Like it or not, the Coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we travel. Waiting in lines at crowded airports and feeling crammed into a commercial airliner was a horrifying experience before global quarantines forced people to stay home; now it’s unthinkable. And while pandemic life may not be the new normal forever, many people are itching to get out and explore, facilitating a new era of road trips—an American past time that is making a comeback in a major way. But leave the minivan in the garage and make it an open-road adventure, with a high-performance, top-down cruiser to enjoy the scenery as well as the drive.
The brand-new Lexus LC 500 Convertible is the ultimate road trip vehicle, with style and performance to maximize your enjoyment of the open road. Combining a 10-speed automatic transmission with a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine makes for a smooth but powerful ride. Plus, the soft top opens in about 15 seconds, bringing the open road to you as you cruise some of America’s most scenic drives.
5 Top-Down Road Trips to Enjoy the Open RoadHighway 101, North of San Francisco
Many residents of the San Francisco Bay Area know the 101 freeway for its congestion through the city during rush hour. But as the road continues north, it runs across the Golden Gate Bridge, into Sonoma County wine country, and then through state and national parks home to the world’s tallest trees, with a long stretch of the highway running along the northern most part of the Golden State. Offshoots from the route provide easy and scenic access to summer destinations like Clear Lake and Lake Shasta, or to coastal destinations like Mendocino, which is often overcast in the summer but warms up in the fall. With the drive from San Francisco to the Oregon border taking more than six hours and with the plethora of scenic destinations in between, road trippers can make their adventure as long or short as they want. Making the journey in a convertible will ensure you take in the most scenery and enjoy the temperate California climate.
Scenic Byway 12, Utah
If you don’t live in Utah or have plans to pass through the state, let this route serve as your excuse. Its 123 miles of well-maintained road offer long stretching curves, as well as a few sharper twists and turns, to exercise the power and handling of the Lexus LC 500 Convertible. It starts, end, and runs through three different national parks and will give you a couple solid hours of towering red rocks, steep sandstone canyons, and the winding “Hogback” ridgeline.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
There’s a reason John Denver sang about the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah; they’re scenic and inspiring. Bookended by the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain national parks, the Blue Ridge Parkway runs some 470 miles through the southern and central Appalachians. Drop the top during the drive for uninterrupted views of gorgeous mountain ranges extending as far as the eye can see.
Great River Road, Iowa
To those living on the coasts, the Mississippi River is a thing of myth. One way to experience the river’s grandeur is to drive along it. The roughly 300-mile stretch of the Great River Road in Iowa (the entire road actually traverses 10 states) runs mostly along the Great Mississippi, with scores of scenic outlooks and charming river towns along the way.
Going to the Sun Road, Montana
This 50-mile stretch through the Glacier National Park earns its name for the feeling it provides that you are driving into the heavens. With its highest point more than 6,600 feet and with it crossing the Continental Divide, you’ll take in sweeping vistas of mountains, glacier-fed lakes, and waterfalls, some coming down the cliffs right next to the road—which may prompt you to put the top up.