The United States of America, with its long interstate highways, desolate truck stops, roadside diners serving cheeseburgers and cherry pie, and achingly beautiful and diverse terrain, is surely the quintessential location for a road trip. Exploring this huge country, so full of crazy contradictions, by road is a true bucket list experience, and possibly the most fun you can have on four wheels!
Between this great nation’s four famous corners and their well-known megacities, is a vast and eclectic landmass generously sprinkled with an infinity of bizarre, brilliant, and beautiful sights, sounds, and people that it is almost impossible to ever encounter without firing up that old convertible Cadillac (or hiring an SUV from Hertz) and taking to the road.
An American road trip will supply you with so many amazing photo-ops that you’ll most probably wear out your trusty old iPhone and need to bring a few back-ups. That’s to say nothing of the repetitive strain injury your fingers may suffer from the endless snap, snap, snapping! But the wear and tear of body and phone will be well worth it, with the memories of your American road trip dancing around your mind for many lifetimes.
So sit back, buckle up, relax, and enjoy our list of six classic American road trips. Don’t forget to make note of the routes that most grab your imagination in your BUCKiTDREAM planner. Beep beep!
Travel the Length Of California On State Route 1 This route runs along the Pacific coast from Leggett, in northern California’s redwood country (which is home to some of the oldest and tallest trees on earth), down to Dana Point, just north of San Diego in southern Orange County.
It takes in many amazing California sights and locations, including the rugged and wildly beautiful Point Reyes National Seashore, San Francisco, Big Sur, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara wine country, Malibu, Santa Monica, and Long Beach. The route bypasses Los Angeles, but going off-piste and dipping into the City of Angels for a few hours – or days – is always an option.
Route 1 is 745 miles long and hugs the Pacific coast for most of those miles, so to say it is scenic would be quite the understatement!
Get Your Kicks On Route 66! U.S. Route 66 is the most famous highway in all of America. It has ignited the imaginations of writers, artists, wandering dreamers, and songwriters for generations. And it is one hell of a long road! As the old song goes;
“Well it goes to St. Louis,
down to Missouri,
Oklahoma City looks oh so pretty.
You’ll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico,
don’t forget Winona.
Kingman! Barstow! San Bernardino!”
‘The Main Street of America’ was established in 1926 and originally ran the 2,448 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica. Over the years, parts of the route have been replaced by newer state and local roads. These unused stretches of Route 66 are largely abandoned and have been swallowed up by grass and weeds.
Much of the original highway is now split into a series of discontinuous ‘historic’ byways. However, Some long stretches of the original road remain open. The 320-mile south-western Arizona section, which runs from the Petrified Forest, via Winslow (home to the the famous La Posada hotel, where U.S. 66 meets the Santa Fe railroad) and Flagstaff, to Kingman is a wonderful stretch of highway that has surely influenced and ignited the imagination of Quentin Tarantino.
A road trip on Route 66 is still a viable adventure; you’ll just need to detour onto other roads from time to time if you wanna make it across the country!
Follow the Great Mississippi River On the Blues Highway Out Of New Orleans U.S. Route 61 runs north-south between New Orleans, Louisiana, and the city of Wyoming, Minnesota, and is better known as the ‘Blues Highway’.
Its nickname is in honor of the region’s rich musical heritage, and the Great Migration, which happened between 1910 and 1970, when 6 million African-Americans left the Mississippi Delta and traveled north to find a better life in the urban north, many of whom used this famous old highway.
The route generally follows the course of the Mississippi River and runs for 1,400 miles from New Orleans, through Memphis, Tennessee, St. Louis, Missouri, and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Legend has it that the great blues guitarist Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads on the Blues Highway, so if you have reached a plateau in your guitar-playing skills, this is the place to come!
Trace Florida’s Atlantic Coast On Highway A1A Running north-south along Florida’s spectacular Atlantic coast, from Fernandina Beach in the north to Key West in the south, is the A1A. It is known for its majestic ocean vistas and lush tropical scenery.
Most of the highway runs directly along the waterfront of the Atlantic Ocean. The route takes in Jacksonville, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars (and their famous Everbank Field, which is one of the only NFL stadiums located in the downtown area of a city), Daytona Beach and its classic American beachside carnival, Satellite Beach.
Remember to pack your boardies, as you’ll be passing the super-exclusive beachside community of Jupiter Island, as well as Fort Lauderdale, and Miami Beach.
Cut Right Across the Country On a Coast-To-Coast Road Trip There a several different options for getting across the entire country. The longest road in the nation is U.S. Route 20, which runs the 3,365 miles between Newport, Oregon and Boston, Massachusetts, and is broken by Yellowstone National Park.
To the north of Route 20 is the 3,101-mile Interstate 90 from Seattle to Boston, and to the south is the 3,205-mile U.S. Route 6 from Bishop, California, to Provincetown, Massachusetts. All of these roads are fast, and largely straight lines that cut through the country, bypassing cities and towns.
U.S. Route 30 runs from Oregon to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and incorporates large sections of the Lincoln Highway that passes some famous sites including the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada, and Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin in Illinois. Interstate 10, from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida is the most southern route and a good option for a winter road trip.
Drive Amongst the Ancient Fossils On the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway This loop takes in western Colorado and eastern Utah on I-70, US 40, 191, Utah 128, and Colorado 139 and 64. It’s 480 miles long, and takes three to four days to complete. The terrain on the route is arid, stark and red.
You’ll pass red-rock canyons, weird and wonderful rock formations, and rivers gushing through arid, high plains. There are also lots of dinosaur fossils and footprints, dating back 150 million years, to check out along the way.
This route is a must-see for dinosaur fans and lovers of red-rock climbing.
That was our list of six of the best American road trips. So whether you are breathing in the crisp, clean ocean air on California’s State Route 1 or Florida’s Highway A1A, selling your soul to Satan for some extra guitar chops on the Blues Highway, or exploring the fossil-filled canyons of Utah and Colorado on the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, make sure to post your American road trip impressions on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!