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US road trip suggestions for July

I'm probably late planning this but my husband and I would like to take a road trip this July and I'm struggling to come up with some ideas. We're 2 retirees in our 60d. Here's what we're looking for:

  • Any location in continental US. We're open to either starting from where we are (metro Detroit) or flying somewhere, road tripping, and then flying home
  • prefer less hot weather, I don't do well in heat
  • trip length of a week to 10 days
  • nature only in very small doses, i.e. some pleasant scenery is nice but no interest in hiking, kayaking, etc
  • we love historical and cultural sights and museums

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Posted by
8597 posts

I've always wanted to do a Civil War battlefield trip, either east - Gettysburg to Atlanta; or west - Vicksburg through Tennessee and Georgia.

Posted by
7050 posts

I think the California coastline is the best road trip in the US (at almost anytime of the year) - I would consult some travel books in your library, there are always plenty for California given its wonders and attractions (they also have a great website: To avoid the worst of the heat, you are sort of limited to the coastal areas of the US. The California coastline is too long, varied, and full of stop-overs even for a 10 day trip, so you can focus on any segment that appeaks most to you.

Posted by
7404 posts

We’ve enjoyed a lot of nice trips in the US! To avoid some of the heat & humidity in several areas in July, how about doing a Boston and NE states up to Maine or a NYC over to Rhode Island trip? Our last one in that area was flying to NYC and heading to Connecticut. Then we spent some days at Newport, Rhode Island at a nice B&B (lots of expensive historical “summer homes” to tour), sailing, etc. and finished by doing the fun touristy stuff at NYC, along with taking two delicious & interesting food tours.

Posted by
4154 posts

The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts would fit your bill , lots of museums and cultural venues.

Posted by
6850 posts

Have you thought about heading up to Montreal and Quebec City? It's about a 600 mile trip each way, with loads of culture, historic sights and beautiful scenery. I've been wanting to do that road trip for awhile.

Another option would be to driving through to the UP and then drive along Wisconsin's northern coast (Pictured Rocks is a very pleasant place), and stopping in Duluth, MN. The second option would be more nature-oriented, though.

Both places have the advantage of cooler climates.

Posted by
278 posts

Since it can be hot anywhere in the US in July, I'll echo the ideas of sticking close to the West or Northeastern coasts. Southwestern Connecticut to Boston with a visit to Cape Cod is a great trip based upon your criteria.

For something a little differenct, how about starting in San Diego and visiting the Spanish Missions along the California coast? Mostly urban driving. Lots of hotels and restaurants nearby. And you can hit other cutlural sites and museums along the way. You could end anywhere from Stanta Barbara to San Luis Obispo to catch a flight back to Detroit from those locations.

Posted by
381 posts

A northern loop that sounds good to me is heading East in Great Lakes to Albany NY. Stop in Niagara Falls. There are 2 Frank Lloyd Wright homes and an excellent art gallery in Buffalo. I think I read that General Mills has a tour of their operations? Drive down the Hudson River with FDR home, the Culinary Institute, sculpture park and West Point. Circle back west with stop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water and tour of Pittsburgh (for easy sightseeing we took hop on-hop off bus).

Another option is to head into eastern Canada-Montreal, Quebec City in Quebec and Ottawa and Ontario. This could be done from Buffalo. If you are a garden enthusiast, Buffalo has a free open house garden tour of several neighborhoods the last week in June.

These trips are still in the north making weather much cooler than the South (which has wonderful road trips,but hot humid weather in the summer). Just some beginning ideas with a lot more research needed. All the suggestions that have been made sound wonderful. Good luck making a choice. There a ideas to fill many summer vacations.

Posted by
740 posts

Are you interested in anything in particular? History? The Civil war? Wine? Old steam powered technology? Steam engines?

The options are endless.

But here is my generic Suggestion.

Option 1 if you want yo travel. Head down into Pennsylvania then Maryland and Virginia visiting the Old Civil war and Revolutionary War sites.

Option 2 if you want on location. head to The same area but stay outside DC, lots of Museums to visit,

Option 3 if you like outdoors. Head to the Newest National Park. New River National Park in West Virginia. If you like more rustic stuff get a cabin at Babcock State Park just Outside the National park and on a tributary of the New River Gorge, Great scenery, amazing hikes, you xcan go white water rafter on east rapids or hard (two different of the river) If you are unsure do the Upper first and see if you like it then you can do the lower a day or so later if you wish. Several good rafting companies.
Also thier is a number of museums such as one in Beckley that you can go down into an old coal mine (on a tram so you just sit). Vety pretty and the weather is usually nice,

Option 4. If you like steam engines you can rent an old company house in Cass. WV and ride a tourist train behind a Shay steam engine (invented in Cadillac Michigan area btw) these 100+ year old engines will take you to the top of the second highest mountain in West Virginia. While in the area you can visit the National Radio Telescope facility (those things are HUGE).

Just a few thoughts off the top of my head

Posted by
84 posts

You said you like historical sights and museums. If you wind up in New England, I recommend the Strawberry Banke museum in Portsmouth NH. A large collection of homes representing a range of time periods from the town's founding through WW2. Different homes are open each day, with interpreters.

There's more to Salem MA than just witch trials. Hawthorne's 'House of Seven Gables', historical shipping interpretations, historic homes, and yes, witch trial history. Side note: do NOT go to Salem in October unless you want to trip over every young black-fingernailed Wiccan wanna-be in the eastern continent making her Halloween pilgrimage.

If your history interest runs toward anthropology, America's Stonehenge is fascinating. The stones, markers, and structures are spread over relatively gentle hike in the woods. It's a relatively basic experience but the interpretations and explanation of the early people and their astronomical calendar will appeal to those with an interest in pre-history. Definitely underappreciated.

Posted by
12 posts

As previously mentioned, the mid-atlantic is a great area for a road trip. Not too hot, relatively affordable prices, lots of roadside attractions, and a good mix of urban/rural areas you can weave in and out of as you please. Best of luck!

Posted by
3965 posts

I really enjoyed the drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway in June (I didn't recall any heat issues), very scenic with plenty of sites along the way, I did it in roughly a week. I liked:

Santa Barbara
Sycamore Mineral Hot Springs
Morro Bay
Paso Robles Wine Country
Hearst Castle
Various Spanish Colonial Heritage sites
Big Sur
Carmel + Monterey Aquarium
Stanford Uni tour

Posted by
351 posts

Wow, so many great ideas! You people are awesome!

Some of your suggestions I've already done but I'm looking into some of the others as possibilities for this year and keeping others in mind for future years.

Thanks so much to all of you!