How I Stay Healthy on a Road Trip

Ah, road trips. A classic American experience that some love and others hate. I, personally, love embarking on a good multi-day, cross-country road trip, but one of the hardest parts to plan for is how to stay healthy while you’re on the road. When you’re trapped in the car all day, it’s easy to reach for candy, chips, and soda, and even exercise is virtually out of the question. But trust me, there are ways to enjoy the journey while still treating your body well, and I’m here to pass along some of my favorite tips for doing just that!

Plan ahead

It may seem obvious, but planning out your meals and snacks ahead of time will give you the best opportunity to nourish your body without resorting to grabbing handfuls of gas station snacks because you ran out of food or are simply just bored. For my recent road trip from Colorado to Washington, I stopped by my local grocery store the night before leaving town and selected a few snacks and meal options I was excited to eat, that were still at least partially nutritious. Road trips should be fun, so don’t force yourself to eat a head of broccoli as a snack if you’re not actually craving it. On the other hand, be wary of over-indulging, or you’ll set yourself up for a long and painful drive.

Avoid fast food when possible

My personal strategy while road-tripping is to eat breakfast and lunch in my hotel room or the car, and then enjoy dinner out on the town. Fast food is undeniably tempting, and sometimes a greasy, salty, McDonald’s breakfast really hits the spot, but for the most part, I’d rather make the most of my time and money by enjoying a nicer, sit-down dinner in the evening than rushing through a drive-thru at the very beginning or in the middle of my day. Alternatively, if I’m passing through a town where I know there are food options I’m interested in, I will stop for lunch or a snack and then enjoy dinner in my hotel room at the end of the day. Eating locally is one of my favorite ways to experience an area’s culture, and I always like to try new food when the opportunity arises.

Stretch your legs

One of the most uncomfortable parts of a road trip is obviously the extended hours sitting in a cramped car. I will try to stop every 2-3 hours to give myself a break from sitting and take even just a short walk outside of my car (this is especially necessary when traveling with a pet, like I recently did). I also brought along some 5 pound dumbbells so I could do a very short workout in my hotel room in the evening. This isn’t something I always manage to stick to, but for me personally, it feels good to get my body moving for at least 10-15 minutes after a long day of driving. Whether it’s a workout with weights or even just a body-weight workout in the room, a quick walk through town, or a swim in the pool, getting in some kind of movement will make your body and mind happier.

Balance is key

At the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that everything has its place in moderation. If you want to indulge in some fast food or a snack you would normally deem “unhealthy,” then enjoy! If you don’t want to do any kind of workout and would rather just pass out at the end of the day, you deserve it! Road trips are truly one of the best reminders that the journey is often more important than the end destination. Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy your time on the road however you like, and it will make the experience so much more enjoyable. Listen to your body’s cues about what it’s craving in regards to food and movement, and you will feel emotionally, physically, and mentally satiated.

How to Explore One of Washington’s Iconic Islands

Whidbey Island is one of the most underrated destinations in Washington, offering a number of activities for history buffs, hikers, and foodies alike. Whidbey Island may not be as well-known as Mount Rainier or downtown Seattle, but the island and surrounding areas provide a beautiful escape from the hustle of the mainland. If you only have one day to explore Whidbey Island, here’s exactly how to do it to get the most out of your trip. 

Begin your day by hopping on the Mukilteo/Clinton ferry which will take you directly to Whidbey Island. If you’re not a fan of ferries or don’t want to pay the fee, you’re more than welcome to drive via Deception Pass Bridge, but we’ll take that route on the way home. Mukilteo is another cool area to explore as well – check out my photo diary from a recent visit! 

Pro tip: swing by Southern Cross Espresso in Clinton for a quick cup of coffee. I highly recommend their London Fog as well!

From Clinton, begin the drive north to an area known as Ebey’s Landing. Ebey’s Landing is a historical preserve with beautiful hiking/walking trails that educate you on the island’s rich history and provide opportunities to spot wildlife. The historical preserve spans a few hundred acres, and my favorite area to explore is the Prairie Overlook Trail. For specific information on this hike, check out my adventure guide on Outdoor Project.

Pro tip: some areas in Ebey’s Landing require a Discover Pass, so come prepared!

You’ve probably worked up an appetite after exploring the bluffs at Ebey’s Landing, so it’s time for a quick lunch break. It’s a short drive over to Coupeville, a gorgeous coastal town with a number of restaurants and shops. If you’re craving fresh seafood, Front Street Grill is a great option located right on the water. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll see otters or seals, too! I also recommend Ciao Food and Wine for delicious pasta and desserts. 

After lunch, your next destination is Lavender Wind Farm. I had never been to a lavender farm before coming to Washington, and it has become one of my favorite summer activities. Lavender Wind Farm is u-pick, so you can stroll through rows of flowers and pick lavender as you go. Before leaving, stop by the on-site store for more lavender goodies like soap, bath salts, and lip balm.

Pro tip: the lavender u-pick season typically runs from May to September, so make sure to check the farm’s website before planning a visit. 

Now it’s time to make your way off the island, but the adventures aren’t over just yet. Instead of returning home on the ferry, I recommend making the drive over to Deception Pass State Park. This area is absolutely beautiful and a great place for families to visit, either for the day or a weekend. There are lots of walking trails through the forests or along the water, and plenty of opportunities for spotting wildlife like eagles and otters.

Pass over Deception Pass Bridge, another iconic landmark that is stunning in and of itself, and you’ll find yourself on Fidalgo Island which soon connects you back to the mainland. Before driving home, swing by Snow Goose Produce in Mt. Vernon. Snow Goose Produce is a large country market with awesome local products like fruits and vegetables, hot sauces, seafood, beer and wine, and some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. There’s truly no better way to end the day! 

Pro tip: Snow Goose is another seasonal operation, so make sure they’re going to be open before making the drive over!

I hope you found this travel guide useful and incorporate some of these spots on your next visit to Whidbey Island!