EyKuver’s Guide to Summer Budget Travel | Part 2 | Affordable Road Trips Aimed at Adventure


Lush green valleys and snow capped peaks are common views from Trail Ridge Road. Photo Courtesy of Donald Giannatti

EyKuver’s Guide to Summer Budget Travel | Part 2 | Affordable Road Trips Aimed at Adventure

All of us at EyKuver are enjoying the mask-less summer months and we’ve found that road trips are the best way to bring adventure into your life, travel ease and a quality way to spend time with the people you care about most. Here’s some of our favorite road trip destinations, iconic routes and a tip or two from AAA on how to enjoy your time on the road safely. 

ROAD TRIPS

Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

During one eight-hour drive on Highway 101, you will see some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. From the Puget Sound in the Seattle/Tacoma area, head up to the western rugged coastline with towns like Dungeness (as in the crab) and Sequim (the “lavender capital of North America.”) You can find an abundance of hiking trails, lakes and even some hot springs, plus the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the largest temperate rain forests in the U.S.

Driving Route 66 is a throw back in time. Photo Courtesy of Mick Haupt

Route 66

The beauty of driving historic Route 66, which spans more than 2,000 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, is that you can make your road trip as short or as long as you want. Whether kitschy attractions are your thing or you prefer camping and nature, Route 66 has something for everyone. Many travelers think the best stretch is in Arizona and New Mexico, where history and oddball Americana intersect. From Phoenix, begin your journey by heading northwest via Interstate 17. Stop at Montezuma Castle National Monument on your way through Coconino National Forest before meeting up with Route 66 (now I-40) in Flagstaff and heading east toward Santa Fe.

Olympic Peninsula Loop

The 330-mile loop around the Olympic Peninsula, starting on Highway 101 in Seattle, explores western Washington's varied ecosystems by circling the nearly 1 million acres of Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. Within the span of a few hours, witness breathtaking shorelines and waterfalls, the magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Olympic Mountains, and the Hoh and Quinault rainforests.

Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road in Colorado is the highest continuous paved road in the United States. Known appropriately as the “Highway to the Sky,” it crosses the Continental Divide at 12,183 feet and links the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake. The road winds past countless 12,000-foot peaks, high-alpine tundra, and some of Rocky Mountain National Park’s best views. If you plan on driving, it’s worth getting an early start. Not only will you witness stunning sunrises and wildlife, you’ll also avoid the tour buses, RV’s, and other drivers that usually pack the road starting mid-morning. Some popular turnouts include Many Parks Curve, Forest Canyon Overlook, and Medicine Bow Curve and you should allow anywhere from 2-4 hours to complete the drive, depending on how many pit stops and photo ops you take along the way. 

You will feel very small at Sequoia National Park Photo Courtesy of Vladimir Kudinov

Kings Canyon Scenic Byway

The Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, highway 180, is an enchanting 50-mile drive through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The backcountry road running through California's Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks is one of the country's most remote and beautiful drives. 

 With a name like the "Land of Giants," you can expect impressive scenery like giant sequoias and huge canyons, as well as a range of elevation from foothills to alpine peaks. Gas prices are even higher in California but you can make the most of your road trip by checking out a few national parks while you are there. Yosemite National Park, Sierra National Forest, and Death Valley National Park are all within driving distance. 

Stunning views abound along the  Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway Photo Courtesy of Adam Skalecki

Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway

Budding archeologists and dino-lovers will enjoy exploring this Utah to Colorado byway in the hunt for fossils. Some of the world's most significant dinosaur fossil quarries and museums are clustered along this route, in the midst of a stunningly beautiful landscape. The route loops through some of the best dinosaur sites between Grand Junction, Colorado, and Moab, Utah, and it's close to other notable attractions such as Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area so you can get more bang for your buck when you combine your adventures. 

Regardless of where your adventures take you this summer, we hope you are able to unplug, relax, and unwind as you spend time outdoors with family and friends. Our friends at AAA urge us all to avoid sun glare while driving. Next time you find yourself squinting into blindingly bright sunlight, use these tips to overcome the sun glare and stay safe. Looking for instant UV protection on the road? Don’t forget to pack your EyKuver! Adventure is calling … where will it take you?