The Safest Road Trips for Seniors
Road trip! Just saying the two words is fun and that is what road trips are all about. They are also a great way to really see a destination and save some money on travel too. In the past few years, I have been lucky enough to have gone on about five different road trips throughout the continental U.S. and Europe. Each one was different from the next, but they were all great travel experiences in their own unique ways. In this article we talk about the best road trips for seniors and why they are the best.
What Exactly Is a Road Trip?
A road trip is when you hit the open road in your car, or a rental car, to a grouping of preset destinations. You can start from your own house or fly to a destination and start from there. Sometimes you may start and end your trip at the same location, or you may start at point A and drive to your end point B. The decision is truly up to you.
What Destinations Are Safe for Seniors?
There are actually a lot of destinations that are safe for seniors to travel to for a road trip. You have the options of staying in North America for your trip, where the roads, signs and driving style are all familiar. If you are really adventurous, then you can travel outside of North America to explore new countries. So what destinations are there and what is there to see? Here are my recommendations for some national and international senior friendly road trips.
U.S. Route 66
This is the most famous road trips in the world, and it is literally right in our backyard. Route 66 is 2,448 miles of highway traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles and it is filled with 1950s and 60s nostalgia. You can choose to drive the whole route or just the part of it that interests you the most. Along Route 66, there are over 66 different sights to see, but there are some definite must-sees along the way.
The “Land of Lincoln” in Illinois is the area of Lincoln and Springfield where you can visit Honest Abe’s tomb and the only town named after him while he was alive. In Missouri, you do not want to miss the St. Louis Gateway Arch or the Meramec Caverns. The Meramec Caverns are the famous hideout of Jesse James.
In Oklahoma, do not miss the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa. Once in Texas, the Cadillac Ranch is a must visit and you can take a detour to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Tinkertown, a strange collection of miniatures, can be found not far from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once you get to Arizona, do not miss the Painted Desert, Cathedral Rock or a detour to the Grand Canyon. Finally, when you get to California you will want to see the Mojave Desert and end the trip on the Santa Monica Pier.
A Classic New England Road Trip
Seafood, autumn colors and colonial era history are just a few of the things a New England road trip can offer you. Starting in New York City or Boston, you can travel up the coast to Maine and enjoy the salty ocean air of the Atlantic.
While on this road trip, you will not want to miss the Freedom Trail in Boston or a visit to Salem, Massachusetts where the witch trials took place. Once in Portland, Maine, be sure to visit Fort Williams Park. In Bar Harbor, Maine is the home of famed author Stephen King. Here you can also find your way to one of the nation's most famous parks, Acadia National Park. You can also drive through the Appalachian Mountain Range in Maine and New Hampshire. Don’t forget to eat a lobster roll and New England chowder!
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Canadian Rocky Mountains
Driving in Canada is almost exactly the same as driving in the U.S. and that is why I recommend this road trip. It will take you through the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountain Range.
You can start your trip in Calgary, Alberta and make your way south first to the badlands and Lethbridge where paleontologists still excavate for dinosaur fossils. From there you can head west to the mountains and then north towards Banff and the must-see Banff National Park.
The most famous drive in the Canadian Rockies is from Banff to Jasper. Along this route you do not want to miss Lake Louise or the Athabasca Glacier. You also will not want to miss the countless photo opportunities with Elk and Mountain Goats.
The Ring Road, Iceland
Iceland has been the number one tourist destination worldwide for the past couple of years and there is a reason for that; this country is like nowhere else in the world with its mountains, black sand beaches, volcanoes and geysers. This is why it is one of the best road trips for seniors. It is an outdoor enthusiast's dream and there is a reason I recommend it as a great road trip destination for seniors.
There is a road that circles the entire island country known as The Ring Road. The road is easy to drive along and offers spectacularly beautiful views. While road tripping along the Ring Road, you will want to see the renowned waterfalls like Skogafoss and Gulfoss. There are glaciers like Myrdalsjokull and the black sand beach Reynisfjara. You can also visit hot spring pools and see fjords in this beautiful country.
Some tips to remember for driving in Iceland are that the roads are narrower than in America. You should always adhere to the speed limits, maybe even driving slower than the recommended speed. It is better to visit during the summer when snow will not affect road conditions and the sun only sets for three to five hours.