Three classic US road trip ideas
Three classic US road trip ideas

Three classic US road trip ideas

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There’s a reason that the US is thought of as the birthplace of the road trip: the places you can see when getting around on four wheels on different routes are often abundant and immediate.

These three classics belong on every road-tripper’s bucket-list, says Anna Hart.

The Florida Keys

Start: Miami Finish: Key West
Distance: 267km/166 miles

Stretch the 4-5 hour drive over three days to make the most of the varied beach towns and spectacular scenery

Start out in glamorous Miami Beach, staying at the chic party hotel Delano South Beach and dining in southern style at the hip eatery Yardbird.

A drive to Key West is all about the pit stops; expect conch fritters, kitschy diners serving mouth-watering burgers and stellar sunset photo ops.

Settle into a wicker chair at the Rooftop Cafe for a slice of their legendary key lime pie

When you reach Key Largo, make a beeline for Mrs Mac’s Kitchen, a classic seafood joint and one of the best intro to conch fritters you could ask for.

By the time you roll in to Key West, the US’s most southerly town, you should be prepared to feast on culture as well as Cuban-influenced cuisine.

Make a trip to the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum for an insight into Key West’s literary heritage (Tennessee Williams also called it home) before settling into a wicker chair at the Rooftop Cafe for a slice of their legendary key lime pie.

Then bed down in style at The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel which has spectacular ocean views.

The Pacific Coast Highway

Start: Los Angeles Finish: San Francisco
Distance: 740km/460 miles

Try not to rush the stunning scenery along this route: plan to spend 5-7 days on the road

Wake up in the recently revamped The Hollywood Roosevelt, restored to its former 1920s glory and set above the Walk of Fame in the heart of Tinseltown.

Then hit the road; take Sunset Boulevard all the way to the coast and then it’s north along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Take a break for lunch at The Lark in Santa Barbara then bed down in The Wayfarer Motel for the night. Further north, the classic pit stop is the unique Madonna Inn, with themed bedrooms and an incredible steak restaurant.

By the time you reach Big Sur you’ll just about be ready for a burger at Nepenthe, and a good rest in the dreamy surroundings of Ventana Inn.

When you finally reach San Francisco, one of California’s many culture and culinary capitals, collapse into bed in the hip, boutique joint The Argonaut, and dream about breakfast at the Ferry Building Marketplace.

Coastal Cape Cod

Start: Boston Finish: Provincetown
Distance: 115km/71 miles

Stretch this road trip over 2-3 days to soak up the culture and charming towns along the route

Stay at the Kimpton Nine Zero to put you right at the heart of things in Boston – one of America’s most historic cities.

Stretch your legs on the Freedom Trail and dine on freshly shucked oysters at Union Oyster House (check out the booth where John Fitzgerald Kennedy is said to have dined with Jackie) before hitting the road and heading along the coast to the Cape.

You’ll pass charming fishing villages and red-brick college towns and even vineyards en route to Provincetown, a picture-postcard New England seaside resort right on the tip of Cape Cod, where brightly-hued sailboats bob gently in front of clapboard homes.

The writers Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut, and artists Jackson Pollock and Charles Hawthorne are all said to have found inspiration here, and today great independent galleries – Albert Merola, Schoolhouse and Julie Heller Gallery East – can be found at the East End of Commercial Street.

Book into the historic white clapboard Eben House, a pleasingly rustic New England beach B&B. Dine around the corner at the charming Joon Bar, which pairs a rotating seasonal menu with a great wine list.

This is the place to forget about the road for a while, and plot a whale-watching trip on the open sea instead.