6 Scenic Road Trips You Should Take With Your Partner On The Fourth Of July

by Annie Foskett

I live in New York, where traveling anywhere for the Fourth of July can be less beautiful escape, more torturous grind. I love heading out east to visit friends in an adorable town called Bridgehampton, but getting there means standing on a packed train car for three hours. Car traffic can be even worse. A Fourth of July road trip with your partner might feel impossible, but it's most definitely not.

The key is in the planning. If you are strategic about timing, making a weekend (or midweek, ahem, 2018) road trip is the perfect Fourth of July celebration. First off, what on earth is more American than a road trip? Gas-guzzling, sight-seeing, and fast food scream "USA!" Second, if you choose to head in a direction towards the "path less chosen," you actually might miss the traffic altogether. Most people travel on the Fourth to get to a particular destination, and thus are trying to take the most direct route possible. But if you're road-tripping, you have more freedom. (Which is perfect, you know, for Independence Day and all.)

Additionally, if you're newly in a relationship, and you and your partner usually have separate party invites for the Fourth of July, it can be nice to split the difference and make your own plan together. Or invite your friends and make it a party! Either way, here are some road trip ideas for the first Wednesday in July.

Phoenix, Arizona to Flagstaff, Arizona
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Flagstaff was once named the best place to celebrate the Fourth of July by Travel + Leisure, and it's easy to see why. The town has an epic Independence Day parade, and plenty of fireworks displays to go along with it. If you start in Phoenix, you'll only need about two-and-a-half hours to get to Flagstaff, which is also super close to the Grand Canyon. And what's more American than a road trip to the Grand Canyon?

Atlanta, Georgia to the Great Smoky Mountains
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It'll take around four hours to get from Atlanta to the Great Smoky Mountains, which run between North Carolina and Tennessee, but the scenic drive will be beyond worth it. Even if you're not starting in Atlanta, the Smoky Mountains are an epic road trip destination. This U.S. National Park boasts more than just gorgeous views and hikes, there are amazing towns at either end. Check out Asheville, North Carolina's hippie hotspot, or Gatlinburg in Tennessee which is home to the stunning Lodge at Buckberry Creek. Hot tip: Dollywood isn't that far away either...

New York City to Mystic, Connecticut
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Yes, Mystic, of Julia Roberts and Mystic Pizza fame. Apparently Mystic Pizza itself is a dud, but I recently spent Memorial Day in this low-key seaside spot and had a blast. It's an adorable summer town on the way, without as much of a bumping social scene as Cape Cod or the Hamptons — in a good way. On the drive up from New York, you can check out other Connecticut seaside towns like Rowayton or Southport.

Boston, Massachusetts to Portland, Maine
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Boston is a historic and July 4th-worthy city, so spend the night before the road trip indulging in seafood somewhere like The Barking Crab or B & G Oysters. Next, head to Portland, Maine, everyone's favorite new favorite East Coast destination. Be sure to check out Portland Head Light House on Cape Elizabeth on your way into town. In the city, you can shop in the Old Port District and grab delicious beer. If you're starting in Portland and road-tripping from there, head up Route 1 to Rockland, and stop at every lobster shack along the way. Don't forget ice cream —  it's vacation!

Los Angeles to Pioneertown, California
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Pioneertown is a really weird but awesome place about two hours north of Los Angeles, making it the perfect road trip for your Fourth of July getaway. It was founded by old-time Hollywood investors to both serve as an Old West set and be a cool place to visit. You can stay at the very hip Pioneertown Motel and check out Joshua Tree National Park for a very Western Independence Day.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Charlottesville, Virginia
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Start in Philly, the birthplace of our nation, and head south to Charlottesville. Check out the pedestrian mall and the University of Virginia's gorgeous campus. There are beautiful vineyards in the area to check out as well. Look into tacking on Monticello, which has a big Fourth of July celebration, or Colonial Williamsburg if time permits.

Happy trails!