A Driving Tour of the Great Lakes

Aug 27 2014

The Great Lakes of North America make for an unforgettable road trip holiday, and a welcome break from the big, bustling metropolises. Collectively, these five interconnected lakes make up the largest body of fresh water in the world, and are a remarkable sight to behold. So hire a car with Alamo and get out of the city and into the great outdoors for an all-American adventure!

The Great Lakes

Lake Michigan

The only one out of the five that is entirely within the borders of the United States, Lake Michigan is also probably the most visited. The main draw for most tourists, however, isn’t the lake itself, but the Windy City, Chicago, with its glittering glass skyscrapers, easy-going attitude and cool cultural scene.

But if you fancy a break from the urban scene for a couple of days, Chicago also makes a great base for exploring the surrounding area. Head north and spend some time in Door County, which boasts 250 miles of limestone cliffs and pristine shoreline. The pretty fishing villages with unique little shops make for a pleasant afternoon’s browse; what’s more, you’re never more than a 10 minute stroll from a breathtaking view of the lake!

Lake Michigan

Lake Superior

The largest lake in North America, and the largest body of freshwater in the world by surface area, Lake Superior will not fail to impress. The best way to make the most of this natural wonder, is to leave the big cities behind you and enjoy life at a slower pace.

Take the scenic drive up to Marquette, a port town on the lake, which is the perfect base for getting back to nature and spending time in the great outdoors. With a whole host of activities ranging from hiking, biking and four-wheeling, to boating, canoeing and kayaking, there is sure to be something to keep everyone happy at Lake Superior.

Lake Superior

Lake Erie

As well as being yet another stunning Great Lake, Lake Erie also finds itself happily situated in the middle of some prime wine-growing land. Why not visit one of the many beautiful wineries in the area to pick up a couple of souvenirs to take home with you.

There are plenty of opportunities on Lake Erie to head out onto the water to make the most of your time here, including sailing lessons and yacht hire. Alternatively, if you fancy something altogether different, head to Cleveland and pay the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame a visit. Here you can see first-hand some of the most iconic memorabilia of the music industry, including Jimi Hendrix’s guitar and Michael Jackson’s gloves.

Lake Erie

Get on the road with Alamo

The Great Lakes offer infinite opportunities for an amazing road trip holiday, so no matter where you head to, you’re guaranteed an experience of a lifetime. As the Great Lakes cover such a vast area of land within the United States, there are plenty of places to pick up your Alamo hire car. Head to our website to find the most convenient pick up location for your Great Lakes road trip!

Bank Holiday Getaways

Aug 22 2014

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be counting down the days to the next bank holiday weekend, on August 25th. It’s the chance for you to get away for a long weekend, and spend quality time with your loved ones. To help you plan the perfect bank holiday weekend, we’ve come up with a list of some of the best getaway destinations you can drive to with an Alamo hire car. From the city worker that wants a country retreat, to the love birds in need of a romantic city break, you’re bound to find a getaway right for you – just take your pick!

Enjoy a weekend at the beach

Porthminster Beach, St. Ives

Porthminster Beach
With powdered golden sand and turquoise water surrounded by rolling green hills, dotted with wild flowers, Porthminster Beach is a beautiful place to while away a long weekend. At the home of the famous Godrevy Lighthouse (the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s novel, To the Lighthouse), there are many things to do and see, from water sports to hiking and even sunbathing, you’ll never be stuck for things to do.

Fistral Beach, Newquay

Fistral Beach

One of the best surfing spots in the UK, Fistal Beach is the ideal location for when you and your kids are looking for a fun seaside break. Learn how to surf, or body-board on the gentler waves, and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere Newquay has to offer. There’s also plenty to do in the main town, where you’ll get to meander in and out of quaint shops and treat yourself to do a mouth-watering fish and chips supper.

Unwind at a country retreat

Eden Valley, Lake District

Eden Valley
The little known area of Eden Valley is a true gem of the Lake District, and a must-visit if you’re in need of a relaxing retreat. Enjoy hikes along the lush green valley and the winding river Eden, and take in the breathtaking views that beautiful Cumbria has to offer. In need of a bite to eat? Make your way down to the town of Appleby for a drink and a meal at the Royal Oak pub.

The New Forest, Hampshire

Sunrise in New Forest
Everyone knows how beautiful the New Forest is – even those who haven’t visited yet! Extend your getaway by unwinding in a charming B&B cottage, which will make the perfect base for enjoying a variety of activities. Rent out some bikes and peddle through the stunning forests, or enjoy a horse ride through the vibrant fields.

For food and shopping, drive down to Southampton; stop by Oxford Street for a bite to eat, or shop ‘til you drop at WestQuay.

Delight in the hustle and bustle of a city break

Manchester

Manchester The Town Hall
Looking for the perfect city break? Why not head up north and enjoy a long weekend in the exciting city of Manchester. There’s so much to do in this city, from browsing the incredible archive of music at Piccadilly Records, to taking your kids to ponder nature’s history at the Manchester Museum. As for food, you’ll be overwhelmed by the choice available, from Greek to Indian and the amazing cuisine in China Town, you’ll find something to suit everyone’s palate!

Birmingham

The Bull Ring  Birmingham UK   Flickr   Photo Sharing
From champagne cocktails at the MailBox to shopping at the BullRing, Birmingham really is the jewel of the midlands. In the city’s centre, be sure to enjoy a walk along New Street, a car-free area with shops, food stalls and live street entertainment!

If you’re with your kids, take them to Cadbury’s World for the day. There, they’ll get to indulge in plenty of delicious chocolate, watch how their favourite treats are made, and play games in the outdoor park.

If you’re planning an exciting getaway this August bank holiday, why not make your life simple by hiring a car with Alamo?

On the Road with Alamo: Following Jack Kerouac

Aug 20 2014

If you’re planning a driving holiday to the United States and are in need of a little road trip inspiration, then look no further than the father of the beat generation, Jack Kerouac. His novel, On the Road, inspired not only an entire literary movement, but also a sense of adventure in countless readers of his work.

“One The Road” by Jack Kerouac – Attributed to Flickr user Oisin Prendiville

“One The Road” by Jack Kerouac – Attributed to Flickr user Oisin Prendiville

Set in the late 1940s in America, On the Road retells the adventures shared by the characters Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty, who represented Kerouac himself and his friend Neal Cassady. Other prestigious figures within the ‘Beat Generation’ that feature in the novel include William S. Burroughs, written as Old Bull Lee, and Allen Ginsberg, written as Carlo Marx.

Throughout the novel, a number of road trips are undertaken, leading the characters all over the United States, and into the unknown. There are a couple of pit stops along the various routes that are visited more often than others, and play a pivotal role within the narrative, and these are the destinations we’re focusing on. So, hire a car with Alamo Rent A Car and get on the road!

New York City, New York

New York, NY

New York, New York. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. There are many names for New York, and nowhere else like it on Earth. New York City is made up of five boroughs – Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island – and each has its own distinct personality with plenty to offer tourists.

If you’ve never visited before, it’s always fun to tick off the main big attractions, such as the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Times Square and Central Park. To see some of Jack Kerouac’s New York, however, you can head to the Gas Light Café where the beat poets used to hang out. Or visit the corner of West 20th Street and 7th Avenue where Sal and Dean say their goodbyes at the end of On the Road, which is a short walk from the apartment where Kerouac wrote the novel at number 454 West 20th Street.

Denver, Colorado

Denver, CO

With the breathtaking backdrop of the Rocky Mountains setting the scene, Denver makes for a great place to unwind after the hustle and bustle of New York City, and before heading to San Francisco. And with it being exactly one mile above sea level – hence its nickname, The Mile High City – you’ll definitely welcome the breath of fresh air.

For the full Jack Kerouac experience of Denver, the first thing you should do is check in to the Colburn Hotel. This is where Kerouac and Neal Cassady spent time in 1947, and also where the latter met his second wife, Carolyn. Why not then head to Charlie Brown’s Bar & Grill for dinner, where the whole gang used to gather to enjoy the food and music!

San Francisco, California

San Francisco, CA

The final port of call you should make on your Jack Kerouac-inspired road trip across America is without a doubt San Francisco. This friendly Californian city will have you leave your inhibitions at the door, and welcome you in with open arms – and there is nothing quite like driving in over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Start your tour of Kerouac’s San Francisco off with a walk down Jack Kerouac Alley in the Chinatown area of town. Pay attention to the sidewalk, which is paved with literary quotes, including one of Kerouac’s most famous lines. If you’re interested in learning more about the Beat Generation after your trip, head to The Beat Museum on Broadway Street. End the day with a visit to the world-famous Vesuvio Café, where all the Beat writers of the day used to go for a drink and scribble down some words.

Jack Kerouac Alley, Chinatown, San Francisco, CA – Attributed to Flickr user Brent Ozar

Jack Kerouac Alley, Chinatown, San Francisco, CA – Attributed to Flickr user Brent Ozar

To truly relive Kerouac’s experience of On the Road, the only way to do it is by following his driving tours. And with car hire made easy with Alamo Rent A Car, you know your holiday is guaranteed to get off to the best start. All you need to do now is re-read your favourite parts of the novel and get on the road yourself!