World’s Best Road Trips: 5 Incredible Routes for an Ultimate Experience
If you’re a traveler who embraces freedom and flexibility, then there’s no denying that road trips are the way to go. Settling for group tours or simply limiting yourself to the confines of a major city and relying on public transport prevents you from getting out to explore the lesser known gems of a destination.
Whether you’re looking for a popular scenic route or wish to blaze a trail of your own, renting a vehicle allows you to take charge of your travels and enjoy things at your own pace. When done right, a road trip is the best way to experience a country and experience its authentic culture.
To help give you some inspiration for choosing an epic road trip, we’ve gathered some of the world’s top driving routes. While there be an endless array of roadways out there, these routes are sure to leave you with unforgettable experiences.
Canada’s Alaska Highway
Also known as the ALCAN Highway, Canada’s Alaska Highway connects the lower 48 states of America with its most northern state for which the road is named for. It was once a rather rough and challenging road trip to take, especially just after it was constructed during WWII.
Today, the fully paved Alaska Highway offers an easy to manage, albeit long, road trip that stretches nearly 1,400 miles from British Columbia’s Dawson Creek to Delta Junction in Alaska. While the trip can be done in as little as 4 days, it’s more rewarding to take things slow in order to experience the raw untamed natural beauty the highway makes its way through.
You’ll cross the Canadian Rockies, possibly spot caribou in the MacDonald River Valley, pass along the shores of Kluane Lake, and cross over the historic timber Kiskatinaw River Bridge. There are also a number of national parks and wildlife refuges to stop at along the way including Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge and Kluane National Park and Reserve where you may be able to spot moose, bears, and eagles.
While the road is open year-round, most road trippers choose to tackle the road during the late spring to early autumn period when the weather is more pleasant and driving is a bit safer. Keep in mind that many stretches along the road don’t have cell service and you should book accommodation along the route well in advance.
America’s Great River Road
There’s no denying that the United States is one of the easiest and most economic destinations to plan a road trip. When you’re looking for car rental in America, a reliable option is to trust Enjoy Travel, which can find you a car rental at the best price by allowing you to easily compare all the major car rental companies in one spot.
One of America’s most notable road-tripping routes is along its most famous river, the mighty Mississippi. Known as the Great River Road, this designated National Scenic Byway runs alongside the Mississippi River, stretching from the top of the nation all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. It isn’t a single road, rather a network of roads that collectively make up one of America’s most popular road trip routes.
Tackling the route in its entirety will see you pass through ten different states, with an option to drive along either side of the river which gives you an eastern or western route to choose from.
You’ll encounter small riverside country towns as well as notable cities such as St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans. Discover fascinating Native American prehistoric mounds in Iowa, as well as the delicious Creole cuisine of New Orleans. There are countless parks and reserves, scenic pull-offs, and historical sites to explore along the roughly 2,300 miles.
Adventurous Routes of Morocco
Next, we’ll head to Morocco. While you may not think of Morocco as a premier road trip destination, it offers a number of adventurous routes that very few travelers experience. Morocco is a quite friendly nation that welcomes tourists and its roads are rather safe if you’re careful. You can get by in a 2WD although a 4WD may be better when taking the more off-the-beaten-path roads.
While there may not be a single iconic road trip route in Morocco, this is what makes a road trip here more unique and customizable. You can design a route that caters to your interests and not simply follow a well-trodden path so to speak.
While you may have thought of Morocco as being simply a desert, there are also the Atlas Mountains as well as a gorgeous coastline which offers up a number of great surfing spots. Scattered across the country are countless historic sites, natural wonders, and authentic cultural experiences blended with modern cities.
Depending on your chosen route, highlights may include heading off into the Sahara Desert on a camel for an overnight stay at a desert camp, exploring the medieval fortified Muslim necropolis of Chellah with its Roman ruins, walking through Marrakech’s gorgeous Jardin Majorelle botanic garden, gazing at the majestic 19th century Bahia Palace, haggling at the souks, or making your way through the famous Caves of Hercules.
A number of locations you may recognize from movies and T.V. series such as Game of Thrones, The Mummy, and Gladiator. You can choose a route that passes through the major cities like Marrakesh, Casablanca, Rabat, and Tangier or seek out lesser known towns like Chefchaouen with its iconic blue painted buildings or the tanneries of Fez.
If you do choose to take in the major cities, we recommend parking outside the city centers and using public transport or walking into the city since driving within the old towns of places like Marrakesh can be a bit of a nightmare.
California’s Highway 1
You don’t get much more scenic than California’s Highway 1. Officially known as State Route 1, many refer to it as the Pacific Coast Highway since the road hugs the Pacific Ocean for much of its roughly 600 miles. Highway 1 begins near Laguna Beach in the south and ends just after Fort Bragg in the north of the state.
This All-American Road offers up nearly something for everyone whether you like surfing, shopping, sipping wine, or solace in nature. You’ll of course pass through some iconic American cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as lesser known destinations like Morro Bay with its marine life that includes sea otters, the beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea, Cambria with its elephant seals, as well as Big Sur and its famous Bixby Bridge.
There are endless beaches to take in, towering redwood trees to marvel at, and many popular boardwalks and piers to stroll and enjoy people watching. Pass over the Golden Gate Bridge and take time to experience Alcatraz in San Francisco and don’t miss spending time enjoying a bit of fun and entertainment in Hollywood.
Italy’s Stelvio Pass
Our previous road trip routes have mainly focused on the sites and attractions found along the routes, but Italy’s Stelvio Pass is truly about the driving experience itself. Experiencing the Stelvio Pass can be done in a half day as well, making it a fun short road trip for those travelers who may be short on time.
The actual road that takes in Italy’s Stelvio Pass is named Strada Statale 38 and it features nearly 50 hairpin turns as it zigzags its way up for roughly 30 miles to an elevation of over 9,000 feet in Northern Italy’s Ortler Alps.
Regarded as the greatest driving road in the world by many, it’s ultra-scenic for those riding in the passenger seat. Drivers will still be able to take in the majestic views but need to pay special attention to the dangerous road.
The second highest paved mountain pass in the Alps, Stelvio Pass is usually open from June to October each year. Snow and ice forces the road to close during the winter months. During summer when the route sees a high volume of visitors, it’s wise to avoid the weekends, special events, and afternoons if you want to experience less traffic.
A nice route to take is from Bolzano to Livigno or vice versa, with the more spectacular and challenging road climbing from the Prato side. Be ready to take in snow-capped mountains, mountain lakes, and plenty of forests that are all just a stone’s throw from Switzerland.