Embarking on a road trip is one of the best ways to discover the hidden gems of the United States. From stunning coastal drives to iconic cross-country adventures, the USA is a dreamland for the ones who love to indulge in an affair with the road. And if the wheel seems to fight right in the palm of your hands, like pieces of a puzzle falling into place, then we’ve just what you need. A bucket list of all the best road trips in the USA curated just for you. Trust us when we say that you have to tick them off your list.
The Blue Ridge Parkway, often dubbed “America’s Favorite Drive,” is a scenic highway stretching over 469 miles through the Appalachian Highlands. Starting from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and winding its way up to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, this iconic road trip offers breathtaking vistas and diverse natural wonders.
The parkway is renowned for its stunning views of rolling mountains, deep valleys, and lush forests, especially during the fall when the foliage transforms into a vivid tapestry of colors. This is precisely why it’s considered to be one of the best road trips in the USA.
One of the highlights of the Blue Ridge Parkway is the numerous overlooks and viewpoints scattered throughout the route. Each one offers a unique perspective of the surrounding scenery, making it an ideal spot to pull over, take a leisurely hike, and marvel at the grandeur of the Appalachian Mountains.
In addition to the natural splendors, the Blue Ridge Parkway is steeped in history and culture. Along the way, you’ll find several visitor centers and historic sites that provide insights into the region’s rich heritage, including exhibits about the early settlers, Native American tribes, and the construction of the parkway itself.
Distance: 469 Miles(755 Kilometers)
Time on the Road: 3 Days
Best time: Mid May to Mid September
Following the course of the mighty Mississippi River, the Great River Road covers approximately 3,000 miles and passes through ten states, from Minnesota to Louisiana. Starting in northern Minnesota at Lake Itasca, the road winds its way southward, passing through picturesque towns, lush forests, and historic landmarks.
This road trip showcases the diversity of America’s heartland which is why any list about the best road trips in the USA is incomplete without the mention of the Great River Road. Numerous interpretive centers, museums, and historic sites dot the route, offering insights into the Native American heritage, early European exploration, and the significant role the Mississippi River played in shaping the nation’s development.
The route meanders through rolling hills, verdant farmlands, and awe-inspiring bluffs that overlook the river, providing breathtaking panoramic views at every turn. Each town along the route has its distinct character, offering delicious regional cuisine and warm hospitality. Whether you’re savoring gumbo in Louisiana, indulging in Wisconsin’s cheese, or enjoying a traditional BBQ in Memphis, the culinary experiences are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Distance: 300 Miles(4828 Kilometers)
Time on the Road: 4-10 Days
Best time: September
Known for its awe-inspiring coastal views and winding roads, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is not just one of the best road trip routes in the US, but in the world as well. Stretching along the stunning Californian coast, This iconic route takes you through charming seaside towns, lush forests, and dramatic cliffs that overlook the Pacific Ocean. The iconic road trip commences from San Francisco, winding down to Los Angeles, and passing through famous landmarks like Big Sur, Monterey, and Santa Barbara. As you wind along the highway, you’ll encounter rugged cliffs that plunge into the azure waters below, expansive ocean views, and quaint coastal villages that exude a laid-back California vibe.
One of the highlights of the PCH road trip is the chance to explore California’s diverse natural wonders. The route passes through several state parks and reserves, providing opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and immersing yourself in the region’s flora and fauna.
From the artistic haven of Carmel-by-the-Sea to the surf culture of Santa Cruz and the bustling streets of San Francisco, there’s a wide range of experiences to indulge in. You can relish fresh seafood at local restaurants, browse art galleries and boutique shops, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere that defines California’s coastal communities.
Whether you’re traveling solo, with friends, or with family, the Pacific Coast Highway promises an unforgettable road trip experience and is worth the hype.
Distance: 656 Miles(1055 Kilometers)
Time on the Road: 3 Days
Best time: Mid-February to April
Located in Glacier National Park, Montana, Going-to-the-Sun Road is a must-do road trip for nature enthusiasts. As the only road that crosses the park, This 50-mile scenic drive provides access to some of the most breathtaking vistas and alpine landscapes in the country.
The road gets its name from the Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, a majestic peak that overlooks the route and stands at an elevation of 9,642 feet. From the road’s starting point at the west entrance near West Glacier, it winds its way through a series of hairpin turns, steep grades, and dramatic cliffs, offering heart-stopping panoramas at every bend.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is not just a scenic drive; it’s a gateway to an abundance of outdoor activities and wildlife encounters. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you will find a plethora of trails leading to hidden valleys, alpine meadows adorned with wildflowers, and vantage points that provide sweeping views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers.
One of the road’s highlights is Logan Pass, the highest point on the route, and the view from there alone makes this route worthy of being one of the best road trips in the USA. Due to its high elevation and challenging weather conditions, a road trip along Going-to-the-Sun Road can be quite challenging but is perfect for adventure enthusiasts.
Distance: 50 Miles(80 Kilometers)
Time on the Road: 3-4 Hours (Tentative)
Best time: Late June to Mid October
Route 66 is a legendary highway that holds a special place in American history and culture. Spanning over 2,400 miles, the historic mother road once served as a vital artery for westward migration during the 1930s Dust Bowl era. Beginning in Chicago, Illinois, and ending in Santa Monica, California, the road winds through eight states, offering travelers a nostalgic journey through the heart of America.
Route 66 is affectionately known as the “Main Street of America,” and it’s easy to see why. As you travel along the route, you’ll encounter a rich tapestry of Americana, from vintage roadside diners and motels to neon-lit signs and quirky roadside attractions.
Besides its nostalgic appeal, Route 66 also showcases the natural beauty of the American Southwest. As you travel through Arizona and New Mexico, you’ll encounter awe-inspiring landscapes such as the Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, and the Grand Canyon. These natural wonders provide excellent opportunities for hiking, photography, and connecting with the country’s rich geological heritage.
The road trip along Route 66 presents an opportunity to step back in time and experience the bygone era of classic Americana. Passing through small towns and rolling landscapes, you’ll witness remnants of a time when the open road symbolized freedom and adventure which is precisely why it’s one of the best road trips across America.
Distance: 2400 Miles(3862 Kilometers)
Time on the Road: 14 Days
Best time: May to October
The Florida Keys Overseas Highway is one of the most iconic routes in the US. Spanning approximately 113 miles from mainland Florida to Key West, traversing a series of 42 bridges that connect the numerous islands of the Florida Keys. The journey is an unforgettable blend of turquoise waters, swaying palm trees, and a laid-back atmosphere that defines the Florida Keys.
As you drive south, you’ll encounter the crystalline waters of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other, providing stunning vistas at every turn. The scenic route is an ideal opportunity for birdwatching, as the keys are home to various bird species, including herons, egrets, and pelicans.
One of the highlights of this road trip is the chance to explore the abundant marine life beneath the waves. The Florida Keys are a haven for snorkeling and scuba diving enthusiasts, offering colorful coral reefs teeming with tropical fish and other fascinating sea creatures.
As you make your way through the Florida Keys, you’ll pass through charming towns and villages that exude the region’s distinct culture and lifestyle. Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, and Big Pine Key are just a few of the unique stops along the route. Each offers its attractions, from waterfront restaurants serving delicious seafood to quirky art galleries and historical landmarks.
The journey culminates in the vibrant and colorful city of Key West, located at the southernmost point of the continental United States. Known for its lively atmosphere, diverse entertainment, and famous sunsets at Mallory Square, Key West is a delightful destination to conclude one of the best road trips in the USA.
Distance: 130 Miles(181 Kilometers)
Time on the Road: 5-6 hours
Best time: December to May
A road trip along the Dalton Highway, Alaska also known as the “Haul Road” is as extraordinary as it is challenging. This iconic route stretches over 400 miles through the rugged and remote terrain of northern Alaska, starting from Liven good and ending at Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean. Originally built as a supply road for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the Dalton Highway, Alaska now offers intrepid travelers a chance to immerse themselves in the wild and untouched landscapes of the Last Frontier.
The Dalton Highway, Alaska traverses some of the most breathtaking and untamed wilderness in North America. As you journey northward, you’ll encounter vast expanses of tundra, majestic mountains, and pristine rivers that define Alaska’s remote beauty.
While the scenery is awe-inspiring, it’s crucial to understand that the Dalton Highway, Alaska is not your average road trip. The route is mostly unpaved and can be quite challenging, with gravel, potholes, and varying road conditions. Adequate preparation and caution are essential, and it’s advisable to travel with a reliable, well-maintained vehicle suitable for rugged terrain.
The Dalton Highway, Alaska is a gateway to some unique Alaskan experiences. You can opt for side trips to explore the stunning Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or venture into the Gates of the Arctic National Park, the northernmost national park in the United States.
From pristine landscapes to unique wildlife encounters, the journey is a bucket-list experience for adventurous souls seeking to discover the untouched corners of Alaska’s wilderness.
Distance: 400 Miles(643 Kilometers)
Time on the Road: 14-15 hours
Best time: May to September
– Plan your route carefully and research attractions, accommodations, and fuel stops along the way.
– Pack essentials such as a first aid kit, snacks, water, and emergency supplies.
– Check your vehicle’s condition and have it serviced before hitting the road.
– Bring a camera to capture the unforgettable landscapes and moments.
– Be open to spontaneous detours and unexpected adventures that may come your way.
Whether you’re seeking coastal wonders, vintage charm, or Arctic wilderness, these road trips promise memories that will last a lifetime. So, buckle up, roll down your windows, and let the road lead you to some of the most remarkable destinations in the US. Happy road-tripping!
We, at Adventures Overland, are here to take care of all your road trip plans. All you’ve to do is pack your bags, hit the road, and immerse yourself in the wonders that await on these iconic routes. The adventure of a lifetime awaits you!
Curating and enabling incredible on-the-road experiences that are unlike anything else you can find.
Safety is paramount. We ensure that you are safe and secure across all terrains.
If it’s not extraordinary, we either won’t do it or we’ll find a way to make it so.
It’s impossible not to love and care for the land with these amazing adventures.