USA – Road tripping: My top five

scenic-road

There’s something about road tripping that just screams USA to me. Americans sure do love their cars and they’ve constructed an impressive network of interstates, highways and byways to support their rev-head habit. Here are my top five picks for hitting the road around the United States.

Pacific Coast Highway

Offering unbeatable views of the Pacific Ocean, California’s Highway 1 is my number one choice for an American road trip. For the true beginning-to-end route, start in Laguna Beach just south of Los Angeles and follow the winding road all the way up the coast to Drive-Thru Tree Park, where you can literally drive through giant sequoia trees. The complete drive takes about 20 hours, so plan ahead with overnight stop in Santa Barbara, Monterey (where you should definitely check out the world-famous aquarium) and San Francisco. If you can swing it, take some extra time to make sure you stop at the many rest areas and admire the view along the way.

San Diego to Grand Canyon

While you’re in California, you’ll probably want to head across the state border to Nevada to check out glittering Las Vegas. Why not add some natural beauty, camping and hiking to the trip with a detour through breathtaking Joshua Tree National Park? And since you’ll be so close, extend your drive to include the Grand Canyon – the ultimate desert road trip.

New England in the fall

For a taste of the east coast, start in New York in autumn and prepare to irritate some locals by driving as slowly as possible north while you take in the dazzling array of red, orange and yellow leaves on the trees as they turn. Take your time through Rhode Island and stop at Boston along the way, before taking in the scenery of rural New Hampshire and Maine as you make your way closer to Canada. Just make sure you’re out of there by first frost. Aussie dispositions are no match for New England winters.

Nashville to Miami

For something a bit warmer and with a southern drawl, start in Nashville, the home of country music, and head down the I-24 towards Chattanooga. Then jump on the I-75 towards Atlanta, where I would recommend an overnight stay or two to soak up some good old southern hospitality (and an obligatory peach pie). Keep on heading south through rural Georgia, where you might experience a whole fried catfish and drink sweet tea from a recycled jam jar in your pick of roadside restaurants. Stop in Orlando if theme parks are your thing and wind up in sunny Miami, where you can don a tacky shirt and sip some tropical cocktails while you relax on the beach. 

Route 66

Immortalised in song, among other pieces of nostalgia, Route 66 will always live on as the ultimate US road trip (even though it doesn’t actually exist anymore). Officially removed from the US highway system in 1985, Route 66 is returning to some maps as ‘Historic Route 66’ – Pulaski County, Missouri, provides a local history and route map on its website. For the closest thing possible to the full experience, start in Chicago and follow the I-55 south to St Louis, where you’ll transfer to the I-44, using exit 169 to follow the Pulaski County map of the original route.

Rejoin the interstate to continue to Oklahoma City, where you’ll hop on the I-40 to Amarillo, Texas. While in the area, check out Cadillac Ranch – definitely worth a stopover for the snapshot value. From there, continue on the I-40 through New Mexico and Arizona, following signs all the way through California to journey’s end in Santa Monica. To guarantee a really authentic experience, stop overnight in small towns with the bare minimum of hotel and restaurant chains. (Hint: you might have to exit the interstate to find the true charm).

Whether you choose a few nights or a couple of weeks in the USA, a good old-fashioned American road trip can be just what the doctor ordered to cure your travel bug.

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