American road trips: 5 great driving holidays in the USA

We check out some of the best US road trips you should take for your next American adventure.

Route 66 might be the most famous but America has a lot more road trips than just that.

We've found five more road trips that are worth the adventure.

Miami to Key West, Florida

Distance: Around 160 miles

Recommended journey time: One day

You could hop on a plane from Miami, but it’s much more fun to enjoy the view of the water as you drive along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway, a designated All-American Road and the world’s longest ocean-going road. On the left of the highway is the Atlantic, to the right is the Gulf of Mexico.

Originally developed for the Florida East Coast Railway, the route was wiped out by a hurricane in 1935 and converted to a road. En route, stop at Key Largo, the largest of the islands and the base for trips to the John Pennekamp State Park, 27 miles of coral reefs and tropical fish. Further down, you’ll find a group of islands called Islamorada, where there are plenty of opportunities for diving, snorkelling and fishing. Key West is the final destination: a quirky, bohemian hang-out for writers, painters and a large gay community.

San Francisco to Los Angeles, California

Distance: 442 miles

Recommended journey time: Three days

You need plenty of time to drive the Pacific Coast Highway, taking in the grandeur of Big Sur and the Mediterranean-style stretch of Santa Barbara coastline nicknamed ‘the American Riviera’: a region of picturesque hamlets, jagged sea cliffs and rolling wine country. After checking out the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf and other San Francisco highlights, head out on Highway One 115 miles to Monterey, the town which served as California's capital under Spanish, Mexican, and American flags. Visit Monterey State Historic Park, Casa Soberanes, Larkin House and other adobe buildings, as well as the celebrated Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The highlight is the twisted, cliff-hugging 123-mile journey from Monterey, threading through Big Sur, where the mountains plunge into the Pacific. Stop off at the artsy enclave of Carmel, an upmarket village of quaint, colourful cottages, restaurants, shops and art galleries. Clint Eastwood used to be mayor of this town. The 17-mile drive along the famous Californian Monterey Bay is world-renowned for its beauty and wildlife - along the shorelines, visitors can see animals like otters and bottlenose dolphins. Travel on to San Luis Obispo, which has a college, surf-town feel.

From there, continue 100 miles to the LA holidaymakers’ paradise of Santa Barbara, where the magnificent beaches, whale watching, zoo and impressive botanic garden will keep the outdoorsy types happy. Final leg of the trip is 100 miles on to Los Angeles, where Hollywood beckons, as do an eclectic mix of beaches including celebrity hotspot and surfing paradise Malibu Beach, bohemian Venice Beach and chilled out Santa Monica.

Boston to White Mountain, New England

Distance: 280 miles

Recommended journey time: Five days

Fiery reds, syrupy ambers, and dynamic greens – these traffic light colours have a far warmer impact on the roadsides of New England’s great driving trails. Visit Massachusetts at the end of summer, when forest palettes explode and residents prepare to toast the harvest festival. From Boston, take Route 90 towards Williamstown and the Green Mountain National Forest, then continue north to Stowe in Vermont, where mountains are mirrored in the still, clear lakes.

If you’re feeling hungry, follow a food trail in Stowe, sampling cider apple doughnuts, coffee and chocolate. Join eager cyclists on the winding roads to White Mountain National Forest, where towering firs tickle the clear sky. Stop off and zip-wire through the treetops, or hike to gleaming pools and waterfalls, keeping a lookout for resident brown bears.

Grand Canyon, Arizona to Moab, Utah

Distance: 325 miles

Recommended journey time: 10 days

This road trip is for people who love the great outdoors - and to get the best out of it, you’ll need to take your hiking boots and hire some bikes and a bike rack if you can, as it takes in a flurry of national parks and some amazing canyons. Take two days to explore the less crowded North Rim of the Grand Canyon, hiking the North Kaibab Trail to Ribbon Falls. Crossing into Utah, look out for the Thunder Mountain Trail, a single track route with steep drops and a 1,200ft climb.

Head west to Zion National Park, a magnet for those who love canyoning, and 80 miles further, you’ll reach Bryce Canyon National Park before driving on to Moab, a little town tucked into a narrow canyon flanked by sheer red rock walls, with an ever-expanding network of mountain-biking trails (like Captain Ahab, a 4.3-mile rock-benched wonder accessible from the Amasa Back Trail). Hike to the Dead Horse Point State Park overlook to scout 5,819-foot Washer Woman Tower, a traditional climb on the northern tip of Canyonlands.

Silverton to Ouray, Colorado

Distance: 25 miles

Recommended journey time: One day (although actual journey is less than two hours)

Known as the Million Dollar Highway, this section of Highway 550 climbs more than two miles above sea level, twisting its way between two historic gold-mining towns. Legend has it that the route’s nickname comes from the road’s fill-in dirt, which came from mine waste and was later discovered to contain gold ore. Other theories are that it cost a million dollars a mile to build. Designed by Russian immigrant Otto Mears, the road slices through rugged mountains, following old stagecoach routes. It’s awe-inspiring because of the altitude and, as part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway, there’s a million-dollar view around every turn.

Silverton is an old mining town founded in 1874 which still retains Victorian-style historic buildings that visitors can explore on a walking tour. Ouray, known as ‘the gem of the Rockies’, is a pretty town surrounded by the rugged San Juan Mountains. Many of its streets are still unpaved and the local swimming pool in the middle of town is fed by a hot spring. Check out Red Mountain, a collapsed volcano cone whose lava was found to contain gold in 1860.

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