The United States has some of the most beautiful sceneries on Earth, and what would be better to experience these than on a road trip?
Here’s the list of the top 10 Best Road Trips in the US.
In this Travel Guide, you’ll find some of the best road trips in the United States, from one-day trips in Hawaii to cross-country trips, from historic drives to routes through several National Parks.
Table of Contents
- Best Road Trips in the US
- The Loneliest Road
- The Grand Circle
- The panoramic Going to The Sun Road
- The gorgeous Road to Hana in Hawaii
- New York to Key West
- The Great Northern on U.S. Route 2
- Olympic Peninsula Loop in Washington State
- Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina
- The world-famous Route 66
- The Pacific Coast Highway
Best Road Trips in the US
The Loneliest Road
In 1986, the Nevada portion of U.S. Route 50 was named “The Loneliest Road” by “Life” magazine due to its large desolate areas traversed by the route.
However, today’s Guide’s first road trip encompasses the entire US 50, which stretches over 3.000 miles across the United States.
Although technically US 50 starts in Sacramento, start your trip in San Francisco, where it started until 1972 before it was replaced by Interstate Highways west of California’s capital city.
This trip will take you through California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, and Washington DC, and it ends in Ocean City, Maryland.
This trip will take you about 45 hours driving nonstop.
Must-see stops include Lake Tahoe, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, and the Arlington National Cemetery.
The Grand Circle
This is the most famous US National Park road trip for a reason: Its almost 1.000 miles and take you through no less than six breathtaking National Parks in Utah and Arizona: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Grand Canyon National Park.
The trip can be done in around 2 weeks, but take as much time as possible so you can enjoy all the natural beauty of the parks!
While many people start this road trip in Las Vegas, you can also easily start in Salt Lake City or Phoenix. And at the end of this trip, you could even extend it and explore one of the many National Parks in California!
The panoramic Going to The Sun Road
This is a very different experience: Much shorter, and can be done in a day, but is still a trip on a road and definitely deserves to be on this list.
The panoramic Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park in Montana.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is just about 50 miles long and the only road traversing the Glacier National Park.
Its highest point, Logan Point, is at an elevation of 6,646 feet, and the visitor center up there is one of the best stops when driving the road.
Other must-see stops include Lake McDonald and its Lodge, Avalanche Creek, and Jackson Glacier Overlook.
The gorgeous Road to Hana in Hawaii
This 65-mile highway along the northern shore of Maui links Kahului to Hana on a long, curvy road.
You’ll experience breathtaking cliffs and panoramic waterfalls, you’ll cross more than 50 bridges, and you’ll see some black sand beaches.
Be sure to stop at Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui’s Garden of Eden, the Keanae Peninsula, and the Pua’a Ka’a Falls, which is also a great swimming hole!
Other great activities along Road to Hana are hiking in the lush green forest, taking as many photos as possible, and enjoying the great view.
I know, 65 miles sounds like a short drive, but you’ll probably need at least a whole day to do this road justice.
New York to Key West
These almost 2000 miles long road trips along the Atlantic Coast won’t disappoint: Starting in New York, it also takes you through New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
The best thing about this trip is its diversification:
You’ll visit beach resort areas as well as old fishing villages, wetlands and woodlands, huge areas of spotless coastal wilderness, and, of course, miles and miles of sandy beaches.
Not to forget one of the highlights of this trip: The 113 miles long Overseas Highway, which links the mainland to the 1700 islands of the Florida Keys.
Must-see stops before you reach the Overseas Highway include Assateague
Island in Maryland and Virginia, Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia, and Miami and Biscayne National Park in Florida.
The Great Northern on U.S. Route 2
This is one of the longest road trips presented in this Guide.
U.S. Route 2 or U.S. Highway 2 spans 2.5 thousand miles across the northern continental United States and consists of a western and an eastern segment that are connected by roadways in southern Canada.
The western segment takes you through Washington State, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and you’ll enter the US again in New York State before you’ll drive through Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
The Great Northern features more panoramic variety than any other road trip in the US, for example, Glacier National Park, the Columbia Plateau, and Acadia National Park.
Other must-see stops are Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin and Mackinac Island in Michigan.
As always, take your time: Theoretically, you could do the whole trip in about 70 hours.
Will you see a lot and enjoy the drive? Probably not.
Olympic Peninsula Loop in Washington State
This 330-mile loop that goes through most of the more than 3.500 square miles of the Olympic National Park is another great example of nature’s diversity in this country.
Lush rainforests, the snow-covered mountains of the Cascade Range, the picturesque Pacific Coast: You’ll see all of that in a single day.
Take your time and don’t just stop to take pictures: Take advantage of the hiking trails, explore the coastline, or swim in Lake Crescent, which is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the United States.
Other places you should stop at include Dungeness Spit, Hoh Rain Forest, Ruby Beach, and Shi Shi Beach.
Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina
This 469 miles long scenic drive connects Virginia Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina, which already tells you: You can expect to experience lots of beautiful nature on this trip.
The banning of commercial traffic and billboards makes this drive even more special and pristine.
While my own favorite time to drive Blue Ridge Parkway is in Fall, when the trees are most colorful, you can definitely enjoy it at any time of the year.
You can see countless beautiful wildflowers in late spring, for example.
With must-see stops like the Natural Bridge, Linville Falls, and Chimney Rock State Park, this drive is the most visited single unit in the U.S. National Park System for a reason.
While driving straight through takes about 10 to 12 hours, allow 3 to 7 days to explore the whole parkway.
The world-famous Route 66
Route 66 is the legendary king of American road trips: The world-famous Route 66.
This 2448-mile drive takes you through no fewer than 8 states: Starting in Chicago, Illinois, you’ll drive through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, where you’ll end your trip in Santa Monica.
Unfortunately, the entirety of Route 66 no longer exists, so parts of your trip will be broken up by interstates. Stops along this world-famous route include Cadillac Ranch in Texas, the Painted Desert in Arizona, Gateway Arch in Missouri, the Gemini Giant in Illinois, Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway in New Mexico, and the Mojave National Preserve in California.
If you’re not tired from all that driving, a one-hour detour in Arizona will take you to the photographic Grand Canyon NP. So turn on some Chuck Berry and get your kicks on route 66.
Before I end this Guide with the best road trip in the US, please tell me in the comments: What is your favorite road trip in the USA? Maybe I’ll make more detailed Travel Guides about it in the future!
The Pacific Coast Highway
This trip is most famous for its California coastal section through Big Sur, but in reality, can take you from Seattle all the way to San Diego.
This trip would be about 5 days long with minimal stops, but taking time to explore Seattle, taking a detour to Portland, mining for gold in Eureka, escape prison at Alcatraz, go wine tasting in Santa Barbara, adore the Hollywood Hills from Griffith Observatory, and laying on the beach in San Diego are all going to need a lot more time.
Thank you very much for reading, if you’ve found any part of this Guide useful then let me know in a comment below. Thank you for your time and have a great time.