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Coast to Coast USA Road Trips, Route 66, The most famous drives in America

6 of The Most Famous Drives in North America

Get ready to rev up your wanderlust! We’ve tackled the tough task of choosing our absolute favourites, bringing you a curated list of 6 of The Most Famous Drives in North America. Each are sure to accelerate your American holiday experience, promising you unforgettable adventures and breathtaking scenery that will make your road trip remarkable.

 


 1. Route 66

Perhaps THE most famous drive in America, Route 66 is nearly 2500 miles of classic Americana. Drive along varied natural landscapes and iconic cities like Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. A Route 66 self-drive holiday is an all-time classic road trip that’s been etched into American folklore by those migrating west along “The Mother Road” during the Great Depression of the 1930s. 

Route 66 offers over 2000 miles of nostalgic Americana, ever-changing scenery and some of America’s best cities. Starting your road trip in Chicago, you’ll cross through eight States, eventually reaching Route 66’s “End of the Trail” sign in sunny Santa Monica, Los Angeles.

We have a few variants of this popular itinerary, each offering something different. Whichever way you choose to drive Route 66, you’ve opportunity to visit Chicago, Pontiac, Springfield, St Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas & Los Angeles. 

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore Route 66…

Old Route 66, The most famous drives in America

Route 66 Road Trip


2. Big Sur, California

Drive Big Sur, a spectacular stretch of highway. Once you have driven along this rugged stretch of Highway 1, you will certainly understand why it is famously described as one of the greatest drives in America!

This famous highway hugs the coastline between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Cambria. Big Sur is found in Monterey County and is a phenomenal section of California’s 800-mile coastline. 

Where to stop along Big Sur? As you drive from Carmel, Bixby Bridge marks the start of Big Sur. Bixby Creek Bridge is a favourite photo-op along the epic Big Sur. McWay Falls is another wonder. Tucked inside Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, you’ll see the beautiful waterfall that runs into the ocean. Likewise, Henry Miller Memorial Library is a lovely place to stop.

Where to eat along Big Sur? ARTCo favourite – Nepenthe. Arguably the best views you will ever witness as you sit for a delicious lunch looking out over the Pacific Ocean! Visit the gorgeous shop named ‘The Phoenix’.

Best way to drive Big Sur? This is a classic American drive, on your classic Californian Road trip. For an experience like this, a convertible just can’t be beaten. To drive along with the top-down, Michael Kiwanuka playing (If you know, you know!), the salty air blowing through your hair and the waves crashing down on the deep blue Pacific ocean beside you is pretty surreal. 

Where to stop as you drive along The Big Sur? Visit the elephant seals just 7 miles west of Hearst Castle and watch the mammals from an observation deck. The best time to visit is in November because the seals come ashore to mate, and birthing takes place during January.

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore Big Sur…

Big Sur, California, USA, The most famous drives in America

Big Sur, California


3. Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park

Skyline Drive, spanning 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains within Shenandoah National Park, stands as the sole public road traversing this natural wonder.

How long does it take to drive Skyline Drive? The drive itself spans 105 miles, and it’s a scenic route known for its curves and vistas. On a clear day, a scenic journey along its entirety typically takes approximately three to four hours. However, if you plan to stop at overlooks, hike trails, or visit points of interest within the park, it may take longer.

It’s important to note that GPS in this area is not reliable. Instead, follow the provided directions to access each entrance station.

Throughout most of the route, the speed limit is set at 35 mph, inviting you to lower your windows, savor the gentle breeze, and immerse yourself in the picturesque twists and turns of this enchanting drive.

Shenandoah is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, black bear, wild turkey, and many other woodland creatures, all of which frequently traverse Skyline Drive in their daily routines. Keep a watchful eye for these animals, as they may unexpectedly dart across your path.

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore Skyline Drive…

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, The most famous drives in America

Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park


4. The Blue Ridge Parkway

Where are the Blue Ridge Mountains? The Blue Ridge Mountains comprise a section of the Appalachian Mountains, spanning 8 states. 

This 469 stretch of scenic road takes you through Virginia and North Carolina, linking Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park. Just 5 5-hour drive from Atlanta and 2.5 hours from Charlotte, NC, the Blue Ridge Mountains become a significant part of your road trip as you explore the South.

What to do in the Blue Ridge Mountains? Drive along the ribbon of road that weaves through the mountains. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will find the highest waterfall east of the Rockies – Whitewater Falls, the deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon – Linville Gorge, and the oldest river in North America – New River.

Besides taking your road trip adventure down the Blue Ridge Parkway for incredible panoramic views, there are many other exciting things to do in this area. Look out for waterfalls only a short distance from the roadside, while others are on one of Ashevilles’ many hiking trails.

Besides the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are 18 scenic drives near Asheville. In detail – you’ll be making the most of that rental car! This area is excellent for fly fishing and other water activities; you can even dip in the mountain swimming hole and ride down Sliding Rock before tubing down the river.

You should know before you go…  Phone reception can be super spotty away from the towns. So, be prepared ahead of your journey. There are no gas stations for over 50 miles. For this reason, it’s best to fill up your tank before you reach the parkway.

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore The Blue Ridge Parkway…

Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains, USA, The most famous drives in America

Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains


5. Colonial Parkway, Virginia

Drive along one of the most famous drives in America; The Colonial Parkway. Step back in time and drive along this historic road, a scenic triangle between Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. As part of the National Park Service, there have been minimal developments, and there are as few road signs as possible along the route. So, The Colonial Parkway is, for the most part, as it was back in the day.

How long is the Colonial Parkway? Take your Virginia Road Trip along a 23-mile stretch of the National Scenic Byway. The slow-paced road connects the three communities of Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown in a ‘Historic Triangle’.

What is there to do along the Colonial Parkway? As you drive along the Parkway, there are pull-ins along the roadside with informative signs to read the historical context. Stop at any point and admire the three historically significant areas where America was first founded. The First stop along the Parkway is Historic Jamestown. This is where Englishmen previously settled in 1607 and began the “New World”, finding America!

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore The Colonial Parkway…

Colonial Parkway, Virginia, USA.

The Colonial Parkway, Virginia, USA


6. 17 Mile Drive, California

Drive along one of the most famous drives in America as you cruise the 17-Mile Drive for picture-perfect scenery in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. This famous road passes through an exclusive neighbourhood and world-famous golf courses at Pebble Beach, drives along the Big Sur and along beautiful wind-tossed beaches.

Where is 17-Mile Drive? Connecting Monterey and Carmel, this self-guided driving tour along the spectacular scenic road takes you along the Monterey Peninsula.

Where to enter the 17-Mile Drive? We recommend entering via the Pacific Grove Gate, off Sunset Drive. This will put you in a great spot within the loop to witness the beautiful hot spots to the right side of the road. The other gates are located just off Highway 1, Highway 68, and San Antonio Ave. As you enter, there is a fee of $11.25. Simply follow the red lines along the road as you make your way through the 17-mile tour.

When is the best time to visit the 17-Mile Drive? To drive this road can take from 1-3 hours. September and October are, without doubt, excellent months to visit Carmel as earlier in the year can get surprisingly foggy, while winter can be wet.

Golf courses along the 17-Mile Drive… The world-famous U.S. Open Golf Tournament takes place every few years in June at Pebble Beach. The Pebble Beach Pro-Am takes place here each February. 

The Best bits? Undeniably those spectacular views! Take in the picturesque Pacific coastline coupled with the iconic scenery, not to mention The ‘Lone Cypress’. You will feel like you’re in the cast of ‘Big Little Lies’ in this increasingly popular part of town.

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore 17 Mile Drive…

Lone Cypress Tree, 17 Mile Drive, California, USA

Lone Cypress Tree, 17 Mile Drive, California


 

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