No matter where you live in the giant landscape that is the United States of America, the promise of the open road is abundant, making it the perfect place to go on that road trip you’ve always dreamed of. You could discover a new part of the country you’ve never seen before, re-experience the place you grew up, or seek out historic landmarks that never cease to amaze.
Whichever route you take, as long as you have the road trip essentials (travel buddies, plenty of tunes, even more snacks and, of course, a car) you can’t have a bad time driving these five awe-inspiring road trips. Just as the old saying goes, life is about the journey, not the destination.
An Oldie, But a Goodie
A classic we just simply couldn’t ignore. If you've never experienced driving up the Pacific Coast Highway’s 659 miles of sunbathing elephant seals, dramatic cliffs covered in wildflowers, and some of the United States’ most iconic and beautiful California cities, then this is a trip you should make time for, at least once.
Start from sunny Santa Monica, and move your way up the coast of California through Malibu, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, and end your journey in San Francisco, overlooking Golden Gate State Park. There’s plenty of adventure to be had along the way or just enjoy your time soaking up the sun, gazing across the ocean and stopping to smell the golden poppies.
An Up-Close History Lesson
When was the last time you took an American history course? Regardless if it was last year or 50 years ago, seeing and experiencing history is a lot more interesting than reading about it in a textbook. Cue the east coast road trip! Most of what touches the Atlantic ocean is a part of the original 13 colonies that began what we now know as the United States, and with that comes an abundance of museums, important historical land markers and the epicenter of American politics. Begin in Massachusetts with a history lesson at the Boston Common, and make your way down to the city that never sleeps to see Ellis Island, Central Park and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you’ve got the gumption, extend your trip to include the endless streets of Washington D.C. and truly immerse yourself in the history of the United States, or take the scenic route down through Virginia and North/South Carolina to a well-deserved break on the shores of Myrtle Beach. However far you choose to go is up to you, but make sure to pack extra snacks, just in case.
Don’t Call this Flyover Country!
Take the road trip-less-traveled and slow down with a drive through America’s “flyover country”--the Midwest. It may not have pristine white-sand beaches, but it has plenty of friendly characters (and fields of corn) to make up for it. Start in the windiest of cities, Chicago, and snap a picture with what Midwest locals call “the bean”, otherwise known as the silver sculpture, in Millennium Park, before sliding up North to the “Waterpark Capital of the World”, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Head across Minnesota to Le Mars, Iowa, the “Ice Cream Capital of the World”, home of Blue Bunny ice cream, before venturing down to Missouri to unwind at the postcard-perfect Lake of the Ozarks with a canoe. Between the cow-covered fields, stop at a few small towns and strike up a conversation with the locals, or stop for an Instagram-worthy photo with the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball.
Bring the Heat (and ALL the BBQ)
A road trip through the South is filled with vibrant culture, rich history, and plenty of home-cooked food and savory flavors to explore. Turn up the A/C, trust us, you’ll need it, and hit the road. Start in Nashville, Tennessee and discover the Home of Country’s neon-lined streets before heading down to New Orleans to indulge in fluffy Beignets and lively jazz clubs. Next, travel next to Louisiana’s neighbor to the West - Texas. Drive through Dallas for the beautiful skyline and Austin for breakfast tacos on the Capitol building steps. While you’re there, try the best BBQ you could ever have; Texas BBQ. We know you can get BBQ all over the South, but we’re a little biased towards Texas BBQ as the best (we can’t help it, we live here!). If you’re brave enough to drive across all 660 miles of the Lone Star State, head through New Mexico to grab some delicious Hatch chiles, or on to Arizona to witness one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon.
Try a Little of Everything
Maybe you don’t want to limit yourself to just the Midwest, or the South or the Golden Coast. If you want a taste of everything and have the spirit to adventure across the United States, Route 66 might be the perfect route for you. The historic route beings in Chicago, Illinois, and snakes Southwest through the great plains of Missouri and Kansas, before touching the corner of Texas and hitting the best cities New Mexico has to offer. If you’re not tired yet, the warm deserts of Arizona will lead you to your final stop: Santa Monica, California.