Stop it, stop it right now. Stop whatever you’re doing and listen. It’s time to go on a road trip — that vegan foodie-friendly road trip you’ve been dreaming about for months.
You’ll see some sights, jam to your favorite songs, go on a hike, discover a new city on your bike and, most importantly, try the local grub. If you’re serious about planning a vacation around your vegan values, send this tips to your friends and start packing.
Salt Lake City
The Beehive State is a great place to start your adventure, not just because of the plethora of good-looking Mormons (kidding). Aside from the gorgeous geography (seriously, this place has it all), Utah is actually a great place to eat. Before heading south to all the national parks — you can cover Zion, Arches and Canyonlands in about five days — spend a few days roaming downtown Salt Lake City and dining at its multiple vegan foodie-friendly restaurants.
Local favorite Frisch Compassionate Eatery is cute, has plenty of options, and stands true to its slogan of “fearlessly vegan.” The menu includes a Technicolor Tempeh Kale salad, TuNO sandwich and variety of other options, including Spicy Mac-N-Cheez. Entrees range from $7 to $10, with half salads starting at $4.
Only six hours away is Sin City, a must-see stop for any American road tripper. After an obligatory trip down the Strip, head to VegeNation, a downtown, globally-inspired restaurant featuring street food like burgers, potato wedges, spaghetti, tacos and veggie sushi. The eatery boasts its name as a community-based restaurant that makes eco-conscious choices, sources food locally, and even grows its own herbs. Oh, and they have gluten-free options, too.
Unique entree options include Out of Africa, an African yam stew made with spicy peanut broth; and the Ellen DeGeneres, which consists of a plate of raw power tacos wrapped in collard greens. Yes, all entrees are made from plant-based ingredients.
It’s kind of out of the way, but don’t let that stop you — adventure is what road trips are all about, right? Take Highway 93 from Las Vegas until it meets up with I-40, which will lead you into Flagstaff. You could take a quick trip to the Grand Canyon (tempting!) or just head south for an overnight stay in seclusive, red rock Sedona. If you do, please devote a few hours to hiking to Devil’s Bridge. The views are totally worth it. From Sedona, it’s only an hour or two to Phoenix, your main stop.
Glorious, gorgeous, raging hot Phoenix is a leader in sustainability and offers plenty of plant-based food options for those who are animal conscious, too. After a bike ride through Papago Park, head to the heart of the city for a vegan smoothie. Grabbagreen offers greens, grains, detox juices, acai cups and elixirs. Yelp restaurant reviewers rave about the place’s great selection of healthy items, though the prices are kind of steep ($10 for a salad!).
Huntington Beach, California
All good things must come to an end, so why not go out with a bang? Translation: Get your butt to the beach — Huntington Beach, that is. Known for its beautiful coastline and natural wetlands, HB attracts thousands of visitors each year. In order to protect the environment, city officials have enacted sustainability initiatives and even host an annual Go Green Expo in September. It’s the perfect city for eco-conscious people to visit.
While you’re there, hit up the Bodhi Tree Vegetarian Cafe, located a half mile from the pier. The cafe offers an extensive menu of salads and fruits, complete with a range of Asian dishes using mock meats. Try the pho or the cafe’s crispy chicken filet sandwich, made from soy, of course. All entrees are vegan.
Still hungry? Search for vegan, vegetarian or veg-friendly restaurants and markets near you on HappyCow.net, a one-stop shop for everything veg. Chances are you’ll be (happily) overwhelmed by the variety of tasty, plant-based possibilities. Consider using the Michelin-starred rating system to narrow down your options. Now go, my friends, and enjoy!