3 road trips to consider this summer – and tips for staying safe on the way

(BPT) - It’s officially road trip season.

But where should you go, and how can you stay safe on the road? Tiremaker Nokian Tyres offers a few road trip ideas — and some tire safety tips to go along with them. To learn more and enter to win a free set of tires, visit NokianTires.com/Journey.

Carve your way through the Smokies

There’s a reason the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most heavily visited in our nation’s park system. Its stunning panoramas are easily accessible and sure to take your breath away — unless the peaks are shrouded in their notorious haze.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a popular launching point for a journey into the park, but if you prefer a lower-key experience, book a cabin in nearby Townsend, dubbed the Peaceful Side of the Smokies. Climb your way to Clingmans Dome, Tennessee’s highest point, nestled along the North Carolina border.

Descend into the Tar Heel State and settle in for a home-cooked meal and soft bed at Hemlock Inn in Bryson City, a family-friendly destination on the park’s Eastern fringe that’ll make you feel right at home.

But take note: When altitude increases, tire pressure drops. Be sure to fully inflate your tires before you hit the road.

The delightful dunes of Michigan

Michigan is a lot more than just Motown. A few hours west lie the shores of Lake Michigan. The state’s namesake lake is a sailing mecca, but its shores are also home to 300,000 acres of sand dunes. The stunning formations on the edge of Lake Michigan offer picturesque exploration — the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore was named by "Good Morning America" as the most beautiful place in the country.

When you explore Michigan in the heart of summer, all-season tires will do the trick. But if you’re headed there in the fall, winter or spring, beware — the weather is more unpredictable than the fourth quarter of a Detroit Lions game, and all-season tires aren’t built for snow, ice or temperatures below 45 degrees. Winter-approved all-weather tires are a great way to stay safe on the road, because they’re equipped to handle any weather condition, from summer heat to standing snow.

Chasing waterfalls in Upstate New York

When you think of the Northeast’s most populous state, think beyond New York City. As its name would suggest, New York is actually an empire of scenery, entertainment and culture that’s a lot sweeter than just the Big Apple.

Bear northwest from NYC to Niagara Falls, stopping at Buffalo’s Anchor Bar for a taste of the original buffalo wing on the way. When you get to the Falls, don’t rush like the raging water in front of you. Take your time to process this shocking stat: 3,160 tons of water flow over the falls every second.

New York’s roads aren’t as pristine as the Niagara current. Rapid freeze-thaw cycles in the winter months create potholes that increase risk along your journey. For peace of mind for rough roads, consider a set of Nokian Tyres One tires, which are reinforced with the same material found in bulletproof vests. They come with a Pothole Protection program — if a tire is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard within the program’s terms and conditions, Nokian Tyres will replace it at no cost.

Wherever you’re headed this summer, these tips will provide a helpful road map to enjoyment and safety. If you’d like to submit your own favorite road trip for a chance to win a free set of tires from Nokian Tyres, visit NokianTires.com/Journey.

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