Goldilocks may have found one spot “too hot” and another spot “too cold” but if she’d used her Road Trip Planner to travel during the Fall, she would have found both spots “just right”. Especially if she’d gone on a road trip to discover the places between the dry desert climate surrounding Salt Lake City, Utah and the salty sea air found in Bar Harbor, Maine.
This great road trip covers more than 2600 miles and 13 states so pencil in at least two weeks in your road trip planner. Three weeks would be ideal if you’re making it a Round Trip Road Trip.
So, with thirteen states to cover, how does one choose among the 1000s of things to do? One way to narrow the field is to stick as close as possible to the direct route. And with the price of gas these days, concentrate on the free and affordable activities along that route to keep this road trip within your budget. That said, I recommend adding these cities to your road trip planner for overnight stays and things to do along the way (averaging about 200 miles per day).
With Salt Lake City, Utah sitting on the edge of the Wasatch Mountains, spend a few hours hiking along the paths or have a picnic at the Wasatch Mountain State Park. Cross over into Wyoming and spend your first night at the Rock Springs Days Inn and enjoy the Rock Springs Historic Museum.
The next day, you’ll remain in Wyoming, traveling about 250 miles to the state capital, Cheyenne for your second night. Consider adding Colorado to your road trip planner by taking a short side-trip into Fort Collins, Colorado and spend the night in Lexington, Nebraska, where you can enjoy antique shopping and fishing while staying at a Victorian house, converted into a B & B. Spend your fourth night in Omaha, about 220 miles down the road from Lexington. Be sure to shop & stroll through the Old Market, where you’ll find a bit of everything; art, shops, cafés, restaurants and music!
The fourth state to add to your road trip planner is Iowa as you’ll be stopping at your second state capital, Des Moines before continuing on for an overnight at Iowa City, where you’ll find a number of very affordable hotels.
You’ll want to cut north a bit past Joliet, Illinois so you can enjoy the Chicago nightlife, making it 6 states in 6 nights. Chicago has lots of Things To Do so you might want to stay a second night there and drive the following morning through Indiana (about 250 miles) to Toledo, Ohio to put your road trip planner back on track with 8 states, 8 nights. Be sure to check out the Maumee Antique Mall, which has over 120,000 square feet for you to wander through (there’s also a smaller Antique Mall in downtown Toledo).
Hit the road again, passing through Cleveland, Ohio, along Lake Erie and spend the night in Erie, Pennsylvania for an overnight stay with a lakeview. The next morning, enjoy the waterfront area in Buffalo, New York before continuing east to spend the night at Syracuse. You’ll want to add your 3rd state capital in Albany to your road trip planner before heading towards Boston. Here you might also want to stay two nights for a rich, historical experience.
You can actually travel through 3 states in one day in less than 250 miles as you leave Boston, with stops in Salem, then Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and passing through Portland, Maine (birthplace of famed horror writer, Steven King) and staying at a cozy lodge in Bangor, Maine.
At this point, congratulations are in order because you’re near your final destination of Bar Harbor, Maine. Reward yourself by adding the Acadia National Park to your Road Trip Planner and revel in the Fall colors, a perfect ending to a remarkable road trip.