5 Epic Road trip Ideas to explore the US
If you're an international student studying in the US, one of the things you should make time to do is to see the vast variety of landscapes across the country.
The US is a massive country that has a lot to see and do, from exploring up and down the coasts, to exploring the dusty southwest and the incredible views of the Rocky Mountain region.
So what's a college student to do when they have a little bit of time off? Hop in a car and take a road trip, of course! These five trips cover some of the most scenic and travel worthy places in America and will help you get to know what the US is really all about.
Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway stretches up much of the western coast of the United States, starting in southern California and ending in Northern California around wine country. At 655 miles long, the Pacific Coast Highway offers one of the most dramatic landscapes in the US, with jaw dropping cliffs that plunge into the Pacific ocean and a highway that curves along the coast. There are plenty of fun stops along the way, too. Enjoy the beach and try surfing in Southern California. Explore beach towns as you drive north. And end your road trip by visiting some of the more than 1,200 wineries that are scattered throughout the north of the state.
Possibly the most iconic road trip you can take in the US, driving Route 66 the whole way through will take you from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. In the process, you’ll drive through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Part of the fun of driving Route 66 is that there are tons of leftover pieces of Americana from the drive’s heyday, which was in the 1960s. Almost every city along the way has some type of interesting architecture or oddball attraction.
Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway through Colorado
Venture out to the Wild West of America to take a 500 mile journey through Utah and Colorado. And be sure to bring your paleontology kit, because unknown to a lot of people, the US still has tons of dinosaur fossils that are being discovered and excavated. This stretch of highway forms a diamond shaped loop and offers a huge number of outdoor attractions along the way. Most notable are Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, the Dinosaur National Monument, the Colorado National Monument, and the Natural Bridges National Monument.
Route 1 to the Florida Keys
For a road trip that's a little different, start in Miami, Florida and start driving south. That may seem strange, given Miami's location at the almost southernmost tip of Florida. However, driving further south will take you on the longest stretch of highway over water in the US (113 miles long). The Florida Keys stretch over 198 miles and include over 1,700 islands (some of which are tiny and most are uninhabited). There are about 40 main islands which are home to some 77,000 residents. This road trip is such a unique experience because you’re essentially driving over long stretches of ocean in a completely tropical environment. Start in Key Largo, where you can snorkel and go diving offshore and end your journey in Key West - the westernmost island on Route 1. And if you’re really adventurous? Hop on the daily ferry to the uninhabited Dry Tortugas - a national park 68 miles off the coast of Key West, which is known for fantastic snorkeling along the coral reefs.
Blue Ridge Parkway
To explore the sights along the East Coast of the United States, opt for a road trip up the Blue Ridge Parkway, which crosses through North Carolina and Virginia to give visitors a great view of the Blue Ridge mountains that are part of the Appalachians. The Blue Ridge Parkway connects two major US national parks - the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south and Shenandoah National Park just north. The highway also cuts through the Cherokee Indian Reservation and connects with Skyline Drive - a scenic route that winds through Shenandoah National Park.