Hit the road with these summer color palettes inspired by travel adventures. From South Africa’s Garden Route to Scotland’s North Coast 500, discover a color scheme to inspire your wanderlust.
Explore unique summer color palettes from across the globe! Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to embark on one of these iconic roadtrips. They span the globe from Australia’s Great Ocean Road to Norway’s Atlantic Road. Closer to home, why not set off for Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway or the famous Pacific Coast Highway in California?
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Read on to find 10 FREE summer color palettes inspired by iconic road trips from around the world. Use these summer colors in your design projects or save to your travel bucket list. Here, we’ve aimed to recreate the unique environments, climates, and sights of each of these famous routes in color. Now transport yourself to these far-flung locations!
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With your free palettes, you’ll find the HEX code swatches that allow you to use these color schemes for online designs. If you want to use these color schemes for creating print designs, swatches can also be easily converted to CMYK swatches.
Land on a color palette you love? Simply right-click and save the image to your computer, or save to a mood board to come back to later.
1. The Japanese Alps (Kyoto to Tokyo), 460 miles (740 km)
Albeit an incredible engineering accomplishment, it’s worth skipping Japan’s famous Shinkansen (bullet train) for this longer trip by car. As you head northwards on winding roads, marvel at the serene Japanese Alps. They’re famous for natural hot springs and spa towns. Try to plan your trip for late spring to early summer to see the country’s famous cherry trees—sakura—in beautiful bloom.
This color palette lifts the calming blues of Japan’s mountains with the warmth of pale powder pink.
2. The North Coast 500, Scotland, 770 miles (1240 km)
Fans of James Bond movies will be thrilled by an atmospheric drive around Scotland’s wild north coast. Scenes from Skyfall were filmed near Glencoe, one of the beautiful and dramatic valleys close to the North Coast 500 route. Expect almost complete isolation, heather-strewn highlands and jaw-dropping coastal views.You’ll loop around the top of the British Isles starting from Inverness.
Late summer into early autumn is one of the best times to take the North Coast route. Its heather turns purple and bracken a fiery rust orange. This alternative summer color palette combines deep grape purple and heather purple with burnt orange for a romantic take on Scotland’s early autumn colors.
3. Wayanad Ghat Road, Kerala, India, 53 miles (86 km)
It’s a road trip for braver drivers. Navigating the hairpin bends and various twists and turns of the Wayanad Ghat Road can be a nerve-wracking experience. However, hardy travelers are rewarded with the most spectacular scenery. The route cuts through lush green forests, mountain passes, and historic tea plantations.
Kerala is a tropical paradise for visitors, with almost 600 km of Arabian Sea coastline and jungle-rich mountains inland. This tropical color palette pays tribute to the verdant colors of this part of the world. It’s filled with jungle green, chartreuse, and pastel lime.
4. Southern Utah National Park Circuit, USA, 475 miles (764 km)
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Starting at Dead Horse Point, this interweaving network of desert highways takes starry-eyed roadtrippers through alien-like landscapes, complete with red rock pillars, hidden canyons, and blooming cacti. You’ll find yourself in Zion National Park, famous for its red rock cliffs and spectacular hanging garden, 500 miles later.
Southern Utah’s otherworldly landscape is defined by an almost permanent coral glow, due to the iron-rich rock of the region and exaggerated further by low sun at dawn and dusk. This desert color scheme will bring sunset hues to your projects, with coral and fiery red orange being tempered by softer purple and pink.
5. Pacific Coast Highway, USA, 1650 miles (2655 km)
While many road trippers take a condensed route through California from Los Angeles northwards to San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway offers one of the longest and most environmentally diverse road trips in the world. Its drivers start at the top of the USA in Washington State and drive south, close to the Mexican border at San Diego. One of the highlights of this route is the epic coastal scenery of Big Sur, which boasts dramatic cliff-lined beaches and rugged redwood forests.
No doubt you’ll be wanting to wear trusty, all-American denim for this road trip of a lifetime. Pack your Levi jeans, sturdy hiking boots, and make sure to stop to take in the monumental bridges that allow this route to weave across mountain passes. For this color palette, we’re looking to chambray blue and orange red for a fresh, coastal scheme.
6. The Garden Route, South Africa, 124 miles (200 km)
Stretching between Mossel Bay and Storm River on the very southernmost tip of the African continent, South Africa’s Garden Route winds around rugged cliffs overlooking the Indian Ocean, offering plenty of pitstops at historic towns and beautiful vineyards. Stop for a bite to eat (from a traditional braai barbeque) overlooking beaches brimming with wildlife, including African penguins and Cape fur seals.
This South African-inspired color palette looks to the iconic spruce green and golden yellow of the South African rugby team, the iconic Springboks, as well as crisp off-white and the vibrant pink of the country’s beautiful protea flower.
7. Atlantic Road, Norway, 69 miles (111 km)
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If you’re looking for drama, there’s no road trip that offers views quite as mighty as Norway’s Atlantic Road. Beautifully maintained highways lead travelers from the city of Molde towards the Gjemnessundbrua suspension bridge. Summer is the best season to traverse these dramatic roads, with the “floating” Storseisundet bridge being battered with coastal weather during the winter months. Skipping across the islands of Norway’s archipelago, this is perhaps the ultimate coastal road trip for fans of breathtaking ocean views.
Outdoorsy road trippers will love the Atlantic Road for its vast scenery and mountain backdrops. Transport your designs to this Northern part of the world with a crisp, nature-inspired summer color palette of leaf green, scarlet red, and dove gray.
8. The Carretera Austral, Chile, 770 miles (1240 km)
For a rugged road trip that takes you well and truly off the beaten path, look no further than the Carretera Austral route (Chile’s Southern Highway, Route 7). A long road that traces its way through prehistoric landscapes, this is a road trip for true adventure-seekers who want to escape the crowds and delve whole-heartedly into the best that wild nature has to offer. Visit the area in late spring or early autumn to avoid the highest summer temperatures.
Patagonia is a place of astonishing beauty, with wide valleys, tall mountain ranges, and even desert dunes. This color palette is inspired by the diversity of Chile’s natural environment. Its desert tones of coral orange and amber yellow contrast against cooler, mountain-inspired hues of pale mauve and turquoise blue.
9. Blue Ridge Parkway, USA, 469 miles (755 km)
Towards the end of the summer, discover a world of beautiful autumnal colors by taking a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This route crosses the vast, breathtaking forests of Virginia and North Carolina. Taking lucky visitors through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the States, the road links Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, resulting in miles of simply stunning and unspoiled scenery.
10. The Great Ocean Road, Australia, 340 miles (550 km)
For vast sandy beaches and the best of Australia’s wildlife, take a looping route from Melbourne south towards the quaint beach town of Torquay. Continue towards the 12 Apostles, limestone sea stacks that dramatically appear from the water along this beautiful stretch of coastline, before heading inland back to Melbourne, stopping at Otway National Park for forest bathing and wildlife watching.
Lovers of sea, sand, and nature won’t be disappointed by this unique part of the world. Bring a touch of Australian sunshine to your design projects with this cheering palette of orange red, jaffa orange, limestone, and aqua green.
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