Jun
09

Epic Road Trips in the USA to Add to Your Bucket List

If road trips thrill you, this epic list of the best road trips in the USA is for you.

Do you love road trips as much as we do? Driving the historic routes, scenic highways, roads less traveled, and all at your will. Hell yeah! We have an absolute bucket list of the best road trips in the world.

Anyhow, there’s nothing like road-tripping in the USA – as if it’s made for road trips, you know. Driving from one state to another gives you an opportunity to experience the multi-faceted landscape of America.

We asked the fellow travel bloggers about their best road trips across the United States of America that you can’t miss in your lifetime and here’s the result – an ultimate list of the best road trips in the USA.

Best Road Trips in the USA

Fill up your gas tanks and get ready to zip through some of the epic American road trips!

#1 Colorado Milky Way Road Trip | Colorado Star Trail

Recommended by Dalya Gershtein from Sweet Little Journey

Start: Great Sand Dunes National Park

End: Aspen

Distance: 400 miles

Duration: 8.5 hrs of pure driving time

Best Time to Go: Since Milky Way season starts near the end of March and lasts until the end of September, the best time to take the trip is in the summer months, when the Milky Way is visible the longest, and the mountain road conditions are less dangerous.

Best Stops:

  • Sand Dunes National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Telluride
  • Ophir
  • Crawford
  • Aspen

Where to Stay: All these destinations have plenty of campsites or Airbnbs to choose from, but the best way to see the stars is from your tent at a campsite!

Where to Eat: I would just get groceries for the road trip!

This trip takes you through the beautiful mountains of Colorado, away from all the light pollution from surrounding towns, and is the perfect road trip to see the stars. Rent a sandboard at Great Sand Dunes National Park and slide down the dunes – the kids will love it!

Aspen has a lot of bike trails, hiking paths, and gondolas to the top of the mountain in the summer, which has a full kids area and playground at the very top. Black Canyon of the Gunnison offers stunning cliffs and vistas and beautiful hikes. Telluride is a fun town with lots of music and arts festivals, a free gondola to the top of the mountain, and lots of beautiful hikes. 

colorado road trip stargazing milkyway

#2 Colorado Road Trip

Recommended by Oksana & Max from Drink Tea & Travel

Start: Denver

End: Denver

Distance: 898 Miles

Duration: 16 h 37 m

Best Time to Go: After Memorial Day since some roads and a lot of campsites and activities remain closed from October until the end of May.

Best Stops:

  • Denver
  • Boulder
  • Glenwood Springs
  • Grand Junction
  • Ouray
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Buena Vista
  • Colorado Springs

Where to Stay: Camping or sustainable lodges

Where to Eat: Farmers Markets

Pro-Tip: To properly enjoy all that Colorado has to offer, you really need to spend 2 or more weeks exploring the state.

A Colorado road trip is one of the most picturesque road trips in the nation. If you like nature, outdoor activities, culture and history you won’t want to miss a Colorado road trip. 

The area is dotted with geothermal activity and hot springs. We took advantage of soaking in the Iron Mountain hot springs in Glenwood Springs after long days of hiking but there are also some close to Ouray – a historic mining town.

Mesa Verde was one of the highlights of our trip. This UNESCO world heritage site is unlike any other attraction in the state. It houses the ancient dwellings of the Pueblo people and has some great hiking trails and lookout points to take them in. 

For a birds eye view of the mountainous region, take the cog train or hike to the top of Pikes Peak. The beautiful vistas are second to none. Afterwards, head to the nearby Garden of the Gods to explore the red rock formations that look like they should be found on Mars.

Colorado road trip offers an endless list of things to do. For anyone looking for a summer road trip, you won’t regret embarking on a Colorado adventure.

colorado road trip best road trips in usa
© Oksana & Max

#3 Atlanta to Savannah

Recommended by Victoria Watts Kennedy from Bridges and Balloons

Start: Atlanta

End: Savannah

Distance: 550 miles

Duration: 2 weeks

Best Time to Go: Fall or Spring

Best Stops:

  • Exploring the life of Martin Luther King in Atlanta
  • Driving the famous Blue Ridge Parkway through the scenic railway trip
  • Enjoying the vibes of hippy Asheville
  • Soaking up the charms of Charleston and Savannah

Where to Stay: Airbnbs

Where to Eat: Don’t miss to eat ice cream at Leopold’s Ice cream, the oldest ice cream shop in US!

Pro-Tip: Time your trip with Fall so you can see the spectacular colors of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This exploration of the southern states takes you through Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and back into Georgia, taking in some of the south’s most iconic sights.

Experience the cosmopolitan vibes of Atlanta while getting to know the history of Martin Luther King, and then head up to the Blue Ridge Mountains where you can do one of the USA’s most scenic drives, the Blue Ridge Parkway (especially gorgeous in Fall when the leaves change color).

Spend some time hanging out in hippy Asheville before heading down to charming Charleston with its pretty architecture and quintessential southern vibes. Then head to the artsy, laid back city of Savannah.

If you have more days at your hand, this trip can be easily extended to New Orleans. This Southern USA road trip takes in the best the south has to offer.

Blue Ridge Parkway Southern USA road trip best road trips in usa

#4 Outer Banks, North Carolina

Start: Currituck Beach Lighthouse

End: Cedar Island

Distance: 140 miles

Duration: 3-4 days

Best Time to Go: Spring, Summer, Fall

Best Stops:

  • Wright Brothers Memorial
  • Jockey Ridge State park
  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  • Ocracoke

Where to Stay: We recommend Days Inn & Suites – Mariner or Vacation rental along the coast and Ocracoke Harbor Inn in Ocracoke island.

Where to Eat: Eduardo’s Taco Stand in Ocracoke

Outer Banks, an archipelago of Barrier islands spanning across 200 miles off the coast of North Carolina is one of the best destinations in the US.

Outer Banks is best explored by driving the North Carolina route 12 merging to the 138-mile long Outer Banks Scenic Highway with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and a long coastline to enjoy. The Barrier islands are connected by small coastal towns and villages en route that adds to the charm – Corolla, Kitty Hawk, Avon, Buxton, Hatteras, Ocracoke.

Wright brother’s memorial is one of the best things to do in Outer Banks and thus, is a must-stop place. It’s where Orville and Wilbur Wright invented and flew the first flight that changed the aviation industry. 

For adventure seekers, there is an option to drive your AWD vehicle on Corolla and Cape Hatteras beaches though a permit is required for Cape Hatteras. It is a thrill to ride on the sandy beach.

The scenic byway has many iconic lighthouses like Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Currituck beach lighthouse, and Ocracoke lighthouse that have stood tall and guided many sailors. 

The drive not only takes you through the scenic road but it includes two ferry rides – one from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke island that is free and the other from Ocracoke to Cedar Island. You drive the cars onto the ferry for the journey.

The Outer Banks scenic byway takes about 6.5 hrs including the 3.5 hrs on the two ferry rides without any halts. 

But to soak in the beauty and experience the laid back life, it is best to spend at least 2-3 days in Outer Banks and Ocracoke Island

#5 Pacific Coast Highway 1, California

Recommended by Jeff and Kristen Miller from Our Passion for Travel

Start: Los Angeles, California

End: San Francisco, California

Distance: 448 miles (8-9 hrs driving time)

Duration: 4 Days

Best Time to Go: Summer

Best Stops:

  • Malibu
  • Santa Barbara
  • Cambria
  • Big Sur
  • Monterey
  • Santa Cruz
  • San Francisco

No list of US road trips is complete without mentioning California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1. Stretching from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the straight-through drive will take around 8-9 hours, but there is no fun in that. For those with some time on their hands, 4 days should be an optimum amount of time to get value out of the key sights along this 448-mile journey.

Heading north from Los Angeles, Malibu’s beaches are well known the world over. Roll the window down and let the sea breeze in admiring the sun over the Pacific.

Santa Barbara makes a perfect overnight stop. Take a wander along Stearns Wharf at sunset, followed by dinner at one of the cute little spots along State Street.

You’ll need a good chunk of time on your next day to fit in a visit to Hearst Castle. This opulent property is the highlight of many travelers’ trips along the coast. The castle is decked out with artworks from all over the world, all collected by media magnate William Randolph Hearst. A range of tours can be taken, and are well worth the visit.

Make sure you leave enough time to get to Elephant Seal Vista Point for sunset. Here, you’ll find dozens of elephant seals squawking away, wrestling, and burping. Overnight in Cambria where you can rest your head to the sound of the crashing waves.

Continuing the journey north, it’s time to hit Big Sur. No matter the season, you’re likely to be cloaked in some level of fog which adds to the romanticism of the drive. McWay Falls is worth some of your time, and a drive over Bixby Bridge will be a highlight for fans of the series, Big Little Lies.

Drop by Carmel by the Sea for a wander, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot it’s most famous resident, Clint Eastwood wandering about. Monterey is your best bet for an overnight stop, the iconic Cannery Row being the hub of nightlife and dining.

For your final day, a trip to Santa Cruz may be in order, before making the drive into San Francisco. A trip over the Golden Gate Bridge will extend your trip ever so slightly, but seems a fair way to end this most iconic drive!

California’s temperate climes mean that there is never a bad time to conduct this road trip. Certainly, the warmer months allow for a balmier experience and more daylight to enjoy the sights, so summer may be a more enjoyable experience.

mcway falls pacific coast highway california best road trips in usa

#6 Route 66 – The Mother Road

Recommended by James Hills from Man Tripping

Start: Chicago, IL

End: Santa Monica, CA

Distance: 2,448 miles

Duration: Variable but the best stretch is from Oklahoma to California and that can be done in 3-5 days.

Best Time to Go: Spring or Fall

Best Stops: Winslow Arizona for the iconic “Standing on a Corner” photo inspired by the Eagles song as well as countless road-side attractions, natural wonders, and miles upon miles of the wide-open countryside as you pass from the prairies of the midwest through the Rockies, through the deserts of Arizona and California before ending up at the Pacific Ocean.

Where to Stay: La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ (recently restored and re-opened, formerly a Harvey House on the Santa Fe Railroad), or Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ. There are also numerous classic restored Route 66 motels that may seem rustic by modern standards but are a great way to step back in time.

Where to Eat: Any roadside diner 🙂

Pro Tip: Go slow, plan to make stops, turn around, follow road signs pointing to attractions that pique your interest, and keep your mind open. Also, while not all parts of this road are currently in operation, make sure to spend time on as well as off of the highway so you don’t fly by pieces of Americana that you might otherwise miss.

Traveling “The Mother Road” Route 66 from Chicago To LA is the most iconic road trip in the United States. No other road has as much history, heritage, and tradition as this route does. While the entire 2,448 miles might be a daunting task for those with limited time.

Consider driving the stretch from Oklahoma to California since that includes some of the most intact portions of the route as well as numerous museums, restored motels, roadside attractions, and some of the most visually interesting terrain.

While this might be a long trip for families, this is an opportunity to teach lessons in American history, technology, innovation, geography, and other areas that most struggle to learn from a textbook but on this trip, you can literally reach out and touch fossils, meet with Native American tribal members, and sleep in historic motels.

historic route 66 best road trips in usa
© James Hills

#7 Acadia National Park Loop Road, Maine

Start: Hulls Cove Visitor Center

End: Bar Harbor, ME

Distance: 30 miles

Duration: Around 4-5 hours with stops

Best Time to Go: Spring to Fall especially during Fall for foliage colors

Best Stops:

  • Cadillac Mountain
  • Thunder Hole
  • Sand beach
  • Bar Harbor

Where to Stay: Vacation rental in Bar Harbor

Where to Eat: If you are a seafood lover, then you must indulge in freshly cooked seafood especially lobster. Also, you can’t leave Bar Harbor without digging in homemade ice creams at Mt Desert Island Ice Cream.

Acadia National Park Is the gem in the picturesque state of Maine and is truly a photographer’s dream. The 47,000-acre wide national park along the Atlantic coast has a rugged coastline, iconic lighthouses, and blanketed by lush green forest. The fresh breath of air, magnificent vistas makes you fall in love with it.

The best way to explore the beauty is to drive the 27-mile Park Loop Road beginning near the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. The whole route winds through the mountains and lakes with multiple stops en route. There are multiple scenic spots like Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, Otter Cliff, Jordon Pond, Cadillac Mountain, and many more along the loop with parking spaces to pull off. Pack a picnic and enjoy it with mesmerizing views or enjoy a dining experience by the pond-side at Jordan Pond House restaurant. During peak season, the parking spots do get full, and it is advisable to ride the free Island Explorer shuttle to explore the National Park.

Cadillac Mountain is the highest peak on the East coast and the first place to see the rising sun in the US. It is worth getting up at dawn to catch the first rising glory of the sun at the summit. The winding drive up to the peak is breathtakingly beautiful. It gets very windy at the peak and hence it is advisable to carry blankets and jackets. 

There are some iconic lighthouses inside the park including the most photographed Bass Harbor Lighthouse by the coast along the route 102. From the National Park head out to the small coastal town of Bar Harbor. Sit by the small cafes and restaurants, Or walk along the coast for some spectacular vistas. There is the Bar Island across the Bar Harbor town and can be walked over to during low tide. This is an experience you will cherish forever.

Driving the Park Loop Road with stops at the scenic points would take around 4-5 hours, but it is highly suggested to spend the entire day exploring this area. 

Another great way to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful park is to take an Ariel tour of the area that will take your breath away.

There is an entrance fees of USD 30 to Enter the Acadia National Park which is valid for 7 days of purchase.

acadia national park loop road maine

#8 A Road Trip in Vermont

Recommended by Supriya from Fun Travelog

Start: Woodstock, VT

End: Burlington, VT

Distance: 95 miles

Duration: Around 2 hours + more with stops

Best Time to Go: Summer or Autumn

Best Stops:

  • Ben & Jerry Factory
  • Cabot’s Cheese Store
  • Smuggler’s Notch Resort
  • Glass blowing at Simon Pearce’s Glass Factory
  • Iconic covered wooden bridges
  • Bike trails in Lake Champlain
  • Burlington

Where to Stay: Airbnbs are ideal (look for treehouses, glamping tents or cabins), else, there are many small bed & breakfasts in the area

Where to Eat:

  • The towns of Woodstock, Stowe and Burlington have tons of restaurants. Here are a few we recommend:
  • Monarch and Milkweed bakery (Burlington
  • American Flatbread (Burlington)
  • Skinny Pancake (Woodstock & Burlington)
  • Green Goddess Cafe (Stowe)
  • Mon Vert Cafe (Woodstock)

The north-east state of Vermont is the perfect escape for families who love the outdoors. While summers are ideal for hiking, boating, and visiting state parks, the fall season is when Vermont is at its colorful best. Nature lovers can drive through backroads for foliage viewing, visit farms, pick pumpkins, taste cider donuts, and enjoy the slight nip in the air.

There are lots of open spaces for kids to stretch their legs, amidst the background of mountains and barns framed by dense trees shining in hues of orange, red, and yellow. Whether you visit the state in summer or fall, a tour and tasting inside Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory is a fun family-friendly activity.

The United States has several beautiful states and landmarks, but Vermont stands out for its postcard-perfect landscapes and is one of the best places to witness mother earth’s natural show of seasons. 

vermont road trip best road trips in usa
© Supriya

#9 Utah Mighty 5 Road Trip

Recommended by Megan Johnson from Red Around the World

Start: Las Vegas

End: Las Vegas

Distance: 1,100 miles (including Monument Valley)

Duration: 10 to 14 days

Best Time To Go: Year-round

Best Stops:

  • Zion
  • Bryce Canyon
  • Capitol Reef
  • Arches
  • Canyonlands National Parks
  • Monument Valley

Where to Stay: St. George, Panguitch or Bryce City, Torrey, Moab, and Monument Valley or Mexican Hat.

Where to Eat: Oscar’s Cafe and Cafe Soleil (near Zion), Burr Trail Grill and Hell’s Backbone Grill (between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef), The Spoke, Pasta Jays, and 98 Center (in Moab)

Pro-Tip: Get gas all the time because gas stations are really far apart.  Make sure you have plenty of time to drive between each place and still have time in each park. Keep extra water in your car just in case something happens.  You won’t have phone service most places out here, especially driving between parks.

This is easily the most iconic road trip in Utah, maybe even the southwest, because of how fabulous Utah’s national parks are, and just the fact that they have five of them.  Not only will you get to see some of the best national parks in the country, but you’ll get to them on some of the best scenic drives, too.  You can easily cross the state just on scenic drives and add tons of other hikes and state parks to the route to make the trip even better.

The highlights are, of course, the five national parks, but Monument Valley, Goblin Valley State Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Snow Canyon State Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, Little Wild Horse Canyon, Lake Powell, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and The Wave are just a few of the other fantastic stops along the way.

utah mighty five road trip best road trips in usa
© Megan Johnson

#10 New Orleans to Louisiana

Recommended by Abi King from Inside the Travel Lab

Start: New Orleans

End: New Orleans

Distance: 400 km

Duration: 14 days

Best Time to Go: May – September

Best Stops:

  • New Orleans
  • the Great River Road
  • the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island
  • Cajun Country

What to Eat: Try the eclectic Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar in Baton Rouge, with over 50 flavors of oyster.

Pro-Tip: Bring mosquito nets for strollers for the nature trails

New Orleans is one of America’s top cities; head deeper into Louisiana to see what makes her tick. Leave the French Quarter behind and head out into a state full of sleepy marshmallow bayous, modern cities, and the home of the fiery Tabasco sauce.

Louisiana’s Great River Road marries the grandeur and the horrors of the plantation past, bringing both alive through powerful open-air museums. While most visitors return from their day trips before sunset, road trippers can stay overnight at Oak Alley Plantation before driving deeper into the south. This is Cajun country, the largest French-speaking area in America. Don’t miss the living history museum at Vermilionville, where you can return to the days of the Acadian refugees as they settled in the south after fleeing form Canada.

Get everyone on the dance floor at Randol’s in Lafayette and tuck into some crawfish while you’re at it. Then head onto the Creole Nature Trail near Lake Charles for some family-friendly hiking trails and birdwatching.
There’s just time for some city life in state capital Baton Rouge before heading back to New Orleans. And there’s gumbo and good times wherever you go.

New Orleans to Louisiana Creole Nature Trail
© Abi King | Creole Nature Trail

#11 San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes, California

Recommended by Allison from She Dreams of Alpine

Start: San Francisco, CA

End: Mammoth Lakes, CA

Distance: Approximately 300 miles

Duration: About 6 hours

Best Time to Go: Late Summer or Early Fall

Best Stops:

  • Yosemite Valley
  • Tuolumne Meadows
  • Mono Lake
  • June Lake

Where to Stay: Yosemite National Park – camp at one of the many campgrounds or splurge at the Ahwahnee Hotel, and camping in Mammoth Lakes, California

Where to Eat: Whoa Nellie Deli in Lee Vining – Unexpectedly located at the back of the Mobil Gas Station, this spot has become a famous spot for surprisingly delicious upscale food and a lovely patio.

Pro-Tip: Tioga Pass through Yosemite closes in the winter, usually in mid-November, and reopens in early summer, usually sometime in June. You should check the Tioga Pass status before making this trip.

The drive from San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes in California is a dream road trip for any outdoor lover. Once you get on California Highway 120 (Tioga Pass), the scenery will take your breath away. You can spend anywhere from a weekend to a whole week taking your time along the many stops along this scenic road trip adventure.

A must-stop along the way is Yosemite Valley, where you can gaze in awe at the soaring granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. If you have time, you can also explore more by heading out on one of the many outstanding hikes in Yosemite National Park, either in the Valley or in Tuolumne Meadows.

Once you leave Yosemite, you should definitely make a quick detour to Mono Lake, just north of the town of Lee Vining. This saltwater lake features unique and picturesque tufa rock towers and is one of the oldest lakes in North America.

After visiting Mono Lake, head south to the tiny town of June Lake, where you can drive the scenic June Lake Loop. This 15-mile stretch of road passes by several glacial lakes and offers plenty of opportunities to pull over and take pictures of the stunning views.

Finally, make your way to your destination of Mammoth Lakes. where you can find many adventures in the mountains from hiking to mountain biking to breweries to fishing. There’s something for everyone!

san francisco to mammoth lakes california yosemite national park
© Allison

#12 Coastal Mississippi Scenic Drive

Recommended by Charles McCool from McCool Travel

Start: Mississippi Welcome Center in Pearlington, MS

End: Pascagoula River Audubon Center

Distance: 77 miles

Duration: At least 2 hours without stops

Best Time to Go: Any sunny day

Best Stops:

  • INFINITY Science Center
  • the beach
  • Mississippi Aquarium
  • Biloxi Shrimp Trip
  • Biloxi Lighthouse
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore
  • Pascagoula River Audubon Center

Where to Stay: Bay Town Inn, Front Beach Cottages, and several family-friendly chain hotels

Where to Eat: Sea Level, Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar, The Shed, The TatoNut Shop, Bozo’s Grocery, White Pillars for a splurge

Pro-Tip: Instead of I-10 between New Orleans and Mobile Alabama, I 1000% prefer driving along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Right next to the Mississippi Visitor Center is the phenomenal INFINITY Science Center with many hands-on activities and handoff carnivorous plants. The Coastal Mississippi Scenic Drive provides one of USA’s best scenic drives with 26 consecutive beachfront miles (most of it unobstructed) and plentiful free and easy parking right next to the soft, clean sand.

Allow time for multiple beach stops, even for a few minutes. See the 500-year-old Friendship Oak at the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach. Mississippi Aquarium is opening mid-2020. Biloxi Shrimping Trip is one of the USA’s highest-rated family activities and children absolutely love it.

Biloxi Lighthouse climbing tours are only at 9 am-9:30 am. After crossing Biloxi Bay Bridge, Highway 90 is no longer along the water. You can drive along with the Ocean Springs beachfront along Front Beach Drive to Shearwater Drive to East Beach Drive.

Allow time to walk and explore beautiful Ocean Springs, continue on to Gulf Islands National Seashore or Pascagoula, or if time is short head back to I-10.

coastal Mississippi road trip biloxi beach best road trips in usa

#13 Deep South Road Trip

Recommended by Sharon Gourlay from Dive Into Philippines

Start: Miami

End: Miami

Distance: 2500 miles

Duration: 3 weeks

Best Time to Go: Fall or Winter or Spring

Best Stops: Historic districts in Charleston, Savannah, St Augustine, and New Orleans

Where to Stay: Days Inn

Where to Eat: Cafe du Monde in New Orleans for awesome beignets

Pro-Tip: I recommend splitting this trip into a maximum 4 hour driving days with a cool stop in the middle it’s easy to do.

In this road trip, you start in Miami, visit Orlando and Tampa before heading round the gulf to Tallahassee, Mobile, and New Orleans. After a few glorious days in New Orleans, head up to Jackson MS and explore the civil war battlegrounds in Vicksburg. The next stop is Birmingham which has a great museum on civil rights. Then head across to Atlanta for some big city action.

After Atlanta, head to Columbia SC and Charleston before making your way down the coast back to Miami stopping at Savannah and St Augustine for more gorgeous historic districts. This road trip is great because there is a lot of variety without driving long distances.

You can see the French Quarter in New Orleans, old southern plantation estates, great beaches, civil war sites, great museums and learn a lot about the history of the US. It’s also easy to split this road trip into a maximum four hour days with plenty of time to enjoy the places you stop.

This works very well with kids who get to enjoy Disney World, many children’s museums, and plenty of other kid-focused attractions along the way without having long driving days.

st augustine historic district deep south road trip miami to miami
© Sharon Gourlay | St. Augustine

#14 Miami to Key West Road Trip

Start: Miami, Florida

End: Key West, Florida

Distance: 150 miles

Duration: 7- 10 days

Best Time to go: Winter or Spring

Best Stops:

  • Everglades National Park
  • Key Largo
  • Bahia Honda State Park
  • Key West

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn at Key Largo and Double Tree by Hilton at Key West

Where to Eat: Keys are famous for their Key lime pies and we highly recommend trying fresh shakes at Robert is Here in Headstead.

A road trip from Miami to Key West towards the southernmost point of the US is beautiful and exhilarating. It is a contrast from hip and happening Miami to the adventurous Florida Keys. Key West is around 150 miles from Miami and takes around 3.5 hrs to drive non stop. But when you are driving over the Overseas Highway that has the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Gulf of Mexico on other, then you would be tempted to halt and seep in the majestic views.

Overseas Highway or US Route 1 connects many inhabited islands of the Florida Keys including a seven-mile-long bridge. The first island is the Key largo, which also happens to be the largest amongst all the Keys. It is great to spend at least a night at this beautiful island and indulge in many adventure water activities including parasailing. Florida is the only state apart from Hawaii to have living coral reefs across the state and the best way to explore them is through snorkeling or scuba diving. Head off to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for underwater fun or ride a glass-bottom boat tour.

Key West is the last island and the southernmost point of US depicted by the iconic red and black buoy. The city has so much to see from the historic Duval street to Fort Zachary Taylor State park. When in Key West, you can’t miss the magical sunset at the Mallory Square.

Everglades National Park can be added to the Miami to Key West itinerary as a stop to get up close with untamed nature and wildlife. The park is massive and needs proper planning to experience the marshy grasslands and alligators in their natural habitat.

miami to key west road trip best road trips in usa

#15 Central Texas Road Trip

Recommended by Kate Storm from Our Escape Clause

Start: Austin, Texas

End: Austin, Texas

Distance: 229 miles

Duration: 5-7 days

Best Time to Go: Spring

Where to Eat: Along the way, be sure to eat plenty of barbecue, Tex Mex, and breakfast tacos, all staples of Texas’ cuisine.

A central Texas road trip beginning and ending in exciting, dynamic Austin is easily one of the best USA road trips to take, and covers some of the best places to visit in Texas!

Start your trip in Austin, the live music capital of the world, where you can visit Lady Bird Lake, check out the Texas State Capitol, enjoy Austin’s famous nightlife, and peruse the artsy world of South Congress.

From there, head out of town to beautiful Dripping Springs, for a dip in the gorgeous Hamilton Pool, and a chance to sample wine at some of Texas’ beloved wineries.

After Dripping Springs, it’s off to Fredericksburg, where you’ll find not only more wineries but plenty of nods to the town’s German heritage. For a taste of Texas’ nature, consider hiking Enchanted Rock here as well.

After that, it’s back to the city: head to San Antonio to see the UNESCO World Heritage recognized San Antonio Missions–which include the famous Alamo–and to check out the Riverwalk.

Before heading back to Austin, stop off at New Braunfels to partake in a true Texas tradition: floating the river.

central texas road trip welcome to austin best road trips in usa
© Kate Storm

#16 New York to Niagara Falls

Recommended by Allan Wilson from Bangorni

Start: New York City and local airports.

End: Niagara Falls

Distance: 400-500 miles

Duration: 1-4 days

Best Time to Go: Summer or Fall

Best Stops:

  • Bear Mountain
  • Catskills
  • Scranton (for The Office fans)
  • Syracuse

Where to Stay: Bear Mountain Inn and Overlook Lodge, The Roxbury (Catskills)

Where to Eat: Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room (Catskills)

This route is one of the best road trips in New York, and, while it can be completed in as little as one day, this would be missing out on a whole lot of New York including stops in Upstate New York as well as iconic State Parks including the Bear Mountain and the Catskill Mountains.

Areas that can take days to explore alone. So rather than rushing through (8hr 450 miles) overnights stays in state parks are infinitely better with great camping options perfect for summer months and plenty of accommodation otherwise year-round.

From New York it is a fairly straight forward northern route before reaching the big city of Syracuse, which is worth a stopover, before following the border of Canada and Ontario west until reaching Niagara Falls.

In Niagara Falls there is more than enough accommodation to choose from and it is also possible to cross the border (VISA permitting) to stay/travel on the Canadian side.  

new york road trip niagara falls from helicopter best road trips in usa
© Allan Wilson

#17 Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Recommended by Sarah Vanheel from Cosmopoliclan

Start: Paia

End: Hana

Distance: 53 miles

Duration: Driving to Hana will only take you 2 to 3 hours but the journey involves plenty of exciting stops. You can experience this Road trip in one action-packed day or opt to spend the night in Hana and drive back to Paia the following day.

Best Time to Go: Maui sees favorable weather year-round. However, since the Road to Hana is located on the windward side of the island, the weather might be a deal-breaker on some days. It’s highly recommended to leave early, around 7-7.30 a.m., in order to beat the crowds.

Best Stops:

  • Twin & Caveman Falls
  • Rainbow Eucalyptus trees
  • Garden of Eden Arboretum
  • Honomanū Bay lookout
  • Ke’anae Arboretum
  • Wailua Valley State Wayside
  • Upper Waikani Falls
  • Pi’ilanihale Heiau
  • Wai’anapanapa State Park
  • Honokalani Black Sand Beach Maui
  • Hana town
  • Kaihalulu or Red Sand beach

Where to Stay: Travaasa Hana

Where to Eat: Coconut Glen’s, Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread, Huelo Lookout Fruit Stand, Rustbucket take out, and Ka Haku Smoke Shack.

The legendary Road to Hana is a bucket list item for many travelers to Hawaii. This meandering 53-mile long highway shapes the entire east coast of Maui, the Valley Isle.

Highlights of this epic road trip which starts at Paia and ends a bit past Hana in Haleakala, include waterfalls inviting enough to take a dip, botanical gardens featuring rainbow eucalyptus trees, quaint food stalls full of delicious treats, a sparkling black plus an intriguing red sand beach and so much more.

The landscape is so idyllic that even the occasional shower can’t spoil the road trip fun. Take in this spectacular scenery as you make your way to Hana town, where you can stock up on heavenly banana bread and crisp coconut candy.

Hana itself is probably the least attractive stop but the Road to Hana is all about the journey, not the destination. This full-day road trip, with its 620 curves and 59 one-lane bridges, maybe a bit too challenging for some drivers or upset the stomach of those in the backseat. If that’s the case, then rest assured that even driving halfway to Hana allows you to experience this adventurous side of Maui.

views of maui as seen from road to hana hawaii best road trips in usa

#18 Oregon Coast Road Trip

Recommended by Gina Tarnacki from Evergreen & Salt

Start: Seaside

End: Oregon/California border

Distance: 327 miles

Duration: 1-3 days

Best Time: Summer

Best Stops:

  • Cannon beach
  • Oregon Dunes National Park
  • Bandon

The Oregon Coast is a beautiful drive of rugged shoreline and crashing waves. The scenery along with the charming seaside towns you’ll encounter along the way makes this one of the best road trips in the USA.

Begin your Oregon Coast road trip in Seaside, which is about 90 minutes from Portland, and end your trip at the California border. Driving from Seaside to the Oregon/California border is 327 miles and can be done in a day, but most people spend several days doing the drive in order to properly enjoy the sights and attractions you’ll pass along the way.

An Oregon Coast road trip can be done at any time of the year, but if you want sunshine and longer daylight hours to enjoy the views, then summer is best. Plan for late spring or early fall to avoid crowds.

As you partake in this iconic road trip down the Oregon Coast, be sure to walk along the promenade in Seaside, stop in Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock, climb the large sand dune in Pacific City and spend time in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area for more sand dune fun, walk around the sea stacks in Bandon (also a great place to stay overnight), go tide pooling along the Gold Coast, and stop for lots of seafood along the way – don’t miss trying some clam chowder at original Mo’s in Newport. 

cannon beach oregon coast road trip best road trips in usa
© Gina Tarnacki | Cannon Beach

Have you taken any of the road trips from the list? Which one is your favorite? Let us know if we missed any epic road trip in the USA.

travel melodies pinterest
best road trips in usa

This article includes affiliate links to the products we earnestly love and recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, we might make a teeny-weeny commission if you click on the link and decide to buy something. The money will be used to sustain this little cozy blog we call our virtual home.

Sharing is nice 🙂 If you have liked our post please share it with your friends and family and feel free to subscribe to our mailing list or you can also follow our stories on Facebook, InstagramPinterest, and Twitter.

We'd love to hear your thoughts

shares