Three of the Most Epic Road Trips You Need to Take in Your Lifetime

Every now and then you need to take a trip that will make your friends green with envy. The kind of trips that people want to copy as soon as possible. These trips encompass not one, not two, not even three destinations, but a list of destinations as long as your arm. They aren’t just any old trips, they are road trips, and we’ve rounded up the best we can think of!

Pacific Coast Highway, USA

The Pacific Coast Highway is home to some of the most magnificent destinations in the US. This road trip combines all the places in California that you have dreamed about, in one neat little package.

Start by flying into San Francisco, taking in the Golden Gate Bridge, enjoying the seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf and making the trip to Alcatraz Island where prisoners of the city were held until 1963.

 

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Then it’s time to hop in the car. If you have time before heading down the coast, a trip inland to Yosemite National Park will not be a wasted one. Trust us – once you see the iconic sight of Bridalveil Fall, framed by the verdant landscape and the Sierra Nevada mountains, you’ll be thankful you made the detour.

After taking in these incredible vistas, it’s time to head down to Big Sur, the more rugged portion of your drive. From the Bixby Creek Bridge to McWay Falls, the natural landscape here is like nothing you’ve seen before. Be sure to incorporate the 17-Mile Drive into your trip: – a scenic road – which winds through the gated community of Pebble Beach, passing famous golf courses, mansions and maybe even some harbour seals. You’ll have to pay a toll to use the road, but we promise it’s worth it.

 

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The next stop on your trip is Santa Barbara, via the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Santa Maria. While there are many Californian destinations that come onto your radar, Santa Barbara seems to be wildly underrated. Palm-lined highways link Mediterranean-style properties to golden beaches, which offer an idyllic spot for some paddleboarding. Santa Barbara is also a fabulous spot to go wine tasting, but make sure get your head down for the night before hopping in the car for your next stop.

Malibu. The beachfront neighbourhood that you will have undoubtedly seen on hundreds of films and TV shows, this town lets the views do the talking. Popular with the rich and famous, you might be better off just opting to drive through Malibu, unless your wallet can handle it. Of course, take some time to grab some food with delicious views and take a dip in the pacific. Then head down to LA.

 

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From the Hollywood Sign and the Hidden Hills to Rodeo Drive and the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles deserves as much of your time as you dedicated to San Francisco. Go full tourist and hop on a tour of the homes of the rich and famous, and pose on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. You’ll have the time of your life.

For an alternative drive in the USA, try the Atlantic Coast with a trip from Miami down to the Florida Keys.

South Island, New Zealand

Filled with expansive landscapes and awe-inspiring vistas, New Zealand’s South Island offers some fabulous road-tripping fodder. Begin your trip in wine country – Marlborough, where you can enjoy delectable wines amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The Marlborough Sounds are a network of sea-drowned valleys which have been created due to rising sea levels over thousands of years, but boy do they offer a treat for the senses and a haven for wildlife.

Then it’s down to Kaikoura, a regular-looking place offering wildlife in abundance. Kaikoura is prime ground for whale watching, so be sure to hop out of the car for a little while and into a boat to ensure you get the best views. After donning your binoculars, head to Hanmer Springs to treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon in the glorious thermal springs.

 

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Next, it’s down to Lake Tekapo, offering mesmerising sights no matter what time of year you visit. Winter provides a snowscape of blanketed mountains and glass-like waters, while spring brings blooms of pink, purple and fuchsia – each season providing a fabulous backdrop for a tranquil stop off.

After spending some time enjoying the quiet, make your way to Queenstown, where you can exert your energy and get a good dose of adrenaline! From jumping off buildings to mountain biking on tiny mountain paths, the birthplace of the bungee jump has a lot to offer. Amongst all the fun you’ll find, fine dining, a fabulous arts scene and cosmopolitan bars.

From there, head to Fiordland, an area of outstanding natural beauty offering staggeringly similar scenery to our European friends in Norway. Spelt differently to their Norwegian counterparts, but meaning the same thing, the fiords are made up of imposing peaks and breath-taking waters. Head to Milford Sound to see one of the most iconic sights in the country.

 

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Then it’s through Haast Pass to make your way to the Franz Josef Glacier. If you can spare the cash it is an absolute must to take a guided tour through the ice. You’ll walk inside of the glacier, see the edges of it and will even see it all from above in a helicopter.

Finally, finish everything off in the Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s answer to the Whitsunday Islands. The national park offers golden beaches, sandbanks which create marvellous swirls in the water, and a fabulous place to take a dip (- or even explore in more depth on kayak). This is the conclusion to your trip that you’ll never forget.

 

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For an alternative route in Oceania, why not try a driving Australia’s Great Ocean Road.

The Côte d’Azur

If you can’t travel halfway across the world for a road trip, or don’t fancy the flight to LAX, then why not head down to the Côte d’Azur? Boasting all the winding roads and picturesque settlements you could wish for, the French Riviera is one of the most scenic drives you can make. Plus, it isn’t too far from home and if you really want to – you can hop into your own car and cross the channel to avoid rental costs.

We begin our itinerary in beautiful Saint Tropez, a popular haunt for the rich and famous, where terracotta buildings are cuddled together and hilltop villas overlook the glistening Mediterranean. The glitzy port town offers an impeccable start to your trip. Here you’ll find designer boutiques on old town squares and yachts bobbing in the marina – and that’s the beginning.

 

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Next, it’s on to Cannes, another frequented destination of the jet set who are obviously attracted annually by the iconic Cannes Film Festival. Of course, the glitz and glamour doesn’t just stick around for one week of the year: – whenever you land in Cannes you’ll be met with A-list allure in its finest form. Relax on the beaches, grab an ice cream and meander through the marina, before hopping in the car on to Antibes.

Antibes is an underrated jewel of this coastline, less famous than its more frequented sisters, the 16th century sea walls of this Provençal town offer fabulous driving terrain, with roads close to the water so you can gaze at the glistening Med as you drive on to Nice.

Drive along the promenade which lines the sweeping bay, through old Nice and over to Villefranche-sur-Mer. This little settlement is a great place to stop for lunch, or even for a little longer. A little quieter than the bigger towns you’ve already passed through, Villefranche has maintained the authentic feel of its fishing village roots. Obviously, it is a great place for seafood, and fabulous area to spend the night.

Next, head out to the peninsula and Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. This is where you will find sleepy coves, offering an idyllic spot for paddle boarding, kayaking or even just taking a dip. Treat yourself to an afternoon on the beach, staring out at the myriad of blue shades, then it’s over to Beaulieu-sur-Mer.

 

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This town was the inspiration for the town of Beaumont-sur-Mer in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and the town is as glamorous as the film depicts. Yachts bob atop of the aquamarine bay, overlooked by French mansions, surrounded by towering palm trees. It’s a stop that just cannot be missed.

Head on over to Monaco to follow the roads that the Formula 1 drivers return to every spring, and maybe place a bet in a casino or two. You may want to spend the evening here sleeping instead in one of the previous destinations (-unless your purse strings can really stretch).

 

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On the last stint of your trip drive over to Menton for a lazy afternoon in one of the most colourful destinations you’ll see, then loop back on yourself via the Moyenne Corniche – a winding road with tight bends that offers impeccable views of the towns below. Finish off in Èze, a tiny commune sat on top of a hill that offers the most impeccable place for a sundowner at golden hour.

For an alternative European route why not try a road trip through Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Montenegro.
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About Polly
Polly

At dealchecker, Polly is writing up the fabulous deals that get sent out to our subscribers and checking that you are getting the best bang for your buck. When she's not writing about travel, she's out doing it - whether its somewhere different in the UK, or jetting off somewhere a little further!

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