chapter  14
22 Pages

Highways and byways: Car-based tourism in the US


In the US, car-based vacation travel, or drive tourism, has a long history and is still the nation’s preferred form of travel today. While the earliest gasoline-powered automobiles were invented in Europe in the 1870s and 1880s, mass production in the US did not occur until the turn of the twentieth century, with leaders such as Ransom Olds, Henry Ford and Alexander Winton advancing large-scale car production between 1899 and 1914 (Sears 1977). The automobile became more ubiquitous on the American landscape during the 1920s as more and more American families were able to afford such a prized luxury. With the growth of car ownership came increased personal independence and a growing desire in society to experience places beyond the beaten path of train-dependent destinations.