If there is one thing we could spend our lives doing, it would be roadtrippin’ in the USA. So in honour of Independence Day coming up on the 4th of July we have put together the best mini USA road trips for couples to embark on, all of which are under 2 weeks long.
12 Night Road Trip Through California- The Golden State
California is an incredibly beautiful state and the variety of landscapes make it the ideal place to embark on a mini road trip. This 12 night road trip starts in the trendy San Francisco – birthplace of Tom Hanks, home to movie moguls and the setting for some of the best car chases on the big screen. Surrounded by water and wine lands, the city is a melting pot of cultures, a foodie heaven and boasts an eclectic art scene. Spend your day exploring the city; head to Pier One, shop in Union Square, take the ferry to the island prison on Alcatraz. Ride a tram, wander around the market stalls by the Ferry Building and dine in Chinatown. After exploring the city, you will embark on a four hour drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park – crossing Bay Bridge and climbing 6,000 feet, stopping en route in the pretty town of Groveland. You will be immersed amongst Mother Nature whilst spending three nights in a cottage in the woods in Yosemite, river rafting, cycling and hiking along the trails through giant Sequoia trees. Another site not be missed in California is the 17 mile drive from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, one of the world’s most scenic drives. Whale watching in Monterey is a bucket list experience that you will be able to tick off on this trip. Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway 1, which hugs the coastline from Carmel to Santa Barbara, stopping en route in Big Sur for lunch and Hearst Castle for an afternoon visit. Finally you will end up in Los Angeles, driving along palm tree-lined avenues to the Beverly Hills Hotel, where you spend two final nights, with time to go shopping on Rodeo Drive and to explore Hollywood.
12 Night Fly Drive Around ‘Alaska’s Inns and Nature Lodges’
With American Independence Day on the horizon and the American National Park Service (the governing body that protects and maintains America’s 59 National Parks) celebrating its centenary on August 25 2016, this summer is the perfect time to explore all that the USA has to offer. Alaska in particular is home to some of the country’s biggest and most famous national parks and, to mark these occasions, Discover the World has created a brand new self-drive itinerary for 2016; including the rare chance to stay within the state’s most popular national parks. Pick up a hire car and spend 12 nights leisurely touring through Alaska’s most scenic locations; viewing rural ghost towns, enormous glaciers, ice fields and wildlife (grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and caribou) before staying in some of Alaska’s most rural and breathtaking national parks such as Wrangell-St Elias, Denali and the Kenai Peninsula. Enjoy evenings spent in a variety of traditional inns and lodges en route, indulging in home-cooked dishes and meeting plenty of friendly locals.
Music Inspired Road Trip- Route 61
For those whose passion combines music and travel head out on a musical road trip this summer. Follow the famous Route 61 that leads to Nashville, Lexington and New Orleans. Finally, continue on to Fort Worth, the newest music hot spot in Texas.
Kick off the road trip in Music City at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and take-in the rich music history that put Nashville on the map. With recorded sound, vintage film footage, and old photographs, visitors can trace the origins of country music and how it had a lasting influence on American culture. After touring the grounds, hop on a vintage tour bus to Music Row and the cherished RCA Studio B, Nashville’s oldest surviving studio where legends like Dolly Parton and Elvis made music history.
Offering an unexpectedly thriving live music scene, notable venues in Lexington, KY include the country’s best folk acoustic at WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, soul-trembling house band at Tee Dee’s Blues Club and rotating schedule of performers at Thursday Night Live! Visit during the Festival of Bluegrass for Kentucky’s signature Appalachia rhythms or join 40,000 other travellers during the Great American Brass Band Festival.
In early 20th Century, jazz was born giving life and soul to the City of New Orleans, and continues to live throughout the city. Wander a few steps off of the French Quarter to the Polo Lounge at Windsor Court Hotel for live jazz music where you never know when a cameo performance by one of the genre’s legends might accompany the resident performer. With intimate nooks and live music, Hilton New Orleans Riverside’s Public Belt is a piano cocktail lounge inspired by the city’s iconic jazz scene dating back to the early 1900s. Enjoy an authentic New Orleans-style experience with hand-crafted Storyville-themed cocktails as living legend Joe Krown – influential pianist in the NOLA music scene – performs Thursday through Saturday.
Finally finish up your trip by visiting the hometown of music superstars, including Leon Bridges and Kelly Clarkson, White Denim and Green River Ordinance and listen to 36 Hours of Music in Fort Worth. Fort Worth has seen an influx of musicians from Austin since Austin has become so oversaturated with singer/songwriters. Visit Billy Bob’s, the world’s largest honky tonk for live music every day. Other musical hot spots include Shipping and Receiving Bar, Lola’s Saloon and Magnolia Motor Lounge . During the day, visit some of Fort Worth’s great venues, vintage record stores and recording studios.
New Orleans: www.neworleansonline.com/
Fort Worth: www.fortworth.com/
“Art By Automobile” Seven Night Self Drive Trip- Arizona
One for couples who want to lose themselves in America’s Western art world, Ranch Rider’s seven night Arizona “Art By Automobile” self-drive offers much more than scenic journeys through the Grand Canyon State. Highlights include, Scottsdale, a hub for Western and Native American art, the city holding regular walks; Tubac, a thriving art colony where visitors can sample over 80 galleries and numerous working studios and Wickenburg, the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, housing an unrivalled collection of art and frontier history. According to Ranch Rider, another must do pit stop is ‘Ben’s Saddlery,’ a historic custom saddle shop and one of the few remaining places in Arizona practicing this distinctly Western art form.
Phoenix, the state capital, is home to paintings by the Cowboy Artists of America and it is also THE place to celebrate the fourth of July. While it might be too late for this year, consider attending the ‘Fabulous Phoenix Fourth’ in 2017, the annual event attracting over 100,000 people every year.
Arizona is our all time favourite place to embark on USA road trips. Try it, it may become yours too!
5 Night Washington Wine Country Mini Road Trip
Tailor made to suit you, the Washington Wine Country, Yakima, Columbia and Walla Walla Valleys Trip is a wine connoisseurs dream. Starting in Seattle, you will then set off towards Yakima, where you will savour an incredible array of some of Historic Yakima Valley’s best wines at one of the many downtown tastings within walking distance of each other including Kana, Donitelia, Masset Winery, and Gilbert Cellars. You will also head to Zillah to visit Sagelands, Sheridan Vineyards, Bonair Winery, Porteus Winery, and some of the best wines in the valley: With luscious flavours of berries and cherries, the reds are big, complex, silky, and the whites are like liquid Yakima Valley sunlight, with delicate structure, and whiffs of tropical fruit. On Day 3 you will travel to Yakima to Prosser where you will visit the Wine and Food Park, amongst other things. Kennewick is the next stop on the itinerary, followed by Walla Walla Valleys and then back to Seattle to end.
Classic 11 Night Route 66 Road Trip
For those who don’t fancy a full two week driving itinerary or want to travel outside the recommended Route 66 season (May-October), this is the trip of choice. This itinerary picks up Route 66 in Oklahoma City, just 290 miles shy of the halfway point in Adrian, Texas and continues on through New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California. It takes in small town America, stunning scenery, vibrant cities and, of course, those quirky Route 66 holiday roadside attractions. All the nostalgia, without all the driving.
Twin share prices start at £1695 per person inclusive of return Heathrow flights, car hire, 11 nights’ room-only accommodation in sought-after locations and a personalised road book with day to day driving instructions.
The Texas Lone Star Road Trip
Experience why everything is bigger in Texas with its world-renowned cities, delicious home-style cooking and iconic landscapes on this 13-day road trip. Champion the Texan love of freedom with a luxury self-drive through sweeping open plains into the surprisingly green meadows of the state’s hill country. Along the way stay amongst San Antonio’s revolutionary history and Austin’s thriving music scene before experiencing the progressive culture of Dallas’s art galleries. Couples will also stay in some of Texas’s most luxurious ranches, complete with a whole range of outdoors activities.
Active Road Trip: Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama to Ocala, Florida
This mini road trip starts in Alabama on the Gulf Shores & Orange Beach; a small island on the very southernmost part of Alabama with 32 miles of sugar-white sand beaches lined with beach houses. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach is a very popular couple’s destination with outstanding restaurants and relaxing activity options including sunset sails, stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Spend a few days relaxing on the beach and experiencing the water sports on offer before heading off to Florida’s capital city, Tallahassee.
Tallahassee shares a deep-rooted history and culture with unparalleled natural adventure and an upbeat vitality. Adventure runs deep throughout Tallahassee and with activities such as fishing, paddling down a pristine river or scenic lake, tackling a masterfully designed golf course, cycling along canopy roads or hiking along nature trails, it is no surprise why we have included it in our mini adventure road trip.
The final stop on the road trip is Ocala, Florida where you can explore the Ocala National Forest, the second largest forest in the state of Florida, have an adrenaline-filled off-road adventure on the Santos Mountain Bike Trails or zip-line over massive limestone canyons. The options are endless in Ocala so we recommend that a few days are spent making the most of what’s on offer. Tip: Horse-riding is a must!
Gulf Shores & Orange Beach – www.gulfshores.com