11 US road trips you should add to your bucket list
With such vast and varied landscapes in the US, the only way to cover a variety of them is by car. Enjoy the stunning scenery of the iconic Route 66, marvel at the Tail of the Dragon Highway and cruise through the great US of A.
Known as the Mother Road of America, Route 66 journeys for more than 2,000 miles of pure Americana. This historic route, built in the 1920s, travels from Chicago Illinois to Los Angeles California and crosses the states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. See the heart and soul of the country from your car window and explore beautiful beaches in Santa Monica, the expansive Grand Canyon and the delicious restaurants that are all situated along this route.
California’s Pacific Coast Highway
The twisting, cliff-hugging route of the Pacific Coast Highway runs 458 miles along the central California coast from San Francisco to Los Angeles and is one of the most exhilarating road trips in the US. It takes around six hours to drive from start to finish. While a portion of the Big Sur Highway is currently closed, you can still get a taste by driving down the coastal road as far as Point Lobos Natural Reserve, where adorable wild sea otters sometimes frolic. Doubling back and take Highway 101 inland for sensational winetasting in the Salinas Valley before rejoining the ocean road at Cambria.
Get ready for beautiful scenery overload on the Overseas Highway. The Highway 1 route from mainland Florida to Key West travels for 113 miles past expansive turquoise waters dotted with distant sandy islands. The concrete stretches of this magnificent route are punctuated by classic American gift shops and burger stands serving up cholesterol-bursting milkshakes to break up the long journey.
State Route 12
Also known as Scenic Byway 12, it’s frequently regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. State Route 12 winds from west to east for 122 miles, located in the Garfield and Wayne Counties of Utah. The highway starts south of Panguitch, passing through part of the Dixie National Forest, and going over the Escalante River. With its limestone network of turrets and spires, the natural cathedral that is the Red Canyon is also along Route 12, which eventually ends in Torrey, just five miles from Capitol Reef National Park. Driving past retro, rusty signs and baron lands, this route is the perfect trip through time back to old America.
Now designated as an American Scenic Byway, the 34.5 mile long Kancamagus Highway in Northern New Hampshire will not disappoint. Venture through the epic White Mountain National Forest, with views of the Swift River, Sabbaday Falls and Rocky George. Drive Kancumagus in Autumn time and see New England Fall in all its orange and red glory – the highway passes some of the best views of New Hampshire’s famous Fall foliage.
Positioned 10,947 feet above sea level, near to the magnificent Yellowstone National Park, it’s unsurprising Beartooth Highway is frequently described as the most beautiful drive in America. Located on a section of U.S. Route 212 in Montana and Wyoming, Beartooth cuts through the Custer and Shoshone national forests, and it’s the stunning greenery of these woodlands that makes this route so special. The pass is usually only open from mid-May to mid-October due to the heavy snowfall in the winter months.
Delaware Water Gap Road Trip
Take a road trip along the Delaware River. The surrounding 67,000-acre forest at the National Recreation Centre is full of flowing waterfalls that deliver the ultimate scenic route. But it’s the Delaware Water Gap, a deep cleft carved by the river into the solid surrounding rock, which is undisputedly the most beautiful sight of this drive. The route round this beauty spot stretches for 35-miles south on the I-84 freeway in Oregon, Utah.
Based in the heart of the magnificent Massachusetts state, Route 6 connects Rhode Island to Fall River, New Bedford and Cape Cod. Also known as the Mid-Cape Highway, Route 6 takes you all the way to California and runs 3,652 miles long and is the longest contiguous transcontinental route in the USA jutting across fourteen states.
Tail of the Dragon
Bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, the Tail of the Dragon route has no intersecting roads or driveways to distract your travel. It’s just you and the open road. With 318 curving roads, totaling 11 miles, the Tail of the Dragon is America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road. Hire the sports car of your dreams and cruise down the famous open roads for as long as your heart desires.
Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway
Journeying through Utah and Colorado for 512 miles, the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway forms a diamond shape with the four highest points at Moab, Helper, Vernal and Grand Junction, which include some of the best National Parks in the country. With the Dinosaur National Monument, the Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado National Monument all on this route, this trip offers a stunning prehistoric adventure through time.
The Blues Highway
Starting in ‘Music City’ Nashville, traversing through birthplace of rock and roll, Memphis, blues haven Mississippi and the cradle of jazz, New Orleans, this 630-mile journey traverses rural, romantic roads straight through the heart of the Deep South. As well as classic vinyl shops and stellar Southern cuisine you’ll find the funkiest soundtrack in the States; from jazz in NOLA’s hip Bywater area to the harmonica-strains of up-and-coming talent in Memphis’ juke joints.
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