Hitting the open road in the US of A can be the experience of a lifetime, heartened by the fact that there are a number of established routes to choose from, each one offering the budding traveller something a little different, dependent on taste, epitomising the unique American culture, something from every state.
Route 66 is a pop-culture favourite and is one of the most travelled routes across the USA. It’s a 2,000-mile trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through the heart of the USA, adding to the weighty expectations. It’s a great journey for those who wish to be part of some old-time Americana, truck bars and neon signs. It can be considered quite a lonely journey through some very desolate stretches and the only real cost will be stopping at diners, cafés and pumping gas. A similar route, the Loneliest Road, travels from coast to coast, taking in the Appalachian Trail as well as the Great Plains.
The Southern Pacific route is ideal for those looking to explore the southern states. Hitting some big cities on the way, such as Jackson, Montgomery and Tucson, there is a lot to see and do on this journey such as museums and other amenities. For those wishing to travel off the route, Louisiana is a soulful state and the cities of New Orleans and Baton Rouge are more than worth a visit.
Its equal, the Great Northern, runs through the northern states, great for those who wish to witness some of the greatest scenery and terrain in the country. With the Rockies in the background and through the Great Woods of Minnesota, this route is a mixed bag, full of surprises and gems, another example of the diversity ever-present across the States.
Some may wish to stick to a specific coast as this can also save on travel costs. The Atlantic Coast and the Pacific Coast are both separate routes, the Pacific road travelling through Washington to Southern California, the Atlantic route, one of the most popular, moving from the tourist-friendly New York City to the tourist-happy state of Florida, incorporating some excellent locations on the way, from Wilmington, North Carolina, to Daytona Beach. Again, both move through built-up states and there is much to see and do.
Elsewhere, there’s the Appalachian Trail which is more of a hiking trail for those willing to test themselves against some of the nation’s most testing terrain. The Border to Border route is for those wishing to travel from Canada to Mexico and provides a bit of leeway for travellers as they can decide which cities to pass through on the way down.
Road Trippin Aint Cheap
It’s important to remember that the main prices will be pumping gas and travel to the States in the first place. If visiting from abroad, try a site like Momondo.com to save on flights, and you can use the Gas Buddy’s Trip Cost Calculator to work out your fuel costs. For the mother of all USA Road trip planning resources – see the Road Trip USA website.