Greatest American road trip: Route 66 or Highway 1? | The Tylt
Greatest American road trip: Route 66 or Highway 1?
You’ve got a killer playlist geared up, snacks at the ready, and wanderlust in your heart. Your mind fills with images of wind in your hair, even if you don’t have a convertible. Or hair.
On one hand, there’s an expansive road through the heart of the country. On the other hand, a scenic trip with the most beautiful coastal areas in the continental U.S., if not the world. Where do you go?
Starting in Santa Monica, Calif. and ending in Chicago, Route 66 is full of history and spans a serious variety of landscapes—from the beach to the desert to pines to the great plains and more.
The 2,400-mile route has changed over time but can still get your kicks on Route 66. It offers easy side trips to the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders, as well as a treasure trove of quirky roadside attractions and big cities alike. If you want a trip bursting with Americana, wigwam hotels included, Route 66 is the one for you. The Mother Road, as Steinbeck called it, will always be the queen of American highways.
Highway 1, or more properly California State Route 1, covers most of the coast—from San Diego in the south to Mendocino County in the north. This is the road trip you take when you want to see quintessential California, full of ocean breezes and sunshine (and none of the efficient boredom of the I-5).
At around 700 miles, Highway 1 is a lot shorter and less famous than Route 66, but no less gorgeous. There are few spots on Earth as majestic as the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park near Big Sur. Highway 1 meanders up the coast, in and out of cities, never far from civilization but always near the Pacific. The best fish tacos in the states can be found in San Diego at the southern end, and wine country further north is the heart of California’s culinary scene. Side trips to national forests are easy to make, especially near Santa Barbara and Mendocino.