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Planning the perfect road trip: Part 1

There’s something so authentically American about hopping the car and driving hundreds or even thousands of miles, taking in the amber waves of grain and purple mountains majesty along the way.

But a road trip is more than a destination and the road between there and home. A truly great road trip is about the journey.

First step in planning a road trip:

Decide which type of road trip you want to take. Are you trying to get to one spot and back, or are you trying to find multiple fun things to do along the way?

Aberdeen is a great stop for either kind of road trip. Come spend a weekend in the Hub City or make it a stop on the way to the Black Hills or the Twin Cities, depending on where you’re coming from.

Step two: pick a destination

While a road trip is so much more than the final destination, you need that spot where you say, “This is it, we’re going to take in what we can from this location and then we’re heading home.”

twist cone

Step three: plot your course

You want to have some flexibility, but at least figure out where you’re going to stay each night and make reservations, whether it’s a campground or a hotel — Aberdeen has great accommodations either way.

There’s nothing more stressful than getting to a location and finding out all hotel rooms in your price range are sold out or the campground is full.

Try to keep driving to 8 to 10 hours a day, at max. It can be tempting to get all the driving out of the way, but road fatigue is real and not everyone in the vehicle enjoys being in a metal box for a long time.

Step four: find fun thing along the way

Break up driving with fun stops.

If you’re heading into Aberdeen from the east, Purple Cow in Waubay is a great place to stretch your legs and get a frosty treat with only an hour left of driving to go.

Coming from the west? Stop in Faulkton and see the AMAZING mural painted on the Agtegra grain elevator.

Heading down from eastern North Dakota or northwestern Minnesota? It’s worth pulling off of Interstate 29 and visiting the Chahinkapa Zoo in Wahpeton, N.D.

If you’re coming from the south, the Redlin Art Center in Watertown is an amazing stop.

buffalo at the zoo

Step five: snacks

There isn’t anything more important to a successful road trip than snacks. Packing a mix of crackers, granola bars, fruits, veggies, string cheese and a little bit of candy, along with favorite beverages, ensures not only good nutrition on the road, it also reduces the time spend on bathroom breaks. There’s no standing for minutes deciding what to buy at the convenience store because there’s food in the car so get back in there.

Snack supplies can be replenished as needed at local grocery stores.

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