Special Report

The Best Road Trips to Take Before Summer Ends

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Wild West Tour
> Start: Taos, New Mexico
> End: Bisbee, Arizona
> Total miles: 579

The Wild West tour takes you from one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in the United States — Taos Pueblo, a pre-Columbian settlement — to the old mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. From Taos, head north for the scenic route through Carson National Forest, then south to Santa Fe, a city known for its arts and architecture. After visiting the famous Santa Fe farmers market, head to Caballo Reservoir then turn west on Route 152 to Silver City, through the Gila National Forest, where you can explore hot springs, ancient cliff dwellings, and high desert landscapes. In Arizona, stop at Tombstone, home of the O.K. Corral, for a gunfight reenactment before ending at Bisbee.

Musical Road USA Trip
> Start: Nashville, Tennessee
> End: New Orleans, Louisiana
> Total miles: 600

For a total musical immersion, start by exploring the dozens of country music venues in Nashville. Hop over to Memphis to tour Elvis’s Graceland and his recording room at Sun Studio, as well as the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Beale Street blues clubs. Then head down the Blues Highway (Route 61) to Clarksdale, Mississippi, and stop at the Delta Blues Museum and the Crossroads, where legendary bluesman Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar skills. End your trip in New Orleans, where jazz spills into the streets.

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Southwest National Parks Tour
> Start: Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), Arizona
> End: Moab, Utah
> Total miles: 600

This epic tour of the Southwest takes you to five National Parks, starting with a breathtaking view at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. From there, head to Zion National Park for a river hike beneath towering cliffs. Don’t skip out on Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where colorful stripes of sandstone create a landscape straight out of a painting. Finally head to Canyonlands and Arches National Parks to view more mind-boggling geologic wonders. Who knew that red rocks came in so many shapes and varieties?

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Pacific Northwest Coast
> Start: San Juan Islands, Washington
> End: Brookings, Oregon
> Total miles: 687

From rainforest to sand dunes to oceanside cliffs, this drive has a bit of everything. Begin on Orcas Island in the San Juans by driving up Mount Constitution for a great view. Leave by ferry and head into Olympic National Park, where you can walk in the Hoh rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the country. Then take Highway 101 into Oregon, where the coastal scenery astounds at every bend. Stop at Sea Lion Caves, Ecola State Park, or the Oregon Dunes and don’t miss the cliff views at Otter Point and Cape Sebastian.

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Desert Rocks Trail
> Start: Prescott, Arizona
> End: Moab, Utah
> Total miles: 594

Beginning in the lively city of Prescott, Arizona, take route 89A through the Black Hills and stop for lunch and a 100-mile view in the historic mining town of Jerome, which is built into a steep mountainside. Head onward to Sedona for stunning red rock views and take a dip in Oak Creek Canyon. Fuel up in Flagstaff because next is a series of desert landmarks. After peering over the south rim of the Grand Canyon, head north to see the striped red sandstone formations at Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and Antelope Canyon. Drive east into the Navajo Monument Valley for iconic rock formations, and end by visiting Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.

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