Get a Head Start with National One Two FREE and $100 for Sharing Your Favorite Road Trip

I spent much of last week on the East Coast attending a friend’s wedding in Boston, visiting another friend’s new baby in New York, and meeting with a third friend in Philadelphia. It was crazy, and I fit in some business meetings along the way. But what most excited me about this trip was that I flew in a day early just to drive up to Maine for the day.

Maine? Yes, to Portland, Maine. You see, I’ve never really explored the East Coast outside of the downtown cores of a few major cities. But growing up in California I took lots of road trips to the backside of Yosemite, Las Vegas, the American River, and everywhere up and down the coast. So I wanted to see more of New England and figured Portland made an easy target. After all, I’ve been to Portland, Oregon. How would its eastern cousin compare?

(It also meant I could extend my rental car in Boston by an extra day and earn 300 points toward National Car Rental’s One Two FREE promotion.)

After choosing my car from National’s Emerald Aisle at the new centralized rental facility at Boston-Logan, I headed north on US Highway 1 through Saugus and Danvers before finally switching over to I-95. It was slower, but I liked checking out the roadside restaurants, including a steakhouse with a giant neon cactus and another built to look like a ship! Near the New Hampshire state line I exited and headed toward the coast by Seabrook.

Seabrook Dunes

I don’t see real sand dunes often. Out west, most beaches are abutted by steep cliffs. I was the only person around on that Thursday morning as most shops were closed for the winter, even McDonalds!

Hampton NH Shops

Portsmouth NHEventually I headed north again, passing some stately homes in the town of Rye before stopping for lunch in Portsmouth. There I got to try what New Englanders call a pale ale (Seattle has turned me into such a beer snob) before heading back to I-95.

Toll roads are still something I’m getting used to. They’re common enough in Asia, but to see one on a public highway, let alone a US Interstate, still amazes me. Maine is very, very proud of theirs, as you can tell from the signs along the way that tell you about its dedication, special laws, and so on. New Hampshire proudly advertises their state liquor stores with special blue signs. But in Washington I have trouble finding a speed limit sign. Go figure.

Downtown Portland

Portland did remind me of its Oregon counterpart, but it seemed much smaller and far more straight-laced. I like our quirky Pacific Northwest with its beer, bikes, and excessive number of stores for dogs. I suppose there may be a tie for food: we have salmon and they have lobster. I didn’t have time to stay for dinner on this trip, but a restaurant named (and located on) Fore Street and the Standard Baking Company underneath it both looked tasty.

I decided to test myself on the return and see how long it would take to cross the entire state of New Hampshire. It’s only 16 miles and took me 15 minutes on the dot, despite stopping to pay a cash toll. It still blows my mind how tiny the eastern states are. California is 200 miles wide and 800 miles long! I’m not trying to play favorites, but I like making trips like these just to see how different things can be without even leaving the country. I ran into a guy on my flight to New York who lives on Cape Cod, so you can guess where I’m heading next…

Portland Harbor

Win Credit Toward One Two FREE!

Ever wish you could take an extra day on your next trip to go out and explore?

You can win 300 points that you can apply to the One Two FREE campaign! The newly redesigned One Two Free program allows Emerald Club members the ability to accrue points, to eventually earn a free rental – essentially, when you rent twice, you get the third one free. These 300 points can be used to jump-start your participation in the One Two Free campaign. Learn how to earn more points, here.

National offered me some points as well, but I’ve already earned some through this promotion as a customer. So while I will still receive something, I asked that they give most of them to you guys. I also realize I am only halfway through my promise to hand out $400 in gift cards when I hit 4,000 Twitter followers. So one grand prize winner will receive $100 from my own pocket. You can use it for anything — but I suggest using it to upgrade your next rental from National’s new Premier Selection! 😀

Giveaway Recap

  • Enter by commenting on this post with a destination or description of a day trip you would like to take. (Disqus requires a valid email address to make a comment.)
  • One (1) Grand Prize Winner will receive 300 points from National Car Rental and a $100 gift card from me.
  • Two (2) Runners Up will receive 300 points each from National Car Rental.
  • Everyone should visit the One Two FREE site to register and earn more points. A qualifying rental earns 300 points, and you need 600 points for a free rental day.

This giveaway closes at 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, October 23. I will contact the winners on Thursday. Please response by Sunday, October 27, with your full name, email address, and Emerald Club number or else I may award your prize to another entrant.

Disclosure: I will receive compensation from National Car Rental for organizing this giveaway. National is responsible for fulfillment of bonus points for One Two FREE.

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  • Joseph Mansour

    I would love to take a day trip to upstate new york to go apple picking!

  • dude26

    I’d love to take a day trip to the grand canyon (while vacationing in vaegs…). Never been there and it’s a must go to place I hear.

  • neer

    A day trip to lax airport (from the east coast!) Land, in n iut burger, plane spot and the day is made

  • Jessica

    There are ao many I want to take!! one road trip on my list is mammoth cave in Kentucky.

  • Becky

    I’d love to drive from LAX up to Santa Barbara. I’ve driven through beautiful parts of northern California’s coast but not the southern part. From Malibu through Topanga Canyon, Point Dume State Park, Ventura, Carpinteria Harbour, to Santa Barbara (to stay for a few days).

  • Justin Does…

    My favorite roadtrip is when I drive from Austin to Colorado with my yellow labradors! Here was a roadtrip I did last year:

  • Nick F

    I love driving from Philadelphia up to the St. Lawrence River (maybe even to Kingston if I want to cross the border).

  • Jeanne Davis

    Route 66. There are so many fun stops, you can pick any portion of it. My personal fav is through Oklahoma with stops at the Blue Whale (Catoosa), the Rock Cafe (Stroud), Round Barn & Pops (Arcadia), and the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (Clinton).

  • Shelly

    Last December DH and I drove from Minnesota to LA, Palm Springs, Phoenix and home. It was alot of miles, but we saw some great sites. We drove through the Black Hills in South Dakota, Salt Lake City and some stunning mountain passes. Did a quick visit in Las Vegas and then stayed in Hollywood and drove to the Santa Monica pier. We then drove down to Palm Springs and did some golfing before driving over to Phoenix to visit the in-laws. We headed home through New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas, It was a great trip seeing so much of the country!

  • The #hustle Blog

    Funny you should post about Portsmouth. I would love to take another road trip back there from NJ. Such a great, peaceful area that I find most beautiful now, when the leaves are changing.

  • George

    I would like to take a day trip to Salt Lake City, since I cannot wait to hit the ski slopes!

  • Glenda

    I would love to do a road trip in northern California. Fly into SFO and head north.

  • Armando86

    I would love to drive down to Savannah, GA and enjoy the coast!

  • Matt

    A day trip to Monterey, CA and Big Sur from LA.

  • davisesq212

    I would love to take a day trip up the coast of Maine and sample all the Lobster Rolls I possibly can. I would call it the Lobster Roll Run!

  • Nathan

    I would love to take a day trip out to Lancaster County, PA!

  • Leigh

    I would love to spend a day in Napa wine tasting.

  • MarcMon

    Taking a road trip along highway 1, from LA to Big Sur would be a dream of mine

  • Lance

    I have always wanted to visit Maui and drive the famous “Road to Hana”. Now that would be an awesome day trip!

  • Jessica

    I would take a roadtrip up the west coast all the way to Vancouver. From there I would jump on an Alaskan cruise.

  • Brian

    Far from a day trip, but I would love to fly into San Diego and drive up the coast to Seattle. I’m from the East Coast, so I’ve done a ton of road trips here, but none out west. I’ve also taken a 3 week cross country road trip, but the west coast road trip is still on my to do list!


    I would love to take a day trip from Miami to Key West

  • SC

    I would like to take a road trip up to Hudson Valley or Ferncliff Forest upstate from NYC.

  • Nick C

    I’d drive to Miami

  • Bill n DC

    My favorite road trips with National are from home in DC to the Delaware Beaches. I rent from the National Car Rental at Union Station (WASC08), My hubbie and I did a 9 day road trip to visit family and friends to Iowa in July and the National folks fixed us up with a new 2014 Impala – sweet. In addition to 1-2-Free, National often has a free weekend day promo!

  • bmvaughn

    I should probably do a day trip to explore more of SW Washington and NW Oregon. Have lived here all my life but feel like there’s so much to see in my own neighborhood!

  • Red Hunt

    A 4000mile, 10-day road trip was my most epic trip on a NAtional Rental Car – through Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. But for a day rip…let’s make it a weekend trip – an adventure to Chicago and Milwaukee would be tons of fun!

  • Ryan

    I’d take a day trip from Little Rock to Fayetteville to see the changing leaves in the Fall.

  • Rachel

    Love to take a day trip to various parts of California: Santa Barbara, San Diego, and the Pacific Coast Highway!

  • Biggles209

    The loop over the North Cascades Highway and back over Stevens Pass when the spring flowers are out is hard to beat

  • dwh

    I love driving out to the Shenandoah mountains. Beautiful escape from the bustle of DC.

  • Diane

    Would like to add a day to the upcoming business trip to see Salt Lake parks area.

  • Candace P

    I would like to take a trip up to the Finger Lakes to do some wine-tasting!

  • Karl P

    I would take a ride out to Montauk Point on LI to have a Lobster Roll.

  • Anthony

    You drove by the Hilltop, a Rt 1 landmark!

  • Andrew P

    I would love to take a day trip out to Cape Cod around this time of year too…maybe we can meet up!

  • Mandy

    A day trip to Savannah GA sounds like fun to me. :)

  • boxedlunch

    Quick weekend trips to PDX from GEG keep me sane

  • Aarash

    I think I’d like to take a day trip to the Big Island to see some lava flow!

  • TerryH

    Road trip to New Orleans along the mighty Mississippi from the Quad Cities on down to the delta!

  • Deneetro

    I’d like to one day take a road trip from the East Coast to the West Coast.

  • Shane

    Road trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Fall!

  • janica

    Texas Hill Country wine trail — preferably during bluebonnet season.

  • Gayle Erwin

    I would love to take the time to drive into the Finger Lakes area of New York state. It’s grea this time of year.

  • Bobby

    I would love to take an extra day trip up the east cost up to Maine. Ive been to new york several times now, but would really like to enjoy the change of colors in the trees. Could be a fun trip some day!

  • MidTierStatus

    I’d like to go to Asheville, NC

  • Carolyn

    Road trip through the cascades is on the list. So much to discover, and imagine how many waterfalls I could see!

  • Jason

    Now that I live in San Francisco, taking California State Route Highway 1 all the way down the coast is on the bucket list. I’ve driven portions of it and there really is no highway more beautiful!

  • alex

    would love to drive miami to key west and back

  • Joseph May

    Valley of Fire National Park from Las Vegas. Nice Day trip!

  • Nguyen

    I would love to drive to San Francisco on a day trip. Thanks.

  • Elena Garcia

    I would love to take a trip to Big Bend National Park. Have yet to visit here even though I live in TX

  • Brian

    I would love to take a day trip to Eureka Springs, AR.

  • Shawn

    I would love to drive from Los Angeles up the coast to San Francisco, or even to Portland if time permitted.

  • Alex

    California Hwy1 entire way for me would be a dream

  • Barry

    Back road trip through New Jersey for apple picking.

  • Lynn

    I would love to take a trip from Miami down to the Keys

  • Gerald

    Highway 12 from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef in Utah.

  • Just me

    love to drive around the Big Island of Hawaii one time and scout the Iron Man routing for my blind girlfriend

  • PrateekJain2012

    Miami to Keywest! Have done it once, would love to go again

  • Karen C

    The road to Hana !

  • josh

    New york to san fran with stops along the way in NOLA, texas and vegas!

  • Marek

    Vancouver to Buenos Aires

  • renee

    A day trip from Anchorage to Kenai peninsula

  • Vitaly

    Road trip around the island on Maui.

  • KBR

    Miami to Orlando

  • DaveZ

    I would like to take a road trip along A1A from Key West to Maine, photo journaling the entire trip (one-way only, though… I would fly back!)

  • Erik

    I’d use an extra day of a car rental on my upcoming trip to Northern California to spend time visiting the wine country in Mendocino County

  • nashpl

    A drive to Superior National Forest and along Lake Superior’s North Shore taking in unbelievable vistas, wildlife sightings, cascading rivers and great American historic sites.

  • Susan E

    I would spend it on Maui, soaking up the sights and sounds before I board my flight at 11pm.

  • JB

    Day trip to Beacon, NY to hike.

  • Larry

    A day trip to New England to enjoy fall foilage would be nice

  • Jeremy

    I’m taking a trip from New Hampshire to Old Quebec for Winter Carnival this Feb – Worried about the snowy weather and sub-arctic temperatures but it should be a blast

  • Joe

    GreenBay to Door County

  • James Servino

    My favorite road trip is from Long Beach, CA to Santa Clara, CA.


    Drive from Portland, Maine on US 1 to Acadia National Park with my best friend Eric.

  • Abhishek Duggal

    Maui – Road to Hana

  • Huang Y

    Did a road trip once from SF – LA on 1, amazing.

  • nalarcon

    I would love to take a roadtrip from Washington D.C. to New York

  • JP

    LA to Vegas

  • Nathan

    I once drove a car one way from Florida to Texas and was able to see all of the South, and enjoyed that trip a lot. For very cheap too.

  • Joe

    DC to Fallingwater

  • Jean

    Minneapolis to Aberdeen SD to visit the kids!


    Skyline Drive should be beautiful this time if year.

  • viguera

    DC for some Kimpton stays :)

  • bill twombly

    Several years ago, my wife and I decided to visit Snoqualmie Falls on our final day of a Northwest getaway as she was a Twin Peaks fan. We enjoyed a leisurely drive, viewed the beautiful falls and had time to enjoy dinner at the unique Salish Lodge located at the top of the falls. Living in Cincinnati, it was our first taste of elk. Yum. It was an easy drive back to Sea Tac for our Sunday red eye flight home so I could go to work Monday. This was a memorable trip, made even more so when in my rush to exit the shower, I slipped, broke and dislocated my little toe and landed hard on a shoulder. I thought about that elk for 2 days lying in bed with an elevated leg. I also thought about that elk when I had surgery a few years later to clean out the arthritis that formed in my shoulder as a result of that fall. Yum.

  • Jordan Rozum

    San Francisco to Yosemite!

  • Luis

    I´ll be exploring the beautiful mountains of Kona

  • Jamie

    DC to Skyline Drive for fall foliage.

  • AC

    Driving PCH between Monterey and San Luis Obispo

  • George C.

    Boston to LA

  • clarelouise44

    MY favorite road trip runs the length of Cape Cod, starting with coming over the Sagamore Bridge and along 6A, the winding modern day version of the King’s Highway. It runs along a crest and through many small New England villages, past ancient sea captains’ homes and Cape Cod cottages. It is especially nice in July when the roses and hydrangeas are blooming.

  • JamesP

    Back to Napa Valley for some R&R.

  • Dogeye

    Road to Hana

  • smittytabb

    Last time I was in Maui I didn’t have time to make the drive to Hana. Hoping to do that the next time I am there as it sounds like a great road trip!

  • Erin Kendall

    I would like to take a roadtrip to the Potosi Brewery in Southwestern Wisconsin. Their beer is great, they’re working on building a brewing museum, and it’s a beautiful part of the state.

  • Mr. Cool

    been planning a Prince Edward Island scenic road trip for a while now!

  • Dean

    My trip would take me from Chicago up to Door County in Wisconsin to see see the colors of Fall, and enjoy the tastes of a fish fry at Bailey’s Harbor.

  • K. Mizushima

    I’d love to go on a road trip to Mt. Shasta.

  • Michael

    Driving from phoenix through Sedona and then up to the Grand Canyon

  • Elaine

    I love driving from Portland into the Gorge, as well as the Mt Hood loop. Gorgeous way to spend a day!

  • Scott C

    I’d love to Drive from Miami to Key West in a premium rental sportscar

  • TP

    I’d like to drive the Road to Hana in Maui next year

  • Bryan

    I would drive all the way out to the West Coast from NYC. Might take more than a day though!

  • Jeff

    Driving from Atlanta to New Orleans. Always enjoy it as I know the weekend will be fun filled!

  • jhomey85

    I would like to drive from SF to LA down PCH.

  • kennie

    I would love to take a road trip with my girlfriend to Yosemite. She has never been and I have not seen the marvels of that park since forever.

  • Brad

    Would love to drive up Highway 1 from LA to SF

  • phil gold

    stl-nyc every summer. nice and simple ride

  • RKB

    PCH South of Monterey

  • Dan Reschke

    Vancouver to San Francisco.

  • Chris W

    My favorite road trip was driving up from LA along the coast to Seattle. It took more than a day but the views were spectacular!

  • Sri Nik

    Drive from Miami to Key West

  • Jeff

    Definitely the Hana Highway. All the way around.

  • Kira

    I’m headed from Laramie, WY to Albuquerque, NM for a girls road trip! Five of us are going and it would save mileage on the car to use a rental car! We want to go to Tim’s Place for lunch. It will be my first trip to the Southwest.

  • 323kid

    I look forward to taking a drive up the California North coast.

  • Johnny

    I would love to drive the road to Hana in Maui.

  • dizziest1

    I took a roadtrip to Montreal from Burlington VT for the jazz festival in the summer. The jazz festival is world class. The Hyatt Montreal is located right in the middle of the festival area so you can step out of the door and hear music in the streets. We took advantage of the many quirky factory tours in Burlington VT. If you love beer, don’t miss the Magic Hat Brewery and no one should leave VT without visiting the Ben + Jerry’s factory tour… double YUM!

  • Isaac Bonk

    I love the drive from boulder into the rocky mountain national park and back. Especially in the fall.

  • SFOPhD

    It’s a day trip drive from San Francisco up the coast to an albino redwood tree. Yup, you science nerds read that right. All the leaves are white! It’s like Christmas all year round!

  • Eric

    Portland to SF/Bay Area

  • Mike H

    I’m excited to drive the Pacific Coast Highway

  • Jordan

    Pacific coast

  • Mark M

    A fall ride through the Vermont Green Mountains.

  • Segments

    Texas Hill Country

  • Mike B.

    NY upstate for great fall pictures

  • Melany Yee

    road to hana in maui. Like taking a step back in time and into paradise

  • shonuffharlem

    In New Orleans take a day to drive and see the plantations…with my wife…love that.

  • rob8653

    More a night trip but.. Based in Houston where the stars can get washed out by the city lights. I’ve always wanted to just drive west on I-10 and take a random exit to get further and further away.. but really just closer to being able to “see” the milky way in all its glory.

  • James W

    Miami to Key West

  • Jenna

    I would love to take a road trip along the coast in California!

  • jackie

    Love to go to San Francisco any day!

  • asar

    I would love to take a road trip along oregon coast

  • Daavevalo

    Route 66!

  • Chanel @ La Viajera Morena

    I would love to take a day road trip through the Canadian wilderness during the fall and see the beautiful fall foliage!

  • Ted F

    Weekend trip to Austin, TX for some BBQ!

  • Eli

    Canadian Rockies – Banff, Icefields Parkway, Jasper. Just Wow.

  • Brandon B

    I would drive onto the road to Hana in Maui!

  • Maynard D

    Phoenix to LA, with a stop in Palm Springs!

  • dandenver

    Miami to Key West in a National convertible

  • jay

    miami to key west

  • TimmyD

    In 2009, my wife and I drove PA to Mamoth cave, Kentucky, to Atlanta, Gainesville, Miami, side trip by flight to Nicaragua, back through Florida, over to Houston, Austin, El Paso, up through Cali, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Sea to sky highway in British Colombia, ice fields parkway between banff and jasper, Edmonton, Calgary, central Saskatchewan, north Manitoba, Winnipeg, across Ontario to Toronto and back south to Pennsylvania. It took a few months and was quite fun. Can anyone top that?

  • Harold

    Drive the the whole Pacific Coast Highway.