The Top 5 Road Trips in America
The United States is one of the most diverse countries in the world, and while you can easily wake up in New York and be eating lunch in Hollywood before lunch, there is a whole lot in between to see along the way. Each region of the states offer unique cultures, foods, hobbies and traditions. While a road trip in America might not be on the top of your list, we think it should be, and after all the times we have criss crossed the states over the years we have compiled our list of the top 5 road trips in America.
Pacific Coast Highway – California
Marina and I wouldn’t be true Californians (ok, I’m a transplant) without putting a road trip to California first. You would be hard pressed to find a more beautiful ocean side drive that heading along the Pacific Coast Highway (US Route 1) from San Diego to San Francisco. While you might have to navigate the busy streets of Los Angeles, there are huge sections of the PCH which are absolutely stunning, nature filled and fairly remote. The busy 5 freeway makes its way from Southern California to San Francisco, but why drive through the middle of the hot desert when you can enjoy the cool ocean breezes of the pacific ocean through amazing sections of Malibu, Santa Barbara and all the way up to Big Sur.
Portland to the Boarder – Oregon/Washington
One of our favorite recent trips was a week exploring the pacific north west. Only a few hours north of our first road trip, Oregon and Washington State are a completely different vibe and leaves tons to be discovered including almost never ending outdoor activities and sights, no matter what time of year you visit. We would suggest starting in Portland, one of our favorite cities in America. While you might be drawn to stay in Portland by the laid back, creative and quirky locals, force yourself away from the amazing microbrews and head north to Seattle through some of the most beautiful highway in America. Make sure to stop off at the beautiful Multnomah Falls and at least get out and walk off all those donuts from Voo Doo Donuts you ate in Portland. Then head up through Seattle, stop for an amazing dinner at the rotating restaurant atop the space needle and continue right on up to the Canadian border.
.The Carolinas and Beyond
Heading to the East Coast of the United States, start your trip in Washington DC and head down south towards Georgia. While a few days in DC will provide a great history lesson and all you wanted to know about the early US, you can drive south through Richmond, VA and then into the beautiful Blue Ridge parkway through the Carolinas and end in Savannah, Georgia. There is something special about this area of the states and an energy that few can explain. The people are warm, friendly and honest, the scenery wooden, mystical and exciting and the food is fantastic. So head south, get lost, travel the Blue Ridge parkway, go hiking, drink some moonshine and let go of all your worries, this part of the US has a lot to offer.
One of the most tropical and postcard worthy areas of the United States lays in the far southern tip of Florida as the keys, a set of small islands, are sprinkled gently off the southern tip of Florida, the first starting about 15 miles south of Miami and the last, Key West, laying only 90 miles from Cuba. While not the most popular road trip, and certainly not on the way to anything, a trip through the Florida keys is absolutely gorgeous and well worth a side trip if you are in the area. If you are in nearby Miami for a holiday, think about renting a car for a couple days and getting lost amidst the white sandy beaches of the Florida keys. Just make sure to bring all the sunscreen you can find and good tunes for that fun convertible you rented for the trip.
East to West
While it doesn’t really matter if you go east to west or vice versa, the ultimate road trip in America is going from coast to coast, the entire length of the States. While it can be done in as little as 36 hours if you have lost your mind, have enough drivers to constantly switch and enough Redbull to feed an army, the drive is so beautiful that we’ve done it in as long as 2-3 weeks with plenty to see along the way. When it comes to driving from New York to Los Angeles, there are two main routes to take, the northern and southern routes. One of the most amazing things that makes this the end all be all road trip in America as the fact that you are able to see the entire country change and transform from the tall sky scrappers of New York City, through the plains of the mid west, the mountain peaks of Colorado and all the way to the classic California coast.
While there are loads of routes to make the trip we suggest the old Route 1. While there are few portions of Route 1 which you still drive on because as soon as the highways were built, they were constructed slightly away from the old Route 1, which leaves many sections almost perfectly preserved, deserted and silent. Old gas stations, neighborhoods and cafes dot the landscape where the old Route 1 used to be. Make sure if you take this route from New York to California that you make a point to get off the free way, away from the strip malls and fast food chains and onto the old route and take your time driving around. My favorite little town is Seligman, Arizona, a town which is almost exactly as it was decades ago. We recommend going east to west as you get to finish Rout 1 right at the famous Santa Monica pier and look out into the massive Pacific Ocean, an ocean you have just driven thousands of miles to see!
.H . Jeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at email@example.com and they’ll respond super fast!