5 Quintessential Mustang Road Trips

From the breathtaking Pacific Coast Highway to the historic Route 66, the 2017 Mustang GT journeys across the country on some of the greatest American road trips.

By Ernest Myers

Recently, My Ford took the 2017 Mustang GT on a journey from the skyscrapers of NYC to Virginia’s Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, where wild ponies roam free.

Filled with adventure, spontaneity and surprise, the road trip is a quintessentially American pursuit. This vast and varied nation has always inspired the explorer within to seek out new sights and out-of-the-ordinary experiences. The birth of the automobile provided the means and freedom for individuals to set off on their own path with not much more than a full tank of gas.

Sleek, sporty and classically American, the Ford Mustang has been a favorite of road trippers since the first model was introduced in 1964. The 2017 Mustang GT, with its power, comfort and design ingenuity, carries on and furthers that tradition beautifully.

So, in the spirit of exploration, fasten your seatbelts and take off on one of these five iconic American road trips that showcase the best this nation has to offer.

The Pacific Coast Highway

California’s stunning Highway 1 connects the north and south with twists and turns that hug the jagged coastline of America’s most populous state.

Running for nearly 550 miles, the highway is most famous for linking San Francisco to Los Angeles. In between you’ll find an amazing variety of sights and activities showcasing some of the best the Golden State has to offer—from the enchanting castles of San Simeon to the chic shops and unforgettable beaches of Malibu.

Don’t Miss: Big Sur, a mesmerizing mountain range bordering central California’s coastline, boasts some of the most picturesque views in North America. Use the Mustang GT and its fully independent rear and double-ball-joint front suspension and enjoy some incredibly precise handling as you drive over Bixby Bridge and into the heart of Big Sur.

Route 66

There aren’t many roads that inspire a hit song, especially one that still endures 70 years after its first release. But there’s also nothing that sums up America’s love of fast cars and paved highways quite like U.S. Route 66, which was developed in the mid-1920s as a direct line from Chicago to Los Angeles. Also known as the Main Street of America, this highway is a modern encapsulation of the enduring American dream of heading west in search of fame and fortune.

After crossing Illinois, Route 66 next runs through Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, with views that transform from luscious green forests to Midwestern farmland, eventually reaching the open, expansive skies of the southwest. The Mustang GT and its Selectable Drive Modes (Normal, Snow/Wet, Sport, Track) can help enhance handling and traction on varied terrain.

The enduring appeal of Route 66 means that many of the famously kitschy motels and diners celebrating 1950s Americana are still operational, offering a welcome alternative to chain restaurants and corporate hotels. But nothing is quite as impressive as the nearby Painted Desert, a wonderfully colorful display of red rock mountains that run through the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.

Don’t Miss: Meramec Caverns is a jaw-dropping 4.5-mile underground cavern system in the Ozarks near Stanton, Mo. Legend has it that this vast system of caves was used as a hideout for famed criminal Jesse James and his gang of outlaws. Guided tours let you safely walk through this subterranean thousands-of-years-in-the-making wonder.

Great River Road

The mighty Mississippi River: home to steamboats, jazz music and a rich cultural history dating back to the birth of the nation. Thanks to the epic Great River Road, landlubbers and motorheads can travel the length of one of our nation’s longest and most historically significant rivers without leaving the comfort of the Mustang GT. Stretching from Minnesota to Louisiana, the Great River Road is the longest and oldest National Scenic Byway.

Negotiating the 1,400-mile collection of roads and byways that make up the Great River Road is no problem with the Mustang GT and its hands-free available SYNC® 3 with Navigation System.* Along the way you’ll pass through major American cities like St. Louis and Memphis, as well as some lesser-known small towns that are well worth the detour.

Head to Galena, Ill., where you can visit the home of Ulysses S. Grant and even take a sunset hot air balloon ride. Celebrate the history of blues music with a stop at the Delta Blues Museum, and be sure to enjoy a plateful of Southern comfort food in Mississippi at one of Clarksdale’s many local dining establishments.

End your trip in New Orleans—quite possibly America’s most festive city—where food, music and fun flow through the bars and restaurants of the historic French Quarter.

Don’t Miss: History buffs won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Vicksburg, Miss., the site of one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War. Take a driving tour of the battleground and learn about the 40-day siege that helped bring about the end of that devastating war between the North and South.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

There isn’t a better way to take in the majesty of the Rocky Mountains than to journey across the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Enjoy the 50-mile road’s bountiful array of clear alpine lakes and breathtaking mountain views from the comfort of the Mustang GT and its available leather-trimmed, heated and cooled front bucket seats.

Don’t Miss: The highest views of the Sun Road can be found at Logan’s Pass, where a visitor center provides the perfect starting point for an idyllic afternoon of hiking and backpacking.

Vegas to the Grand Canyon (and back again)

Even the most ardent fans of Sin City occasionally need a break from the bright lights, glitzy shows and high-stakes poker tables. What better way to change up the scenery than to drive to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon?

Depart Vegas at sunrise, cross the historic Hoover Dam, rev up the Mustang GT and its powerful 435-horsepower engine and head south, eventually making it to the Grand Canyon by the early afternoon.

Spend the day hiking and driving around the majestic canyons on Desert View Drive. Stick around long enough to catch a once-in-a-lifetime Grand Canyon sunset and then head back to Vegas in time for some late-night casino action.

Don’t Miss: Vegas may be known for its casinos and nightlife, but it’s also home to The Shelby Heritage Center at Shelby American, Inc. Here enthusiasts can take a trip through automaker Carroll Shelby’s storied history, including an up-close look at some of the cars that made the Shelby name famous, including 427 Cobras, GT40s, GT350s and GT500s.

*Optional feature. Don’t drive while distracted. Use voice-operated systems when possible; don’t use handheld devices while driving. Some features may be locked out while the vehicle is in gear. Not all features are compatible with all phones. Message and data rates may apply. br>
Tested with 93-octane fuel. br>
Shelby is a registered trademark of Carroll Hall Shelby Trust.
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