3 ‘Road Trips’ through the United States
What could be better than carrying a car with your best friends, a map and the desire to experience a few days of freedom? Although the famous road trip has become a worldwide hobby, few countries surpass the variety and scale offered by the United States. With landscapes to suit all tastes and thousands of miles of roads stretching in all directions, the country has road trips in its blood.
If you’re hungry for coastline, countryside, mountains or desert, there’s a road for you. Want to start organizing it? We have three typical trips you can start with.
1. PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY
No wonder this is one of the most valued road trips in the United States. It follows in the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Henry Miller, passing cliff beaches, sequoia forests, sea lion hideouts, coastal towns, and wine-growing areas.
It’s often called the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) or U.S. Route 101 indistinctly, so depending on the source, the “official” route runs along 965 kilometers of California beaches or along a more considerable 2700 kilometers through Washington, Oregon, and California. Set aside at least two weeks to walk and admire the entire route or choose a segment, such as California’s Highway 1 or Oregon’s Highway 101.
Among the highlights is the California segment, perhaps the most famous on the route, and all the famous beaches along the way, Huntington Beach, Muscle Beach, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara, among others. Nature lovers will appreciate the wildlife of the Channel Islands, the elephant seal colony of San Simeon and the spectacular cliffs and sequoias of Big Sur. Architecture and engineering enthusiasts will love Bixby Bridge and Hearst Castle. For those who prefer more relaxed environments, the best will undoubtedly be the charming and hippy cities of Monterrey, Carmel, Pescadero, and San Luis Obispo.
2. GREAT RIVER ROAD
The everlasting Mississippi River has fascinated generations and inspired novels making their way from Minnesota to Louisiana. Meet this iconic river on our second road trip – the Great River Road, an unforgettable route along the Mississippi River.
The Great River Road is not a single road but consists of a series of roads more than 3200 kilometers long. The route passes through (count them!) ten U.S. states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Highlights include the incredible variety of landscapes you’ll pass through: emblematic farmland, forests, cliffs, and wildlife refuges; as well as typical American cities such as St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. Literature and music lovers will appreciate the opportunity to visit the birthplace of jazz, blues, and Mark Twain. On this road trip, you can also visit old plantations and eat the strong specialties of the Deep South (corn bread, grilled meat, baked potatoes, fried chicken and iced tea).
3. BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY
Hikers and campers, cheer up, this is the road trip for you! How about a scenic route through a mountain range, without seeing a single monstrous interstate road? That’s what awaits you at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Go from North Carolina to Virginia and choose one of the many hiking trails along the way.
The best thing about the 740-kilometer Blue Ridge Parkway is its scenery. Stanley Abbott, responsible for the design of the project, was not an engineer, but a landscaper; that will give you an idea of the aesthetics of the route. It runs from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoking Mountains National Park in North Carolina along a segment of a mountain range that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.
Highlights include the number of perfect photo locations along this scenic route, impressive hiking trails with the ability to camp at nine locations along the way, spectacular nature, cultural visits to Cherokee sites and the opportunity to tune in to incredible local music, particularly bluegrass and blues.