Hollywood-inspired landscapes, ancient Puebloan history, contemporary Native American culture, deep Spanish heritage, and unique cuisine make the Southwest one of the most spectacular US regions. The New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and West Texas region has a lot to see, but a well-planned road trip can connect many of the highlights. Out here, open skies meet the Rocky Mountains, and Santa Fe has some of the oldest buildings in the US.
Dorothy was right—Kansas is special. The landlocked state in the middle of the US is known for its vast prairies, scenic byways, and postcard-perfect “Main Street USA” towns, but visitors may miss it. Don’t miss the 11,000-acre Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, where buffalo still roam.
Midwestern cool is also found in Kansas’ urban centers, from Kansas City’s craft breweries to Lawrence’s indie music clubs.
Alabama is the place to learn about America’s Civil Rights movement and disturbing racial history. Visit Birmingham’s Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the National Memorial for Peace & Justice, a coffin-shaped memorial to 4,400 Black lynching victims. Discover Mississippian Indigenous tribes’ mound cities, relax on the Gulf Coast, and savor the Deep South’s Franco-Caribbean and African cuisine.
Montana and Wyoming are true cowboy country. The nickname “Big Sky Country” describes Montana’s vast and mountainous landscapes. American mountaineering is popular in the Grand Tetons, the northern end of the Rocky Mountains, with its spiky, stone peaks. Spend the Fourth of July in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, under Grand Teton National Park’s “purple mountain majesties” or stay at a Montana dude ranch.
From the Pacific Coast Highway to Route 66, driving the open road in true American style is a unique US experience.
Visit Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to learn about the Civil Rights movement and the fight for equality.
See Grand Canyon sunset.
Camping out and watching the sunset over the nation’s most famous natural landmark is a must when visiting Las Vegas or Phoenix.
Washington D.C. museums
Honor Abraham Lincoln, walk the National Mall, and visit the Smithsonian. Travel the Freedom Trail
Visit Boston’s Freedom Trail to see Paul Revere’s midnight ride, which started the Revolutionary War.
New England fall leaf-peeping
See autumn foliage in Vermont or the northeast by driving.
Celebrate New Orleans Mardi Gras wildly.
Enjoy king cake, masks, beads, and Bourbon Street parties.
Catch Hawaii waves
Visit Maui’s beautiful beaches or watch the pros surf the Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach on Oahu.
The US is mostly traveled by air and road. Travelers seeking nature and highways love the classic American road trip. While Amtrak has good service in the northeast and west coast, cross-country travel is slow and difficult. Greyhound buses are cheap but colorful and unsafe; check out Flixbus, a growing, eco-friendly bus network. Subways and city buses are available in most major cities, but you’ll need a car to get around.
How to get
From the UK, only flying to the US is possible. The main entry points for flights between both countries are New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Los Angeles.
With the Queen Mary 2, Cunard has resumed its monthly seven-night transatlantic cruise from Southampton to New York. Several cargo-ship companies offer passenger services between northern European ports and east coast cities.