It’s hard to beat a road trip when it comes to enjoying complete independence when you go away. Feel the pull of the open road as you make a playlist of your favourite driving tunes, load up the boot, and look forward to being as spontaneous as you want. Free from the restraints of sticking to public transport timetables, there are lots of incredible routes right across North America. Here we take a look at five of the most spectacular US summer road trips you can go on.
1. Pacific Coast Highway
Grab the keys to a drop top such as the Audi A5 Cabriolet, and let in the summer sunshine and ocean breeze as you drive along this famous road. California State Route 1 stretches for almost 750 miles up the sun-drenched Californian coastline, while the Pacific Coast Highway is closer to 120 miles long. If you’ve got the time for the whole hog, the endless vistas of awesome scenery including plunging cliffs, sparkling seas and redwood forests are well worth the drive. From Malibu to Big Sur, Long Beach to San Francisco and Santa Barbara’s wine region, there’s almost too much to enjoy on this route.
2. Grand Canyon
Go on a road trip to see the mother of all canyons with bright blue skies as the perfect backdrop. Whether you’re hitting the beaches of California or the casinos of Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon National Park makes for a spectacular jaunt in a set of your own wheels. You could spend days on end driving round the area checking out the breathtaking views of deep gorges, striking ridges and other-worldly rock formations. Continue on to Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border to see even more awe-inspiring scorched scenery.
3. Route 20
If you’re determined to go big while you’re away from home, try the monstrous Route 20 on for size. At 3,365 miles it’s the longest road in the US, crossing the country from Boston on the east coast to the city of Newport in Oregon on the west. You’ll need to set aside plenty of time to complete the journey, which could make for an unforgettable camping trip. Whether you lay down your head under the stars or not, you’ll have the chance to visit the stunning Yellowstone National Park along Route 20.
4. Highway 61
Nicknamed the “Blues Highway”, this is a road trip music fans won’t want to miss. Highway 61 spans some 1,400 miles north to south as it connects New Orleans to Wyoming in Minnesota. Passing through the Mississippi Delta - which gave birth to the Delta Blues - legend has it that iconic blues guitarist Robert Johnson made a deal with the devil at the crossroads of highways 61 and 49. Feel the soul of artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King and even Elvis Presley as you sing along with Bob Dylan: “That way, down Highway 61.”
5. Route 66
How could we talk about American road trips and not mention Route 66? Staking a claim to being the most famous road anywhere in the world, it originally stretched for almost 2,500 miles when it opened in 1926. Running all the way from Chicago to Santa Monica, it’s now a series of discontinuous byways notable for its history rather than its usefulness. That doesn’t mean you won’t have a great time hiring a luxurious motor like the Audi Q7, as you cruise along however much of the the famous tarmac you want to on an epic road trip.