25 February, 2024, 04:22

Road Rules

The last two years have fundamentally shifted the way we work and relax. Most of us have spent an unprecedented amount of time inside: commuting to work has been replaced with a short walk to our home offices, and we’ve opted to skip nights out and planned vacations.

But with the promise of summer shining brightly, there’s a collective sense that we’re ready to explore. In fact, a recent report found that Americans are road tripping at pre-pandemic levels. With that in mind, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels has put together a list of four road trip routes that highlight the regions’ best landmarks.

California Dreaming: Chaminade Resort & Spa (Santa Cruz) to Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa (Lake Arrowhead)

Chaminade Resort & Spa, a deluxe property just four and a half miles from the beautiful Santa Cruz boardwalk, is a perfect starting point for a southern drive along California’s famed State Route 1. You’ll find Hearst Castle along the seven-hour trip to Lake Arrowhead. The Castle, a 127-acre estate of media mogul William Randolph Hearst, recently underwent nearly $14 million in repairs and is open for guests starting May 11. If you’re looking for some international flair further onward, swing into Solvang—a unique spot known as The Danish Capital of America. You’ll marvel at the old-world European architecture in this sweet retreat within Santa Barbara’s wine country. For a different ride during your pitstop, try the Solvang trolley, a historic, wooden, horse-drawn streetcar that reflects Solvang’s rich cultural heritage. And when you arrive at Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa, you’ll find total relaxation at your feet. Enjoy the natural light, private lake beach, and lush scenery from the resort’s lake- and mountain-side rooms.

Mountain Meander: YOTELPAD (Park City, UT) to Manor Vail Lodge (Vail, CO) to Garden of the Gods Resort and Club (Colorado Springs, CO)

In the heart of Canyons Village, YOTELPAD Park City is a perfect launchpad to explore Utah’s mountain adventures. And for those craving an innovative approach to a luxury experience, the hotel’s smart spaces incorporate technology into every aspect: from self-service check-ins to Technogym equipment. On the six-and-a-half-hour drive to Vail’s Manor Vail Lodge, stop at Utah’s Dinosaur National Monument. Tucked on the border of Colorado and Utah, the monument is home to over 800 paleontological sites and prehistoric petroglyphs dating back to 499 B.C. Once you’ve landed at your next retreat, you’ll find Manor Vail Lodge offers condominiums and stylish penthouses—in other words, perfect places to rest after a day of exploring the iconic Golden Peak trails or touring The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

To keep the road trip going, just about three hours southeast of Vail is Colorado Spring’s famed Garden of the Gods, a National Natural Landmark. Welcoming over two million visitors annually, the attraction is one of America’s oldest climbing ranges and home to two of the state’s famed attractions: the rock formations Balanced Rock and Kissing Camels. End the road trip with a stay at Benchmark Resorts & Hotels’ iconic Garden of the Gods Resort and Club, where recreation and relaxation reign supreme.

Scout the Northeast: Spruce Point Inn (Booth Bay Harbor, ME) to The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort & Spa

Booth Bay Harbor’s Spruce Point Inn, about an hour east of Portland, is quintessential Maine: fresh-caught seafood, cottage-style rooms, and a spa set among the northern pines. Hold on to that New England spirit during a five-hour drive to The Essex Resort & Spa. En route, stop in downtown Montpelier, Vermont, where you’ll find everything from home furnishings to cafes, gift shops, and the Bragg Farm Sugar House, a maple syrup farm now in its eighth generation of family business. At The Essex, one of the premier resorts with cooking classes in New England, make it a gourmet getaway with cooking or baking classes, before embarking on another two-hour drive to the heart of the Adirondacks. On your way there, cross the border on the Charlotte, Vermont ferry and enjoy the shores of Lake Champlain, or reach new heights with a hike up one of the Adirondack’s 46 peaks. At the Lodge you’ll find a modern adventure inspired by prominent philosophers, literary icons, and artists, who often were drawn to the Adirondacks to escape urban life.
Florida Cruising: Bellwether Beach Resort (St. Pete Beach) to Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa (VeroBeach)

A three-and-a-half-hour drive across the Florida peninsula will take you from its western to eastern shores—and there’s no shortage of stops along the way. Start your trip at the all-new Bellwether Beach Resort, a retro-Florida meets modern-chic retreat. Don’t miss its Spinners Rooftop Grill, perched high above St. Pete Beach and featuring locally and sustainably sourced seafood. Before venturing outside St. Pete’s borders, add a dip in the crystalline waters of the Gulf of Mexico or enjoy a morning walking through one of the city’s craft markets to sample local produce and artisan goods. En route to Vero Beach, add in a stop to Lakeland, a quaint town whose Florida Southern College campus boasts the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. Enjoy a led or self-guided tour of this National Historic Landmark seven days a week. Further east, spend the afternoon mining your own calcite crystals at the Fort Drum Crystal Mine, nestled just outside Lake Okeechobee. When you land at Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa, unwind with one of the resort’s nightly happy hours or a treatment at the C|SPA. The resort also offers rooms—and a pool—with a view. Partake in an afternoon of personalized beachside service during your stay.