Remember last Christmas? No, not the Wham! song! We mean the holiday you celebrate around the Christmas tree with friends and family. This year, Christmas promises to be a throwback to the good old days! We’ll probably be able to do away with the awkward family Zoom calls for Christmas 2023. So there is no real reason you cannot spend the holiday season with fun holiday road trips in the United States.
If you are in the mood for a road trip to end the year, continue reading to know some of the best spots to travel to for your holiday road trip in the United States in 2023.
1. San Francisco to Solvang
The road trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles is a popular choice for a holiday road trip. However, you might want to consider a Cali holiday road trip with a stop at Little Denmark. Solvang is the Denmark of the United States, and everything from architecture to horse-drawn carriages is all here in Solvang. You can still celebrate the holidays as you would celebrate abroad in Denmark by choosing to go on this road trip from San Francisco to Solvang.
Before leaving San Francisco, consider stopping at Union Square to see the giant Christmas tree and holiday lights. There is plenty of Union Square parking that can be booked quickly through websites like Way.com. Once you’re done there, head straight to Solvang. If you have never driven through the Pacific Coastal Highway before, now would be just perfect for a surreal driving experience.
Solvang is just a little under 300 miles from San Francisco. The drive from San Francisco should take you around 5 hours if you don’t stop anywhere. But we recommend that you do! There are plenty of places you could visit en route to Solvang. Palo Alto, Monterey, Paso Robles, and Foxen Vineyard are worth stopping at. The Annual Julefest celebrations, shopping for Danish porcelain or toys, and exploring Solvang’s illuminated streets are some fun things you need to check out after your road trip from San Francisco to Solvang.
2. Bradford to New York City
Spanning around 350 miles, a road trip from Bradford to New York City has plenty of fun stops to make it worthwhile. The holiday season is never disappointing in Bradford, with horse-drawn carriages offering rides through Main Street and classic alleys with vintage houses taking you back in time.
Photo by Jay Joshi on Unsplash
Once you are done taking in Bradford’s views, it’s time to pack up and enjoy the scenic drive toward New York City. The road trip cuts through the Allegany State Park and Norman Rockwell countryside. The drive from Bradford, NY, to NYC should take you less than 5 hours. This winter road trip is a magical experience that cannot be expressed through mere words when it’s snowing. If you have enough time to spare, consider stopping at some interesting spots along the way. We suggest stops at Williamsport or Selinsgrove, Wilkes Barre, Delaware Water Gap, and maybe even a short stop at Summit, NJ, before you hit the Big Apple.
Once you reach NYC, make sure you don’t miss the famous illuminated Rockefeller Christmas Tree in New York City and the ice-skating rink. Window shopping at 5th Avenue, admiring the decorations at Dyker Heights, and exploring all the Christmas markets are other NYC must-dos. Almost all of these destinations have plenty of New York City parking spaces nearby as well.
3. New York City to Burlington
If you live in New York City, a road trip to Burlington in Vermont is probably the best adventure you can have during the holidays. Once you’re done with watching Macy’s parade, steering clear of Black Friday NYC parking tickets, and successfully completing your holiday shopping you just have to consider slowing down. And there’s no better place than Burlington to help you unwind and take a breather from the hectic pace of the city. What’s more – even the journey to Vermont is a great way to decompress!
Your road trip from New York City to Vermont will span a little over 300 miles. Once here, don’t restrict yourself to just exploring Burlington. Drive across all of Vermont to make the most of your road trip. Your drive from New York City to Vermont takes between four and six hours, with lots to see and do along the way. Take a little break at the Green Mountain National Forest in Rutland, see Vermont’s golden dome in Montpelier, visit poet Robert Frost’s home in Middlebury, tour the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, or learn about the history of skiing and riding in Stowe.
Once you reach Burlington, you can explore Lake Champlin, wander around Church Street Marketplace (especially at night), or manage to catch a winter festival (if one is happening). For the more adventurous, there are always the slopes for some skiing or snowmobiling. Wind up your day with some delicious local brews.
4. Austin to Big Bend National Park
This is one of those drives where the journey is as interesting as your destination. Driving from Austin to Big Bend National Park is an all-day adventure even if you do not stop anywhere en route. In fact, if you do end up stopping for sightseeing on your road trip, you might reach the park only on the second or third day of your Austin to Big Bend road trip!
Photo by Pete Alexopoulos on Unsplash
You can have two totally different road trips from Austin to Big Bend National Park. If you move west on the I10, you can directly drive from Austin to Big Bend without many stops in between, whereas the alternative route, which cuts through Highway 90, is a lot more interesting thanks to the number of stops you have in between. If you take the second route, you could choose to stop at Del Rio for food and fuel and make a pit stop at Langtry to visit the Judge Roy Bean Museum.
When it comes to Big Bend on the peak holiday season, rooms get sold out quicker than hot pancakes. Unless you have a room booked in advance, you might be in a pickle. The same goes for parking along the entire route, which takes about an entire day of driving to complete. You can book your Austin parking well in advance with websites like Way.com.
5. Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park
A winter road trip through a desert that has towering sequoia trees. If the picture of such a view does not excite you enough to take on a road trip, I’m afraid nothing will. It takes approximately three hours to cover the entire length of the trip. Start your trip from Los Angeles after a visit to the classical California beaches across L.A.
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash
If you’re planning a road trip to Yosemite National Park from Los Angeles, you have two options: You can take the direct route from LA to Yosemite or take a longer, more picturesque route. The direct option will take approximately five hours, whereas the scenic route (along the coast) will take approximately ten hours, not including stops. The quickest route from Los Angeles is to take the I-5 north for approximately two hours and connect with CA-99 north immediately after crossing the Grapevine. Take the 99 to Fresno. There, you can connect to CA-41 and drive for around an hour, which will bring you directly to Yosemite. Most of your travel will be on interstate highways and pass through California’s agricultural heartland. The scenic route passes through Malibu, Santa Barabara, Pismo Beach, Monterey, Carmel, and Gilory.
Once you get to Yosemite, The Mariposa Sequoia Grove and the Pioneer Yosemite History Center are well worth a visit. With the holiday season’s onset, planning a winter road trip through the desert is probably your last shot at visiting Yosemite National park in 2021.
Not in the mood for a winter holiday road trip? Here are the Best winter vacation spots in the US: 4 Destinations to try.
Things to Remember before taking on a Holiday Road Trip
Make sure your car emergency kit is prepped for winter. It is also essential to follow winter driving safety tips, the instructions given by health officials and police officers on duty at various routes. Also, tune regularly into local weather updates. Don’t forget to take breaks along the route and enjoy the journey.
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