Forget the bald eagle or the Statue of Liberty. In America, the car is still the ultimate symbol of freedom, empowering us to shift our daily routines out of idle and "go anywhere." With rising gas prices in mind, the experts at ShermansTravel.com matched hot summer deals with five short weekend road trips that burn less than a single tank (and we still took the scenic routes).
1. Boston to Portland, ME (123 miles)
Route: Avoiding I-95 in favor of Route 1 will take you closer to the coast and let you meander through quaint Maine towns like Ogunquit and Kennebunk.
Roadside Attractions: Stop at Maine's Cape Neddick "Nubble" Light, one of the world's most photographed lighthouses, and Portland Head, the state's oldest lighthouse.
2. Chicago to Milwaukee (99 miles)
Route: For a leisurely and scenic drive with views of forest preserves and Lake Michigan beaches and lighthouses, steer clear of I-94. Take US-41 instead to Wisconsin and continue along Sheridan Road to Milwaukee.
Roadside Attraction: The charming lakefront town of Pleasant Prairie offers unique attractions like the Jelly Belly Visitor Center, where you can enjoy a free warehouse tour and stock up on snacks at the Jelly Belly Snack Bar.
3. Los Angeles to Santa Barbara (100 miles)
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Route: The pragmatist in you will suggest taking U.S. 101 out of Los Angeles, but we prefer to keep an eye on the ocean along the drive to Santa Barbara by taking Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway. The scenic ride is one of the perks of this road trip.
Roadside Attraction: Ventura, just 67 miles from Los Angeles, is a great place to stretch your legs. The San Buenaventura Pier is one of the oldest in United States; take a walk to the end of the pier to snap some photos and enjoy the ocean views.
4. Miami to Sanibel and Captiva Islands (150 miles)
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Route: Take the Tamiami Trail (US-41) through the Everglades for access to a greater variety attractions than you'll find on the parallel I-75. For ocean views, once you hit Bonita Springs take County Highway 865 along Estero Bay and Fort Myers Beach before the Sanibel Causeway turnoff.
Roadside Attractions : Along the Tamiami Trail you'll encounter the Shark Valley entrance of Everglades National Park, one of the best locations for alligator spotting.
5. Phoenix/Scottsdale to Williams, AZ (180 miles)
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Route: Start out on I-17 out of Phoenix. A short detour on State Highway 179 through Sedona returns you to I-17 for a short jaunt to I-40 and then the historic Route 66 into Williams.
Roadside Attraction: Leave your car behind in Williams and board the Grand Canyon Railway to the United States' biggest natural wonder.
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