Road Trips Endure as Rite of Passage for Teenagers

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Road Trips Endure as Rite of Passage for Teenagers

Natalie Luongo

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The road trip is the quintessential summer vacation, and in American culture it’s almost like a rite of passage. Driving for hours, cramped in a small space with several other people, is a true test of the qualities adulthood require: patience, maturity and resourcefulness. The independence that teenagers show when solving the issues they may encounter on the road will predict their success as they take on more autonomy in the future.

New England
What: A trip off the beaten path to some of the smaller but more interesting cities in the U.S.

Why: Although Northern cities are often neglected in favor of the busier locales of Boston and New York, they offer a break from summer crowds and some beautiful shots for Instagram.

How: Drive north to Portsmouth, one of New Hampshire’s hidden gems. Its variety of independent bookstores, small cafés and serene waterfront are a relaxing beginning to the trip. Next, drive into Vermont, home to Bernie Sanders, Bolton Valley and most importantly, Ben & Jerry’s. The factory is half an hour away from Burlington and 15 minutes from Stowe, which offers challenging hikes. In Burlington, stop by the farmer’s market or Church Street Marketplace, an open-air shopping and restaurant plaza. After Burlington, either return home through upstate New York or continue north into Canada. Across the border, Montréal offers a similarly alternative experience; enjoy Saint-Paul Street’s galleries and boutiques, the fashionable Mile End neighborhood, farmers markets like Atwater Market and gorgeous views from Mont Royal.

New York
What: A trip to one of the best cities in the U.S. for food, culture and sightseeing.

Why: If you love the noise and variety that cities offer but have done everything there is to do in Boston, New York City is the perfect destination.

How: There is a variety of ways to get to New York without driving into the city: a possible route includes a drive south to Providence, stopping at one of its charming restaurants, like Sura. Then, drive west to Newport; its shoreline is a great diversion from the road. In nearby New London either take the train into Manhattan or the ferry to Long Island.
Once in New York, one of the biggest perks is the variety of shopping, from department stores to small independent boutiques. The city boasts well-kept outdoor spaces like the High Line as well as some of the best and most noteworthy food in the U.S. Indulgent shakes at Black Tap, Nugget Spot (specializing in chicken nuggets) and Momofuku (creator of cereal milk, compost cookies and crack pie) have fans lining up around the corner.

East Coast
What: A trip down the East Coast to visit some of the South’s warm, crowded beaches.

Why: If you’ve already been to every beach in New England, branch out to the southern East Coast for its less family-centric beaches.

How: On the drive south from Massachusetts, hit some of southern New England’s beaches like Horseneck or Narragansett. Skirt around New York to avoid traffic, but drive down the coast of New Jersey to enjoy a few of its stops: Long Beach Island and Atlantic City are on the way, and although they are not as pristine as other beaches they offer lively culture. Nearby Myrtle Beach is the final destination; its boardwalk, expansive beaches, restaurants, and golf courses offer something for every kind of traveller.