These Are Your Best Dream Road Trip Ideas

Iceland is neat.
Iceland is neat.
Photo: Kristen Lee (Jalopnik)
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There are few things as freeing as going on a road trip. You load up your car with friends, family, food and luggage and just go. It’s the journey, not the destination and all that. Whether or not you’ve taken your dream road trip already, I want to hear about it.

Last week, we asked you what your dream road trip would look like. Patrick George, who wrote the post, wants to do New York to the West Coast in some kind of BMW. Probably an original 8 Series. You know, a car that may or may not make the whole journey. He likes to live dangerously.


Personally, I have no interest in going coast to coast. My ideal road trip would take up most of the daylight hours and pass through some amazing scenery. Probably in the American Southwest, because that’s my favorite part of the country. Stop at a nice, little local joint for lunch. Arrive back at a hotel or a town in time for dinner.

Illustration for article titled These Are Your Best Dream Road Trip Ideas

The car? Easy: A first-generation Dodge Viper. Yes, that dirty bastard.

But when I read through your responses, nearly all of them also sounded ideal. The cars, the locations, the routes—all of them were perfect. You guys have good taste.


Birthday Trip (Lukasz)

Bring a wrench!


Rotary (Jerry Harding)

Your destinations are excellent.


Taking the Europeans (Hayden Lorell)

Get in on that wagon action.


Bring Buddies (ikeetgraaggroente)

Your friends and your dad are real lucky.


Vette (heeltoehero)

I’ve heard those are great GT cars.


Motorcycle Tour (Miss Mercedes ♥✈ Smart & UJM Hoarder)

It’s not for me, but it does sound fun.


Worldwide Trip (zippitybippitybop)

It’s only impossible... for now.


Rockies (Sunday Driver)

Some of the best scenery in the continental U.S.


Lottery Winner (rb1971 AGQF+G550+E9+328GTS+R90S)

Yeah, I’d say this is a great way to spend the winnings.


Realistic and Unrealistic (Blackbeard Ben)

Why not both?


Dreams (Maximum 4C)

I think it’s still possible, you probably just can’t do all of it.


France (Nrstanley9)

“I rode to France.”


V8 (Yes I drive a 240... Sort of)

As long as it’s orange.


West Coast (Anthony McClinton)

Best coast.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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I have the opposite desire of most of these people — I like to do long distances as quickly as possible. I wouldn’t want to do a Cannonball Run because of the danger of driving at high speeds with no sleep (I like to do road trips solo so I don’t have anybody complaining about having to stop to eat or use the bathroom). I’ve done NYC to LA in 3 1/2 days, and I’ve done NYC to Miami in one straight shot.

But my real goal is a solo coast-to-coast drive in less than 3 days — basically being able to get from the Atlantic to the Pacific over a holiday weekend. As I see it, there’s one simple way to do this, which interestingly enough requires both overnight stays to be in Texas:

Day 1: Jacksonville, FL -> Beaumont, TX (786 miles)
Day 2: Beaumont, TX -> El Paso, TX (827 miles)
Day 3: El Paso, TX -> San Diego, CA (724 miles)

I think that’s about the quickest you can safely do a coast-to-coast drive. As to the car, it would have to be something that’s reasonably fuel efficient with a big tank, but also all-day comfortable seats and no reliability issues. I’d be tempted to go with a Jaguar XF diesel, since they have 17.4 gallon tanks that give you enough range that you might be tempted to do an entire day’s worth of driving on one tank, but I’m hesitant to put a Jaguar up to 12 straight hours of driving without a single break. So I’d probably go with the Hyundai Sonata or Kia Optima hybrids, even though that would mean you’d have to make a fuel stop at some point during the day every day. When I went from NYC to LA in 3 1/2 days, I was in my Mustang GT, which was getting around 27-28 mpg, which wasn’t good enough to keep from having to make multiple fuel stops each day. The way I think about it, at 60 mph you’re going a mile per minute, so every minute you spend not on the highway is a mile that you won’t be able to drive that day.