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Car Free Journeys

By Steve Atlas

Car Free Journeys is a collection of articles by Steve Atlas detailing vacation destinations that don't require driving. Steve wrote these articles in a monthly column for Ecocities Emerging, the newsletter of Ecocity Builders, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reshaping cities for the long-term health of human and natural systems. He has been kind enough to allow Pubtrantravel to include these articles in our continuing effort to promote car-free travel.



Charleston SC


Corpus Christi



Isle of Palms


Long Beach

Los Angeles Part 1

Los Angeles Part 2

Oregon Coast


Providence RI

New Orleans


San Diego

San Diego's Balboa Park

South Florida

Where To Stay LA


Sarasota Florida

York County Maine

Orlando Florida


Minneapolis MN

Lake Tahoe

Dallas Texas

Santa Fe

Ft. Myers Beach

Pasadena CA

Cocoa Beach/Space Coast



Bar Harbor



North Conway


Reno Nevada

In early 2014, we spotlighted Lake Tahoe. However, some of us may prefer a more city-like getaway nearby. This month, we will spotlight nearby Reno: Nevada’s third largest city. Reno offers cultural attractions, biking and hiking trails, including one along the Truckee River, casinos, history, shopping, professional sports, and several special events you won’t want to miss.. Best of all, downtown Reno is a convenient location to enjoy many of these attractions without needing to drive.

Wikipedia has an article that offers an introduction to Reno. Here is some information from that article:

Reno is a city in the U.S. state of Nevada near Lake Tahoe. Known as “The Biggest Little City in the world,” Reno is famous for its casinos and as the birthplace of Caesars Entertainment Corporation. It is the county seat of Washoe County, located in the northwestern part of the state. The city sits in a high desert at the foot of the Sierra Nevada, and its downtown area (along with Sparks) occupies a valley informally knows as the Truckee Meadows. --Read More--

Tampa FL

At first glance, Tampa seems an unlikely choice for a vacation - especially one without a car. It is one of the few Florida cities without its own beach (even though St. Petersburg and Clearwater beaches are less than an hour away). Rush hour traffic can be frustrating, and some of the most popular attractions are easiest to reach by driving.

But, you and I can have a totally different experience. Downtown Tampa is very walkable, with a great Riverwalk that includes museums, an aquarium, a nearby supermarket, and several good eating places. My wife Karen and I visited Tampa for two days. The first day, we spent exploring downtown Tampa, followed by a ride on the TECO Line Streetcar System and lunch in historic Ybor City.

Our guide from Visit Tampa Bay, Dave Reynolds delighted in showing us the wealth of walkable areas and attractions. Coast Bike Share has several kiosks throughout downtown Tampa where bikers (who rent from them or join as members) can leave or return their rented bikes. --Read More--

North Conway NH

While it is attractive any time of the year, late summer and fall are particularly beautiful times to savor the beauty of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. The easiest place for visitors without cars to use as a base to explore Mount Washington Valley and the White Mountains National Forest is North Conway. In addition to being compact and very walkable and easy to reach from Boston by bus, the village is home to both natural attractions and outlet stores. Attractions not within walking distance can be reached using Fast Taxi, a local taxi company in North Conway.

Mt Washington Valley is a collection of 27 towns and villages all surrounding Mount Washington, the largest peak in the North East. The entire Valley is surrounded by the 660,000 acre White Mountain National Forest, offering seemingly endless hiking, biking, rock/ice climbing, waterfall viewing opportunities and scenic beauty. During each season, this region offers gorgeous vistas and plenty of outdoor and man-made recreation. ---Read More---

Churchill, Manitoba

Churchill is a town on the west shore of Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. It is most famous for the many polar bears that move toward the shore from inland in the autumn, leading to the nickname "Polar Bear Capital of the World”. In 1717 the Hudson’s Bay Company built the first permanent settlement, Churchill River Post, a log fort a few miles upstream from the mouth of the Churchill River. The trading post and river were named after John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough (an ancestor of Winston Churchill) who was governor of the Hudson's Bay Company in the late 17th century.

Like all northern communities in Canada, Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) can sometimes be seen when there is a high amount of solar activity. Visibility also depends on the sky being dark enough to see them, which usually precludes their visibility in the summer due to twilight all night long.

Churchill has a borderline subarctic climate, due to its location above the tree line with long very cold winters, and short, cool to mild summers. Churchill's winters are colder than a location at latitude of 58 degrees north should warrant, given its coastal location. The shallow Hudson Bay freezes, eliminating any maritime moderation. ---Read More---

Bar Harbor

A favorite getaway choice in summer, for many of us, is a visit to a national park. In the northeastern United States, the only U.S. national park is Acadia National Park, located in Bar Harbor, Maine. While not as large as the national parks in the western United States, Acadia’s scenic beauty and Maine coastal location makes it a popular choice for a summer getaway.

Fortunately, Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park can be enjoyed by visitors who don’t want to drive. Be sure to plan your visit here between June 23 and the 2nd Monday in October (Columbus Day) when the free Island Explorer buses can take you nearly anywhere you want to go in Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, and other popular spots on Mount Desert Island.

Because the Island Explorer begins operating on June 23, this month’s Car Free Journey spotlights Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park.

Bar Harbor is a town on Mount Desert Island in Hancock County, Maine. According to the 2010 census, its’ population is 5,235. The town is best known as the home of the largest parts of Acadia National park (including Cadillac Mountain: the highest point within 25 miles (40 km) of the eastern United States coastline). --Read More---


When we think of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and Portland are the two cities that come immediately to mind. However, there are other places in Washington and Oregon that are also good choices for visitors who don’t want to drive. Best of all, they are likely to be less crowded and more compact than larger cities. In this month’s Car Free Journey, we will spotlight one of these too-often-overlooked getaway cities: Spokane, Washington.

Spokane has an average of 260 days of sunshine, is close in the midst of the outdoors and has a walkable city center. It is a great choice for visitors who don’t want to drive as much of what you need is accessible on foot or bike, and anything outside of downtown can be easily reached by public transportation. Spokane is the largest city of Spokane County of which it is also the county seat, and the fourth largest city and metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest region. --Read More--


As spring approaches, most of us are eager to spend more time outdoors, and travel to destinations that might be too cold for an outdoor visit during winter. Today, we visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Located on Lake Michigan, Milwaukee has a River Walk, summer ethnic festivals, a world renowned brewery, museums, major league sports, and numerous restaurants and entertainment options.

You will want to stay here longer than a weekend. In this month’s column, we will give you an introduction to the city, a sampling of local attractions, and resources where you can find more details and information.

Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is the largest city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, the 30th most populous city in the United States, and the 39th largest region in the United States. According to 2010 Census Data, the City of Milwaukee has a population of 594,833. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha Metropolitan Area with a population of 2,037,542 as of an official 2012 estimate.[7] --Read More--

Ft. Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach, located outside of Fort Myers, FL, is a wonderful place to vacation without needing a car. This Gulf (of Mexico) beach, on Estero Island, is easy to reach by Trolley. The Trolley, serving all of Fort Myers Beach, operates every day, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. (For complete schedules, visit and click on Trolley on the left side.)

Joann Haley, Marketing Manager for LeeTran (the public transit system in Lee County, Florida) describes Fort Myers Beach this way:

This tropical island getaway has an atmosphere that’s a little quieter, a little less hurried, and a lot less like the rest of the world. There are many miles of white sandy beaches. Boating, fishing, and Lovers Key State Park plus a large number of family-friendly resorts, quaint cottages, seafood restaurants, and an annual Shrimp Festival make this a good vacation choice.”

All seven miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, plus Lovers Key State Park at the southern tip of the island, are served by the trolley system. You can also take the trolley to fishing charters from local marinas, canoe and kayak rentals, and boat tours. ---Read More---

Cocoa Beach/Space Coast