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USA Road Trips


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Viviana Littrell



Embarking on a road trip is the perfect way to explore the vast and diverse landscapes of the United States. From iconic cityscapes to breathtaking natural wonders, road trips offer the flexibility to discover hidden gems and create unforgettable memories along the way. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, nature lover, or history enthusiast, there is a road trip route that caters to your interests.


So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for an incredible adventure as we delve into some of the most spectacular road trip routes across the country. From the stunning coastal vistas of the Pacific Coast Highway to the historic Route 66 and the scenic beauty of the Great River Road, each route offers a unique and captivating experience.


Before we hit the road, it’s important to plan and prepare for our journey. Research the best time to visit, pack essential items such as a map, GPS, and emergency kit, and ensure your vehicle is in good condition. With careful planning and a sense of adventure, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable road trip experience.


So, buckle up and let’s get started on our journey through the wonderful world of road trips in the United States.


Planning and Preparations

Embarking on a road trip requires careful planning and preparations to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here are some essential steps to take before hitting the road:

  1. Choose a Destination: Decide on the route or destination you want to explore. Consider your interests and preferences, whether it’s scenic drives, historical landmarks, or national parks.
  2. Create an Itinerary: Outline a rough itinerary with planned stops and attractions along the way. Keep in mind the approximate time you want to spend at each location and factor in some flexibility for unexpected discoveries.
  3. Research and Gather Information: Research the route’s highlights, tourist attractions, and points of interest. Look for campgrounds, hotels, and restaurants along the way. Gather maps, guidebooks, and any necessary permits or passes.
  4. Check your Vehicle: Ensure your vehicle is in good condition to handle the road trip. Check the tires, brakes, oil, and other essential fluids. If needed, schedule a maintenance appointment with a mechanic.
  5. Pack Smart: Prepare a packing list to ensure you have all the essentials. Don’t forget to pack food, water, a first aid kit, extra clothing, and any necessary camping gear. Pack entertainment options like books, games, or music for the road.
  6. Plan for Emergencies: Familiarize yourself with emergency contact numbers and roadside assistance services. Carry a spare tire, jumper cables, and a portable phone charger. Keep a map or GPS device handy in case you lose signal.
  7. Consider Accommodations: Decide on your preferred accommodations, whether it’s camping, staying in hotels, or renting an RV. Make reservations in advance to secure preferred locations.
  8. Set a Budget: Determine an approximate budget for the road trip, including expenses for fuel, meals, accommodations, and activities. Factor in some extra money for unexpected expenses or spontaneous adventures.
  9. Check Road Conditions: Stay updated on road conditions, closures, or construction along your route. This information will help you plan alternative routes if needed.
  10. Inform Others: Let a trusted friend or family member know about your itinerary, including planned stops and your expected return date. Share your contact information in case of emergencies.

By taking these planning and preparation steps, you can ensure a smoother road trip experience and make the most of your journey through the incredible landscapes of the United States.


Route 1: Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway is undoubtedly one of the most iconic road trip routes in the United States. Stretching from Southern California to Northern California, this scenic highway offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, charming coastal towns, and stunning beaches.


Starting in Dana Point, Southern California, the Pacific Coast Highway winds its way along the coastline, passing through famous locations such as Laguna Beach, Malibu, and Santa Barbara. As you traverse the highway, you’ll be treated to magnificent ocean views and the opportunity to visit attractions like the Getty Villa, Hearst Castle, and the pristine beaches of Big Sur.


One of the highlights of this route is the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge in Big Sur. This architectural marvel provides a striking view of the coastline and is a popular spot for photography. Another must-visit is the picturesque town of Carmel-by-the-Sea with its charming streets, art galleries, and beautiful beaches.


As you continue north, you’ll reach the stunning coastal city of San Francisco, famous for its iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz Island. Take some time to explore the city’s vibrant culture and enjoy the delicious seafood.


Heading further up the coast, you’ll reach the picturesque wine country of Sonoma and Napa Valley, offering the opportunity to indulge in world-class wine tastings and enjoy the scenic vineyard landscapes.


The route concludes in the beautiful city of Mendocino, known for its picturesque coastal cliffs, charming Victorian architecture, and access to stunning hiking trails.


Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway is a captivating experience that allows you to witness the beauty of the ocean at every turn. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a photography lover, or simply seeking a relaxing coastal getaway, this route offers something for everyone.


Route 2: Route 66

Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, is a legendary road trip route that stretches from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. This iconic route represents the epitome of classic Americana, taking travelers through a nostalgic journey filled with roadside attractions, small towns, and remnants of a bygone era.


Beginning in Chicago, Route 66 winds its way through the heartland of America, passing through states such as Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally ending in California. Along the route, you’ll encounter quirky roadside diners, retro motels, vintage neon signs, and fascinating museums that celebrate the history and culture of this iconic road.


One of the highlights of Route 66 is the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. This unique art installation features ten Cadillacs half-buried in the ground, inviting visitors to spray paint and leave their mark on the cars. It’s a colorful and interactive stop along the route that symbolizes the free spirit and creativity of the road trip experience.


As you continue west, you’ll reach the stunning landscapes of New Mexico, where you can explore the historic town of Santa Fe and visit the mesmerizing natural wonders of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park.


Further along the route, you’ll reach the iconic Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, a must-visit for its awe-inspiring panoramic views and unique hiking opportunities.


The final leg of Route 66 takes you through the scenic Mojave Desert before reaching the vibrant city of Los Angeles and ultimately ending at the Santa Monica Pier, where you can dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean.


Driving along Route 66 is like traveling back in time, immersing yourself in the nostalgia and charm of a bygone era. It’s a road trip that encapsulates the spirit of adventure and freedom that the open road represents.


Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of kitschy roadside attractions, or simply seeking an unforgettable road trip experience, Route 66 promises to deliver a journey filled with Americana, culture, and unforgettable memories.


Route 3: Great River Road

The Great River Road is a scenic drive that follows the course of the Mississippi River, spanning 10 states from Minnesota to Louisiana. As the longest and oldest scenic byway in the United States, this route offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty along its winding path.


Starting in the charming city of Itasca, Minnesota, the Great River Road takes you through picturesque landscapes, quaint river towns, and vibrant cities. You’ll witness the majestic beauty of the Mississippi River as you travel south, passing through states like Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and finally ending in Louisiana.


One of the highlights of this route is the stunning river scenery. The Great River Road provides numerous vantage points, overlooks, and parks where you can take in breathtaking views of the mighty Mississippi. From the towering bluffs in Wisconsin to the serene bayous of Louisiana, every turn offers a new perspective on the river’s beauty.


Along the way, you can explore historic sites such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, the charming river town of Natchez, Mississippi, and the vibrant city of New Orleans, Louisiana. These stops allow you to immerse yourself in the rich history, music, and cuisine that define this region.


As you traverse the Great River Road, you’ll encounter an array of recreational opportunities. From boating and fishing to birdwatching and hiking, there are plenty of ways to engage with the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.


Additionally, the Great River Road is known for its cultural attractions. Museums, art galleries, and historic sites provide a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage, from Native American history to the impact of the river on trade and transportation.


Driving the Great River Road is a captivating experience that allows you to follow in the footsteps of early explorers and settlers who were drawn to the mysteries and wonders of the Mississippi River. It’s a journey filled with natural beauty, fascinating history, and the unique charm of each river town along the way.


Route 4: Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic road trip route that winds through the Appalachian Mountains, offering spectacular views of rolling hills, panoramic vistas, and vibrant fall foliage. Spanning 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina, this picturesque drive showcases the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and provides access to numerous outdoor recreational activities.


The journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway begins in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, where you’re greeted with breathtaking views of the Shenandoah Valley and the iconic Skyline Drive. As you travel south, you’ll encounter countless overlooks, hiking trails, and opportunities to witness the region’s diverse flora and fauna.


One of the highlights of this route is the stunning display of fall colors. During the autumn season, the foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway transforms into a vibrant palette of red, orange, and gold, creating a breathtaking spectacle that attracts visitors from around the world.


Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore charming mountain towns, such as Asheville, North Carolina, known for its vibrant arts scene, craft breweries, and the historic Biltmore Estate. Experience the unique local culture, indulge in regional cuisine, and shop for handmade crafts.


The Blue Ridge Parkway also provides access to a multitude of outdoor activities. Hike along the numerous trails that meander through the mountains, go fishing in pristine mountain streams, or simply relax and enjoy a picnic in one of the many scenic picnic areas.


As you continue south, you’ll reach the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the park, marvel at cascading waterfalls, and take in the breathtaking views from Clingmans Dome, the highest point along the parkway.


Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is a serene and captivating experience that allows you to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful and scenic road trip, the Blue Ridge Parkway promises an unforgettable journey through one of America’s most stunning mountain ranges.


Route 5: The Loneliest Road

Route 5, famously known as “The Loneliest Road,” stretches across the state of Nevada, providing an off-the-beaten-path road trip experience that allows travelers to immerse themselves in the vast, desolate beauty of the American West. This remote and captivating route runs through the heart of the Nevada desert, offering a unique and unforgettable adventure.


Starting in the town of Fernley, Route 5 traverses the desolate landscapes of central Nevada, passing through small towns and sparsely populated areas. The name “The Loneliest Road” is derived from the long stretches of open road, where it’s not uncommon to encounter vast expanses of desert without any signs of civilization.


As you drive along Route 5, you’ll witness the stark beauty of the desert, with its rolling sand dunes, rugged mountain ranges, and breathtaking sunsets. This route provides a unique opportunity for solitude and reflection as you traverse the remote stretches of highway.


One of the main attractions along the Loneliest Road is Great Basin National Park. This hidden gem offers diverse landscapes, including ancient bristlecone pine forests, limestone caves, and the awe-inspiring Lehman Caves. The park is also home to Wheeler Peak, the second-highest peak in Nevada.


Other notable stops along the route include the historic mining town of Eureka, where you can delve into Nevada’s rich mining history, and the eccentric little town of Rachel, known as the gateway to Area 51. Make sure to stop at the Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark, where you can explore a volcanic crater that resembles the surface of the moon.


It’s important to note that due to the remoteness of the Loneliest Road, travelers should come prepared with plenty of water, snacks, and a full tank of gas. Services and amenities may be scarce along the route, so it’s essential to plan accordingly and inform others about your itinerary.


Driving along the Loneliest Road offers a unique blend of solitude, serenity, and stunning natural beauty. It’s an opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and fully immerse yourself in the vastness of the Nevada desert. If you’re seeking an unconventional road trip experience and a chance to get off the beaten path, the Loneliest Road awaits.


Route 6: Going-to-the-Sun Road

Route 6, also known as Going-to-the-Sun Road, is a breathtakingly scenic drive that traverses through the heart of Glacier National Park in Montana. This iconic road trip route offers unparalleled views of glacier-carved peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and cascading waterfalls, making it one of the most stunning drives in the United States.


Beginning at the west entrance of Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Road winds its way through the rugged wilderness of the park, providing access to some of the most awe-inspiring natural landscapes in the country. As you ascend higher into the mountains, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of snow-capped peaks, glacial valleys, and dense forests.


One of the highlights along this route is the famous Logan Pass, situated at an elevation of 6,646 feet. The pass offers panoramic views of towering peaks, including the iconic Mount Reynolds, and is a popular spot for wildlife sightings, such as mountain goats and bighorn sheep.


Going-to-the-Sun Road also provides access to several hiking trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to more challenging treks. The Hidden Lake Trail and Highline Trail are particularly popular, offering opportunities to immerse yourself in the park’s breathtaking natural beauty.


Throughout the drive, you’ll encounter numerous pullouts and overlooks where you can stop to admire the stunning scenery and capture memorable photographs. Be sure to bring your camera and take your time to soak in the grandeur of Glacier National Park.


It’s important to note that Going-to-the-Sun Road is typically open from late June to early October due to heavy snowfall during winter. Plan your visit accordingly to ensure the road is accessible during your trip.


Driving on Going-to-the-Sun Road is an awe-inspiring experience that allows you to witness the untouched beauty of Glacier National Park. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photographer, or simply seeking a road trip through some of America’s most breathtaking landscapes, this route promises an unforgettable journey filled with natural wonders and a profound sense of wonder.


Route 7: Overseas Highway

Route 7, also known as the Overseas Highway, is a picturesque road trip route that connects the Florida Keys, providing a stunning drive through a tropical paradise of crystal-clear waters, lush islands, and breathtaking ocean views. This scenic highway spans approximately 113 miles from mainland Florida to Key West, offering an unforgettable journey along one of the most unique stretches of road in the United States.


Starting in Florida City, just south of Miami, the Overseas Highway snakes its way across dozens of small islands and bridges, including the iconic Seven Mile Bridge. As you travel along the route, you’ll be surrounded by picturesque vistas of turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and white sandy beaches.


One of the highlights along the route is Key Largo, which offers fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities in the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Explore the vibrant underwater world teeming with colorful fish and coral formations, or embark on a glass-bottom boat tour for a unique perspective.


As you continue south, you’ll reach Marathon, a popular destination known for its family-friendly attractions and stunning beaches. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Turtle Hospital, where injured sea turtles are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.


The journey on the Overseas Highway leads to the southernmost point of the United States, Key West. This vibrant and eclectic island city is famous for its laid-back atmosphere, historic architecture, and lively Duval Street, lined with restaurants, bars, and shops. Take time to visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, explore the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, or savor a slice of Key lime pie, a local specialty.


Driving along the Overseas Highway offers the opportunity to experience the unique charm of the Florida Keys, with its tropical landscapes, vibrant marine life, and rich cultural heritage. Bask in the sun, enjoy water activities like snorkeling or kayaking, and savor the stunning sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico.


Whether you’re a beach lover, a water sports enthusiast, or simply seeking a relaxing road trip, the Overseas Highway offers a memorable journey through the idyllic paradise of the Florida Keys.


Route 8: Highway 101

Route 8, better known as Highway 101, is an iconic road trip route that spans the entire west coast of the United States, from Washington to California. This legendary highway offers a diverse and captivating journey, showcasing stunning coastal landscapes, charming small towns, and renowned cities along the way.


Starting in Olympia, Washington, Highway 101 winds its way through the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest, providing breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. As you travel south, you’ll pass through vibrant cities like Seattle and Portland, where you can explore the local food and craft beer scenes or indulge in cultural offerings like museums and art galleries.


Continuing along the route, you’ll enter the picturesque state of Oregon, where the highway takes you through scenic seaside towns such as Astoria, popular for its historic waterfront and iconic Astoria-Megler Bridge. Admire the stunning coastal scenery as you drive through areas like Cannon Beach, known for its towering Haystack Rock, and explore the charming town of Newport, offering opportunities for whale watching and fresh seafood.


In Northern California, Highway 101 takes you through the breathtaking Redwood National and State Parks, where you can marvel at the towering ancient redwood trees that have stood for centuries. Drive through the famed Avenue of the Giants, a scenic road that winds through groves of magnificent redwoods, allowing you to experience the awe-inspiring beauty of these majestic giants.


As you continue south, Highway 101 leads you through vibrant cities like San Francisco, offering iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Alcatraz Island. Journey further down the coast to experience the natural beauty of Big Sur, with its dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, and panoramic ocean views.


The final stretch of Highway 101 takes you through the stunning Central Coast of California, with scenic stops in charming seaside towns like Santa Barbara and Santa Monica. Enjoy the beachside ambiance, indulge in the local cuisine, and soak up the laid-back California lifestyle.


Driving Highway 101 is a memorable adventure that allows you to experience the beauty and diversity of the West Coast. Whether you’re captivated by coastal views, fascinated by vibrant cities, or in awe of majestic natural wonders, this route promises an incredible journey filled with unforgettable sights and experiences.


Route 9: The Black Hills

Route 9, also known as the Black Hills Scenic Byway, is a captivating road trip route that winds through the majestic Black Hills of South Dakota. This scenic drive provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and iconic landmarks, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and adventure seekers.


Starting in Rapid City, South Dakota, the Black Hills Scenic Byway takes you through a diverse landscape of granite peaks, deep canyons, and lush forests. As you venture further into the Black Hills, you’ll encounter an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, cultural attractions, and breathtaking vistas.


One of the highlights of this route is Mount Rushmore National Memorial, a colossal sculpture featuring the faces of four American presidents carved into the granite mountainside. Marvel at this incredible feat of artistry and learn about its historical significance through exhibits and a visitor center.


Continuing your journey, you’ll discover Custer State Park, a sprawling wilderness area known for its abundant wildlife, serene lakes, and scenic drives. Keep an eye out for herds of bison, elk, and pronghorn as you explore the park’s network of trails and scenic overlooks.


The Black Hills are also home to historic towns such as Deadwood, famous for its Wild West history and association with legendary figures like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Explore the town’s restored buildings, try your luck at a casino, or immerse yourself in the stories of the past through informative museums.


Another iconic attraction along this route is Badlands National Park, renowned for its striking geological formations and otherworldly landscapes. Drive the Badlands Loop Road and witness the dramatic cliffs, rugged canyons, and fossil-rich terrain that make this park a geological wonder.


As you near the end of the Black Hills Scenic Byway, be sure to visit Wind Cave National Park, home to one of the world’s longest and most complex caves. Embark on a guided tour to explore the intricate cave formations and encounter unique underground wildlife.


Driving through the Black Hills is a journey that takes you back in time, immersing you in the natural beauty and rich history of this unique region. With its unique blend of picturesque landscapes, historic landmarks, and outdoor adventures, the Black Hills offers a road trip experience that is truly unforgettable.


Route 10: The Alaska Highway

Route 10, also known as the Alaska Highway, is an epic road trip route that spans over 1,400 miles from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Delta Junction, Alaska. This legendary highway takes travelers through some of the most remote and stunning landscapes in North America, offering a once-in-a-lifetime adventure through the rugged wilderness of Canada and Alaska.


The journey along the Alaska Highway immerses you in the breathtaking beauty of the northern wilderness. As you drive, you’ll witness towering mountains, vast forests, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife. It’s a road trip like no other, where each mile offers a new opportunity for awe and discovery.


Along the route, you’ll encounter charming small towns and communities that offer a glimpse into the unique cultures and traditions of the region. Make a stop in Whitehorse, the capital of Canada’s Yukon Territory, where you can explore the rich gold rush heritage and learn about the indigenous cultures of the area.


Another highlight of the Alaska Highway is the opportunity to witness incredible wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for bears, moose, caribou, and even the elusive wolf as you travel through their natural habitats. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture these unforgettable encounters.


During your journey, you’ll also have the chance to witness stunning natural attractions such as Liard River Hot Springs, the largest natural hot springs in Canada. Take a refreshing dip in the hot mineral waters and soak in the surrounding tranquil wilderness.


As you approach Alaska, the landscape becomes even more dramatic. From the towering peaks of the Alaska Range to the stunning glaciers and fjords, the beauty of this final stretch of the Alaska Highway is truly awe-inspiring.


Upon reaching Delta Junction, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve completed a truly remarkable adventure. Take a moment to reflect on the incredible landscapes you’ve encountered, the challenges you’ve overcome, and the memories you’ve made along the way.


Driving the Alaska Highway is a bucket-list experience that offers unparalleled natural beauty and a sense of adventure. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a wildlife lover, or simply seeking a road trip that takes you off the beaten path, the Alaska Highway promises an unforgettable journey through the wild and untamed wilderness of Canada and Alaska.



Road trips are a quintessential American experience, allowing travelers to embark on exciting adventures, discover hidden gems, and create unforgettable memories. From the breathtaking coastal vistas of the Pacific Coast Highway to the historic Route 66 and the majestic landscapes of the Great River Road and the Black Hills, there is a road trip route for every type of traveler.


Planning and preparations are essential for a successful road trip. From choosing the right destination and creating an itinerary to checking your vehicle and packing smart, these steps ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. By taking the time to plan ahead, you can maximize your road trip experience and minimize any potential hiccups along the way.


Each road trip route offers its own unique charm and attractions. Whether you’re exploring the stunning coastline, delving into the rich history of Route 66, or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Great River Road or the Alaska Highway, you’re bound to be amazed by the diverse landscapes and experiences that await you.


Road trips are not only about reaching the destination; they are about the journey itself. Along the way, you’ll encounter picturesque towns, cultural landmarks, breathtaking natural wonders, and the opportunity to connect with the spirit of adventure and freedom that the open road offers.


So, gather your travel companions, buckle up, and hit the road. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, cultural experiences, or simply a sense of freedom, road trips provide the perfect opportunity to explore, discover, and connect with the incredible diversity and beauty of the United States.


Remember, the road is waiting for you. So, embrace the adventure, chase the horizon, and embark on an unforgettable road trip that will leave you with lifelong memories and a deeper appreciation for the wonders of our world. Happy travels!