Top 4 Road Trips in America to Experience after Lockdown
Lockdown and social distancing has been hard on everybody, but especially so for free-spirited individuals and travel lovers. Staying at home, however, shouldn’t prevent you from at least planning the next trip you’ll take once things get back to normal.
Now may be the best time to start planning a road trip as it combines the adventure of exploring new destinations while avoiding the congestion and restraints of air travel and public transportation. Since the United States is often hailed as the ultimate road trip destination, we’ve chosen 4 epic U.S. self-drive holidays that offer incredible scenery, epic adventures, and rich history.
Using Your Own Vehicle vs. a Rental Car
If you’ll be driving your own car, remember to make sure that you have a comprehensive insurance policy in place and that you get your car serviced by your local trusted mechanic before you hit the road. Inform your mechanic about your travel plans so they can be sure to give your vehicle a thorough check-up to ensure it’s ready for a long road trip. They’ll be able to top up your necessary fluids, check belts and hoses, and replace tires if they lack the necessary tread to undertake a long journey on potentially rough stretches of road.
If you don’t trust your old rust-bucket of a car to live through a road trip or simply are after a larger vehicle that can accommodate the extra gear needed for a road trip, think about renting vehicle from a local rental car agency. Nothing beats a cross-country road trip in a Land Rover or Hummer.
Just be sure to purchase a car rental insurance policy that provides the coverage you expect and deserve. Don’t feel pressured into going for the expensive rental counter prices. There are affordable options available for car rental damage and supplemental liability insurance. Reputable rental car insurance companies offer coverage in 50 states, protection against damage and theft, and potentially even zero deductibles.
Top 4 U.S. Road Trips
Route 66 is the classic US road trip and one that many Americans consider a must-do experience at some point in your life. Running from Chicago, Illinois westwards across the country to Santa Monica, California, it’s a driving experience that can be done in its entirety during a single trip or simply broken up into smaller segments over time.
As you drive through Route 66, you’ll pass through eight different states and rack up roughly 2,500 miles. It’s a long yet enjoyable ride not only because of the varied scenery but also because of the many kitsch and classic Americana attractions you encounter, symbols of a bygone era. Among the highlights include Meramec Caverns, Jesse James Wax Museum, New Mexico’s St. Joseph’s Church, Texas’s Cadillac Ranch, and the world’s largest rocking chair in Fanning, Missouri.
Route 66 is the mother of all U.S. road trips and one that deserves to be fully enjoyed, so pace yourself and give yourself plenty of extra time to take advantage of interesting roadside stops that may surprise you along the way.
Great River Road
The Great River Road invites you to drive along the Mississippi River through ten states. It’s a north-south route that nature lovers will find especially appealing as there are plenty of wildlife reserves lining the route including the Yazoo Refuge and Theodore Roosevelt Refuge.
The Great River Road is one of the longest scenic byways in America. It travels along 2,300 miles of the Mississippi River, following its journey to the Gulf of Mexico. One of the most important stops you can make is spending a day in the musical and charming city of New Orleans. History fans will enjoy Mississippi’s Vicksburg National Military Park, where the 47-day Civil War siege took place, as well as Atlanta’s Coca Cola Museum. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and boutique shops to hit along the way as well.
With an interesting array of cultural, natural, recreational, and historical sites along its route, it’s one of the most enjoyable road trips in the United States. While it can be accomplished in 36 hours when driving non-stop, this road trip will prove more rewarding if you take around 10 days to complete the journey. Listed as a National Scenic Byway, the Great River Road is well marked with handy white street signs displaying a green pilot’s wheel logo.
Pacific Coast Highway
California’s Pacific Coast Highway is a scenic drive that offers endless views of the Pacific Ocean and takes you through some of the more remote areas of the California coast that are harder to reach by public transport. It’s definitely one of the most naturally scenic car rides, allowing you to also take in legendary cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and all the smaller towns in-between. Be sure to allow time to experience beautiful Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea before you reach the rugged coast of Big Sur. Whether you drive it north to south or south to north, the epic views are the same.
Stop to take a photo of the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, one of the tallest concrete bridges in the world. Pull over to Pfeiffer Beach Point to catch up on your tan, people-watch at Santa Monica Pier, and walk across San Francisco’s world-famous Golden Gate Bridge.
The Pacific Coast Highway is a cliff-hanging, exhilarating 123-mile drive along the central coast of California. If you’re looking for a romantic road trip to share with your partner, this is definitely the one for you.
The Overseas Highway
If you don’t have time for a long road trip or if the idea of spending a great deal of time cramped up in a car doesn’t sound very appealing after spending months in lockdown, the Overseas Highway road trip might be right for you. Driving this Florida route will only take you 3-4 hours but it’s one of the most stunning and fascinating drives ever as it links up two of Florida’s top beach locations, Miami and Key West.
While Miami is all about surf, art deco hotels, and long stretches of sand, Key West has a more laid back natural tropical feel to it. It also provides beautiful coral reefs for divers and snorkelers. The Overseas Highway runs 113 miles, taking in U.S. Route 1 which runs between the keys all the way to Key West.
You’ll drive over the Seven Mile Bridge among dozens of others, enjoying never ending breathtaking sea views. Hop from island to island on four wheels as you make your way to Key West, making sure to really take time on the less popular keys. Once in Key West, be sure to check out lively Duval Street and Mallory Square, Ernest Hemingway’s former residence, and the southernmost point in the continental U.S.
Extend your journey even further west by catching the ferry to historic Fort Jefferson which sits within the Dry Tortugas National Park. While you’ll have to leave your car behind in Key West and tour the small island on foot, Fort Jefferson allows you to witness a giant brick fortress that is touted as America’s largest brick masonry structure.
If you have extra time at the end, make your way north via the West Coast of Florida taking in destinations like Fort Myers, and Naples, before exploring the beautiful Panhandle with destinations like Destin and Pensacola.