Road Trip! Our Top 15 Scenic Drives
By Hideaway Report Staff
September 11, 2019
Certain destinations cry out to be explored by car. In places where the roads are uncrowded and the scenery is splendid, driving yourself is an unmitigated joy (as long as your passengers are well-behaved, of course). We’ve done numerous memorable road trips over the years, and below, we’ve assembled 15 of our very favorites. Each of these itineraries closely follows drives that we editors at the Hideaway Report have undertaken. Having tested the road trips ourselves, we have no doubt that if you embark on one of these journeys, you’ll have an unforgettable trip.
Just two hours from Rome, Abruzzo is a little-known region that beckons those who want to see Italy as it was. The pleasures of a trip here are waking every morning to birdsong, admiring the spectacular views and exploring the area’s superb cuisine during long, lazy lunches.
Quintessential New England
Vermont is a land of small towns, many of them the embodiment of an idealized New England. Discover its craft shops, galleries, artisanal cheese shops, stylish restaurants and beautiful scenery.
French Wine Country
This weeklong itinerary encompasses the best restaurants, hotels and wineries of Burgundy. You’ll make stops in the unspoiled countryside near Chablis as well as those in the hallowed Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits areas.
This itinerary makes for a great road trip across northern Spain, one that partially intersects with the 500-mile-long Camino de Santiago, one of the world’s most famous pilgrimage routes. It also encompasses the dramatic coast; the magnificent cathedral cities of Santiago de Compostela, León and Burgos; and the great wine region of Rioja.
Italy for the Connoisseur
Backdropped by the snowcapped peaks of the Alps, Piedmont is a superb destination for food and wine connoisseurs, as well as all Italophiles. Bordered by France and Switzerland, the rolling hills of this fertile region are planted with vineyards that produce some of the world’s great wines. And the elegant city of Turin charms with its spectacular Baroque architecture, fine museums and outstanding cafés and restaurants.
England’s North Country
This journey through unspoiled areas of northern England is an enjoyable road trip. York lies some 20 miles north of the country’s primary industrial belt — which includes the major cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds — but North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland contain some of the most scenically impressive landscapes in the country, as well as several national parks and numerous places of cultural interest.
The American Southwest
The Southwestern states of Arizona, Utah and Nevada contain some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, and the best way to see it is still by car. Indeed, a driving tour of the Southwest is perhaps the quintessential great American road trip. This itinerary begins in Phoenix, heads north into southern Utah and ends in Las Vegas, with stops at the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park. The trip includes stays at new hideaway hotels as well as some old favorites.
Historic Hudson Valley
New York City is a teeming metropolis, but it is also a gateway to the tranquil Hudson River Valley, with orchards, vineyards, fine restaurants and stately homes that have afforded escape to some of the great names in American history, including Rockefeller, Vanderbilt and Roosevelt. There are several delightful hotels that offer comfort and hospitality, if not always the last word in luxury.
France for the Family
A driving tour of the Dordogne and Lot valleys will delight all manner of travelers, including children and adults. Active travelers can canoe while surrounded by limestone bluffs and medieval villages. And gourmands can indulge in the area’s specialties of foie gras, truffles and walnuts. The local wines, too, have quietly become world-class, both in Bergerac and Cahors. Although the Dordogne and Lot valleys are not especially well-known in the United States, their extravagant beauty is no secret to Europeans.
Rome to the Amalfi Coast
Visiting Italy is one of the supreme pleasures in life. This itinerary features the best of ancient Rome before guiding you through the delights of the Amalfi Coast, Italy’s most spectacular stretch of coastline.
High Desert of New Mexico
Encompassing the best of Santa Fe and northern New Mexico’s high desert, this itinerary includes historic pueblo tours, spa treatments, fine dining, hospitable hotels and sensational ranch retreats. Begin the trip by exploring Santa Fe for a few days, then drive to Taos via Chimayó, where weaving shops take center stage. After touring the many art galleries of Taos, experience what will likely be the highlight of the trip: three days at Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch.
Magnificent Oregon Coast
U.S. Highway 101 runs 363 miles through Oregon, from the south bank of the Columbia River to the California border, mostly hugging the Pacific coast. You could drive it in a day, but that would be missing the point. The route offers glorious views of the Pacific around nearly every bend; dozens of state parks with broad, sandy beaches and rugged headlands; and small towns with galleries, curiosity shops and waterfront diners that serve wonderful fresh-caught seafood. And then, of course, there’s the wine country, where Pinot Noir is king.
Scenic French Island of Corsica
Fifty minutes by air from Nice or Marseille, Corsica is one of the most scenic islands in the Mediterranean. At 114 miles long and 52 miles wide, it has an astonishing variety of landscapes and ecosystems. The thick pine forests in parts of the interior are almost alpine, while much of the coastline is subtropical. The food and wines are superb, and each of the towns has an intriguingly different personality. The whole of the itinerary would make for a sensational vacation, but even doing just one section as part of a longer European trip would also be most enjoyable.
Boston and Beyond
This Boston and Cape Cod itinerary delivers the best of both worlds: the rich, complex history of a big city and laid-back coastal living with breathtaking beaches and wetlands. In Boston you can stroll across the central area in about an hour, and whether you saunter through gracious Beacon Hill or the stately boulevards of Back Bay, the dimensions of the city often seem more European than American. Meanwhile beautiful beaches and quaint towns await in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Santa Barbara: America’s Riviera
This weeklong itinerary encompasses the best of Santa Barbara County, both the city’s downtown and the thriving wine country northwest of it. For those who can’t decide whether they want a beach vacation, a big-city trip, a gastronomic excursion or a wine-country getaway, this circuit contains a little of each.
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