Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Thu March 19 2015

Top Five Perennial Favorite Road Trips to Take this Summer

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | March 19, 2015

Top Five Perennial Favorite Road Trips to Take this Summer

Ah, the great American road trip. Nowhere is there more of a place where family bonding, bickering, and bad singing meet in perfect harmony. Most road trips last not more than a day or two, but the scars-I mean memories last a lifetime. If you are a road trip novice or seasoned veteran, these five jaunts are traditionally the most common and should probably be on your list at some point. Special thanks to the folks over at AAA/CAA for helping us put the list together.

#5 - Yellowstone National Park

The summer season here runs from April to November, but the two busiest months are definitely July and August.  The seven day entrance permit is $25 for a typical vehicle, but that gets you into both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Reservations for lodging should be made well in advance but there are plenty of options. In addition to camping or RVing it, there are nine different facilities with over 2,000 rooms available. Once inside the park you are pretty much self-sufficient with restaurants, medical services, gas stations, gift shops, stores, and daycare all available. Permits are needed for fishing, boating, and backcountry hiking and camping.

#4 - Phoenix, Arizona

Photo courtesy of By Harald Nagel via Wikimedia Commons.

Phoenix is the largest city in Arizona, and together with the rest of the metropolitan area makes up the Valley of the Sun. They aren’t kidding about their sun here, either. On the average, they get about 299 days of rays and although the temperatures are mild for some of the year, they average about 107 days per year with a temperature over 100 degrees. If there is ever a road trip that you want to give your car a once-over before you leave (although you should really go over it before any trip), this would be the one. Extreme climates mean extreme abuse to your family truckster. If you have never been to the desert, there is more to do than you think. Obviously there is nature and wildlife, but you also have an abundance of other activities such as museums, tours, landmarks, theatres, and amusement parks.

RELATED: Is Your Car Ready for the Long Haul? 8 Essential Road Trip Checklist Items

#3 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Some will be surprised to see Las Vegas on the list, but there are a lot of people who make a pilgrimage to the City of Lights each year, and it is not just for the gambling. In addition to a bunch of cool museums and activities away from the Strip, there are a bunch of day trips that can be taken to places like the Valley of Fire, Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, and Zion National Park. Los Angeles is a quick four-hour drive as well.

RELATED: Five Great Museums in Las Vegas off The Strip

#2 - Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

This family-friendly destination is within a day or less drive from as far away as Memphis, Tennessee; as far north as Boston, Massachusetts; and as far south as Miami, Florida. If you are looking to pick up a game of golf, there are more than 100 courses in what is affectionately called the “Golf Mecca of the Southeast.” There are plenty of beachfront accommodations available, and close by you can find amusement parks, theaters, surf shops, and just about every type of restaurant you could ever imagine. Keep in mind that during the summer this place is packed and the main thoroughfares get clogged up pretty good. Try to get in early or late, and definitely avoid the crush during the dinner hours.

#1 - Orlando, Florida

The new Orlando Eye observation wheel.

I think this was probably a no-brainer for most people, with all of the theme parks that are going on in the O-town area. The best part of making this road trip in particular is you don’t have to stay in the park if you don’t want to.  There is a whole other world outside of the big three (Disney, Universal, Sea World) with some great restaurants and shopping just a couple of minutes from the parks. Keep in mind that all roads that lead to Orlando in the summer are normally plagued with accidents and construction, so plan to take your time or travel at night. Sometimes the drive with the kids is easier if they are sleeping anyway.

SEE ALSO: 4 Lesser-Known Attractions in Orlando

If you are looking for a great tool to have for your next road trip, check out AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner, an interactive mapping, routing, and travel planning resource featuring maps, navigation tools, detailed travel information, and more. And you don’t even have to be a AAA member to use it. It is available at or get the app at

So strap the turtle on top of the car, pack up the cooler with sandwiches that will undoubtedly fall into the ice water and turn into a soggy mess, and dust off the sing-a-longs. It’s road trip time and you don’t want to miss it.

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