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Roll on: Three road trip ideas for sports fans in America

Admit it – you’ve thought about taking an extended leave from work to hire a car (or an RV) and meander through the United States.

The changing landscapes, the irresistible food, the stunning national parks, and of course, the sport. It’s only too tempting to march into your boss’ office to hand them your two weeks, but before you do, read on, as we’ve compiled three of the best (short) American road trips for sports fans.

California Sportin’: San Francisco to Los Angeles

San Francisco → San Jose → Berkeley → Sacramento → Los Angeles

Ah, California. The home of glittering coastlines, cosmopolitan cities, incredible national parks and more sporting teams than you can poke a stick at. The first road trip on this ‘must-drive’ list has to be the winding trek from San Francisco down to Los Angeles (or vice-versa). 

Start your journey in San Francisco where you can not only check out famed sights such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Pier 39, but also the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s (if visiting in summer), the 49ers and Raiders (for autumn and winter) and Golden State Warriors. 

From there, it’s a short hop down to San Jose if you’d like to see the Sharks in some ice hockey action, and another quick drive up to Berkeley to take in some college football watching the Cal Golden Bears.

You then have two choices: head north to Sacramento to see the Kings (NBA), or head southwest to the famed Yosemite National Park, which is home to breathtaking scenery, amazing waterfalls and plenty of activities. Our pick? Why not do both?

Then make your way down south back towards Los Angeles all while enjoying the scenic Californian countryside. Once you get to the big city, the options are almost endless. With two NFL teams (the Chargers and the Rams), two MLS teams (the LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC), two baseball teams (the Angels and the Dodgers), two NHL teams (the Ducks and Kings), and a number of college teams (including the USC Trojans and UCLA Bruins), there’ll be no shortage of sporting events to check out while you’re in town.

Also worth exploring is the nearby Joshua Tree National Park, while San Diego and Las Vegas are also within driving distance and both feature professional sports teams of their own. 

Cascadia: Vancouver to Eugene

Vancouver → Seattle → Portland → Eugene

Not only is the Pacific Northwest – that is, northwestern United States and southwestern Canada – home to some of the best sporting experiences in the northern hemisphere, its natural beauty is more than enough to convince a non-sports-loving partner to get on board with the idea of a road trip through Cascadia.

Begin in Vancouver, Canada which is home to the Canucks (NHL), the BC Lions (CFL) and the Whitecaps (MLS). After you’ve seen enough sport, head out into the mountains to get your skiing fix at Whistler or Cypress Mountain, or take a hike in the gorgeous hills a little closer to the city. 

Once you’ve had enough fun across the border, head south to Seattle, one of America’s great sporting cities. The Seahawks (NFL) are notorious for having one of the loudest crowds in the world, while the locals also take their MLS soccer pretty seriously in following the Sounders. From 2022, the city will once again have an ice hockey team in the NHL, while the Mariners (MLB) play just next door to the football stadium and there is premier college football action just north of the CBD where the Washington Huskies ply their trade.

From Seattle, it’s a picturesque saunter to one of the nation’s quirkiest cities, Portland. Famed for craft beer, coffee, Nike, doughnuts and (of course) its sporting teams, Portland should be on every sports lover’s bucket list. The Trail Blazers (NBA) play at the Moda Center, while the Timbers (MLS) and Thorns (NWSL) work out of Providence Park and both are known for having the best match-day atmosphere in American soccer. 

If you need to get out and about, the Mount Hood forest is just to the west of the city and is breathtaking, otherwise, continue south the small college city of Eugene, home of the Oregon Ducks who play in the Pac-12 conference in college football. Autzen Stadium is one of college ball’s most unique atmospheres and is well worth the trip. 

The Texas Swing: Dallas to… Dallas

Dallas → Fort Worth → Waco → Austin → San Antonio → Houston → College Station → Dallas

It’s no surprise that most people think of Texas when they hear the words “American football”, and for good reason. They say that football is the second biggest religion in the state, with high school teams commanding crowds upwards of 20,000 strong. College is, of course, no joke, and the Dallas Cowboys are known far and wide as “America’s Team”. It’s no wonder a Texas road trip has to feature on this list. 

Start your southern sojourn in Dallas, where amongst other things, you can check out Dealey Plaza (where JFK was shot), go up to the top of Reunion Tower for glittering 360-degree views, and eat some of the world’s best BBQ (we recommend Pecan Lodge). The city is also home to five professional sporting teams: the Dallas Cowboys (MLB), Texas Rangers (MLB), Dallas Mavericks (NBA), Dallas Stars (NHL) and FC Dallas (MLS).

From there, make your way over to the nearby city of Fort Worth where the TCU Horned Frogs play college football. Then head south towards the city of Waco, home of the Baylor Bears who are competitive in college football and both men’s and women’s basketball.

It’s only a quick hop to Austin, which holds the title of being the largest city in America without a professional sporting franchise. Don’t let that scare you, however, as the University of Texas punches well above its weight. With its football stadium holding more than 100,000 people, Saturdays during the season are highlight and well worth planning for.

Nearby, too, is some of the best natural beauty in Texas, so why not swim at some of the world-renowned water holes (such as Barton Springs, Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well) and take in some of the best hiking in the United States.

Continue further south at your leisure to San Antonio, but make sure to stop by at some of the incredible small towns along the way, such as New Braunfels or San Marcos. In San Antonio, find time to check out the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) and some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine you’ll ever eat. 

From there, it’s a quick drive east to Houston, home of the Rockets (NBA), Texans (NFL), Astros (MLB) and Dynamo (MLS) – and a short drive from the amazing Houston Space Center. Then, head north back to Dallas via College Station, a rocking college town and home of the Texas A&M Aggies. You won’t be disappointed. 

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Note: The header graphic for this article was adapted from this photo as well as this one.