When it comes to affordable vacation fun, nothing quite beats a carefree road trip. So pull out that map (or, ya know, Google Maps) and plot your route. Here are some ideas of what to throw into the trunk.
Considering you'll be spending a lot of time in a car, stick with breathable fabrics and breezy cuts, like this sleeveless chambray shirt with a white rose print ($68) or split neck print top in a cotton-modal blend ($58). Throw a couple of shoe options in the backseat, like cut-out flats in natural leather ($89) or a pair of lightweight trail running shoes for an impromptu hike ($68.97). Then, pack up some summer basics, like a raffia sun hat ($82), roll-up denim shorts ($78), and a white sundress ($140) into this sweet polka dot print backpack ($44.99).
Depending on where you stop for the night, wardrobe requirements can vary. Go with safe and versatile American classics: a jean skirt ($84.85 by Cheap Monday), short sleeve white tee (here pepped up with stripes of persimmon, $138), and Western style booties ($229.99). Jazz up your outfit with a few accessories like a hand-woven brocade clutch in deep coral and sea blue ($88) and a leather lariat necklace ($16.99). For wear that'll travel from the restaurant to lounging at the hotel, try these loose homespun gray cargo pants ($225) and these laid-back yet modern toe-ring leather sandals ($91). Or, for a fancy night out, pack this knit dress in a tomato red ($98 by Milly).
Whether you're headed to a hotel pool or are driving through a national park with natural springs, take a dip in these coral pink board shorts ($78). Meanwhile, a charcoal and cream batik print t-shirt can channel the trip's bohemian spirit ($68), as does this cotton towel with bright blue Nez Perce print ($48). Other useful pieces include a simple heather blue tee ($39), straight leg denim ($78), a hardy tan rucksack ($228), and these hiking boots ($129.93). Pull your look together with a pair of wood sunglasses ($145) and tan leather belt ($58).
Come the magic hour, slip on these light blue colored Levi's jeans ($58), print short-sleeve button down ($130), and easy gray sneakers ($56) to hit the town. (Sub in these flip-flops ($74.95) if you're feeling more casual.) Toss in a few layering pieces for added options like this bird print t-shirt ($70), gray zip hoodie ($68), and hip camouflage jacket ($97). A long-sleeve cotton henley ($78) will also serve you well when the sun dips West.
Where to Stay
A road trip doesn't have to mean staying dingy chain motels: boutique hotels, independent inns, and B&Bs have really hit their stride in recent years. Take the charming The Lodge along Route 66. The William, Arizona joint is within striking distance of the Grand Canyon (about an hour drive from the southern rim).
That Western desert vibe carries through the region. With access to Zion National Park, the Adobe-style accommodations at the Inn at Entrada in St. George are a real treat. Outdoor enthusiasts should call up the hotel in advance to arrange extracurriculars, like rappelling, rock climbing, or mountain biking. Ready to be spoiled? Run, don't walk, to the luxurious, but pricy Amangiri hotel situated on 600 acres in Southern Utah.
If hugging the coastline is more your speed, then drive the scenic Highway 101 traversing down from Washington to California. The Lake Crescent Lodge, in Washington's Olympic National Forest, is a nature-lover's paradise. Heading south to Oregon's Cannon Beach, check out the Inn at Cannon Beach, which offers pet-friendly accommodations as well as a family-friendly atmosphere.
For an indulgent pit stop, pull off 101 in California's Marin County. The posh enclave includes the artsy town of Sausalito where you'll find the stylish Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa. The hillside cottages with balcony and ocean views are particularly worth the splurge.
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