At the beginning of 2021, my partner Ryan and I took a cross-country road trip from North Carolina to California. This is the second time I've done a cross-country road trip and the first time included super long driving days and was rushed across the country. So this time we took our time and didn't drive more than 6 hours/day, stopping for a night or two in cities we wanted to explore!
We started our trip in Charlotte, NC by watching the Bucs win the super bowl! We both grew up in Tampa and Ryan has been a Bucs fan his entire life so this was a great start to the trip!
From Charlotte we drove to Asheville and spent some time exploring, downtown is super walkable and there's a cool arts district by the river. Absolutely love the city + all the unique breweries, our favorite was Wicked Weed Brewing.
We made a day trip to Cataloochee Ski Area in the smoky mountains, I was definitely more scared of the icy, winding mountains roads than I was of the black diamonds.
While driving through the smoky mountains, I made Ryan stop at a bunch of lookouts because every view was absolutely breathtaking. At one of these lookouts, we witnessed a surprise proposal so, of course, I took out my camera to capture the moment for them!
We did a hike at Cummins Falls State Park and the waterfall views were amazing!
We drove through the crazy winter storm in Texas and had a snowball fight in Old Town, Albuquerque before making it out to the Grand Canyon. I've hiked the Grand Canyon during a hot summer, but this time there was snow and ice on the trails, which made the trek a little nerve-wracking but the views even more gorgeous.
Our next notable stop was Joshua Tree National Park, and the warm(ish) desert was so welcome after many days of snow!
If you've never done a road trip across the country, down the coast or even a few states I highly recommend just getting out there to explore!