Here’s Where You Should Go This Memorial Day Weekend
With the Memorial Day weekend coming up, we've got one thing on our mind: vacation. If you haven't made plans, don't worry. We've mapped out nine of the best U.S. road trips to make that extra day off work count. From the picturesque plantations in Charleston, South Carolina, to surreal desert art installations in Marfa, Texas, these epic destinations are well worth the mileage. Roll down the windows, and turn up the music—we're going on a road trip.
Travel time: Two and a half hours by car, or three hours by train.
Main attractions: Spending weeks on end in New York City during the summer can be draining, so a short sojourn in Hudson Valley and the Catskills is a welcome way to escape the chaos. Natural attractions and hiking trails abound, but there's one unexpected reason New Yorkers flock to the area: the shopping. Frommer's dubbed Hudson Valley "the antiquing destination of the state north of Manhattan," thanks to carefully curated boutiques housing diverse, one-off finds.
Don't miss: Add Mohonk Mountain House and Blue Hill at Stone Barns to your itinerary. The iconic Hudson River resort boasts beautiful old-world charm while Blue Hill at Stone Barns offers a five-star farm-to-table dining experience for those looking to splurge.
Travel time: Just under five hours by car, so download an audiobook or curate a road-trip playlist to enjoy the drive.
Main attractions: Stop by Charleston Tea Plantation to sample locally-grown tea and explore the 127-acre grounds, then visit Cypress Gardens and hire a boat to reenact the iconic lake scene in The Notebook, which was filmed there.
Don't miss: Visit Angel Oak, a giant 500-year-old Southern live oak tree, then indulge in a decadent biscuit sandwich at Callie's Hot Little Biscuit in downtown Charleston.
PACK YOUR BAG:
Travel time: Two hours by car, but allow for more time to stop off and take photos—the rock formations are awe-inspiring.
Main attractions: Spiritual travelers believe Sedona, Arizona, is at the center of vortexes that radiate the Earth's power. It attracts a variety of people looking to hike the winding trails, experience the "charged" atmosphere, and explore eclectic local galleries and indie boutiques.
Don't miss: A 30-mile detour on the trip to Sedona, Jerome is an eerie ghost town once occupied by miners. Don't be fooled by the odd front—the legendary town is home to Caduceus Cellars, a thriving winery owned and operated by Maynard James Keenan, frontman of heavy-metal band Tool.
Travel time: Under four hours by car.
Main attractions: A road trip to Key West is all about the journey. Most of the trip is on Florida's Overseas Highway, a 127.5-mile road that connects Key West to the mainland. Pack a good camera—the highway towers over coral and limestone islets with piercing aqua sea views that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Don't miss: Be sure to add Conch Reef to your must-see list. The Sanctuary Preservation Area is teeming with tropical coral and fish, making it an ideal spot to snorkel.
ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS:
Travel time: Just two hours by car.
Main attractions: Drop your bags at Fess Parker Wine Country Inn, and then set out to sample some vino. The Santa Ynez Valley town might be small, but you won't find a shortage of things to do, thanks to its 25 tasting rooms operated by a variety of Santa Barbara wineries.
Travel time: The New England road trip takes two hours.
Main attractions: Maine's largest city is best explored on foot. Wander past the redbrick warehouses and Victorian mansions; then peruse the abundant art galleries and pubs. Catch a ferry to see the charming port town from the water and glimpse some of the smaller islands that dot the coast.
Don't miss: Stop off at The White Barn Inn Restaurant, a foodie hot spot on the route to Portland. The four-course prix-fixe menu changes weekly and is served in the candlelit renovated barn.
Travel time: Yes, it's a long road trip, but the six-hour drive from San Antonio is well worth it.
Main attractions: The bizarre Texan town has become a pilgrimage for art lovers, reaching almost mythic status. Home to some 2000 residents, Marfa's most talked about (and Instagrammed) attraction is a Prada Marfa sculpture by artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Stop by Ballroom Marfa, the biggest gallery in town, before wandering the eclectic boutiques.
Don't miss: Be sure to check the roster of musical performances during your visit, and grab a bit to eat at Food Shark, a Middle Eastern food truck that's garnered glowing reviews.
Travel time: A scenic three-hour mountainous drive Northwest of Denver.
Main attractions: The original home of downtown skiing is naturally best known as a winter paradise, but Steamboat Springs comes alive in summer with flocks of adventure-seeking travelers. Plan activities before you arrive, as there's a ton of sports to choose from, including kayaking, fishing, tubing, white-water rafting, and hiking.
Don't miss: The annual Hot Air Balloon Rodeo takes place in July. Choose a vantage point to capture the bobbing balloons ascend into the clear blue sky and drift above the landscape.