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Spin the Globe

From remotest Chile, to the Norwegian coast, to the Arizona desert, here are eight perfect trips for those who hear the call of the road

The Carretera Austral


Fly into Coyhaique, pick up the car you wisely booked in advance, and head south on Route 7 to Parque Nacional Laguna San Rafael to see the glaciers cracking into the sea, and to Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo to see the jagged mountains. Then end at the former frontier outpost Villa O’Higgins, where, if you feel inclined, you can arrange transport to Campo de Hielo Sur, the famed South Patagonian Ice Field. — JOE KEOHANE

Coastal Highway 6


You may have to steel yourself to drive a large vehicle on the left side of the road if you attempt this rambling drive down the dramatic west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, but the bumps in the road end there. Once you rent a camper van in Nelson, you can stop pretty much anywhere along the seaside cliff s of Highway 6, which means you can choose your own route from beach to glacier hike to campsite with minimal planning. Finally, you find yourself in Queenstown, the birthplace of bungee jumping and the perfect staging area for whitewater rafting and a strange pursuit called “canyon swinging.” — JACQUELINE DETWILER

The Road From Colon To Pedasi


Every year, around 14,000 ships traverse the isthmus of Panama by way of its storied canal, which took 48 years to build. After picking up your motorcycle in Panama City, you’re on your way to the colorful port city of Colon, where you dip your toes in the Caribbean. From here, double back toward the Pacific, stopping to spin through the cloud forests at Altos de Campana National Park, the tiny town of Rio Hato and, finally, the perfect beaches of Pedasi. — MIKE GUY

The Red Rock Scenic


This brief jaunt from the New Age town of Sedona offers a quick tour of some of the more striking desert vistas on this continent. The byway is lined with evocative rock formations such as Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and Snoopy Rock (shaped, respectively, like a bell, a cathedral and Snoopy). After the scenery, the next best thing about this trip is access to hiking and biking trails, as well as the requisite crystal purveyors. If you want to stretch your legs and make an afternoon of it, pull over and take a trek. If not, just enjoy the magnificent red clay and low scrub and maybe stop for a bite in the charming village of Oak Creek. — LAYLA SCHLACK

The Atlantic Road

53.3 MILES

Starting north of Kristiansund, in countryside dotted with summer farms and fishermen’s cabins, the Atlantic Road bridges mossy islands in the Norwegian Sea, winding south past the otherworldly town of Molde. In autumn, visitors come to watch wild storms drive waves against the bridge supports, but in summer, they come for misty vistas of the western fjord area, with few threats more extreme than the occasional whale or seal. Halfway through, give your nerves a break with a stop in Kårvåg for some of the freshest fish you’ll ever eat. — JD

The Hana Highway


This famed drive starts in Kahului and goes to Hana. Your first jaw-dropping sight will be the aptly named Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden, where the opening scenes of Jurassic Park were shot. Along the 52-mile road, you’ll pass the 130-foot Lower Puohokamoa Falls and Wailua Falls, which tumbles 80 feet into the Pacific. Oheo Gulch is worth a stop to dip your feet into the Seven Sacred Pools (shown here). Your final destination is the town of Hana, a secluded throwback with about 700 residents. Relax with a drink from the Hasegawa General Store and enjoy the scenery. — LS

The Road from Mumbai to Goa


On the long (expect the whole thing to take about eight hours), somewhat challenging trip from one of India’s biggest cities to the tiny, wealthy seaside state of Goa, start heading south on NH17 away from the city. Stop by the Karnala Bird Sanctuary, and then work your way down through forests and along ghats running alongside the river Vashishti. En route, you’ll pass small scenic coastal towns and fishing villages. Once in Goa, enjoy the palm-studded beaches, famous temples and churches, and the unique architecture — a vestige of 450 years of Portuguese rule. — JK

The Barrier Islands


As barrier islands go (the Outer Banks, Great Barrier Reef), the cluster protecting the Georgia coast are overlooked. Each of the eight islands has its own personality. You may not have time to see them all, so start by sampling some garlicky steamed crabs on Tybee, just outside of Savannah. After that, drive the coastal road (and a little I-95) to Little St. Simon’s, with enough bird species to dazzle the most jaded naturalist. Finally, park and take a ferry to the most beautiful of them all, Cumberland. Ashore, cycle to the ruins of the mansion Plum Orchard, and take in overgrown luxury. — MG

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