Just Because Seasonal Summer

Summer Road Trip Guide (With Flowers, of Course!)

Summer Roadtrip

Photo credit: @Reneeroaming 

The Great American Road Trip has long been a rite of passage for the free-spirited, synonymous with finding oneself and making memories that last a lifetime. And what better place for a photo op than a majestic National Park?

Since it might be tough to transport your farm-to-table summertime bouquet with you (at least until flower-friendly seat belts get invented), we’ve paired our favorite parks and roads in the country with a guide to local flowers to look out for as you ramble your way across the US of A.

Don’t forget to pause or edit your flower subscriptions before you take off, so you don’t end up with flowers wilting on your doorstep while you’re away. It’s also a good idea to learn about vacation plant care before you leave town, too. Now, go forth and Instagram!

Tips for Summer Road Trips

No matter how well you plan your trip, something is liable to go “wrong” along the way. Following these tips can help prevent – or at least minimize – many of the most common road trip problems:

  • Make a daily and total budget so you don’t have to cut your trip short by unexpectedly running out of money. Speaking of money, you should alert your bank and credit card companies that you’ll be traveling before you get stuck at a gas station with a declined card because your bank suspects fraud. You should also keep some cash on hand for the occasional places that don’t accept cards.
  • Sign up for roadside service. Whether it’s through AAA, your insurance company, or anybody else who offers it, make sure you can get roadside assistance when you need it.
  • Pack for everything. You may be surprised what you’ll need when you’re on the road. Bringing more than you think you need – like a winter coat, rain boots, an umbrella, slippers, or a phone charging bank – can save you money on the road so you don’t have to buy another of something you already have at home.
  • Have a plan – but leave room for spontaneity. You should know roughly where you want to go and how long you want the trip to take, but leave room for unexpected adventures.
  • Stock up on snacks ahead of time. Food is much cheaper at the grocery store than it is at gas stations or truck stops, so bring along as many snacks as you can to save money on the road.
  • Get your vehicle inspected and keep it maintained. Even if it hasn’t been that long since your last oil change or maintenance service, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle checked out before you hit the road – preventative maintenance is usually cheaper than unexpected repairs.
  • Choose a mix of back roads and highways depending on your goals. Looking to see the countryside? Choose more back roads. Barreling your way to an exciting next destination? Consider using the quicker interstate.
  • Download maps and entertainment ahead of time. There are still vast swathes of land with no cell coverage, so make sure all your maps, audible books, music, shows, movies, and anything else are downloaded to your phones and tablets using Wifi before you hit the road.
  • Pick truck stops over rest areas. With better facilities, more options, plenty of lighting, and higher foot traffic, truck stops are generally much better – and safer – places to stop than isolated rest areas.
  • When you drive is as important as where you drive. While the reduced traffic may make driving at night more appealing, it’s significantly more dangerous than driving during the day. Try to avoid driving through cities during rush hour and plan to eat meals outside of the busy times, too. After all, why waste time stuck in traffic or waiting for a table when you could use that time to explore, instead?
  • Stop every couple of hours to stretch – and get gas, even if you don’t need it yet. Walking around at least every 2-3 hours helps prevent potentially fatal blood clots, and you never know when you’ll hit a long stretch of highway with no gas stations in sight.

Top Ten Things to Bring on a Road Trip

We could probably list a hundred essential items for road trips, but here are the top ten:

  1. Paperwork: Driver’s license, vehicle registration, car insurance information, emergency contact information, car manual, travel insurance, national parks pass
  2. Emergency supplies: Spare tire and jack, booster cables, paper maps or an atlas, tire pressure gauge, window breaker and seatbelt cutter (kept in your glove box for easy access after a crash), first aid kit, remote jump starter, duct tape, flashlight, headlamp, umbrella, winter supplies (if necessary), a quart of oil, wiper fluid, radiator fluid, gas can
  3. Cash and coins for tolls, parking meters, air for your tires, etc.
  4. Large jugs of water and refillable water bottles – cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying bottled water at every stop
  5. Trash can or garbage bag to keep and use in your vehicle
  6. Apps/helpful websites: Navigation apps, GasBuddy, FreeCampsites.net, music streaming apps, podcast apps, Audible, games (to keep passengers entertained)
  7. Electronics accessories: Car phone mount, car power adaptor, power cords for every device, portable chargers, extra batteries, portable Wifi
  8. Toiletries: Dental care, hair care, shower essentials, deodorant, nail clippers, tweezers, sunscreen, bug spray, Tide to Go pen and a small amount of laundry detergent, makeup and skincare, hand sanitizer, quick-dry microfiber towel, medications (including a painkiller like Tylenol or Advil), toilet paper, body wipes, tissues, napkins or paper towels, laundry bag, glasses, flipflops
  9. Entertainment: Books, games, Kindle, headphones, Bluetooth speakers, cards, board games, camera, video camera, travel journal, tablet, laptop
  10. Other essentials: Neck pillow, sunglasses, eye mask, blanket, snacks, mints or gum, chapstick, your favorite…(why leave your favorite mug, slippers, or whatever at home when you could just bring it with you?), clothing for any weather conditions you might possibly encounter, camping gear (if that’s part of your trip)


The Park: Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Photo source: NPS.gov

The Rundown:

Planning a road trip without including Yellowstone National Park on your itinerary just wouldn’t be right. Covering parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, it is the world’s first national park, after all! Wowing visitors since 1872, this renowned park is home to Old Faithful Geyser, Mammoth Hot Springs, and enough stunning scenery to make you consider extending your trip.

Pro tip: June­–August is peak season at the park, so book early if you plan on staying overnight. And bring your camera in case you catch a glimpse of some wildlife!

The Flowers:

Because of the size of the park and differences in elevation, a whole host of wildflowers abound in Yellowstone. Rabbitbrush––great name, right?––is in bloom along the Northern range from August­­–September, and its bright yellow appearance makes it the perfect bloom to include in photos.

Because of the size of the park and differences in elevation, a whole host of wildflowers abound in Yellowstone. Rabbitbrush––great name, right?––is in bloom along the Northern range from August­­–September, and its bright yellow appearance (trend alert!) makes it the perfect bloom to include in photos. Find a complete list of the wildflowers growing across Yellowstone here.

The Drive: Pacific Coast Highway

The Rundown:

Covering over 600 miles of California’s stunning coastline, the Pacific Coast Highway runs from San Francisco to San Diego and features striking views of the Pacific Ocean. Without stopping, it takes about 10 hours to drive the entire length – but where’s the fun in that? You could easily spend at least a week on this road trip, longer if you want to spend more than a couple of days each in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Other excellent West Coast locales to spend time in along the way include Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Cambria, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Solvang, and Santa Barbara.

The Flowers:

From Northern California to SoCal and from the beaches to the mountains, the Pacific Coast Highway provides numerous opportunities to see a variety of wildflowers. Make the journey in April or May for the most stunning flower fields.

The Park: Pike National Forest

The Rundown:

If you’ve ever wanted to see the view from atop a 14,000-foot tall peak, but hiking isn’t your favorite activity, you need to drive up Pike’s Peak Highway in Colorado’s Pike National Forest. The 19-mile paved road takes you to all but the very tippy-top of the mountain, and you only need an average fitness level if you want to walk up the remaining tiny little bit.

Due to the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center and huge crowds, you now need a reserved time slot to park at the top of the mountain. Alternatively, you can take a shuttle up. Either way, you have a good chance of encountering some of the iconic animals that live in the Rocky Mountains, like bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and marmots.

Also, if you haven’t experienced high elevations before, you may want to spend some time acclimating in nearby Colorado Springs for a few days first. There are tons of things to do in and around the Springs as you adjust to the altitude.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to bring your coat! It’s typically 30 degrees colder on top of the mountain, and it can snow even in the height of summer.

Another tip: Make sure you pop your ears frequently as you drive up and down the mountain. Chewing gum can help.

Pikes Peak Flowers

The various aspects (north, south, east, and west) and elevations (7,000 to 14,000 feet) of Pikes Peak present the opportunity to see wildflowers in vastly different ecosystems along the drive. You can watch the blooms change from mountain bluebells, Columbian monkshood, and orange agoseris at the base of the mountain to alpine spring beauty, dwarf clover, and alpine mountain sorrel near the top of the peak.



The Park: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Photo source: NPS.gov

The Rundown:

As you cruise away from the ocean breeze, Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park beckons from the northern corner of the state. Fun fact: Situated on 52 square miles of land, this vast landscape offering views of waterfalls and a train ride for visitors is the only national park in Ohio. (So visiting feels like joining a secret club!) If cycling is your thing, you can jump on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, a 21-mile path that runs through most of the park. If you’re in the midwest you may also want to check out Chicago’s botanical gardens.

Daisy WildflowerThe Flowers:

During the summertime, the fields of Cuyahoga Valley are filled with Canadian goldenrod and New England aster. You can spot the golden rod by looking out for clusters of small yellow heads on a tall stalk.




The Park: Shendandoah National Park

Shendandoah National Park

The Rundown:

Slip outside the bustle of the nation’s capital and, before you know it, you’re winding along Shenandoah National Park’s Skyline Drive, overlooking 200,000 acres of land that includes parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains and eight counties (Yes! Eight!) worth of rolling hills. Save some time to do a little backcountry camping adventure. The permit is free, and the trails are plenty!

The Flowers:Yellow Wild Daisy

There are plenty of incredible flower species to look out for (862, to be exact), but we suggest focusing your search on big, bold, impressive sunflowers. They grow into late fall, so there’s plenty of time to catch them on display.

The Park: Acadia National Park

The Rundown:

One of the top 10 most-visited national parks in the United States, Acadia National Park in Maine boasts 27 miles of historic motor roads, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads. While you’re there, be sure to drive the Park Loop Road, the go-to scenic route around the east side of Mount Desert Island.

The Flowers:

Some of the flowers commonly found in Acadia National Park include aster, horned bladderwort, honeysuckle, goldenrod, irises, laurel, bluebead lily, mayflower, and milkweed. You can find a checklist of all 866 vascular plant species found in the park here.



The Drive: Florida Keys

The Rundown:

Did you know a highway connects many of the Florida Keys? You can drive from Miami all the way to Key West – the southernmost point in the continental United States – in about 3 hours. With dozens of islands connected by the bridges, you can make your Florida Keys road trip as short or as long as you want!

The Flowers:

Don’t miss the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden, the only sub-tropical, frost-free, natural conservation habitat and native plant botanical garden in the continental United States. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, admission is only $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and military members, and free for children.

The Drive: Blue Ridge Parkway

The Rundown:

Considered by some to be the most scenic highway in the South, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the Appalachian Mountains from Waynesboro, Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina. Especially stunning in the fall, when the leaves are changing color, this drive is world-renowned for its biodiversity.
Along the drive, you’ll find the highest mountain peak in the eastern U.S. (Mount Mitchell), the oldest river in North America (New River), the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon (Linville Gorge), and the highest waterfall east of the Rockies (Whitewater Falls).

The Flowers:

Many wildflowers and other native plants on Blue Ridge Parkway are threatened by foot traffic, so be sure to stay on the trails as you wander. Especially sensitive areas include the Craggy Pinnacle Trail at Craggy Gardens, the Tanawha Trail around Grandfather Mountain, and Devil’s Courthouse.

Well, there you have it –– your official road trip flower guide. We wish you a summer of freedom, adventure, wild stories, and incredible photos. You can even try a fun road trip game and spot as many blue flowers as you can find. Now grab your copy of On the Road and hit the open highway!

Refresh Your Road Trip Memories With The Bouqs Co.

Well, there you have it –– your official road trip flower guide. We wish you a summer of freedom, adventure, wild stories, and incredible photos. You can even try a fun road trip game and spot as many blue flowers as you can find.

When you get back home, remember some of the amazing blooms you saw on your trip by ordering fabulous flowers, “Just because,” from The Bouqs Co. The sight and smell will kick your memories into gear better than simply looking at the stunning pictures you took of flower fields. Maybe next summer, you’ll consider international summer destinations to create epic road trip memories on another continent!

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