Toronto Star


- By Brendan van Son

Few things beat a good road trip. Lucky for us, we have one of the best countries in the world for a “roadie” just to our south. And while there are countless destinatio­ns to fit into a proper American road trip, there are some spots that just shouldn’t be missed.

Antelope Canyon

Both the upper and lower Antelope Canyons are found just outside of the town of Page, Ariz., and both are natural wonders. They are located on private Navajo land, however, so it will require some planning. On the bright side, this has kept the canyons largely intact and free of overcrowdi­ng. And as they say on the tours, it’s hard to take a bad photo in a canyon. The colours, the shapes and the light all scream to be photograph­ed.

New Orleans

Perhaps best known for Mardi Gras and as the city hit hard by hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is more than just a party town, or a victim. Sure, there is a fair bit of partying that happens in town, and many of the scars left behind by Katrina are still visible, but this city offers a host of activities for road trippers to see during a quick stop. For example, visitors can head into St. Louis Cemetery in search of ghosts. One could wander the French Quarter, taking in the local music and artwork, or visit Frenchman’s Street at night for some live music. Then, once you’ve had enough of the city life, you can head out of town and visit one of the nearby swamps to search for gators.

The Florida Keys

The Keys are an ambitious location to add to your U.S. road trip. Located some 100 kilometres by sea from Cuba, the southern point of the Keys is about as far away from the heart of America as you can get without crossing a border or an ocean. Most of the Keys feel much more like the Caribbean than they do the U.S. In Key West; for example, the houses have the classic colonial look and all the great colours of the Caribbean. And, of course, the beaches are as stunning as they come — white sand lined with perfect palm trees and calm turquoise waters. For those trying to escape the cold for a bit, this is the place to go.

San Francisco

On the left coast of the U.S., San Francisco is an absolute classic American destinatio­n and a great place to either start or finish your road trip. Go for a trip out to Alcatraz Island, wander Fisherman’s Wharf, ride the trams with no destinatio­n in mind or catch a Giants game. And while you’re in San Francisco you shouldn’t miss any meals. The restaurant­s in the city offer cuisine from around the world.

Monument Valley, Utah

For me, it’s impossible to think of an American road trip without thinking of Monument Valley. Nearly every road trip movie has a scene where the road trippers roll along Forrest Gump’s road in front of those three famous stone peaks. In many ways, Monument Valley, and that famous road, have turned into the symbol of an American road trip. If there’s any destinatio­n on this list that is a must, it’s here in the desert. At night, staring up at the big open skies, it’s hard to not feel completely free from the stresses of the world. And isn’t freedom what a good road trip is all about?

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