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8 S

Fly/Drive Ú Tour operators listed in this guide (pages 60-64)

Main picture: the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Above: a corn barn in the prairies with an RV on America's wide open roads

know just about every corner of the USA, from the glaciers of Alaska to the tropical Florida Keys. They can give expert advice to ensure you choose an area of the country that is right for you. Select from a vast array of fly-drive holidays using reliable car rental companies, with vehicles ranging from compact saloons to luxury convertibles. Whether you opt for a set itinerary with named accommodation each night or more flexible arrange- ments that let you devise your own route, don’t try to cover too many miles each day. The USA is full of delightful surprises so allow time to enjoy the myriad of unexpected treats that you are bound to encoun- ter. Wander around a ghost town in Colorado. Admire an antebellum mansion in Georgia. Spot bison in South Dakota. There’s something special around every corner. It’s best to book ahead if you are visiting during US public holidays, when accommodation is often at a premium. The same applies to national parks and some rural areas. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get behind the wheel and head off on a spectacular journey that promises the time of your life.


Perhaps the most famous of all roads is Route 66, which crosses the USA heartland from Chicago to California. It’s more than 2,400 miles of pure Americana – from vintage diners and 1950s-style petrol stations to retro motels with classic neon signs. Dubbed the Mother Road of America, this iconic

ON THE ROAD Meet the locals

Take time out at friendly diners and country stores. They are great places to pick up local tips on what to see and do

Park awhile Many of America's national

and state parks offer excellent camping sites with full amenities for motorhomes

highway is celebrated with special Route 66 festivals in many towns and villages in states along the route including Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona. Celebrations include classic-car parades and concerts recalling the road’s heyday. Among the biggest is the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival in Illinois state capital Springfield every September. Route 66 is one of more than 30 highways desig- nated All-American Roads by the US Secretary of Transportation. They include the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, which takes in the breathtaking scen- ery of the Appalachian moun- tains in North Carolina and Virginia and said to be American


favourite drive. Other All-American Roads

Stay the night

It's a good plan to spend your first night in a local hotel rather than head out with a hire car after a long flight

range from 4.5 miles of glitz and sparkle along the Las Vegas Strip to the 824-mile Historic National Road through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The National Road was the country’s first federally-funded interstate highway that opened up the west of the US. Today motorists can trace more than 200 years of American history along its route. Another All-American Road is actually much longer. Alaska’s Marine Highway stretches for a

mighty 3,500 miles but is a ferry route linking remote communities, with glaciers, whales, sea lions and rare birds among the attractions along the way. Another 120 roads throughout

the USA are

The USA is full of delightful surprises so allow time to enjoy the myriad of unexpected treats that you are bound to encounter"

designated National Scenic Byways. They include popular routes such as the 2,069-mile Great River Road, which follows the course of the Mississippi all the way from Minnesota in the north to Louisiana in the south, and the historic Santa Fe Trail through Colorado and New Mexico. Others include South Carolina’s Savannah River Scenic Byway, with the chance to glimpse life in the rural South and experience southern hospitality; the Copper Country Trail in Michigan’s northern wilder- ness; and Stevens Pass Greenway through the spec- tacular Cascade Mountains in Washington State. Several states have designed their own themed itin- eraries to help visitors explore the best of local heritage. Music fans, for example, can follow the Country


Music a


Highway trail

in in

Mississippi or rock ’n’ roll in Tennessee. Connecticut has an antiques trail. Oregon offers wine tours. Alabama recalls the civil rights movement along the route

of the Selma to Montgomery marches of the 1960s. From art to zoos, there’s a vast choice throughout this fabulous country. Fancy combining the freedom of the open road

with your own hotel on wheels? Motorhomes pro- vide the best of both worlds. Known as recreational vehicles (RVs) in the USA, they come in a range of






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