From driving the Pacific Coast Highway to exploring the iconic Route 66, many travellers dream of taking a great American road trip.
Books, films and music have all charted the magic of driving the open road of America’s vast landscapes – and truly, exploring by car is one of the most practical ways to travel through this part of the world.
With the freedom to set your own schedule and nothing but miles of empty road and stunning scenery to keep you company, a road trip through the country can be a truly special – and surprisingly inexpensive – experience.
Ready to tick this one off your bucket list? Here’s a few of our favourite routes to help get you started.
Route 66 needs no introduction; it’s the symbol of the American road trip and one of the most iconic routes anywhere in the world. When first built in 1926, Route 66 connected Santa Monica, California, on the West Coast with Chicago, Illinois on the East Coast. Officially, Route 66 no longer exists; as roads modernised it was changed and absorbed into a more sophisticated roads network. A great deal of the original route however is still able to be driven, where you can get a sense of the vastness of the country as you cross through eight states on the 2,400 mile journey from coast to coast. Find an overview of some of the best stops from National Geographic as well as a map itinerary from the Visit The USA tourism website.
The Pacific Coast Highway
If Route 66 is a distance more than you’re willing to travel, the Pacific Coast Highway – also known as California State Route 1 – will take you along the stunning Pacific Coast between Dana Point and Leggett in California. Along the way you get a bit of everything; staggering ocean views, awe-inspiring redwood forests, vibrant towns and of course, the bright lights of Hollywood. During the summer great weather and long hours of daylight mean you can travel at your leisure. In winter, it’s best to start in northern California and work your way south down the coast.
Scenic Route 100 Byway
Vermont is one of the most beautiful states in the country, and has some incredible drives worth doing, particularly in the fall when the leaves change colour. The Scenic Route 100 Byway is an 138-mile trek that takes you through 20 picturesque towns in south-central Vermont, past the eastern edge of the famous Green Mountains.
The Blues Highway
Route 61 is the place for music-lovers. The historic route goes from Nashville, Tennessee to New Orleans, Louisiana and takes you past some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Southern United States. You can see the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, trace Elvis’s steps in Memphis and then soak in the eclectic mix of French, Spanish, Cubin and Creole culture that converges on the vibrant streets of New Orleans.
Have you ever wanted to do a great American road trip? Where are your top destinations? Let us know in the comments below!