15 Cities in 15 Days

From California to Nashville and back in two weeks

After months of being quarantined in one city, we’re all itching to get out and explore. But when we’re allowed to travel again, where will we go? If you’ve spent months dreaming of all the spots you’d visit when it was all over, it likely feels impossible to decide where to go first. So, instead of picking one locale to welcome the end of quarantine, why not visit them all? Plus, did you know roadtrips are expected to be the next big travel trend? Our biggest tip is to keep an eye on what each state has opened and call ahead to businesses you want to visit.

The hardest part of taking a road trip is the planning. Lucky for you, the route below has not only been planned—complete with departure and drive times—It’s also been tested by me. So, take advantage of my hard work and set off on this curated road trip across 15 cities in just 15 days. Buckle up—it’s about to be the adventure of a lifetime!


Twin Falls, ID.

The land of waterfalls

Drive Time: 9 hours

Arrival Time: 4 PM (one hour time difference)

Departure Time: 9 AM

Get an early start on the road to make the most of city number one. Instead of heading to the obvious Boise (which is a little out of the way for this route) stop off in Twin Falls, ID, known for being home to 19 county waterfalls. The local KOA has a cozy campsite to call home for the night, but only after you’ve hit a couple of sites. Here, it’s about nature, and small-town charm. Drive down to Shoshone Falls approximately three miles outside of town. The views here are stunning, with falls higher than Niagara, and it’s fun to marvel at the surrounding homes.

If you’re up for a little exploring you can also find the backside of a waterfall. Above Dierkes Lake, there is a one-way road that dead ends next to a waterfall. Either find the trail out of Dierkes Park or hop the divider and climb down a few rocks for a shortcut. Where to eat: Scooter’s for beer, bar food, and tips from the locals about where to go next.


Yellowstone National Park

Drive Time: 4 Hours

Arrival Time: 1 PM

Departure Time: 9 AM

This park is huge. Luckily, you can drive your car around it. You’ll want to keep your eyes on the scenery as you ride into the national park (and make sure you book your campsite plenty in advance). While here, do the obvious. Our best recommendation is watching Old Faithful erupt. There’s a viewing area in front of the geyser that erupts about every 45 minutes so if you’re up for hanging out a while, a viewing is all but guaranteed.

After the anticipated eruption, grab some grub at the onsite cafeteria, along with a local brew, before heading out to set up camp. It can get chilly in the forest even in the summer months so plan accordingly. One of the highlights of Yellowstone is enjoying a campfire In this mystical place. Other recommendations: Take a hike—there’s so many to choose from we’ll let you pick your own—and lookout for wildlife. The bison here roam around like they aren’t afraid of people and every field is filled with deer, rabbits, and other animals.


Keystone, SD

The home of that famous presidential monument

Drive Time: 7.5-8.5 hours

Arrival Time: 5 PM

Departure Time: 10 AM

If you’ve spent the past two days camping, you’ll be looking forward to a hot shower, especially after the longest drive of the trip—all the way through Wyoming. There are two routes out, one that takes you up through Montana and another that cuts across the state. We opted for a slightly longer trip to see Montana and grab lunch in Billings.

Dependent on the date, Mt. Rushmore offers a nighty lighting ceremony at 8 or 9 PM, and it’s a great time to see the monument. If you’re looking for something else to do, stop by Bear Country USA to see the bears, including cubs. Expert Tip: You can also stay in adjacent Rapid City.


Sioux Falls, SD

Drive Time: 4.5 hours

Arrival Time: 3:30 PM (one hour time difference)

Departure Time: 11 AM

When in Sioux Falls, there is no reason to pass up a hotel with a waterpark inside. There are plenty to choose from (we stayed at the Ramada) and they tend to stay open late. Enjoy the quaint downtown and a little civilization. Stogeez is a cigar bar known for its martinis where men in suits smoke indoors. Through a glass door Bin 201 features craft cocktails and wine. Looking for cocktails only? Bartenders at Pave serve drinks made with homemade bitters and syrups. Before you leave, explore Falls Park for short hikes and more waterfalls.


Minneapolis, MN

Drive Time: 4.5 hours

Arrival Time: 3:30 PM

Departure Time: Noon

This city has a straight-forward itinerary for first-time visitors. Mall of America for rollercoasters and shopping, pre-game drinks and grub at Cowboy Jack’s where everyone gathers before a home game, and tickets to a Minnesota Twins game where the ambiance is made by the skyline in the background. If you’re up for it, explore the downtown nightlife after the game.


Chicago

Drive Time: 6.25 hours

Arrival Time: 6:30ish PM

Departure Time: 4 PM

If you ask us, you’ve earned a day to sleep in and a little time to explore the rest of Minneapolis before you leave town. We recommend breakfast at Al’s Diner before you leave. Then, hit the road. You’ll get into Chicago with enough time to grab dinner and drinks at any one of the city’s rooftop restaurants and bars. Then, spend the next day exploring. The can’t miss spots are Willis Tower and the Skydeck, shopping on Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, photos in front of the infamous Bean, and the Chicago Sports Museum. Where to stay: Hilton Garden Inn Chicago Downtown. What to eat: deep dish pizza at Giordano’s or Lou Malnati’s.


Louisville, KY

Drive Time: 4.5  hours

Arrival Time: 9:30 PM (one hour time difference)

Departure Time: 4 PM

Step one: learn how to pronounce Louisville. Then, explore the nightlife if you’re up for it. Drink a whiskey sour at The Porch and grab pizza at Spinelli’s Pizza, an underground hotspot that plays old-school rap music or hardcore punk while you wait. Or, opt for a good night’s rest because the next day is about to be packed. Start your morning by paddle boarding the Ohio River, learn about baseball and take home a custom bat at the Louisville Slugger Museum, zipline through the Louisville Mega Cavern (the world’s only completely underground ziplining adventure) and visit Churchill Downs. Expert Tip: Plan to be in Louisville on a Churchill Downs After Dark Night where horse betting goes until midnight. What to drink: Don’t leave town without drinking a mint julep.


Nashville, TN

Drive Time: 2.5 hours

Arrival Time: 5:30 PM (gain one hour)

Departure Time: Noon

Thanks to some creative planning, you’ll be able to enjoy two nights in this town while still hitting 15 cities. Some of the most fun here was provided by the unscheduled time so prepare to spend your nights out on Broadway, listening to live music as you tour rooftop bars brought to you by America’s biggest country artists. Then, dive into music history by touring the Grand Ole Opry and the Music Hall of Fame. A Nashville Pass provides a cost-effective way to see the sites. Then, drive out of town a little ways to enjoy the wine at Arrington Vineyards, Brooks & Dunn’s winery outside of Nashville. Plan Ahead: Get tickets to a concert here, preferably at The Grand Ole Opry, and leave time to tour the city’s famous murals for a solid photo op. What to eat: Hattie B’s and GooGoos.


St. Louis, MI

Drive Time: 4.5 hours

Arrival Time: 4:30 PM

Departure Time: Noon

Land in St. Louis with time to check in and get ready before a night game at the ballpark. Busch stadium is a favorite and we nominate it for our second baseball game of the trip in large part because of its cool skyline (see a trend?) Or, watch the game from Three Sixty, an indoor/outdoor rooftop bar across the street offering 360 views of the St. Louis Arch and Busch Stadium. Here, the locals will tell you all about the food that makes them famous. Stop for ooey-gooey butter cake and coffee before heading to the Arch in the morning, and make sure dinner includes a side of toasted ravioli. If you have time: schedule a tour into the top of the arch, and of course don’t forget to snap photos outside.


Salinas, KS

Drive Time: 6.25 hours

Arrival Time: 6:30ish PM (later if you take the detour)

Departure Time: 8 AM

We chose this spot because it was a good way to break up the long drive across Kansas. Forego the campsite and grab a cabin at the Salinas KOA to get a good night’s rest!


Denver, CO

Drive Time: 6.25 hours

Arrival Time: 1:30 PM (gain one hour)

Departure Time: 6 PM

You’ll want to get into Denver early enough to really enjoy the city. Here is our third and final recommendation for a ballpark along this route if a home game is scheduled at Coors Field. When you get into town, walk the 16th street mall and visit Union Station. Here, you can sip cocktails and then chow down on ice cream, and you can even book a room inside the station. At night, hit up Williams & Graham, a speakeasy hidden behind a bookcase. If there’s a wait, the bar next door will host you in the interim. Day two, have breakfast at the ever-popular Snooze (inside Union Station) before heading to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg.


Laramie, WY

Drive Time: 2 hours

Arrival Time: 8 PM (later if you take the detour)

Departure Time: 5 AM

This is another one of those stops we chose just to break up the drive. Get in before dark because the road between Fort Collins and here isn’t a fun one after dark.


Salt Lake City

Drive Time: 6 hours

Arrival Time: 11 AM

Departure Time: 10 AM

Next to Salt Lake City is Park City, home of the 2002 Olympics and the Utah Olympic Park still stands. Pay for a day pass and enjoy activities such as ziplining and ropes courses. Then, walk through the museum to learn more about Utah’s role in Olympic history. At night, we recommend a visit to Wiseguys Comedy where the Mormon community is quite often the butt of the jokes. What to eat: charcuterie at Caffé Molise. If you have time: go beer tasting and learn all the weird alcohol laws in the state. Uinta and Epic are both good spots to stop.


Reno, NV

Drive Time: 7.5 hours

Arrival Time: 4:30 PM (gain one hour)

Departure Time: 10 AM

This is your last night of the trip—you’ve almost home. Take it easy and indulge in a delectable meal at one of Reno’s best restaurants. Stop into the Grand Sierra Resort and dine at Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse, or embrace your boujie-est self with a dinner at Roundabout Grill inside of the Whitney Peak Hotel. If you’re looking to soak up a little culture before you leave, and the places are open again, check the calendar at the Pioneer Performing Arts Center and see a show, or choose a concert at any of the local casinos. Just a quick three hour drive the next morning and you’re home!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*