It’s cold out there! Since more than half the country is stuck under a blanket of snow and ice, it’s the perfect time to snuggle up to your computer and start planning a warm-weather vacation. Nothing says sunny weather like renting a convertible and exploring local towns on a mini-road trip. Here are our five picks that will thaw out your toes and get you dreaming.
1. Miami, FL → Key West, FL
There’s a reason the trip from Miami to Key West is on many a bucket list. The trip takes more than three hours because of the small towns you’ll pass along the way, but that’s part of the fun. The highlight is Seven Mile Bridge connecting Marathon to Little Duck Key.
2. Wickenburg, AZ → Sedona, AZ
Wickenburg was once considered the Dude Ranch Capital of the World and some remain open to this day. The historic town with its well-preserved downtown is a great start to your mountainous trip to Sedona. The drive passes through Prescott National Forest, 1.25 million acres of camping, hiking, fishing, and gorgeous vistas. End your drive at Sedona’s red sandstone formations that seemingly glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the sun.
3. San Diego, CA → Oceanside, CA
Start your tour at Cabrillo National Monument, which provides great views of the ocean to the west and the San Diego skyline to the east. Heading north, you’ll eventually end up on Coast Highway, passing through hilly beachside towns La Jolla, Del Mar, Cardiff and Oceanside. Torrey Pines State Reserve provides a leafy change of scenery, but still offers miles and miles of sandy shoreline and the blue Pacific. Once you get to Camp Pendleton, venture west on San Luis Rey Mission Expressway toward the historic landmark, established in 1798, that inspired its name.
4. Terra Ceia, FL → Clearwater Beach, FL
Terra Ceia is a small, unincorporated island where I-75 meets I-275 South of Tampa. It is also the starting point of the Sunshine Skyway, a 4.1-mile bridge to St. Petersburg. Once across, head west on Pinellas Bayway past the exquisite pink façade of Loews Don CeSar Resort. Drive through sleepy coastal communities St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, and Indian Beach, and cross over John’s Pass. Stop in peaceful Sand Key Park before heading over the bridge to Clearwater Beach, where you’ll find public beaches, outdoor restaurants and souvenir shops.
5. Kahului, Hawaii → Hāna, Hawaii
The Hāna Highway is arguably Hawaii’s most scenic drive, stretching from Kahului through Hāna and on to Kīpahulu on the island of Maui. Along the way, you’ll drive over 59 bridges, more than half of which are one lane, and many of which were built over a century ago. The road twists, turns and bends through the rainforest, providing breathtaking views. The highway, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, ends near Haleakala National Park, home to Oheo Gulch, a series of tiered pools fed by waterfalls and perfect for swimming.
Get out the sunscreen and put the top down. There are spots out there that are warm and sunny…what are you waiting for? Tell us what memorable drives have you taken!