In the US, road trips have been idealized for generations. From the first people to explore Route 66 to Hollywood’s portrayals of road trip adventures like that of Thelma and Louise, we have a strong calling for the open road. If you and your girlfriends have been dreaming of a road trip, complete with convertible and unplanned adventure, check out these classic US road trip ideas.
Pacific Coast Highway
A great short, weekend road trip is long the Pacific Coast Highway. This breathtaking route follows the Pacific coastline past sleepy, little beach towns and up through Big Sur, the highlight of the trip. Hugging the edge of ocean-side cliffs, this section of California’s Route 1 follows some of the most beautiful coastline in the country. Much of the area has been protected from development and only a few small restaurants and B&B type hotels dot the route.
While the drive is amazing, this road trip also makes a great girls-getaway thanks to its location right in the middle of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Either city can make a great end-of-the-route destination to extend your trip.
A road trip and island hopping don’t usually go together but thankfully, a road trip through the Florida Keys offers just that. This 120 mile long island chain is connected through a series of bridges and roads by Highway 1 to make island hopping here a breeze. You’ll be amazing by the engineering marvel of an “overseas highway” and blown away by all the great places it will take you.
If you enjoy scuba diving, start your trip in Key Largo, the dive capital of the world. Heading south, stop along the way for water sports, beaches, snorkeling, and relaxed beach shack bars. There are plenty of touristy stops, complete with tacky shell necklaces but there are equally as many local hot spots with great Caribbean food, music, and probably a hammock or two out back.
Los Angeles, CA to Albuquerque, NM
If you are ready to tackle a longer road trip, grab your favorite friends and hit the road through the Southwest United States. At first glance the stretch between L.A. and New Mexico can seem like endless desert but that is far from reality. This road trip packs in a full week or more of highlights, both man-made and natural wonders.
The first major stop along the route is Las Vegas, an oasis of casinos, great food, world-famous shows, and awesome nightlife. Seeming to spring right out of the desert around it, this city can easily be enjoyed for a week on its own but before too long you will be back in the car heading for Arizona.
The first highlight, just a short detour off the main route, is well worth the extra driving – The Grand Canyon. This natural marvel will take your breath away and a hike down into the canyon will definitely give you a chance to stretch your tired legs after a few days in the car. Arizona’s next must-stop is the small town of Winslow. Here you can go back in time, experiencing an original Route 66 pitstop. The town was made famous by the Eagles’ song “Take it Easy” and embodies that phrase well with cute diners and gift shops that make it a peaceful place to spend an afternoon before continuing your drive.
The end of the road will lead you right to Albuquerque, New Mexico, a city that reminds you just a bit of the Old Wild West. It is also home to the world-famous annual Hot Air Balloon Festival which, if you can time it right, would make for an amazing end of your road trip.