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The United States is one of the world’s most beloved travel destinations for its abundance of gorgeous scenery, ultra-diverse cities, rich history and an incredible variety of national parks.
From the swamps and bayous of the Gulf Coast to the wild mountains and rivers of the Rockies to the ancient sands of the Mojave Desert and the wide-open fields of The Great Plains and beyond; the US is famed for its diverse landscape. It’s not just the natural landscape that’s diverse, either. The cultural landscape throughout the US is one of the richest and has given way to some of the world’s most iconic cities such as New York City, Chicago and New Orleans.
Thanks to all this, a great American road trip is on many a bucket list. Whether you plan to hit some national parks, city hop or just see where the road takes you, a set of wheels is the best way to experience the US of A. With a car, the options are limitless. You can get up and go at your own pace, change plans last minute, and take as much or as little time as you want to experience all 9.8 million square kilometres of grand American beauty.
While renting a car in most US cities is pretty straightforward, there are definitely a few things you can do to make your rental process more smooth:
Few things speak to the grandeur of America’s Pacific coast like the epic route that is The Pacific Coast Highway. Running from San Juan Capistrano in Southern California all the way up to Cali’s border with Oregon, this drive showcases the very best of the Pacific coast and is constantly ranked as one of the best road trips in the world. In addition to miles and miles of rugged coastline, several of California’s most iconic cities are highlighted through the journey such as LA, Malibu, and San Fran. Whether you just take in the scenery, stop off in the bustling cities for a day or two or step back in time with historic hotspots like San Simeon, there’s plenty to keep you entertained every step of the way.
Allow the steering wheel to transport you from the vibrant Atlantic shores of Maine to the crystal clear waters and tropical atmosphere of the Florida Keys. Linking Fort Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida this journey takes you through 2,390 miles of East Coast beauty before ending in one of the country’s most stunning beach areas – the Keys. The real highlight of the drive is the view from the Overseas Highway that runs through the Florida Keys. There are a dizzying number of great stops along the way whether you’re after the charming beach towns of Maine, lost military fortifications, storied villages of Massachusetts or breathtaking views along Connecticut’s shoreline.
The Blue Ridge Parkway makes for an epic Smoky Mountain road trip. Nearly 500 miles of winding roads snake through Shenandoah’s national parks and the Great Smoky Mountains. This drive is stunning all year round with lush green mountains with flowery meadows in the spring and fiery foliage and flurries through the fall and winter. Running from Afton, Virginia on to Cherokee, North Carolina, this route was practically made for those who love Appalachian vistas. Along the way, you can stop in the mines of the Appalachian Mountains and dive into the region’s mineral-rich history while mining for emeralds, amethyst, rubies and even some gold.
Nothing quite showcases the majestic of the wild west American desert like Utah’s Route 12. This 124-mile strip links Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks with jawdropping scenery all along the way. Prepare to be greeted with majestic steep sandstone, mile-deep canyons and purple sage bluffs all along the way. The route also features quite a few quirky small towns perfect for stopping off and exploring. Most notably, Escalante. This funky town is famous for its Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument and a plethora of hiking trails that’ll make you feel like a real deal cowboy.
This route was originally constructed in 1932 to draw people to visit America’s breathtaking national parks. And since then, it’s been doing just that. Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile blacktop trailing through Montana’s Glacier National Park on to the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. It’s hands-down the best way to experience the spectacular natural beauty of one of America’s most beloved national parks and is loaded with gorgeous lookouts perfect for a bucket-list picnic. Be ready for stunning views ranging from cedar forests in the lower valleys to wind ridden alpine tundras and flowery meadows galore.
It would be a crime not to include Route 66 as one of the best road trips to take in the US. Often coined “Mother Road”, this iconic route links Chicago with Santa Monica California and has all the fixins of a perfect road trip. Along the way, you’ll be greeted with old towns that sing a tune of classic Americana, stunning scenery and more historical sites than you can imagine. Whether you go for the quirks like Texas’ Cadillac Ranch, the gorgeous colours of The Painted Desert or the 400-million-year-old Meramec Caverns, Route 66 has something for every type of road tripper.
Get to know the Lone Star State through the ever-scenic Texas Hill Country route which links San Antonio and Austin. The area is famous for its romantic small towns, postcard-worthy bluebonnet fields and endless rolling hills that’ll leave you saying “woah.” Take in the countless farm roads, award-winning vineyards, idyllic family orchards and indulge in the infinite mom n pop BBQ joints ready to serve you up a big plate of comfort. One highlight not to miss is certainly the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. This ancient site reels in history buffs and nature lovers alike for its stunning scenery and remarkable history dating back more than 10,000 years.
Prices vary depending on rental location and the type of vehicle, but the average price for renting a car in the USA is about $45 a day.
Some of the most affordable car hire companies in America include Alamo and Dollar. You can find the lowest prices guaranteed with EnjoyTravel.com
In order to rent a car in the United States, drivers must present a valid driver’s license and a credit card.
This generally depends on the dates you are booking for – if it’s peak season or a holiday then it’s best to book your rental car three to six months before you travel. Your preferred vehicle might sell out, so we recommend you book a car as soon as you know your dates.
Yes! You can save money and have peace of mind by driving a rental car on a road trip. For example, Hertz estimates that a 2,000-mile trip across 10 days at a rental rate of $35 per day (including taxes and fees) will cost $350, plus about $200 for fuel. Much cheaper than driving your own car and having to worry about wear and tear! It’s also handy to drop the car off at your end destination and then fly home.
It’s often cheaper to rent a car as you save money on flight tickets and baggage fees. Although it does take longer, half the fun is in getting to your destination!
You can hire pretty much any type of car. EnjoyTravel offers the best deals on economy, standard, full size sedans, SUV and luxury vehicles.