Overland activity holidays: 10 best road trips for adventure lovers

Jul 26, 2018 BY AWE365 Team

Fancy a road trip with plenty of adventures along the way? Then overland activity holidays could be just what you are looking for. To help you find that perfect trip we have pulled together this guide to the best road trips for adventure lovers.

For this article we only considered actual roads, such as the infamous Route 66 and Great Ocean Road. As opposed to overland journeys such as Marrakech to Cape Town or Rio De Janeiro to Lima. They are just as much an adventure, but a completely different type of trip to those we have written about.

Overland activity holidays

For us the activity element of an overlanding journey is all important. So to decide the best road trips for adventure lovers we looked at those where lots of different activities are possible.

Atlantic Road Norway one of the best road trips for adventure lovers looking for overland activity holidays Flickr CC image by Jorn Eriksson

For each road trip we have decided the main activity you have to try, plus listed all the others that are possible. Afterall why do one activity when you could try many?

There will be no yawn inducing road trips here! Just the most exciting, adventure filled road trips on the planet.

10 best road trips for adventure lovers

Are you a thrill seeker and adventure sports lover? Itching to find out where you should be off to for your next adrenaline fix? Then read about the most adventurous road trips below, book your car hire and get on a flight. Your adventure awaits.

A470 (Cardiff to Glan Conwy Trunk Road), Wales.

Take this 186-mile road trip running from the south coast to the north coast of Wales. On the way it passes through both the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia National Parks. So it’s great for overland activity holidays with plenty of hiking and biking plus many other adventures, including surfing at the world’s first inland surf lagoon.

The views are not bad either. Marvel at the countless quaint villages dotted around the landscape. You’ll pass through some stunning landscapes including hills and mountains, forests and moorland, and beautiful Wye Valley. To top it off there are stunning waterfalls on route.

For activities we highly recommend you hike up Pen Y Fan which at 886m is the highest point in the south of Britain. To the north take a small detour to hike up the 1,085m Mount Snowdon. Along the way there are many more hikes, often accesses almost right from the A470.

Overland activity holidays: 10 best road trips for adventure lovers Flickr CC image from bike park wales by DaiSliders

But hiking isn’t all you can so in this part of Wales. Mountain biking is also very big. In the the Brecon Beacons you’ll find Bike Park Wales which is renowned for offering some of the best downhill mountain biking in the UK. In Snowdonia you can ride Coed y Brenin which is just as famous. Both are just a stones throw from the A470.

Main activities: Hiking and mountain biking

Other activities: Canyoning, rock climbing, mountaineering, kayaking, sailing, horse riding

A82 Scottish Highlands, Scotland.

Any adventurer worth their salt needs to embark on a road trip through the Scottish Highlands. This is one of the last areas left in the UK where you have truly open roads, perfect for an overland activity holidays.

On this road trip you will be surrounded by towering mountains. There are also icy lochs and free roaming animals to be seen, which heightens the sense of freedom and adventure.

Starting in Glasgow and heading north to Inverness the A82 runs through Loch Lomond national park and not for from the Cairngorms National Park. It also passes through the adventure gateways of Fort William and Glencoe and follows the shore of Loch Ness.

Overland activity holidays: 10 best road trips for adventure lovers Flickr image of hiking in Scotland by absentadrinker

This is a great drive already, but what makes it one of the best road trips for adventure lovers is the sheer diversity of activities. You can hike up Ben Nevis, which as 1345 m is the UK’s highest point and follow 100s of miles of walking trails not for from the A82.

There is world class mountain biking at Fort William – a leg of the world downhill circuit is held here. Plus there is excellent single track crisscrossing the Scottish Highlands that can be easily reached from the A82.

But you can’t visit the Scottish Highlands without canoeing or kayaking. There is everything from sea kayaking to lakes/lochs (Nessie spotting anyone?) and tranquil floats to exciting whitewater. You can even kayak all the way across Scotland following the A82 from Fort William to Inverness on the Caledonian Canal.

Main activities: Kayaking/Canoeing

Other activities: Hiking, mountain biking, canyoning, rock climbing, mountaineering, horse riding, rafting, quad biking

Cape Route 62, South Africa.

Now this is a thrilling road trip! Route 62 is an unforgettable road trip that runs between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Passing through one of South Africa’s best wine regions it is one of the best road trips for adventure lovers that want to combine activities with vineyards.

South Africa surfing holidays. Jeffreys Bay one of the best SA surf spots Flickr CC image by ReeSaunders

We highly recommend you take a detour to Chapmans Peak Drive, which is a mind boggling nine-kilometre marine drive that meanders around stunning mountainside between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. And yes, we know you are already thinking about hiking in the mountains, and we can’t say we blame you!

Along the route there are a number of game reserves where you can experience a safari. For example, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the heart of the Karoo. Many claim this is the closest ‘real safari’ experience you’ll find to near to Cape Town.

Still looking for other things to try on Overland activity holidays? When you rejoin the coast at Jeffreys Bay you can try your hand at surfing, there are breaks suitable for beginners to pros. There is also some rather good, but not yet well known, scuba diving in the area.

Main activities: Safari and Wine tasting

Other activities: Surfing, hiking, zip lining, 4×4, horse riding, caving, scuba diving

Ticlio Pass (Route 22), Peru.

This is one best road trips for adventure lovers – where the journey itself is the adventure. Ticlio Pass is an intense drive along the highest paved road in the whole of South America. How high I hear you ask? Well, it reaches over 4800 metres above sea level. I bet that got your attention.

Ticlio Pass one of the best road trips for adventure lovers looking for overland activity holidays Flickr CC image by Mobilus In Mobili

The route goes around the Andes and is characterised by impossibly sharp bends, animals darting around wildly and mountains that can be prone to landslides. This one isn’t for the faint of heart at all and we highly recommend you go with an organised group to attempt Ticlio Pass.

If driving one of the world’s most dangerous roads is not enough adventure for you then you can use it to access climbing and hiking. There is some beginner mountaineering in the area on San Andreas just north of the pass. You could also bike the pass if you really want to.

Main activity: Overlanding

Other activities: Rock climbing, hiking, mountaineering, cycling

Atlantic Road, Norway.

This road trip is one of the shortest on our list of the best road trips for adventure lovers. It takes just under three hours non-stop, but don’t for a second think that it means it’s any less thrilling. Atlantic Road route 64 travels from Isfjorden to Kristiansund via a number of spectacular bridges and even a ferry.

It is an intense drive along the stunning, picturesque Norwegian coastline. It passes through a mountainous area crossing three fjords and in places hugging the Atlantic. There’s also a dark 80-meter-long cave to explore which can be found at the nearby Bremnes Hatten Mountain.

Atlantic Road Norway one of the best road trips for adventure lovers looking for overland activity holidays Flickr CC image by marinix photo

In the winter there is a lot of ski touring and telemark skiing to be enjoyed in the mountains. When conditions are right you can ski all the way down to the ocean. In the summer the mountains are home to plenty of hiking and biking trails and the fjords are a great place to kayak.

The water here is full of life so we also highly recommend you brave the cold and do a spot of scuba diving. This abundant marine life attracts seals which in turn draws in Orca, so ocean safaris are also popular on overland activity holidays along the Atlantic Road.

Main activity: Skiing

Other activities: Scuba diving, hiking, mountaineering, cycling, kayaking, sailing, safari, northern lights

Great Ocean Road, Australia.

On this road trip, you will be overwhelmed with mini adventures you can embark on make it one of the best road trips for adventure lovers. The Great Ocean Road runs from Melbourne to Allansford where it joins the A1 (Prices Highway) which you can take all the way to Adelaide.

Most people come to marvel ats the Twelve Apostles, to explore cliffs at Loch Ard Gorge, and the rainforests at Great Otway National Park. But those on overland activity holidays will want to get involved in the surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Bells Beach surfing australia Flickr CC image by arriba

This area of Victoria and South Australia has some of the most famous surf breaks in Australia. Bells Beach, at Torquay, probably tops the lot holding the Rip Curl Pro every Easter.

With plenty of national parks to explore along the way there is also good hiking and biking to be had. Offshore there are some good dive spots and you can go whale watching. Inland there are reserves where you can spot Australian wildlife, including kangaroos and koalas. As you can see the Great Ocean Road is easily one of the best road trips for adventure lovers.

Main activity: Surfing

Other activities: Kitesurfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, hiking, biking, safari

Route 66, USA.

We couldn’t compile this list without talking about the mother of all overland activity holidays. Route 66. For those unaware (shame on you), Route 66 is a mammoth route, just under 4,000km (yes, you read that correctly). It crosses America from east to the west beginning in Chicago and going all the way to Los Angeles.

This is one of those road trips where the journey is the adventure. Although, there are many things to do along the way, if you stop for every interesting hike or activity it will take you a lifetime to complete. Of the best road trips for adventure lovers this is the one for those who like to drive more than they get active.

Route 66 USA one of the best road trips for adventure lovers looking for overland activity holidays Flickr CC image by foto_graffiti

Exploring the Meramec Caverns which are a 4.6-mile cave system near Missouri is recommended. You could join a ranch for a few days, explore the many national parks that you cross – or go very close to – along the way. For Example the Grand Canyon, Mojave National Preserve or Petrified Forest ate in easy reach.

Main activity: Overlanding

Other activities: Horse riding, quad biking, hiking, rock climbing, wakeboarding and much, much more

The Alcan Highway, Canada to Alaska

Route 66 is not the only monumental route on our list. At 2,167  km long the Alcan (Alaskan-Canadian) Highway is equally impressive. It runs from Dawson Creek in British Columbia, via Whitehorse, Yukon all the way to Delta Junction, Alaska.

There are plenty of areas for exceptional hiking along its route, but be warned the weather can be very is rough. You may need warming during overland activity holidays in this part of the world. So take a dip in the piping hot water of the famous Liard River Hot Springs (the second largest hot spring in Canada).

Other impressive stops along the highway are Stone Mountain Provincial Park with plenty of activities to get into including hiking, biking and horse riding. Finally, we recommend you also check out Summit Lake, which is the highest point on the Highway (4,250 ft), the kayaking experience here is unlike any other.

Alcan highway Yukon one of the best road trips for adventure lovers Flickr CC image by Larry Lamsa

With the coming of snow in the winter the activities change. With much empty space to explore snowmobiling and dog sledding are popular. Cross country skiing and ski touring is possible in some areas with plenty of untouched backcountry to explore. There is even a small ski resort called Bear Mountain near Dawson Creek.

Main activity: Hiking

Other activities: Horse riding, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, dogsledding, biking, mountaineering, northern lights

Costa Verde, Brazil.

Costa Verde is a 370-mile full on coastal adventure that starts at the port city of Santos. Along the coast there is plenty of surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing to explore. If the surf is not up head out on an SUP or in a kayak – either way it’s one of the best road trips for adventure lovers.

Also be sure to hike up through the Serra do Mar Mountains to Catucaba for some respite from the heat. There is also plenty of hiking to be done when you reach Ilha Grande where there is also good scuba diving. Finally, onwards onto the flamboyant, florescent non-stop party that is Rio a top spot on many overland activity holidays.

Main activity: Surfing

Other activities: Hiking, windsurfing, kitesurfing, SUP, kayaking, scuba diving

Friendship highway: Nepal to Tibet

If you want to do the best road trip for adventure lovers, they don’t come much better than the Friendship Highway in the Himalayas. There aren’t many that are more scenic roads than the 1000 km route from Lhasa in Tibet to Kathmandu in Nepal.

Himalaya overlanding Friendship highway road trip Tibet to Nepal Flickr cc image by Matteo Melchior

In terms of overland activity holidays you could take a few days or a few months on this route depending on how many side trips you choose to do. Passing through mountain villages, monasteries and crossing the mighty Himalayas, the road from Tibet to Nepal is full of delights and surprises.

In terms of adventure activities the Himalaya mountains don’t disappoint. From the Friendship Highway there is plenty of hiking, not least the Everest base camp (Tibet side). It is also from here that many climbers try to summit Mount Everest but there is also easier mountaineering for the less experienced.

At the Last Resort in Nepal there is bungee jumping, white water rafting and kayaking for the adventurous. And of course where there are mountains there is mountain biking.

Main activity: Trekking

Other activities: Hiking, rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping, mountain biking

We are sure that any of the above road trips will keep even the most adventurous happy on overland activity holidays. The tough thing though is choosing which to go on!

We hope you enjoyed this guide to 10 of the best road trips for adventure lovers. Be sure to check out our overlanding discounts before booking, as you could save a fortune on your next adventure.


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