When the weather is nice, nothing beats the open road. Plus, from sea to shining sea, there’s so much to see. America is full of wonders, national parks and hidden gems. Here’s a template for the cross country road trip that you need to take this year.
Start Your Journey in Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, founded in 1670, is full of rich history and natural beauty. Take a look at the coast and enjoy a dip in the ocean. Enjoy cobblestoned streets, antebellum houses and the Battery promenade.
Once you’re through enjoying the history of Charleston, head west into Atlanta. The drive is pretty and will take you through the Oconee National Forest and near views of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Once in Atlanta, experience all it means to be in the South. Atlanta has an amazing aquarium and is the home of Coca Cola, for starters.
So Much to See in Tennessee
From Atlanta, use your truck route GPS to direct you north into Tennessee. Make a stop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and then head through Nashville, into Memphis. Memphis provides great food and culture, along with excellent views of the Mississippi River.
Into Arkansas and Beyond
The Mississippi River defines the border between Tennessee and Arkansas, so next you’ll head west across the Mississippi into Arkansa and to Ozark National Forest. This serene area provides natural beauty like nowhere else. The Ozark area is full of challenging hikes, mountainscape views and some of the world’s largest springs.
Don’t Mess with Texas
Texas is next on the drive. Be patient— you’ll be here a while. You’ll head southwest to get to Dallas and Fort Worth. Dallas is home to amazing barbecue and the original frozen margarita. As you head west into Fort Worth, just 30 minutes away, stop at the historic Stockyards and enjoy the Gateway to the West.
The Real Wild West
From Fort Worth, keep heading west. Enjoy the Great Plains and scenic beauty of Texas Hill Country. Eventually, your drive will take you all the way to Big Bend National Park. Big Bend and the surrounding area is like no other. There’s magic in this desert and beauty in the mountains. It’s a great place to camp. You can even cross into Mexico from the park.
From Big Bend, you’ll drive northwest into New Mexico. Here you have a chance to go through Roswell and encounter aliens. You can also visit Carlsbad Canyon National Park. Head north to Albuquerque to spend time in a charming town with much Native American culture. Albuquerque is also known for its hot air balloons, so take a ride before you leave.
From Albequerqie it’s easy to head northwest and visit Four Corners National Monument. You can even pick-up the famous Route 66 for a while and travel America’s oldest highway. Four Corners means you get to stand in four states (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah) at once. A fun experience. This drive will take you through the Navajo Nation, an incredible experience in the stark beauty of the desert.
The Beauty of Southern Utah
Continue on your drive, with mountains in the foreground. You’ll direct yourself to Southern Utah. Be sure to bring plenty of water and food. This area is stark and there won’t be many places to stop. Once you cross into Utah, you have the option of multiple parks to visit. Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park are next door to each other, yet vastly different.
From Utah, head south and it’s Vegas or bust! On the way to Vegas stop at Valley of Fire State Park and the Hoover Dam for incredible and breathtaking wonder. Enjoy a night at Vegas and live up life on the town after wandering in the desert.
From Vegas, you’ll head into Las Angeles, completing your drive through the desert. Channel your inner Hunter S. Thompson as you make the final stretches of your drive. Enjoy L.A., along with its unique art and culture. Be sure to stop at the beaches in Malibu and experience a sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Now the question is, how do you get home? Do you go back the way you came, or go north and start a different journey across the country?