“It’s not the destination, but the glory of the ride” — Edward Monkton.

There is nothing middle-of-the-road about a road trip. No other kind of holiday can provide the same sense of freedom and discovery. Travel on your own terms, plan your own route, explore at your own pace and stop whenever something interesting catches your eye.

Have your considered working your way around Australia? | Photo credit: Greg Snell

If you’re itching to escape and looking for the perfect place to hit the open road, we’ve got you covered. Our ultimate road trip route planner will help you pick your destination and get the wheels in motion for your next holiday. Month by month, here are our favourites spot to fasten your seatbelt and drive into the sunset:

JANUARY

Victoria and South Australia

If you’re prone to a bout of post-Christmas blues, ditch the woolly jumper and head Down Under in January. Just about all of Australia is glorious in January, but it’s a particularly good time to explore Victoria and South Australia. Think sunshine, fine wines, spectacular coastlines and cosmopolitan cities.

Drive the Great Ocean Road in Australia | Travel Nation

For starters, kick off your trip in Melbourne, where the Australian Open takes place every January. From there, you can drive the scenic Great Southern Touring Route or plan a longer road trip down to Adelaide, via the Barossa Valley and the Great Ocean Road. If you have time, stay to celebrate Australia Day on 26 January.

Tasmania

Looking for a rugged road trip with a real sense of adventure? Try driving across Tasmania in January. Packed with fascinating convict history and covered with vast areas of pristine wilderness, it’s somewhere that will give you a new perspective of Australia. If you’ve been Down Under before and you’re after something different, it’s a winner.

Visit magical Horseshoe Falls in Tasmania | Travel Nation

Drive from craggy Cradle Mountain National Park to the cliff side Blow Hole, and from pearly sand beaches to thick native forest, all within one trip. On your way, stop to see Tasmanian Devils, fairy penguins, possums and wallabies. January is the warmest time for hiking in Tasmania and, if you stray beyond the city limits, you may even see the dazzling Aurora Australis. 

FEBRUARY

New Zealand

We are big fans of New Zealand in February. It’s drier and less crowded than January on both the North and South Islands, making it perfect for a free-wheeling road trip by car or campervan. Drive through gorgeous scenery, stop for dips in clear blue lakes and discover The Shire at Hobbiton.

Mirror Lakes on the way to Milford Sound, NZ | Travel Nation

New Zealand is an outdoor playground in February. Kayak between the bays of the Marlborough Sounds, hike through lush green forests, spot dolphins and fur seals off the South Islands and soak up the sunshine on the Coromandel Peninsula. If you’re a foodie, make a beeline for the Marlborough Food and Wine Festival, the longest-running wine festival in the country.

Perth and the Margaret River, Western Australia

Western Australia is where it’s at in February. Hosting both the Fringe World Festival AND the Perth Festival, Perth springs into life with theatre, art, music and dance events all over the city. After a lively few days joining the celebrations, set off on a road trip south to the Margaret River area with its vast sandy beaches and sweeping vineyards. The weather is lovely in February, with daily sunshine and temperatures that hover around 28 degrees. Perfect.

There are over 120 wine producers in the region

MARCH

Patagonia

Peak season in Patagonia is summer, which runs from November to February. While summer may bring the warmest weather, it also brings the most visitors, so if you’d prefer to dodge the crowds, try taking a Patagonia road trip in March. As autumn sets in, the days are cool and bright, the nights are chilly and the leaves begin to take on fiery dramatic colours. Not only that, but it’s far cheaper to travel and the hiking trails are deliciously quiet. Pack a warm coat and go play in the Patagonian wilderness.

Explore the remote and scenic Torres del Paine National Park

Ningaloo Reef and Coral Coast, Western Australia

Headed to Perth in March? Try driving north to explore the castaway Coral Coast. It’s an untouched region packed with gorgeous beaches and extraordinary marine life. Hike between the bizarre limestone pillars at Pinnacles National Park, meet wild dolphins at Monkey Mia, relax on the sands of Coral Bay and discover the underwater world of Ningaloo Reef from Exmouth.

Head for the gorgeous beaches of Ningaloo Reef | Travel Nation

Stretching 260 kilometres in length, Ningaloo is visible from space, but far less visited than the Great Barrier Reef. The underwater coral gardens are spectacular, and you often need nothing more than a snorkel mask to see them. Every year, whale sharks arrive at Ningaloo in mid-March, making it one of the few places on the planet that you can swim with these magnificent creatures. If you’re an ocean lover, it’s a dream destination.

APRIL

The Deep South

If an American road trip is on your agenda, April is the perfect time to head for the sizzling Deep South. Drive through the Mississippi Delta, hop between honky-tonk bars in Nashville, pay homage to Elvis at Graceland and eat your way around the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Get into the swing of Memphis at sunset | Travel Nation

The Deep South is bursting with culture, music and mouth-watering local food, making it a wonderful region to explore by road. Even better, if you in April, you’ll skip the searing heat of high summer and all across Texas, you can see vast fields of iconic Texan bluebonnets in full bloom.

California

April is also a brilliant time to belt up and drive California’s Big Sur before the summer coastal fog sets in and the crowds descend. Think Mediterranean temperatures, better prices, shorter queues and quieter roads. Moreover, springtime in California is beautiful. The hillsides of the National Parks are carpeted in wildflowers, the mood is sunny and spring festivals start popping up all over the Napa Valley.

Drive along Bixby Bridge on California's Big Sur | Travel Nation

MAY

Hawaii

May is a rare and magical month in Hawaii. It’s both low season AND dry season, so prices are affordable and the weather is reliably sunny at the same time. Jackpot! There’s no better time to set off on a tropical Hawaii road trip. Mix a self-drive between lush volcanic hills and hidden bays on Maui with some island-hopping to idyllic Oahu and Kauai, soaking up the Polynesian hospitality as you go. 

Discover the natural splendour of Hawaii

American Southwest – Utah, Nevada, Arizona & the Grand Canyon

The super-sized scenery of the American Southwest forms an incredible backdrop for a USA road trip, mixing deserts and red rock canyons with huge forests and mysterious hoodoos. For many, the epic drive from California to the Grand Canyon marks the ultimate American experience, and it’s easy to see why. May is a perfect time to put down the pedal in the Southwest, well before the schools break out and the searing summer heat sets in.

Peek through the natural arches of Arches National Park | Travel Nation

JUNE

Western Canada

Canada is a country of jaw-dropping natural beauty, so it’s no wonder that Western Canada road trips have boomed in popularity over recent years. As a result, travelling can be pricey over the peak summer months, when tourists flock to the Canadian Rockies and Lake Louise in their thousands.

Lake Louise is stunning in September | Travel Nation

However, if you can set off in mid to late June, you’ll be in for a far more peaceful ride. The hiking trails will be less congested, the traffic will be lighter and you won’t feel as though you’re sharing the wilderness with half the population. Dip your toes in bright blue lakes, wander through wildlife-packed forests and breathe in the mountain-fresh air.

Iceland

While June is technically early summer in Iceland, the temperature feels more like late spring, with wildflowers bursting into bloom and snow still lingering on the mountain tops. The second half of June is a wonderful time to visit and you’ll find the Icelanders in a celebratory spirit. There are national festivals throughout the month and the longest day arrives around 21 June, bringing all the splendour of the Midnight Sun.

The beautiful and bizarre landscape of Myvatn, Iceland | Travel Nation

Not only that, but the Atlantic puffins nest between May and August and it’s a great month for whale-watching, making it a perfect choice for a wildlife spotting road trip. Drive the Golden Circle, soak up the untouched scenery and find a natural hot pool for a late summer evening dip. It’s a magical destination for a road trip.

JULY

Pacific Northwest

Tourism spikes pretty much everywhere in July, with schools out for summer and families on tour. Wherever you go, you’ll find fellow holidaymakers – it’s an unavoidable fact of July travel. Having said that, America’s Pacific Northwest is slightly less visited than California, the Deep South or the Southwest, making it the perfect region for a midsummer road trip.

Visit the Pacific Northwest and see beautiful Mt. Hood | Travel Nation

Explore rugged beaches and thick forests in Oregon, hike through Mount Rainier National Park, sip craft beer in Portland and drink your bodyweight in locally brewed Seattle coffee. In many ways, it’s the alternative Great American road trip.

New England

Unlike the Pacific Northwest, there’s nothing alternative about a classic New England road trip, but there’s more than plenty to love. Yes, July is busy, but there’s something wonderfully nostalgic about spending summer in Cape Cod, the Hamptons or the Catskills. Mixing sandy beaches with green mountains and quaint white clapperboard towns, it’s a vintage summer playground. Go ahead and dive right in.

Explore the quiet and peaceful beaches of Cape Cod

AUGUST

Nova Scotia

August, like July, tends to be one of the busiest months of the year to take a road trip, so finding a quieter destination can be tricky. However, even during peak season, Nova Scotia feels far less crowded than most North American destinations, making it a brilliant choice for an August adventure.

Drive the dramatically beautiful Cabot Trail Highway | Travel Nation

Drive the Cabot Trail Highway to peaceful beaches, take whale spotting boat trips, explore scenic headlands, and fill up on fresh lobster in fishing villages like Peggy’s Cove. With fascinating heritage and gorgeous landscapes, it’s a real winner with more than a hint of true wilderness.

Namibia

If you’re after an off-the-grid road trip, try getting behind the wheel in Namibia. One of the least populated countries in the world, with just 3.13 people per square kilometre, you can travel for miles without seeing a single soul. The roads and the views are endless - there really is nowhere quite like it.

Giraffes in Etosha National Park, Namibia | Travel Nation

The surreal scenery is out of this world, with soaring rusts dunes, petrified forests, and gaping canyons. Along the way, you can set off on safaris to spot desert elephants, leopards and cheetahs. August is the dry season, making the wildlife easier to spot. Just pack a warm jumper for chilly morning game drives.

SEPTEMBER

Rocky Mountains, Colorado

September is spellbinding in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. As autumn advances, the aspen begins ‘quaking’ all over from the park, when the leaves turn bright yellow and the wind shakes them gently on the branch. The effect is magical, and something you won’t find anywhere else on such an incredible scale. It's the perfect time to visit Colorado

See the beautiful autumn scenery in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado | Travel Nation

In September, the hiking trails blaze with autumn colour and the golden foliage reflects in the mirror-like surface of the lakes. On top of all that, hundreds of elks make their way down the mountains to find a mate for the winter. There really is no better time to take a road trip through the Rocky Mountains.

California

If you can wait until the midsummer crowds have cleared, September is a wonderful time to explore the cities, beaches and National Parks of California. By now, the fabled coastal fog has passed and, in general, an Indian Summer sets in, with bright cloudless skies and warm, balmy weather.

Waterfalls, Yosemite National Park, USA

Hike around the shores of Lake Tahoe, frolic amongst the autumn foliage in Yosemite, taste wine in the Napa Valley and hit city highlights without the tourist crush. If you’re not strapped down to travelling within the school holidays, it’s an unbeatable option.  

OCTOBER

New England

New England in autumn is a vintage road trip classic, and it’s easy to see why. In October, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire all glow with fiery rich foliage, bringing beautiful views around every bend in the road. Pass villages with white clapboard churches, stop for hot cider and doughnuts, wander through apple orchards and lose yourself in Old World nostalgia.

See the beautiful autumn colours in Vermont | Travel Nation

Kentucky

Looking for a scenic autumn road trip away from the leaf-chasing crowds? Head for The Bluegrass State in October. Yes, it can get chilly in Kentucky, but the Bourbon will keep you warm. This is real rural USA, where horses roam over rolling hills and the townsfolk are friendly. Visit a handful of the nine state parks, follow the legendary Bourbon Trail and, if you have time, end your trip on a honky-tonk note in Nashville.

Drive through the gorgeous Kentucky countryside | Travel Nation

NOVEMBER

South Africa

November is early summer in South Africa. The weather is beautiful from bush to beach but the tourist numbers are still blissfully low, making it a wonderful time to head to the Rainbow Nation. Cape Town, famous for its fickle weather systems, is bathed in warm sunshine throughout November and it’s a brilliant month for whale-watching along the Garden Route.

You'll find great beaches at Camps Bay

For Kruger safaris, the summer rains herald the start of the ‘emerald season’, when the bush thickens and turns a vibrant green. In short, it’s beautiful. While the lush foliage can make it slightly more challenging to find the wildlife, the trackers know their stuff and it’s still a great (and cheaper) time to set off on safari. On top of that, it’s brilliant for bird-watching and you’ll bump into far fewer crowds. 

Florida

If you can’t face staring down the barrel of a long British winter, make an escape to the Sunshine State in November. Florida is bathed in gorgeous sunshine throughout the month but the peak season isn’t quite underway, making it a wonderful window of opportunity. Admire the art deco style of Miami, hit the theme parks of Orlando and cross the Overseas Highway to the dreamy Florida Keys. Lie on the beach, sip a margarita and maintain seasonal denial until you get back.

Soak up the sunshine on Florida's St. Pete Beach | Travel Nation

DECEMBER

East Coast Australia

Perfect for those who like it hot, East Coast Australia is a paradise for winter escapees in December. Yes, it’s peak tourist season, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. Take a road trip between Sydney and Cairns to see the highlights of the East Coast, stopping for some Whitsunday island-hopping and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. If you’re Down Under for Christmas, throw some shrimp on the barbie or spend the day on the beach in a bikini and Santa hat. What’s not to like?

Sail around the stunning Whitsundays

New Zealand

For a more rural festive season, hop on a plane to New Zealand in December and get lost amongst the Great Outdoors. Across both of New Zealand’s islands, the weather is warm and comfortable without being sweaty, and the hillsides are cloaked with early summer flowers. It’s a wonderful time to explore the lakes, mountains, beaches and waterfalls of New Zealand. Trek, bike, hike, kayak and bungee, or just sit back with a beer and soak up the staggering scenery.  

Soak up the sunshine at Cathedral Cove | Travel Nation

Ready to drive off into the sunset?

We offer a handful of the very best road trips in the world, from the USA to Australia, New Zealand and South America. All of our tailor-made road trips are designed to give you a brilliant balance between relaxing, exploring and hitting the road. We can tweak every itinerary to make it perfect for you and we’ve got plenty of first-hand experience about travelling on the open road.

To begin arranging your next road trip holiday, simply give us a call on +44 1273320580 or send us an email with your initial ideas.

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