Looking for the best road trips in the USA? Look no further. This collection of 13+ road trips across the country has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for National Parks, music, stunning vistas, adventure, or even fall foliage routes, these road trips are amazing.
The best part of road trips is that you are in control of how long you are gone for. Most of these road trips can easily be done in a day, and some of them in just a few hours. It is like a pick your own adventure trip.
When planning for your trip, don’t forget to make sure you have everything you need from this road trip packing list. You would be surprised what people forget to bring and just when you need it, you don’t have it.
Have the best time taking road trips in the USA! The country has so much to offer and you will be in awe of its beauty.
Best Road Trips in the USA
Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii
Driving the spectacular Road to Hana is a must-do when you’re vacationing on Maui. The 620 curves, including hairpins and one-lane sections, of this 53-mile road trip make it a legendary adventure.
There’s an incredible variety of sights and attractions on this highway connecting the towns of Paia and Hana.
Marvel at mesmerizing waterfalls such as Twin Falls and Waikani Falls, admire the rainbow eucalyptus trees, buy snacks at the most postcard-worthy farm stands, explore the verdant and fragrant botanical gardens, visit the intriguing lava tubes and take a well-earned break at some of the best beaches in the USA at the black sand Honokalani beach or the red sand Kaihalulu beach.
In between stops, you’ll be able to take in the most epic ocean views while sinking your teeth in a slice of Aunty Sandy’s iconic banana bread or indulging in some coconut candy.
Driving the amazing Hana highway does require some preparation: There are no gas stations along this highway, parking is extremely limited and leaving early is essential. Then again, this touch of adventure is exactly what makes the Road to Hana so worthwhile.
You could drive to Hana and back in just one day but, to experience it to the fullest, it’s certainly recommended to spend one night in Hana town. The Hana-Maui Resort, a Destination by Hyatt Residence, is the perfect place to do so.
Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina/Virginia)
Miami to Key West, Florida
The drive from Miami To Key West is truly one of the best road trips in the USA! You get to see the best of what the Florida Keys have to offer all in one compact, safe, and scenic trip!
Starting off in Miami, you can visit popular spots like South Beach before heading onto the various keys. This road trip can take as short or long as you want. You can drive it all in one day, or take 3-5 days to complete it to see everything there is to offer!
One of the best places to stay is the Bungalows In Key Largo, which is one of the only adults only all-inclusive resorts in the USA!
Finally, you will end in Key West where you can visit fabulous places such as the Dry Tortugas and eat Key Lime Pie! This is a no-brainer as to why this is the best road trip in the USA!
San Francisco, California to Las Vegas, Nevada
One of the best road trips in the US is an epic trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas taking in four incredible Californian national parks and many ‘superlatives’.
The trip starts in San Francisco. From there, it is a straight four-hour (195-mile) drive to Yosemite. Spend a couple of days (or more) there hiking to waterfalls and among incredible rock formations.
From Yosemite, head up via Wawona (50 minutes/ 28 miles) and stop at the historic Victorian era Wawona Hotel before taking a short detour to the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias and the California Tunnel Tree. Allow about 3 hours to hike around the sequoia trees and walk through the tunnel carved through the trunk of a giant sequoia tree!
The drive continues via Fresno to Grant Grove Village in Kings Canyon National Park (2.5 hours/ 120 miles). Spend the afternoon driving along the rim of Kings Canyon and visit the General Grant Tree, the second largest tree on the planet!
The next day, drive along the General Sherman Highway, one of the most scenic drives in the USA. It’s just 26 miles to the Lodgepole Visitor Center, campground and Wuksachi Lodge. If you drive directly, it takes 45 minutes, but there are several viewpoints to stop off along the way.
In the afternoon, hike to General Sherman tree (the biggest tree on earth) and around the Congress Trail loop to see more incredible sequoia trees in the Giant Forest. End the afternoon with a stroll around the Big Tree Trail to try and see black bears on the meadow there.
The next day is the longest drive day. There are two routes to Furnace Creek in Death Valley. It’s 6.5 hours (342 miles) via Highway 14 or 6 hours and 45 minutes (348 miles) via Highway 178. This takes an extra half hour, but goes via the picturesque Lake Isabella.
As you reach the rim of Death Valley, there are great views of the valley spread out below. The road then descends down into the hottest place on earth. Spend at least a couple of nights at Furnace Creek because there are plenty of amazing hikes to do.
Hike up the sand dunes at Mesquite Flats, through the badlands at Zabriskie Point, around colored sands at Artists Palette, on the salt flats – and the lowest place in the US – at Badwater Basin, to a hidden waterfall Darwin Falls, and along the rim of Ubehebe Crater.
From Death Valley, it is a 2.5-hour (130-mile) drive to Las Vegas.
Where to Stay:
San Francisco: Omni San Francisco
Yosemite National Park: The Ahwanee
Kings Canyon National Park: John Muir Lodge
Sequoia National Park: Wuksachi Lodge
Death Valley National Park: The Inn at Death Valley
Las Vegas: Ceasars Palace
James Ian from Parks Collecting
Anchorage to Denali National Park, Alaska
Skyline Drive Virginia
Looking for one of the best road trips in the USA for nature and epic views? Skyline Drive in Virginia is just that!
Skyline Drive is one of the best things to do in Shenandoah National Park and it should be on your USA bucket list. It is 105 miles long and runs along a crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can stop along the way for hiking, viewpoints, picnics, waterfalls and more.
One of the best times of year for this road trip is during the fall, when there is peak fall foliage in the park, but you really can’t go wrong whenever you visit! You can camp in the national park or stay in a nearby town.
The entry fee is $30 per vehicle which isn’t bad considering the jaw-dropping views you are about to see!
Highway 395 in California
The Highway 395 road trip along the Eastern Sierra of California is one of the best road trips in the USA you can do. While the natural scenery along the route is breathtaking, you can also enjoy the small towns along the way, as well as historical and cultural sights.
You can drive to US 395 from Palm Springs or Los Angeles in the south, or from Reno or South Lake Tahoe in the north. The road trip, between South Lake Tahoe and Lone Pine, covers 232 miles, with a drive time of about 4 hours in normal traffic.
Although you can take in the highlights of the route in a couple of days, you will want to allow between 3 to 5 days, in order to explore the many activities en-route. From hiking to the top of Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48, to boating in alpine lakes, and sightseeing, there is a lot to see and do along the way.
At Lone Pine, take some time to explore the wild beauty of the Alabama Hills. At Bishop, explore the jaw-dropping beauty of the Bishop Creek Canyon, which comes alive in yellows, oranges, and reds in the fall.
In Mammoth Lakes, explore Devils Postpile National Monument or take the gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain.
The Cielo Hotel in Bishop, the Westin Monache in Mammoth Lakes, and The Landing at South Lake Tahoe are great options for lodging along this road trip route.
West Michigan: State Line to Mackinac Island
The west side of Michigan has some of the best scenery in the state, and this route hugging Lake Michigan will take you through some of the Great Lakes region’s best scenery. It’s ideal for 10-12 days, but could be cut down to fit into a week while still hitting the highlights.
Starting from the state line, head north along the lake. During the summer, the beach towns will be lively and you’ll find plenty of state parks for swimming and boating or lighthouses to photograph.
Your first big stop will be Holland, a small town is known for its Dutch heritage. Don’t miss Windmill Gardens, one of the many things to do there.
Grand Rapids should be your next stop. It’s known for its breweries, so try some beers and/or check out Meijer Gardens or the Gerald Ford Presidential Library.
Your next stop is back along the lake in Muskegon, where you’ll find some incredible beaches. If you like amusement parks, check out Michigan’s Adventure, which has rides and waterslides. For history fans, a tour of the USS Silversides submarine is a must.
Continuing north will bring you to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which features dunes towering up to 400 feet above the water. Swimming, scenic drives, and climbing the dunes await you. The next stretch takes you through Michigan’s wine country.
The Leelanau Peninsula and Traverse City area feature more wineries than you can handle in one visit. You can visit independently or join a tour that does the driving for you.
Your last stop will be Mackinac Island, which is famous for being car-free and can be reached by ferry from the mainland. Biking the loop road around the shore is a popular activity, as is sampling its famous fudge. It’s the perfect way to end your Michigan road trip.
Lodging recommendation: The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island is an attraction in and of itself and if you can afford the hefty price, it’s well worth a stay in its Victorian accommodations.
My Michigan Travel
Musical Road Trip: Cleveland to New Orleans
Love music? Love road trips? Why not combine the two and take a musical road trip across the United States?
Start your musical road trip in Cleveland, Ohio at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a repository of rock and roll memorabilia and exhibits. The organization showcases the most prominent performers of rock and roll from its inception to modern day.
Throughout the building you can see little snippets of musical history like the Beatles’ first appearance in the US and Elvis performing in Las Vegas for the first time. At $26.00 a ticket, – discounts for seniors and students – will get you a full day of fun and musical memories.
About 700 miles (1,130km) southwest of Cleveland is Memphis, Tennessee, “Home of the Blues,” a uniquely American music genre. Two must-see destinations here are Beale Street, with jazz and blues clubs lining both sides of the street and, of course, Graceland, original home of Elvis Presley.
Today Graceland is a national historic landmark and offers regularly scheduled tours. It is the second most visited home in the US after the White House. Tickets start at $40.00.
Travel further southwest for another 650 miles (1,050km) and arrive in Austin, Texas, commonly referred to as the live music capital of the world. You will find live music everywhere, from the hottest clubs to a street corner.
Another 500 miles (800km) east from Austin and you are in the music Mecca of the US, New Orleans, birthplace of jazz. The city capitalizes on its reputation with music venues throughout the city.
Bourbon street has transitioned from a jazz center to rock and roll. But if you want classic jazz clubs for the true jazz aficionado, head to nearby Frenchman Street and chill. What a wonderful way to end your Musical Road Trip.
Travels with Talek
Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah
If you’re looking for the best road trips in the USA, then Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah is absolutely a must! Experience driving through the Colorado Rocky Mountains where every mile twists and turns with eye candy along the way. As you make your way west, the mountains fade and the desert of western Colorado and Utah welcomes you with open arms.
If you drive straight through, it’s about 6 hours and about 350 miles. But this road trip has many opportunities to take in the incredible sights and adventures along the way.
At minimum, you could take one day driving, and one day in Denver and Moab. But with so many features to see along this road trip, it’s easily a 5 day adventure!
Starting in the Mile High city of Denver, be sure to visit the 16th Street Mall downtown and the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater. Then head straight west on Interstate 70.
Breathe in that cool mountain air and be sure to keep your focus – driving the steep grades through the Rockies is an experience itself!
One of the first major stops is the town of Dillon, nestled right along the interstate. Home to the Dillon Reservoir, it’s worth the stop. From breweries to hiking, sailing on the massive lake or even walking the shoreline, you could spend an hour or a day in the area, exploring all the things to do in Dillon, Colorado.
Hopping back on the interstate you’ll drive past Vail, the popular ski town. It’s a fun destination year-round. Be sure to check out Vail Village for fantastic food, shopping and lively atmosphere.
On the westward end of the Rocky Mountains is the picturesque Glenwood Canyon. It’s a scenic drive, but make sure you save time to visit Glenwood Springs. Home to the world’s largest mineral hot springs, it’s a fun experience regardless of the time of year!
As you exit Colorado, swing through to see the Colorado National Monument, an icon for the state. It’s just about another 1.5 hours to Moab, which is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream spot.
Use Moab, Utah as a home base to see the amazing Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse State Park plus a plethora of other natural wonders in the area.
If you’re up for adventure, rent a side-by-side and experience Hell’s Revenge. Paddleboard through a canyon or race down a river while white water rafting. The adventures are endless in Moab!
Downtown Denver has plenty of hotel options including the Ritz-Carlton, Le Meridien and Four Seasons Hotel. In Moab, try the Hoodoo Moab (Curio Collection by Hilton) or the Sorrel River Ranch Resort and Spa. For mid-point accommodations, try the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs or The Sebastian in Vail.
She Saves She Travels
Boston, Massachusetts to Woodstock, Vermont
One of our family’s absolute favorite weekend or school break road trips is traveling from Boston, Massachusetts to Woodstock, Vermont. The ride is about two and a half to three hours, door to door, but if you make a few stops along the way, it will take longer.
While we often make this trip during fall foliage or ski season on our way to the Sugarbush Ski Resort (just past Killington), there is quite a lot to see and do along the way. Plus, the town of Woodstock is a glorious New England town, beloved by many, including celebrities.
And, during fall foliage season, the drive alone to appreciate the rainbow of harvest colors is all part of the journey!
Woodstock, Vermont has plenty of restaurants and shops, not to mention a covered bridge. It is also home to Billings Farm and Museum, and if you visit in September or October, the farm often has fall festivals and “pick your own” apples and pumpkins for enjoying.
But, before you get there, there are some sights to see. You can stop in Manchester, New Hampshire, and have a look around for about an hour. The Pat’s Peak Ski Area is also on the way, and is worth a stop for about an hour.
But Quechee Gorge is well worth a visit. Just a one-mile walk down, this breathtaking stop is beautiful, especially in the summer and fall months when the leaves are most colorful. This walk can take about another hour or more depending on your interests.
We also love the old-fashioned Public House Diner, which is inside a 1946 Diner Car right near Quechee Gorge. Vermonters take great pride in high-quality food, but it is especially known for breakfast and top-notch maple syrup. Be sure and get some when you are there.
Woodstock is home to many bed and breakfasts, so you could spend a night in this area in one of those. But, for an absolutely stunning place to stay, the Woodstock Inn fits this bill. For a quintessential New England experience, Boston, MA to Woodstock, VT is one of the best road trips in the USA.
Bon Voyage with Kids
When most people think about USA road trips, they imagine driving through the mountains of Colorado or driving through the vibrant fall colors of Vermont, BUT there are so many amazing road trips that are less traveled.
Topping the underrated list is a road trip through West Texas. Throughout this road trip, you will find epic hikes, slot canyons, eerie ghost towns, and unique stays. This particular West Texas Trek begins in Midland and ends in Terlingua. Three to four days would be the perfect amount to explore the area!
After flying into Midland, head to the Monahan’s Sandhills for a picnic and some sand-dune sledding. Then continue driving to Alpine and take a sunset hike up Hancock Hill.
The next day, get up bright and early and head down to Big Bend National Park. Here you can hike, horseback ride, bike, bird watch, and stargaze. We recommend hiking the Lost Mine Trail at sunrise, then hike to Balanced Rock and finish your day out by marveling at the Santa Elena Canyon. After your day of adventuring, settle into one of Big Bend’s many unique stays.
Do not leave West Texas without making a trip to the (much less popular) Big Bend Ranch State Park. After hiking through the slot canyon and marveling at the overlooks along your drive, head into the ghost town of Terlingua.
Here you can take a self-guided tour, grab a bite to eat, and settle into your stargazing tents at Ocotillos Village. It will be easy to see why a West Texas road trip is one of the best and most unique road trips in The United States!
The Homebody Tourist
Detroit, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois
While this road trip could easily be done in half a day (283 miles total), there are so many fantastic stops you should not miss, and some places you should consider staying overnight.
Starting in Detroit, make sure and get a Coney dog and some Faygo Pop. Then stop by the Detroit Institute of Arts, explore Eastern Market and the murals, see the Motown Museum, and the Riverfront.
Heading west, your next stop will be in Ann Arbor. If you are a fan of the University of Michigan, this is where it is!! Stop by and see “The Big House.” After, stroll through the city and stop by Domino’s Farm for a drive through. And yes, that is the Domino’s.
In your next stop, Kalamazoo, this is another college town packed with activities. Definitely get an Oberon beer and plan to stay. This famous summer beer is served ice cold with an orange slice and you will probably want more than one.
There are several coastal towns on the lake heading towards Chicago that you could stop in to extend your trip, or just head into Chicago. There are so many free things to do in Chicago, you will never get bored here. Make sure and get the iconic photo of The Bean.
You can stroll Miracle Mile, get a hotdog, explore the museums, and if you visit during St Patrick’s Day, the river is green!
Utah National Parks
Utah national parks is one of the best road trips in the United States thanks to their scenic beauty.
The best way to begin your road trip is from Las Vegas thanks to its airport that has connections to many destinations in the United States and overseas. Las Vegas is also located about 2,5 hours away from Zion National Park, one of the most popular national parks in Utah.
From Zion, proceed toward Bryce Canyon National Park and from there, take Utah Scenic Byway 12 to arrive in Capitol Reef, one of the least visited national parks in Utah that sits in the heart of remote red-rock country.
From Capitol Reef, it takes about 2 hours to reach Moab, the adventure capital of Utah that is located near Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
Plan no less than a week for your Utah National Parks road trip due to long distances that you will need to drive and the sheer number of things to do that each of these national parks has to offer. For better experience, spend from 10 to 14 days touring national parks if you want to hike and explore the many hidden gems that they have to offer.
Each national park has plenty of accommodations in the area. For example, many visitors are go head to Zion end up staying in nearby Springdale or Kanab, while Canyonlands offers hotels within the park boundaries.
The Discovery Nut
Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Tour, Ohio
Missoula Montana to East Glacier via Going to the Sun Road
This Montana road trip provides access to a couple of the coolest towns in the state. It also passes through a National Park with one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world and allows for some once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique accommodations.
Missoula is a city in southwest Montana, home to an array of great restaurants, breweries, and shops, plus a wonderful riverfront park. Plonk Missoula is a must-try restaurant while you are exploring the town.
From Missoula, head north towards Whitefish. I’d recommend driving on the East side of Flathead Lake and make a stop in the quaint town of Big Fork. If you’re looking for a half-day adventure, try hiking with llamas with Swan Mountain Llama Trekking. It’s an amazing experience complete with a picnic at a lovely waterfall.
Whitefish sits below Whitefish Mountain and Ski Resort (previously called Big Mountain). There’s a wonderful Farmers Market and loads of delicious eateries. Make sure to have a drink or two in the iconic Bulldog Saloon while you’re in town. Whitefish also has its own lake by the same name with loads of water activities.
After you’ve enjoyed Whitefish, it’s time to head east on Going To The Sun Road through Glacier National Park. Only open for a certain period of time each year, this is one of the prettiest drives in the world. You are surrounded by majestic Rocky Mountain peaks, tons of waterfalls, and endless wildlife. You’ll understand the name of the road as you drive higher and higher up seemingly towards the sky.
Once you get to East Glacier you can then head a bit north and check out the view from Many Glacier Hotel. It’s postcard-perfect, to say the least. Here you can also hike to the popular Red Rock Falls Trail to immerse yourself in nature.
Wonderful accommodations along the way: Bridge Street Cottages in Big Fork, MT – Snow Bear Chalets on Whitefish Mountain – Belton Chalet at West Entrance of Glacier – Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier. You could even go glamping in Glacier National Park.
The time needed: 3-5 days
Miles Traveled: Approximately 231 miles (5-6 hours)
All About Glamping
One of the most classic road trips on American asphalt, and one that has become an iconic symbol of the great American road trip, is Route 66. Passing through eight different states and four regions, you will be sure to “get your kicks on Route66!”
Starting in Chicago, Illinois, and ending in Santa Monica, California, the 2448 miles can be done on a long trip or can be split up into separate adventures. The time required to drive Route 66 is between 14 days to a month; depending on how many attractions you stop for along the way. Route 66 includes Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
Route 66 is well-known for its quirky roadside attractions, historic hotels, and some of the best mouth-watering diners you will ever visit.
A fun highlight along Route 66 is the old wild west town of Oatman, and the impressive meteorite crater (Arizona). Other highlights include the Blue Whale of Catoosa (Oklahoma), the Blue Swallow Motel (New Mexico), Baxter Springs Vintage Gas Station (Kansas), Gateway Arch National Park and the Meramec Caverns (Missouri), the Muffler Man Statue (Illinois), an installation of old Cadillacs (Texas), Bottle Tree Ranch, the Amboy Shoe Tree, and one of the last remaining gas stations from the 30s (California).
Keep in mind that Google will re-route you to the nearest Interstate. Using GPS to experience Route 66 can be more of a pain, rather than good assistance. It is best to get a hardcopy Route 66 guide.
A great hotel option to end your Route 66 trip in luxury is by staying at a historic 1930s art deco hotel, The Georgian Hotel, in Santa Monica, California.
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