Miles of Smiles: Road Trips to Remember

Week four of AAA's Summer Travel Series

Phoenix. May 29, 2013. There’s nothing like taking a trip along the open road, and summer is a great time to do it. For the fourth and final week of its Summer Travel Series, AAA travel pros are featuring road trips for families, adventurers and foodies.

Because of its flexibility and economy, road trips remain one of the most popular ways to travel. In fact, the majority – nearly nine in 10 – of the almost 701,000 Arizonans who traveled over Memorial Day weekend, did so by car.

“With airfare on the rise and gas prices below year ago levels, road trips make a whole lot of sense this summer,” said Amy Moreno, director of travel for AAA Arizona. “From brainstorming trip ideas to finding savings at your destinations, AAA can assist travelers with a variety of road trip travel resources as a full-service travel agency.”

AAA Travel experts would like to offer three prime road trips to take from Arizona:

  • Family fun.
    • Besides sandy beaches, fantastic shopping and delectable restaurants, the San Diego area is about a 400-mile drive from Tucson or 350-mile drive from Phoenix. Disneyland, the San Diego Zoo and Sea World San Diego are among just some of the many family-friendly attractions that are sure to impress kids of all ages. Many of them offer AAA discounts, including Disneyland, San Diego Zoo and Sea World San Diego.
  • Adventures in food and wine.
    • Grownups might like venturing into central California to see the sights. Start in Santa Barbara, which is about 470 miles from Phoenix and 590 from Tucson, and drive along the California coastline. The road trip yields beautiful scenery, and countless spots along the coast feature fabulous food and an abundance of wineries in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles where people can tour and taste.
  • Nature buffs.
    • At about 700 miles from Phoenix and 800 from Tucson, the Denver area isn’t just a hop, skip or a jump away. With average summer temperatures in the mid-60s, it’s a beautiful place to escape from Arizona’s summer heat while communing with nature. The snow lovers are gone, but activities such as hiking, cycling, horseback riding and whitewater rafting abound.
  • Choose your own adventure. 
    • For those who like to plan everything themselves, consider AAA DriveTrips®. Each free, pre-planned itinerary features an overview map of the route; estimated driving time; mileage count and a detailed narrative. An accompanying link to the online TourBook® shows AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings and allows travelers to book accommodations. It also offers information on cities, attractions and events. For example, The Turquoise Trail and Beyond takes you through New Mexico, hitting Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos.

While on a road trip, AAA Travel suggests three things to do to make your road trip go smoother:

  • Bring a paper map: Plenty of patches of open road may yield “no service” on your Smartphone. Be sure to bring along a paper map or a printout for directions, just in case.
  • Load up the apps: There are many apps can help on road trips. For example, AAA Mobile shows gas stations, restaurants and grocery stores at upcoming exits on the interstate. Members also can download apps for AAA discounts and AAA’s legendary roadside assistance.
  • Set expectations: When traveling with a group, talk ahead of time about what each person wants to do and see. Be flexible - someone else’s idea might end up being a highlight of the trip.

AAA is the largest leisure travel agency in the United States. For more information on AAA Travel, visit

Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.