Summer vacation is coming up again! In the Netherlands, we still have to wait a few more weeks, but meanwhile, they already have a vacation in America. Due to the fact that students there have a whopping three months of summer vacation, it’s also a great time to go traveling!
In a previous article, we mentioned five fun tips to make the most of the summer. And Lotte, as a student athlete, took the fifth tip very seriously. She went on a trip through America after her year at Oakland University in Michigan. In today’s blog, you will read part 1 of Lotte’s road trip.
After my time studying in Michigan, my mother came to visit me. We stayed there for a few days so she could meet my friends and coaches and see the school. During the final game of the season, she was able to cheer me on, and after that, our journey began.
Chicago & Washington
With a rental car, we wanted to drive from Michigan to Florida to explore the eastern part of the country. Our first stop, after passing by Lake Michigan, was Chicago, where we stayed for a few days. I found Chicago to be the most enjoyable city we visited. Everything was easily accessible on foot, and it felt like a world-class city while still maintaining a cozy atmosphere. We went to a beautiful rooftop bar and, of course, tried Chicago’s specialty: the hotdog! As avid sports fans, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to attend a Chicago Cubs baseball game.
After Chicago, we embarked on a 10-hour drive to Washington D.C. We visited several tourist highlights such as the White House, the Capitol, and the Washington Monument. From Washington D.C., we sang along to “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as we drove through the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Asheville. It was a stunning 700-kilometer route through the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We stayed in Asheville for a day, mainly exploring typical American bars and spending the night at a campground where a bear had been spotted the day before. It was quite thrilling!
We wanted to spend the majority of our vacation in Florida, so we immediately headed there after Asheville. Our first stop was Florida State University in Tallahassee, located in the northern part of Florida. We had the opportunity to stay with a Dutch friend who is on the track and field team there. She showed us around the area, and we were amazed by the wildlife. From manatees to alligators, they can all be found in the wild here!
After Tallahassee, we continued our journey to Jacksonville and started traveling down the east coast of Florida. The weather was consistently around 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit), so we spent many hours lounging on the beautiful white beaches. One night, there were alligators roaming around the campground where we were supposed to spend the night. We were quite scared to walk to the restroom in the dark, so we decided to use the car instead. The next morning, we saw an alligator right along the path we would have taken to the restroom. It was another unique experience, to say the least!
In Florida, we didn’t just lounge on the beach. We drove through the Florida Everglades and saw numerous alligators and snakes. We also visited the Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral, the site from which NASA launches its rockets. There is a large and impressive museum there that showcases everything about space exploration. It’s definitely a must-visit for anyone interested in space travel!
Through West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, we arrived at the Florida Keys. These islands are connected to South Florida and are renowned for their white beaches and crystal-clear blue waters. I had never seen such blue water in my life! We had the opportunity to join our neighbors whom we met at the campground on their boat, and we spent the entire day snorkeling. In the evening, we enjoyed the fish we caught ourselves. It was an incredible day! This vacation was truly amazing from start to finish!
Hopefully, you have gained some inspiration for a trip to the eastern part of America. Stay tuned for part two of Lotte’s journey, where she will take you to the western part of the country! If you’re interested in learning more about America and the college world in the meantime, feel free to contact us through the provided form, and we will be happy to share more information with you.