When most people think about travelling to or around the United States, the usual suspects come to mind: Florida, New York, Los Angeles etc. But anyone who has spent a decent chunk of time in the US knows that the country is massive, with an almost never-ending supply of natural beauty and picturesque cities. However, public transport can sometimes be an issue, so we’ve put together a list of the best road trips in the USA.
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Best Road Trips In The USA
Start with the classic road trip right? Route 66 is historic and spellbinding. The road starts in Chicago, goes all the way to Los Angeles and runs for 3,945 km/2,451 miles! Along the way you will pass some of the most iconic American cities, such as St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, and Santa Monica. The path is the subject of much lore and pop culture, which is why experiencing it is on so many people’s USA bucket lists.
Hostel Tip: If you’re looking for a killer place to stay in Chicago, you’d be mad not to check out Freehand Chicago. The area is packed with art and culture, and the gorgeous furnishings and mixology bar will have you thinking you’ve stepped into a fancy hotel! Luckily, your wallet will know the truth.
Pacific Coast Highway
Route Location: California
A gorgeous slice of Western American beauty, California State Route 1 is another fabled American road trip your Instagram followers are dying for you to cruise. Large portions of the highway gently hug the curves of the sunny Californian coastline, making it the perfect adventure for anyone seeking some sun and sea. Any road trip that involves both the quirky and artistic vibes of majestic San Francisco, and the über fun glitz and glamour of Los Angeles is bound to be a winner. Top tip: keep your eyes peeled for sea lions!
Hostel Tip: San Francisco is awash with colour, style and innovation. If you’re looking for a hostel to match, try HI San Francisco City Centre. It’s the perfect blend of modern comfort and vintage chic. And FYI, it has a speakeasy café!
Great River Road
The Great River Road isn’t actually one big road, but rather a collection of smaller state and local routes all following the mighty Mississippi river from its source to the ocean. The scenery is an ever-changing symphony of Mother Nature’s North American handiwork. You’ll experience everything including the scintillating jazz and sea food of New Orleans, the scrumptious local-made cheese of Wisconsin, and the mountains (and in winter, frigid tundra) of Minnesota, all in one of the best American road trips!
Hostel Tip: While in town, why not stay in the best hostel in the USA (as voted by guests): Auberge NOLA, New Orleans. The location is perfect for anyone trying to get their French Quarter/Bourbon Street on, and the beds are CHEAP. Like, 17 bucks cheap…you’re welcome!
Utah State Route 12
Route Location: Utah
This US road trip is a lot shorter than the others (only 198 km/123 miles) but is well worth a day trip if you’re out west. You may think you’ve seen mountains, but you haven’t experienced them properly without seeing the stunning red rock ridges of Southern Utah. The route takes you through Bryce Canyon National Park, an American treasure and bucket list priority for USA-bound nature lovers.
Hostel Tip: A little further north in the ski town of Park City, you’ll find the aptly named Park City Hostel. The place is surrounded by facilities used in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games (which you can still use today), and every year the town hosts the world famous Sundance Independent Film Festival.
US Route 6 in Pennsylvania
Route Location: Pennsylvania
The East-West segment of US Route 6 was recently named one of the country’s most scenic drives by National Geographic, and it’s not hard to see why. The section that flows through Pennsylvania encapsulates all that comes to mind when dreaming of classic American forests and highways. It’s also a great option for anyone hoping to get out of the bustling metropolis, and escape to the wilderness. For large stretches of the journey, you’ll pass through vast numbers of small communities and adorable tiny towns.
Route Location: Montana
Anyone who knows the USA well will tell you that you haven’t lived until you’ve experienced Glacier National Park in Montana. The state is well known for its natural beauty, but make sure you’re well prepared, especially if you’re heading there during the winter – the snow can be plentiful! The route shares its name with a mountain in the area, and is actually surprisingly narrow and winding in parts, so make sure that whoever is at the wheel is up to the challenge!
Route Location: Virginia
Back east for this beauty, and it’s another short one. Skyline Drive takes its travellers on a winding route through the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park, in heavenly Virginia. The state itself, being next door to Washington DC means you’ll have relatively easy access to some of the country’s most significant monuments and historical landmarks. Make sure you drive carefully – the trail is chock full of wildlife!
Hostel Tip: In the nation’s capital, the Highroad Hostel DC is the stuff of dreams, literally. Memory foam mattresses and luxury sheets abound, as well as a parlour room with its own fireplace! Talk about cosy! Get ready for a high-end stay, at a fraction of the normal cost.
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