The USA is the road trip capital of the world, and home to some of the most iconic routes in the world. Route 66 was named the most instagram-worthy road trip in the world, followed by the Grand Canyon and the Pacific Coast Highway, in a survey by Hertz. They’re all included in Hertz’s USA Road Trip Planner, along with 27 other inspiring USA road trips. All routes tick some of the key ingredients for a successful road trip, including wide-open roads, driving past famous attractions and spotting wildlife along the way. What do you like to snap for your instagram feed when you’re on a road trip: dramatic views, spectacular scenery, off-the-beaten track roads, interesting local dishes, famous landmarks or quirky pit-stops? Or are you just a new experience? Here’s a round-up of some of the best USA road trips.
Drive South Carolina’s scenic Highway 11, also known as the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, and you can take in five state parks, picturesque waterfalls and lakes and the state’s highest point, Sassafras Mountain. This stunning road trip is especially instagram-worthy during October when it’s peak leaf viewing season. Perched at the highest point of Sassafras Mountain is a new observation tower which gives visitors 360-degree views that stretch for 30-50 miles. Go on a clear day and you’ll be able to see four states: South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
Take a dip into the desert with a four-day road trip out of Las Vegas and into Greater Palm Springs. Take Highway 159 west and make your first stop at Red Rock Canyon, where you can take in the extraordinary russet rock formations before heading to see dunes and otherworldly landscapes in the Mojave National Preserve for a few hours. Head south and turn off onto Route 66, heading for more extraordinary, instagram-worthy spots. In Joshua Tree National Park you can snap a landscape distinctive for its spiky Joshua trees, and in Downtown Palm Springs, there’s a huge choice of distinctive, picturesque Mid Century Modern buildings to photograph. Keep following Route 66, and make Death Valley one of your last stops before heading back to Vegas. This spectacular landscape is the hottest, driest and lowest National Park in America.
You can include both sandy beaches and snowy slopes on your feed if you head off on a fortnight’s road trip round northern California. Set out from San Francisco, and head 35 miles east to discover award-winning wineries, instagrammable restaurants, towns and hiking trails in the Tri-Valley. Head south to quintessential beach town, Santa Cruz, from where you can snap surfers, but also giant trees in the state’s oldest park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Next, go east towards Yosemite Mariposa County, home to magnificent granite icons including Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. Go north, to find stunning snowy peaks and majestic giant sequoias to snap, in Yosemite’s Tuolumne County. From there, take Highway 120 south east to the ski resort of Mammoth Lakes, with its picturesque valleys and crystal-clear alpine lakes. Due north, you head into the stunning Sierra Nevada mountains and find the pretty village of South Lake Tahoe, with stunning views of both lake and desert. Before heading back to San Francisco, discover Sonoma County, where you can go whale spotting and photograph 50-miles of dramatic and unspoiled – and uncrowded – Pacific coastline.
From narrow canyons to vast gorges with otherworldly rock formations of every colour, you’re guaranteed to see and capture extraordinary sights and moments if you take a road trip from Arizona to Nevada.
Explore on a two-week Texas road trip and you can enjoy plenty of quintessentially American experiences from listening to live music or tucking into Texan BBQ dinners. Discover the Space Center in the city of Houston before setting off for the musical city of Austin, where you can also spend time at the iconic battle site, The Alamo. Next stops includeAmarillo where you can stop off to admire the quirky Cadillac Ranch, an art installation in the desert, with 10 vintage Cadillacs buried nose-down in the sand. Stop off in Wichita Falls for nature and a visit to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum, before heading towards the skyscrapers of Dallas, your final destination.
Take a road trip along California’s coastline and you can hit the waves and sample the scenes in the state’s best surf spots. Start in Huntington Beach – Surf City USA – and take in the cosmopolitan seaside city of Santa Cruz; travel this route and you can experience – and photograph – the best surf spots in California.
Georgia is full of beautiful landscapes – take a road trip along the 40.6-mile Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway-CNF and go through the beautiful valleys and mountain gaps in the Chattahoochee National Forest in the southern Appalachians in Georgia. For immersion in Georgia’s vibrant music scene, take the new Macon Music Trail. Follow the guide and you’ll discover Macon’s music past and present.
The drive along the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys is one of the world’s most spectacular road trips. The 125-mile US Route 1, otherwise known as the Overseas Highway, runs the length of the sub-tropical island chain, connecting Key Largo in the Upper Keys with the city of Key West. Go from start to finish and you’ll cross 42 bridges and enjoy sensational views of azure waters and palm fringed keys along the way. [Photo credit: Rob O’Neal]
You’ll take in spectacular views of rugged landscapes in the Badlands National Park when you drive the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway, South Dakota. Drive the I-90 going east and take exit 110 and drive between the towns of Wall and Cactus Flat. This 39-mile loop along the South Dakota Highway 240 would take you about an hour straight, passing ancient rock formations, cliffs, and colourful spires. However, you’ll want to stop off and walk from one of the eight trailheads, or see the view from the 16 scenic overlooks along the way including the Big Badlands Overlook, Pinnacles Overlook, and Yellow Mounds Overlook. If you want to see some of the 1,300 buffalo that roam South Dakota, pick the 18-mile Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway, in Custer State Park. Make it a morning or evening drive for your best chances at catching the animals in action.
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