One of the great American adventures has got to be taking a road trip across the country – firing up a classic Mustang or Cadillac and hitting the open road. If you’ve ever seen any road trip movie from Easy Rider or Rain Man to, well, Road Trip… You’ll know that taking a trip across this huge and diverse country is going to be a great adventure.
The most famous road trip is the historic Route 66 which runs from Chicago to Santa Monica, LA’s beach neighbourhood. Taking in the great cities of Los Angeles and Chicago via the plains of Illinois and Kansas, the deep south states of Missouri and Oklahoma, the wild west states of Texas and New Mexico and the Grand Canyon state of Arizona before riding into sunny California. On the way you can take a detour to Las Vegas or the Alamo near San Antonio in Texas, admire the scale of the Hoover Dam and marvel at the desolation of California’s Death Valley.
Hiring a car in America is straightforward and many companies will allow you to hire a car at one place and return it in a different city. You can hire a standard modern car for around US$200 for 7 days anywhere from Miami or New Orleans to San Francisco or Los Angeles. If you’re thinking of getting an RV – maybe a classic Winnebago, prices start at around US$300 for 7 days, although the proper full Winnebago will be closer to US$1000 for the week. Even a smaller van will have most home comforts including toilet and shower, TV and cooking facilities. There are motels and campsites at regular distances across the country so don’t worry if you are planning to go with the flow.
As for the routes across this huge country, there are of course many and anyone could easily make up their own. Most popular and classic routes follow a particular highway from beginning to end – even if that actual highway doesn’t exist any more there will still be roads that will take you where you want to go. The most popular road trip routes in the USA are:
Route 66: Start in Chicago or Los Angeles – The original road trip and the one that inspired songs and stories not to mention countless movies.
The Pacific Road: From Seattle to San Diego there will be plenty of opportunity to go hiking in the hills and forests of Oregon and Washington before getting your surfboard out on the beaches of California.
The Southern Pacific Route: If you’ve ever wanted to explore America’s exotic deep south then this route takes you from Georgia to California via Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and New Mexico. This is proper Easy Rider territory taking in some beautiful scenery and some of the best food in the country. Think Tex-Mex and Cajun!
The Atlantic Road: From New York City to Key West in Florida this route takes in some hugely diverse scenery – from the metropolis of NYC, the gambling mecca of Atlantic City, picturesque Virginia all the way past the Carolina’s and Georgia to tropical Florida, with a stop in art deco Miami before heading to exotic Key West – one of America’s most beautiful towns.
The Backbone of America – US50: Interstate 50 runs from San Francisco to Ocean City in Maryland. On the way it takes in the heartlands of America via Washington D.C, St Louis and the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. This is a huge expanse of road at around 3000 miles and is perhaps best taken at a leisurely pace.
Whichever route you take is sure to provide a memorable American road trip!