Although much of the United States is ensconced in the middle of winter, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all thoughts of heading out on an American road trip during the spring. Being a climatically diverse nation, the Southern tier of states stay plenty warm enough for automobile enthusiasts to keep cruising from sea to shining sea throughout the colder months of the year.
If you feel like hitting the road over the next few months, hit I-10 and I-8 across America’s south in search of adventure – it won’t be long until you find it!
Before heading west on I-10 on your long march westward, take some time to appreciate one of Florida’s most under-appreciated cities. Head down to Jacksonville Beach to dip your foot in the refreshing Atlantic, and then head downtown to see Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, which has a distinguished selection of European and American paintings within its spacious gallery space.
Panama City Beach, FL
While the waters of the Atlantic can tend to be a little chilly in the winter, the Gulf of Mexico is a bit better, as the Spring Breakers that swarm down to Panama City Beach every winter know well. Those seeking the pristine sands and emerald water advertised in local tourism brochures should head outside of the main built up area (like at St. Andrew’s State Park) where party people congregate en masse, as the turbidity of the water is less, and the sand is much less disturbed by the masses.
New Orleans, LA
When crossing the Southern United States, making the Big Easy a central stop is an absolute must, as this city contains this nation’s most significant collection of heritage properties. Influenced by the French and the Spanish, you will be enraptured by the mere act of walking its streets, but do fully partake of New Orlean’s famous nightlife as well, especially if you are passing through during Mardi Gras (celebrations fall in mid- February this year, with the big day falling of the 17th.
San Antonio, TX
Being home to some of Texa’s most important historical monuments, San Antonio should be your next waypoint at you traverse the Southern Tier via I-10 and I-8. Numerous Spanish missions are located here, including the infamous Alamo where hundreds of courageous Texan defenders made a doomed stand against a large segment of the Mexican army. Don’t leave this comfortably sized Texan city without spending a night on the romantic Riverwalk, where tons of restaurants, bars and shops await.
Located in the Valley of the Sun in South Central Arizona, Phoenix’s high season occurs during the cooler winter season, when temperatures come down from the boiling summer highs that cause locals to retreat into their air-conditioned abodes. Take advantage of the hospitable conditions by enjoying this city’s outdoor attractions, be it a jaunt through the Desert Botanical Garden, getting in a round at any one of this metro area’s many top-flight golf courses, or by taking in a Cactus League game in February or March, when many of Major League Baseball’s teams begin to warm up for the coming season.
San Diego, CA
Whether you start or end your journey here, your time spent in California’s most southerly city will be well worth the time you spend exploring its points of interest. Check out the San Diego Zoo, which is one of the best attractions of its kind in the USA, or head down to the beach and watch some of the finest surfers in the state shoot the pipeline while you eat some of the finest fish tacos you’ve ever had.