Road trip USA - the best routes to travel

Road trip USA - the best routes to travel
The United States of America is synonymous with the world of motoring – as it has introduced many of the household brands known today – as well as some of the most amazing roads seen around the globe.

Most people would be aware of the iconic ‘Route 66’ that starts in Chicago, Illinois and ends all the way west at Santa Monica, California – but there are many other parts of the country that are worth a visit to take a road trip.

What is the legal driving age in the USA?

For Brits who are looking to make the trip over the Atlantic, historically, many car rental companies wouldn’t provide a vehicle for anyone under the age of 25.

But in recent years, this has been reduced to 21 – and even 18 in some states.

For most states and car rental companies, the rule is that you need to be over the age of 21 and have held a UK licence for more than six months.

Check the state laws before you head off to the States - some places have slightly different rules, depending on your age and experiance as a driver.

Can I drive in the USA with a UK driving licence?

Yes, you can drive in the United States with a UK driving license when you are on holiday.

However, the length you can legally drive can vary depending on the state you're visiting, so it's essential to check the specific regulations before landing in the States.

Remember, always carry your UK driving license and any required documents whenever you are driving.

What documents do I need to drive in the USA?

When driving in the United States, you will need a valid UK Driving License, a in-date passport, your vehicle insurance information, and any other vehicle documentation from the rental company.

Best USA road trips

The United States offers a wide range of scenic and exciting road trips. These journeys offer some of the best that America has to offer!

Route 66

States: California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois

Embark on a historic journey along the ‘Mother Road’ or ‘Main Street of America’. Route 66 starts in Chicago, Illinois, and ends in Santa Monica, California.

An iconic part of classic Americana, it is famous around the world for its roadside attractions, and small towns along the way.

It is synonymous with the American spirit of freedom, exploration, and adventure.

Along the highway you will see the common sights of old gas stations, motels, diners, and travellers enjoying the eight states the road travels through.

When holidaymakers look to do an American road trip - this is, by far, the most popular.

Pacific Coast Highway

State: California

Drive along California's iconic Highway 1, which stretches from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, charming coastal towns, and the famous Big Sur region.

Also known as the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as California State Route 1 (SR 1), it runs for approximately 655 miles from Dana Point in Southern California to Leggett in Northern California.

Along the PCH, you'll encounter several notable landmarks, including a rugged and mountainous region with dramatic cliffs, scenic viewpoints, and the famous Bixby Creek Bridge.

You’ll also travel past Hearst Castle and Santa Monica Pier, as well as travel over Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco – an iconic suspension bridge connecting the city to Marin County and offers panoramic views of the bay.

Traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway allows visitors to experience the diverse beauty of California's coastline, with opportunities for camping, hiking, beach activities, and exploring charming coastal towns. It is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world, providing an unforgettable journey for those who venture along its path.

Blue Ridge Parkway

States: Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina

Take a scenic drive through the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. This route offers stunning views of colourful fall foliage, charming Appalachian towns, and opportunities for hiking and outdoor activities.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic highway that spans 469 miles in the eastern United States that connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.

It is often referred to as ‘America's Favorite Drive’ and is a popular destination for road trips, sightseeing, and outdoor activities.

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a serene and scenic driving experience, with a maximum speed limit of 45 mph to encourage visitors to enjoy the surroundings at a leisurely pace.

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

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*Max 40% applies to new Extra and Complete for 1 vehicle or 1 person. Ends 17/07/24, 7am. ^ £6.75 for Basic, not on sale. 

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The Great River Road

States: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana

Travel alongside the Mississippi River on the Great River Road, which passes through ten states. Explore charming river towns, cities, witness stunning river views, and immerse yourself in the cultural heritage and history of the region.

The Great River Road is a popular scenic route that follows the course of the river through the centre of the United States. It is often considered one of America's premier national scenic byways.

The road stretches for approximately 3,000 miles from the northern part of Minnesota, near the headwaters of the Mississippi River, to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.

Along the route, you can find numerous attractions and points of interest, including national and state parks, museums, historical sites, scenic overlooks, and recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, and birdwatching.

The road is well-marked with signs and offers various visitor centres and interpretive sites that provide information about the area's history, geology, wildlife, and other points of interest.

The Great River Road is a popular choice for road trips, and many travellers enjoy exploring the different states and communities along the route, immersing themselves in the beauty and culture of the Mississippi River region.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

State: Montana

Drive through Glacier National Park on this scenic route that spans the park from east to west. Marvel at majestic mountains, glaciers, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife along the way.

It is renowned for its views of the surrounding mountains, alpine meadows, and pristine wilderness. The road stretches approximately 50 miles across the park, traversing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

Considered an engineering marvel, it winds through rugged terrain and climbs to elevations of over 6,600 feet. It was completed in 1932 and is both a National Historic Landmark and a National Civil Engineering Landmark.

The road offers spectacular vistas of glaciers, deep valleys, lakes, and dense forests. Along the way, visitors can stop at several viewpoints, trailheads, and visitor centres to explore the natural beauty of the park. Popular attractions include Logan Pass, Hidden Lake, Jackson Glacier Overlook, and the Weeping Wall.

Due to the road's high elevation and steep grades, it is typically open for vehicle travel only from late June or early July to mid-October, depending on weather conditions. It is closed during winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanche risks.

Overseas Highway

State: Florida

Journey through the Florida Keys on the Overseas Highway, connecting Miami to the southernmost point of the continental United States, Key West. Enjoy turquoise waters, stunning bridges, and a laid-back atmosphere while exploring the tropical beauty of the Keys.

The highway incorporates a series of bridges and causeways to traverse the numerous islands and bodies of water that make up the Florida Keys. It was originally built as a railroad in the early 1900s but after a hurricane destroyed portions of the railroad, it was converted into a highway in the 1930s.

The highway spans approximately 113 miles, passing through several major keys, including Islamorada, Marathon, and Big Pine Key. It offers stunning panoramic views of the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as picturesque vistas of the surrounding islands, mangroves, and coral reefs.

One of the most iconic sections is the Seven Mile Bridge, a concrete bridge that spans, as the name suggests, approximately seven miles across the open water. The bridge is a popular spot for sightseeing, fishing, and enjoying the scenic beauty of the area.

The Overseas Highway provides access to numerous attractions and recreational activities, including snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, boating, and visiting state parks and wildlife refuges along the tropical paradise.

The Loneliest Road

States: California, Maryland, and Nevada

Cross Nevada on Highway 50, famously known as ‘The Loneliest Road in America’. Experience vast open landscapes, quirky roadside attractions, and solitude in the heart of the American West.

The name originated from a promotion by Life magazine in 1986, which gave it the name due to its remote and desolate nature.

U.S. Route 50 runs from Sacramento, California, to Ocean City, Maryland, but the section in Nevada, particularly between Ely and Fernley, is known for its long stretches with limited services and sparse population. The road cuts through vast stretches of desert, with vast open landscapes, minimal traffic, and few towns or amenities along the way.

Traveling along the Loneliest Road can provide a unique and solitary experience, with expansive desert vistas, rugged mountain ranges, and a sense of isolation. It passes through areas such as the Great Basin National Park, offering opportunities for outdoor exploration, hiking, and camping.

Travelers are advised to plan accordingly, ensure they have ample supplies, and be prepared for long stretches without services or cellular reception.

Despite its reputation, it has become a popular route for road trips and adventurers seeking the solitude and vastness of the Nevada desert.

Mighty 5 National Parks

State: Utah

The ‘Mighty 5’National Parks in the state of Utah include Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion.

They attract thousands of visitors from acrosss America and the rest of the world evey year.

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

With our cover, the difference is in your pocket. 

*Max 40% applies to new Extra and Complete for 1 vehicle or 1 person. Ends 17/07/24, 7am. ^ £6.75 for Basic, not on sale. 

RAC Breakdown Cover Sale

The Outer Banks

the outer banks

State: North Carolina

Drive along the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. Discover beautiful beaches, lighthouses, wild horses, and historic sites like the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

It stretches approximately 200 miles along the state's coastline, separating the Atlantic Ocean from the mainland.

The Oregon Trail

the oregon trail

States: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon

Trace the historic Oregon Trail, the route taken by pioneers in the 19th century. This road trip covers several states and showcases the beauty of the American West, including landmarks like Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park.

The route played a significant role in the westward expansion of the United States and is an iconic symbol of American frontier history.

Have you ever travelled on these roads? Or have we missed any from this list? Leave your comments below.