The best books on road trips

The Books I Picked & Why

Blue Highways: A Journey into America

By William Least Heat-Moon

Blue Highways: A Journey into America

Why this book?

Considered a travel writing classic, this book derived from a series of major changes to William Least Heat-Moon. After separating from his wife and losing his job as an English professor, he decided to drive alone in 1978 along the back roads of America, the roadways that are usually marked in blue on maps. He met an array of characters that could fill a novel, from an evangelical hitchhiker to a rural Nevada call girl. And it was all true, unlike novelized classics such as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road.


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Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America's Two-Lane Highways

By Jamie Jensen

Road Trip USA: Cross-Country Adventures on America's Two-Lane Highways

Why this book?

Providing more of a guidebook than a rich travelogue, Jamie Jensen uses his experience in covering some 400,000 miles to give readers thinking of new road adventures more fuel for thought. The guide provides color-coded and cross-referenced routes, places to visit along the way, colorful photos, and seasoned advice. Jensen wrote his first Road Trip USA guide in 1996 and has been updating it ever since.


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Travels with Charley in Search of America

By John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley in Search of America

Why this book?

In the multitude of travelogues by famous writers, this one stands out as one of the more endearing works. John Steinbeck thought he was in his last years when he hit the road with his dog, Charley, in 1960; he would go on to live another eight years. Traveling in a specially-made camper, the pair journeyed about 10,000 miles roughly along the outer border of the United States, gaining newfound perspective and appreciation for fellow Americans.


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Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip

By Richard Ratay

Don't Make Me Pull Over!: An Informal History of the Family Road Trip

Why this book?

It’s one thing to take a road trip alone or with a partner or friend. It’s quite another to take the family, especially younger kids. Richard Ratay, an advertising copywriter, details the history of the family road trip in an entertaining and vivid manner. His anecdotes from years on the road with his family are at times comical, heart-warming, and awkward. Ratay puts the love-hate relationship many have with such adventures on full display, lending more clues why these journeys are perhaps best recalled from the perspective of time.


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Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Road Trips

By National Geographic

Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Road Trips

Why this book?

This guidebook broadens travelers’ perspective beyond the United States, unearthing a whole new world in a wide variety of countries. Written by National Geographic travel writers, they cover everything from the ancient Silk Road in Central Asia to the perimeter of Puerto Rico. There are plenty of scenic photos, colorful maps, and tips to help navigate the roads of foreign lands.


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