Are You Stuck in a Rut?

When you think about traveling, what are some of the destinations you think about? Do you think of getting on a plane and traveling to France to see the Eiffel Tower? Or to Italy to see the Colosseum? Perhaps you opt for the beaches of Bermuda or Jamaica. How about closer to home? Do you take that cross country trip to all the hot spots like the Badlands of South Dakota, the geysers of Yellowstone, or the Grand Canyon in Arizona?

Don’t get me wrong. These are all wonderful places to see, but have you noticed how crowded they are especially during peak season? The lines of cars getting in to some of these locations are crazy. I’ve had the misfortune of being stuck in a “gaper block” in Yellowstone because a bison happened out of the woods. By the way, when it comes to wildlife, stay in your car!

Time To Break The Travel Routine

You’re probably wondering what I am getting at. How about doing things just a little bit different? Instead of taking that summer vacation, take it during the off-season when there are less crowds. Take the backroads instead of the highway. Stroll along the bay instead of the beach. Why do I say this? To get you thinking about other possibilities.

View of Ocean City, NJ across the bay from the walking trail

Exploring Ocean City, NJ

For instance, I drove a tour group to Ocean City, NJ for the day.  Typically I would hang out on the beach.  Well this particular day I decided to change things up. Instead of going to the beach, I decided to go for a walk on the causeway leading from Somerset across the bay in to Ocean City.  By changing my routine, I discovered that there is a bird sanctuary and walking trail about halfway across.  What a cool little side trip.  The best part was that since everyone else was doing the “routine” and hanging at the beach, this place was pretty quiet.

Ocean City, NJ Welcome Center at the beginning of the walking trail

Climbing the Mountain to Loveland Pass

Another example…I drove out west to Idaho with my family back in 2013. On our way home we drove through Colorado along Rt 70. In Hawthorne, you can stay on 70 and go through the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel which is about 1.6 miles through the mountain. The other option is to take Rt. 6 which takes you over the mountain to Loveland Pass. While I realize that taking Rt. 70 is quicker and more direct, Rt. 6 gave us the chance to see some incredible views which we might have missed, not to mention a little unexpected adventure that I will share in a future post.

Yellowstone National Park in the Winter

Have you ever been to Yellowstone in the winter? While I am quite aware of the much colder temperatures (sometimes below zero) and the limits to what you can see due to road closures, the park takes on a completely different beauty in the winter. It is also much less crowded which means you pretty much have the bison all to yourself. Just be sure to dress for the weather…and…stay in your car!

These are just a few of the experiences I have had in my travels. I will be sharing more of the details of each in future posts along with many other off-the-beaten path adventures I take.

In the meantime, tell me, what is your travel “rut” or “routine”?  It’s time to think outside the box and not only make it a vacation, make it an adventure. I would love to hear some of YOUR adventures. Where have you gone outside of the “box”?