U.S. Coast-to-Coast Road Trip with a One-Way Car Rental

This road trip is every traveler’s dream. Traveling the US from coast to coast by car, stopping in the most emblematic cities and natural areas of the United States is a trip that any travel enthusiast should make in their lifetime.

If you are also thinking of living your own adventure and want to set off on a trip to the United States, these tips will help you organize the perfect trip.

One way car rentals give you the flexibility to change your route along the way allowing you to stay longer in locations that you didn’t intend to enjoy so much. You can detour onto paths you discover along the way and create new, unplanned memories. This type of car rental lets you travel conveniently and hassle-free while saving mileage and wear on your vehicle at home.

New York City is a great starting point for your coast-to-coast road trip ending in Los Angeles. You can cover so much of America’s great heartland and unique landscapes from mountains to deserts or beaches.

All the airports in New York City offer car rental services so you can quickly and easily start your road trip right after your flight.  Many of the suppliers such as Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, National, Sixt, Thrifty, and Dollar are all available to help you chose the perfect car rental for your adventure.

Time to enjoy the Route

The first thing to take into account before planning the route is the time we have available. Depending on how much time you have available, you can add or exclude certain stops along the way, as well as determine the number of nights you will need to spend at each stop. Although a drive from New York to Los Angeles can be done comfortably in 10 days, ideally 20 to 30 days would be ideal, as there are many points of interest along the way.

Route 66 or Lincoln Highway

Although the United States has an endless number of highways, there are two major routes where the options for getting lost are quite limited. These are the legendary Route 66, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles or vice versa, and the Lincoln Highway, which starts in New York and runs 4,676km to San Francisco. The choice of one or the other depends on the cities you want to visit.

Route 66

It is the best-known road in the United States. A stretch originally from Chicago to Los Angeles and which, despite having been decommissioned in 1985, is now back in full swing. The reason for this is the abandoned towns that can be found along its route, the large advertising billboards of yesteryear, and the eccentric neon lights. A highly recommended route on any driving tour of the United States, the route takes you past the popular wheat fields of Illinois, the American breadbasket; St. Louis in Missouri; Oklahoma, home to several historic sites; the legendary Cadillac Ranch in Texas; Santa Fe in New Mexico; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Las Vegas in Nevada; and on to the new section located in San Monica, California.

Lincoln Highway

Built in 1912, this legendary highway that runs from Times Square to San Francisco’s Lincoln Park, after which it is named, passes through a total of 14 states and more than 700 cities. One of its main attractions is when it enters Nevada, where it is considered one of the loneliest roads in the country. Among the states, it passes through are California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the Big Apple.

When to cross the United States from coast to coast?

Bear in mind that there are a total of 4 time zones between one end of North America and the other. This means that both the hours of sunshine and the weather will vary as you travel. The best time to travel is between the end of April and July, as there are more daylight hours and the temperature is mild. Autumn also offers stable weather, although the downside is that there will be fewer daylight hours. In winter, some eastern and inland areas may be affected by snow.

Cheapest One Way Car Rental Companies

When planning a one-way car hire ensure you do your research as to which car rental best suits your adventure and terrain. One of the many benefits of your rental is knowing you and your family will be safe in a reliable vehicle. Whether you are renting a compact car, SUV, or minivan, hiring a car allows you to be flexible and make your itinerary creative, venturing onto different routes without having to worry about the inconvenience of the return trip. However, be aware that there may be an additional fee in your rental as you will be returning the vehicle to a different location. So you don’t get an unpleasant surprise, the prices you will see on our website, are with the “one-way fee” included.

However, these are the one-way fees of the major car rental companies with pick up in New York and drop off in Los Angeles or vice versa.

1Enterprise$ 0
2National$ 400
3Alamo$ 500
4Hertz$ 500
5Dollar / Thrifty$ 500
6Avis$ 1000
7Budget$ 1000
8Sixt$ 1944

Making a plan off the typical direct route can bring many unforgettable and unique moments of places usually unseen when exploring coast to coast.

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After making your way out of New York City spend your first day traveling to Ohio State where you can be a part of the Shawshank Trail.  Here you can trace the scenes from the Academy Award-nominated movie and Stephen King novella, The Shawshank Redemption.  The movie filmed many scenes in the picturesque town of Mansfield, Ohio, and at the site of the historic Ohio State Reformatory. The trail offers a self-guided driving tour of 15 filming sites which makes your car rental perfect for this exploration.

Go at your pace, stop and take lots of pictures, step back in time and simply look for all the clearly labeled movie site signs. The Ohio State Reformatory has also been used for scenes in Tango and Cash, Air Force One, and several other Hollywood films where you can find memorabilia on display.

Visit Amish Country in Ohio, where life is at a simpler and slower pace as iconic buggies trot by pulled by horses. Enjoy home-style cooking, a flea market, country theatre, and the picturesque Amish history of this state.

Jungle Jim’s International Market has more than 200, 000 square feet and two locations, one in Fairfield and the other in Cincinnati. You will want to plan at least half a day to explore this fun grocery store where you can find anything and everything imaginable.  Visit different continents and countries in this creative international market where rows are themed and festive.  You will feel like you have just traveled the world in only half a day.

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Detour down to the horse capital of the world, Kentucky to visit champion horses and walk the pristine grounds and stables. They offer trail rides and for the children pony rides, live presentations to see the power of the award-winning horses up close or walk freely throughout the big barn.

Mammoth Cave National Park route allows you to put the wear and tear on your car rental and not on your vehicle as you drive through the hilly landscape.  Plan for a minimum of 3 hours to explore this cave system that is the longest in the world.

The hillsides of Kentucky engulf you in trees and nature, enjoy the fresh air and the many scenic picnic stops along the route.

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Tennessee may be a place where you want several days and nights, the friendly atmosphere, rolling mountains, rich history, and remarkable views will put your senses on overload.

Nashville or Music City gives you a chance to find the music star within you as you step onto the stage of the Grand Ole Opry yourself and take a backstage tour learning about its rich history of its legends. Visit a distillery or if you have time travel to Gatlinburg and sample moonshine at Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine.  Don’t miss the Aerial Tramway for a truly magnificent view at the top and if you are daring try sliding down part of the mountain on the alpine slide.

If you want to enjoy more of Tennessee music history stop in Memphis to find the home of Elvis Presley, Graceland. It is open daily with interactive tours of the rock n roll mansion and peaceful grounds.

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There is more to Dallas than what you may first see of tall buildings and its international skyline, you can find history within this city.  Explore the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture with Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia or even from the classic show Dallas.

The aroma of smoked meats will lure you into one of the countless restaurants for a truly authentic barbecue experience. Cowboys Red River is Texas’ largest dancefloor where you can let loose and dance in your cowboy boots or try your skills at the mechanical bull. Dallas is a place for fun, to be stress-free, to dance, eat and enjoy life.

Deserts, caverns, petroglyphs, white sands, a UFO museum and home to Route 66, New Mexico is an ideal road trip destination in your rental.  Explore ghost towns that were once mining towns, however, some of these towns will be remote so plan with fuel, water, food, and a map as cell service might not always work.

At Four Corners Monument visit New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado within a few steps of one another. Carlsbad Cavern National Park is further down in New Mexico with over 100 caves and 45 minutes away is Sitting Bull Falls where in the middle of an oasis is a waterfall.  If you are adventurous White Sands National Park is a pit stop for exciting memories. Here you can go sledding through sand dunes which can’t be compared to gliding across the snow and is great for any age.

New Mexico is not only for those seeking outdoor adventure on their trip but offers relaxation and rejuvenation.  During your coast-to-coast travel, you may want to unwind and rest at one of their endless all-natural hot springs or spas. Many of the spas focus on the importance of nature and incorporate it into their treatments recognizing the benefits to one’s health and wellness.


Enjoy the benefits of air conditioning in your car rental as you drive across to Arizona especially if you are traveling during the summer months.  When thinking of Arizona immediately the Grand Canyon comes to mind, however, Arizona is rich in other landmarks.

Southern Arizona features lush green hills and produces award-winning wines making for a serene day of strolling in the vineyards and wine tasting.  Not too far away in Benson is Kartchner Caverns State Park hosting limestone caves and stalactite formation which is the world’s longest.

The Sonoran Desert is truly gorgeous and one has to see with their own eyes, the beauty within this desert is not something to be missed.

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As you reach California and the coast make time for the San Diego Zoo where you can visit penguins, sloths, elephants, cheetahs, and over 3, 500 more animals.

Now that you have reached the Pacific Coast spend your days traveling along the shore and admire how far you have come on your coast-to-coast journey.  Unwind in one of Laguna Beach’s tidepools and walk along the boardwalk breathing in the ocean air.

Before reaching your final destination in Los Angeles, lay in the sand and enjoy the sun at what is known as an iconic southern California beach, Santa Monica beach. If you have time, learn about the city and take a Hollywood sightseeing tour in search of celebrities and seeing their glamorous homes.

Before your flight home and returning your one-way car rental do a thorough inspection yourself to ensure no damage has occurred during your mountainous or desert drives.  Check to see where your drop-off location is for your car rental as it may not have a site physically at the airport but off-site providing a shuttle service for you. This is one of the essential benefits of your one-way car rental, you do not have the stress and hassle of returning it to the original location.

Simply return the rental to the designated site and continue on your flight home sitting back and resting after an epic US coast-to-coast adventure.

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