There’s nothing quite like the freedom of the open road, where every mile brings new sights, sounds, and experiences. The United States, with its diverse landscapes and vast expanses, offers a treasure trove of scenic drives that are just waiting to be explored.
A road trip is one of the best ways to embrace conscious travel, as it allows you to slow down and appreciate the journey rather than just rushing to your destination.
Instead of focusing solely on reaching the endpoint, a road trip invites you to embrace every moment along the way – from unexpected stops to breathtaking views. It’s an opportunity to connect with the landscapes, cultures, and people that you encounter, fostering a deeper appreciation for the world around us.
From the rocky shores of California to the rolling hills of New England, there are countless journeys waiting to be ventured on in the United States. Here are the top USA Road Trips you should be adding to your bucket list.
Pacific Coast Highway, Washington to California
One of the most iconic USA Road Trips, is a mesmerizing journey along the Pacific Coast Highway, from the enchanting forests of Washington State to the sun-kissed beaches of Los Angeles, California.
This captivating road trip reveals the awe-inspiring beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the dramatic Oregon coastline, and California’s golden shores. Discover charming coastal towns and stunning natural wonders, immersing yourself in the diverse landscapes and rich culture of America’s West Coast.
Marvel at the breathtaking vistas of rugged cliffs, windswept dunes, and pristine beaches, and experience the wonder of discovering cascading waterfalls and serene coves. Explore the bohemian spirit of Portland, Oregon, and the enchanting streets of San Francisco, California, as you journey through charming towns and vibrant cities.
The Pacific Coast Highway road trip promises unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the captivating beauty of America’s iconic West Coast.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
On the other side of the country, you can find another incredible road trip route. Winding through the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile ribbon of beauty that connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.
This picturesque drive boasts over 200 overlooks, offering panoramic views of lush forests, rolling meadows, and the seemingly endless Blue Ridge Mountains. A paradise for nature lovers, the Parkway is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, as well as countless opportunities for hiking and wildlife spotting. One thing is for sure, you won’t ever forget the experiences had on this USA road trip route.
Going to the Sun Road
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
Winding through the majestic heart of Glacier National Park in Montana, Going-to-the-Sun Road is a masterpiece of engineering that effortlessly showcases the awe-inspiring beauty of nature. This remarkable 50-mile journey, marked by hairpin turns, narrow lanes, and dramatic cliffs, is not a journey for the faint of heart. Yet, for those who dare to embrace its twists and turns, the rewards are nothing short of breathtaking.
As you take on this spellbinding route, you’ll be enveloped by the grandeur of towering mountains, the serenity of pristine lakes, and the lushness of verdant valleys. Each bend in the road reveals another mesmerizing vista, further captivating your senses and igniting your spirit of adventure.
One of the most unforgettable highlights of Going-to-the-Sun Road is the iconic Weeping Wall, a 100-foot waterfall that cascades onto the road, enveloping travelers in a misty, ethereal experience.
Hana Highway, Hawaii
If you’re headed off the mainland and ready to explore the beauties of Hawaii by car, there’s no better road trip than the Hana Highway. A lush, tropical paradise awaits you on the Hana Highway, a 64-mile stretch of road that connects the towns of Kahului and Hana on the island of Maui.
This legendary drive meanders along the rugged eastern coast of the island, passing through dense rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic sea cliffs. Be prepared to navigate its 600 curves and 59 bridges, but don’t forget to stop and soak in the breathtaking beauty of this Polynesian paradise
The Overseas Highway, Florida
Experience the magic of the Florida Keys as you cruise along a truly unique route on the USA Road Trips list. Overseas Highway is a 113-mile road that connects the islands of this tropical archipelago. From Key Largo to Key West, this drive takes you on a journey through crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and sun-drenched beaches.
With its turquoise sea and swaying palm trees, the Overseas Highway is the embodiment of a tropical getaway, providing a picture-perfect backdrop for your road trip memories.
Route 66, Illinois to California
No list of USA Road Trips is complete without the legendary Route 66, fondly known as the “Mother Road.” There’s a reason it is an unmissable addition to any list of scenic drives. Spanning over 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, this iconic highway weaves through the very essence of America, capturing the heart and soul of the country. As you journey along this storied road, you’ll find yourself transported back in time, experiencing the nostalgia and charm that have made Route 66 an enduring symbol of the American Dream.
Along the way, you’ll encounter a treasure trove of iconic landmarks, quirky roadside attractions, and quaint small towns, each infused with a unique character and spirit. Immerse yourself in the rich history and diverse culture that have shaped this remarkable highway, and uncover the hidden gems that lie off the beaten path.
As you traverse the sweeping landscapes and ever-changing scenery, you’ll find that much of the original road has been replaced by modern highways. Yet, the spirit of Route 66 lives on in the well-preserved stretches that remain, evoking the romance and allure of a bygone era.
Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana
If you’re looking for a captivating adventure, head out along the Great River Road, a 3,000-mile odyssey that traces the mighty Mississippi River from its source in Minnesota to its delta in Louisiana. Often overlooked on lists of USA Road Trips, this extraordinary journey takes you through the heart of America, encompassing 10 states and offering a rich tapestry of culture, history, and breathtaking natural beauty.
As you meander along the course of the river, you’ll encounter bustling cities and enchanting river towns, each infused with their own unique charm and character. Immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the region, from the ancient Native American settlements to the timeless tales of Mark Twain, whose stories continue to captivate generations of readers.
The Great River Road also serves as a gateway to the soul-stirring music of the blues and jazz legends, whose haunting melodies echo through the very fabric of American culture. As you journey through serene landscapes and vibrant communities, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the profound impact the Mississippi River has had on the nation’s identity and spirit.
This isn’t just a beautiful drive, but rather an unforgettable journey that reveals the essence of America. As you travel along this epic route, you’ll discover the extraordinary beauty, captivating stories, and enduring legacy of the mighty Mississippi River.
Columbia River Gorge Scenic Drive, Oregon
Amidst the embrace of the Cascade Mountains and the powerful Columbia River, the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Drive weaves a tapestry of nature’s finest creations. Over the course of 70 miles, this road straddles the boundary of Oregon and Washington, unveiling an array of stunning landscapes, formidable cliffs, lush greenery, and enthralling waterfalls that inspire a sense of awe and tranquility.
As you venture along this extraordinary path you’ll find the stately Multnomah Falls, which emerge as a symbol of the area’s magnificence. Rising to an astounding 620 feet, Oregon’s tallest waterfall.
Highway 12, Utah
A geological wonderland awaits you on Highway 12, a 124-mile drive that takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes of southern Utah. This All-American Road, which has been called “a journey through time,” traverses through a diverse array of landscapes, from the red-rock formations of Bryce Canyon National Park to the lush forests of Dixie National Forest. Along the way, you’ll pass through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a vast and rugged expanse of canyons, plateaus, and cliffs that are a testament to the Earth’s ancient history.
Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Last but not least, the Kancamagus Highway is a 34-mile scenic drive that takes you through the heart of the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire. Known as “The Kanc,” this winding road offers breathtaking views of the rugged mountains, crystal-clear rivers, and dense forests that make up this pristine wilderness. Particularly stunning during the fall foliage season, the Kancamagus Highway is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to experience the beauty of New England’s great outdoors.
From the sun-soaked shores of California to the wild landscapes of Utah, these scenic drives offer a diverse and breathtaking glimpse into the natural beauty of the United States. So pack your bags, hit the open road, and let the adventure begin!