America is huge. Make some plans for an epic road trip inside these five states.
Everyone loves a scenic drive, that much is certain. But the daily grind of sitting in traffic, heading to work, taking the family to soccer practice, and picking up the dry cleaning makes us forget about the joy of driving. It may be time for you to break out of the monotony for a great road trip and we've got some suggestions on where to start. Get those podcasts ready.
Texas...is huge. It's basically just a somewhat smaller version of the country it's in given its vastness, various cultural influences, and multiple sports teams to root for.
And with all this (maybe minus the sports teams) comes the opportunity to light out on one epic road trip.
For instance, if you're up for a 10-hour drive, you can start in the sprawling green bayous of Houston and end in the big sky desert canyons of El Paso, seeing a lot of landscape in between. One trip we can suggest is the Bluebonnet Trail, part of the state's natural Hill Country setting. When the bluebonnets are out in full force from March to May, start off in Austin and meander your way east-ish, passing through this beautiful landscape and a chain of seven interconnected lakes.
One of Disney/Pixar's most underrated films is Cars--well, underrated to people at an auto publication. In this animated epic, the inspiration taken from the American west for its setting is real as hell.
The cool thing about this is that you can actually go and see the real deal in Arizona. From red rocks to wide open views, the state's stretch along the historic Route 66 offers some of the best roads to drive along. You can also take a great road trip on the Red Rock Scenic Byway (Route 89A), just outside Sedona, for 84 miles of the most amazing scenery in the west.
California's classic Highway 1 along the coast has been featured in countless movies (Austin Powers is a favorite). From its winding turns to its sunset views to the possible danger that comes with driving next to a steep cliff, the Pacific Coast Highway is the perfect west coast drive for adventure seekers. One stretch we suggest is 17-Mile Drive (really, it's 10 miles) around the Monterey Peninsula, which features coastal towns like Pacific Grove and Carmel, and natural surroundings like the Del Monte forests.
Looking for a bit of off-road driving? Get away from the water and head to the state's sprawling desert drives in the southern part. South of Joshua Tree (which is always a great road trip destination) and north of the Mexican border there are countless trails and parks, wide as they are dusty, that offer up great choices to bring out the ATVs, rock crawlers, and dune buggies. Try Sandstone Canyon, The Slot, or Glamis.
While Lakeshore Drive is a great little trip along Chicago's Lake Michigan coast, the Land of Lincoln also mixes in Midwestern charm and wonderment in its natural surroundings.
Hitch things up and head down the Great River Road, also known as the Great Rivers Scenic Byway. It's a unique opportunity to go full-Kerouac and get back in touch with the open road. Filled with views of limestone river bluffs, the mighty Mississippi, and unique flora and fauna, the Great Rivers Scenic Byway will bring your love of Americana to life.
The Sunshine State includes everything from swamps to white beaches to prairie-like outbacks in the northern part. But it's the state's string of tiny islands stretching to the Caribbean that attracts people from all over.
The 120-mile-long island chain of Florida's Keys is well-known for its easy going lifestyle, Parrotheads, beach cabanas, and water sports. The cool thing about the Keys, besides its history and one-of-a-kind views, is that you can make a bunch of little stops along the way on tiny island villages.
Drivers on this great road trip can see everything from coral-reef parks, unique lighthouses, and the 7 Mile Bridge--one of the longest bridges in the world.
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