As many a philosopher has said: It’s not about the destination; it’s the journey. And, honestly, considering TSA lines and middle row seats, we’re all about taking the long way. So before you book airfare for your summer trip, consider a no-flight adventure to one of these destinations. We don’t care what anyone says: Riding around all Hogwarts Express-style will always be better than flying coach.
Take a Long, Romantic Train Ride
Who wouldn’t want to eat delicious food in the dining car while someone else navigates (you never liked your GPS, anyway)? America by Rail can help you organize a trip to basically anywhere you want to go (the Great Lakes, Yellowstone, Alaska or even a grand cross-country tour)—no flying necessary. Just find a train station within in driving distance of you. If you’re looking for even less fuss, check out Amtrak’s schedule for a fun joyride.
Go On a Cruise
Live on the coast? Well, chances are you’re within driving distance of a port. Try a week of sailing from the Northeast into Canada, or travel through the Panama Canal on your way from New Orleans to Seattle. West Coasters, let your wanderlust run wild on a month-long cruise from Los Angeles to Sydney making stops along the way in Hawaii, Samoa and Tahiti. And landlocked folks: There are also river cruises up the Mississippi via steamboat. How nostalgic is that?
Road Trip Somewhere You’ve Never Been
Embrace the American tradition of taking a good old-fashioned road trip. Head up the Pacific Coast Highway through California, Oregon and Washington for about as scenic a highway adventure as you can get. Or get your kicks on Route 66—America’s Main Street—all the way from L.A. to Chicago. You could also go completely rogue, rent an RV and map out as many charming small towns as your heart desires.
Backpack Along a New Trail
With 59 national parks throughout the U.S., you’re never too far from a good hike. Camp out on a multi-day backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail (à la Wild) or Appalachian Trail. A little less rustic? Park your tent/RV/station wagon at a campground or nearby inn and plan a couple day hikes. We’ll take fresh air over recycled fuselage oxygen anytime.