1 (21m 4s):
Right. When it’s talking to you, you’re like, why is this
2 (21m 6s):
Creamy? Grab my knife.
3 (21m 9s):
I guess I’m the one who’s a creep. Cause I’ll pass people on the street all the time, say hello, not strive a conversation, but at least acknowledge the fact that I’m passing a human. But yes, in the Southern charm is something else. Yeah.
1 (21m 20s):
Yes. So I did do some research and there is a place called Cain or rumbar, it’s a Caribbean rum spot and run was actually the drink of choice back in the colonial times. So I think it’d be cool to stop in there and get a drink. Yeah,
3 (21m 34s):
We mentioned earlier this road trip is going to encompass two national parks. Well, here we are congruent national park and South Carolina. What’s really interesting about this national park is now all of a sudden you’re kind of in the wooded swamp area of the Carolinas. And what is this national park famous for Brittany? I mean, I know it, but you always do all the research. So I feel like you can articulate it better.
1 (21m 56s):
Well, the highlight of it is there is an elevated a boardwalk over the swamp areas and flood Plains. And so it has really beautiful giant hardwoods and towering Pines and Congress floodplain forest includes one of the highest canopies in the world. It’s a lot to see there. We actually considered doing a canoe or kayaking trip in the swamp until I read that the number one reason why you can fall into the water is because snakes or spiders can fall from the branch into your kayak or canoe. And I was like hard pass on.
3 (22m 38s):
And the canoe is one of the biggest things to do. That’s why we wanted to do it. And then we Googled what those spiders look like out there. Pass. We’re just going on a stroll on that boardwalk.
1 (22m 46s):
So I was like, oh, the boardwalk looks like a really safe, beautiful option. So we’re only planning to spend half a day in Congress, national park. And then we’re going to drive to Tennessee specifically to the great smoky mountains national park. And Kim’s already been there.
2 (23m 3s):
It is amazing. It’s really cool to go up high viewpoints overlooks. They even have in the towns, little lifts that will take you up to great viewpoints. And it’s just mountains covered in trees. As far as the eye can see, it’s gorgeous.
3 (23m 20s):
That’s one of the things that when we were in Virginia and Shenandoah national park, I really enjoyed because the mountains and forests here in California look different than what they do on the east coast. The trees are different. They’re not always like pine trees and things like that. There are trees with like leaves and you can see the color change and just the rolling Hills. But did you see, and this is what I’m really excited about. I don’t know if the time of year when we’re there, it will be like this, but did you really get that haze from the clouds and everything? That’s all in there. I mean, that’s where it gets the name smokey mountains is from the haze that overlays the mountain.
2 (23m 51s):
Yes. And that is very beautiful just to look out and it’s a little eerie, but it makes for a very beautiful scene.
1 (23m 58s):
When you went, did you go to the observation tower?
2 (24m 1s):
No we didn’t, but we stayed in Gatlinburg and we took the sky lift up and it, it is a whole observation tower. There’s a whole suspension bridge with a glass bottom on it. Very cool.
1 (24m 12s):
Yeah. I was doing some research about, for our upcoming trip and we do want to go to Clingmans dome lookout and do the one mile hike to the observation tower because that trail will get you to the highest point in Tennessee. So you’ll get 360 degree views of the Smokies and the spruce fir forest
3 (24m 29s):
Finishing up this Epic Road trip of the south. We’re going into North Carolina, specifically Asheville.
2 (24m 35s):
When I was just in Tennessee, the car rental guy said, Hey, if you have time, go to Asheville. It’s a very, for this part of the country, diverse town. And he said, it’s very fun. They have breweries. There’s hippies there. He highly recommended.
1 (24m 51s):
Yeah. Asheville is very Phoenix. There’s a lot to do. You can go for this scenic beauty and enjoy the blue Ridge Parkway. You can go to Mount Mitchell, which is the tallest mountain west of the Mississippi. And you can actually almost drive all the way to the summit and then take a half a mile hike to the observation deck, which we do plan to do. And the hiking there in Asheville is supposed to be some of the best hiking trails in the entire nation. So I’m really excited for the scenic beauty,
3 (25m 19s):
Even though we are going in may, I’ve heard great things about Asheville in the fall in terms of fall and seasonal changes in the trees. So I’m interested in doing that, but in terms of places to eat, obviously, you know, we’re going off of our research. Haven’t been there yet, but Kim, this has your name on it. There is a place called sky bar and it has a roof top bar. If you couldn’t tell from the name sky bar,
2 (25m 41s):
That sounds amazing.
3 (25m 43s):
So super excited about that. And that’s going to encompass your south road trip. I mean, you’re hitting off so many different states, two national parks, Epic Road trip. And I can’t wait to take this one.
1 (25m 53s):
Yeah, we have it all booked out. We’re leaving in mid may and it’ll be a full week. Hey travelers, let’s take a quick detour to talk all about our Travel Itineraries that we’ve created just for you. We now have six different trip itineraries one week in Kauai
2 (26m 9s):
And American Southwest weekend or road trip
3 (26m 12s):
A week in Yellowstone and grand Teton, national parks,
1 (26m 15s):
The road trip adventure featuring all three of Washington. State’s national parks,
3 (26m 20s):
Big island, Hawaii, and an Arizona road trip that features all three of Arizona’s national parks.
2 (26m 26s):
We are obsessed with these. These itineraries are 20 to 30 page PDF guides with every detail of the trip laid out. We’re talking where to fly into the exact route to take where to stay park entrance prices, where to eat and driving distance between attractions plus what things to see and do even the hikes we, and their mileage and the time to allow for each one and so much more.
1 (26m 47s):
We have story highlights on our Instagram at Travel Squad Podcast, where you can see the full guides. We’ve done all of the research and have taken these exact trips, taking out all of the guesswork from the planning. So all that you have to do is show up and have fun
3 (27m 1s):
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2 (27m 13s):
Our fourth road trip on this itinerary is Utah’s 95 road trip. We do have a whole episode on this that’s episode, 1 0 5. So go back and listen to that for in-depth details on all of these places.
3 (27m 27s):
Yes. And what is Utah’s mighty five? The mighty five is Utah’s five national parks, each one, so unique and so impressive and definitely worth the road trip itself. We’ve been to all five. This again was another COVID back-up trip to do all five as a road trip. We’ve done them all in like partial ones, never in one, but at the same time, this would be a solid epic one for you guys.
1 (27m 52s):
So we’re going to start off with some tips for this road trip specifically, and because you’re going to five different national parks, it would really make sense for you to purchase the America. The beautiful inter-agency annual pass. It’s $80 for a rolling year and you get entrance to any national park for that time. And we recommend that because entrance to any national park that we’re talking about is 20 to $30 per park. So you’re already going to save money. Let’s just say they’re $20 of the park and not all of them are, and you’re going to five. I mean, that’s a hundred bucks. You’re going to save 20 bucks already.
2 (28m 24s):
Fuck them hard.
3 (28m 26s):
I’ll come hard. And then you could go to other national parks on other road trips, right. But definitely really important to do on this one, make sense. You’re hitting five of them. Another really good tip is just be mindful of the weather, Utah, as beautiful as it is. You are out in the desert in some areas, all of these national parks really kind of are in the desert in some sort of way. And so it’s going to be really hot during the summer. And maybe this is counterintuitive to some people really, really cold in the winter and the desert, like really cold. One of the times when Brittany and I was at Capitol reef national park, it was seven degrees and I’m talking Fahrenheit, not Celsius, really, really cold.
1 (29m 5s):
So with that being said, it’s best to visit in spring or fall, we would recommend renting an SUV because you could be going on back roads to get to some of the hikes and just kind of the terrain in general, depending on when you go, if you do happen to go in winter, the roads could be icy and you do go over some of the mountainous terrain. So an SUV is better for that. And because some of the parks are remote. You definitely want to download offline maps. So you get to your destination safely.
2 (29m 34s):
And since we’re going to be visiting five national parks on this road trip, we really recommend you spend 10 days for the entirety of this
3 (29m 41s):
Trip. Yes, one day each park, maybe a half day two, and allowing him for that drive time from one to the other. So I think 10 is ideal and let’s start with the first national park arches national park. Again, we have a full in-depth episode specifically on arches episode 78. So do listen to that. But arches national park is so famous. I’ve said this on many different podcasts. I’m going to say it again. If you’ve ever seen a Utah license plate, it has delicate arch, which is one of the famous arches in arches. I shouldn’t say one of them, the most famous arch in arches national park. And that’s how famous it is. It is the icon of the Utah state license plate. And so there’s over 2000 natural arches in this park created by erosion of wind sand and so unique to really see out here in these desert landscape with the different variation of desert colors from the beige and orange and reds that aluminate.
3 (30m 33s):
And when the sun hits it just right. Pristine.
1 (30m 36s):
Yes, absolutely. There’s so much to do in the park, but there’s definitely three must. Do’s one balance rock. It’s a iconic feature in the park where it looks like there is a rock balancing on a pedestal and it stands 128 feet tall, but it can be seen from the road also double arch. It is the tallest and second largest arch in the park. It’s super unique and it has very beautiful viewpoints and scenery from the arch if you actually hike into it. And then as Jamal mentioned, delicate arch, those are my top three recommendations for this park.
3 (31m 7s):
The next of the Utah mighty five is going to be canyon lands national park. We have a full episode, episode, 78 talking about this, but this national park is located in Southeastern Utah, near the Colorado border and canyon lands is not very far from arches. As a matter of fact, you could almost consider this to be a twofer. If you’re going to arches, you might as well be going to canyon land. They’re not very far from one another. The city of Moab is in between. And I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. This park honestly was a little bit more impressive to me than the grand canyon itself. It’s carved also by the Colorado river, but it just seemed more vast and wide. And you know, at the grand canyon, you could see to the other side, when I was here in canyon lands, I couldn’t see to the other side.
3 (31m 52s):
I didn’t know where it ended. And it just felt so much more vast to me
1 (31m 55s):
When we went, we actually visited the district of the park called island in the sky, but there are four different districts. One of them being island in the sky, the needles, the maze and the Kenyan Lynn rivers. So there’s a lot to see within this national park, definitely in this road trip. You’re not going to see it all. So pick an area and go from there. I would recommend island in the sky. We did the Mesa arch loop at sunrise and probably one of the top three sunrise experiences I’ve ever experienced in my life. It was super beautiful. You just sit on the rocks, waiting for the sun to rise and aluminate the canyon. And as it does, so it perfectly sits in the arch, just making for the most and gorgeous picture.
2 (32m 41s):
I think if you wanted to see the other sections of this park, you could extend your trip out a couple more days, especially if you’re doing it in a van or an RV and you have a place to sleep. Why not add a couple more days and see it all
3 (32m 54s):
Absolutely. One thing to say though, about the maze, they call it the maze because people get lost out there. As a matter of fact, a lot of that portion doesn’t really have roads or specific trails. So they tell you not to really go in that area unless you’re actually good with your own navigation. So you’re going to want to go out there with a compass and be a really good navigator because you can get lost. But yes, the other areas of the park for sure extend on if you want to, but island in the sky is really at the top of the canyon where you’re going to get the views and see it otherwise in those other locations you’re in and amongst it, and you just don’t really get that dramatic overlook.
1 (33m 29s):
So from canyon lands, national park, we recommend going west and heading to Capitol reef national park. We have a whole episode on this episode, 89 and Capitol reef is also located in Utah in the south central desert. And it protects the water pocket fold, which is a wrinkle in the Earth’s crust, exposing layers of sandstone and really awesome geological structures like rock formations also has arches white sandstone and domes. So really, really beautiful because it has amazing panoramic overlooks, thrilling, hikes, and it even has a really nice scenic drive.
3 (34m 8s):
Yeah, I really like this national park a lot. We talked about it in the episode. This was one of the most barren national parks that I’ve seen in what I mean by Baron pairing of people. I really felt like we had this entire national park to ourself. We only saw a couple people the entire time we were really there. And so if you’re looking for an amazing place to go out in nature with that national park beauty, and really feel like the earth is only for you because there’s not a lot of people there. Capitol reef is the awesome place to do that. But a must do as Cassidy arch, we did this hike. It’s 3.4 miles long. You get an elevation gain of about 666 feet. You know, I would a lot two and a half hours, but it’s really cool.
3 (34m 50s):
Cause you start at the bottom of the canyon and you hike all the way up to the top. And when you’re at the top, you’re literally standing on top of the arch. And if that thing collapses on you, you’re falling in, I mean, it creates a natural bridge at the top of the canyon for you to just stand and overlook and really beautiful and highly recommend.
1 (35m 8s):
There’s also a really beautiful scenic drive. That’s only eight miles long. So do you recommend doing this? And what also makes us national park really unique is there was actually a family that lived in this national park before it became a national park and they had a farm or ranch in orchard and they actually have a lot of fruit trees in the area. So with those fruit trees, they make pies and they open every year on pie day, March 14th, 3.14,
2 (35m 35s):
Ooh, you better your road trip around PI day.
1 (35m 39s):
3 (35m 40s):
It was closed when we went, cause we didn’t go around that time. And that was quite disappointing. But moving on to number four of the mighty five is going to be Bryce canyon, national park. We have another episode on this. We’re going to say out of all the national parks here in Utah, because the really well worth having so beautiful episode 33, this was an O G squad trip. And how much did we love Bryce canyon county?
2 (36m 3s):
Oh, it was amazing. Just bright orange rocks. It’s known for those very distinctive structures called hoodoos, which are these rock formation, just shooting up from the ground. They go super high and they’re all over this park everywhere you go, everywhere you look.
3 (36m 18s):
Yeah, the hoodoos are almost like rock pillars and there’s literally thousands of them that just jet up from the canyon. And they’re just in these amazing desert colors, more specifically like the oranges and reds. And it’s just really, really unique. And I promise you, you’ve never seen anything quite like Bryce canyon.
1 (36m 36s):
So we do recommend two different hikes to do. We recommend the figure eight trail, which is a combination of wall street to peek-a-boo loop to Queens gardens. So you get the best of all three really loved this trail, especially when you’re in the peekaboo section and you peekaboo into these tunneled viewpoints with beautiful hoodoos in the background, really amazing sight to see. And then when you’re in Queen’s garden, you get to see a Hoodoo that actually looks like queen Victoria
2 (37m 4s):
Must see while you’re there.
3 (37m 6s):
It is really unique to just see what natural formations look like, different unique things. I think they have one that almost looks like tower bridge in London also, but it’s like one of those things, when you look at clouds and see what shapes, I mean, it’s amazing to look at those hoodoos and really see, oh my gosh, like what does this actually look like? Because they truly are almost like rock statue, pillars, and breathtaking to really see, I loved Bryce a lot and I can’t wait to really go back
2 (37m 31s):
The fifth and final national park on this epic road trip is Zion national park, very well known, very popular. We have a whole episode on this one too at episode 97, and this is one of our favorite national parks in the entire us. And for good reason, it’s located in Southwestern, Utah, and it’s really well known for gorgeous towering red cliffs. Beautiful scenic drives has a couple of very famous hikes in it that you’ll see all over social media Angel’s landing and the narrows, but they have tons of other beautiful areas and hikes Emerald pools is another one that you must see when you’re there.
2 (38m 11s):
What is the narrows?
3 (38m 13s):
The narrows is an amazing hike where you’re piking literally through the Virgin river. So the Virgin river runs through Zion national park and basically you hike upstream to a certain point. And you’re literally within these narrow canyons, hence the name, the narrows, right? So you’re in these steep narrow canyons and you just get to see all these beautiful rock formations and hike through the river. And eventually the further in you get the more and more narrow those walls become and bonus do hike as far as you can, because the further you go in the majority of the people tap out and turn back around. So you’ll get the best views and at all to yourself, the further that you do go in, but just Google the narrows, its breath.
2 (38m 58s):
Yeah. And when we say walls, we mean 2000 feet tall on both sides of you as you’re hiking through this river,
1 (39m 5s):
Like this feels like a slot canyon almost through a river. And so our goal was to make it to wall street and wall street is when this slot canyon starts to narrow even more. And that’s when you’re going to get the more dramatic views and less people.
2 (39m 21s):
Now, when you do this hike, you will want to start early in the morning for two reasons. One, because it does get to be a lot of people. And two, because if you’re on the limited time of a road trip, you can do the next, most famous hike in the park in the same day. And that would be Angel’s landing. Your
1 (39m 39s):
Favorite hike, Kim.
2 (39m 41s):
Yeah, I love this one. It is a good hike.
3 (39m 44s):
It is a good hike. And Kim loved it up until the point where we got to really the last little bit of it, where you have to utilize the chains and the chains are to keep you from falling off a sheer cliff, either to the right or left of you. And by sheer cliff, I’m talking thousand foot plus fall. I mean, it almost feels like definitely hundreds of feet, maybe even thousands
2 (40m 4s):
Hike up there as gorgeous. You’re going up these switchbacks it’s very steep, but you have these gorgeous red rocks all around you. There is a part with native owls. You get to see these beautiful owls and it is really pretty. And then they switch backs that look really great as you’re looking down onto them. And then Jamal, when you say this small portion of chains, I have to disagree with the small
1 (40m 27s):
It’s half a mile.
2 (40m 28s):
And it feels like four miles because
1 (40m 31s):
You don’t even know because you didn’t even do the whole half mile
2 (40m 34s):
Either. The end is not insight as you’re doing this,
1 (40m 37s):
But Kim does make a really good point. You can start the chain section and you’re still going to get really, really gorgeous views. And at any point in time where you feel like you don’t want to continue, you can turn them back around. So you can go as far as you want.
3 (40m 51s):
I think, and we have this discussion on the episode itself, episode 97, when we specifically talked about Zion, I think the national park will get to the point where they make this a permitted hike and once they do, and there’s really less people on it, I know you’re scared of Heights. I’m not saying that you would probably do it, but for a lot of other people, maybe they’d feel a lot more comfortable because the two-way traffic and the narrow congestion is really makes it kind of feel unsafe. So if it’s permitted and there’s less people, I do think it would make the chain section a lot more doable in people’s minds and not as scary.
2 (41m 23s):
I think the perfect time to take this Utah mighty five road trip is around April or may. So you avoid the snow, but it’s right before summer where it starts to get crazy busy in some of these parks or hot. And I think it’s still warm enough. You can do the narrows in the water, but it’s not too hot that you can do. Angel’s landing later in the day.
1 (41m 42s):
So we’re ending this road trip with one of the most beautiful national parks and probably our favorite national park in Utah. But you can also do this itinerary in reverse and end in arches.
2 (41m 53s):
And by the way, we actually have an itinerary on our website for this road trip, where we’re giving you the exact route to drive the hikes, to take the mileage of them, where to stay, what to eat in those places like it’s super detailed. So you can go to Travel Squad, Podcast dot com and find that there
3 (42m 10s):
Last, but certainly not least on epic five road trips that you guys should take is going to be an east coast road trip. Following the coast. We gave you the California highway one. Now we’re kind of going to give you the equivalent version here on the east coast. They don’t have an epic highway like we do here in California, but they do have the interstate system that runs all along the coast. And by that we’re talking Maine to Florida or vice versa, like literally traverse the entire east coast.
2 (42m 40s):
We haven’t taken this trip, but this would be an epic, amazing trip that we would love to take. You’d probably need at least two weeks to do that. And to hit all of these places, we have 13 places on our list when we do take this trip. So at least two weeks, probably more than that, realistically.
1 (42m 58s):
Yeah. And you know, we all live on the west coast. We live in San Diego. So we don’t get to the east coast often and stay for a very long period of time. So we’d want to just hit them all and just knock it all off of our list. But if we do this from north to south, we would be hitting Acadia national park first and Acadia national park is in Maine and it has Rocky beaches, glacier granite peaks. And it’s just a really beautiful and scenic.
3 (43m 28s):
I’ve heard nothing but good things about Acadia. And I can’t wait to get out there. It’s literally on an island off of the mainland of Maine, if that’s a funny way to say it, but I really want to do Acadia national park. And from there working our way south, how can you not stop in Boston? Kim? You went to Boston. You liked Bob.
2 (43m 46s):
I loved Boston. It was really cool. A lot of history there too.
3 (43m 50s):
Like you want the accents in the south? You’d like the accents out there in Boston. I did a bad one.
2 (43m 57s):
Yeah. That was like cowboy. I
3 (43m 58s):
Know, I know I can’t do a good accent, but you were about to go cockies weren’t you
2 (44m 3s):
Cockies. Yeah. Boston a hundred percent would recommend the architecture. There is beautiful. The brick buildings and everything looks historic.
1 (44m 12s):
Then we recommend going to New York city. You can spend so much time in New York city. There’s so much to see, you know, from downtown Manhattan to central park,
3 (44m 23s):
You could spend as much time in New York as you could doing this entire road trip. So do keep that in mind. I mean, New York city is New York city, but moving on from the city, go into monotonic or the Hamptons experience, a little bit of long island in that sense, working your way down to the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. I mean, what is there not to do there? Capitol tour lighthouse tour, the Smithsonian’s, all of the museums, amazing things to do in Washington, DC.
1 (44m 52s):
I actually did a day trip to Washington DC when we were out in Virginia and unfortunately the Smithsonian’s were closed. So we just spent one day, but you could spend so much time checking out the Smithsonian’s and other tours and museums in the area. Another stop on our list is Rehoboth beach in Delaware, which is a beach town with a wooden boardwalk, super beautiful, very Eastern beach vibes there,
3 (45m 16s):
Continuing to work south in the Virginia area, Williamsburg, Norfolk, or Virginia Beach. You get those coastal vibes for you. The history of Williamsburg working your way down to South Carolina, Hilton head. I’ve heard such great things about Hilton head that I can’t wait to get out there. And I know when we do our south road trip that we mentioned the itinerary, we’re not going to be able to work our way to Hilton head, unfortunately, but we are going to hit on that list. Charleston, Savannah, which are also here on this east coast itinerary,
2 (45m 48s):
And then for the 11th stop Amelia island, Florida, which I’ve also heard really good things about. And I would love to see that.
3 (45m 55s):
Well, you mentioned Amelia island. I’m surprised you didn’t just jump straight to Miami Kim. We know how much you love Miami. Yeah.
2 (46m 2s):
Yes. I love Miami. I’ve been there a million times, but I would definitely want to hit it on this road trip because you just can’t get enough of it. And then continue on down to the Florida keys
3 (46m 11s):
To the Florida keys. Not only that, the Southern most point in the contiguous United States. So literally working all the way from the Northeast end of Maine, to the very, very south of the United States, Florida keys
1 (46m 24s):
And fun fact, there is a national park south of the Florida keys that you can get there from key west. So definitely make sure while you’re down there to go ahead and take a trip to drive her to guys national parks.
3 (46m 36s):
Yes. You have to take the ferry out there. There is no bridge to that portion. Like there is all the way through the keys, but I mean, what an epic trip I want to do this, but I feel like this one requires a lot of time. I mean, each one of these places you could spend multiple days there. I mean, in Washington, New York, Boston, I mean, Brittany and I even spent a whole week in Williamsburg using that as a hub going around in that area too. So you can make as much or little time as you want on this. But I think even just driving that stretch would be completely Epic.
2 (47m 7s):
We gave you five amazing road trip ideas, road trips are all the rage right now. And since we don’t have any questions of the week, this week, I want to ask you, squaddies a question. What have been your most memorable road trips? The ones you enjoyed the most that were the most fun, had the coolest places. Tell us, leave a comment on our latest Instagram posts and you could where we’re going next.
1 (47m 31s):
Also these are five Epic Road Trips ideas. We don’t have itineraries out for all of them. However, we do have itineraries out for purchase for some of them. So if you go over to Travel Squad, Podcast dot com, go check out the itineraries. We do have, we will be making an itinerary for the south, but we do have the Utah’s national five available as well as we have two different ones for the American Southwest road trip, because it was a combination of two road trips we’ve done in the past. So one of the ones for purchase is the Arizona’s three national parks. The other one is the American Southwest with the grand canyon, Paige, Arizona, and valley of fire.
2 (48m 7s):
All good trips. Thank you so much for tuning into our episode this week, keep the adventures going with us. Like I said, comment on our latest Instagram post, follow us on YouTube at Travel Squad Podcast and send us in your questions.
3 (48m 20s):
If you found the information, this episode to be useful, or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always guys, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes,
1 (48m 33s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode, we have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you
2 (48m 39s):