The United States is known for its majestic landscapes, iconic cities, and winding highways that stretch for miles. From the stunning scenic routes along the west coast to the historic byways of the heartland, there’s no shortage of extraordinary journeys to embark on.
So, whether you’re looking to explore the rugged coastline of California’s Pacific Coast Highway or experience the nostalgia of Route 66, the land of the free and home of the brave offers an endless array of road-tripping adventures waiting to be discovered.
In this article, we’ll be highlighting some of the best road trips to take in the USA, showcasing the beauty and diversity of the American landscape. So, fasten your seatbelt, roll down the windows, and get ready for the ultimate road trip experience.
1. Route 66: A Historical American Highway
Route 66 is not just an ordinary highway. It is a historical American highway that has shaped American culture and identity. Stretching over 2400 miles and crossing 8 states, Route 66 has been the road of choice for millions of travelers for various reasons.
Initially given its 66 designations in 1926, the route became famous for connecting people from all walks of life and being a road of flight for those trying to escape the ravages of Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Route 66 has also played a significant role in American pop culture, inspiring songs, films, books, clothing brands, and even TV shows.
Today, it continues to attract tourists with its classic roadside culture and the appeal of the open road. Though officially decommissioned in 1985, 80% of the original route can still be driven today with the help of Route 66 guidebooks and maps.
For some, a Route 66 road trip is a trip back in time to revisit a road they once traveled on a family holiday, while for others, it represents the ultimate symbol of Americana. Whether you’re looking for quirky roadside attractions, vintage motels, or American road food, Route 66 is sure to take you on a journey through America’s past and present.
2. The Pacific Coast Highway: A Scenic Road Trip Experience
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most scenic road trips in the United States, spanning almost 500 miles along the coast of California. The route runs from San Francisco down to San Diego, and offers breathtaking ocean views and stunning landscapes.
The drive generally takes around 5-7 days, but can be adjusted to fit individual schedules and preferences. Highlights of the drive include the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, Big Sur with its rugged coastline, and the charming coastal towns of Monterey and Santa Barbara.
While the drive can be done in a standard car, travelers may prefer a convertible or motorcycle to fully enjoy the sights and sounds of the Pacific. It is important to note that some sections of the highway can be closed or difficult to navigate during certain times of the year, so it is advisable to check road conditions in advance.
Additionally, while the Pacific Coast Highway is known for its beauty, it is wise to plan for traffic and crowds during peak season. Overall, the Pacific Coast Highway offers a scenic and memorable road trip experience for travelers seeking natural beauty, California culture, and a taste of the open road.
3. RV Road Trips: The Ultimate American Adventure
For those seeking the ultimate American adventure, a road trip in an RV is an amazing option. With an RV, travelers have all the comforts of home while being able to explore some of the most scenic national parks and attractions across the country.
RV road trips are becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. They allow travelers to immerse themselves in nature while still having the convenience and comfort of their own vehicle. RVs come in all shapes and sizes, from cozy camper vans to large motorhomes with spacious interiors.
Some popular RV road trip destinations include Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains. RV road trips also allow for more flexibility and spontaneity compared to traditional road trips.
Travelers can stop at scenic viewpoints, go on hiking trails, or simply take a break to have a picnic at any time. With so many RV rental companies in the USA, it’s easy to find a vehicle that fits one’s needs and budget. Whether traveling solo, with friends, or family, an RV road trip provides an unforgettable experience for anyone seeking adventure and exploration in the vast American outdoors.
4. National and State Parks: Must-Visit Spots on American Road Trips
One of the must-visit spots on American road trips are the national and state parks. The United States is home to some of the most beautiful and captivating parks in the world.
From the iconic Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona to the serene Acadia National Park in Maine, these parks offer breathtaking vistas, diverse landscapes, and ample opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, camping and wildlife watching.
Yellowstone, America’s oldest national park, with its geothermal features like the Old Faithful geyser and wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, is another park that should definitely be on your list. Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah is known for its distinctive hoodoo rock formations and offers amazing stargazing opportunities.
Joshua Tree National Park in California offers a unique desert landscape with stunning rock formations and is a popular spot for rock climbers. The state parks in the USA are equally stunning and are often overlooked, but are worth a visit.
For instance, Letch worth State Park in New York, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” offers beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails, and camping opportunities. Make sure to include a visit to at least one national or state park in your American road trip itinerary for an unforgettable experience.
5. Boondocking: A Unique Way to Experience the American Outdoors
Boondocking is a unique and adventurous way to experience the American outdoors. This practice of camping off the grid, typically in remote and secluded areas, allows travelers to fully immerse themselves in nature and escape the hustle and bustle of civilization.
Boondocking can be done in a variety of vehicles, from RVs to vans to tents, and requires self-sufficiency and proper planning. Travelers can find boondocking spots on public lands, such as national forests and Bureau of Land Management areas, as well as some private lands with permission from the landowner.
Boondocking provides a sense of freedom and adventure, as travelers are not limited to designated campgrounds and can explore more remote and unique areas. However, it is important to practice Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment to maintain the beauty and integrity of these natural areas.
Boondocking allows travelers to disconnect from technology, embrace solitude, and truly appreciate the natural beauty of the American outdoors. With proper preparation and a sense of adventure, boondocking can be a rewarding and memorable experience for any road trip.
6. Iconic Road Trips Beyond Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway
The USA offers more than just iconic road trips along Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway. There are plenty of underrated routes that will take you on an adventure of a lifetime. One such route is the Great River Road, a 3,000-mile drive along the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana.
This drive offers stunning views of the river, historic sites, and quaint river towns. The Overseas Highway in Florida is another underrated gem that takes you from mainland Florida to Key West. The 113-mile drive is a picturesque journey across 42 bridges and offers breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
For those who are looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations, the Extraterrestrial Highway in Nevada is a must-do. The 98-mile stretch of Highway 375 takes you through the middle of the desert and is known for its UFO sightings and otherworldly experiences.
Another unique drive is the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado, a 25-mile stretch of road that winds through the Rocky Mountains and offers stunning views of the San Juan Mountains. These road trips prove that there is more to explore in the USA beyond the famous Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway.
7. Cruise America: The Leading RV Rental Company in the USA
For those looking to embark on a road trip through the USA, Cruise America is a top choice for RV rentals. With over 130 locations throughout the country, they are the leading RV rental company in the USA. Cruise America provides a variety of motorhomes, from compact vans to larger RVs with all the amenities of a home on wheels. They even offer pet-friendly options for those traveling with furry companions.
Their rentals are available for short or long-term trips, with flexible pick-up and drop-off options. Plus, their customer service is top-notch, with 24/7 roadside assistance and online resources to help plan your trip.
Cruise America is dedicated to making your road trip experience as enjoyable as possible. They provide a thorough orientation of the motorhome before you hit the road, including a demonstration of how to operate the vehicle and all its features. They also offer add-ons like GPS navigation and kitchen kits for cooking on the go.
Overall, Cruise America is a reliable and convenient option for those looking to explore the United States by RV. Their extensive network of locations and high-quality fleet make them a top choice for road trippers.
8. American Campsites: The Best Places to Stay on Your Road Trip
When planning a road trip in the USA, finding the best places to camp is crucial. There are hundreds of campsites across the country, each one offering its unique charm and amenities. From national parks to privately owned campgrounds, there is something for everybody.
For those who prefer to have the comforts of home, RV parks are an excellent choice. They offer electric and water hookups, showers, laundry facilities, and even Wi-Fi. On the other hand, for those who enjoy roughing it, primitive campsites are available in many national parks and wilderness areas. These sites offer only the basics, a place to pitch a tent, and a fire pit.
National parks are among the most popular places to camp in the USA. Many National Parks have campgrounds with stunning views and ample facilities. Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Yellowstone National Park have campsites that are known for their incredible natural beauty.
Privately owned campgrounds also offer unique camping experiences. There are campgrounds with lakes, rivers, and forests, as well as facilities like pools, hot tubs, and game rooms.
Outside of national parks, many major cities also have great campgrounds. These campsites are ideal for those who want to explore the city by day and return to a relaxing, peaceful campsite at night.
San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle all have campgrounds that offer easy access to the city while providing a comfortable and natural atmosphere. No matter where you decide to camp, there will always be a great camping experience waiting for you on your USA road trip!
9. Road Trip Duration: Short, Medium or Long-term Options
When planning a road trip in the USA, one of the most important decisions to make is the duration of the trip. There are different options to choose from depending on the traveler’s preferences and availability. For those looking for a short adventure, a weekend or a few days can be enough to explore a specific region or attraction.
A medium-term road trip can last from one to two weeks, allowing for more flexibility and the possibility of covering longer distances. This type of road trip could include visiting multiple states or national parks.
Finally, a long-term road trip could last several months, allowing travelers to fully immerse themselves in the culture and landscape of the places they visit. This option requires more planning and budgeting, as well as a certain level of adaptability to different situations.
Ultimately, the duration of the road trip will depend on the traveler’s goals, interests, and preferences. It’s important to keep in mind that each option offers unique advantages and challenges, so it’s important to carefully consider the available time, budget, and expectations before embarking on an American road trip adventure.
10. Planning your American Road Trip: Insider Tips and Advice from a Travel Expert.
Planning a road trip across America can feel overwhelming, but with a little preparation and insider advice, it can be the trip of a lifetime. As a seasoned travel expert, I’ve put together some tips to help you plan your American road trip.
First, it’s important to plan your route. Consider what sights and activities you want to see along the way, and plot out a rough itinerary before you hit the road. Don’t forget to factor in driving time and rest stops – you don’t want to be on the road for 10 hours straight without a break.
When it comes to packing, less is more. Remember, you don’t need to bring everything but the kitchen sink – you can always pick up necessities (and souvenirs!) along the way. Stick to the essentials, like comfortable clothes, toiletries, and any electronics you’ll need.
One of the best parts of a road trip is trying new foods and exploring different cuisines. Research local restaurants and food spots along your route – don’t be afraid to try something new! And pack snacks and drinks for the car – it’ll save you time and money.
Finally, be open to unexpected detours and experiences. Some of the best memories are made when you go off the beaten path and explore something unexpected. And don’t forget to document your trip with photos and journal entries – you’ll cherish them for years to come.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to hit the road and explore America!