While travel by air can cover the greatest ground, there’s no better way to see the sights than by car or train. Skip the airfare, TSA security lines, crowded airports and plane delays. Here are three great rides to add to your bucket list:
1. Pacific Coast Highway
What could be more romantic than driving down the coast of California in a drop-top? With a week and a few tanks of gas, you can see some of the most stunning landscapes in the US. Fly into San Francisco and have your travel agent reserve the convertible of your choice, then make your way southward toward Los Angeles. Along the way, be sure to schedule a surf lesson in surf capital Santa Cruz, check out the aquarium in Monterey Bay, tour the 17-Mile Drive of Pebble Beach, and take a slow cruise through Big Sur (bring a camera!). South of Big Sur, meet the elephant seals and their pups at the Rookery, and step back in time as American royalty at Hearst Castle near San Simeon. End your journey with the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, and fly home from LAX.
2. Route 66
Get your kicks, and a serious dose of Americana, on this historic transcontinental drive. Starting in Chicago, Route 66 cuts a diagonal path across the Great Plains and the American West to end in Los Angeles. Along the way, you’ll see the Gateway Arch in St Louis, historic Meramec Caverns (grab a bumper sticker!), and the Native American communities of the desert Southwest. Watch for the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, then enjoy the natural masterpiece of the Painted Desert and explore the Petrified Forest in Arizona before arriving at the mother-of-all natural wonders: the Grand Canyon. For the grand finale, spend a day at the Santa Monica Pier and watch the sunset on the Pacific.
1. Train to Boston to New York City to Washington DC
While the PCH and Route 66 are the more common bucket-list journeys in the US, the sights of the Northeast are not to be missed. Take the worry out of the ride with an Amtrak ticket, and you can watch the window views or surf the web between stops. Start in Boston, where history comes alive with sites like the Boston Harbor and the Freedom Trail. There are a multitude of historical tours; but for the not-so-faint of heart, try the Boston Night Tour, led by paranormal historians who’ll personally introduce you to Beantown’s ghostly inhabitants.
From Boston, take the train to New York City’s Penn Station. You’ll disembark in the heart of the city, blocks from Times Square and the Empire State Building. If this is your first time in the city, an easy way to see all the main sights in a hurry is a hop-on-hop-off tour bus starting in Times Square. If you’ve got more time in town, check out our previous post for an insider’s scoop of NYC.
From Penn Station, take the train to Washington DC. Plan to spend a couple of days exploring the Smithsonian museums, visiting the White House and taking in the many important historical monuments. For the more mature audiences, the Holocaust Museum is a must-see, while the younger visitors will love the National Air and Space Museum. Fly home from Dulles International Airport or nearby Baltimore.
Let your travel agent help you plan the details of your bucket-list-worthy ride. Your agent can help you gather information, time things just right and make the most of your trip.