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The road trip is one of America’s greatest vacation past times. Its popularity waned throughout the early 2000s, but it is making quite a comeback with a 64% increase from 2015.
In a time where venturing outside of your circle is filled with uncertainty, road trip destinations are an excellent vacation option for a family looking to get out of their bubble for a fresh change of scenery.
We’ll take a look at some of the best road trip destinations across the US so you can find one that works for you and your family. So pack your bags and read on to learn about some of the best US road trip destinations.
1. Great River Road, Wisconsin
Start road trip destinations off where the St. Croix River meets the grand Missippi River in the picturesque city of Prescott. There you’ll find The Great River Road Visitor and Driver center and embark on this 250-mile scenic byway.
Heading south, you’ll cruise along the Mississippi River’s banks and bluffs, taking in scenic views of the river and surrounding country. You’ll pass through many small riverside towns, each with its own collection of unique places to stay. Within these towns, you’ll find plenty of restaurants focusing on locally sourced organic ingredients from the surrounding farmland. You’ll stumble across plenty of micro-breweries on the Great River Road as well.
One notable town you’ll pass through is Pepin, Wisconsin. It is situated on the banks of the naturally widest part of the river. You should stop at Lake Pepin and check out the ever-evolving menu at the Harbor View Cafe.
2. Historic Route 66, Chicago to Los Angeles
Arguably the most famous road trip on American soil, begin this 2,451-mile bucket list journey in the Windy City. Before you embark, stop at the intersection of Michigan ave and Adams for a photo of the infamous “Begin Route 66” sign. While you still have time on the meter, enjoy a slice of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza.
Then venture on to Springfield, the capital city of Illinois. There, history buffs can take in numerous Abraham Lincoln attractions, including the Lincoln home, Lincoln’s tomb, and the Presidential Library and Museum.
After your stop in Springfield, run on down to St. Louis and take in the Gateway Arch National Park. St. Louis is known for its unique BBQ style, so indulge in that before getting back on the road.
Continue through Oklahoma to Amarillo, Texas, home of the Cadillac Ranch. This public art installation offers a glimpse into the world of roadside attractions on this historic highway that was once known as “America’s Main Street.”
Before you get to Hollywood, you’ll pass through the desert and can take a small detour to catch a glimpse of the Grand Canyon’s southern rim.
3. Cape Cod, Massachusettes
A popular summer destination for New Englanders, Cape Cod can become notoriously congested on the highways. Take care to avoid bottlenecks like the lane drop on the Cape Cod Highway and Parts of Route 28. For the most scenic and stress-free drive, stick to Route 6a.
You’ll pass through beautiful scrubby pine and dune lands on your way through Sandwich onto Brewster. In Brewster, you can stop at the Brewster store that’s been up and running since the 1850s. On this stretch, you’ll pass through many small villages that have been around since the 1630s!
Enjoy the beautiful village of Chatham, and continue northwards to try some Wellfleet oysters. This journey surrounded by beautiful beaches will end in the quaint but lively town of Provincetown, at the Cape’s northernmost point.
4. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina
This 469-mile scenic highway connects the Great Smokey National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This is one of the most beautiful drives in America, traversing mountain tops free of billboards, commercial traffic, and commercial business of any kind. You’ll have long-range views of mountainous national parks, views of waterfalls, wildlife, and plant life.
There are plenty of short hikes to stop and enjoy along the way. And there are plenty of pull-off spots for a scenic overlook. During the fall from late September to October, take in the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows of the changing foliage. In the springtime, you’ll be immersed in the rich colors of the numerous wildflowers indigenous to the region.
5. Las Vegas to Salt Lake City
The easygoing I-15 runs from San Diego to Montana, but Nevada and Utah are the best stretches. Starting under the bright neon lights of Las Vegas, meander through Arizona’s desert to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. You’ll pass by the Hoover Dam, Lake Meade, Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon, and Arizona’s Painted Desert. Consider an overnight stay at the Painted Desert Inn for a unique adobe experience.
Road trip destinations are one to channel your inner Easy Rider, and you’ll experience some of the best the Southwest has to offer.
6. Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West
This 127-mile journey over the ocean acts as a decompression from the hustle and bustle of the world behind you. Put on your favorite Jimmy Buffet CD and enjoy the ride. On this journey, you’ll cross over the archipelago that is the Florida Keys and the many bridges connecting them.
The upper keys closer to Miami are inundated with tourist shops and can feel a little cramped, so continue to the middle and lower keys for more peace and relaxation.
Your journey will terminate at the southernmost point on the continental US in Key West. Along the way, you can enjoy fishing, snorkeling, beaches, quaint towns, museums, and delicious fresh seafood. Give yourself a week to really get lost and explore this area of Florida.
7. Pacific Coast Highway
This is the perfect road trip destination for a convertible. In San Francisco, take the PCH for an exhilarating, 123-mile cliffside journey along California’s central coast to Los Angeles.
Take a few days and stay in some upscale and charming towns such as Monterey, Carmel By the Sea, and Big Sur. Architectural lovers must stop at the Bixby Bridge, one of the tallest concrete bridges in the world.
The Best Road Trip Destinations
Some of the best road trip destinations may be closer than you think. There is a whole big world out there just waiting for you to discover it! If you enjoyed this article, check out our blog’s travel section for more great trip ideas.