If you're looking to plan a late-summer road trip, there are dozens of ways to do it. You could take the tried-and-true route, using a service like Google Maps. Or you could download one of the many, many navigation apps available for Android, Apple, and other mobile devices.
But those services only tell you how to drive from Point A to Point B -- which, as true road-trippers know, isn't really the point. On the best road trips, getting there is half the fun.
Enter RoadTrippers, a web-based resource for the adventurous traveler.
How it works
RoadTrippers is free, and it's simple to use: just visit the website, click the "Plan Trip" icon on the left-hand side, and punch in your starting point and your destination. At the top of the page, you'll see the length of your trip in miles, your expected travel time, and how much you should plan to spend on gas.
Need to make a detour along the way to see your Aunt Nettie? No problem. Just add a waypoint. In fact, you can add as many as you like. RoadTrippers will factor them into your travel plans.
Great so far, right? But to make things truly interesting, click the "Find Places" icon. RoadTrippers will show you hotels, campsites, abandoned amusement parks, museums, malls, and unusual roadside attractions. By using the slider at the top of the column, you can tell the site how far off the beaten path you're willing to go -- 10 miles, 50 miles, or somewhere in-between.
And if you're feeling exceptionally adventurous, go back to the "Plan Trip" icon, and unclick the "Use Highways" box (which is checked by default). RoadTrippers will recalculate your trip using backroads and scenic byways.
Once you're happy with your route, you can save it to your free RoadTrippers account by giving it a name. You can also share it with friends, and of course, you can get a print-out of your directions. (Sadly, there doesn't seem to be a way to send those directions to your email or another nav program, like Google Maps -- at least not yet.)
One last nifty feature: if you see an attraction you like but don't have time to reach on your trip, click the pin and click "Save". That'll put it on a bucket list, which you can visit later under the "My Stuff" tab.
Know of an attraction or scenic view that ought to be on RoadTrippers' list? At the bottom of the "Find Places" tab, click the "Suggest a place" link to share your own favorites.
Eager travelers: give RoadTrippers.com a spin and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.