3 Memorable USA Driving Holidays

29 July 2015

Do-it-yourself driving holidays come with the flexibility many travellers desire. Get more out of your USA self-drive holiday with our top three route suggestions and traveller’s tips.

If you're considering a self-drive holiday in the US you’re not alone. More and more travellers are choosing to experience the magic and beauty of the American landscape from behind the wheel.

A self-drive tour enables you to choose your own accommodation and spend as long or as short a time as you like at each destination.

So fill ’er up and hit the road with our three most popular USA DIY-driving adventures.

 Cars and America are made for each other (All images: Getty)

Canyon Adventure (8 Days, 7 Nights)

This tour starts in glitzy Las Vegas, the ‘Entertainment Capital of the World’. Enjoy the casinos, eateries and expansive night-life before your rubber-to-road adventure motors on to Utah, passing through spectacular Zion National Park and the unique stone forests of Bryce Canyon National Park.

Continuing through the rugged Utah desert, marvel at the natural beauty of Moab Valley, Canyonlands National Park and the famous Native American cliff dwellings of Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park.

Then it’s on to the cinematic backdrops of Monument Valley and Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park.

 The entertainment capital of the world

A tour highlight is experiencing the canyon by car, scenic flight or free shuttle bus. Sunrise and sunset views are especially magnificent.

Heading back to Las Vegas, you’ll have covered more than 3,000 kilometres and witnessed some of America’s most striking landscapes.

Top tip: Be sure to visit the 1930s Depression-era Hoover Dam – one of the 20th century’s top construction achievements.


Want more US road adventures? Lookin’ For Adventure: US Road Trip Itineraries

You can still get your kicks on it. The Thrill That Is Route 66 Will Never Die


Pacific Coast Explorer (11 Days, 10 Nights)

The West Coast of the US offers a showcase of classic American countryside, and this self-drive tour takes you through 2,600 kilometres of picturesque scenery across the states of California, Washington and Oregon.

Kick off in Seattle: visit the Pike Place Market and Myrtle Edwards Park, or experience a bird’s-eye view of the city from the iconic Space Needle observation deck.

Your next destination is pretty Portland, Oregon – the 'City of Roses'. Stop along the way at Mount St Helens National Park, then head through small town America en route to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area – hire a dune buggy if you dare!

Continue down to UNESCO World Heritage Site Redwood National Park, home to some of the world’s tallest and most stunning trees.

 You have arrived

Day four takes you from Redwood to Eureka, California, where a stop at the Sequoia Park Zoo is a must. From here, it’s on to elegant San Francisco – home of the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and a tempting array of cafes, bars and restaurants.

Leaving San Fran behind, take in the spectacular California coastline as you head to the seaside towns of Monterey and neighbouring Carmel.

Pop into Monterey Bay Aquarium or explore the galleries and shops along Carmel’s Ocean Avenue. Next, follow the striking California central coast to the beautiful beachside cities of Santa Barbara, Malibu and Santa Monica.

The Pacific Coast Explorer finishes up in Los Angeles, where Hollywood glamour, endless shopping and pulsing night-life await.

Top tip: Visit Hearst Castle on the California central coast and step back in time touring this historic hilltop mansion.

Best Of The West (14 Days, 13 Nights)

Experience America’s Wild West on this self-drive tour through some of the USA’s most iconic landscapes.

The tour kicks off in LA – the 'City of Angels'. A stop at Disneyland is a must, before driving through the stunning San Jacinto Mountains to Palm Springs. Wander through the shops along Palm Canyon Drive, then dine at one of this city’s many fine restaurants.

Soak up the charm of the old west as you drive onwards to Arizona. Stop off at Scottsdale – the Beverly Hills of the Desert – and experience a uniquely western take on up-market style before staying overnight in bustling Phoenix.

Set out early on day four for breathtaking Grand Canyon National Park. Explore the Canyon’s South Rim at your own pace, but make sure you climb the historic Desert View Watchtower for impressive views of the Colorado River.

 The Hoover Dam - one of the marvels of the 20th century

Hop on to legendary Route 66 for the next stage of your western adventure. Stop at the imposing Hoover Dam before arriving in Las Vegas.

Be wowed by this fantastical city of casinos, neon lights and all things OTT before the complete contrast of Death Valley and Yosemite National Parks. Take your pick of hiking trails and don’t forget night-time stargazing.

Head towards San Francisco by way of Sacramento, where historic Old Sacramento offers a glimpse into America’s pioneer days. Don’t miss the delights of San Francisco’s Chinatown and Union Square before heading south to the quaint seaside towns of Monterey and Carmel.

Day 12 takes you past sweeping coastal vistas, through Ventura and Pismo Beach en route to glamorous Santa Barbara. After more than 3,000 kilometres, your final days of the tour take in the sun-kissed beaches of Malibu and the affluence of Santa Monica.

Finish up back in LA with an afternoon exploring the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive.

Top tip: Don’t miss views of the Mojave Desert from Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park.


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