If you’re looking for your next fun vacation, cruising through the USA can be an unforgettable experience. Since America is so big, it can be a little tough knowing the best routes to check out. Luckily, there are so many options to choose from and it all depends on what activities you want to do on your trip. We’ve put together some of the most popular routes and destinations from the East Coast to the West Coast so you can explore no matter where you are!
Method 1 Method 1 of 13:Fall New England Tour
Surround yourself in colorful trees during this autumn drive. If you’re traveling in October, don’t miss out on the red, yellow, and orange leaves in the New England forests. Driving through the Green Mountain Byway in Vermont takes you through some cute small towns before opening up to a huge maple forest. Relax on the drive along Route 112 in New Hampshire and on Route 2 in Massachusetts as you pass through all of the fall trees.
- Try stopping in North Adams, Massachusetts in early October for the Fall Foliage festival with celebrations and parades based on the fall’s changing colors.
- If you want to make an adventurous detour, stop at the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour in New Hampshire to zipline through the trees.
- Don’t forget to enjoy some authentic New England clam chowder while you’re in the area.
Method 2 Method 2 of 13:East Coast Historical Tour
Learn about American history by traveling from Williamsburg to Boston. If you’re intrigued about the founding of the United States, this 628 mi (1,011 km) trip is perfect for you. Starting in Williamsburg lets you see reenactments of colonial life before moving onto Jamestown and Yorktown, some of the first settlements in the US. Follow I-95 up to stop in Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston to see some of the places important to the Revolution.
- Stop by The Smithsonian, The Capitol building, or the various monuments when you hit DC.
- Check out Fort McHenry while you’re in Baltimore where the battle was fought that inspired “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
- See Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell when you stop off in Philadelphia.
Method 3 Method 3 of 13:Blue Ridge Parkway
Explore scenic Appalachia in this North Carolina stretch. This route runs from Cherokee, NC for 469 miles (755 km) up to the Virginia state border. While you’re on the road, pull aside to view the rolling landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains and the forests between them. Just be careful and don’t go over the speed limit since the roads are a little windy.
- You could lose cell phone service up in the mountains, so bring a map with you so you can still find your way.
- Take a detour in Cherokee to learn more about Cherokee Indian history and culture at the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
- Stop at any shops you see along the way to find some traditional handmade crafts, like baskets, pottery, and even carved instruments.
Method 4 Method 4 of 13:Florida Keys
Enjoy the beaches and island life along the Overseas Highway. The Florida Keys are a group of small islands off of the southern coast, but you can easily drive between them on Highway 1. While it’s only 113 miles (182 km) in one direction, it’s worth it to take your time. As you make the drive, check out the state parks and coral reefs along the way. There are also a ton of resorts and areas to stay so you can plan your trip out for a couple of days.
- Learn more about the history of the Keys on Islamorada in the Keys History and Discovery Center.
- Enjoy some fresh seafood at the various fish shops and restaurants.
- The Keys are also a great location if you want to try snorkeling, diving, or bird-watching.
Method 5 Method 5 of 13:Great River Road
Follow the Mississippi River for a trip through middle America. While the full trip is around 1,400 miles (2,300 km), you can tackle any section of the route that sounds the most interesting. Starting in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Great River Road takes you through the Midwest and into the South where it ends in Louisiana. Check out the riverboats along the river, stop in St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch, pass through Memphis for some BBQ and music, and end in New Orleans to explore the French Quarter.
- Other stops you can check out include Graceland, The National Civil Rights Museum, and Hannibal, MO, which was where Mark Twain was born.
- Have some ideas for what you want to do along your drive, but stay a little flexible. If you see something interesting, don’t be afraid to pull off and check it out.
Method 6 Method 6 of 13:Route 66
Cruise down this route for a historic tour from Chicago to Los Angeles. Route 66 stretches for 2,400 miles (3,900 km) across the country through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. If you can’t make a full road trip along a route, just choose a smaller section to try out. Even though interstates are faster, taking your time down Route 66 gives you a taste of some classic Americana. Keep an eye out for historic buildings and road signs, classic diners, and art sculptures along the way.
- Route 66 has a ton of roadside attractions, so stop off whenever you see something interesting. Some places along the way include the Grand Canyon, Cadillac Park, and the San Miguel Mission.
- Be sure to make reservations at hotels along the route before you leave so you can save some money. If you’re driving an RV, there are a ton of campsites where you can stop off.
Method 7 Method 7 of 13:Yellowstone Loop
Hit this western Wyoming route to visit some beautiful national parks. You can hit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park following this 482 mi (776 km) loop. You’ll visit some small frontier towns throughout Wyoming, and large plains where you can see bison and elk roaming. As you continue north, visit Jackson Hole before making your way to the parks and spending time in nature.
- Visit The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar in Jackson Hole if you really want to embrace the cowboy theme of the frontier.
Method 8 Method 8 of 13:Trail Ridge Road
Cut through the Rocky Mountains on this stunning Colorado drive. Even though Trail Ridge Road is only 48 miles (77 km), it’s a stunning view you won’t get anywhere else. Carefully wind through this mountain pass, and look out over the crags and cliffs between the mountains. You may even see some elk or bighorn sheep along the way.
- Since the road passes through the mountains, it could be closed due to bad weather. You can always call (970) 586-1222 to find out the current status of the road.
Method 9 Method 9 of 13:Texas Hill Country
Drive through rolling landscapes in the heart of Texas on this route. The main destinations in Hill Country are San Antonio, Austin, and Fredericksburg. Start by taking in all the art and culture in Austin at the museums and in downtown. In the spring, make your way to Fredericksburg to see some wildflower fields and enjoy fresh wine nearby in Johnson City. When you get near San Antonio, be sure to check out The Alamo and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.
- Stick to the backroads rather than the highways since you’ll get better views and scenery.
Method 10 Method 10 of 13:Pacific Coastal Highway
Travel along the California coast for picturesque ocean views. The Pacific Coastal Highway, or PCH, stretches throughout the entire state of California, but the most popular stretch is from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Since it runs right alongside the Pacific Ocean, you can pop into any small coastal towns you find or visit the sandy beaches along the way. Take your time and enjoy the ocean air while you’re driving for an unforgettable trip.
- The PCH from LA to San Francisco is about 656 miles (1,056 km).
- San Luis Obispo is a popular area originally founded as a mission and is a great stop to learn about California history.
- Coastal towns like Cuyocos and Morro Bay offer authentic seafood and small coastal shops you can explore.
Method 11 Method 11 of 13:Route 50
Drive coast-to-coast on a single highway for a cross-country adventure. Route 50 starts in Maryland and ends all the way in Sacramento, CA, so buckle in for a trip that takes a couple of weeks to complete. While it may be the longest drive, you’ll get to pass through 12 states and 4 state capitals along the way. Just be sure to plan out a few stops along the way so you have some time to rest in between driving.
- Some notable stops along this route include Washington DC, Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and Arches National Park in Utah.
- The total distance of Route 50 is 3,073 miles (4,946 km) and it takes at least 14 days to complete.
- Always get your vehicle checked out by a mechanic before going on a cross-country trip to make sure it’s safe to drive. Some things to check are the oil, engine, tires, and brakes.
Method 12 Method 12 of 13:Alaskan Scenic Byways
Get spectacular mountain and glacier views from these popular routes. While it may seem out of the way, Alaska has some of the most beautiful wilderness to drive through. The Scenic Byways stretch throughout the entire state, but there are smaller sections that you can explore if you don’t want to drive the whole thing. Just be sure to plan your trip in the warmer summer months since road conditions can get pretty bad in the winter.
- Check out the Parks Highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks to see Denali State Park and Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in the country.
- For one of the most scenic experiences, take the Seward Highway near the coast to see glaciers, wildlife like beluga whales, and historic mining towns.
Method 13 Method 13 of 13:Hana Highway
Wind through the Hawaiian landscape on this stunning drive. The Hana Highway is a 52 mi (84 km) stretch along the northern coast of Maui. Since it follows the coast, you’ll get some beautiful views of oceans, jungles, and rocky cliffs. Even though it may seem like a short trip, there’s a slow speed limit and a lot of sharp turns, so take your time and enjoy the scenery!
- It usually takes about 2½ hours to drive along the Hana Highway.
- Be sure to pull off at the Puaa Kaa Falls or Hanawi Falls to check out some popular swimming holes.
- Always get your vehicle checked by a mechanic before going on a road trip to make sure it’s safe for the drive. Thanks! Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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