American Road Trips – 8 of the Best

There are an estimated 4,000,000 miles of roads to explore on your American Road Trip.

FOUR MILLION!!

I am from the UK, and we have just under 250,000. Now, I have not counted them and am probably relying on a couple of dubious websites to give me these facts, but well, that’s a lot of roads.

As a result, there is no surprise that there is a vast range of landscapes to see, and adventures to be had.

American Road Trip – Our experiences

We are not averse to a Road Trip, particularly, an American Road Trip. Since 2013, we have been on roughly one Road Trip a year. With the exception of the one year, 2014 when Max, our son was born.

2013 – Arizona, Nevada and California
2015 – New York and Niagara
2016 – Florida
2017 – Canada
2018 – France
2019 – California

If you are after some ideas for an American Road Trip, then look no further.

Below I am going to list 5 that we have taken ourselves, plus 3 that are on the ‘Bucket List’.

You should find this useful when planning your own road trip. If there is a Road Trip on your bucket list, then be sure to let me know in the comments, and I’d love to follow your adventure!

Pacific Coast Highway – California

American Road Trips - Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
Bixby Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway, CA

Some would call this the Ultimate Road Trip. The Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, or California Highway 1, is a jaw-dropping, twisty drive of natural wonders.

A drivers dream, you have one bend, merging into another. It is all you can do to keep your eye on the road and look at the stunning scenery around you. I recommend driving North to South. As the Americans drive on the right, it makes it very easy to pull into one of the multitudes of looks outs, vistas and views along the way.

The only part of this amazing road we have travelled is the section between San Francisco and Los Angelas, which, is the most popular. Monterey, Big Sur, Waterfalls, Cliffs, a castle, beaches galore and lots more to feast your eyes, ears, and cameras on.

I would suggest taking about 5 nights to do this American Road Trip. You could take less, you could very easily take more. Lots more. Just don’t rush it!

So, go ahead and check out my detailed Pacific Coast Highway Road post for a really detailed itinerary for this trip.

Not To Be Missed
McWay Falls, one of the few waterfalls that flows into the sea

A1A – Orlando to Key West – Florida

American Road Trips - Florida

We did this American Road trip back in 2015. We flew into Orlando, and out of Miami. At first, I wasn’t too excited about it, but that all changed once we hit the road. After navigating the somewhat complicated Orlando Airport, we headed East, to hit the beach road, the A1A

It starts further north, but we took this road from Cocoa Beach, all the way down the coast to Miami. We then joined Highway 1. This is the Florida 1, and not to be confused with California 1, some 2,500 miles away!

Highway 1 takes you further south, all the way down to Key West.

But, take your time here. The laid back life of the Florida Keys requires you to just fit in. Experience Key Largo. Feed the Tarpons at Robbies. Continue further south along the aptly named Overseas Highway. Eat some sand at Bahia State Park (if you have a two-year-old, this may make sense!).

And, if you like the crowds, then here are two for you.

Key West

When you reach Key West, head to Southernmost Point Buoy, and join the queue to get a snap at the end of the island. This puts you at the point which is the southernmost point of continental USA. Enjoy the sunset at Mallory Square, but get there early if you want a sea-side seat. The prime spots get taken early.

On the way north again, enjoy some time seeing the vibrant beach city of Miami. Wander along Ocean Drive, with its Art Deco architecture on one side, and the golden sands of South Beach on the other. If you’re lucky, you may see an old classic 1950’s car to set the scene. You will certainly see some modern posh cars, cruising past posh people in posh bars sipping on posh cocktails.

A great place to be to soak up the sun and the vibe, and a fitting end to any American Road Trip.

Not To Be Missed
Feeding the Tarpons at Robbies

West Coast Loop – Californian American Road Trip

Starting in LA. Ending in LA, with a bucket full of amazingness in-between. This American Road Trip can satisfy the whole family.

Two major cities in LA and San Francisco. In LA, walk in the footprints of the stars along Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. Gawk at the overpriced shops in Beverly Hills. Chill out on Santa Monica Pier and Beach. Have some frenzied fun at Universal Studios or Disneyland.

Marvel at mother nature, with the huge trees in Sequoia, and the huge rocks and mountains in Yosemite. Depending on the time of year, chill out in South Lake Tahoe, or enjoy some winter sports with the multitude of skiing options.

San Francisco

As for San Francisco, marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge, and visit Golden Gate Park. Some have called it tacky, but give Pier 39 some of your time, even if only to see the sunbathing sea lions. Take a ride on one of the old trams, and enjoy a short boat ride out to Alcatraz Island.

Wine fan? Head west to Napa, and explore a vineyard, or for something needing a little less time, one of the many wine tasting rooms in Downtown.

Head back to LA along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway, already mentioned above.

This is a trip we took in 2019, and you can read all about it here, or check out my favourite photos from this particular American Road Trip, by clicking here

Not To Be Missed
Any of it. See it all!

Eastern Adventure – New York to Niagara

New York and Niagara Fall. A perfect pairing for an American Road Trip

We look back on this American Road Trip fondly. It was Max’s first major road trip. We flew into JFK, and to this day remember a comatose Max sitting in his buggy staring at us.

Staring at us as we tried valiantly to put a strange car seat, into a strange car, while being looked upon by a strange hire car employee that was refusing to help as they were not allowed to due to “Legal Reasons”.

Crazy, but all thanks to the suing culture.

Head North West from New York City and 420 or so miles later you are at the thunderous falls of Niagara. Much better views from the Canadian side, so don’t forget your passport for this one!

The majorish towns of Scranton and Binghamton sit between NYC and the Finger Lakes. We can recommend a stop at Geneva, on the northern tip of Seneca Lake.

Once you have been awestruck by the sheer volume of water that constantly pours over the falls, why not take a trip out on the Hornblower Cruise, and see the Falls up close and personal.

Here is a video of our experience there.

Once you’re done, head east along the NY-18, and hug the coast of Lake Ontario. Why not keep going, as a mere 7 hours later you could be in Boston.

In fact, a total of 1,100 miles can see you leave JFK, see all the above, and get you back to JFK in time for your flight home. If the flight home gives you longer, head even further North and experience New England.

This, however, is a trip, and a story, for another day.

Not To Be Missed
The Falls lit up at night. A beautiful sight

Western Adventure – Phoenix, San Francisco and Los Angelas

American Road Trips

To this day, this road trip, back in 2013, was perhaps my favourite. The only thing missing from this trip was our son, Max.

On this trip, you will see wonders such as the Sedona, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite, San Francisco, Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, and Santa Monica in LA.

Fly into Phoenix, and head north to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Marvel at the sheer beauty, size and scale of how the Colorado River has cut through the rock and been 5 million-plus years in the making.

When you have had your Canyon fix, zoom west to Las Vegas and fulfil your gambling urges, or just soak up the atmosphere, the cheapish hotels and the Bellagio fountains dancing at regular intervals from 3 pm, all week.

Enroute to sin city, don’t miss the opportunity for a short burst on Route 66 and a stop off at Hoover Dam.

Death Valley is a must!

Before you head to see the marvellous Yosemite National Park, drive through Death Valley. We ‘enjoyed’ temperatures of 120 degrees, so make sure your aircon is working, as it will be put to the test. Here, be sure to check out the popular spots, Badwater Basin, Devils Golf Course and Artists Drive, which leads to Artists Palette.

On arrival at Yosemite, get used to looking up, whether it be to gawp at the sheer cliff faces, the tall trees, or the waterfalls. There are hikes for everyone, even for those with younger children. Mirror Lake and Yosemite falls are two that spring to mind.

Nest, continue the journey to the left coast and enjoy the cosmopolitan city of San Francisco, before heading down the Pacific Coast Highway to LA. This has been discussed already, above, so no need to regurgitate here.

Not To Be Missed
Death Valley’s Badwater Basin in 100+ degree heat!!

American Road Trip – On the Bucket List

We have been very lucky to have enjoyed all the awesome Road Trips mentioned above. However, there are still so many we want to do.

The below are top of the list, yet not exhaustive. I haven’t even thought about the USA Rockies, the Loneliest Road, my Coast to Coast Trip I am hoping to do for my 50th Birthday when the time comes.

I don’t quite know enough about this to comment, but as I research it, be sure to stay tuned to hear all about it.

In the meantime, read on to see what we hope to do in the future.

Route 66 – The Mother of all American Road Trips

Get your Kick, on Route 66 – Library Photo

Ahh, the Mother Road. Running from Chicago to LA, and finishing on Santa Monica Pier, Route 66 is THE American Road Trip. Over 2,000 miles and running through 8 states. Big cities, wastelands, kitschy roadside attractions, and all ending up at the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy the Roadside motels and diners that, in years gone by was the place to stop, but are now largely dependant on the tourists travelling the road, and ignoring the I-44 and I-40 that covers most of the same route.

This is a Road Trip I will be taking, it is just a question of when.

Ultimate Utah – The Famous 5

Monument Valley – Library Photo

Canyons, breathtaking views, unbelievable rock formations and desert drives are all things I can’t wait to see when we take our Utah American Road Trip.

From what I have read Salt Lake City is a great place to start and explore the famous 5 National Parks in Utah.

These 5 parks are Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches & Canyonlands plus the iconic Monument Valley. Which has been the scene for a number of films, including National Lampoons, Back to the Future 3 and Easy Rider.

If you are looking for some lens busting photographs and jaw-dropping views, look no further than this Utah Road Trip.

Maine, New England in the Fall

Library Photograph

Boston, Cape Cod, Kennebunkport and a multitude of quaint seaside towns await on this New England Road Trip. Visit in the Fall, or Autumn, if you are after some vibrant and colourful scenery.

The colours in that part of the country, at that time of the year, are stunning.

If you are into your photography, then taking a New England road trip at this time of year will satisfy your shooting desires I am sure.

If you are into your seafood, then between June and December is a great time for Lobsters. Although they are available all year, perhaps in lesser quantities. Rockland a town 200 miles north of Boston, and each August, holds the Maine Lobster Festival.

What’s your favourite American Road Trip?

So, there are my suggestions for 8 American Road Trips. 5 we have done, and 3 we are desperate to do.

I hope you found it useful.

I would love to know what your favourites are. What’s on your bucket list? Can you recommend a great Road Trip that may be a bit obscure, or not as popular as the above?

Comment below!!

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