6 Literary Road Trips Across America

An American highway is a wondrous place, and it’s not hard to understand the infatuation with the open road. Perhaps it gives us a freeing feeling that’s hard to find anywhere else, or maybe it’s symbolic of something much more significant. A car being the visible expression of freedom, a drivers license the ticket and the cross-country trip the destination.

Simply put, travel by car is at the heart of North American culture—From the pioneers who chased the Gold Rush out west, to college students who hit the road at the start of each summer, road trips are ingrained in our ideals. So, it’s no wonder that authors like Jack Kerouac and Tom Wolfe wrote classic literary novels that documented their experiences along the way. Their work and those of many others are perhaps the best-known celebrations of the American ideal of freedom as an open road.

Inspired by well-known works of literature, CarRentals mapped out their guide to literary road trips across America, so you could set off on an adventure of your own that follows a narrative arc. Pick from six legendary routes to recreate each authors experience and write your own story.