ONE THING AMERICA HAS NEVER LACKED is open road. Yet with so many options, we often tend to stick to the tried and true: Jack Kerouac’s Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway up California’s coast, roads that take us to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.
But the US is so much more than its classic attractions. It’s the country that birthed BBQ and the Blues. It’s the country with both the obvious beauty of the Sierras and the subtle magic of the Iowa hills. And it’s a country where early settlers on their journey towards Oregon made the American road trip a historical act.
What parts of America have we been missing? Take a look below.
In addition to the post-BBQ stomach ache, you can also look forward to drives through small, historic towns with 19th century architecture, and miles of green, rolling hills in between.
Austin to San Antonio Texas (approx. 245 miles, driving time around 4 hours).
Seafood, beautiful ocean drives, and access to the only living coral barrier reef in the United States.
Highway 1 from Key Largo to Key West (approx 127 miles).
The ghost trail of Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Sam Cooke, Bessie Smith, B.B. King. and Elvis. All of them came down this highway on their way to Memphis, singin’ the blues.
Vicksburg up to Memphis (3 hours and 40 minutes and approx 246 miles).
An international circle around the Selkirk Mountains in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and southeastern British Columbia. It passes through rivers, lakes, mountains, and some of the artsiest towns in North America.
Newport circling back again (approx. 280 miles).
A highway far less populated than the touristy Pacific Highway 1, yet with equally beautiful landscape and history.
Lee Vining to Lone Pine (approx. 155 miles and around 2 hours).
Continue south of Lone Pine to visit Manzamar, a former Japanese Internment site, between Lone Pine and Independence. Or, start north of Lee Vining in Reno and pass through the ghost town of Bodie, a former 19th-century mining settlement in California, and now a state historic park.
Every millennial has played the game; now tackle the journey yourself. The modern-day trail goes through five states and covers a ton of ground before you land in historic Baker City, Oregon.
Independence, Missouri to Baker City, Oregon (approx. 1,700 miles, driving time around 27 hours).
Glaciers, waterfalls, and desolate Alaskan landscape.
Anchorage to Valdez (approx. 280 miles).
Churches, art, adobe, tequila- the southwest package.
Nambe (on the N.M.503) to Taos (approximately 56 miles).
Nowhere but China are deposits of “loess”– a type of hilly land formations made of windblown silt — higher than the ones on this route in Iowa.
Sioux City to Omaha (approx. 220 miles, around 2 hours).
Check out the Mile Hill Lake Scenic Overlook on the way to Glenwood.