One of the best ways to explore the highlight reel of scenery across the ever-diverse USA is to hop in a vehicle and drive. Let the summer breeze run through your hair, crank your tunes, and revel in the dizzying scenery.
What makes road trips so great is that you can create your own itinerary and roll with the flow, stopping at unexpected attractions and soaking in more sights than you would if you traveled from point A to B via plane. And the USA knows how to put on an unforgettable long-distance driving experience, thanks to easy-to-navigate highways and never-ending attractions en route. Read for a list of the top 5 US road trip routes!
What do you think of the saying, “West Coast is the best coast?” Don’t agree? Driving Route 101 might change your mind. Soak in rustic coastline views in Oregon and dreamy Californian scenery as you traverse from the American/Canadian border to the Mexican border. You’ll pass iconic national parks and cities, making it essential to allow time to revel in the views. This is the road trip of all road trips!
Start/end point: Port Townsend to the Mexican border (you don’t need to go all the way here!)
Some notable attractions:
- Olympic National Park, Washington
- Astoria & Fort Clatsop, Oregon
- Redwood National Park, California
- San Francisco, California
- Los Angeles, California
- San Diego, California
Explore the southernmost portion of Highway 1, traversing 42 bridges stretching across open water to get you from the mainland to Key West. The Overseas Highway is a tropical wonder. So get ready to marvel at the crystal clear seascape, punctuated by scenic islets. This quick 4-hour-long road trip (one way without stops) is the ultimate sun-soaked escapade for anyone lacking Vitamin D.
Start/end point: Miami to Key West
- Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
- Dolphin Research Center in Marathon
- Key West
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway makes for a great trip for anyone chasing the final golden hours of summer, where a fusion of warm and chillier breezes bring auburn and crimson leaves. Create an autumn-inspired playlist and let the unraveling natural scenery provide the perfect stamp for the ultimate end-of-summer experience. The speed limit never rises above 45mph, and commercial vehicles aren’t allowed along this route! This route is excellent for anyone seeking incredible scenery paired with phenomenal outdoorsy, natural attractions.
Start/end point: Shenandoah National Park, near Waynesboro, VA, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, NC
- Natural Bridge (Mile 61)
- Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
- Linn Cove Viaduct
- Linville Falls
- Black Balsam
Anchorage to Valdez
Outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the short road trip from Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska. If you’ve never visited Alaska, it’s worth flying to Anchorage, renting a car, and driving this otherworldly route, brimming with towering mountain scenery and a collection of glaciers. This route is packed with several adventures!
Start/end point: Anchorage, Alaska, to Valdez, Alaska
- Thunderbird Fall Trail
- Eklutna Historical Park
- Matanuska Glacier
- Lion’s Head Trail
- Copper River Princess Lodge
Route 101 may be the road trip of all road trips, but Route 66 is the ultimate road trip in America and the world (some would argue). Travel through eight, yes, eight, states, basking in American stories of yore and diverse scenery. Route 66 holds a lot of history—it’s embedded with tales of people traveling from the Midwest to California during the Great Depression with dreams of finding a sliver of hope for their future.
Now, it’s a popular road trip route for anyone seeking a change of scenery. Thanks to being established, this road trip is well-equipped with practical pit stops, places to stay, and iconic attractions—granting an up-close look at aspects of American culture.
Length: Approximately 2400.0mi
Start/end point: Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California
- Cadillac Ranch, Texas
- The Painted Desert, Arizona
- Milk Bottle Grocery, Oklahoma
- Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum, Illinois
- Wigwam Motel, Arizona
- Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
- Route 66 Museum, Oklahoma
- Meramec Caverns, Missouri
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
- Calico Ghost Town, California
- Original McDonald’s Museum, California
Other road trip routes in the USA worth checking out
Find other fantastic road trips routes in the USA below:
- Route 12, Utah, 124.0mi
- Trail Ridge Road, Colorado, 48.0mi
- Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana, 50.0mi
- Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington, 329.0mi
- The High Road, New Mexico, 56.0mi
Which US road trip sits highest on your bucket list?