I love summer travel, especially a good road trip. To me, nothing seems more American than cruisin’ down an empty stretch of blacktop with some cool tunes on the stereo and a killer destination in mind. Of course, for 11 months out of the year, I have to content myself with the pretend version—trying to time the lights on Hwy 441 through The Villages or enjoying the vast expanse of citrus trees that line a stretch of Hwy 27 just north of Clermont. Most of the year, they’re the opening lap of some great imaginary road trip in my mind.
Guys certainly know what I’m talking about. Car lust and the pull of the open road are probably buried deep into our DNA code, somewhere below the ability to remember to take out the trash! And if that car is made from some sort of American muscle, the lust is even stronger.
But this is July and there’s no need to pretend anymore because our annual road trip is here. My playlist is ready, the car is serviced, and the only missing part is where we’re going to take our family vacation this year.
Like most of you, we’re still trying to stick to the budgets we set a year ago, but we’re also ready to have a little fun, too. Should we venture to the Atlantic, the Gulf (away from the Great BP Oil Slick, of course), or to the south? I’m not sure—and that’s always part of the fun.
I love researching a vacation. My wife would probably say I like that part more than the trip, but that’s not true. No virtual tour can compete with the real thing, especially when that involves sun, sand, and an ice-cold Corona.
I guess that’s why I like the issue you’re holding in your hands so much. For the last few years, we’ve dedicated a good chunk of the feature well in our July issue to summer travel ideas and this year is no exception. In the pages ahead, I hope we give you some great ideas that will inspire your own travel plans. Here’s a little teaser—and a little of the background scoop—of what’s to come.
Associate Editor Mary Ann DeSantis has enjoyed going to Key West every summer for more than a decade, so when we had lunch earlier in the year to discuss this issue, I asked, “What are some cool spots along the way?” She paused for a minute before saying that they usually didn’t stop since they were always in such a hurry to get to their condo on the beach. Next thing you know, she had pitched a great travel feature idea: “12 Keys To The Keys,” a collection of all the can’t-miss spots most people drive past on their way to the end of the road. Literally.
Mary Ann came up with some great ideas—and had a lot of fun “researching” them for this article. In fact, when she returned, she told me, “I never knew some of those places even existed. I’m so glad you made me stop.” I think that was what we were going for. Maybe her family’s favorite suggestions will soon become yours.
Just hop in the car, head south, and
All my best,