By Signe Schloss
Ever wanted to drive until the road runs out? Just pick a direction, and endless ocean and these extreme points are waiting for you at the end. Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that Boyz II Men will be there to serenade you with my favorite song, “End of The Road.” That’s a gamble you’ll have to take. It’s unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you, come to the end of the rooooaaad… Ah. Now on to some of the extreme points in the US.
We’re about road trips here, so I’m including the extreme points of the continental 48 that you don’t need a plane or kayak to get to. After you get your picture taken at the concrete buoy that marks the southernmost point, celebrate with a traditional Key West Pub Crawl! And of course, no visit is complete without a slice of key lime pie.
If you picked east as your path of travel, then your destination is West Quoddy Head Light. Despite its deceiving name, this picturesque lighthouse is the farthest east you can go in the 50 states without needing an amphibious vehicle. Bring some Maine lobster to enjoy at the picnic area in the visitor’s center, and see if you can spot bald eagles, and the seals and whales that frolic in the waters.
If you’d prefer a less remote northern point, try Northwest Angle, which is the point farthest north in the contiguous U.S. Well, technically it’s not contiguous – the area is an enclave bordered by Canada, and reachable either by driving across the border, by boat, or by ice road in the winter. The population even tried to secede to Canada over unfair fishing laws! So it’s still fairly remote, but worth the scenic detour.
This spot is the farthest you can go if you dream of heading out west, and if you’re hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail. It’s a gorgeous place to go hiking, and if you time it just right, you can catch the last sunset of the day in United States. I guess “the sun does set on the American Empire” wasn’t catchy enough.
Point Barrow is 1,291 miles from the North Pole, and an important archaeological site where ancient Thule burial sites have been discovered. Stay in the nearby Barrow, Alaska – the northernmost city in the U.S. The Top of the World Hotel gives Tundra Tours so you can experience the unique culture and landscape in the Arctic Circle.
You’ll need a boat to get to this uninhabited island, but it’s worth it to say you’ve been to the westernmost point of the United States and of North America. It’s the last western outpost in the Aleutian archipelago, and it’s as far west as you can go – although there are islands farther out, they are actually so far west that their longitudes have crossed over into being east! It also holds the distinction of being the southernmost point of Alaska, so it’s a doubly extreme point.
If you were to set out in a raft from this scenic beach, you’d better bring a snowsuit, because there’s no land between here and Antarctica. Also known as South Point, this National Historic Landmark offers stunning views of the sapphire sea, as well as a green sand beach!