We love road trips and have taken them all over the world. For us, there is nothing better than being masters of our own destiny. The ability to jump in the car and go where we want to go when we want to go holds massive appeal for us and that’s why we would always opt for a road trip over an organised trip. Our road trip bucket list is still as long as our arms and fingers crossed we will be able to take more as soon as current travel restrictions are lifted. Perhaps you are planning some road trips for when you are able to again too? If so, here are some of our personal favourite destinations perfect for a road trip.
The west coast of America is one of, if not the best road trip we have ever taken. 3 weeks of exploring California was something that had been on both of our bucket lists. Therefore when we got to take the trip, it really was like a dream come true. We land in San Fransisco, picked up our brand spanking new Mustang GT and hit the road. We first headed inland to visit the Napa Valley and Sonoma. Then onto Yosemite National Park before heading back to the coast and stopping off at Monterey and Carmel. Heading along Highway 1 we also visited and had overnight stays in Cambria, Pismo Beach and Solvang taking in Bixby Creek Bridge, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara along the way before arriving in Santa Monica. After a few days chilling out on the beach and nearby Venice Beach, we headed deep into LA before finishing our road trip in San Diego.
A lot of planning went into our itinerary. We did not want to miss a thing. However before we even started making a list of all the places we wanted to see and trying to squeeze them into a three week window, we first researched when is the best time to visit California. We knew that we wanted to spend a lot of time outside. Especially on the beaches, therefore we opted for a Summer visit during the month of June. We were rewarded with fantastic weather, barring a couple of overcast mornings and would not hesitate to return at the same time of year again. However, if skiing is your thing, there are several ski resorts where you can hit the piste during the winter months.
10 Must Visit Attractions in California
- Yosemite National Park
- Alcatraz, San Fransisco
- Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco
- Highway 1 – Big Sur, Hearst Castle, The Piedras Blancas seal Rookery etc
- Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
- Hollywood Walk of Fame, LA
- The Original Farmer’s Market, LA
- Universal Studios, LA
- Balboa Park, San Diego
- Gas Lamp Quarter, San Diego
Scotland is a beautiful country with something for everyone. From cosmopolitan cities to gorgeous countryside and not forgetting rugged coastline. We have taken a number of road trips through Scotland over the years. Our favourite road trip started in Gretna Green, famous as a destination for people to elope to, followed by a stop off in Glasgow and then up to Loch Lomand via the highest village in Scotland, Wanlockhead and then Fort William and on to, of course, Loch Ness (although unfortunately, we didn’t spot her). We then headed back south via Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh (check out our recommendations of what to see and do in Edinburgh below) for a few days of exploring the rich history and culture the city is famous for.
During our road trip, we took in a lot of scenery and visited a number of attractions. We visited the magical Botanic Gardens in Glasgow and sampled the delights on offer at The Clydeside Distillery. Well, while in Scotland, right? Whilst in Fort William climbed nearby Ben Nevis and took a ride on the Jacobite steam train over the Glenfinnan Viaduct, made famous by the Harry Potter films. We visited several fairytale castles during our trip, but by far our favourite was Urquhart Castle, which sits on the banks of Loch Ness and was founded in the 13th century. Scotland is also home to a number of fantastic hotels, including Auchterarder House, located in Perthshire, which offers stunning views over the Grampian mountains to the west and the Cairngorms to the north.
10 Exciting Things To See & Do In Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Castle
- Palace of Holyroodhouse
- Arthur’s Seat
- Calton Hill
- St Giles’ Cathedral
- Royal Yacht Britannia
- The Real Mary King’s Close
- Princes Street
- Scottish National Gallery
- Princes Street Gardens
Iceland is one of our favourite countries. It is one that we would return to in a heartbeat. We visited back in the winter of 2016 and even though temperatures plummeted to minus 8 and we only had 6 hours of daylight each day we made every second count. Our road trip was planned to the hour to ensure that we could see everything we wanted too while the light was on our side. We picked our hire car up from Keflavík Airport and set off on our adventure. As Iceland is an expensive country, we stopped off at the no-frills supermarket, Bónus to pick up essentials en route to our lodge in the Geysir area. Iceland is an incredibly easy country to drive in because of the lack of traffic outside of the capital, Reykjavik. On some journeys, we didn’t pass a single car. Perfect if you are not the most confident driver, especially if you drive on the other side of the road back home.
We split our trip into two parts. The first 4 nights we spent in our self-catering lodge, followed by 3 nights in a hotel in Reykjavik. Therefore, had the opportunity to do and see what we wanted when we wanted. We opted to limit our road trip to Southern Iceland, particularly the Golden Circle and the sites along the route. This meant we got to see breathtaking waterfalls, Icelandic ponies in their natural habitat, relax in the geothermal pool at the Blue Lagoon and even walk (or swim) between Europe and America at the Þingvellir National Park amongst many other things that made us realise just how amazing mother nature is. We were even lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on our first evening in Iceland, a memory we will treasure forever.
10 Key Sites To Visit In Southern Iceland
- The Great Geysir
- Blue Lagoon Thermal Spa
- Þingvellir National Park
- Gullfoss Falls
- Black sand beaches in Vik
- Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral in Reykjavik
- Harpa Concert Hall and Old Harbor in Reykjavik
- Sun Voyager in Reykjavik
The Great Ocean Road, Australia
One of the most unique road trips we have ever taken was along the Great Ocean Road. It is a 243-kilometre stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia. We hired a 1970s VW Kombi for a week and explored everything this fantastic part of the world has to offer. The added benefit of a Kombi was that we did not have to find accommodation along the route. We simply booked a pitch at several campsites and parked up for the evening. Even though we had a rough itinerary and had to be somewhere by the end of each day, we also had the flexibility to pull over wherever we fancied or at places that caught our eye. The drive was extremely easy as it is a one-lane road and luckily for us, Australians drive on the same side of the road as us Brits.
We picked up our Kombi just outside of Melbourne and then embarked on a journey that we will fondly remember forever. The road trip gave us the opportunity to spend a lot of time on some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. These included Torquay and Bells Beach, which are perfect if you love water sports including surfing and windsurfing. We got to see a lot of Australia’s native creatures up close and personal too including kangaroos, koalas and even snakes. The trip also allowed us to get out of the city and experience the breathtaking scenery Australia is famous for. With numerous waterfalls and rock formations, the Great Ocean Road is one of the best destinations perfect for a road trip if you are a nature lover.
10 Great Things To See Along The Great Ocean Road
- Torquay (the start of The Great Ocean Road)
- Lorne for Erskine Falls
- Port Campbell National Park for The 12 Apostles
- London Bridge (Arch)
- Memorial Arch at Eastern View (The Great Ocean Road sign)
- Great Otway National Park
- Tower Hill Wildlife Reserve
- Split Point Lighthouse (the lighthouse from Round The Twist)
- Shipwreck Coast
- Sherbrook River
The Yorkshire Dales, England
Being from Yorkshire, it would be remiss of us to not include the Yorkshire Dales on a list of destinations perfect for a road trip. As we live quite close to the edge of The Yorkshire Dales, we have taken so many road trips to this part of the world, we have lost count. Again, if you are a nature lover, the Yorkshire Dales are a great place to take a road trip. With beautiful scenery and more historical sites than you can shake a stick at, don’t forget your walking boots as it is the perfect destination to explore. on foot as well as by car. Most, if not all of the major sites in the Yorkshire Dales have car parks, making attraction hopping very easy. However, simply pulling over is not possible in most of the Yorkshire Dales as a lot of the roads do not have suitable areas/are single-track.
There are also a number of stunning towns and villages in the Yorkshire Dales. They are perfect for picking up essentials, wandering around or even indulging in delicious pub grub and a pint. Grassington, Kirkby Lonsdale and Hawes are all picturesque and our personal favourites. There are of course hotels and B&Bs dotted throughout the Yorkshire Dales, however, we would always recommend self-catering accommodation because of the amazing views and the ability to really connect with nature here. Whether you prefer a luxury lodge with a hot tub, glamping yurt or a basic campsite, there is plenty of choice for every budget. The Dales can become extremely busy during the summer months (we Brits have to take advantage of good weather when we get the chance). Therefore, roads can become congested. However, we always find the scenery makes up for any traffic jam we inoccur.
10 Must Visit Attractions in The Yorkshire Dales
- Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden
- Ingleton Waterfalls Trail
- Malham Cove
- Skipton Castle
- Bolton Abbey
- Forbidden Corner
- Wensleydale Creamery
- Black Sheep Brewery
- Aysgarth Falls
- Ribblehead Viaduct