Planning your itinerary for your next vacation? With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on all our overseas holiday plans, there’s no better way to spend your summer vacation traveling safely around our beautiful country by car.
The best way to experience the USA is by taking a long road trip. From beautiful valleys to scenic coasts as well as lush green parks, every part of the country has endless beautiful landscapes to offer.
Not only is a road trip an epic bucket list adventure, but road trips are also one of the most sustainable ways of traveling. Exploring locations via the road and not by an airplane surely reduces your carbon footprint.
No matter what part of the USA you live in, you’ll certainly be able to find a beautiful road trip destination within a few hours drive. If you are looking for some suggestions, below are five of the best and most popular road trip destinations in the USA.
1. Pacific Coast Highway
Known as one of the most scenic drives in the world, the Pacific Coast Highway road trip is something you should experience at least once in your lifetime. The drive starts from San Francisco and ends at San Diego (or vise versa). It is an over 600-mile drive, but the entire trip might take you a week or more to complete depending on how many stops you want to make.
From beautiful coasts to unexplored forests and quaint seaside villages, there is a lot that this entire trip has to offer.
Recommended Stops: The Golden Gate Park, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Bixby Bridge, Henry Miller Memorial Library, San Piedras Beach, the town of Solvang, the Hearst Castle, Winchester Mystery House, Moonstone Beach, Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Ventura Beach, Malibu Beach, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Pier, Long Beach, Balboa Park, Old Town, and Cabrillo National Monument.
2. Route 66
If you are in for a long ride, Route 66 should be your next road trip location, taking you from Chicago to Los Angeles. The iconic Route 66 sign has always been a part of pop culture, and you’ll find it shown in many music videos and movies.
The estimated time to complete the entire journey is 14 days if you stop regularly to explore the sites and attractions along the way. The entire route will take you through some of the oldest towns in the USA where you will be able to take a deeper look into the history of the country.
Recommended Stops: Gateway Arch National Park, Cadillac Ranch, Santa Monica Pier, the Muffler Men statues, the Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum, Meramec Caverns, Leaning Tower of Texas, the Blur Hole, and Calico Ghost Town.
3. Florida Keys Overseas Highway
If you’re looking for a shorter road trip, Florida Keys Overseas Highway is a 127-mile-long road that will take you no more than 3 days to complete. So, it makes the perfect weekend trip option.
Start at Miami and drive all the way to Key West while enjoying beautiful beaches and the famous overseas highway, which makes you feel as if you are floating over the water. Indulge in some water sports, lazy afternoons sunbathing, and delicious seafood, and spend your days exploring this stunning southeastern coast of the USA.
Recommended Stops: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for snorkeling, Rain Barrel Sculpture Gallery, History of Diving Museum, The Turtle Hospital, Seven Mile Bridge, Watch Key Deer at Big Pine Key, and the No Name Pub.
4. Olympic Peninsula
If you want to spend some time in nature doing outdoor activities like hiking, camping, and nature walks, the Olympic Peninsula is the road trip you should take. You can finish the entire trip on a weekend or a long weekend if you want to make more stops. This one-way loop journey will start and end in Seattle and take you all around the Olympic Peninsula.
You will be able to spend some time in the mountains overlooking the Olympic Range, some beautiful waterfalls, quaint lakeside towns, and much more. Do not forget to pack your hiking gear (and camping equipment if you choose!) before going on this trip.
Recommended Stops: Bremerton Marina, Carnegie Library, Jefferson County Courthouse, Dungeness Spit, New Dungeness Lighthouse, Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Elwha Dam, Hoh Rainforest, and Ruby Beach.
5. The Great River Road
The Mississippi River is one of the longest rivers in the world, hugged by the Great River Road that wraps around the water. This is a 3000-mile scenic track that offers beautiful views of the mountains, meadows, forests, and the magnificent Mississippi River.
Your trip will start in Minnesota and end in Louisiana and should take you at least 7 days to complete the entire trip, if you stop at the main attractions. However, if you want to fully enjoy the off-road places as well, people advise giving two weeks for the trip.
Recommended Stops: Minneapolis, Headwaters, Lake Pepin, Dubuque, St. Louis, River bluff Walkway, Beale Street, Mississippi River State Park, Natchez, and LeClair
Pack your snacks, a good camera, a trusty GPS, and get driving!
Of course, there are endless other road trip routes along the United States filled with diverse landscapes, stunning scenery and photo opportunities, interesting culture and history, and recreational activities suitable for people of all ages, fitness levels, and preferences.
But if you’re looking for the five best road trips, tried and true for generations, you won’t want to miss these road trip destinations in the USA. So, start planning your itinerary, fill up on car snacks, and pack up your bags. You’ll be sure your next road trip will be a memorable one!
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