During your road trip through America, you’ll probably have a list of cities that you’re planning on visiting. To help you get more from your adventure, we’ve broken down some of our favourite cities and must-see places to drive to that lay just outside the city centres.
The city of New York is one of the most eclectic cosmopolitans in the world. If passing through for just a day or two, many people focus in and around the island of Manhattan and its cooler rival, Brooklyn. In our opinion, a visit to NYC is incomplete without a trip to Queens. Magnificently diverse, the suburb has become popular for its superb craft beers and varied cuisine, and is competing with Brooklyn as the new trendy place to hang out. Head to Rockaway Beach for some sun, surfing and great food, and enjoy the abundant art scene of Long Island in the form of the Nassau County Museum of Art – one of the nation’s largest suburban art museums.
Venture north to The Bronx, and visit the birthplace of Hip Hop. It’s worth looking at some of the local tours here, which showcase historically important sites that are scattered across the suburb, such as The Big Pun Mural, graffiti mural commemorating Bronx-born Big Pun, the first Puerto Rican hip hop star to achieve commercial success. If you drive further afield, Bear Mountain State Park is 45 miles away and boasts a zoo, hiking trails and great picnic areas. About one hour’s drive north of NYC will land you in Mountainville, which is home to the Storm King Art Center. Here you’ll find 500 acres of open ground, dotted with fantastic displays of modern sculpture.
Nestled on California’s western hip, San Francisco is known for its changing climates, great food and free spirit. To the northwest of the city centre, you’ll see Land’s End park. Part of a nationally protected area, the park offers stunning views of Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the surrounding rocky coast. Drive over the bridge to the Marin Headlands, where you’ll see a fantastic array of wildlife, from mountain lions to black tail deer. If you drive out of San Francisco for about 25 minutes and are after a bite to eat, Oakland hosts an impressive list of eateries from top chefs, as well as an impressive number of farmer’s markets that run throughout the week.
Just under a three hour drive north of the city is Mendocino – a stunning destination boasting exquisite wineries, beautiful beaches, and majestic redwoods. Take the car along Highway 1 for the best views, and drive to Santa Cruz for a glimpse at the city’s new-age culture, its famous beach boardwalk, and the hustle and bustle of downtown. Local art galleries overflow with contemporary and experimental art, and the Natural Bridges State Beach is home to hundreds of Monarch Butterflies, who arrive here towards the end of summer for the winter months, creating a dreamlike display.
Miami is home to glamorous beaches, nightclubs and aspiring celebrities. The city’s outskirts have bundles of things to discover, ranging from sprawling natural reserves to man-made theme parks. When you have the freedom of your own vehicle, a drive along the winding road that connects the Florida Keys makes for a great road trip. The Keys are made up of 45 islands, and to reach the farthest point from Miami you’ll need to drive for a few hours at least. Life here can be a fun, hectic, enjoyable experience, so be sure to set aside a good amount of time to explore the area.
Pass through the Everglades, and head to Biscayne National Park. Rent a canoe, or take advantage of some of the snorkelling spots here and explore the vast reef for which the area has become famous. Biscayne Bay is home to Coconut Grove. This artistic community is set within beautiful surroundings, and there are some brilliant restaurants to enjoy, as well as shops along the CocoWalk.
Are your bags packed?
If you’ve planned your trip to your favourite US cities and beyond, don’t forget to hire a car with Alamo and hit the road today.