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The World’s Best Winter Road Trips

The best places to drive when the weather gets cold.

People are into road trips now more than ever, with over 25% of people saying they want to go on an epic road trip for their next travel journey. Road trips are back in style and with plenty of destinations around the world, nothing is impossible. Planning a road trip is as easy as finding a destination, a couple of friends (if you want), and a vehicle to experience the world around us.

Iceland – Europe’s Wilderness 

Some of the best winter destinations to have a road trip are in Europe. Good road quality and winter wonderland like scenery make Europe a great choice for road trips. Iceland has recently come on the scene with its Ring Road aka Route 1 becoming a popular choice for nature lovers who want to get off the beaten track. In Europe, this is a unique route because of the freedom to journey uninhibited by development. The trip will take you 1,332 kilometers (828 miles) along Iceland’s coast and passes some of the most scenic landscapes in Iceland, such as the Snæfellsnes peninsula, the Icelandic Highlands, and the Westfjords. You will need winter tires because of the terrain but that means it will be an adventure worth taking.

New Zealand – Scenic Hobbitland 

New Zealand has always been a popular road trip spot. Unlike neighboring Australia, New Zealand offers some scenic winter feel possibilities. The Southern Route is a 400km (250 miles) journey around South Island, passing by majestic fjords, beach towns, and cities. The benefit to going in winter is that there are fewer tourists and the sights take on a special winter air. Waterfalls appear magical in winter and the quietness of the fjords will really inspire a feeling of winter. The Southern Route also passes by Hobbiton, the place Lord of the Rings was shot. For fans, this is a unique opportunity to see the Shire in the snow.

USA National Parks – Winter Accents 

Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer the chance to see some of this nation’s most scenic beauty accented by winter touches. All three of these National Parks offer dramatic beauty. Yosemite Valley’s famous Half Dome covered in snow, Yellowstone’s geysers contrasted with a white backdrop, and the Great Smoky Mountains offer a unique American forest with 60 different types of trees. These three all make for an interesting wintertime drive but also come with the security and amenities of a National Park. Many of the hiking trails are open in Wintertime in both Yosemite and the Great Smoky Mountains, meaning that exploring nature is still a good option. The main roads of all three parks are generally clear through the winter but plan well because, after a large snowfall, it can take time for the roads to be plowed. 

Winter offers a unique experience for road trippers. The winter accents that are normally only present during the off-season will create lasting memories and unique pictures. Most destinations do not close during the winter months and fewer tourists mean that more experiences can be enjoyed overall. 

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