Patrick Dempsey Shares His Favorite Road Trip Routes and Must-haves

The race car driver and actor talks Porsche Design Eyewear and more travel essentials.

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patrick dempsey porsche eyewear design
Photo: Courtesy of Porsche Design

Patrick Dempsey has been racing cars for years, so it was a natural fit when it came time for Porsche Design Eyewear to find the right ambassador for eyewear. We had the chance to ask Dempsey a few questions on the exciting new partnership, but got some additional insights into his style, racing career, and love of road trips, too.

Related: An Oregon Road Trip Along the Coast

While Demspey's current partnership with Porsche Design Eyewear started through his contact at Motorsport, his relationship with Porsche goes back to the 70s.

Patrick Dempsey

I looked up and saw the all-black Turbo and thought, 'Oh my gosh, what is that car?'

—Patrick Dempsey

"I was at a friend's house ski racing," Dempsey recalls. "He had a wall poster of the iconic Porsche Turbo, with the whale tail, and I looked up and saw the all-black Turbo and thought, 'Oh my gosh, what is that car?' And then in 1987, I had just completed 'Can't Buy Me Love' and saw a Porsche 356 Cabriolet with a 'For Sale' sign. The woman who owned it did the ADR for 'Top Gun.' The speedster in that movie was a kit car, and the 356 was what she used for the real sound of the car."

"I bought it from her for a song and used it as a daily driver for about ten years. I still have it today."

"I've had the glasses in the past," Dempsey says of Porsche Design Eyewear, "in 2014-2015 I was using them quite a bit when I was in the FIA World Endurance Championship and really enjoyed the quality." As a fan of classic, timeless design, hand-craftsmanship, and engineering, Dempsey appreciates the "subtlety of the design."

Patrick Dempsey

I love design because I think it evokes a lot of emotion when you look at something. And then there's what you empower that design with. Why do you want it in your life? Does it add value?

—Patrick Dempsey
porsche patrick dempsey eyewear design
Courtesy of Porsche

To buy: Sunglasses P'8920,, $334 (280 euro); Sunglasses P'8919,, $334 (280 euro)

When asked how Porsche Design Eyewear aligns so well with his own lifestyle, Dempsey raves about the materials and ingenuity. "The titanium is a remarkable material because it's so durable yet so lightweight."

"I'm very active and competitive," Dempsey says. "I'm really rough on my glasses. I've gone through so many sunglasses and reading glasses where I just destroy them, but these lenses don't scratch easily. They also fit me perfectly, and when you're racing you want eyewear that's not falling off. You don't want any distractions."

"I had a program together right before COVID-19 came," Demspey shares of his pursuits in racing pre-COVID-19 following the achievement of his own goals in endurance racing. "I did a test at Sebring [International Raceway in Florida] with John Wright [owner of Wright Motorsports], who I partnered with at Daytona. Now, it's really getting back into some testing and training, developing some younger drivers which is part of the tradition of Porsche."

"When I was starting out I got a lot of support from the older drivers, and that m entality has really serviced me in Hollywood and in my life. How do you work together as a team? How do you support each other to achieve a goal?"

While he gets his racing program up-and-running, Dempsey shares the road trips that have gotten him through the past year. "If you're in California you go up the 1, the coast highway. That's a beautiful drive if you take that all the way up, through San Simeon, into San Francisco and further up."

porsche patrick dempsey
Courtesy of Getty Images

"And then, of course, you go up to Maine where I grew up," of which we're fans as well. "Route 1 up into Acadia is another great [road trip]. There's so many beautiful drives [along that route]. Those two I've done a few times on a number of road trips and can recommend them."

When asked about his preferred road-tripping vehicle, Dempsey shared a surprising answer: "Porsche!"

"It depends on the time of year. If you're taking an older car — a vintage car — you want to [road trip] in the spring or fall when the temperature is pretty good. If it gets too hot you don't have the air conditioning, and it can be a little brutal."

Alternatively, Dempsey shares that "you can do an RV or a little sprinter van," which are also a good time. "But to me, [the optimal situation is that] you have a convertible and you cruise up the coast. It's fantastic. I've done the ride in the Porsche 356 many times."

Dempsey goes on to share his necessities for road trips. "You have to have a good sunscreen if you're in a convertible. Sunglasses, of course, and a nice travel bag so you have an overnight carry. Also a proper coffee cup so you can stop along the way [and refill]."

"A comfortable driving moccasin is really nice to have. You want to have a nice leather jacket if it gets cold. A baseball cap, like an old sort of English cap, [too]. If you're in an older car, you want some nice leather gloves because the steering wheels are different. You want a suit that you can fold up — a nice linen suit in the summertime that's easy to travel with."

Patrick Dempsey

People get dressed up when they travel. It's all part of the fun, part of the fantasy.

—Patrick Dempsey

Speaking of fantasy, Dempsey just finished season two of "Devils," which he shares "was really fun." He's also started working on "Disenchanted" the sequel to "Enchanted," which the T+L staff is particularly excited about. For that, he will be flying back to Europe and shooting in Ireland.

In the spirit of destination re-openings and travel picking back up, Dempsey recalls what he learned as an intrepid adventurer unable to live fully over the past year. "I think you rediscover the road trip...and camping," which he recommends as an adventure without the ability to fly. "You get back to nature."

"You [also] discover your family in a whole new way. Suddenly everything [was] shut down and [I] start[ed] to have a much deeper conversation with're forced to deal with issues." In 2020, "the event of the day [was] preparing meals and fighting over who's doing the dishes," he remembers.

Even as we move through 2021, we'll all surely carry this same reverence and newfound attention to detail, be it with the help of our family, travel, nature, racing cars, or dressing up. "It's the simpler things that are the most rewarding."

To shop the Porsche Design Eyewear collection, shop online or find your nearest Porsche Design Eyewear store.

porsche design 8919 sunglasses
Courtesy of Porsche Design

To buy: Sunglasses P'8919,, $334 (280 euro)

Kendall Cornish is an e-commerce editor at Travel + Leisure. She's never lived anywhere longer than three years, but currently resides in Brooklyn with her cat and beloved Dyson vacuum. You can follow her on Instagram at @kendall.cornish.

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