Beyond Route 66

The alternative but equally breathtaking routes to the most famous road in America

Home Life Lifestyle travel Beyond Route 66

It is arguably the most iconic road in the United States, a symbol of 20th Century pop culture, the same one covered by Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda's chopper in Easy Rider, the one Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon drive along in Martin Scorsese's film.

The Mother Road, as Route 66 is nicknamed, is in the collective imagination filled with breathtaking landscapes, a road loved by travellers and hailed as a “star” on American soil. However, it is not the only one. In fact, there are a large number of different alternative routes to the most famous road of all, which are equally fascinating, certainly less travelled and perhaps more authentic. All perfect for a genuine road trip.

1. Highway 1

Also known as Pacific Coast Highway or California State Route 1, this road winds its way along the California coast affording views of the Pacific Ocean. It starts in southern California, Dana Point, and ends north in Leggett, passing by the most famous and iconic cities such as Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and again on the Central Coast natural wonders such as Big Sur and the Redwoods. Highway 1 is ideal for sea and nature lovers with its beaches, reserves and small coastal towns.

2. The Blue Ridge Parkway

Stretching over 469 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Road is pure paradise. This scenic road, bordered by mountains and nature, offers travellers spectacular views, hiking trails and wild landscapes. Explorable sites along the way include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the historic town of Asheville.

3. The Great River Road

It follows the Mississippi River through ten American States, from Minnesota to Louisiana. The Great River Road is a way to experience the history and culture of the Midwest and the South, with historic cities such as St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans. Ancient plantations, museums and parks constitute and tell the tale of America's most famous river and the people who lived along its banks.

4. Route 50

A wild and lonely soul, deserts and snow-capped mountains, the U.S. Route 50 is nicknamed “The Loneliest Road in America”. Over 4000 kilometres across the country, from Ocean City in Maryland to Sacramento in California. It is particularly famous for its stretch in Nevada, which is characterised by its desert landscape and a feeling of complete isolation that will simply take your breath away. Small towns and mining sites can also be found on the way.

5. Route 90

Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, the Southern Pacific Route is perfect for exploring the southern United States with an itinerary that includes cities like San Antonio, Houston and New Orleans. The beauty of this road is characterised by the traditions linked to the region between coastal resorts, culture and history, ideal for those who want to experience the typical local music.

6. The Oregon Trail

It was one of the routes that took thousands of migrants down the Missouri River to Oregon Country. The Oregon Trail is a road that takes you back in time, a trail to discover or rediscover the original route followed by 19th Century pioneers, from Missouri to Oregon. You'll find historical sites here, with reconstructions that illustrate the hardships and adventures of early American settlers on a unique road through the history, spirit and landscape known to the Americans of the past.