Nowhere invites a road trip quite like the USA. Wide interstate highways criss cross the country tempting drivers to turn on the cruise control, turn up the radio and hit the road.
Below are some of my favourites:
Georgia & South Carolina
Atlanta – Augusta (145 miles) – Myrtle Beach (225 miles) – Charleston SC (100 miles) – Hilton Head (100 miles) – Savannah (35 miles) – Atlanta (250 miles)
Fly into Atlanta for the chance to explore South Carolina and Georgia. Both states have a rich history from the Civil War and the slave trade, and you will come across battlefields, war graves and plantation houses along the way. First stop is Augusta, home of the famous golf tournament and a ‘must see’ for my husband. Actually not much to see as the iconic club and ground is behind high hedges, but after a 2-hour drive it makes for a convenient break. Press onto Myrtle Beach where it is worth staying a few days to explore all the fun on offer at one of America’s premier seaside resorts. Join the Coastal Highway Route 17 to drive south. You will need at least a day to enjoy Brookgreen Gardens, south of Myrtle Beach, to indulge in glorious planting, sculptures and low country history.
The highway continues towards Hilton Head Island, the perfect base from which to explore the beautiful city of Savannah. Finally head back to Atlanta to fly home.
Silver Travel Advisor partner, American Sky offers similar tour: Experience The Historic Deep South
Waikiki- Makapuu Point (15 miles) take a stroll, – Waimanalo Beach (3 miles) – Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout, (12 miles) – Kaneohe (10 miles) – Polynesian Cultural Centre (22 miles) – Turtle Bay Resort (7 miles) – Waimea Valley (7 miles) – Waikiki (38 miles)
If you don’t want to drive long distances, then Hawaii may be for you. It is possible to drive around Oahu island in a single day, but why not take time to stop along the way? Views are so amazing you will have to make several stops to drink in the beauty of it all. Starting from the tourist hotspot of Waikiki – you will need a few days to visit Pearl Harbour and relax after the long flight from the UK. Watch the surfers perform on famous Waikiki beach and take in iconic Diamond Head.
When it is time to hit the road head along the Eastern, or windward, coast towards the Polynesian Cultural Centre and you will be tempted by epic views and gorgeous beaches along the way. Continue on to Turtle Bay on the North Shore for an overnight (or longer) stop. Watch the sun go down from the appropriately named Sunset Beach but arrive early for a parking spot. Your route back to Waikiki takes you to Waimea Bay where surfers come from across the globe to ride the biggest waves. Don’t miss Waimea Valley where you can take a gentle stroll to Waimea Falls. Then it is time to put your foot down through the middle of the island back to Waikiki, passing pineapple plantations along the way.
Los Angeles – Palm Springs (125 miles) – San Diego (126 miles) – La Jolla – Huntington Beach (94 miles) – Los Angeles (38 miles)
The California Coastal route on Highway 1 is well documented linking San Francisco and San Diego. A shorter Californian Experience is from Los Angeles where you quickly leave the city behind and drive to tranquil Palm Springs. From here you can explore Joshua Tree National Park and take the popular aerial tramway into the San Jacinto Mountains. When you fancy some beach time then San Diego is the place. Mission Beach is probably the most popular but a side trip to Coronado Island is also a ‘must do’. You can ditch the car on Coronado and hire bikes to cycle around. En route back to Los Angeles call into La Jolla to watch families of seals basking on the sands, before stopping for lunch at ‘Dukes’ on Huntingdon Beach. This iconic beachfront restaurant is a surfer’s paradise and has a great history. It is then just a short drive to LAX for your flight home.
Silver Travel Advisor partner, American Sky, offers similar self-drive tour: Encounter Los Angeles & San Diego Self-Drive
Utah, Idaho & Wyoming
Salt Lack City – Idaho falls (213 miles) – West Yellowstone (108 miles) -Grand Tetons, Jackson Hole – Salt Lake City (290 miles)
Only attempt this itinerary during the summer months as in the winter many roads will be closed. Expect quiet roads through Utah, Idaho and Wyoming but heavy traffic within the parks in high season. Salt Lake City makes a great starting point as it is such a delightful city. Direct flights from London with Delta Airlines have made access so much easier. After a few days exploring the city drive north, via the Great Salt Lake, and onto Idaho Falls. This pretty city, on the banks of the Snake River, is a great place to stroll around and stretch your legs. When you are ready to carry on to Yellowstone head for the town of West Yellowstone where accommodation is better value than within the National Park. There are driving routes and hiking trails that will showcase all the wildlife and vistas that this magnificent park has to offer. Three days will give you the chance to really explore. When it is time to move on take the I-191 if it is open, as it is a glorious drive through Yellowstone and into Grand Teton National Park. Head for Jackson Hole as a place to stop for a night or two. The drive back to Salt Lake City is a fairly long stretch but rewards you with breathtaking scenery.
Try to stay overnight on arrival so you can set off refreshed the next day.
Don’t do too much, this is your holiday – set time aside to appreciate places en route.
Familiarise yourself with the American highway code.
For comfort and ease of driving hire the biggest car you can afford, petrol is cheaper over there!
Mileages given are by the most direct route and approximate.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends American Sky who are experts in USA fly drive itineraries, and can tailor make your preferred itinerary.