Ten of the beautiful places in the USA to plan a road trip
The United States of America is one of the most driveable countries in the world. Highways connect every major city, even making most of Alaska within reach for anyone with gas in their car. When it comes to cities in the United States, every city is completely different. Some are bus-friendly, some are car-friendly, and some are subway-friendly. The best cities in the United States for a road trip are easily accessible by car, have ample parking, and are well worth the trip to town. Which one meets all of these criteria? Read on to see ten of the best places in the United States to plan a road trip, and see if you agree!
1. Boston. Before the Big Dig Tunnel, driving to Boston was a nightmare. Now, it is less of a nightmare. Driving to Boston isn't for the faint of heart, but taking your car into town is probably the fastest way to see the city. Parking isn't always plentiful, but the sights are. Try dining in the famous North End, cruise the Boston Harbor Islands, or tour the famous Freedom Trail of the city's historic sites.
2. Seattle. This city was created with leadership in mind. Unlike many old cities on the East Coast that fall victim to poorly planned freeways, Seattle has an excellent highway system to get in and out of the city. Like any major city, you'll have some traffic, but it's a candy bar next to New York or Los Angeles traffic. Seattle highlights include the Pike's Place Fish Market, Space Needle, and cruises through Seattle Lux.
3. San Diego. The major city fairs in the far south of California are a bit better than the northbound capital, Los Angeles. Yes, I-5, I-8, I-15, and I-805 all converge within San Diego city limits, but the 8-lane highways are large enough to hold the most traffic, most of the time. If you're heading to San Diego, try visiting the historic Old Town for authentic Mexican cuisine and architecture, the Gaslamp neighborhood for the best shopping, and whatever you do, don't miss the San Diego Zoo, the best zoo in the country.
4. San Francisco. On TV, it looks like San Francisco made for trolleys and walkers. Spend a day there hiking up and down the hills and you'll realize you'll soon be exhausted or cut out for your taxi fare! Fortunately, if you are staying in San Francisco, most hotels have cheap parking and sometimes free parking. If you stay along Fisherman's Wharf, you can easily walk to most of the attractions along the waterfront.
5. Kansas City. Smack dab is located in the midst of the US in Kansas City, and is spread over two states and the Missouri River. Nicknamed the City of Fountains, Kansas City actually has the largest number of fountains in the world outside of Rome. With a revitalized downtown area, and some of the best barbecues you can find in the country, Kansas City is home to some interesting new architecture, such as the American Jazz Museum, and historic ones, such as the Liberty Memorial (which houses the World War I Museum). In terms of driving potential, the city could not be created simpler. I-70, I-35, and I-69 are all easy routes going into town, while I-435 makes a giant loop around town.
6. San Antonio. Besides traveling to San Antonio, you don't have many other options to see this inner city in Texas. Located in the center of Texas, San Antonio is a true cross-section of Texas life. As you approach the city on I-10, the sudden shift from a rural landscape to the main city is surprising. The city's lack of a metropolitan area distinguishes it from many other American cities. Heading west of the city, the terrain begins to get rocky and more mountainous. Driving into town is simple, with I-10 heading east to west, and I-35 heading north to south. San Antonio is the home of the historic Alamo and beautiful Riverwalk. Most hotels have either free or affordable parking. The best way to see the city's main attractions is on foot, but you can easily navigate the city's grid-style streets if you need to drive.
7. Portland. One of the most beautiful riverside cities in America, Portland is located on the banks of the Columbia River and Willamette Rivers in Oregon. The city is known for its fine art, some of the nation's best art galleries, an abundance of microbreweries (they call them "Burtown"), an active bike racing scene, and a thriving restaurant scene. While the city has excellent public transportation, you can also easily navigate Portland's backstreets and freeways via I-5, which heads north toward Vancouver Washington, and south toward the coast of Oregon and California. I-84 turns east toward Idaho and Salt Lake City.
8. Denver. Chances are, you don't live near Denver. This is exactly why it is a great destination for road trips. Denver isn't just a great city to stop by, it has some great views only in the north which makes planning a road trip here worth it. Rocky Mountain National Park, about 52 miles to the northwest, is best seen during the warmer months of the year, when the roads are not covered in rocks and snow. At the foot of the Rocky Mountains, you can find the thriving art city of Boulder, Colorado. Denver itself is home to the annual Great American Beer Festival every fall, and it has plenty of art museums, clubs, and parks to keep visitors busy. A road trip to Denver is easy planning. I-70, I-25, and I-76 are the main roads into the city. If you've traveled west of town on I-70, check the brakes, you're on a mountain trip!
9. Las Vegas. A road trip to Las Vegas might just be a road trip for all the road trips. Head to the secluded and barren landscape that surrounds Las Vegas, offering stunning landscapes that seem to twist beyond the horizon. Heat explodes on the pavement and generates heat lines (just like I've seen it in the movies), and the journey seems endless. Without warning, you'll peek into Las Vegas, if you head north on I-15, tens of miles before you get there. What appears to be a point on the horizon is only getting bigger and bigger, until you run next door to the famous casinos and high-rise hotels for which Vegas is so well known. It's impossible to get lost in Las Vegas. There is one main road and one way out. Once off the highway, you can take a cruise on all the cruises, down the Las Vegas Strip. For a truly unforgettable experience, drive the 3.8-mile route at night, when the city really comes to life.
10. Salt Lake City. Like Las Vegas, a road trip to Salt Lake City feels like an optical illusion. After driving miles of dry salt beds (Bonneville Salt Flats State Park), head east on I-80 alongside the interesting Great Salt Lake, and lead to the beautiful town of Salt Lake. Salt Lake City's skyline is strikingly set against the backdrop of towering snow-capped mountains. The city itself is steep, and has an interesting character unmatched in the country. The city stays relatively cold throughout the year, and has some world-famous ski spots nearby. You might recognize the city from the 2002 Winter Olympics. If you stay in any of Salt Lake City's hotels, parking is usually not a problem. Usually, though, you have to move to destinations within the city, as they are spread far and wide.