From TRIPinfo.com's Quarterly Digital Magazine - More
Proving the adage "Getting there is half the fun," TRIPinfo.com looks at 33 means of transportation that are as fascinating as they are nationally significant. From scenic highways and historic bridges to speedy trains and busy airports, each of the following thumbnails offers more entertainment than you might expect.
Some of our entries are attractions within themselves. For these, visitors may plan a day or overnight trip in anticipation of their stunning views from engineering marvels, amazing landscapes or historic sites. They will amuse with thrill rides high above rivers and gorges or easily accessible nature trails to waterfalls and overlooks.
Other entries last 2 hours or less. They are a cost-efficient means of getting from place to place quickly in must-see destinations. Travelers see many sites during their passage; they often hear about the area and have jump-on, jump-off privileges.
Airports across the country are undergoing revitalization to modernize and keep up with increasing demand. While not typically on the list of best places to spend time, airports and airlines are adding airport amenities to improve the passenger experience. Trains, aka "a cruise on land," are celebrating their increased ridership and acceptance as a means of touring as well as a mode of transportation.
Wait! There's More
Be sure to click on each of the entries and go to the website that will provide more information for help in planning your group's trip. Also, check out TRIPinfo.com >> Tips >> Transportation as well as TRIPinfo.com's weekly eNewsletter for regular editorial additions to these great ways of getting there.
What's Inside This Issue?
Each entry includes the following information:
Mode of Transportation
Address or Beginning & End Points
We hope you will hear your group saying, "Wow! Getting here WAS half the fun!"
Have a great TRIP!
327 W. Ship Creek Avenue
Anchorage, AK 99510
Annual Passengers: 475,034 Photo Credit: Mike Criss
The Alaska Railroad provides passenger service and sight-seeing opportunities along 482 miles of track from Fairbanks to Seward. Each of the 5 train routes offers views of picturesque landscapes; the train may occasionally slow down to give riders the chance for a great photo op. Although the railroad operates year-round, scheduled services varies seasonally. The summer season runs from mid-May to mid-September.
Lake Havasu City Visitors Center
422 English Village
Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
London Bridge spanned the River Thames in London, England from the time it was completed in 1831 until it was sold to Lake Havasu City founder Robert P. McCulloch in 1968. It was carefully dismantled and reconstructed over the Bridgewater Channel connecting Lake Havasu City to an island in the Colorado River. Walking tours of the bridge - now one of Arizona's top attractions - are available.
West Memphis CVB
231 East Broadway
West Memphis, AR 72301
Automobiles drove across the Mississippi River instead of taking a ferry for the first time when the Harahan Bridge was completed, a milestone in transportation history. In 2016, the bridge reached another milestone. It became the longest public pedestrian bridge across the Mississippi and longest active rail, bicycle, pedestrian bridge in the nation - perfect for capturing pictures of the river and cities on either side.
385 E. Swinford Street, 2nd Floor
San Pedro, CA 90731
Transition from the busy mainland to a relaxing getaway on Catalina Island - California's only island resort just 22 miles off Southern California's coast - on board the Catalina Express. A fleet of 8 high-speed ferries operates ~30 daily departures, leaving from Long Beach, Dana Point or San Pedro and arriving in Avalon or Two Harbors in an hour. The largest ferry, the Catalina Jet, accommodates almost 500 passengers.
Travel through one of the top wine growing regions, past iconic wineries, aboard the Wine Train. The antique train makes the 36-mile round trip from Napa to St. Helena on tracks built in 1864. Tour options include a 3-hour, round trip rail tour featuring a gourmet meal and onboard wine tastings; a 1.5-hour rail tour with a multi-course meal, winery tour and shuttle to train station or a 6-hour rail tour, 3 winery tours, tastings plus gourmet dining.
Photo Courtesy of John Bahu.
California State Route 1
AKA Pacific Coast Highway
South end: I-5 near Dana Point, CA
North end: U.S. Route 101 near Leggett, CA
Established: 1919 Photo by Jake Faulstich
The 655.8-mile road is designated as an All-American Road; sections near Big Sur and San Luis Obispo are labeled National Scenic Byways. Alternating between being an urban freeway and a 2-lane historic road, SR 1 travels along the coastline, even through redwood forests, over the Bixby Creek Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge and provides access to beaches, parks and attractions.
The 6th busiest airport in the nation and 18th busiest in the world served 58,266,515 passengers in 2016 and should break that record when 2017 statistics are released. Covering 33,457 acres, the airport is the country's largest by total landmass; it also has the country's longest runway at 16,000 feet. The Westin Denver International Airport, near the main Terminal, opened its 519 hotel rooms in 2015.
Royal Gorge Bridge
4218 County Road 3A
Canon City, CO 81212
On the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the bridge was the highest bridge in the world when it was built. It remains the highest bridge in the United States, rising 956 feet above the Arkansas River across the Royal Gorge. Today, the bridge is one of Colorado Spring's top attractions. The bridge and park are open daily 7am - dusk; visitors center and attractions open at 10am, weather permitting.
The Auto Train is one of Amtrak's routes that provides non-stop service between the Washington, DC area and Sanford, FL, just outside of Orlando, for passengers and their cars (or SUV, van, motorcycle, small boat, jet ski). Vehicles ride in enclosed auto carriers while passengers spend the 17-hour trip reading, enjoying free wi-fi, dining or sleeping.
The privately owned and operated high-speed rail train connects Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in just 30 minutes, while operating at speeds between 79 and 125 mph. Service to Miami is coming soon, and future service to Orlando is planned. New, modern train stations are located in convenient downtown areas with easy access to museums, attractions, entertainment and existing transit options.
For the last 19 years, Hartsfield-Jackson has been the world's busiest airport welcoming 104,171,935 passengers in 2016 and becoming the first and only airport to serve more than 100 million passengers in a single year. Passengers can fly nonstop to 150+ U.S. and 70 international destinations. Currently, the airport is renovating the domestic terminal and concourses and adding new parking decks, runway, concourse and a 440-room InterContinental hotel.
244 City Circle
Peachtree City, GA 30269
Get ready for a different means of transportation on Peachtree City's 90+ miles of multi-use paths. Here, golf carts are king and life slows down to a relaxing 15 miles an hour! The paths connect almost any destination within the city limits including shopping and dining spots, attractions, lakes, golf courses, activities and parks - all surrounded by beautiful scenery.
Located east of Alpine Helen, Stovall Mill Covered Bridge crosses Chicamauga Creek in the historic community of Sautee Nacoochee. The bridge is White County's only remaining covered bridge. The king post-designed, 33-foot long wooden bridge is Georgia's shortest clear span covered bridge. It was featured in Rory Calhoun and Susan Hayworth's 1951 movie, "I'd Climb the Highest Mountain."
Less than an hour south of Atlanta, one of Georgia's scenic byways intersects I-75 at Exit 186. Exiting west leads to Forsyth, passing the historic Tift College, train depots, Rose Theatre, the Forsyth Square and Monroe County's 1896 red-brick Victorian courthouse as well as tree-line streets and antebellum homes. Venturing east on the scenic Juliette Road leads to the world-famous Whistle Stop Cafe from the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes.
Kahului side: Highway 36
Hana side: Highway 360
One of Maui's top attractions, the "Road to Hana" is a scenic 64.4-mile highway skirting eastern Maui connecting Kahului to Hana. Navigating the winding 2-lane road through tropical rainforests, 620 hairpin curves and 59 bridges - many are 1-lane - on the edge of sheer cliffs is a rewarding challenge. A one-way trip takes ~2.5 hours, but it can take longer due to stops at scenic turnouts to see waterfalls or sample local fare at roadside stands.
Chicago Water Taxi
400 North Michigan - 100-Concourse
Chicago, IL 60611
The Chicago Water Taxi operates a closed loop route on all branches of the Chicago River each day from March to December for commuters and sightseers. Tourists find riding the water taxi is a cost-effective means of seeing Chicago's architectural sites and visiting attractions. The all-day pass with its hop-on, hop-off feature may be appropriate when planning a lot of sightseeing in one day.
Having served 77,960,588 passengers in 2016, O'Hare is the 3rd busiest in the U.S. and 6th busiest airport in the world. The airport is improving the passenger experience by offering new services and amenities: restaurants serving popular local cuisine and other favorites, a yoga room, Kids on the Fly play area, Mother's Room, Airport Art, the Urban Garden, the first aeroponic garden at any airport, and an on-site 860-room Hilton Chicago O'Hare.
Spanning 24 miles over Lake Pontchartrain, the Causeway is the longest continuous bridge over water in the world. Some motorists believe the Causeway is a thrill ride when land disappears for about 8 miles during the middle of the trip. An engineering marvel, the two parallel bridges with dedicated southbound and northbound traffic are about 80 feet apart and connected by 7 crossovers which function as pull over areas.
The 444-mile scenic road winds from Natchez, Mississippi through Alabama and onto Nashville, Tennessee passing through 19 communities in the 3 states. Each community offers recreational activities, attractions, history, lodging and restaurants. Established as part of the National Park Service in 1938, the historic route is a National Scenic Byway, All-American Road and has been named one of America's 10 best biking roads.
Linn Cove Viaduct
Blue Ridge Parkway
Near Boone, NC
Established: 1987 Photo credit: Hugh Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Fifty-two years after construction of the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway began, the last 10.5-mile section that includes the Linn Cove Viaduct was completed in the Boone Area at Milepost 304. At an elevation of 4,100 feet, this engineering feat preserved the beauty of Grandfather Mountain and provided unobstructed views of its surroundings. An instant icon, the Viaduct is still the most photographed section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Outer Banks Scenic Byway
Begins: Intersection of US 70 and Merrimon Road
Ends: Intersection of NC12 and US 64 in Nags Head
The Byway traverses 138 driving miles and 25 ferry-riding miles along North Carolina's barrier islands, predominately following NC 12. The route runs through two national wildlife refuges and two national seashores while passing fascinating attractions and iconic lighthouses. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is the nation's tallest brick lighthouse, and the Ocracoke (1823) is the nation's 2nd tallest and oldest operating lighthouse.
Soaring ~900 feet over the Colorado River, above the Hoover Dam, is the O'Callaghan-Tillman Bridge, the second highest bridge in the U.S. and the highest concrete-arch bridge in the world. The bridge is 1,900 feet long, making it the longest single-arch bridge in North America. Visitors who want to see the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the river from the bridge may park in a lot off the old U.S. 93 and take a path to a dedicated pedestrian lane. The bridge honors Nevada and Arizona native sons.
Covering 4,930 acres, JFK is the busiest international air passenger gateway in North America and the busiest airport in the New York City area. It ranked as the 5th busiest in the U.S. and 16th busiest in the world having served 58,873,386 in 2016. The light-rail service AirTrain provides convenient service to the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and the New York City subway system. The former TWA terminal will become a 505-room on-airport hotel, scheduled to open in 2019.
Historic Route 66
Start: Chicago, IL
End: Los Angeles, CA
Established: 1926 Photo taken in Tulsa, OK. Credit: Route 66
The iconic 2,448-mile road is also known as "The Mother Road," "Will Rogers Highway" and the "Main Street of America." One of the nation's original highways in the U.S. Highway System, the road runs through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Although the road was removed from the highway system in 1985, it is designated as a National Scenic Byway and features numerous cultural and historic sites.
Find out about Aiken and its fascinating past during a 2-hour trolley ride - a throwback to the Aiken-Augusta trolley that ran during the early 1900s. Hear stories about the historic homes and churches, famous equestrian sites, the Civil War's Battle of Aiken, the live oak canopy on South Boundary and the Winter Colony residents. Guided tours of Hopelands Gardens and the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame & Museum are included.
Edisto Island National Scenic Byway
Northern End: McKinley Washington Bridge
Southern End: Edisto Beach State Park
Established: 1960s Photo credit: Vanessa Kauffman
Located in the South Carolina Lowcounty, the 17-mile journey on Highway 174 starts as the bridge crosses the Intracoastal Waterway, then winds through and over marshes, creeks and rivers and ends at the Atlantic Ocean. Travelers have the opportunity to drive under a live oak canopy while seeing wildlife and bird habitats, Civil War artifacts, Gullah cultural sites, historic churches, museums and serene sunsets.
Myrtle Beach International Airport is the gateway the Grand Strand with nonstop flights from over 35 cities. Airlines serving the airport include Allegiant, American, Delta, Elite, Porter, Spirit Sun Country, United and WestJet. The airport is the third busiest airport in South Carolina, behind Charleston and Greenville-Spartanburg, serving 2,277,044 total passengers in 2017.
Authorized for construction in 1692, the road is probably the oldest road in South Carolina still in use. Since cutting down shade trees along the road was prohibited, it is likely some of the trees that form the road's canopy are from this period or earlier. Points of interest along the 11-mile, 2-lane stretch include Middleton Place, Drayton Hall, St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Magnolia Plantation, Fort Dorchester State Park, golf and equestrian facilities.
Wilma Rudolph Boulevard
Starting Point: I-24, Exit 4 Interchange
Ending Point: Downtown at the Red River
Clarksville, TN 37040
Diagnosed with polio at age 4, Clarksvillian Wilma Rudolph was told by doctors she would never walk again. Her mother said otherwise, and she chose to believe her mother. At 16, Wilma earned a bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics, followed by three golds at the 1960 Games, where she was deemed the "fastest woman alive." Clarksville celebrates her legacy with designating 5 miles of TN Hwy 79 as Wilma Rudolph Blvd., the Wilma Rudolph Event Center and a life-sized bronze statue.
Located between the cities of Dallas and Forth Worth, DFW is the busiest airport in Texas, serving a record 65,670,697 in 2016, the 4th busiest airport in the U.S. and the 11th busiest in the world. The airport covers 17,207 acres, making it the 2nd largest airport in the U.S. behind Denver. Named the best large airport in North America for passenger satisfaction by the ACI, amenities include a walking path, yoga center, pet areas, 4 on-airport hotels and a golf course.
The ferry line connects the tip of Door County's peninsula, located in the northeast corner of Wisconsin, to the 35-square mile Washington Island, the largest of Door County's 30 islands. The ferry transports vehicles and passengers on a scenic 30-minute ride; it makes 25 round trips during high season and 2 round trips per day in winter. Washington Island is a great spot to getaway, relax, explore history and nature and enjoy family-friendly activities.
New River Train
935 7th Avenue
Huntington, WV 25708
During October's peak leaf season, New River Train excursions travel from Huntington, WV to Hinton, WV through the New River Gorge and along the New River in southern West Virginia. During this day trip, passengers see landmarks - downtown Charleston, Kanawha Falls, Hawks New Dam, the New River Gorge Bridge and Stretcher Neck Tunnel - and enjoy the Railroad Days Festival in Hinton.
Washington Heritage Trail
East end: WV 51 in Harpers Ferry
West end: WV 9 in PawPaw, US 522 in Berkeley Springs
The 136-mile Washington Heritage Trail winds through Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. This National Scenic Byway is named for George Washington who surveyed the area and where his family had strong ties. Here, travelers explore the natural and cultural history of 18th century towns, 19th century industrial sites, Washington family homes, springs, rivers and mountain ranges.
Reprinted from TRIPinfo.com's Quarterly Digital Magazine.
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