The best way to truly appreciate America is by taking the classic road trip. If you don’t have the time or patience for a coast-to-coast tour, here are five great fly-and-drive trips to cover some impressive ground.

Pacific Coast Highway

With non-stop ocean views and stunning bluffs, the Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, runs about 550 miles along the California coastline. Fly into San Francisco International Airport and start your trip in the opening of the Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree. Visitors have been taking pictures of their vehicles inside the opening of the redwood tree since 1937.

Head south and you’ll be on the ocean side of the road the entire way. The 17-Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula hugs the Pacific coastline and offers mind-blowing scenery. The Lone Cypress is one of the most photographed trees in the U.S. and has been hanging on its rocky pedestal for more than 250 years.

The Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur is more of a destination than a pitstop. Perched on an edge above the Pacific, each entrée is served with a world-class view. End your trip in Santa Barbara and paddle through some of the largest sea caves in the world.

Give yourself plenty of time to cruise through the Sunshine State, and check out this list of must-see stops from Travel + Leisure

New York: City and State

Arrive in The Big Apple and head north for a back-country adventure full of mountain ranges, flowering fields and beautiful lakes and beaches. New York City has three major airports: JFK, Newark and LaGuardia. You can get to Manhattan from any airport using public transportation or a ride service like Uber. There’s plenty to do from classic sightseeing to unusual adventures. Here’s a list of the 15 Best Things from Conde Nast Traveler.

After you’ve had enough of the city, rent a car and drive upstate to New York’s Adventure Route: Route 28. The long-winding road runs from the Catskills up to the Adirondacks, passing iconic towns like Woodstock and Cooperstown.

If you have enough fuel to make it to Tupper Lake (about a five-hour drive from Manhattan) stop at The Wild Center – an 81-acre site near the center of the Adirondacks. Families flock to the tree-level nature path called the Wild Walk that features a four-story tree house, swinging bridges and lounging spaces designed to mimic a spider web and a bald eagle’s nest.

The Wild West

The mountain states offer some of the most beautiful views in the country -- they just happen to be in the middle of nowhere. The best way to tour the west is to pick a starting/ending point and drive until you see something. Fly into Bozeman or Billings, Mont., or look for good deals in Denver, Colo., or Jackson, Wyo.

Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons should make your itinerary if not the whole trip. The proximity of the parks gives travelers a rare opportunity to see two incredible sites within easy driving distance. It takes a little more than an hour to drive from the southern boundary of Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone National Park.

Advanced planning really enhances a trip to Yellowstone. The terrain is so diverse that it’s important to figure out which parts of the park you want to see the most. Vast canyons, valleys and geothermal wonders cover the park, which is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. The National Park Service has a great guide to help plan your visit.

Grand Teton National Park is located south of Yellowstone and north of Jackson, Wyo. The park’s 310,000 acres includes lush valley floors, mountain meadows, alpine lakes and the rising peaks of the Teton Range. Open year round, the summer brings the most travelers and for good reason. This time of year lends itself to a clear and beautiful sky. The Jenny Lake Scenic Drive borders the east shore of Jenny Lake and provides spectacular views of the peaks. The Signal Mountain Summit Road climbs 800 feet to panoramic views of the Teton Range, Jackson Hole valley and Jackson Lake.  

Have you discovered a great fly-drive spot? Share your recommendations on our Facebook page