From the flower-filled fields of California to the renovated ghost towns of Colorado, there are a number of epic all American road trips at their peak in early spring. The first day of spring is either March 20th or 21st, depending on when the sun crosses the celestial equator in a particular year.
The weather and road conditions in early spring vary based upon what part of the US you are in. It might be all sun and smiles in New Mexico, meanwhile, it’s still snowing in North Dakota. When you plan a road trip in early spring, it’s important to make sure you are going somewhere with optimal weather and road conditions. Otherwise, you risk getting caught in a 3-day blizzard.
The following destinations offer scenic views, culture, history and plenty of adventure, ranking them amongst the best road trips to take in late March through early April.
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#1. San Juan Skyway, Colorado
This 232-mile stretch of roadway connects two Victorian-era towns, Ouray and Silverton. It is known as the Million Dollar Highway, not because of the million dollar views it has to offer but instead because of the copious amounts of gold and silver carted through these passageways throughout the years.
Four-wheelers are welcome to explore the rogue 65-mile Alpine Loop Back Country Byway, which passes through three different 19th-century ghost towns, Eureka, Animas Forks, and Howardsville.
While you’re there stop at Mesa Verde National Park, here you’ll find incredible Anasazi Indian cliff dwellings left abandoned around 200 years before Christopher Columbus sailed to America.
Soak away your road rage at Dunton Hot Springs Resort. This renovated ghost town offers calcium bicarbonate, manganese and iron-rich waters that range between 85° and 106°F.
#2. Antelope Valley in California
The Antelope Valley Freeway, California State Route 14, sits north of Los Angeles. By early spring an overabundance of Golden poppies are freshly in bloom, bringing to life the 17,600-acre Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve–the largest and most impressive collection of California’s state flower. At this time of year, you’ll also see plenty of cream cups, goldfields, fiddlenecks, and tidytips.
The Antelope Loop Trail located within the Poppy Reserve is just 7 miles, but you can continue along Antelope Butte Vista Point (highly recommended). This road takes you 3,000-feet up to a lookout with insane views of the flower-dusted desert below.
#3. Rustic Road 83 in Barron County, Wisconsin
Early spring is still the tail end of winter in Wisconsin, so you’ll want to check weather reports before you take off on a road trip at this time of the year. If you plan it right and wait until weather conditions are safe, Rustic Road 83 offers a scenic trip into the past. Located in the town of Bear Lake, it follows along Narrow Gauge Road, a road built along the tracks of an old railroad line used in the logging era. The historically rich roads weave through 4,100 acres of pristine forestland.
#4. The Enchanted Circle in New Mexico
There’s a good reason this 83-mile loop is known as “The Enchanted Circle” of New Mexico. The scenic byway passes over and through mountains, valleys, mesa and national forest. The road circles around Wheeler Peak, which is the highest point in the whole state. Aside from driving there are a lot of things to do here, from submerging yourself in local culture to enjoying the Taos Lilac Festival put on every spring.
See a full calendar of events: Click Here
#5. Washington DC Cherry Blossoms
Every spring the cherry blossoms bloom in Washington DC, making it an ideal time to drive through our nation’s capital. The trees bloom between late March and early April. The actual date of the National Cherry Blossom Festival changes annually based upon the date trees bloom. While you’re in Washington DC, you can road trip to the White House, as well as a number of famous monuments and museums.
Learn more about the National Cherry Blossom Festival: Click Here
#6. Tamiami Trail in Florida
This 275-mile trail takes you through Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, the Everglades and into Miami. Along the way you take in the unique beauty of Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, known as “the Amazon of North America.” It’s simply breathtaking.
Stop and take a break from driving at the relaxing resort islands of Sanibel or Captiva.
#7. Lake Shore Drive in Illinois
This 18-mile stretch of roadway on U.S. 41 reaches from Edgewater Beach to Jackson Park. Along the way it passes by the bright blue waters of Lake Michigan as well as some of Chicago’s urban parks. Driving here in spring is especially rewarding thanks to the 143,000 tulips and pansies in bloom along Michigan Avenue.
You can stop and smell endless rows of tulips at the Buckingham Fountain Flower Garden located inside of Grant Park.
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