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5 Summer Road Trips On Half A Tank (PHOTOS)

Posted: 05/11/2012 7:00 am

Forget the bald eagle or the Statue of Liberty. In America, the car is still the ultimate symbol of freedom, empowering us to shift our daily routines out of idle and "go anywhere" -- as long as we make peace with the traffic report before we go.

But this summer, as cable news pundits have endlessly bellowed, a sinister villain threatens this freedom: Steep gas prices are spooking Americans away from the wheel. Over half of the 2,500 Americans surveyed by the U.S. Travel Association said that an increase in fuel costs would make them rethink their summer road trip plans, with 37.5 percent indicating that they'd drive shorter distances.

Determined to prove that shaving off a few miles from your drive doesn't herald an apocalypse of summer freedom and fun, the ShermansTravel.com experts mapped out 15 short weekend road trips that will get you from point A to points B, C and D while burning less than a single tank of gas -- and we still took the scenic routes.

Boston to Portland, ME
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Follow the Lighthouses to Maine’s Culture Capital

The Route (123 miles)
Avoiding I-95 in favor of Route 1 will take you closer to the coast and let you meander through quaint Maine towns like Ogunquit and Kennebunk. Get the Map

Roadside Attractions
After 70 miles of driving, stop at Maine's Cape Neddick “Nubble” Light, one of the world's most photographed lighthouses, in York, and Portland Head, the state's oldest lighthouse, in Cape Elizabeth, just before you reach Portland. In between, the town of Saco will fete its sesquibicentennial (250th anniversary) this summer with five weekends of celebrations, including a citywide scavenger hunt and guided walking tours, kicking off June 9. Once in Portland – the state's largest city and its cultural capital – check out attractions like the Portland Museum of Art (Maine's oldest and largest art museum), the Shipyard Brewing Company (with free daily tastings), and whale-watching cruises (offered May-October). Pop up to nearby Freeport for the L.L. Bean flagship store and outlet and the bizarre Desert of Maine.

Stay the Night
An eco-friendly bed-and-breakfast in downtown Portland, the Wild Iris Inn comprises seven unique rooms in an historic home. Rates from $149/night.

See more Northeast Road Trips on ShermansTravel.com.

Photo: Flickr/sskennel
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