America! Land of the free, home of the ROAD TRIP!
There is so much to see in the USA. The view of central park from the Rockefeller centre, America’s four presidential titans at Mount Rushmore; A visit to a national park alone would be enough to make your trip. See the Sequoia Trees of Redwood National Park with their diameters the size of houses; The Grand Canyon which at its deepest point could fit the Empire state building three times, or pay a visit to the picturesque Yellowstone National Park, the entirety of which sits upon an active Super Volcano.
A trip to the States is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Here’s a list of our top 10 North American road trips.
1. Pacific Coast Highway – California
PCH is the picturesque stretch of road between San Francisco and San Diego. Take in the sites of San Francisco, visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and more before heading out onto the open road where sea and sky merge into a curtain of blue draped across the horizon.
Pause for a stroll when the feeling takes you to McWay Falls, Hurst Castle or a quiet picnic at a viewing point. PCH is without doubt the best free attraction in the States. Fans of the scenic route take note; this is the drive you’ve been waiting for.
2. Route 66 – Many
The iconic American road, think of a drive across the States and this legendary route between Chicago and Santa Monica springs to mind. It is America’s oldest highway. The journey along it East to West is a trope ingrained in American culture since the 1930s. California, once a distant dream still promises a life of hope and opportunity.
Highlights along this time locked route are the motels, restaurants and gas stations preserved in the present. Don’t forget about the orange sandstone monoliths of Monument Valley, an enduring image that is all the more majestic in person.
3. Trails West – Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Montana
You can explore the history of the United States through the legends of Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull and Colonel Custer with visits to the Black Hills and site of the Battle of Little Big Horn. Mount Rushmore is also a must. Plus, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National parks are located in the largest complete temperate ecosystems in the world. There’s adventure for everyone, taking in stunning scenery by boat, bike and foot.
4. Extended Trails West – Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota
An extended tour lets you pack the most into your road trip, giving you more time to do the things you want. Spend a Day in Denver or visit Cody and Deadwood, destinations well worth seeing which you wouldn’t be able to fit into a two week trip. It also provides extra time to explore the natural beauty of Yellowstone and Gran Teton National Parks.
5. Canadian Rockies – British Columbia
Starting in the gorgeous city of Vancouver, a glorious coastal sea port with a mixture of flat and hilly ground, you can enjoy the scenery from a cable car at the top of Grouse Mountain. It’s then time for the drive to Jasper stopping over night in Kamloops. This route takes you past the highest point in the Canadian Rockies
The Canadian Rocky Mountains Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty, the home of multiple rare and endangered species. Its two largest constituent parks are Banff and Jasper. The Parks are home to glaciers, lakes and mountains. A drive on Ice field Parkway between Jasper and Banff is very popular with visitors. Gazing into the crystal blue depths on Bow Lake makes this journey particularly special.
On the route back from Banff to Vancouver it’s a matter of stopping overnight in Revelstoke before continuing on to Victoria complete with the famous Butchart Gardens, taking the ferry to Vancouver and departing when ready.
6. The Virginian – Virginia, Maryland
Virginia is the historic core of the United States and offers an opportunity to explore the lives of many influential historical figures including Pocahontas and Thomas Jefferson. From the oldest Colony at Jamestown to Shenandoah National park and the White House in Washington DC. There are plenty of museums and a vibrant nightlife, shopping and sightseeing is the order of the day.
Shenandoah is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains part of the Appalachian’s and offers stunning views to complement a hike. Virginia is known as the birthplace of presidents with 4 of the first 5 originating from there, 8 in total have called the state home.
7. Classic New England – Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts
New England is a distinct place in the shape of America and its hard not feel at home when faced with the warmth of its locals. There is ample opportunity to take in the surroundings in the Green Mountains of Vermont, The White Mountains of New Hampshire and Arcadia National park.
Vermont, the green mountain state, is almost 80% forested. So, understandably, ‘Fall’ is stunning here. The entire state turns rich autumnal shades of orange red and brown. Now is the perfect time to book a New England in the Fall tour as things really kick off the first week of October.
While there you can drive along the rocky Maine coastline with light houses stretched across its craggy outcrops. A visit to Cape Cod is also a necessity. It grew up as a whaling port, but when you have finished exploring this heritage; there is ample opportunity for a whale watch.
In addition to this, Boston’s Freedom Trail takes you on a hidden journey through the city exploring the contrast between the colonial era buildings dotted amongst a modern thriving city. The city has a proud Irish heritage so pop into anyone of the highly recommended pubs throughout the city to soak it up.
For more information on things to do when exploring New England check out this blog post on The Top 13 Locations to Visit in New England in the Fall.
8. Canadian Rockies and Rocky Mountaineer – British Columbia, Alberta
The Canadian Rockies are renowned globally for their astonishing natural beauty. This route encompasses the thrill of a road trip and one of the World’s best train journeys. Arriving in Calgary before taking the train for two days through the mountains from Banff to Vancouver, you can take in stunning views of lakes and snow topped peaks all from the comfort of a luxury train. The journey stops over night in Kamloops.
After exploring the sites of the beautiful sea side city of Vancouver it’s the start of the week long journey back to Calgary via Whistler, Clear water dams at Well Gray Park back into the National parks on Banff and Jasper, then back to Calgary. The sights of this tour are second to none.
9. Grand Circle Adventure – Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona
A tour like no other, The Colorado Plateau is the central attraction of this area with its astounding geography exposed to the desert for all to see. It offers the highest concentration of National Parks in the United States, making it a trip that will not disappoint. Start in Las Vegas and head out into the harsh expanse that surrounds you.
Parks en-route include the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef,Arches,Mesa Verde, and Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.
10. California Dreamin’ – Oregon, California
This road trip is the chance to explore Northern California at its finest. Start in San Francisco in the Sierra Nevada and visit Yosemite National Park, its distinctive granitic extrusions a climber’s paradise. If you’d prefer to keep your feet on the ground there’s ample opportunity for photography, hiking and water sports.
This tour contains trips to two of the deepest lakes in the United States: Lake Tohoe and Crater Lake in Oregan, the scenery of both well worth seeing. In between Crater Lake and Lake Tahoe lies Lessen Volcano National Park, home to the largest plug dome volcano in the States. It’s the southernmost volcano in a chain that stretches down from Canada and contains Mt St. Helens. The Park has plenty to see with boiling lakes and vents releasing peculiar volcanic smells from beneath the earth’s crust.
It’s then a relaxing drive down the coast along Coastal route 1 where the towering trees of Redwood National Park await. Pop into the world renowned wine producing Napa Valley, sample the wines and explore the vineyards before heading on back to San Francisco.
As you can see, America has an almost unimaginable selection of sights and sounds to enjoy on a fly-drive tour. For more information on other areas to visit please go to Just America, premier providers of American fly-drive tours.