If ever there was a perfect time to take a road trip it’s now. With summer on our doorstep and local travel top of mind, why not hit the open road and explore the great US of A? Whether your wanderlust is calling for a scenic coastal drive or a middle of nowhere adventure, we’ve curated two unforgettable road trips that promise spectacular scenery, exploration of historic towns and the freedom to program the perfect route for you.
Route 66: Chicago to Santa Monica
One of the best, most well-traveled road trips is along Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica. The diagonally shaped driving route stretches over 2,000 miles and would take around four days without overnight stops. That said, why not make the most of this cross country adventure and spread it out over two weeks to explore eight different states?
Leaving from Chicago, road trippers will drive around four and a half hours to their first pit stop in St. Louis, Missouri where you can visit the famous 630-foot tall Gateway Arch and iconic Ted Drewes Frozen Custard Stand for some of the best ice cream you’ll ever have. If you’re looking to stay overnight in five-star luxury check into The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis.
From St Louis, you’ll drive around 6 hours along Route 66 to the small city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where art and design lovers can marvel at the glorious art deco buildings. From there you’ll head to the small town of Amarillo, Texas for a quick stop where you should indulge in great local BBQ before heading south toward New Mexico where you’ll discover Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Albuquerque is New Mexico’s largest city, that fans of Breaking Bad will know well as the hit series was filmed here. After taking in all the scenic desert views, drive about an hour southwest to Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital city which has an eclectic mix of restaurants, art galleries, and souvenir shops.
Next, you’ll hit Arizona, the second to last state on this cross country road trip. Stop first at Flagstaff to experience the old college town vibe then make your way to Sedona to absorb the beautiful views of red rocks and wilderness. If you want to bed down for the night, L’auberge de Sedona is a tranquil luxury hotel nestled in nature and surrounded by great hiking trails.
The final 7-8 hour stretch from Sedona to Los Angeles offers scenic views from the comfort of your car. In the City of Angeles, take a walk down the famous Sunset Strip and splurge in the shops of Beverly Hills before making your way to the beaches of Santa Monica. Having traveled around 2,000 miles, Santa Monica brings well-earned beach relaxation, oceanfront dining, and breathtaking sunsets on the world-famous Santa Monica Pier.
Tribe tip: Check out the hip restaurant, bar and boutique precinct of Abbot Kinney Boulevard in nearby Venice.
Atlantic Coast Road Trip Drive
An idyllic summer road trip with picturesque ocean views is the Atlantic Coast drive from New York City to Key West, Florida.
This almost 2,000-mile drive along I-95 combines coastal views with detours down two-lane country roads as you pass beach towns, cute old fishing villages and homes that look straight out of a Hollywood movie. You will also drive through nine states – New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Starting in NYC, road trippers can take in views of Lady Liberty before driving south toward New Jersey. Passing through Cape May, spend some time in America’s oldest seaside resort before making your way through Delaware then onto Ocean City, Maryland. Ocean City boasts miles of beaches as well as an oceanside boardwalk littered with restaurants, shops, and hotels. For adrenaline-junkies, there’s even a theme-park attraction called Trimper’s Rides.
From Ocean City, you’ll continue enjoying relaxing beach views before arriving in Virginia. While here, check-in at The Cavalier Virginia Beach, Autograph Collection in the heart of Virginia Beach to enjoy sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean.
After a good night’s sleep, you’ll drive about an hour and a half to Roanoke Island, North Carolina. The 25-acre historic site is the first English-speaking colony in North America, so history buffs will be treated to an authentic experience of life in the late 1500s.
Your next stop is the charming beach town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. This must-stop for golf-lovers has plenty of celebrity-designed golf courses perfect for perfecting your swing. Get in a quick round before making your way down to Charleston, where you can break for a fresh seafood lunch at any of the restaurants along King Street.
Georgia is next on the list and as insiders, we suggest visiting the local secret Tybee Island just east of Savannah where you can explore the still-functioning lighthouse and gorgeous beaches.
The final stretch from Tybee Island to Key West is about a 10-hour drive, so we recommend stopping in Jacksonville for a quick bite to refuel before an overnight stay in Miami to experience its buzzing nightlife scene. We love Hotel Victor South Beach in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco Historic District. Indulge in the Latin flavors of Miami with late-night Cuban sandwiches and easy access to walking along the famed Ocean Drive.
From Miami you’ll have a leisurely scenic 3 – 4-hour drive to Key West, Florida where you can relax and unwind on the white sandy beaches and azure waters of this palm tree-laden tropical paradise.