Looking for some epic road trips to do this year? Check out these 15 Best Road Trips in the USA!
Got a bit of wanderlust that you need to itch? There’s nothing quite like a good road trip!
Here, you’ll find a great collection of the best road trips, with everything from exploring vibrant cities to tranquil landscapes to scenic drives.
From the beaches of California to the canyons of Utah, and the mountains of Washington to the vast open spaces of Arizona, these Best Road Trips in USA have something for everyone!
So are you ready to embark on your next road trip? Keep reading to find the most appealing destination…
Best Road Trips in USA
#1: Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina and Virginia)
If long viaducts, winding roads, lovely mountain scenery, quaint towns, and incredibly fall colors are things you enjoy, then a trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway is for you!
Winding around the Appalachian Mountains from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, you’ll soon find yourself in awe of the Eastern US’ finest scenery while you make your way up to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
#2: Florida Keys (Florida)
The Florida Keys probably one of the most epic drives out there. Where else can you find miles-long bridges spanning light blue ocean water, multiple tropical islands, and some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet? In all, you just can’t miss riving US 1 from Miami to Key West.
Once you arrive in Key West, don’t forget to visit the “Southernmost Point in the US” sign, and of course, take the ferry out to Dry Tortugas to visit Fort Jefferson. Also, take along some snorkeling gear (or rent some) to swim with turtles!
#3: Catalina Highway (Arizona)
In just 37 miles, driving Catalina Highway will take you from the Sonoran Desert floor in Tucson, up through the high desert, and eventually into the forested heights of Mount Lemmon. Along the way, be prepared to be met with sweeping views, rapid changes in vegetation, and a rapid decrease in temperature!
After filling up on some Eegee’s or a Sonoran Dog, begin the drive up. Don’t miss the Windy Point Vista, about halfway up with sweeping views over the Tucson metro area. Also, the San Pedro vista has great views to the Northeast. At the top, enjoy the cool temperatures and ponderosa pine forests!
Related: Tucson Arizona Travel Guide
#4: Highway 12 (Utah)
Slicing through the heart of southern Utah, Highway 12 is one of those epic drives you’ve got to do at least once in your life. Two national parks, two state parks, slot canyons, waterfalls, farmland, deserts, and mountains await.
Bryce Canyon is home to epic amphitheaters of hoodoos, which you can hike down into on the Wall Street – Queen’s Garden loop. Kodachrome Basin State Park takes you right up close to some epic examples of erosion.
Escalante Petrified Forest State Park is a great place to see some beautiful rainbow-colored petrified wood. The lower Calf Creek Falls hike will take you to the base one of Southern Utah’s most epic waterfalls – seriously, don’t miss this hike! And finally, Capitol Reef is home to the Hickman Arch hike and the town of Fruita, with plentiful apple orchards.
#5: Olympic Peninsula (Washington)
Washington’s Olympic Peninsula has everything from snow capped mountains to temperate rainforests, and beaches to small towns. The sheer amount of diversity all in one place makes it an epic place to be!
In Olympic National Park in particular, don’t miss hurricane ridge for breathtaking mountain views! All around, this is such a great weekend escape for anyone in Seattle.
#6: Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (Oregon/California)
Located in the far-flung reaches of Southern Oregon and Northern California, the stunning Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway beats the dreadful down up I-5 any day. So if you’re driving between the PNW and California and have an extra couple of days on hand, you should check out this scenic drive!
Starting at Oregon’s famous Crater Lake National Park, be sure to wake up early and catch the sunrise for stunning views over the tranquil water.
Drive down to Lava Beds National Monument in California. Home to bizarre lava beds, cinder cone volcanoes, and lava tubes, there’s plenty of exploring to be done here.
Continue south towards Lassen Volcanic. Along the way, you can stop by Burney Falls for a lovely hour-long hike, and the Subway Cave Lava Tubes.
At Lassen, walk around Manzanita Lake for stunning views of Lassen Peak reflected in the water. Afterwards, drive the Lassen scenic byway.
#7: Road to Hana (Hawaii)
Another one-day road trip is the Road to Hana on Maui’s north shore. Hairpin turns, one-lane bridges, towering waterfalls, lush jungles, steep cliffs, and magnificent coastline mark this road trip. In just 65 miles, you’ll cross 54 bridges and navigate 600 turns.
Upon reaching Hana, you can explore the black sand beaches of Wai’ānapanapa State Park, and the seven waterfalls of the Kīpahulu District of Haleakala.
Related: Maui Budget Travel Guide
#8: Road Trip From Chicago – Route 66
Finished in 1926 with the goal of connecting rural communities in the Midwest and Southwest to Chicago and Los Angeles, Route 66 quickly became an American icon. If you don’t have time to drive the full length of what was formerly Route 66, you can always explore a small section as well.
The full length Route 66 is definitely doable in 14 days, so if you’re lucky to have the time, driving from Lake Michigan to the Santa Monica Pier should be a priority this summer!
Route 66 Mural on Joe and Aggie’s Cafe in Holbrook, Arizona
Here is a general list of the main cities/towns along Route 66:
- St Louis
- Oklahoma City
Wupatki National Monument – Flagstaff
- Los Angeles
- Santa Monica
*Just so you know, Flagstaff, Arizona is only 1 1/2 hours from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. That makes an excellent detour!
#9: Alaska Highway
Spanning from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska, the Alaska highway is one of those road trips everyone has on their list! This is a fairly remote drive, but with phenomenal scenery all the way!
#10: California Pacific Coast
Sunny beaches, small towns, bustling cities, and more await on the Pacific Coast Highway. This is especially great for summer and fall.
Load up on fish tacos in San Diego, and visit the USS Midway Museum to see a retired aircraft carrier. Don’t miss Newport Beach, Santa Monica, and Santa Barbara for some very lovely and different beach destinations in Southern California.
Get some Danish treats in Solvang, and enjoy the wide, sandy beaches at Pismo Beach. Look at waterfalls pouring into the sea in Big Sur, and end while getting your seafood fix in San Francisco!
How to Plan Your Road Trip:
When planning your road trip, don’t forget to take into account traffic in major cities, and crowds if you’re driving on a long weekend. For example, driving through the Bay Area or any major city on Friday at 5:00 PM is a traffic jam waiting to happen.
All of these road trips are just ideas to get the ball rolling, so don’t feel like you need to do exactly what’s listed here! Whether you’re looking for a Saturday drive near you, or a two week cross-country extravaganza, there’s something for everyone here.
How to Road Trip on a Budget:
Road tripping is all fun and games… until you add up the expenses! That’s not to worry, however; there are many excellent ways you can plan an epic road trip on a budget. These 13 tips will show you exactly how to do that!
Check out these 13 easy ways to save money while road tripping! These tips can help make your dream a reality.
So now that you’ve seen these Best Road Trips in USA, go check out even more great road trip and US travel tips below…
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What are YOUR favorite road trips in the US?
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