There's no more iconic highway in America than historic Route 66. For that reason, it's known widely as the best American road trip route.
But the fun doesn't have to stop there. If you're ready to really burn rubber and road trip across the USA, extend your mileage with one, or a combination, of these exhilarating and scenic drives. Whether you're touring the country east to west, north to south or crisscrossing the continent, something here is bound to appeal to your road warrior ambitions. There's a lot to explore in America, and one of the best ways to see it is from behind the wheel of a car or a bike.
1. The Southwest Detour
First up, a detour of sorts, but it's more than worth the extra miles.
On your way from Illinois to California, you'll pass through the stunning American Southwest, and you're likely to find it almost irresistible to veer off the demarcated route toward one of America's most awe-inspiring natural sites, the Grand Canyon.
From the canyon, it's just a short drive farther north to Great Basin National Park. From there, you have a couple choices. You could head back south to try your luck in Las Vegas before hopping back on Route 66.
However, if you find yourself quite attuned to the majestic desert scenery, you can head west from Great Basin National Park across the so-called Loneliest Road in America, Nevada's winding, desolate stretch of U.S. 50, which will also take you by Lake Tahoe on your way to Northern California.
2. Pacific Coast Highway
Taking Route 66 to Los Angeles and hooking north along the Pacific Coast Highway might just be the ultimate road trip, depending on what gets your motor running.
Picture it: You've journeyed through the American heartland, traversed the great deserts of the Southwest and finally arrived in sunny Southern California.
Next up, miles and miles of scenic coastal highways carrying you across amazing destinations like trendsetting San Francisco and luxurious wine country before you drive farther north into Oregon and Washington, drinking in the scenery.
Along this route, you could easily make a detour to the hip city of Portland before terminating in the majestic Olympic Peninsula and bustling Seattle. The West Coast is a sprawling tapestry of cities and sites, and you could explore it all right from the water's edge.
3. Nature in the Northern Plains
Some folks prefer a dense, woody canopy to sunshine and surf. For those adventurers, our next road trip might just be the answer.
Let's say you've taken Route 66 northeast from Los Angeles to Chicago. From Chicago, think about curving northwest for a tour of amazing national parks in America's northern Great Plains.
If you'd like a last taste of city life before miles and miles of country driving, you can swing by the Twin Cities, Minnesota's Minneapolis and St. Paul on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, before you head west to Badlands National Park.
Keep your road trip itinerary loose, because you'll be tempted to turn off the highway for campy roadside attractions like the Mitchell Corn Palace and Wall Drug. Trust us!
Drink in the scenery of the Badlands carefully before extending your trip to beautiful Yellowstone National Park. True nature enthusiasts won't have had enough of this trip until after it terminates at the Glacier National Park visitor centre. Get ready to explore more than 700 miles of trails at this national treasure.
4. South to the Sunshine State
For those travellers who love a mixture of urban and rural driving, and for those who want to explore the American South, this voyage might actually be the ultimate road trip. If you end your Route 66 trip in Chicago, you can drive south and finish your journey in the Florida Keys.
There's many ways you could plot this route. Variations of it could take you through the cities of Indianapolis, Nashville, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami. You could also stop in Tennessee's gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains and the beautiful Florida Everglades.
Whatever you do, you'll want to disembark from South Florida on one of the most scenic roads in America: the Overseas Highway. You'll feel like you're practically driving on water as you hop across the remote locales of the Florida Keys on your way to the long-revered island of Key West.
If you choose to stay awhile in the Keys, hop off your bike or out of your car for a bit, and explore the miles of multiuse pedestrian and bicycle trails connecting the islands and parklands of the region.
With so much to explore, start the planning for your epic journey today. Find out why Route 66 should form the centrepiece of your American adventure.