Meanwhile, way out in the Wild West, Memorial Day marks the time of year when winter snows are finally melting from the highest mountain passes, allowing families and friends to hit the road to visit our greatest national parks. After spending much of the last six months in virtual hibernation, by the end of May, these incredibly scenic roads welcome drivers and riders once again. From now until the first snows start to fall sometime in November, you can explore unforgettable drives like Tioga Pass Road at the eastern entrance to Yosemite National Park, the Beartooth Highway to Yellowstone National Park, and the Going-to-the-Sun Road across Glacier National Park.
Though not as famous as Yosemite or Yellowstone, Glacier National Park is perhaps the wildest of all the parklands in the lower 48 states. The sole driving route across Glacier is a doozy: the winding Going-to-the-Sun Road is a narrow, 50-mile path carved out of the mountain cliffs in 1932, and the task of opening it to travelers each summer is so monumental that the snow plows have their own web page.
Finally, if your idea of a perfect summer day has more to do with soft sands than icy glaciers and towering peaks, you can hit the road to summer resorts like Ocean City Maryland, at the east end of the great cross-country highway, US-50. I myself prefer the peace and quiet of more “natural” coastlines, such as Cape Hatteras or Big Sur on the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, but that’s the great thing about road trips: on the road, there’s always something for everyone.
Photo courtesy of the Montana Office of Tourism.