Road tripping across the long
expanses of highway in the United States is a bucket list item for travelers of
all nationalities. Whether it's the desert, the ocean, or the forests of the
U.S. that you want to see, chances are that there's a road that runs through
With so many miles of highway
crisscrossing America, however, how do you know which route to take?
Here are three American road
trip routes that should satisfy just about every interest:
The famous Route 66. It has a
song about it, blue jeans named after it, and a firm place in the heart of most
Americana. Sadly it doesn't exist in the way that it used to anymore. With the
building of Interstate 40, Route 66 and many of its quirky roadside attractions
fell into disuse and disrepair. You CAN still drive the length of Route 66,
though. Just don't expect nice roads or very many attractions anymore.
Starting in Chicago, you can
hit up the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, visit the Oklahoma City National
Memorial, eat giant steaks and spray-paint some cars (at the Cadillac Ranch) in
Amarillo, TX, detour in New Mexico to visit funky Santa Fe, detour again to
visit Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border, stop to see the Grand Canyon
and/or Sedona in Arizona (more detours), and end in Los Angeles by walking out
onto the Santa Monica Pier.
This is by far the most
iconic route through the United States, and will also take the longest. But
it's also one of the most customizable road trips thanks to the wealth of things
to see in the American West.
Once you're in LA, why not
pick up another great American road trip – the Pacific Coast Highway? Highway
101 runs from San Diego, California, to close to the Canadian border in
Washington state. This route is diverse – and a little wild. From the inviting
beaches of southern California to the rugged, windswept coast of Oregon, to the
dense, wild forests of western Washington, this Pacific route is unique in its embrace
of Mother Nature.
Starting in San Diego (or Los
Angeles), you can stop in Santa Barbara, check out the Golden Gate Bridge in
San Francisco, drive through the Avenue of the Giants in Redwood National Park
(or even take an extended detour to Yosemite), check out windswept capes and
Cannon Beach in Oregon, and end with an exploration of Washington's Olympic
Even though it's not on
Highway 101, you could end your trip in Seattle, on the Puget Sound.
Moving from the West Coast to
the East, the last road trip I recommend is one through the “Old South.” This
is usually defined as the East Coast states south of Maryland – states with
strong ties to America's colonial past. Not only can you get a nice dose of
U.S. history on this route, but you can also experience the country's famous
You can of course always
start in Washington, D.C. and get a taste of the present-day capital before
stepping back into history. Then visit Virginia's “Historic Triangle” (Colonial
Williamsburg, Jamestown, and the battlefields of Yorktown), check out the spot
where the Wright brothers made history with the first powered flight in North
Carolina's Outer Banks, take a carriage ride through historic Charleston, SC,
visit an antebellum plantation, and relax in the green squares of Savannah,
Georgia. You could then continue on into Florida, hitting up perhaps St.
Augustine, Cape Canaveral, and Everglades National Park before ending up in the
And along with the history,
don't forget all the delicious Southern food you'll find along this route!
Which U.S. road trip would
YOU most like to take? Tell us in the comments!
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Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
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