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Five Breathtaking USA Drives Before You Die

Take a highway in the United States, any highway, and let it lead you to your next destination. Undoubtedly, you’ll eventually find yourself on an unforgettable journey permeated with natural marvels and wonderfully kitschy curiosities you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world. It’s the beauty of this herculean country, the fact that you can simply hop into an RV rental, start driving, and have the best vacation of your life.

It comes as little surprise that many of this country’s drives are on every traveler’s must list. There’s Hawaii’s Hana Highway, California’s Route 1, and Route 12 in Utah to start. With the summer coming at full speed, now’s the perfect time to plan a road trip and take on one of them.


Route 1, Califonia

 As far as breathtaking drives go, it would be hard to top California’s Pacific Coast Highway. The winding road traces the impossibly beautiful California coast from Dana Point in the south to just beyond Mendocino in the north, passing incredible landmarks, dramatic panoramas, and charming coastal towns along the way. This 650-mile state route, bordered by the mighty Pacific and California’s golden land, might just be the state’s worst kept secret. However, not many have had the privilege of making the legendary drive. Must stops include famous Malibu, San Simeon and the Hearst Castle, and the spectacular stretch that is Big Sur.


Route 12, Utah

 Southern Utah is undeniably majestic and known for its astonishing land formations that range from labyrinth-like canyons and natural bridges to odd rock pillars that make every visitor feel like they’ve just driven into an alien planet. Route 12, which runs for 124 miles from the Capitol Reef National Park to tourist-favorite Bryce Canyon, is a drive worth taking while in the area. The scenic byway meanders through red canyons and lush forests, and passes by small desert towns and towering monuments for good measure. Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, Grand Staircase-Escalante, the Upper Valley Granaries, and the Anasazi State Park Museum are important stops.


Going to the Sun Road, Montana

Its 50-mile distance cannot take away from Montana’s Going to the Sun Road its obvious magnificence. So while the drive may be short, it’s still full of exquisite views of glistening alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, cascading waterfalls and imposing glaciers, topped off with adorable mountain goats that graze and roam free. The road is set in Glacier National Park, one of the best national parks in the country, crossing the Continental Divide at more than 6,600 feet above sea level at Logan Pass, which is, of course, an important stop. Popular panoramas include that of Saint Mary Lake, which was featured in The Shining.


Historic Route 66, Illinois to California

 Tracing the now defunct Route 66 isn’t just a road trip. At 2,451 miles snaking from Chicago past several cities and states to Santa Monica in Los Angeles, it’s a commitment. And travelers from as far as Europe are jumping on the bandwagon despite the obvious clichés and kitsch, simply because it was once the backbone of the American dream, the Mother Road that led to that golden, shimmering west. Today, it’s lined with middle-of-nowhere stops, roadside attractions, ghost towns, and kitschy eateries. It’s such a treasure trove of landmarks, in fact, that investing on a travel guide isn’t such a bad idea.


Hana Highway, Hawaii

It may be a short drive, but the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii, is one of the country’s most spectacular, bucket list drives. The meandering Hana Highway, 64 miles long and built on the side of a mountain tracing the coast, is embedded with tantalizing panoramas, alluring telluric treasures, and secret stops. Therefore, it’s also one of the country’s most exciting. Without stops, it only takes about two hours to drive, so stops are definitely encouraged whenever there are places worth pulling over for. Such places would include Twin Falls, Ho’okipa lookout, Hana Lava Tube, Seven Sacred Pools, and Paia Town.


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