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The Best Road Trips To Take In The USA


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Joelynn Iverson



Embarking on a road trip is an exhilarating way to explore the vast and diverse landscapes of the United States. From scenic coastal drives to historic routes with a touch of nostalgia, there are countless road trip destinations that offer unforgettable experiences. Whether you are a nature lover, history enthusiast, or adventure seeker, the USA has something for everyone.


A road trip allows you to have complete control over your journey, offering the freedom to stop at any point of interest and discover hidden gems along the way. It is an opportunity to connect with the open road, immerse yourself in stunning scenery, and create lasting memories with friends and family.


In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the best road trips to take in the USA. Each route offers unique landscapes, attractions, and experiences that will leave you in awe. So buckle up, roll down the windows, and get ready to hit the road!


Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, is a legendary road trip route that stretches along the stunning coastline of California. Starting in the picturesque city of Monterey and ending in the sunny city of Los Angeles, this iconic drive spans approximately 600 miles.


As you cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll be treated to breathtaking ocean views, rugged cliffs, and charming seaside towns. Highlights of this road trip include the spectacular Big Sur, where towering cliffs meet the crashing waves of the Pacific. Stop at iconic landmarks such as Bixby Bridge and McWay Falls for incredible photo opportunities.


Further south, you can explore the vibrant city of Santa Barbara, known for its Spanish colonial architecture and beautiful beaches. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Santa Barbara Mission and enjoy a leisurely stroll along State Street, lined with boutique shops and trendy restaurants.


Continuing southward, you’ll pass through Malibu, famous for its pristine beaches and celebrity sightings. Keep an eye out for the iconic Malibu Pier, where you can grab a bite to eat while enjoying panoramic views of the coastline.


The Pacific Coast Highway also takes you to the bustling city of Los Angeles, home to Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and a wide array of cultural attractions. Explore the Walk of Fame, soak up the sun at Venice Beach, or take a stroll along the glamorous Rodeo Drive.


Whether you choose to embark on the full Pacific Coast Highway road trip or opt for a shorter section, this route promises breathtaking landscapes, vibrant cities, and a sense of adventure that is unrivaled.


Route 66

Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, is perhaps one of the most iconic road trips in America. This historic route spans nearly 2,500 miles, stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California.


Driving along Route 66 is like stepping back in time, as you witness remnants of the golden age of American road travel. Along the way, you’ll pass through charming small towns, quirky roadside attractions, and nostalgic diners that have stood the test of time.


Start your journey in Chicago, where you can explore the vibrant city before hitting the open road. As you make your way westward, you’ll encounter notable sights such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, and the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.


A highlight of the Route 66 road trip is the quaint town of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Known for its vibrant art scene and adobe architecture, Santa Fe offers a unique blend of Native American and Spanish influences. Don’t miss the chance to explore the historic Plaza and indulge in delicious New Mexican cuisine.


Continuing west, you’ll reach the enchanting city of Albuquerque, home to the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Experience the breathtaking sight of hundreds of colorful hot air balloons floating in the sky.


Finally, as you approach the end of the road trip, you’ll arrive in Santa Monica, California, where the iconic Santa Monica Pier awaits. Enjoy a ride on the Ferris wheel, take a stroll along the beach, and celebrate your journey’s end with a gorgeous sunset over the Pacific Ocean.


A road trip along Route 66 is not just about the destinations, but also about the journey itself. Embrace the nostalgia, immerse yourself in the rich history, and discover the enduring spirit of this iconic American road trip.


Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic road trip that winds its way through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, offering breathtaking views of the Appalachian landscape. Stretching for 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina, this road trip is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.


Starting in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway takes you through a tapestry of lush forests, rolling meadows, and cascading waterfalls. Along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and take in the panoramic vistas from scenic overlooks.


One of the highlights of this road trip is the chance to explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With its diverse wildlife, pristine forests, and scenic hikes, the national park offers endless adventures. Be sure to hike to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park, for stunning 360-degree views.


The Blue Ridge Parkway is also known for its rich cultural heritage. Make a stop at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, North Carolina, where you can browse local crafts and learn about the region’s Appalachian traditions. The parkway is also dotted with charming mountain towns, such as Boone and Blowing Rock, where you can experience southern hospitality and indulge in delicious local cuisine.


During the fall season, the Blue Ridge Parkway transforms into a vibrant display of colors as the foliage changes. This is the perfect time to take a leisurely drive and witness the breathtaking beauty of the mountains adorned in hues of red, orange, and gold.


Whether you’re a hiker, a nature photographer, or simply someone who appreciates serene beauty, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a road trip experience that is unparalleled. So pack your bags, hit the road, and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Grand Circle Road Trip

The Grand Circle Road Trip is an epic adventure that takes you through some of the most iconic national parks and natural wonders of the American Southwest. This road trip encompasses a vast and diverse region, including parts of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada.


Starting in Las Vegas, Nevada or Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll embark on a journey that encompasses breathtaking landscapes, ancient Native American cultures, and unique geological formations. The Grand Circle Road Trip is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, photographers, and history buffs alike.


One of the highlights of this road trip is the opportunity to explore the mighty Grand Canyon. Marvel at the sheer size and beauty of one of the world’s most famous natural wonders. Take a hike along the Rim Trail or venture down into the canyon on one of the many scenic trails.


Continuing east, you’ll reach the stunning Monument Valley, known for its iconic red sandstone buttes that have been featured in numerous Western films. Take a guided tour or drive the scenic loop road to immerse yourself in the unique landscape that embodies the American Southwest.


Next, make your way to Bryce Canyon National Park, famous for its distinctive hoodoo rock formations. Witness the breathtaking views from the canyon rim or hike down into the amphitheater to get an up-close look at the colorful, cone-shaped spires.


Continue your journey to Zion National Park, where towering sandstone cliffs, narrow slot canyons, and lush valleys await. Hike the famous Narrows, a dramatic gorge carved by the Virgin River, or tackle the thrilling Angel’s Landing trail for stunning panoramic views.


Other noteworthy stops on the Grand Circle Road Trip include Arches National Park, known for its iconic Delicate Arch, and Mesa Verde National Park, where you can explore ancient cliff dwellings of the ancestral Pueblo people.


Immerse yourself in the rich Native American culture, soak in the majestic beauty of the Southwest, and create unforgettable memories on the Grand Circle Road Trip.


Great River Road

The Great River Road is a scenic road trip that follows the course of the mighty Mississippi River for over 2,000 miles, from Minnesota to Louisiana. This iconic route offers a unique opportunity to explore the heartland of America and witness the cultural and natural wonders that line the riverbanks.


As you drive along the Great River Road, you’ll journey through charming small towns, historic sites, and ever-changing landscapes. Start your adventure in the northern state of Minnesota, where you can visit the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park. Stand atop the rocks and watch as the river begins its journey to the Gulf of Mexico.


Next, make your way south through cities like St. Louis, Missouri, where you can visit the iconic Gateway Arch and indulge in delicious St. Louis-style barbecue. Continue on to Memphis, Tennessee, known for its vibrant music scene and home to legendary Beale Street and Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley.


As you venture into the Deep South, you’ll reach Natchez, Mississippi, a town steeped in history and known for its beautiful antebellum homes. Take a leisurely stroll along the Natchez Trace Parkway, a scenic route that follows Native American trails and offers stunning views of the Mississippi countryside.


Further south, you’ll arrive in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the Great River Road comes to an end. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of the French Quarter, indulge in delicious Creole cuisine, and experience the unique blend of cultures that make New Orleans a one-of-a-kind destination.


Along the Great River Road, you’ll have the opportunity to explore national parks, such as the Great River Bluffs State Park in Minnesota and the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in Louisiana. You can also visit historically significant sites, like the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, commemorating the Civil War battles that took place along the river.


With its scenic beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, the Great River Road offers a road trip experience that showcases the diverse and captivating essence of America’s heartland.


Overseas Highway

The Overseas Highway, also known as U.S. Route 1, is a road trip like no other. This iconic highway stretches over 100 miles, connecting the mainland of Florida to the tropical paradise of the Florida Keys. It is an awe-inspiring drive that takes you across a series of bridges and islands, offering panoramic views of the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.


Starting in the vibrant city of Miami, the Overseas Highway winds its way through the enchanting Florida Keys, including Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key, and ultimately, Key West. Along the way, you’ll be treated to spectacular ocean vistas, charming coastal towns, and an abundance of outdoor activities.


One of the highlights of this road trip is the chance to explore the underwater wonders of the Florida Keys. Snorkel or scuba dive in the crystal-clear waters, and discover vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo is a must-visit for snorkeling enthusiasts.


As you make your way down the Overseas Highway, you’ll also encounter unique attractions and landmarks. Stop at Robbie’s Marina in Islamorada to hand-feed tarpon, or visit the renowned Turtle Hospital in Marathon to learn about the conservation efforts for endangered sea turtles.


Continuing south, you’ll pass through the beautiful natural landscapes of Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys, home to the famous Key Deer, an endangered species found only in this area.


Finally, the Overseas Highway leads to its ultimate destination: Key West. Known for its vibrant and laid-back atmosphere, Key West offers a mix of stunning beaches, colorful architecture, and a lively arts and dining scene. Be sure to catch the sunset at Mallory Square, explore the historic homes and museums, and indulge in the local cuisine.


The Overseas Highway is not just a road trip; it’s an adventure through a tropical paradise. So roll down the windows, feel the ocean breeze, and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the Florida Keys.


Going-to-the-Sun Road

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a breathtaking road trip that traverses Glacier National Park in Montana, offering unparalleled views of majestic mountains, pristine wilderness, and glacial lakes. Spanning approximately 50 miles, this iconic highway is known for its dramatic alpine scenery and engineering marvels.


The road trip begins in West Glacier and winds its way through the heart of the national park, taking you to some of the most stunning vistas and attractions in the area. As you ascend the road, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, cascading waterfalls, and dense forests.


One of the highlights of the Going-to-the-Sun Road is Logan Pass, located at an elevation of 6,646 feet. Here, you can take a hike along one of the many trails, spot wildlife such as mountain goats and bighorn sheep, or simply soak in the awe-inspiring beauty of the surrounding mountain ranges.


As you continue along the road, you’ll pass by iconic landmarks like the Weeping Wall, where water cascades down the mountain and creates a stunning display. Make a stop at Saint Mary Lake, a pristine glacial lake that reflects the surrounding peaks and offers opportunities for boating and photography.


Throughout the journey, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore the diverse ecosystem of Glacier National Park. Take a hike to Hidden Lake, venture into the backcountry for a camping adventure, or simply pull over at one of the many overlooks to admire the breathtaking scenery.


The Going-to-the-Sun Road is not just about the destination; it’s about the journey itself. Marvel at the engineering feats of the road, which includes hairpin turns and grand arch bridges. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings, as the park is home to bears, moose, elk, and more.


Whether you choose to drive the entire route or simply explore a portion of it, the Going-to-the-Sun Road promises an unforgettable road trip experience that allows you to connect with the raw beauty of Glacier National Park.


Highway 1, Florida Keys

Highway 1, also known as the Overseas Highway, is an enchanting road trip that takes you through the picturesque string of islands known as the Florida Keys. This iconic highway stretches for approximately 113 miles from Key Largo to Key West, offering stunning ocean views, sun-soaked beaches, and a laid-back island vibe.


As you drive along Highway 1, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the unique and vibrant personality of each key. Starting in Key Largo, you can embark on underwater adventures, such as snorkeling or diving in the spectacular coral reefs of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.


Continuing south, you’ll pass through Islamorada, known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World. Enjoy fresh seafood, spend a day on a fishing charter, or simply relax on one of the many pristine beaches.


In Marathon, make a stop at the Turtle Hospital, where you can learn about the conservation efforts and rehabilitation of sea turtles. Take a leisurely stroll along the Seven Mile Bridge, an iconic landmark that stretches over the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean.


As you approach Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys, be on the lookout for the adorable and endangered Key Deer. These small deer roam freely in this area, providing a unique wildlife encounter.


The ultimate destination of Highway 1 is Key West, a vibrant and eclectic island filled with colorful architecture, lively bars, and a strong artistic culture. Explore the historic streets of Old Town, visit Ernest Hemingway’s former residence, and enjoy the nightly sunset celebration at Mallory Square.


Highway 1 offers a variety of attractions and activities along the way. Indulge in delicious key lime pie, go snorkeling or paddleboarding in crystal-clear waters, or simply relax on the beautiful beaches.


With its laid-back atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation, a road trip along Highway 1 in the Florida Keys is the perfect way to experience a tropical paradise.


Pacific Northwest Loop

The Pacific Northwest Loop is a captivating road trip that takes you through the stunning landscapes of Washington and Oregon. This scenic route offers a diverse combination of lush forests, rugged coastlines, majestic mountains, and charming towns, making it a must-do adventure for nature enthusiasts and explorers.


Starting in Seattle, Washington, the Pacific Northwest Loop takes you north along the Olympic Peninsula. Explore Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its old-growth rainforests, pristine lakes, and snow-capped mountains. Don’t miss the chance to hike to the breathtaking Hurricane Ridge or soak in the natural beauty of the Hoh Rainforest.


As you journey further west, you’ll reach the stunning coastal town of Astoria, Oregon. Discover its rich maritime history, visit the iconic Astoria Column for panoramic views, and enjoy fresh seafood along the waterfront.


Continuing south along the scenic Oregon Coast, you’ll be treated to panoramic ocean views, dramatic rock formations, and charming seaside towns. Stop at Cannon Beach to marvel at the iconic Haystack Rock, explore the tide pools at Yaquina Head, and take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Bandon Beach.


Further south, the Pacific Northwest Loop takes you inland to the captivating city of Portland, Oregon. Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and culinary scene, explore the eclectic neighborhoods, and enjoy the city’s famous food carts.


From Portland, venture east towards the Columbia River Gorge, a breathtaking river canyon lined with stunning waterfalls. Take a hike to Multnomah Falls, visit the historic Vista House, and enjoy panoramic views of the gorge.


As you complete the loop, drive through the picturesque Willamette Valley, known for its scenic vineyards and world-class wineries. Sample delicious wines and immerse yourself in the region’s rich agricultural heritage.


The Pacific Northwest Loop showcases the natural wonders and cultural gems of this captivating region. With its diverse landscapes, charming towns, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, this road trip promises an unforgettable journey through the stunning Pacific Northwest.


Coastal New England Road Trip

The Coastal New England Road Trip is a picturesque journey that winds its way through the charming coastal towns of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. This road trip showcases the rich history, stunning scenery, and coastal charm that New England is famous for.


Starting in Massachusetts, make your way to Cape Cod, known for its pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, and charming seaside villages. Explore the picturesque town of Chatham, visit the iconic Cape Cod National Seashore, and indulge in fresh seafood along the coast.


Continue your journey to Rhode Island and explore the beautiful beaches of Newport, known for its opulent Gilded Age mansions. Take a tour of The Breakers, Marble House, or Rosecliff for a glimpse into the lavish lifestyle of the wealthy during the late 19th century.


Next, head to Connecticut and discover the coastal town of Mystic. Explore Mystic Seaport, the largest maritime museum in the United States, and visit the Mystic Aquarium to see a variety of marine life.


As you venture into New Hampshire, enjoy the scenic drive along the coast and make a stop at Portsmouth. Explore the historic harbor, stroll through Market Square, and indulge in fresh seafood at one of the charming waterfront restaurants.


Finally, reach the beautiful state of Maine, known for its rugged coastline, charming fishing villages, and delicious lobster. Discover the iconic Portland Head Light, visit the historic town of Kennebunkport, and take a scenic drive along the stunning Acadia National Park.


The Coastal New England Road Trip offers a perfect balance of history, natural beauty, and coastal allure. From sandy beaches to rocky shores, historic landmarks to charming towns, this road trip is a feast for the eyes and a delight for the senses. So grab your camera, embrace the coastal charm, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the scenic wonders of New England.



A road trip is not just a means of transportation; it’s an adventure that allows you to connect with the open road, explore breathtaking landscapes, and create cherished memories. The United States offers an abundance of incredible road trip routes, each with its own unique charm and attractions.


From the stunning Pacific Coast Highway to the historic Route 66, the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to the captivating Going-to-the-Sun Road, the diverse Great River Road to the tropical Highway 1, and the awe-inspiring Grand Circle Road Trip to the picturesque Coastal New England Road Trip, there is a road trip for every type of traveler.


Whether you seek natural wonders, cultural landmarks, outdoor adventures, or simply a chance to unwind and embrace the freedom of the open road, these road trips are sure to satisfy. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the landscapes, discover hidden gems along the way, and embrace the spirit of exploration.


Remember to plan your road trip in advance, ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and pack essential supplies for the journey. Be open to detours and unexpected experiences, as some of the most thrilling moments happen when you veer off the beaten path.


As you embark on your road trip, engage all of your senses and capture the essence of each destination. Allow yourself to be inspired by the landscapes, the history, the people, and the unique beauty of each place you visit.


Whether you’re cruising along the rugged coastline, meandering through mountain ranges, or immersing yourself in the rich history of small towns, a road trip in the USA promises adventure, exploration, and a deeper connection to the world around you.


So buckle up, hit the road, and let the great American road trip begin!