If you’d prefer to stay grounded for your next vacation and give flying a miss, how about a road trip instead? Of course, you may need to fly to actually pick up your rental car and explore a new place, but that’s not the point! Choose wheels over wings and check out some of the most incredible road trips around the globe.
1. The Great Ocean Road, Australia
The Great Ocean Road stretches for 151 miles between Torquay and Allansford in the Australian state of Victoria. As well as being one of the best road trips in Australia, it is among the most popular road trips on the planet.
Although the distance can easily be covered in a day, you’ll get the most from your experience if you plan to spend a few days discovering the varied attractions and activities along the route. There are many scenic views to admire, beaches to relax on, natural sites to stir your inner adventure, cultural spots and more.
Highlights along the Great Ocean Road include the limestone stacks known as the 12 Apostles, the natural stone bridge of London Arch, the sea cave of the Grotto and the columns of Loch Ard Gorge. Gorgeous beaches include Apollo Bay and Bells Beach. The many towns and villages along the route each offer something new.
2. Ring of Kerry, Ireland
The stunning Ring of Kerry stretches for 111 miles, covering sections of the much longer Wild Atlantic Way. It’s the ideal road trip to discover the scenic splendors of the west coast of Ireland. Be blown away by wild and rugged coastal views. Chill out on scenic beaches. Hike in lush wildlife-filled forests. Visit cultural and historic places of interest and learn more about local life and traditions.
The Gap of Dunloe mountain pass is picturesque, as are Molls Gap, the Black Valley and the Meeting of the Waters. Other natural delights include Torc Waterfall and the striking Blue Pool.
Visit the monastic ruins on Skellig Michael. Learn more about the lace-making industry at Kenmare Lace. Step back in time at Muckross House. See the old Ogham Stones and stone circles.
Do note that visitors are asked to drive anti-clockwise around the looped route.
3. Great River Road, USA
Follow the winding course of the Mississippi River through ten states, covering more than 2,300 miles. Travel from the top to the bottom of the country, all the way from Minnesota to Louisiana (or vice versa). The route also passes through Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. The Great River Road is one of the greatest road trip adventures in the US.
Experience true Americana as you discover major cities and charming villages, rural farming communities and plantation homes, historic sites and a wealth of attractions and activities. Notice how foods, accents and outlooks change as you traverse the country and observe life alongside the river.
4. The Garden Route, South Africa
A beautiful drive in South Africa, the Garden Route runs for 124 miles. It travels between Mossel Bay and Storms River, incorporating both coastal and inland areas. There are spectacular beaches, lagoons, lakes, mountains and wildlife to enjoy on your trip. Both Mossel Bay and Storms River have plentiful places of interest to keep you busy before and after your adventure.
Wildnerness National Park is a perfect stop for fans of wildlife. Visit estuaries that are teeming with bird life, bask on glorious beaches, go horse riding along the sands and admire the sparkling lakes. Enjoy easy access to the mountains and coast from George, surf at Victoria Bay, explore the dunes and lagoons of Sedgefield and go hiking at Goukamma Nature Reserve.
Other highlights along the Garden Route include picturesque Knysna, Nature’s Valley and the activity-rich Plettenberg Bay. Plus, if you access the route from Cape Town, you’ll likely fly into one of the best airports in the world.
5. Ring Road, Iceland
Drive around the outer edges of Iceland and be blown away by the other-worldly beauty of the Land of Fire and Ice. The ring road, Route 1, is over 800 miles long. It is often said to be one of the most incredible road trips on the planet.
Windswept beaches with black sands, dramatic volcanoes and mountains, bubbling pools and spurting geysers, deep fjords, waterfalls and lunar-like terrains are just a few of the wondrous sites that you can expect. You can even see the volcano that spewed volcanic ash and brought European flights to a halt.
Visit the waterfalls of Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Discover Vik with its volcanic sands. Enjoy Thingvellir National Park. Relax at the Blue Lagoon. Be in awe at Geyser and the glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon. Spot wild reindeers in the eastern part of the country. Myvatn, Dettifoss, Asbyrgi, Akureyri, Hallormsstaour Forest and Alftafjorour are other highlights.
Other incredible road trips around the world include the 2,500-mile-long Trans-Amazonian Highway in Brazil, the Sea to Sky Highway in Canada’s British Columbia and the Romantic Road in Germany’s Bavaria.
Pack your vehicle, strap your possessions down, fasten your seat belt, put your favorite tunes on and set off on a great adventure.