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4 Great Spring Road Trips

By Nicole Campoy-Leffler, Editor
3/19/2013 8:16:06 AM

It's only natural that when the weather goes from prohibitively cold to blissfully sunny, we all just want to get out of Dodge. And one of the best ways to do that is to hit the open road with the windows open and a bag of provisions in the back. So, we rounded up four prime spring road trips where the sun will shine and there are plenty of delicious snacks.

Photo courtesy of Flickr/nathansnostalgia

California's Central Coast

Start in Los Angeles or San Francisco and drive into the plush and diverting lands of California's Central Coast. There are ample reasons to get out of the car along the way, from the Municipal Winemakers' tasting room in Santa Barbara to Joycup's homemade chocolate peanut butter cups in San Luis Obispo, and the many farmers markets in Paso Robles. When passing through Solvang, slow to a roll to take in the wafting, calming scent of the Lily Bee Lavender Farm. The Central Coast has some of the most charming places to stay, too, like the Cass House Inn, Hotel Cheval, and Santa Barbara's Upham Hotel.

Sedona, Ariz.

The red rock landscapes of this part of Arizona make for spectacular vistas morning, noon, and night. And the small, historic mining towns along Interstate 17 make for a truly charming American escape. Drive from Sedona to Phoenix or vice versa, stopping for a delightful dinner at Wright's in Phoenix, fresh tamales at Elote Cafe in Sedona, and provisions from the Heartline Cafe. Book a room at the grand Arizona Biltmore to either start or end the trip, and don't miss a Cowboy Cookout at M Diamond Ranch.

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Great River Road

The Great River Road, which runs alongside the Mississippi River, boasts all kinds of flora, fauna, and natural attractions for road-trippers, not least of which is the Great River Road Wine Trail, which was established in 2009. There are nine wineries along the trail, which goes from Minnesota to Iowa, with most wineries in Wisconsin. If bourbon and whiskey are more your speed, some of America's greatest distilleries can be found along the Mississippi River, like the Woodford Reserve and Maker's Mark in Kentucky, and Jack Daniels in Tennessee.

Vancouver to Seattle

Crossing the "49th parallel" is a classic road trip from Vancouver to Seattle, or the other way around, with easy stops along the way at some of the region's most delectable eateries, markets, and cafes. There are breakfast sandwiches to be had from Avenue Bread, coffees to stop for from I Wanna Moka, wine to be tasted from Novelty Hill, and cheese to indulge in at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar. The start and end points are both cosmopolitan cities, while the roads in between them are idyllic and quiet.

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