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Winter Road Trips
Winter Road Trips
Now that the holidays are over, you probably can’t wait to hit the road again. But you don’t have to wait until springtime. Here are five great road trips you can take this winter:
Skyline Drive | Shenandoah National Park
Skyline Drive is the only public road that runs through Shenandoah National Park and it spans 105 miles along the crest of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. There are four entry points: Front Royal near Routes 66 and 340, Thornton Gap at Route 211, Swift Run Gap at Route 33 and Rockfish Gap at Routes 64 and 250. On a clear day, it will take you about three hours to travel this scenic road and there are 75 overlooks along the way. If you’re driving an RV, be prepared to shift into low gear and be sure your rig will clear Mary’s Rock Tunnel which is 12′ 8″ high.
Big Bend Scenic Byway | Florida Panhandle
This scenic byway, which covers about 220 miles, can be accessed from Apalachicola in the west, Tallahassee Regional Airport in the north, or Newport in the east. The byway is divided into six “spurs,” each with their own scenic attractions. Here are just a few examples. Coastal Trail East travels through the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge and to the historic St. Marks Lighthouse on Apalachee Bay. Coastal Trail Central offers views of beach houses, seagrass beds and the Alligator Harbor Aquatic Preserve. Coastal Trail West leads to Eastpoint, a commercial fishing village offering seafood markets and restaurants and views of huge piles of oyster shells and wooden boats as evidence of the area’s thriving oyster industry. From there, you can cross the Bryant Patton Bridge to St. George Island, a 28-mile barrier island offering beautiful beaches, a bike trail, kayak rentals, fishing, boating and hiking.
Texas Hill Country
The Texas Hill Country is known for its clear blue skies, beautiful countryside and quaint historic towns, and there are several scenic drives you can take in this region. The 13-mile Willow City Loop begins in Fredericksburg and travels over hills and valleys, offering views of creeks, meadows and cliffs. The Swiss Alps of Texas loop spans between 80 and 130 miles, depending on the route you take. It crosses the Medina and Sabinal Rivers and features breathtaking views of its namesake hills in Leakey which are up to 2,400 feet high and have deep canyons created by the Frio and Nueces Rivers. The third route, the Gruene-Fredericksburg-Bandera Loop, travels between Gruene, Fredericksburg and Kerrville and is a relaxing drive that offers views of rolling hills, farmland and rivers, and there are country stores, museums and dance halls along the way.
The High Road | Santa Fe to Taos
It’s always good advice to take the high road, but in New Mexico, you can do just that – literally. The 105-mile High Road runs from Santa Fe to Taos and takes about 2 ½ hours to drive if you don’t stop along the way. It offers spectacular views of New Mexico’s legendary scenery that has inspired so many artists. In fact, the beautifully-preserved Spanish Colonial-style San Francisco de Asis Mission Church, located in the Ranchos de Taos Historic District, served as an inspiration for both Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams. Visiting this region also offers an excellent opportunity to learn more about Native American and Spanish cultures. Taos Pueblo, which has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years, has been designated both a World Heritage Site and a National Historic Landmark. And Santa Fe, which was founded in 1610, making it the oldest capital city in the U.S., is widely-renowned as a city of arts, culture and history.
Moab’s Scenic Byways
If you’re in search of awe-inspiring scenery, you surely won’t be disappointed if you head to the Moab region in southern Utah. The area is known for its stunning red rock landscape that attracts photographers, bikers, hikers, ATVers and other adventurers. The Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway travels 44 miles along the Colorado River gorge and passes locations where many westerns and TV commercials have been filmed. The Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission operates a museum here, and admission is free. The 17-mile Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway offers views of dinosaur tracks, rock art petroglyphs and “Wall Street,” a popular climbing area that features 500-foot sandstone cliffs. Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway, which stretches 35 miles, will take you through miles of postcard-worthy red rock vistas and it’s worth paying the entry fee to Dead Horse Point State Park to enjoy the panoramic views of Canyonlands’ dramatic pinnacles and buttes from a vantage point 2,000 feet above the Colorado River.