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Best Road Trips in the USA

The ultimate all-American road trip collection

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8 November 2021 by Debbie Mayger

There are more than 4 million miles of highway in the USA, making it prime territory to explore on a self-drive holiday, especially if you've been inspired by one of the great literary road trips of Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, Hunter S. Thompson or Bill Bryson. From the icons of California to the wilds of Alaska, from Utah's canyons to the New England coast, here's our round-up of America's classic road-trip routes, a guide to exploring all corners of the country on four wheels.

Pacific Coast Highway

Iconic California State Route 1 extends the entire length of California but the best bit is south from San Francisco, via a wealth of Spanish and colonial history to Monterey, Carmel and the Big Sur. The 90 miles from Carmel to Hearst Castle is stunning, with mountains rising out of the sea, redwood groves, rocky beaches, sealion colonies and the Pacific Ocean to distract you as you wind along the precipitous cliff road. Convertibles were made for this journey.

Explore the Pacific Coast Highway


Big Sur, USA

Route 95 – New England to Florida

This 2,500 mile route links Maine to Florida and journeys through a swathe of America's history. Go in spring or autumn to avoid the crowds and take in colonial New England, New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC before finishing in Miami. You could even tag on a road trip further south, taking in the jaw-dropping, island-connecting bridges of the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys.

Explore New England


New England coast

The Deep South

If American music is your thing, then you simply have to head to the Deep South, the home of blues, jazz and, of course, rock n' roll. From Memphis to New Orleans, this region is teeming with 20th-century icons, be it the bars of Bourbon and Beale Streets of Elvis's mansion, Gracelands. Add in some of the USA's finest food and you've got yourself a road trip to truly remember.

Explore the Deep South


Beale Street, Memphis

Hana Highway, Hawaii

The Hana Highway on the Hawaiian island of Maui is the best way to explore the island's eastern coast and get a feel for its wild beauty and laid-back towns, although this rollercoaster ride isn't for the faint hearted. Drive east from Paia for 60 miles, via some 600 hairpin bends and masses of one-lane bridges. Look out for the verdant rainforest, a trio of crashing waterfall cascades and some unusual lava formations.

Explore Hawaii


Hana Highway, Maui

Seward Highway, Alaska

Drive the 127 mile route through a section of Alaska to see some of the state's wild beauty. Start in Anchorage and set off across the Kenai Peninsula to finish on Resurrection Bay, looking out for forests, glaciers and fjords as you go. Dall sheep and beluga whales make guest appearances, meaning that there's always something to admire amidst the Alpine scenery although the bore tide that sweeps along Turnagain Arm around new or full moon is the most impressive phenomenon.

Explore Alaska


Alaska, USA

Blue Ridge Parkway

Set off into the Appalachian countryside and explore the mountains, rustic retreats and jumping bluegrass music joints hidden here as you drive more than 450 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Explore the Capital Region


Shenandoah National Park

Route 66

Synonymous with road trips, Route 66, nicknamed the Mother Road by John Steinbeck, stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles, via retro roadside attractions, traditional diners with soda fountains and historic motor courts. Although only segments of the old highway exist, it remains a venerable slice of Americana and still the best way to get your kicks while travelling through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Explore Route 66


The historic Route 66

Columbia River Highway, Oregon

The first route in the USA to be awarded the status of National Historic Landmark, this scenic route through Oregon is best enjoyed during spring, when the waterfalls are fuller and wild flowers spread along the dramatic Columbia River Gorge.

Explore Oregon


Mt Washington, Oregon

Yellowstone National Park

Driving through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, you'll get a chance to see bison, elk, wolves, moose, bears and dozens of bird species, making it an exceptionally good route along which to watch wildlife. Start in Jackson and take in Grand Teton and Jackson Lake for the ultimate excursion in this area.

Explore Yellowstone National Park


Yellowstone National Park

Canyon Country

Canyon Country, which straddles the states of Arizona, Utah and Colorado, incorporates some of the USA's most spectacular national parks. From the iconic expanses of Grand Canyon to the breathtaking desert landscapes of Monument Valley, this incredible region is nature at its most impressive. Although the distances may appear daunting, its possible, on a two-week trip, to take in not only the aforementioned Grand Canyon and Monument Valley, but also Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde and Sadona, while beginning and ending in America's ultimate Sin City, Las Vegas.

Explore Canyon Country


Bryce Canyon, Utah

Related offers

Big Sur, California

Pacific Coast Highway Tour

12-day tailor-made self-drive from £1,865 pp incl. flights

A truly iconic USA fly-drive, the Pacific Coast Highway brings you between San Francisco and Los Angeles, calling into world-class vineyards, pretty coastal towns and sweeping golden beaches.

Beale Street, Memphis, Tennessee

Rhythms of the Deep South Self-Drive

15-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,595 pp incl. flights

Discover a rich and innovative culture, history and heritage on this self-drive tour of the Deep South states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

New England Lighthouse

Discover New England

16-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,145 pp incl. flights

An ultra-scenic road trip that showcases the best of New England, from the natural splendour of its coastlines and mountains to the region's revolutionary past.

Crandon Park Beach, Miami, Florida

Miami & Florida Keys Fly-Drive Tour

11-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,120 pp incl. flights

Journey from the boardwalks and architectural splendours of Miami to the yawning archipelago of Florida Keys on this two-week road trip through the Sunshine State.

Kauai, Hawaii

Best of Hawaii’s Islands self-drive

13-day tailor-made self-drive from £5,185 pp incl. flights

Hawaii is one of the world's most romantic destinations and one of the most exhilarating, home to fiery volcanoes, vivid coral reefs and emerald rainforests. Discover it all on this tailor-made tour.

Jefferson Memorial, Washington, D.C

Washington & Capital Region Self-Drive

16-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,685 pp incl. flights

The capital and political centre of the USA, Washington DC, has risen from what was nothing more than swampland to become one of the most impressive monuments to western democracy.

Oregon, USA

Oregon Fly-Drive

12-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,150 pp incl. flights

A luxury self-drive pairing the spectacular landscapes of Crater Lake National Park and the vineyards of Oregon wine country with stays in sleepy coastal towns and the chance to explore Portland's thriving arts scene.

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66 – Great American Road Trip

18-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,565 pp incl. flights

Take a trip along Route 66, America’s most celebrated highway. inspired countless films, books and songs, from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road to Woody Guthrie’s 'The Ballad of Tom Joad' and Bobby Troup’s classic '(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66'.

Seward, Alaska

Highlights of Alaska

13-day tailor-made self-drive from £4,915 pp incl. flights

Fly over America’s tallest peak, sail past humpback whales and hike through national-park wildernesses on this truly epic road trip, pausing to take in everything from giant glaciers to historic gold rush towns.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Yellowstone & Rocky Mountains Self-drive Tour

18-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,960 pp incl. flights

The national parks of Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Rocky Mountain comprise the bulk of this tailor-made self-drive, which combines some of America's most spellbinding scenery with the chance to see native wildlife and explore a rich, pioneering history.

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