A few summers ago, I was way too broke to go backpacking overseas, but way too cool to take summer classes. I loaded up the shaggin’ wagon, grabbed a Deadhead buddy of mine, and embarked on my own little backpack trip, American style. (Except it wasn’t really a backpack trip, since we had the car, but that’s beside the point.) Anyway, for those of you with travel on the mind, yet have a homebound budget, I bring you Timbo’s Top-10 summer road trip stops:
1. Arches National Park, Moab, Utah: Wicked gnarly rock formations, sickie desert sunsets, and for $215, you can make an aerial entrance.
2. Boulder, Colo.: Such a rad little party town at the base of the eastern face. Hike up the Flatirons, catch a show at Red Rocks and talk to everyone you meet: they’re all super friendly.
3. The Grand Canyon, Ariz. (duh.): Sit on the edge over an area where you can’t see the bottom and you will find your soul.
4. San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, Wash.: You can make a whole trip out of these little gems. A one-hour ferry ride puts you in the heart of one of the most beautiful regions in North America. If you’re into the oyster vibe, hit up Wescott bay off of Roache Harbor. Jump over to the Canadian side and you can participate in a two-mile long zip line.
5. On your way back from the San Juans, take a detour to Everson, Wash. (they filmed “Northern Exposure” there) and dine on a piece of beef from the Black Forest. Hands down, they serve THE best steaks outside of New York and LA. While you’re out there, take an inner tube ride down the Nooksack River.
6. Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah: A random forest at the bottom of a canyon, in the middle of the desert. After you overheat yourself climbing up the side of the canyon, cool off under the weeping rock. Seriously, water just comes out of the side of this rock. It’s a total trip.
7. Ithaca, N.Y.: This hippie little college town in upstate New York, situated amongst a series of gorges, is world-renowned for its hiking and cliff-diving opportunities. If you’re a motor head, check out the Vintage Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. It’s also only about three hours from Manhattan.
8. The Inner Harbor, Baltimore, Md.: Crazy seafood and a hopping nightlife located in the heart of the Chesapeake. Shanghai someone’s boat and go harbor hopping around the bay. If you happen to be there in July, run down the road to D.C. for the Fourth festivities.
9. Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers, Calif.: Gnarly trees, epic trekking, and it is less than a day’s drive away. Just make sure you camp near a bear box.
10. Florida: I only mention the Gulf of Mexico’s little hurricane speed bump so as to advise you to never go there, especially in the summer. It’s built on a swamp, and it smells like it. It’s an environment that was never intended for humans. In July, you can’t go outside because it’s too humid, and even if you could, everything you touch will either hurt or itch. Avoid this state at all costs.