The North Carolina’s version of the Pacific Coast Highway is the Blue Ridge Parkway, which starts from Waynesboro and ends 469 miles later at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This summer travelers will be cruising up and down America’s narrowest national park once again for the spectacular view of the mile-high mountains and lush alpine valleys. To make sure you get the most of the trip, you have to be behind the wheels of an awesome car for that sweet and smooth journey across the highway. Here’s what we recommend.
Ford Mustang Convertible
The summer heat means getting the top down of your Ford Mustang Convertible and letting the breeze cool you off. Mustang is pre-eminent cruising machine, if you didn’t know yet, especially now that the base V6 engine has leveled up to 305 horsepower. For that muscle cruising that’ll be the envy of everyone, the 550-hp Shelby GT500 convertible is your top choice.
When it comes to that active sports icon and maximum coolness factor, the Wrangler definitely pops into the head. Just take off the roof and have some open-air driving fun. And after the Blue Ridge Parkway, who knows? You might end up doing some off-roading, which the Wrangler is entirely capable of. Take out the doors and fold down the windshield, and you got yourself a desert storm. And remember, you can never go wrong with a Jeep.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
When it comes to the perfect summer getaway car, imagine a sporty little two-seat roadster that is Mazda’s 167-hp Miata. I’m not surprised that it’s the bestselling two-seat roadster in the world, despite its hefty price of $25,000. But that would be understandable given that they’ve added more safety features and more cockpit space.
Don’t you have fun driving around a dune buggy or an ATV? You’ll get the same loving feeling with the compact 70-hp, three-cylinder Smart with the top down. At the price of $17,000, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Not going to talk about the Beetle here. If it’s sophistication on a highway that you’re looking for, it has to be the $33,000 Eos. Another plus is that it has a hard folding top, not soft, so you can rest assured of your car’s safety. And yet another plus—the slick roof mechanism allows you to retract just a portion over the front seats, so you can have a targa-roof experience even on cooler days. The hardtop roof also has a glass panel above the front seats so even when the roof is closed, you can get a free view of the skies while cruising under the stars.
So are you ready for the road trip of a lifetime? Nothing else matters except you and your machine. But if you want to have an itinerary instead of just driving aimlessly, get a free vacation guide from Orchard Inn. This day-trip guide from Fodor’s also provides great tips on how to plan your segments and recommended places to eat for some southern treats.