America’s roads are vast and varied and cut through some of the world’s most impressive landscapes, all of which combine to create the perfect setting for epic driving adventures. Here are some of the best American routes for your road-tripping journeys.
1. US Route 1, Florida Keys
The extensive US Route 1 runs all the way from Maine’s border with Canada down to Key West in the stunning Florida Keys. Though the highway meanders its way along the entire eastern coast of the United States, it’s the 120-mile long Florida Keys section that is its glittering star. Linking the various islands that make up the Floridian archipelago, this stretch of US Route 1 is filled with spectacular sceneries and a wealth of tropical attractions.
Major highlights include the delicious seafood you’ll find at the countless restaurants, eateries and cafes along the route, the famous overwater Seven Mile Bridge (below) and the 6-island village of Islamorada regarded as the sport-fishing capital of the world.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
Snaking its way through picturesque Virginia and North Carolina, the popular Blue Ridge Parkway is a highway boasting not only immense beauty in terms of the surrounding Appalachian mountain and forest landscapes (below), but also an abundance of other exciting highlights.
From the breathtaking Roanoke Valley and River Gorge in Virginia to the iconic Looking Glass Rock in North Carolina, there’s certainly no shortage of attractions to delight road trippers. And of course, the options for great dining and stayovers along the famed route abound.
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3. Hana Highway, Hawaii
It’s impossible to deny the sheer natural beauty of the Hana Highway when driving along the famed Maui road. On one side, you’ll see rugged coastlines; on the other, lush tropical forests. As one of Maui’s most popular tourist attractions, it will make one unforgettable road trip.
The roughly 64-mile (103 km) route is known for transporting its passengers over almost 60 bridges and past an abundance of natural attractions, like the island’s gorgeous beaches and several highly Instagrammable waterfalls, such as the much loved Wailua Falls (below).
4. Great River Road, Mississippi River
Comprising several state and local highways and roads, the Great River Road hugs the mighty Mississippi River and allows intrepid road-trippers to enjoy some of the best scenes that America’s hinterland has to offer.
The oldest and longest National Scenic Byway in the USA, the Great River Road passes through 10 states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, therefore offering up a diverse array of landscapes and experiences.
Major highlights include some of Kentucky and Tennessee’s premium whisky and bourbon distilleries, like Maker’s Mark; Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa; the host of river activities like canoeing along the Mississippi River and of course, experiencing the vibrant and colourful city that is New Orleans.
5. Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles
As one of the oldest major highway routes in the States, and likely its most famous, Route 66 has been featured in countless songs, movies and TV shows. As the granddaddy of American road trips, this is one route for history buffs and lovers of authentic Americana.
Even though the world-famous route has long since passed its heyday, with many sections of the highway falling into disrepair, there is undoubtedly still enough to attract travellers and road-trip lovers along the almost 4,000km stretch. Many sections of the route have been declared National Scenic Byways and included in the National Register of Historic Places.