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Road Trip Essentials

An All-American road trip is one of the most iconic things you can do in the United States. From its beaches and national parks to its vineyards and cities, there’s no better place to take a road trip than the old US of A.

When it comes to planning your road trip, make sure you know these How To Have A Fantastic Road Trip. And if you rent an RV or motorhome, familiarize yourself with my RV Tips and Tricks.

The U.S. is a vast country, so I’ve divided my road trip recommendations into regions.

Ready to hit the road? Then here are some epic road trips to take in the United States!
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St. Simons and Georgia's Golden Isles
Epic Road Trips To Take in the United States
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Southeast

The Blue Ridge Mountains. This region of the Southern Appalachia Mountains includes The Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, Asheville, The Blue Ridge Parkway, and some of the cutest towns and best hikes in the Southeast U.S. Give yourself at least 12 days for this Blue Ridge Mountains Road Trip.

Southern Florida. Start in Miami, then visit Everglades National Park, then drive Highway 1 through the Florida Keys. This 120-mile-long drive from Key Largo to Key West (the southernmost point of the continental United States) gives you all the lighthouses, beaches, coral reefs, laid-back vibes, and amazing food you could want!

Atlantic Coast Highlights. Start with St. Simons Island and Georgia’s Golden Isles, then head up the coast to Savannah, Charleston, The Outer Banks, and end in Virginia Beach. This route will take you to some of the region’s best beaches, antebellum cities, and historic sites.

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Epic Road Trips To Take in the United States

Northeast

The Mid-Atlantic. See the highlights of Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Start in Washington, D.C., then head to Chesapeake Beach and Ocean City in Maryland, then Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, then Philadelphia, then Passaic River Great Falls in New Jersey, then the Delaware Water Gap, then Hershey, Pennsylvania, and end in Pittsburgh.

New England. Summer and Fall are my favorite months to take this road trip. Start in Boston, then head to Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Then go to Narragansett, Rhode Island, then New Haven, Connecticut, then The Berkshires in Massachusetts. Next, head north to Burlington and Stowe, Vermont, then head to Acadia National Park and end in Portland, Maine.

New York State. There’s more to do in New York than just visiting NYC! Start in upstate New York in the Adirondack Mountains, then head west to the Thousand Islands (one of the best wine regions in the country), then The Finger Lakes, then Niagra Falls, then the Catskills, and end in New York City. I’d give yourself at least two weeks for this road trip.

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Epic Road Trips To Take in the United States
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Epic Road Trips To Take in the United States

Midwest

South Dakota. South Dakota is one of the only U.S. states I’d recommend for its own road trip. Some of the top places in South Dakota are Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore, Needles Highway, Black Hills National Forest, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. I’ve prioritized the Best Places To Visit In South Dakota. This way, you can fill in your road trip itinerary based on how many days you have.

Michigan. Michigan is one of the other U.S. states I’d suggest for its own road trip. Start in Detroit, then head northeast to the Blue Water Area along Lake Huron. Next, visit the Great Lakes Bay Region, then keep heading northwest to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Then spend some time on Mackinaw Island before heading to the Upper Peninsula to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Midwest Cities Highlights. If you want to sample the historic, bustling cities of the midwest, then this road trip is for you. Start in Cleveland, Ohio (home of the Rock Hall of Fame), then go east to Indianapolis, then southwest to St. Louis. Next, go north to Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison, and Minneapolis. And if you have time, I highly recommend visiting Voyageurs National Park.

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Epic Road Trips To Take in the United States

Southwest

Route 66. This is arguably the most famous road trip in the U.S. Route 66 stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, and it was one of the original highways in the U.S. highway system. I recommend starting in the middle of this route in Texas, then head west to New Mexico and Arizona. The best Roadside America stops on this stretch of Route 66 are Conoco Tower Station, Cadillac Ranch, San Miguel Mission, Whiting Brothers Service Station, Standing on a Corner, and Twin Arrows Trading Post.

New Mexico and Arizona. A Route 66 road trip could easily be incorporated into a longer road trip of Arizona and New Mexico. The best places to visit in Arizona are The Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest National Park, Apache Junction, Sedona, and Monument Valley. In New Mexico, you should visit Bandelier National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Park, Roswell, and Albuquerque.

Southeast Texas. Start in San Antonio, then head to Austin, Houston, and end in Galveston. In San Antonio, you’ll have all the culture and history you could want. Austin has trendy restaurants and nightlife and some amazing nearby hikes and outdoor activities. Houston’s main attraction is the must-visit Space Center, and Galveston is the perfect beach destination. When you drive from Austin to Houston, make sure you drive the Bluebonnet Trail.

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West

Utah’s Mighty Five. See all five of Utah’s National Parks in this epic road trip through Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, and Arches. Moab is also worth a stop. I highly recommend booking your accommodation in advance to camp, glamp, find a hotel, or park your RV inside each of the parks.

Jackson, Wyoming to Glacier National Park. Start in the Grand Tetons National Park and Jackson Hole, then head to Yellowstone National Park, then Glacier National Park. These three national parks have some of the best wildlife viewing and vistas in the country. When you’re in Glacier National Park, make sure you drive the Going To The Sun Road, one of the best scenic drives in any national park. I’d recommend spending a minimum of three days in each park, and it’ll take you a full day to drive from Yellowstone to Glacier.

Colorado. Colorado is one of the few states I’d recommend for its own road trip. Start in Denver, then make this loop around the whole state: Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, Grand Junction, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Colorado Springs.

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Pacific

Pacific Coast Highway. Affectionately called the PCH, the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most famous U.S. road trips. This stretch of road winds its way along most of California’s coast, allowing you to sample everything the state has to offer. The Best Stops Along The Pacific Coast Highway include San Francisco, Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur, Santa Barbara, and Channel Islands National Park. This is one of my all-time favorite road trips to take in the United States!

Check out these incredible Airbnbs in California!

California’s National Parks. California is home to nine national parks. My 2-Week California National Parks Road Trip gives you an epic route to see six parks – Death Valley, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen Volcanic, and The Redwood National and State Parks. The other three national parks are Joshua Tree, Pinnacles, and the Channel Islands, and these could be seen as their own road trip.

Oregon and Washington. These two states make up the Pacific Northwest, home to four national parks, the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America, amazing wine countries, and incredible coasts. This 2-Week Pacific Northwest Road Trip gives you the perfect itinerary for exploring this region.

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Epic Road Trips To Take in the United States

Hawaii and Alaska

Drive Around the Island of Maui. The best way to experience the Hawaiian islands, especially Maui, is via a road trip. Give yourself at least a week for this route: Kahului to Wailea to Ka’anapali via Haleakalā National Park to Hana (for the famous Road to Hana) to Kahului via Kaupo.

Anchorage to Valdez. This 300-mile route takes you past prehistoric glaciers, more 14,000-foot peaks than can be named, Thompson Pass, Keystone Canyon, and Prince William Sound. I think this route is best done in an RV or camper van because restrooms, accommodations, and restaurants are few and far between.

Plan Your Trip

Need help planning your road trip? Then you should use Roadtrippers, my favorite app for mapping-out road trips and finding Roadside America stops. If you’re going to rent a car, then I recommend Momondo, and if you want to rent an RV (which would be SO much fun for a U.S. road trip), you should use RVshare.

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What are your favorite road trips to take in the United States? Tell me in the comments below!
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For Planning The Rest Of Your U.S. Trip
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This article about road trips to take in the United States is not a sponsored post, and the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own. Some of the links in this post about road trips to take in the United States are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

Comments:

  • November 4, 2020

    What a great starting point for planning a roadtrip in the USA. Really well layed out too. Thanks!

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  • November 13, 2020

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the website is also very good. Janina Howard Fitzgerald

    reply...
  • November 14, 2020

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information. Meghan Waverley Iyre

    reply...

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