Find your kicks on Route 66

Photo by Kirsten Sullivan

By Rachel DeSantis

Fill up your tanks and whip out your maps, because now that the sun is finally out and the semester is just about over, it can only mean one thing­—it’s road trip season.

Whether it’s just down the road or across the country, road trips are the perfect escape for anyone craving a bit of adventure.For those not looking to venture too far, there are plenty of cities located only a few hours away from College Park.

Ariel Lanes, a freshman government and politics major, said she likes to go into Ocean City for the day to soak up some sun.

For those looking for something different, the Jersey Shore offers plenty of summer fun, with beaches, boardwalks and casinos lining the coast. It’s also located at a reasonable distance; the drive will only take 3-4 hours from Maryland, depending on which beach you choose.

For the history buffs, Philadelphia is a great choice for a day trip. It’s about two hours away, and close enough to fit in a day of museum visits, shopping and Benjamin Franklin impersonators. See the infamous crack in the Liberty Bell, or immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere of South Street’s mix of shops and bars.

Looking for a more international route? Follow in the footsteps of freshman electrical engineering major Eliza Yang.

“My friends and I took a road trip to Toronto, which took about eight hours,” Yang said. “We stayed four days at a friend’s house. It was a lot of fun.”

Other far but plausible options are East Coast hotspots like South Carolina or Florida.

“Road trips are so much fun,” sophomore biochemistry major Nika Nepali said. “I’ve driven to the Florida Keys with my family, and along the way we stopped in Georgia, North Carolina and Miami. It’s also always been my dream to drive cross-country to California, which I almost did this winter.”

Sophomore computer science and marketing major Arjun Baradwaj sc also expressed interest in taking a road trip, and said he’s always wanted to travel to Atlanta and Wisconsin, or Chicago to catch a Cubs baseball game.

Despite the promise of adventure and the thrill of a new path, road trips may not always be as fun–or as easy–as popular culture makes them out to be.

“I’d always seen road trips in movies, but when you try to plan it in real life, logistically, it’s so hard,” Nepali said.“The movies make it look so easy.”

Yang agrees.

“Road trips can be rough because you drive and drive and drive, and you’re stuck in a car forever,” Yang said. “They’re only fun if you go with the right people.”

For those with no particular destination that would prefer a scenic route, the Maryland area has plenty to offer.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, which stretches through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, features stunning scenery and a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking and biking.

Also in the Blue Ridge Mountains is the Shenandoah National Park Skyline Drive, sc a 105-mile scenic byway with 75 overlooks perfect for picnics, as well as 300 square miles of mountains, forests and waterfalls.

Whether it’s a weeklong vacation or just a daytime escape, there are plenty of getaway spots within driving distance of Maryland, so embrace the lovely weather and hit the road.


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