Spring is here. In some places, you might not see it, but it is here.
With the temperatures rising, your cure for spring fever is within grasp. In just an hour or so, you can be on a highway going somewhere fun.
But, what do you consider fun? There are plenty of responses to that question. However, as car lovers and SUV adventurers, we know that putting the rubber to the road is the best way to cure your spring fever.
And, where? We made a list of a few ideas that would require one to either drive to or fly into these experiences. Preferably, we suggest taking your own vehicle. But, if you must rent, don’t forget to read the fine print and take out any necessary coverage if the vehicle is harmed in any way, shape, or form.
Without further ado…here’s some great driving sports to cure your spring fever…
THE TAIL OF THE DRAGON: This is a stretch of road in the Great Smoky Mountains made for maximum driving effort. The start/end point is a souvenir shop in the middle of the Cherokee National Forest. From there, you have 11 miles of road with 318 curves to navigate in order to fulfill the pleasure of mastering the road that meets at Deals Gap. If you’re wanting to stay a night in the Great Smoky Mountains (why wouldn’t you?!) and get a slight break from the road trip, click here to take a look at some great options of cabins to stay in!
There are several ways to get there, but the nearest city to plan and plot your Dragon run is Knoxville, just 55.7 miles to the Tail of The Dragon store. After it is all said and done, you have put at least 123 miles in on this challenging piece of mountain road.
THE LONG WAY TO THE GRAND CANYON: The Phoenix area is always a good starting place with its LGBT community and nightlife. But, you need to get on the road and explore the northern part of the state. To do so, you have to take the backroads.
From Phoenix, you skip Interstate 17 and head northwesterly towards Wickenburg and follow U.S. Highway 89 through Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, and on to the Grand Canyon. This highway takes you through some amazing landscapes that you will not expect out of Arizona. All told, this run will take you all day to put on all 427 miles of this drive.
To experience a different side of Arizona, this drive is well worth it.
THE HILL COUNTRY: If you happen to find yourself in either Austin or San Antonio, you may want to consider getting lost in the Hill Country. Texas is a large state and offers a lot of different landscapes for drivers.
There is not one specific route that is better than the other. Nor is there a specific town to visit. Just give yourself a few hours – or, an entire day – to take a drive through some amazing landscapes and nice curves.
If you’re connecting both Austin and San Antonio, expect to put on at least 100-150 miles in your vehicle to go the scenic route. By scenic, we mean by going out by Fredericksburg and meandering towards the other city.
IN THE CRADLE OF AMERICAN HISTORY: Our Nation’s Capital is a perfect hub for exploring the East Coast. It is also the hub of this country’s history. You are literally just minutes away from the sites of Civil War battlefields, the estates of our Founding Fathers, and other national trivia.
There are several loops you can go to make your drive worth it. For one, you can stop in Manassas to walk through the place where the battles of the Civil War began, then plod along to Charlottesville to see where Thomas Jefferson called home at Monticello. You will be zig-zagging through the northern part of Virginia chasing battlefields and key points of the Civil War in Orange, Spotsylvania Courthouse, and Fredericksburg, before heading up to George Washington’s estate in Mount Vernon. That loop alone will add 271 miles to your odometer.
There are also other destinations within reach of the Beltway to explore for history’s sake. You can do an excursion to Gettysburg – the apex of the Civil War. Or, you can head down past Charlottesville towards Appomattox where General Robert E. Lee surrendered. If you can handle all of this history, then you will be duly rewarded.
BE AN HONORARY YOOPER: The Upper Michigan peninsula is quite an experience to see. It has some great landscapes with two Great Lakes on each side. Not to mention, it is all within reach of some equally interesting starting points – Duluth, Minnesota and Green Bay, Wisconsin.
From Duluth, you cross through northern Wisconsin on the way to Houghton – the UP’s hub. Along the way, you are treated to some lonely highways and tempting byways. That’s just the first 217 miles of your journey, as you have reached half-way across the UP. If you think going from Green Bay will be a shorter trip – you are right by only a mere seven miles.
From Houghton, you head east through the forest towards St. Ignace and the crossing into Michigan’s “mainland” – the mitten. That drive alone is a hard-earned 258 miles. You can see why the people of the UP are hearty, hard-working people considering the distances you put on to get across this vast piece of geography on the Great Lakes.
THE GAY MECCA OF THE CATSKILLS: Sharon Springs is home to Beekman 1802, a skin care success story that has helped put this tiny upstate New York enclave on the LGBT map. Yet, it is just part of a larger story where this old getaway community for New Yorkers have been transformed again into a destination for city folk to get some country air. Believe us when we say that getting there will be absolutely fun.
The town is 183 miles from the heart of Manhattan. However, you can mix up your drive with some lovely highways away from the New York Thruway through the Hudson Valley and into the mountains. There, you will find small town quaintness and stunning vistas within the ranges.
Not far away from Sharon Springs is baseball heaven, also known as Cooperstown. For us LGBT folk who love baseball, stop by the National Baseball Hall of Fame to see your heroes enshrined in bronze. It might inspire to attend your local MLB team’s Pride Night this season.