The American road trip is an iconic experience that has been celebrated in literature, music, and film for decades. With its vast and varied landscapes, the United States offers an endless array of stunning drives that showcase the very best of the country’s natural beauty and cultural richness. Whether you’re an avid explorer or just looking for a new adventure, there’s no better way to discover America than by taking a road trip. Here are the top five USA road trips that should be on your bucket list.
1. Pacific Coast Highway: California
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most scenic routes in the world, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged coastline of California. Starting in San Francisco, the route takes you south through Big Sur, where you’ll see towering redwood trees, rocky cliffs, and stunning beaches. The drive ends in Los Angeles, where you can explore the city’s vibrant culture and nightlife.
2. Route 66: Illinois to California
Route 66 is the quintessential American road trip, stretching over 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica. Although the historic highway was decommissioned in 1985, many parts of it are still accessible, allowing you to experience the nostalgia of the golden age of travel. Highlights include the Cadillac Ranch in Texas, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, and the Santa Monica Pier in California.
3. Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia to North Carolina
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic drive that winds through the Appalachian Mountains, offering stunning views of the rolling hills, forests, and valleys. The route starts in Virginia and ends in North Carolina, passing through iconic landmarks such as the Shenandoah National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the Pisgah National Forest.
4. Great River Road: Minnesota to Louisiana
The Great River Road is a 3,000-mile drive that follows the Mississippi River from its source in Minnesota to its mouth in Louisiana. Along the way, you’ll experience the rich history, culture, and natural beauty of the region, passing through charming towns, scenic landscapes, and historic sites. Highlights include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the French Quarter in New Orleans, and the Great River Bluffs State Park in Minnesota.
5. Florida Keys: Miami to Key West
The Florida Keys stretch for 120 miles from Miami to Key West, offering a scenic drive through a tropical paradise. The route takes you over a series of bridges and causeways, passing through quaint towns, turquoise waters, and white sandy beaches. Highlights include the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the Hemingway Home and Museum, and the southernmost point of the continental United States.
When planning a road trip, it’s important to consider the length of the drive, the time of year, and the attractions you want to see along the way. Be sure to pack plenty of snacks, water, and sunscreen, and make sure your car is in good condition before hitting the road. With these tips and the top five USA road trips, you’ll be well on your way to discovering the best of America.