More than half of Americans are planning to go on a road trip this year, and with the summer season officially underway Starbucks has asked Stefanie Michaels, “Adventure Girl®,” to share road trip suggestions and travel tips all summer long.
Michaels, a travel expert who has appeared on Travel + Escape, Discovery Channel, and E!, among others, will share a series of themed road trips for summer vacationers. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, a national park, monuments or a family getaway, she'll make it easier than ever to plan road trip adventures.
I’m Adventure Girl, Stefanie Michaels, and I’m teaming up with Starbucks to bring you ideas for the perfect summer road trip. I’m kicking off the series with a special on Fourth of July adventures, including the best spots across the country to take in the most awe-inspiring fireworks. Make sure to check back throughout the summer as we’ll be sharing lots of other road trip ideas.
Road trips are a fun and exciting way to experience the great states, and we know that (almost) everyone loves a good road trip. In fact, 92 percent of folks said they loved road trips in a recent survey. But even though everyone agrees that road trips are fabulous, we know folks take a bit of a different approach – 55 percent of Americans said they plot out every stop along the way, while 45 percent love the spontaneity of an impromptu trip and go where their mood takes them. Whether you’re a meticulous planner or a spur-of-the-moment type, I’ve got some great suggestions and tips that will help make sure your adventure is heavy on fun and light on hassle.
Travel Tip: The quickest way to derail your road trip fun is with a roadside emergency. Make sure you’re prepared so you can get back on the road – and back to the fun – as soon as possible. Pack a flash light and flares in case of an emergency, and ensure all tires have been checked and given the thumbs up, with a spare just in case. At least a week before any long road trips, it’s a good idea to schedule an oil change and general check-up with your mechanic so they can catch any potential issues before you hit the road.
So, where can you see some of the nation’s best firework displays?
New York City, New York
There’s nothing like taking in a fireworks display in the Big Apple. Macy’s pulls out all the stops with their Fourth of July celebration. More than 40,000 fireworks are sent into the sky all around the city in a carefully orchestrated, 25-minute patriotic themed music score. Head to the East River (with your picnic blanket) for a great view.
The weekend is a celebratory one indeed, and many people take the long holiday to road trip to many of New York’s hotspots. The Finger Lakes region in central New York State is an iconic destination, located about four and half hours from Manhattan, but well worth it. Finger Lakes is a mix of farms and quaint towns with names like Seneca Falls, Himrod and Geneva, and Ithaca— home to Cornell University. Activities include nearly one hundred wineries, boat tours on the many lakes, as well as theater and gallery nights which highlight local artists.
Travel Tip: It’s always a good idea to keep your car stocked with some goodies for the road. There’s nothing worse than a “hangry” (hungry + angry) travel companion.
- Did you know? Starbucks just celebrated its 20th Anniversary in New York City. One of the company’s most uniquely designed must see stores is located in the heart of Manhattan, in Times Square. There are also Starbucks inside two top shopping destinations in NYC – Macy’s flagship store on Herald Square, and Uniqlo store at West 53rd and 5th Avenue.
It’s more than just a coffee mecca, Seattle is also one of the best places to spend the July 4th holiday. One of the biggest celebrations takes place at the Seafair Summer Fourth at Gas Works Park. Festivities include interactive exhibits, live bands, and lots of great food vendors, eventually all leading up to the grand fireworks extravaganza at 10:30 p.m. when skydivers begin the show.
Other locations outside of Seattle to see impressive pyrotechnics, and which make for fun short road trips, are the towns of Kent, Everett and Kirkland. Kent provides festivities all day with live music, games, art projects, bouncy houses, an array of local food and even a pie-eating contest. The city of Everett holds a Colors of Freedom Parade downtown, complete with marching bands, stilt walkers, clowns, and dancers. There’s also a food fair, beer garden and music. And the town of Kirkland boasts a “decorate to celebrate” event for children leading up to a parade in the morning, and an afternoon of live music.
Travel Tip: Seattle gets a bad rap for its rainy weather but Seattle actually gets less rain than New York, Miami and many other U.S. cities. Summers are sunny, dry and warm to hot. However, locals joke that summer doesn’t really start until July 5, so you may want to pack that umbrella, just in case.
- Did you know? Seattle is home to the very first Starbucks store, which opened in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971. Get the most out of your visit to the Emerald City with a stop at this iconic store, and as you’re enjoying your cup of coffee, make sure to say hello to the famous Pike Place fish throwers right across the way - but watch out for flying fish.
A recent survey revealed that music is one of the most crucial parts of a good road trip (second only to good company). Celebrating July 4th in Nashville, rightfully dubbed Music City, is the perfect Southern getaway. Nashville’s Fourth of July fireworks display includes a series of concerts by well-known artists, as well as local musicians who perform at the “honky tonks.” The Nashville Symphony accompanies one of the largest fireworks displays in the nation. Lasting 26-minutes, it is the city’s largest and longest fireworks show ever created.
If you’re on Interstate 65 heading towards Nashville, head over to Franklin, Tennessee. Just twenty minutes south of Nashville, Franklin has an historic downtown located at 3rd Avenue and Main Street filled with boutiques, eateries, beautiful parks and live music almost every night.
Travel Tip: Just as Music City’s many concert festivals and outdoor activities heat up in the summer, so does the weather. Carry a water bottle with you so you can refill on the go to stay hydrated in the hot and humid weather.
- Did you know? The coffeehouse experience and music go hand-in-hand. Make sure and grab your iTunes “Pick of the Week” card at Starbucks while on the road to enjoy some free tunes to keep you going.
They say everything is big in Texas, except the tiny 4.4 square mile town called Addison. Don’t let its size fool you. Addison is a town that takes its firecrackers seriously. Literally called Kaboom Town!®, its celebrations take place annually on July 3 at 3 p.m. and run until midnight with live entertainment, an airshow and an evening of fireworks held at Addison Circle Park—a $300,000 dollar display that lasts for a full 30 minutes.
Travel Tip: There’s more to Addison than its Fourth of July celebrations. While you’re there, don’t miss the Cavanaugh Flight Museum with planes dating back as far as World War I.
- Did you know? Addison, Texas is one of the few places in the U.S. where you can enjoy Fizzio™ Handcrafted Sodas - Spiced Root Beer, Golden Ginger Ale and Lemon Ale, as well as Teavana® Shaken Sweet Tea. Whether you’re staying in town or just passing through, this is the perfect spot for a Starbucks stop to give these beverages a try.