Summer is now in full swing and what better way is there to escape the heat and humidity of the city than to jump in a convertible car, with the top down, wind blowing in your hair as you “head off on the highway looking for adventure” as the “Born To Be Wild” song states.
Indeed, this song captivates the spirit of an American road trip and whilst times have changed to the point that today, we might be using SatNav to plan a detailed itinerary, unlike in the previous era where you would just go where the road takes you, the benefit is you can now create the perfect itinerary that’s tailored to your specific interests. For instance, you might want to stop off and incorporate seeing some hit shows in New York, or hunting down some abandoned art.
The point is, today, thanks to the internet we are able to plan our trips to the nth degree, which in some ways can be a fantastic way to squeeze more from your travels, but in another way, it can actually detract from the true experience of travel which is that sense of adventure and seeing where the road takes you rather than micromanaging each detail of your trip.
In that vein, here are five US road trips that offer plenty of opportunity for spontaneity, adventure, and excitement without you needing to spend days and days researching and planning routes – sometimes, it’s best in life to just go with the flow and see what happens.
Now, the first step you do want to consider, however, is what vehicle you will be taking with you to embark on this summer journey – as the vehicle can make all the difference.
For instance, if you’re driving around in an old banger that’s on its last legs your journey probably isn’t going to be one of feeling freedom and lighthearted – it’s more likely to be riddled with stress and tension, worrying what that new noise is, or anticipating when you’re next going to break down!
It’s therefore worth considering getting a decent car to take with you on your trip, even if that means renting a car, and/or doing a one-way rental… which is particularly convenient if you’re traveling far away from where you live. For instance, if you live in New York and want to do the California route below, it might be much better to fly into a Californian airport – rather than drive all that way, just to do the 750-mile road trip along the coast.
Essentially, it’s often better to fly to the starting point, than have to sit on the freeway for hours on end just to get to where your trip starts.
Also, there’s nothing to say that your vehicle has to have 4 wheels.
If you are thinking about going on a motorbike tour then a good option to consider is having your bike shipped to the starting point in advance, and then getting a flight to being your journey. The reason this can work so well is that today we all have limited time, and you don’t want to waste your vacation driving down boring freeways just to get to the start point of your adventure.
Now, let’s take a look at three ideas for a summer road trip.
CALIFORNIA STATE ROUTE 1
Summer is definitely the best time to head to California State Route 1, with the song “California Dreaming” blasting out the radio. In summer, this route is soaked in sun and is the perfect trip for a convertible; particularly if you’re looking to get bronzed as you drive along the 745-mile route that hugs the Pacific coast.
The route starts in San Diego and leads through Los Angeles, Long Beach, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, and San Francisco.
The US 1 from Miami to Key West is just a 150 mile drive, making it the shortest road trip on this list, yet whilst it’s short it packs a lot into those 150 miles and the keys are more a place to take it easy, unwind, and go with the flow anyway – so this route is decidedly unrushed.
The road itself takes you mostly right next to the ocean; meandering its way through a number of keys (small islands) that are sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
US ROUTE 20
If you want to travel coast to coast, then US Route 20 is known for being the longest road in the US covering a distance of 3,365 miles. This one is for people that want to undertake an epic trip, and isn’t necessarily related to summer in the same way the California Coastal Route and Florida Keys route is… it will, however, be a pretty significant travel achievement.