There is nothing better than exploring a country with a self-drive holiday. The freedom of a road trip means discovery is not limited, and you’re free to plan and customise your holiday to your own preferences.
Road trip holidays open the door to a world of experiences – from world-renowned attractions and bucket-list travel experiences to stumbling upon hidden gems you never knew existed. It is one of the best ways to experience a new country, its culture and its landscapes.
So, let us inspire your road trip planning with our luxury driving holiday recommendations. Here are our the top three self-drive holiday routes in North America.
California boasts an impressive nine national parks – more than any other state in the USA. This makes it one of the most scenic and geologically striking areas of the country, with each national park demonstrating the state’s wide variety of distinct landscapes that can be covered all in one trip. From the golden sandy beaches along the Californian coast, epic forests and unique rock formations in the south to steaming geysers and epic volcanoes in the north, the Golden State is an exhibition of natural wonders, and you are not short of choices for an amazing Southwest USA road trip.
Southern California, in particular, offers some of the most impressive sights. Start off your scenic America road trip in San Francisco and take the long winding roads towards the natural icon of California: Yosemite National Park. With its breathtaking rock formations, dramatic waterfalls and abundance of wildlife, North America’s third-oldest national park is the perfect playground for nature lovers and road trippers alike. Test your rock-climbing abilities at the world’s tallest granite monolith, El Capitan, marvel at the renowned Yosemite Falls or simply take in some striking views on one of the many hikes and driving routes.
From there, take the wide, open roads south towards Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. Both parks offer an array of majestic natural beauty, from some of the world’s tallest ancient trees to deep canyons and cloud-baiting mountains; wind your windows down as you experience Mother Nature in all her glory.
Next up on this self-drive route is Death Valley – a surprisingly picturesque area considering the name. It lies right on the border of Nevada and is the perfect place to experience charming starry nights, the mysterious moving rocks and the Old West at its very best. There are numerous scenic drives within the park to keep you busy. Alternatively, step out of your car and stretch your legs by hiking the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes or exploring the almighty Titus Canyon.
Finish your America road trip at California’s southernmost national park, Joshua Tree National Park. Made up of two desert ecosystems – the Colorado and the Mojave – there are over 800,000 acres of alluring natural wonders and wildlife to explore.
If you’re planning a driving holiday with the kids, finishing up in the southern part of the state leaves you with an abundance of children’s activities, with Disneyland, Legoland and San Diego Zoo among the family-friendly things to do. It’s also the perfect gateway to California’s Pacific Coast Highway, which makes another great road trip route.
Crossing the northern border of the US, there is plenty of breathtaking scenery to enjoy on a Canada road trip. Top of the bucket-list travel experiences are the dramatic Rocky Mountains. Sprawling from British Columbia to Alberta, the Canadian Rockies offer seemingly endless opportunities to immerse yourself in some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on the planet.
For those who want a route less travelled, an action-packed, scenic route along the Sea-to-Sky Highway makes for a great self-drive holiday. Stretching from the seaside village of Horseshoe Bay all the way to Whistler and beyond, this route starts along the incredible coastline just north of Vancouver, and you’ll discover everything from emerald-coloured lakes and rugged mountains to waterfalls, fjords and beautiful coastline as you drive deeper into Canadian terrain.
Although this winding, 234-mile route is only a four-hour drive in total and can easily be done in a day, its jaw-
dropping scenery and countless adventurous activities along the way mean we’d recommend taking your time and making use of the many campsites and hotels along this route to truly make the most of your luxury holiday in Canada.
Try your hand at some skiing in Cypress Provincial Park or river rafting along the Elaho-Squamish and Cheakamus rivers between Squamish and Whistler. Alternatively, stretch your legs and immerse yourself in the Canadian wilderness on one of the many scenic hiking trails that run off this route.
As you near the halfway point of the highway, you’ll discover the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, a ten-minute journey up the mountains to some incredible panoramic views of the snow-covered peaks of the Coast Range that surrounds you. At 885m above sea level, you’ll discover unrivalled views of Howe Sound and its many tiny islands, as well as over a dozen hiking trails of varying levels of difficulty, a cosy restaurant and countless viewpoints to take in the scenery.
Enclosed by two oceans and the Caribbean Sea, Mexico is probably best known for its abundance of golden sandy beaches and inviting waves. The country is also steeped in awe-inspiring landscapes and ancient history, with archaeological ruins providing the perfect addition to any self-drive holiday.
Start your engine in the vibrantly colourful city of Mérida. Its prime location provides the perfect base for ticking off many of the region’s bucket-list travel experiences, including UNESCO archaeological sites, nature reserves, cenotes and its pueblos mágicos (magic towns) for an exciting self-drive holiday.
From there, venture to the elegant town of Valladolid, a hidden gem complete with historic churches and a quirky art scene. Be sure to take plenty of pit stops along the way to
swim in some of the many mystical deep-water wells in Reserva Estatal Geohidrológica Anillo de Cenotes and, of course, admire the ancient Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá.
Finally, head to Bacalar to bask in the beauty of its lake, also called the Lagoon of Seven Colours, due to its intriguing array of blue and turquoise hues. There are plenty of water sports and activities to indulge in while you appreciate the scenic views that surround the town, as well as the pier, which offers a fantastic place to view the sunset.
To complete this scenic self-drive loop, make your way back up north towards the ancient city of Uxmal, where you can enjoy some lesser-known archaeological curiosities from Maya culture. located just 52 miles from Mérida, it’s the perfect final stop on your road trip.