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3 Mini Road Trips - and How to Stay Safe During Them

Road trips are as American as apple pie. Many people have made history on road trips, like Jack Kerouac in his famous book, On the Road. If you've always wanted to share this quintessentially American experience, but you don't have much time to spare, consider taking one of these 3 mini road trips to experience the freedom of the open road.

1. Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Duluth, Minnesota: The images that spring to mind when you think of a road trip are usually from the Midwest. A long highway stretching into the distance among rolling hills. A twisting road through towering evergreens. Dive bars and diners, the best pie you've ever had, and drinks with convivial company. The road from Minneapolis to Duluth has it all, from breathtaking wilderness to exciting forays into the culinary delicacies at Tobies in Hinckley. Drivers here can be aggressive so make sure you're being responsible. Upon arriving in Duluth, you can watch the big lakers come into the harbor while enjoying a margarita on the balcony at Grandma's restaurant.

2. Hilo to the Kohala Coast: Hawaii isn't always the first place people think about when it comes to road trips, but the Big Island offers some of the most jaw-dropping sights and activities in the world. Starting in the rainforest town of Hilo, you'll pass over the Singing Bridge on to the open road. The gulches, enormous rainforest cliffs dropping into the ocean, are beautiful but can be dangerous, so make sure you drive slowly. You can stop in Honoka'a for malasadas at Tex's, and then go to the Waipi'o Valley overlook where you might spot some whales. From there, you can visit Akaka Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Hawai'i. You'll travel onwards to watch the climate around you change from rainforest to rolling hills and mist better suited to Scotland or Ireland than a tropical island. This is Waimea, and is paniolocountry, the capital city for the cowboys on the island. You can browse around the stores to buy clothes or purchase the locally-produced music. From Waimea, you'll change climates again, finding yourself in the lava desert. This is the sun-drenched Kohala Coast, which receives only two inches of rain per year and boasts some of the best beaches in the entire island chain. Enjoy your afternoon relaxing at Hapuna Beach State Park, where you can watch the sun go down.

3. Miami to Key West: This particular trip is well-loved by anyone who has spent time in the Keys. Every one of the islands has something incredible or simply bizarre for you to experience, and the trip over the Seven Mile Bridge is celebrated in films for a reason. Keep an eye out for cars trying to pass you on the right. They will go over the shoulder and sometimes even drive through the water because traffic can be horrendous. Stay safe and you'll have a great time. There are countless diners to try, and even bars that are mostly docks, welcoming boats in from the water. Arriving in Key West is always a blast, because the party never really stops on the island.

If you feel a longing for the open road, these are some good options for the full experience. Each of them offers local color. The diners and unique, offbeat places along these roads are only outshone by the natural beauty surrounding you. These road trips will remind you why this kind of travel has always been the American way.

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