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We all feel it... that sudden spark that compels us to wander. Maybe it's the almost-familiar glow of those unfamiliar sunsets. Or maybe it's that freeing feeling of escape — of putting monotony in our rearviews in pursuit of an adventure all our own. Whatever it is, come summer, it calls us all to throw our inhibitions to the pavement, and in turn, put our wheels to the road.
This year, we wanted to celebrate that feeling, along with the scenic views, singalongs, and divey diners that ensue — all those nostalgic parts of a road trip tradition born long before phones became the new map. So we took to Instagram, and asked you to share your most meaningful miles. In fact, we made it an inaugural summer competition, complete with a hashtag all its own.
The result? Hundreds of inspiring shots that made it nearly impossible to select the finalists (and even harder to sit at our desks). Below, you'll find those ten finalists... and ten undeniably good reasons to shut that laptop and hit the road. #AUPhotoRoadTrip
“Seattle has always been one of my favorite cities to visit, but most recently, I got a chance to visit Poulsbo. It’s the most charming and quaint city, just two hours outside of Seattle. Also known as Little Norway, the town is full of little shops and restaurants, as well as a beautiful waterfront and greenery everywhere. It always takes me back to fond memories of picking fruit in my friend's backyard.”
"This is Lincoln City, Oregon. I’ve visited this place many times, and each one has been a different type of experience with snow, rain, or sunshine. On this particular day my girlfriend and I were greeted with a beautiful sunset when we arrived, followed by fog coming over the hills while taking a walk."
"My husband and I recently celebrated our sixth anniversary in our favorite way — by heading to the coast along Highway 1. This year we chose Pismo Beach, which makes a perfect road trip stop when visiting SLO. When one thinks of Pismo, they picture the sand dunes or pier. This is a view of Pismo you normally don’t see. No crowds, just beautiful hues of blue, and occasional pods of dolphins passing along."
“The Valley of Fire is a Vegas gem and the perfect day trip away from the strip. Driving into and through the park, the rocks change from a sand color to shades of bright red. On this specific trail, the layering of rock reminded us of bacon! What’s not to love?”
“My boyfriend, Hayden, and I took the roughly 1,400 mile round trip from our home in Denver, Colorado to New Mexico’s southern border in just four short days. We saw a vast range of epic vistas, tasted an array of local flavors, and encountered so many charming characters and talents along the way.
Road trips like this are my favorite way to travel — for the views, the sing-a-longs, the 100-mile one-lane highways, and the eccentric pit stops. But I love them mostly for the unanticipated keepsakes: white sand grains forever stuck in seats; restaurant matchboxes and ticket stubs wedged into the center console; the lone, dried red chili that fell off the ristra in the back trunk; and, of course, for the forever memories of every minute, of every mile in your rolling, temporary little home.”
“When you’re longing for the ocean and a slow pace of life, Alys Beach, Florida has all you need. The days are long, the architecture is lovely, and the water is a crystal blue. Here, the best method of transportation is your bike, and the locals and tourists greet each other with a friendly wave as you ride by. There is a sense of community that surrounds the beaches and small businesses.”
“My family and I love spending time outdoors. We always plan at least one morning or day to explore natural areas and stretch our legs. Luckily for us, the Blue Ridge Mountains are only a few hours away, but feel very far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. After a few minutes on the Appalachian trail to McAfee Knob in Virginia, you stop hearing cars and start hearing the rustle of trees, get a taste of wild raspberries, and see the magic of the earth we live on. Who wouldn’t want to wander a little bit through these woods?”
“Whiteface Mountain is the fifth-highest mountain in New York. It’s a good choice if you are looking for an adrenaline rush or just an afternoon of beautiful views with your family. You can drive up the mountain in a scenic route and take an elevator to the summit. The top is a great place, with a wonderful view of Lake Placid and its surroundings. We visited with friends and our young four-year-old boy.”
“This was my first time to Newport, Rhode Island, and now I am wondering what took me so long! Newport is the perfect summer escape — it is home to the freshest lobster rolls I have ever tasted, opulent Gilded-Age mansions to tour, delicious dinners at sunset on the water, gorgeous cliff walks, and daily sailboat rides on the sparkling blue Narragansett bay. I am already planning my next trip back!”
“My picture of the Cape Neddick Lighthouse, affectionately known by locals as "the Nubble" is the beacon of my childhood. Maine is truly beautiful with its warm days and cool nights — but it’s the warm hearts of the people, and those who call this their summer home, that have brought my family to this community for over 100 years.”
Take Your Own Picture-Perfect Road Trip Photos