1. Route 66: the icon
Duration: 2 weeks
There’s no denying that Route 66 is the road trip of all road trips. This journey takes you from Los Angeles to Chicago and is best done at a leisurely two-week pace. Take time to stop at classic diners, local sights, and motels made famous by movies. Set yourself up for a good trip by feasting on Chicago’s famous deep-pan pizza on a food tour before heading southwest. Some of the highlights on this road trip are driving through the Grand Canyon as well as Monument Valley — take an unforgettable scenic flight to see the valley below. If you’re ending in LA, celebrate by stretching your legs and go on a bike tour to see the highlights of Hollywood.
2. The Pacific Coast Highway: the seaside stunner
Duration: 1 week
If you want dramatic ocean views and sophisticated pit-stops, this road trip between San Francisco and San Diego hits all the right notes. If you’re a Big Little Lies fan, stop at chic Monterey, where the series was filmed. An e-bike tour will provide a change of pace and you’ll see some of the natural highlights of the area. You may even glimpse the otters at play in the Pacific Grove Marine Gardens Conservation Area. Catch some waves along the way, or take a surfing lesson in Santa Barbara if you’re a newbie. A great tip: drive this route from north to south, that way you’ll be on the right side of the road for the best views all the way.
3. The Grand Canyon: the southwest’s greatest hits
Duration: 3 days
There are many ways to take a road trip to the Grand Canyon, one of the world’s most impressive natural sights. The Colorado River winds its way along the bottom of the 277-mile long canyon. Traveling from New Mexico, you’ll take in some splendid sights along the way. First stop is to explore at Carlsbad Caverns National Park with its more than 120 caves made of limestone.
From there, head northwest, and stop at White Sands National Monument. This is the world’s largest gypsum field, where you can hike or sled down the bright, white expanse. If you’re artsy, do stop in at Santa Fe to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. This famous American artist was deeply inspired by the landscape of New Mexico. You’ll reach the Grand Canyon’s South Rim where you can spend as many days as you want exploring this majestic sight. For an unforgettable bucket-list experience, take a helicopter trip to the base of the canyon.
4. The Overseas Highway: the island-hopper
Duration: 2 days
What this road trip lacks in duration, it makes up for in impact. Driving all along the islands heading from Miami to Key West, you’ll feel like you’re skimming across the Atlantic Ocean, with the sea on both sides of you. Crossing 42 bridges, you can make this journey in a day or stretch it out to two days or longer, stopping at various keys along the way. Once you arrive at Key West, the ocean is your playground. This city boasts fantastic beaches and great snorkeling opportunities. Take a thrilling parasailing glide, or enjoy a romantic sunset cruise. A day spent exploring the beaches and mangrove forests on an eco-tour, will keep the whole family happy as they swim, snorkel, and kayak.