clock menu more-arrow no yes
Illustrations by Ashlie Juarbe

7 destinations for your end-of-summer road trips

End of the season? Not so — here’s where to experience the best of summer, with delicious stops along the way.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Summer is prime time for #vanlife, and the season isn’t over yet. As it winds down, make the absolute most of what’s left with a cross-country road trip jammed with tons of late-summer fun. Pack your van with your favorite KeVita Live-Culture Drink flavors to keep you refreshed and revved up, and get ready to check out the most jaw-dropping parks and beaches, awesome outdoor music, breezy open-air movie screenings, and coolest places to grab food or drinks while taking in the local vibes. Here are seven cities to hit on your end-of-summer van adventure, along with a bite-size itinerary with ideas for what to do as soon as you pull into town.

Los Angeles

Steer straight to Santa Monica, home of gorgeous beaches, a killer farmers market, and one of the best free concert series on the West Coast. The Twilight on the Pier outdoor concerts on the Santa Monica Pier happen every Wednesday night from August 21 to September 25, and weekly themes include Latin Wave, Middle East Beats, Island Tides, and more. Grab a refreshing KeVita Sparkling Probiotic Drink while you’re there to cool off as the summer days turn into night.

At Cinespia Cemetery Screenings at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, you can catch outdoor movies until late summer (BYO food, drinks, and everything). While you’re still in the LA area, swing by Langer’s classic deli for the famous #19 pastrami sandwich, and go to Night + Market Song in Silver Lake for chef Kris Yenbamroong’s delicious homestyle Thai food.

Portland, OR

If the only thing missing from your road trip is a big, comfy living room to lounge in, Portland’s got your back. Pioneer Courthouse Square, a public space downtown nicknamed “Portland’s living room,” has an intimate feel that makes it perfect for kicking back and watching one of the free Flicks on the Bricks screenings in August. The one Portland summer event not to miss? The Adult Soapbox Derby on August 17, when thousands of people show up on Mount Tabor to watch dozens of teams compete in the wildest-looking contraptions on wheels.

As for where to eat, Portland is an incredible food city, so your choices are limitless. But one place not to miss is Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty for terrific pizza made with an Oregon whole-grain crust, ultra-fresh toppings, and ‘grammable twists like edible flowers.

Austin

Your first Austin stop on a summer day? Downtown Austin’s Zilker Park, where you can run or walk along scenic trails, kayak on Lady Bird Lake, and cool off in the Barton Springs outdoor pool. If you hit Austin in early August, head to Zilker Park’s Blues on the Green fest, a free outdoor concert series happening every month this summer (the Old 97s and Los Lonely Boys played past events).

For food, best to try the best of Austin all at once: get instant (and delicious) gratification at the 5000 Burnet food truck park, where you can find tasty options like soul food at the Dirty South trailer and Venezuelan arepas at Budare’s. Wind down the day in the South Congress area with a stroll through the vintage kitsch, clothing, and record shops, and live music at the Continental Club.

San Francisco

Park your van near the South of Market area and explore the district on foot during the Sunday Streets SOMA event. Every Sunday this summer, San Francisco closes off one neighborhood to cars and on August 18 it’s SOMA’s turn. You’ll get to wander around the artsy area without dodging traffic, and experience everything from its street food park to museums like MoMA and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. While you take in the neighborhood culture of SOMA, grab a sample KeVita Master Brew Kombucha, featuring billions of cultures too (get it?). Nearby in the Mission district, head to El Buen Comer for chilaquiles at brunch or tacos and slow-braised meats for dinner.

Ready to explore the rest of the Bay Area? Drive to Berkeley’s Tilden Regional Park for fab hiking, then to Mount Tamalpais State Park, where you can camp overlooking stunning Bay Area views and one of the best sunrises in the country. At Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin, you can do more hiking, swimming, and camping, and snack on Point Reyes’s famed Cowgirl Creamery cheeses.

Miami

Your first stop in Miami? It probably involves sand and saltwater, and the city offers no end of beautiful public beaches where you can get your fill, from South Beach to 85th Street Beach to Lummus Park and beyond. If you want to stay in your swimsuit forever, check out the Saturday night summer pool parties at the retro Vagabond Hotel, then go back for more the next day, with the Lazy Sunday BBQs at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach (you can get in the door for free at both events). But there’s obviously much more to do in Miami, not least take a trip through the city’s killer art scene. Start by browsing the impressive murals at Wynwood Walls, by the world’s top graffiti artists, and head to the Institute of Contemporary Art, where the collection is magnificent and admission is free.

Where to eat? Pubbelly Sushi in South Beach serves up intensely flavorful Japanese-inspired dishes and rolls with a Latin American spin — and you can’t go wrong with the Pubbelly Noodle outpost in the Sunset Harbor area. When it’s ice cream o’clock, MadLab Creamery in the Design District serves super-rich cones with eye-popping toppings like a giant pink puff of cotton candy.

Chicago

Whether this is your first time in Chicago or you know it inside out, it pays to start your adventure at Lake Michigan, where you can get a taste of the beach while still immersed in the Windy City. You’re only a heartbeat away from the city’s bustle, but able to pack your picnic and cool off with a KeVita in hand. Keep an eye out for additional events and free summer concerts there, too. Speaking of music, there’s tons of it in Chicago, and one place to start if you’re in town in mid-September is Riot Fest in Douglas Park, where you can catch some of today’s biggest musical acts.

Craving Chicago-style hot dogs? Find some of the best at Gene and Jude’s. Chicago-style pizza? Go to Lou Malnati’s for deep-dish, and Pequod’s for another favorite local style, pan pizza, with its signature crusty caramelized cheese. But Chicago’s cutting-edge food scene goes way beyond hot dogs and pizza, so make sure to try other local favorites like the new Fat Rice, for Macau cuisine, inspired by the Chinese region that was once a Portuguese colony. Can’t deal with Fat Rice’s long line? Grab a cocktail in the lounge and wait until it dies down.

New York City

Imagine NYC without blaring car horns or insane traffic to dodge as you stroll. The dream comes true on three weekends in the summer, when a swath of Manhattan, around seven square miles of the city, turns into a pedestrian haven. During Summer Streets, on the first three August Saturdays from 7am to 1pm, you can explore areas from Central Park to the Brooklyn Bridge, and many points in between. Keep an eye out for soon-to-be-announced activities like a giant water slide, zipline, and rock-climbing wall (popular features at last year’s Summer Streets). After you work up a sweat (those activities are no joke!), KeVita will be there with healthy, refreshing drinks to cool off.

When you’ve had your fill of Manhattan, head to Long Island City in Queens for the outdoor Warm Up event at MoMA PS 1, where you can check out art installations and live electronic music in the courtyard (past guests include LCD Soundsystem). Nearby, drop by the hot new Adda Indian Canteen for juicy tandoor-grilled meats and dum biryani, a rice casserole with a layer of naan stretched over it. Over in Ridgewood, Queens, hit the epic Mister Sunday outdoor dance parties at Nowadays, hosted by DJs Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter, happening Sunday afternoons through October.

Unwind with Rooftop Cinema Club’s screenings in Manhattan, with an August roster of outdoor films. Grab a ticket and deck chair for $22 — plus a bottomless popcorn tub for an extra three bucks — and toast the end of another incredible summer.

The information in this article is the opinion of the author(s) and in no way reflects the policies or positions of KeVita. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or nutrition advice.

Advertiser Content From  logo