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6 Unforgettable Road Trips Inspired by Famous Books

Follow in the footsteps of your favorite characters and authors on these adventures.

Those of us who are avid readers know how easy it is to get lost in a good book. You can go anywhere when you're reading, especially when an author describes the setting so vividly that you can picture it. But when a story really engulfs you, you might want to see these real-life places for yourself—and what better way to do that than on a road trip? Read on for six unforgettable road trips inspired by your favorite famous books.

RELATED: The 10 Best Audiobooks for Your Next Road Trip.

Twilight: The Pacific Northwest

road sign for forks washington
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Throughout the Twilight books, readers are reminded of how crucial the main location of Forks, Washington, is to the plot. With its primarily rainy climate and lack of sun, it makes a perfect spot for the Cullen family of vampires to hide in plain sight.

So, if you've ever wanted to visit the home of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, you certainly can, as Forks is a real place—and a great destination for a road trip through the Pacific Northwest.

The Olympia Peninsula tourism site actually maps out an ideal start to a Twilight road trip. Begin in Forks, where the visitor center will provide you with a map of important sites, including the home that Stephanie Meyer cited as the inspiration for the Swan House. You can even spend the night there—it's an Airbnb now—and then move on to La Push, home to everyone's favorite werewolf, Jacob Black.

If you're interested in filming locations from the movie adaptations, continue your Pacific Northwest road trip south to Oregon. There, you can visit Bella's house (which is also an Airbnb), see the waterfall from the famous baseball scene at Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, and reenact the chase scenes in the mossy forests of Silver Falls State Park.

The Great Gatsby: New York and Long Island

cloudy ski in winter long island
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Whether in high school or for pleasure, chances are you've given F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic The Great Gatsby a read. The novel is set in the hustle and bustle of 1920s New York: Fitzgerald used the fictional names East and West Egg for the Cow Neck and Great Neck peninsulas on Long Island, meaning you can drive through the inspiration spots.

Feel like you're visiting the Buchanan home and Jay Gatsby's mansion, then drive into New York City (just like our protagonist, Nick, does several times).

If you've got some cash to burn, consider a stay at the famous Plaza Hotel, and don't forget to step into an NYC speakeasy for the full Prohibition-esque experience.

Want to go beyond New York? Consider following the actual journey Fitzgerald took with his wife, Zelda Fitzgerald. Their travels south from Connecticut to Montgomery, Alabama, were documented in articles written for Motor magazine that were then compiled into a book called The Cruise of Rolling Junk.

RELATED: 10 Small Towns in the U.S. That Feel Like You're in a Hallmark Movie.

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Florida

eatonville florida
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Zora Neale Hurston's 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God is set primarily in Florida. Take a trip across the state—not just to the beaches—and enmesh yourself in this story, which is rich with African American folklore.

Start your trip in Jacksonville in Northeast Florida, the spot where Janie meets and marries Tea Cake. From there, head southwest to the real-life town of Eatonville, Florida—the main setting of Their Eyes Were Watching God.

The town is one of the first all-Black towns incorporated in the U.S., and it was Hurston's home from the age of three, per Salvation South. While you're there, a visit to the Zora Neale Hurston Museum of Fine Arts is a must, as it pays tribute to both the author and the cultural history of Eatonville.

Salvation South recommends traveling down to Fort Pierce, Florida, to walk the Zora Neal Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail. Hurston spent her final years in Fort Pierce, which is located just an hour north of Palm Beach, another location in Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Finish up your road trip in the Florida Everglades—you may be just as amazed by them as Janie was.

Blood Meridian: The West

a blue "Arizona" sign off of the highway and in front of the Grand Canyon

Hop in the car and buckle up for an adventure through the Southwest, inspired by Cormac McCarthy's novel Blood Meridian.

The Western is set in the late 1840s and '50s in the area surrounding the Mexican-American border. And while the premise is dark and violent—focusing on a young protagonist's travels with the sadistic Glanton gang—it's setting is one that you might want to explore for yourself.

Start your trip in Texas, where the protagonist, known only as "the Kid," starts out as well. There are several McCarthy-related stops to hit in the Lonestar State before you continue your trip through New Mexico, Arizona, and finally California, where the novel also concludes.

RELATED: 10 Scenic Road Trips That Will Make You Fall in Love with America.

On the Road: Cross-Country

road leading out of manhattan
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No list of book-inspired road trips would be complete without On the RoadJack Kerouac's novel that's actually about a road trip.

You'll need to set aside some time to complete the full journey, which will bring you across the U.S., starting in New York. You can follow Sal and Dean's hitchhiking journey along Route 66, stopping in Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco.

The book is loosely autobiographical, based on a trip that Kerouac actually took during the winter of 1947 and '48. So, if you're more inclined to follow in his footsteps, you can check out his hand-drawn map that documents his stops.

While this trip is a bit longer, there are some spots worth checking out, including Kerouac's 1850s brownstone in New York and City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. If you're really embracing the Beatnik vibe, opt for some less conventional stops along the way, whether diners, motels, or unique landmarks.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America: The Outskirts of the U.S.

A picture of a dog in the rear view mirror of a car as it sticks its head out of the window while driving through Moab Desert in Utah

If you have a four-legged friend, consider taking them along on a road trip inspired by John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America, which documents Steinbeck's journey alongside his French poodle Charley.

There are official maps of the journey Steinbeck took, starting at Sag Harbor, New York, and moving north through Maine before setting out west, then south through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Wrapping up back on the East Coast, his road trip will take you to the outskirts of the U.S.—and if you're sticking to Steinbeck's route, you'll be hitting 38 out of 50 states.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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