* Road Trips are a timeless American tradition
* If you’re thinking about taking one this Summer, start your research with these books
* They come from trusted sources such as National Geographic and Reader’s Digest
If you’re toying with the idea of a road trip this spring or summer, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans will embark on this national tradition this year. With the history-making invention of the Ford Model T in 1908 and the implementation of a production line, Americans bought 26 million cars during the 1920s, with 61% of these being Model Ts. This presented countless possibilities, and people began to hit the open road, which was now populated with roadside gas stations, cafes and motels. The road trip became part of popular culture as well, from films like 1935’s It Happened One Night to 1991’s Thelma & Louise, and belt-your-heart-out songs like “Life is a Highway” and “On The Road Again.” To prepare for your trip this Summer, look no further than the diverse list of books below.
1. Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America
Reading the news these days, it can be easy to see America as a divided nation with everyone at bitter odds with one another. However, husband and wife James and Deborah Fallows saw something different during their five years spent travelling across America in a prop plane. While they saw plenty of problems and tragic situations, they also saw a nation full of compassion. Their book provides an entertaining, insightful outlook that might help inform your next cross-country road trip.
2. 50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
Why not aim for the full 50? National Geographic combines their legendary photography and knowledge in this book that gives you unique ideas for where to go and what to see in every state. There’s something to be found for everybody in this book, from exploring the rich history of America’s battlefields, to working on a real-life Dude Ranch. Regardless of where you’re planning on going this Summer, this book will ensure you get an experience beyond Trip Advisor.
3. Breaking History: Lost America: Vanished Civilizations, Abandoned Towns, and Roadside Attractions
If you prefer to take a trip that dives deep into American History, look no further than this book, which outlines history as if it’s breaking news. Go on a geographical journey through time, from the beginnings if the Roanoke colonies, to an environmental disaster that emptied the entire town of Centralia, Pennsylvania in the 80s. You may find something that you just have to see, or something that you didn’t even know existed.
4. Off the Beaten Path: A Travel Guide to More Than 1000 Scenic and Interesting Places Still Uncrowded and Inviting
You may have made a few road trips in your time, and felt as if you’ve seen everything worth seeing. This book will destroy that notion. Filled with 100s of unique places to see, Reader’s Digest will introduce you to unique discoveries such as dinosaurs trails through Colorado, or witnessing a real-life jousting tournament in Virginia. Use this book as an ideal jumping off point as you start your trip brainstorming.
5. The Most Scenic Drives in America, Newly Revised and Updated: 120 Spectacular Road Trips
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Enjoy some of the most beautiful sites America has to offer, all from the comfort of your car. There’s something for everyone, from Hawaii’s Oahu Coastal Loop to the classic beaches of Cape Cod. As inspiring as it is helpful, each drive also comes with a Trip Tips tab, that contains helpful information such as mileage, ideal season and special events.
6. Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders
Atlas Obscura specializes in finding things off the beaten path, and this New York Times Bestseller contains thousands of sites that aren’t on the 7 Wonders of the World list, but should be. From natural wonders like glowworm filled caves in New Zealand, to the insane Baby Jumping Festival in India, which sees grown men leaping over infants, you’re going to have a tough time picking just one thing you want to see this Summer.