Hit the highway for Pride with these 10 fabulous road trips!
There’s no better vacation than one with friends and family (chosen or otherwise)! Getting out on the open road is even more inviting after lockdowns and amid massive flight cancelations. So, we’ve put together some of our favorite ideas for road trips around the country that can be easily accessed from some of the hottest Pride celebrations. We’ve included ideas for folks in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Key West, Ptown, and other destinations popular with the LGBTQ+ community. And since you might want to visit outside of Pride month, we’ve included some road trip tips that will draw you back after the glitter and ruby slippers have been stowed away.
Keep scrolling to see 10 of our favorite road trips just in time for Pride.
Road trips don’t get more famous or deserving than California State Route 1. Known by any number of different names, the 656-mile route hugs the coast of California from Dana Point in Orange County all the way north to its northern terminus near Leggett in the redwoods of Mendocino County in Northern California. Most travelers are only aware of the section from just north of Santa Barbara to Carmel and Monterrey, with its narrow, twisting turns and gut-wrenching drops before passing into the forests of Big Sur, but the section north of San Francisco is equally deserving of travel. Begin your adventure with a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting Point Reyes and Bodega Bay, made famous in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1963 film The Birds. Then travel north into Fort Bragg and the misty land of redwood giants. Be sure to pack your rain gear because it can be wet here year-round.
U.S. Route 1 – The Overseas Highway
The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile long LGBTQ+ yellow brick road stretching from the southern tip of Florida all the way to mile marker zero in the gay mecca of Key West. In between the two points on the elevated roadway are 42 bridges connecting the Florida Keys across the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. The first version of the highway opened to the public in 1928, but it wasn’t until decades later the roadway took its current route and far more complete form. Some sections, like the old Seven Mile Bridge, are open to pedestrian and cyclist traffic only. Some of the more popular stops along the way are Islamorada, Marathon, and Big Pine Key.
Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Glacier National Parks
This road trip is for the rest of the country where big cities and Pride celebrations are not as common. This tour features the big three of our National Parks for natural beauty and jaw-dropping grandeur. Yellowstone National Park is renowned for its abundance of wildlife and geothermal activity. The neighboring Grand Tetons National Park is renowned for its jagged silhouette of mountains. The stunning vistas of Glacier National Park are unmatched, though, including its Going-to-the-Sun Road, made famous in the opening of the 1980 film The Shining. All three parks are within a day’s drive of each other in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, but each park deserves a few days on its own to explore and fully appreciate. This is the perfect road trip for a smaller Type B recreational vehicle or tent camping from your car.
Winslow to Moab
For those venturing east of Southern California, this southwestern special starts on any corner in Winslow, Arizona, with or with the sight of a flatbed Ford, and heads north through some of the most spectacular desert scenery and culturally significant locations in the country. Canyon de Chelly National Monument and its magnificent Spider Rock, at 800 feet standing taller than the Empire State Building, have been home to the Navajo and other Native American people for millennia. You can visit the spot where four states meet and drive the lonely stretch of road in Monument Valley made famous in movies like the 1994 film Forrest Gump. Further north awaits Arches and Canyonland National Parks, plus hidden State Park gems like Dead Horse Point and Goosenecks Point. The 320-mile trip can be driven in less than six hours, but this road trip deserves several care-free days to fully appreciate. Just make sure your car’s air conditioning is in top condition if you plan on driving this route in the summer months.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited parkway in the National Park System in all but four years since 1946 and with good reason. The 469-mile roadway was designed for travel at 45 mph or less so expect a slow-paced travel experience where the focus is on the journey more than the destination. In fact, the Blue Ridge Parkway was also designed for travelers to stop and stay at spots along the way. Hikers and backpackers can connect with and traverse portions of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, sections of which mirror the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can spend as little or as long as you want on the trail which runs through Virginia and North Carolina.
Charleston to Savannah
Take a journey into the dark antebellum past and the colorful and historic cities of Charleston and Savannah. The trip is barely 100 miles long and can be easily driven in just over two hours, but the route begs you to stop along the way making it a truly memorable road trip. Be sure to visit Fort Sumter, site of the first shot in American Civil War, and the famed Cypress Gardens in Charleston before heading south to Savannah. Along the way visit the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens which predates the Revolutionary War, and Tybee Island and its famed lighthouse. Once in Savannah, don’t miss the moss-covered Forsyth Park and its famed fountain.
Fall in the Adirondack Mountains
The colors of autumn beckon in the Adirondack Mountains north of NYC and make for the perfect romantic getaway for LGBTQ+ couples looking for some time alone or even some adventure outdoors. There’s no set route or itinerary, and travelers can spend a day or several nights exploring quaint towns nestled amid the red and golden hues of the turning leaves. Some of the more notable attractions include Mirror Lake, Bald Mountain, and Lake Placid, site of the 1980 Winter Olympics and the famed “miracle on ice” hockey game between Team USA and the national team from the former USSR.
Get ready for plenty of lobster rolls, crab cakes, and clam chowder on this road trip along Maine’s fabled coast. You can make it as short or as long as you want. The general rule of thumb along Maine’s coast is it becomes less crowded the further north your travel, so tailor your tour accordingly. Of course, there are some stops you won’t want to miss like Ocean Drive in Kennebunkport, home to the Bush political dynasty. Walk across the picturesque footbridge in Perkins Cove. And of course, be sure to spend time exploring Acadia National Park.
U.S. Route 6 to Provincetown
While U.S. Route 6 technically starts all the way in Bishop, California, this road trip centers the final section of the cross-country highway through Massachusett's Cape Cod and ends in the gay mecca of Provincetown. You can start your road trip in Fall River on the border of Rhode Island to the west and also the home to Lizzy Borden and her famed ax (now a bed & breakfast and museum). Then hop in the convertible, put the top down, and take your time driving the 118 miles to Provincetown. Be sure to visit those picture-perfect stops like Ned’s Point Lighthouse in Mattapoiset and anywhere along the Cape Code National Seashore. Surprisingly enough, the eastbound U.S. Route 6 is actually pointing southwest when it ends in Provincetown.
Get your kicks on the road made famous in the 1940s song “(Get Your Kicks) On Route 66” and the 1960s television show Route 66. Much of the original road is paved over by multi-line interstate highways and the spread of civilization but stretches remain preserved such as several miles alongside Interstate 40 in the California desert east of Barstow (bring an old pair of tennis shoes if you traverse this section – you’ll understand why). While the original road may be gone, you can still follow much of its route from Chicago, Illinois, to its terminus in Santa Monica, California. The road passes close to natural wonders like the Grand Canyon as well as some not-so-natural but nonetheless famous fiberglass dinosaurs.