America is a country renowned for its great road trips. However, being such a large country and with so many roads to choose from, deciding which route to take can be a difficult task. The following list should serve to make your decision a lot easier, if and when you do decide to hit the open road.
10. Cape Cod – Massachusetts
After a difficult decider between the Cape and Red Rock country in Arizona, the Cod just pipped it as I felt it presented a better overview of Road Trips across America. This 160 mile (257km) circuit of Cape Cod is the definitive road trip around the New England Coast and is full of natural beauty as well as enveloping much of the spirit of the Cape. You will be treated to Provincetown, dunes and beaches and even the world famous clam and lobster shacks along your journey.
9. Oregon -Columbia River Highway
As the first highway in the USA to be labelled a National Historic Landmark it’s only fitting that Columbia River Highway makes the Top 10 list. At 75 mile (120km) this route is perfect for a slow, scenic drive as it has you alongside the river throughout, passing through forests and vast areas of countryside and even waterfalls.
8. Minnesota – North Shore Drive
A joy for those who love the great outdoors, at 154.0 mi (247.8 km) is a glorious three hour drive following the North shore of Lake Superior, going through eight state parks, including Cascade River State Park and the Superior National Forest.
7. Arizona – Dine’ Tahs scenic route
Dine’ Tah Scenic Route is a driving experience through Arizona unlike any other as Dinétah is the traditional homeland of the Navajo tribe of Native American Indians. Encounter early man along the way (and early America) like never before. This 100 mile road trip which crosses into New Mexico will have you feeling like you have time travelled to another time in American History. If you care to stop driving, there are all manner of historical artefacts from the Navajo people as well as wall drawings from prehistoric man. Expect mountains, rocky deserts and canyons and don’t forget to look out for the memorable window rock at the New Mexico border.
6. Florida Keys
One of America’s great drives and perfect for the summer road tripper, this 127.5-mile (205.2 km) route from Florida to Key West combines the beauty of Florida’s natural surroundings with man’s engineering genius. The bridge system stretches out for miles across the sea as you hop from island to island across over 40 bridges and there are many fantastic scuba stops along the way. In more ways than one the full splendour of the sea can be appreciated on this road trip, with the gulf to one side of you and the Atlantic Ocean on the other for large portions of this journey.
5. Colorado – San Juan Highway
For those seeking adventure, this 236 mile loop starting and ending at Durango Colorado is one of America’s essential driving experiences. Along this Colorado scenic and historic byway there are many fascinating sights to be enjoyed, as it passes through everything from mountains to forests to deserted mining communities from the gold rush. If you’re into Westerns, many of the towns along this route have that feel to them, particularly Ridgeway were they filmed True Grit. Buckle up as this is edge of your seat stuff, expect steep, windy and even narrow roads around the Colorado Mountains, particularly at Red Mountain pass.
4. Going to the Sun Road – Montana
If you enjoy mountain scenery this could be perfect road trip for you. Although it is fairly short road at 50 miles (at just over 2 hours) the views are incredible. Splitting half of the Glacier National park, this journey will treat you to some of the best sights in North-West Montana including many waterfalls along the route. Take in the beauty and calm by stopping at Logan’s pass and for the even more adventurous hike to the serene Hidden Lake overlook.
3. Seward Highway – Alaska
Another All American Road and at 127 miles (204km), this highway runs from Anchorage to Seward and highlights the beauty of Alaska and is a truly breath taking visual experience. Starting in Alaska’s largest city and by the sea, the route goes south with the route passing through the mountains and eventually back to the sea at the harbour town of Seward. With multiple nature stop offs, much of Alaska’s native wildlife can be enjoyed as you make your way to Seward, from Black Bears to Eagles. At resurrection Bay, the final straight of the journey, you are rewarded for all your efforts with the possibility of sighting of all manner of sea creatures from otters to seals, orcas to even humpback whales.
2. California State Route 1 (Big Sur)
At over 655.843 miles (1,055.477 km), this California State Route takes you all the way up (or down) the West coast, running across most of the Pacific coastline of California. This epic road trip takes you through both Los Angeles and San Francisco and even over the Golden Gate Bridge. The Big Sur section is the jewel in the crown though, renowned for its beauty, and so popular over the years that it now an official National Scenic Byway. With rocky beaches and clear blue sea on one side and the sight of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the other, this is arguably the best road trip on the West Coast.
1. Route 66
As the route that was made universally famous by the epic, road trip movie Easy Rider, no Top Ten list would be complete without it. Although Route 66 is technically no more, following much of this legendary route can still be achieved. It’s worth it as not only does this classic road allow you to travel across a large portion of America but you also feel like you’re part of film history. Luckily, large sections of the famous route remain intact, such as through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona although the route does overlap with highways and other notable routes such as US Route 40. It may not be exactly the same but it is still recognised, nowadays under its new name on maps “Historic Route 66″, in homage to its legacy as a well-known American route for road trippers. The ‘Mother Road’ may never be exactly the same as it now overlaps with different roads but that doesn’t stop the journey from still feeling like a truly epic road trip.