The United States is a massive country. This means that it can provide an endless array of opportunities in terms of sights to see and activities to enjoy.
When summer hits, one of the most popular activities to enjoy in the US is to go on a road trip. Since the country is essentially one large island, it is easy to get from east to west (or vice versa) if you want to go exploring. There are also plenty of routes to choose from if you want to experience the best road trips in the USA.
When choosing your route for the road trip, it is essential to consider your options carefully. One of the things you need to think about is how much time you have. Some routes can take a few days to a week of travel while others can take you months!
There are plenty of amazing stops along each route that can further lengthen your road trip. Another important consideration would be the sights you want to see. Each route offers different types of views or attractions. Some might provide coastal views, while others will take you to the heart of the desert.
With this information in mind, you are ready to discover the best routes for a road trip across America. Make sure to take note of the following routes so you can have a memorable adventure this summer.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Best Road Trips in the USA You Should Try!
- 1.1 The Great American Road Trip – Cross Country on the I-90
- 1.2 Route 66
- 1.3 Blue Ridge Parkway
- 1.4 Pacific Coast Highway
- 1.5 Oregon’s Pacific Coast
- 1.6 Alaska Highway
- 1.7 Stowe to Rochester, VT
- 1.8 Outer Banks Scenic Byway
- 1.9 Jackson to Yellowstone National Park, WY
- 1.10 Colorado’s Rockies
- 1.11 Hells Canyon Scenic Byway
- 1.12 Olympic Peninsula
- 1.13 Washington-Oregon Coast
- 1.14 Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks
- 2 Are you on Pinterest? Pin this for later read!
Top 10 Best Road Trips in the USA You Should Try!
The Great American Road Trip – Cross Country on the I-90
One of the best cross country road trip routes within the USA is the I-90 Route. It is also known as the Great American Road Trip. When talking about the best road trip across America, you cannot overlook this particular option. Known as the Interstate 90 Route, this takes you from east to west and is known as the longest Interstate Highway in the country (over 4,861 kilometers).
The western terminus for the Interstate 90 route is in Washington within the neighborhood of Seattle. You will take exit 2B and eastbound towards this Interstate Highway.
This route passes through multiple states including Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and ends in Massachusetts. The drive itself can take 45 hours to complete, but since there are many notable stops, you need to allow at least two to three weeks for this road trip.
Another iconic route for your American road trip holidays is Route 66. This is easily the most famous drive in the US and boasts of many American-only sights. Route 66 is approximately 3,940 kilometers long and can be completed in 14 days.
The western terminus for this route is in California, which starts in SR 1 in Santa Monica. It will pass through major cities like Los Angeles and San Bernardino as you exit the state. From there, you will be heading to Arizona and passing through notable attractions like Seligman and Topock Gorge.
You will also be making your way through New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. This route, therefore, showcases the best of the Midwestern US. It features many iconic landmarks that make this route one of the best road trip destinations.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is 755 kilometers long and can be completed in three to seven days, depending on how many steps you take. This is known as an All-American Road that is noted for its scenic beauty.
This route is unique because its tunnels were constructed to cut through rock–with one point in Virginia and a few others in North Carolina. This is the reason why certain portions of the road are closed during winter.
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers many notable attractions that you can enjoy in your stops during this road trip. The route starts at its southern terminus in Shenandoah National Park and ends in US Route 441 near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There are many highlights along this route that make it one of the best road trips in the USA. Among the must-see attractions along the way are the Natural Bridge, the Blowing Rock, Chimney Rock State Park, and the historic Biltmore Estate.
Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway is another classic route that you can take when you’re after the ultimate American road trip experience. The actual length of this road trip route can be completed in 10 hours, but it can extend up to three days as it offers many notable stops.
Also known as California State Route 1, it starts from I-5 in Capistrano Beach in Orange County. From there, it passes through Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, and ends in Mendocino.
This route is known as one of the best scenic road trips in the USA. It offers several notable pit stops including Point Reyes National Seashore, which is a large protected area and a favorite summer destination for locals.
The Half Moon Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is another must-see stop. Other attractions to check out during your trip are Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, and Los Angeles.
Oregon’s Pacific Coast
The Pacific Coast Route is a 547-km way that lets you drive by the Oregon Coast. This particular route starts north from the historic Astoria, which is one of the oldest settlements in the country.
It winds down past the numerous beach towns and state parks to Brookings where this route ends. If you want to experience the most out of the Oregon Pacific Coast route, you must allow five days for this road trip.
For your road trip USA planner, you should take note of the highlights and best stops along the way. Some of the highlights include famous vacation spots like Lincoln City, the remarkable Oregon Dunes, and the industrial area of Coos Bay. You will also be passing by beautiful coastal towns like Gold Beach and Port Orford.
One of the best road trip ideas you can try is to take on the Alaska Highway. This road trip route in the US was 2,700 kilometers long when it was built in 1942, but it was shortened to 2,232 km in 2012.
There have been numerous constructions done on this highway to straighten some sections. It will take approximately five days to a week to complete this entire route.
It follows a northwest to a northward course that begins in Dawson Creek and ends in Fort Nelson. Depending on the time of year you visit, the Alaska Highway is potentially among the best road trips in the USA in terms of scenery.
Some of the highlights include the Kiskatinaw River Bridge, Fort Nelson Heritage Museum, Sign Post Forest, and the Continental Divide.
Stowe to Rochester, VT
The Stowe to Rochester, Vermont route (also known as Vermont Route 100) is one of the shortest routes in this American road trip planner. It spans 81 kilometers in length and can be completed in a little over an hour.
This route runs almost the entire length of the state of Vermont. It starts at the Massachusetts state line in Stamford and heads south where it ends in Orleans County in the town of Newport.
VT100 is a popular route during fall and winter. It is probably the best budget road trip the USA can offer and can be quickly completed, too.
If you are short on time, explore this road trip route and be treated to a number of excellent attractions along the way. Among these notable stops is the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and the Killington Ski Area.
Outer Banks Scenic Byway
The Outer Banks Scenic Byway is another option for an awesome road trip across America. It is also known as the North Carolina Highway 12. This route is 238 km long and traverses the Outer Banks region of the state.
It begins at US 70 and ends at US 158 in Kitty Hawk. The total driving time is 6.5 hours but can be explored in a few days if you want to see as many sights as possible along the way.
This route was technically established in 2009 and is now a popular getaway option for many Americans. One of the most popular road trip destinations east coast has to offer; you have a few notable attractions to visit along the way.
Among them are the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
Jackson to Yellowstone National Park, WY
The Jackson to Yellowstone National Park is one of the best road trips you can take in the midwestern region of the US. It is approximately a 60-minute drive from Jackson to reach Yellowstone National Park. Since the park is close enough from Jackson, you can easily spend a day to explore this area.
Yellowstone National Park boasts of a few unique attractions that make it a worthwhile visit. The Yellowstone Caldera is known for its hot springs, geothermal hot spots, and geysers. There are also many awe-inspiring waterfalls, hiking trails, and driving tours that you may enjoy.
The Colorado Rockies is without question another excellent option for an awesome road trip across America. Colorado is a state known for its dramatic landscape and unmatched scenery, so this is a great reason to hit the road. The wonderful thing about the Colorado Rockies route is that it is suited for year-round driving.
The entire route can span 80 km in length as you start from Glenwood Springs. It will take you through numerous towns and cities in Colorado such as Aspen, Independence Pass, Twin Lakes, Buena Vista, and Crested Butte.
There are must-see destinations along the Colorado Rockies road trip that includes the Rocky Mountains, National Park. The Colorado Rockies are the highlight of your visit to this national park. Other exciting sights you can also spot in this route are the Great Sand Dunes National Park and the Mesa Verde National Park.
Hells Canyon Scenic Byway
Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is another designated All-American road trip in the USA. It is a great route to include in your 2-week road trip in the USA.
This is a 351-km loop route that encircles the Wallowa Mountains, offering great views of the canyons, mountains, and artisan towns. This route can be completed in eight hours, but you can extend it if you want to see more of the sights as you drive by.
Some of the best stops along Hells Canyon Scenic Byway are the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, Hells Canyon Dam, and the Snake River.
The Olympic Peninsula is an iconic route that is 587 kilometers in length. Also known as the US Route 101 in Washington, this lets you travel along the coast of the Pacific Ocean.
It encircles the Olympic Peninsula so you can see iconic attractions like the Olympic National Park and the Olympic Mountains. To see as much as this route can offer, it is best to explore it within three days.
The best time to drive through this route is from May to August so you can expect fair weather. Aside from the Olympic National Park and the Olympic Mountains, there are a few notable sights to see along this route. They include Lake Crescent, Neah Bay, Port Angeles, and the Dungeness Spit.
The Washington-Oregon Coast offers some of the most breathtaking views along your drive. Therefore, this route is highly recommended to anyone looking for a coastal getaway, specifically along the Pacific Ocean. You will start in Tacoma, Washington and end your trip to Grants Pass, Oregon, which will take approximately 13 hours.
Both Washington and Oregon belong to the Pacific Northwest region, so you know what to expect as far as sights are concerned. When you are driving along this route, make sure to stop by Cannon Beach, Puget Sound, and Mt. Rainier National Park.
Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks
Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks are two of the most popular parks within the state of Utah. The route spans a distance of 249 km from Zion National Park via the I-15N route. It is approximately a four-hour drive if you go non-stop.
You can easily spend a day touring both of these national parks as they are relatively close to each other. You can start your road trip at Zion National Park so you can explore its main attractions such as Angel’s Landing and the Narrows Hike.
From Zion National Park, you can make your way to Bryce National Park, which is known for its phantom-like rock spires. Make sure to check out the various lookout points in the park so you can experience the best views and take the iconic photos of key landmarks in the area.