At Travel Curator, we love a road trip. Indeed, driving the west coast, east coast, and everything in between across this great land of ours, is a favorite pastime. Even more so now, as we look locally for wanderlust inspiration. Getting behind the wheel, especially a chic green camper is in our expert opinion, one of the best ways to truly experience our vast backdrop, immerse yourself in nature, and marvel at all the iconic landmarks, natural parks, and hidden gems you never even knew existed in North America. Here are a few of our favorite scenic drives in the US.
Meet the Cross Country Roadtrippers
Diego Uchitel, Fashion and Celebrity Photographer
LA-based photographer Diego Uchitel, whose work has graced the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and W Magazine, along with wife April Uchitel, co-founder of The Board, and their two kids, Luella, 16, and Sebastian, 13, headed off on an epic cross-country road trip in their Sprinter Van over the summer. Leaving their Laurel Canyon home they spent eight weeks traveling, camping, staying in “funky motels” across the US, and experiencing glamping for the first time at Zion Glamping Experiences in Utah.
The journey, which covered around 9000 miles, took them through California, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Ohio, New York, and finally to Suffield Connecticut to deliver daughter Luella to her new boarding school.
The drive, mapped out by Uchitel, was a family adventure and a chance for the photographer to indulge in one of his favorite travel experiences. “ I love driving, I am at peace and getting out in nature. I wanted to see more of the country and love going off-grid in my 4 wheel drive.”
Uchitel, who is working on another photography book, this time about cowboys, says among the many highlights were the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. “I love kayaking.” The “mountain ranges and cowboy life in Wyoming”, Minneapolis, “I’d never thought of it before, but it was beautiful,” and Colorado and Arizona. “They are always gold, point in any direction and you are going to be amazed.”
Laura Brown, Editor in Chief of InStyle
New York-based editor Laura Brown with fiance Brandon Borror-Chappell at the wheel rented an RV from El Monte RV to take a 31 road trip across the US, which she described as “Not just wonderful; but extraordinarily and a reminder that these mountains and trees and rocks and forests, and all of it, were around long before us and will be after.” The drive, which covered 6278 took the couple from NYC, through six national parks, to LA after a pit stop in Palm Springs. As for the highlights? “I have many, but seeing a grizzly bear and her four cubs walk nonchalantly past us at the Grand Teton National Park. So beautiful. And she ran that place.” Insider Tip: “I also heartily recommend the greatest RV park in the land: Gouldings in Monument Valley. Everything is laid out before you, it’s just beyond.
Drive The East Coast
New York City, NY to Key West Florida
The Atlantic Coast drive from New York City to Key West, Florida, an almost 2,000-mile drive along I-95, promises plenty of stunning coastal views and detours down narrow country roads, past quaint beach towns, cute old fishing villages, and epic homes.
This scenic drive will take you through nine states – New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Head off from New York City – check out our ultimate guide to the city that never sleeps – south toward New Jersey. Here you will pass through Cape May, America’s oldest and sweetest seaside resort before heading to Delaware then Ocean City, Maryland – be sure to stroll along the lively oceanside boardwalk to marvel at the endless stretch of beach.
From Ocean City, you’ll head to Virginia, spoiled along the way with more sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean, make an overnight stop in gorgeous Virginia Beach, checking into the boutique The Cavalier Virginia Beach, Autograph Collection. The next morning, take the 1.5-hour drive to Roanoke Island, North Carolina, where history buffs will enjoy exploring colonial life in the 1500s. From here drive to the charming beach town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where you should stop for a stroll on the famed boardwalk and promenade. Next up is Charleston, where you can take a pit stop for a seafood lunch along King Street, followed by Georgia where you can discover the secret Tybee Island home to a functioning lighthouse and gorgeous beaches, just 20 minutes from downtown Savannah. Spend the night in Savannah in a charming, historic apartment.
The final stretch from Savannah to Key West is a 10-hour drive so stop for lunch in Jacksonville, where there’s plenty of scenic beaches, waterways, and trendy restaurants, before heading to Miami for the night where you can immerse yourself in its vibrant Latin culture, famous art deco architecture and hip nightlife. We love the fabulously colorful, artsy, and flamboyant Faena Hotel Miami Beach created in collaboration with The Great Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann and his Oscar-winning costume designer wife Catherine Martin.
From Miami take a leisurely scenic 3 – 4-hour drive to Key West, Florida, an oasis of white sandy palm-lined beaches and turquoise waters. Book into the luxe island retreat like Southernmost Beach Resort or mix things up and try a floating escape.
For more east coast driving inspiration check out Travel Curator’s New England Roadtrip.
Drive the West Coast
San Diego, CA to Phoenix, AZ
The drive from San Diego to Phoenix takes around six hours, so you can do it in one day or break it up. Either way, get set for spectacular desert scenery and wildlife sightings along the way.
From San Diego, drive 1.5 hours to Desert View Tower Jacumba, an iconic rock tower overlooking the Anza Borrego Desert. Then take a detour (a little under two hours) to Yuma, to visit Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona’ssecond-largest wilderness area, to mingle with reptiles and desert animals. Next head to Phoenix (a 3-hour drive) and check into Arizona Biltmore, a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired luxury resort in the desert to rest for the night before exploring your final destination in the morning.
The vibrant desert city of Phoenix, is a melting pot of music, art galleries, museums, sports arenas, amazing restaurants, and cool craft breweries. During your visit check out the over 500000 plant species at the Desert Botanical Garden. Immerse yourself in the downtown culture at Roosevelt Row, the city’s art epicenter, which is awash with mid-century storefronts, vintage bungalows, and contemporary high-rises. Add to the hit list; the Warehouse District, a hub of tech, art, and entertainment set in industrial buildings, that date back to Arizona’s citrus and cotton farming days, and Cityscape, the city’s new epicenter, which occupies two city blocks and is littered with cool restaurants, boutiques, bars, and music.