Road trips are special because the experience is truly meant for anyone, whether you’re looking to bond with family, need some time alone for self-reflection, or are on your way to a new life in a new state.
They come in all shapes and sizes. For instance, you can take a road trip across the country with stops at county fairs. You can visit every museum on a road trip across your state.
You can also take a road trip that focuses on the glory of nature. A nature-focused road trip not only provides beautiful scenery but can also have a positive impact on your health and relationships with the people you’re traveling with.
First and foremost, a road trip rooted in nature is a gorgeous ride. There’s something about being on those back roads, gliding through forests, around waterways, through mountains, hills, and plains. Take the right route, and you won’t be able to take your eyes off the scenery.
Also, every time you stop somewhere, you’ll have a chance to immerse yourself in nature. For instance, you’ll see breathtaking views at rest stops. You can find hikes along your route. Or enjoy some of the best national parks, like Joshua Tree National Park or Yosemite National Park in California.
Nature therapy can reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, lower stress, and improve mood and concentration. Not to mention the physical health benefits of spending time in nature, such as an improved immune system and lower blood pressure.
Tips for Having a Successful Nature-Focused Road Trip
If you want to reap all of the benefits of a nature-focused road trip, you must take the time to plan it well and ensure it provides the experience you’re hoping for. Implement these six tips, and your nature-focused road trip will be a success.
Figure out where you want to go
There is a such thing as roaming around in nature and letting the wind guide your next steps. But it’s much safer to figure out where you want to go first because nature is vast and it’s easy to get lost. Plus, you can create a better experience when you’re intentional.
Where do you want to travel to? Another state? Across a few states? To the other side of your city? Pick where you want to go and then determine the route you want to take to get there.
Determine the route you’ll take to get there
There are usually multiple ways to get to one place. Wherever you’ve decided to go, you want to choose the route that keeps you connected to and immersed in nature.
For example, if you’re road-tripping through Florida, the Overseas Highway is 106 miles through the Florida Keys over the ocean. Or, if you’re traveling through Washington, the Cascade Loop is a 440-mile circle that passes through the Puget Sound, lots of mountains and farmlands, and other iconic scenic areas in the state.
Also, decide where you’ll stop along the way. Do you want to visit one of the natural wonders of the U.S., like the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina? Are you hoping to see some hidden lakes? What about nature stores or wildlife reservations?
Choose nature-related activities to do along the way
In addition to the spots you want to visit, choose a handful of nature-related activities to do on your road trip.
Camping, for example, is one of the best activities to do in nature. You learn how to live off the land and can enjoy forests, animals, plants, water, and other nature around you. Choose a scenic campsite, like Acadia National Park in Maine, with miles of hiking trails, lakes, and forest land.
Here are a handful of nature-related activities to consider doing on your road trip:
Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, the route you want to take to get there, and the nature-related activities you’ll be doing along the way, make sure that you’re prepared for your trip — particularly your vehicle.
You’re relying on it to get you through your road trip and back home safely. It would be inconvenient, not to mention scary, if your vehicle breaks down on a route that’s engulfed by forest and void of much else.
Be sure to get your vehicle serviced before you embark on your road trip. In addition, make sure you have a spare tire and tools to put it on, jumper cables, flashlights, and anything else you may need for your vehicle in case of an emergency. Look into cargo boxes and bike racks to ensure there’s enough room on board for essential emergency supplies, your tent, and luggage.
Bring the right people with you
People go on solo road trips all of the time. But having company adds so much joy and excitement to the trip. The key is inviting the right people on your road trip. Bring the people you know you’ll enjoy spending an extended amount of time with, like your spouse and children, best friends, or parents.
It’s also important for the people you bring with you to have an open mind about nature. They don’t necessarily have to be nature lovers, just open to the experience a nature-focused road trip can offer.
In your quest to connect more deeply with nature on your road trip, you should also pay attention to how your travel practices impact the environment. If you plan it right, you can relish nature on your road trip while simultaneously contributing to its health.