Cover photo cred - Pavel Muller
There's nothing like getting into a car stuffed with snacks, good friends, great mixtapes (yes, you should still be making mixtapes because they're awesome), a map or two and hitting the open road. A good road trip to a festival is always fun, but what if you just want to see some sights or check out a new city?
We've rounded up some great ideas for you and all you need is your car! Whether you want to get away for a day, a weekend or a week, take a look at our road trip suggestions, and, as always, feel free to add your own in the comments.
Check out our Montreal Made Songs To Road Trip To and turn your ordinary trip into an epic musical adventure.
Quebec City, QC
The Ride: A road trip to the province's capital may be short, but it is incredibly enjoyable. This one is more about the destination, than the ride, though the Eastern Quebec landscape is something to see!
Length: 3 hours.
- Check out the 4.6 km of stone walls that served as defense structures in the city's earlier days.
- Old Quebec is similar to our very own version, but history is much more alive in Old Quebec and it really creates a very rich, unique atmosphere.
- Think Niagara Falls are a big deal? Quebec City's Montmorency Falls are actually higher than Niagara Falls and a lot more impressive.
- If you can afford it, try to spend at least one night in the incredible Chateau Frontenac.
Saratoga Springs, NY
The Ride: Ok, we'll admit, the drive on the I-87 South doesn't offer you very much to look at. This is one of those road trips where you really need a good playlist and some awesome snacks. May we suggest a trip to Bulk Barn before you head out? Belting out old-school faves from the 1990s and 2000s usually helps our road trips fly by.
Length: 3 hours.
- Ladies, get out your most ridiculous hats, because we're going to the Saratoga Race Course. Bet on the horse with the funniest name, seriously, and watch him/her take first place (MTL Blog does not guarantee this. Please gamble responsibly)!
- Check out Broadway, which is pretty much the center of downtown Saratoga, for a ton of quirky boutiques, bars and salons. Great spot for fashion-lovers - Saratoga has everything from haute couture shops to small, locally-owned stores, giving you a wide variety of choices.
- The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) is the number one destination for music and dance lovers. Check out who's playing this summer and plan your road trip from now!
The Ride & Destination:
Length: Heading to Gaspé directly - 11 hours
This road trip is two-in-one - the ride is the destination and vice versa. As you travel, make sure to enjoy every little nook and cranny of the towns that you may stumble upon. If you were to drive straight to Gaspé, it would take about a day, but we're suggesting taking your time and stopping to visit other areas of Québec along the way.
- Here's the perfect, already set-up tour of the Gaspé Peninsula.
- Driving along the coast, through picturesque towns like Rimouski is perfection.
- Cliffside bed and breakfast inns overlooking the water provide ideal stops along the way.
- Make sure you visit the famous Percé Rock before continuing on to Gaspé, which finds itself at the very tip of the Peninsula
Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine (USA)
The Ride: New England offers some of the best road trip scenery ever, with many options. You can create an itinerary that travels lakes and sandy beaches, or one that explores the rustic, quieter roads through forested hills and farmland.
Length: Technically, the whole trip is only about 15 hours of driving time, but there's so much to see in New England, it really would be best to take a few days and explore.
The Destination: You'll need to set aside at least a full week for this trip, if not more. There is so much to see and do in these states, that it's practically impossible to pick and choose. Here are our fave spots to visit.
- In Vermont, the town of Burlington, which many Montrealers are already familiar with, offers visitors a summer full of festivals and community-organized fun.
- Just south of Burlington, you'll find Shelburne and a place called The Teddy Bear Factory. That's right, a factory dedicated to teddy bears which you can tour and shop at.
- Better than teddy bears is the Ben & Jerry's Factory , also located in Vermont. Teddy bears and ice cream - this is the paradise that 6-year-old us always imagined.
- In New Hampshire, there is no sales tax. We know, now it's like the paradise that every Quebec resident has ever imagined. Han(g)over New Hampshire is a fun college town.
- In Maine, all that matters is that coastline. Give me ocean breezes and sand between my toes all dayy long.
The Ride: This one's a mini road trip - more of a day trip - but definitely worth it. The drive itself isn't anything special, since it's so short. But, when you get there, you'll be happy you came.
Length: 1.5 hours
- Lake Memphremagog: what we love about this lake though, is that there are rumors of a sea monster that lives within its depths - our very own Québécois Nessie!
- Check out the main area of Magog for your typical fun and quirky small-town shops and galleries.
- If you're especially "daring", take a boat cruise on the Lake-Which-Cannot-Be-Named and look for our little sea monster, her name is Memphre, or try to spot the various cottages of Canadian celebrities!
Cape Cod, MA
The Ride: We love hitting up all of the small towns and driving through winding roads on our way to the Cape. There are less cars on these back roads so it's just you, your friends, music blasting from your stereo and a summer breeze. If you have the time, plan to stop for a day or two in Boston before continuing south - you won't regret it.
Length: 6.5 hours
- Hit up the middle of the Cape for the best nightlife options - Hyannis, Dennis, Yarmouth - and definitely rent a house even if you're just there for 2-3 nights.
- Go to the local supermarket, stock up on the essentials and drinks, obviously, and you have a recipe for the perfect little vacation. Beach, alcohol, food, friends.. what more can you want or need?
- Number 1 place to visit in Cape Cod: Provincetown. It's located at the tip of the Cape, has a population of a couple of thousand and is a premiere vacation destination for gay men and women with a very bumping nightlife.
Niagara Falls, ON
The Ride: If you give yourself enough time, you can turn this road trip into an adventure exploring southern Ontario. You'll go right through Kingston, Toronto and Hamilton on your way to Niagara Falls and this would be a great opportunity to explore some of the sights and activities that these cities have to offer.
Length: 7 hours
- For all of our friends who love to get scared, make sure you check out the Nightmares Fear Factory. This is probably the scariest haunted house you'll ever find.
- If you're more of an animal-lover, actually even if you're not, you'll want to check out Marineland where you can swim with dolphins and learn all about whales. There's also a whole amusement park, with roller coasters and tons of other rides.
- Don't leave without visiting the impressive Niagara Falls. You should definitely take a boat tour up to the Falls so you can really experience just how astonishing and awesome it is.
Seaside Heights, NJ
The Ride: Let's be honest, driving through the Garden State sucks - there are tolls everywhere. This is one of those road trips where you better be surrounded by really funny friends, or at least friends that know what kind of music you need on a road trip.
Length: 7 hours
- The great party vibe and fun atmosphere is still a foundation for life in Seaside, despite recent natural disasters.
- Fried everything, carnival rides, solid nightlife, and the constant rotation of tourists make this an awesome spot for 20-somethings.
- PS. Does the name sound familiar? Of course it does. Our dear friends Pauly, Vinny, Ronnie, Sammie, JWoww, Snooki and Mike partied there for quite a few summers.
St. John's, NL
The Ride: This is the ride to end all rides. Not only is your destination the beautiful, culturally diverse city of St. John's, Newfoundland, but you also get to explore New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and even Prince Edward Island, if you're down to take a detour. The best part about this trip is the 6-7 hour ferry ride from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland - SO worth it.
Length: 33 hours
- Important historic landmarks, such as Cabot Tower or Signal Hill, are scattered everywhere, particularly since this city was a defensive position and a port of entry back in the day.
- Exploring the trail along the Eastern coastline is a can't-miss - bring your bike for a nice relaxing afternoon, or just walk it!
- The night life in St. John's (on George Street) will surprise and entice you - there's always something going on, always a bar that's "happening" and the locals are always out, having a good time.
The Ride: If all else fails, drive to Toronto? We know, it doesn't really make sense to leave our great city for Toronto, of all places. But sometimes, you just gotta get out of town. The drive isn't anything special, unless you enjoy getting to know small towns in Ontario which, let's be honest, is sometimes more fun than the destination! Anyone want to go antiquing?
- We're not going to bore you with the typical Toronto landmarks.
- Check out Kensington Market for a laid-back, creative atmosphere - local artisans sell their wares on this busy, colourful street.
- Visit North America's largest drive-in movie theatre at Polson Pier where you can also work on your golf swing and ride some roller coasters. We want to go to there now.
- Of course, though definitely not on par with Montreal, Toronto does offer some interesting night life options and the Entertainment District is worth checking out.
- Finally understand why Torontonians prefer coming to Montreal on weekends (just slightly kidding, guys!).
Length: 6 hours