Travel the northwest coast by car

Instead of wind in your hair, summers on Highway 1 bring stop-and-go traffic. Luckily, there's a less-traveled road running through some of the West Coast's most eye-catching landscapes. The 175-mile coast of southern Oregon encompasses acres of thick forests, blooming cranberry bogs, and crystal-clear rivers. Start in Brookings, just over the California border, 216 miles south of Eugene. From there, head north on Highway 101 until you reach the arches of Natural Bridges cove, a collapsed sea cave in Samuel H. Boardman State Park . Before you cross the 1931 Art Deco bridge that spans the Rogue River, spend an afternoon reeling in some wild trout and salmon with the Roaring Fork Guide Service (541/726-7234; $350 for a day trip for two ). Another 40 miles north is prime bird-watching territory at Cape Blanco State Park . Hop back on 101 for 23 miles, then stop to sample spicy Jalapeño Jack at the Bandon Cheese Factory (680 E. Second St., Bandon; 541/347-2456 ). STAY Gold Beach's Tu Tu'tun Lodge (96550 N. Bank Rogue; 800/864-6357; ; doubles from $145 ) is ideal for fly-fishermen and white-water rafters. DON'T MISS A pit stop at the Strawberry Hill Viewpoint (milepost 169 ), to catch a clear sight of playful whales.
—Liz Krieger

>>Start Your Engines

2004 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
THE DRIVER The PowerBar-and-Gatorade set.
THE ROUTE Colorado's Grand Mesa.
VITAL STATS Size matters: thanks to 15 extra inches, this model provides more room for tents (and legs) than its predecessors did.
DROPS ITS TOP 5 minutes—the top's manual.

2004 Ford Thunderbird
THE DRIVER Yoga instructors, surfers.
THE ROUTE The Baja Peninsula.
VITAL STATS Sexy Beast: fifties retro styling, fishbowl headlights.
DROPS ITS TOP 20 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz SLK350
THE DRIVER Hollywood moguls, their mistresses, their divorce lawyers.
THE ROUTE Malibu's bluffs.
VITAL STATS Typical Benz: leather interiors, lots of chrome.
DROPS ITS TOP 22 seconds.

2005 Chrysler Crossfire Roadster
THE DRIVER Empty nesters with the need for speed.
THE ROUTE The Florida Keys.
VITAL STATS A lot of punch for a little car: its top speed is 150 mph.
DROPS ITS TOP 22 seconds.

Aston Martin DB9 Volante
THE DRIVER Anyone British—secret agents, Madonna (in her latest incarnation).
THE ROUTE The French Riviera.
VITAL STATS Style, refined: options include a Bluetooth-enabled phone.
DROPS ITS TOP 17 seconds.
—Robert Maniaci

Tu Tu'tun Lodge

Fronting the Rogue River and flanked by old-growth rain forests, with an emphasis on genial service.