In today’s fast-paced world where everyone seems to be jet-setting to far away lands and constantly in a hurry to get from one place to the next, the idea of packing up the car and hitting the open road might seem preposterous. However, taking the road less traveled and seeking out the little-known corners of the earth might be just what you need to spice up your year.
Why road tripping is a must
Along with basking in the remarkable beauty of vast and various landscapes and breaking out of your comfort zone, road tripping offers an array of benefits sure to appeal to any fun-loving car enthusiast, including:
- You don’t have to deal with the stress and angst that’s so commonly associated with air travel
- You’ll come across incredible places you may not otherwise ever visit
- You can experience a change of pace that renews, invigorates, and inspires the soul
Like other forms of travel, road tripping inevitably has its moments of boredom and lassitude. However, by planning your trip right and choosing the perfect places to cruise in your luxury car, you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of hitting the pavement and exploring this wild world on a totally different level.
With this list of the 5 best scenic drives in the world, you can be sure to find a destination that fits all your road tripping wants and needs.
Trip #1 – Icefields Parkway
Where: Canada’s Icefields Parkway weaves more than 140 miles through the breathtaking peaks of Jasper and Banff National Parks. Often referred to as “the most spectacular journey in the world,” the Icefields Parkway puts you up-close and personal with the vast wilderness of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.
What: On this road trip of a lifetime, you can expect to get an eyeful of all that this legendary landscape has to offer. From pristine mountain lakes like Lake Louise and Hector Lake to sprawling glaciers like Clawfoot and Mount Victoria, this unforgettable terrain hosts an abundance of unique wildlife. On your route, keep an eye out for:
- Grizzly bears
- Black bears
- Bighorn Sheep
- Mountain Goats
- Golden Eagles
- Woodland Caribou
- Gray Wolves
As one of Canada’s national treasures, Icefields Parkway is sure to capture your heart and soul with its wondrous natural beauty.
When: Though Icefields Parkway is open year-round, there are still ideal and not-so-ideal times to visit. Tourist season typically stretches from mid-May to early-October when road conditions are optimal and wildlife is abundant. July and August are the busiest months, with winter driving conditions starting in mid-October and lasting well into May. Consider planning your road trip between April and October to take advantage of all the area has to offer.
How long: Though the drive can be completed in three hours without stopping, experts recommend taking six nights and seven days for a truly unforgettable experience.
Trip #2 – Route 66
Where: As the most infamous road in America, Route 66 is arguably one of the best car drives in the USA. Beginning in Chicago, Illinois and ending in Santa Monica, California, Route 66 crawls nearly 2,500 miles across six different states (Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona) and showcases some of the nation’s most quintessential landscape.
What: As one of the country’s first transcontinental highways, Route 66 is rich with history and laced with the nostalgic remains of early America. During your journey, expect to be jolted back in time when passing through the sleepy towns of the Midwest and Southwest and get up-close-and-personal with some of the nation’s most resilient, unchanging scenery. From rusty, dusty ghost towns to pulsing neon-lit metropolises, Route 66 gives road trippers a first-hand experience of the diversity that has shaped this unique country.
When: Seeing as Route 66 spans across so much country, nailing down the perfect time for road tripping can be difficult. However, thanks to its horizontal route through a unique stretch of landscape, there are sometimes that are more ideal than others. As a general rule, the transitional weather in November and March tends to make the drive unpredictable and the months of June, July, and August see a considerable increase in both temperatures and tourist traffic. Consider planning your road trip in April, May, September, or October for optimal weather and minimal crowds.
How long: Roadtrippers hoping to do Route 66 as fast as possible should expect to plan five to six days for the venture. However, if you really want to soak up the scenery and experience all that the Mid- and Southwest has to offer, consider planning your trip for two to three weeks.
Top #3: Great Ocean Road
Where: Arguably the best coastal road trip on the continent, Australia’s Great Ocean Road traverses across 157 miles of unfathomable scenery. Located in the southern state of Victoria, this Aussie favorite begins in Torquay and ends in Warrnambool, making it a route rich with scenic views and wondrous wildlife.
What: The Great Ocean Road is laced with desolate beaches, picturesque lighthouses, lush rainforests, whimsical waterfalls, and world-renowned surf breaks. As more of a memorable experience than casual car drive, the Great Ocean Road features an array of opportunities such as:
- Mountain biking
- Heritage attractions
When road tripping on the Great Ocean Road, be sure not to miss the Great Ocean Walk, where you’ll see koalas, emus, and kangaroos in their natural habitat.
When: As with most popular attractions, the Great Open Road is busiest in summer months of December through February, when the vegetation is vibrant and the warm weather makes for prime beach time. Winter months (June-August) feature less heat, minimal crowds, and off-season prices on virtually everything. Plus this is also the time of year when whales migrate, making it ideal for wildlife lovers. Similarly, springtime months also feature smaller crowds and mild weather, as well as blooming wildflowers, flowing waterfalls, and active wildlife.
How long: Though the 253-kilometer drive can be completed in just four hours, you won’t want to miss the experiences awaiting in the sleepy surf towns and beach-side villages of the Great Ocean Road. Plan for two or more days if you want to get the most out of your adventure and don’t forget to protect your car with Autopreme floormats after you are done exploring the beach.
Trip #4 – Guoliang Tunnel Road
Where: Meticulously carved from the Taihang Mountains in southeastern China, the Guoliang Tunnel Road (GTR) is not for drivers faint of heart. As one of China’s most infamous tunnel roads, GTR boasts some harrowing statistics:
- At just .75 miles long, the GTR is 16-feet-tall and 13-feet wide.
- In mid-1972, just 13 villagers began constructing the tunnel. Five years, 4,000 hammers, and 12 tons of steel later, the carved-out road opened to traffic on May 1, 1977.
- Prior to the construction of the road, the only way to reach the town of Guoliang was via a very narrow, very steep set of carved-out stairs.
The road’s mind-boggling location and breathtaking views make it a key destination for China-destined road trippers.
What: Without the existence of the GTR, the small village of Guoliang would most certainly be unreachable. When driving the road, expect your heart to be racing and your blood to be pumping as you navigate the narrow, cliff-side road. More than 30 “windows” of various shapes and sizes afford jaw-dropping views of the canyon’s rich landscape, surrounding mountain ranges, staggering cliffs, crystalline natural pools, and bubbling springs.
When: Because of the road’s precarious location, timing can be everything if you wish to remain as safe and successful as possible. While winter months tend to see minimal precipitation, temperatures can be frigid. On the other hand, summer months coincide with monsoon season, meaning significant rainfall can make the road deadly. When planning your road trip in southeast China, aim for dates in the spring and autumn months to ensure optimal sightseeing weather.
How long: Visitors who have driven the GTR to recommend planning at least three hours to complete the trek. Keep in mind, however, that this can vary dramatically depending on traffic and weather conditions, and drive the route at night is not recommended. In the event you don’t have time to return on the road in daylight, Guoliang Village has several lodging and dining options for overnight stays. As part of the Wanxianshan Scenic Spot, the GTR is one of several classic attractions in a local series of road trip-friendly travel destinations.
Trip #5 – Stelvio Pass
Where: Yet another road trip for the brave and daring, Italy’s Stelvio Pass sits at an elevation of 9,045 feet above sea level. Located in northern Italy, Stelvio Pass is the second highest paved road in the Alps and has gone virtually unchanged since its inception in 1820 by the Austrian Empire.
What: Drivers and riders of Stelvio Pass can expect quite an adrenaline-pumping experience on the Eastern Alps highest route. Along with the road’s iconic 48 hairpin turns on the northern side of the pass, Stelvio’s magnificent views also make it one of the most scenic drives in the world. As a haven for thrill-seeking drivers, Stelvio Pass was engineered with challenging features like narrow tunnels, stomach-wrenching drop-offs, seriously steep climbs, and numerous 180-degree switchbacks. Though there are two various routes that can be driven to reach Stelvio’s summit, the recommended route begins on the northwest side as you get to drive straight through the heart of the Stelvio National Park. While heading down the pass toward Bormio offers incredible views of the Alps and a more tame grade, take the Umbrail Pass into the Swiss National Park if you want to experience even more of the tight, twisty turns that are so common to this area.
When: Though the road is typically open from June to September, snow and dangerous road conditions can prompt closures at any time. Because Stelvio Pass is one of the most iconic in the world, it’s one of the busiest in the Alps. If you’re wanting to get the most out of your Stelvio Pass road trip without having to fight crowds, plan your trip outside of the July and August busy season. Once you’ve arrived in Italy, try to get on the road early in the day and shoot for a midweek drive if you want an intimate experience on this epic mountain pass.
How long: In order to get the most out of this memorable drive, be sure to set aside an entire day so that you have time to soak in the surroundings and navigate the pass at a safe, leisurely speed.
In order to make the most of your road trips, it’s important to be prepared. Along with strategically planning your route, packing the necessary safety essentials, and bringing along extra food and water, you also need to make sure your car is properly equipped for the journey.
After getting your car mechanically ready for your road trip, prep the inside of your ride with AutoPreme floor mats. Designed with car enthusiasts in mind, AutoPreme products are stylish, odor-free, and easy to install. As superior, high-quality mats, these floor mats are made with the utmost durability, making them scratch proof, waterproof, and easy to clean. With AutoPreme, you can benefit from having floor mats as dedicated to adventure as you are. Buy your AutoPreme floor mats today and discover why they are the best design on the market.