The open road, the purr of the engine and the wind in your face; there are few experiences that spell freedom the way road trips do. America is peppered with famous trails ideal for road trips all across the continent, be it the west coast, the famous Highway 66 or the Rocky Mountains. A good road trip is built around a theme or some historical or cultural significance of the trail. It can also be a stretch of the most scenic spots or adventurous terrain. Based on these factors, here is our pick of the 10 best road trips across the U.S.
1. The Historic Route 66
It’s a tall order and can take several days, but the Historic Route 66 that runs from Chicago to Santa Monica, California is undoubtedly the best road trip you can venture on. Making its way into several pop culture references including Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, Route 66 is one of the oldest highways in the U.S. and connects several iconic locations. They don’t call this route the ‘Mother Road’ for nothing!
2. The Extraterrestrial Highway
For paranormal and alien enthusiasts, the Nevada State Highway 375, also called the Extraterrestrial Highway is a gold mine. The desolate route is infamous for the large number of alleged UFO sightings and includes famous landmarks like The Black Mailbox, Area 51 and the Alien Research Center. There are also plenty of alien themed restaurants, cafes, inns and resorts along the stretch.
3. The Big Sur, California
Running 120 miles along the Pacific Coast Highway from Carmel to Morrow Bay in California, the Big Sur is the ideal route for motorcycle enthusiasts. The twisty sea-sprayed road is covered with blue beaches, steep cliffs and giant red wood trees. But do be careful in the summers when the roads fog up significantly.
4. The Florida Keys: Highway 1
The drive along US highway 1 in Florida is skirted on both sides by beautiful water bodies. With the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Atlantic coast on the other, the drive to the scenic Florida Keys is a brilliant short drive.
5. The Blues Highway
Named because of the great migration of African Americans in the earliest 20th century, the US route 61 is the epitome of the musical revolution that is the Blues. A must visit spot is the crossroads of Highway 61 and 44 that gives rise to the famous Crossroads legend from Blues history.
6. US Route 129: The Tail of the Dragon
This is another one for motorcycle enthusiasts. With some of the tightest corners and twists along the mountains of North Carolina, route 129 is a highly exhilarating road trip. Trucks are not allowed on the highway which means you can sit back and let it rip!
7. Route 17
Also called Monument Valley, this is a small stretch with some massive views. The route skirts the Grand Canyon and provides a view that’s straight out of a classic Western movie. You could even hire a four-wheel-drive and drive along the bottom of the canyon here.
8. Black River Byway
Cutting through the Ottawa Forest Reserve in upstate Michigan, the Black River Byway is a short stretch with plenty of distractions like hiking spots, ski resorts and waterfalls to keep you occupied.
9. Hana Highway, Hawaii
Running along the island of Maui, the Hana highway is notable for the sheer contrast in terrain. Be it tropical rain forests, beaches, cliffs or ravines, the highway offers an all in one road trip experience.
10. San Juan to Dorado, Puerto Rico
The peripheral highway of Puerto Rico is a road trip with countless activities in store. Be it sailing, kayaking or surfing, they have it all. A must visit is the bioluminescent bay at Fajardo, a rare glow in the dark beach.
The perfect road trip comes down to perfect planning. Prepare for the long distances up ahead by packing snacks and beverages. Make sure you carry the appropriate travel gear to take advantages of the outdoor activities along your desired route.