I’ve always been prone to spontaneity. There’s just something about that kick of adrenaline when you don’t know what you’re going to do next – nor does it matter – because the world is your oyster.
So when I was midway through a ski trip in Aspen with no on-going flight booked, I took to the interwebs (skyscanner.com more accurately) to discover where I could road tripping go in the USA and what I should do next.
How to fly “everywhere”
Have you ever wanted to just type in your destination and go somewhere, anywhere, everywhere!? You know you want to go, but you don’t know where to. Too often I’m faced with this impulse and just want to go. I don’t care where, I don’t care when (except for pretty soon) and I very rarely have a reason as to why. I just like to move.
So how do I do it?
To fly “everywhere”, I enter the point of origin into a Skyscanner search engine and type “Everywhere” as my destination. Within a few seconds (or more, depending on the wi-fi connection), I can see where, in order of expense, I can and should go. I wanted to start my road trip off in a city, driving one-way through to Los Angeles. Of the options available, San Francisco seemed the obvious choice – and before I knew it, I was on a one-way flight to The Bay, ready to kick off my adventure to LA.
Where to Go Road Tripping in the USA
Generally speaking, you’ve got four types of “USA encounters” – The West Coast, East Coast, South, and the Midwest. You can definitely experience a combination of these, as it is indeed quite common for first timers to the US to hot foot it from the West to the East Coast and tick off the most visited cities. But if its a theme you want, its a theme you will get…
Read more: 10 Steps to the Perfect Road Trip
The West Coast
I chose a West Coast adventure. I’ve always wanted to road trip “Highway 1”, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as one of the world’s most scenic drives.
You can start at various points along the West Coast, but the most common route is to drive either from LA to the Bay (San Francisco), or vice versa. I chose to fly to San Francisco and drive down Highway 1 to Los Angeles on the following itinerary:
San Francisco – Carmel – Santa Barbara – Los Angeles
Highlights include: San Francisco, fresh (and cheap) produce in Northern California, Carmel by the Sea (the cutest town you e’er did see), Big Sur, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles.
The East Coast
While road trips on the East Coast aren’t quite as common, there are a great range of cities/states to visit over in the East! New York is a fantastic starting point, but you should also make your way North to Boston, MA; South to Washington DC; and should you be looking for something a little more local, perhaps even a trip to the Hamptons.
If you’re visiting in the fall, a great road trip on the East Coast is the Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects Virginia with North Carolina. This is known to be one of the most scenic road trips in the States, and offers travellers a chance to get in touch with scenery over big cities.
And then there’s the South! Last year I had a blast driving through the Southern States – home to only the most hospitable people in the entire country! Southern Hospitality is a pretty known characteristic of the South, but even so – don’t let it be downplayed! These people are honestly something else – kind, generous, and extremely welcoming.
The South consists of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
A road trip through any of these states would be highly enjoyable — however when you can’t do it all, you must pick and choose! My non-traditional route took me on the following trip:
New Orleans – through Mississippi & Alabama – Nashville – Great Smoky Mountains – through North Carolina – Charleston
Credit: Mountain Sky Guest Ranch
Last but not least, the Midwest.
While I haven’t yet been fortunate to venture through the Midwest (at all, ever – we should really fix that), there is some great scenery and equally hospitable locals throughout the Midwest. So in saying that, I can’t really offer much by way of road trips in the midwest, but it certainly seems to be the case that Michigan, Montana & Wisconsin all have a lot to offer visitors.
If you’re looking to save a buck, you can certainly do so here in the Midwest. This area is extremely cheap to in comparative terms and will provide a lot of great scenery and National Parks to discover.
States in the Midwest include: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Borderline (a little more West) include Montana and Wyoming, which similar have a lot to offer on a road trip in the region.
So where will I go?
Flight booked. I’m on my way to San Francisco to begin a four day road trip from The Bay to LA. At the Aspen airport I booked a last minute hotel for a bargain $100 USD per night using the Skyscanner Hotel App, located right in the centre of town. Let the adventure begin!
Next in this series: Road trippin’ from The Bay to LA