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30 Best Road Trips In USA: Most Scenic Drives In America

30 Best Road Trips In USA: Most Scenic Drives In America

Are you looking for a comprehensive list of the very best road trips in the USA? We’re going to show you 30 great American road trips ranging from popular one day drives to famous multi-week cross country epics. Plus, we’ve thrown in a few custom US road trip routes of our own for original inspiration.

What makes a road trip one of the best in the USA?

Well, the best American road trips are exceptionally scenic, they have several landmark stops and most importantly – they are all bucket list worthy!

For each of our top 30 US road trips we will show you:

  • Start, end, distance and time
  • Key stops along the route
  • Explanation of each US road trip
  • Why each road trip is one of the best in USA

Let’s find your next USA road trip!

Table of Contents show

1. Alaska Adventure

  • Start: Anchorage
  • End: Valdez
  • Distance: 1000 miles
  • Days: 10-14
  • Season: Summer
  • Stops: Anchorage, Kenai Fjords, Denali, Fairbanks, Wrangell-St Elias, Valdez AK
Denali National Park in Alaska at sunrise
Alaska road trip with towering snow capped mountains

What Is The Alaska Adventure Road Trip?

The Alaska road trip encompasses the best of inhabited and uninhabited Alaska from Anchorage to the foothills of Denali.

Alaska is considered the ‘Final Frontier’ of America because it is wild, expansive and far less traveled than the other 49 US states.

Why Is The Alaska Adventure One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The typical road trip through Alaska features the remote cities of Anchorage, Fairbanks and Valdez along with incredibly dramatic national park scenery in Kenai Fjords, Denali and Wrangell-St Elias.

Rugged glaciers, towering snow capped mountains and endless miles of open road await you on a road trip through Alaska, USA.

2. Appalachian Trail

  • Start: Monson, ME
  • End: Chattahoochee – Oconee National Forests, GA
  • Distance: 1350 miles
  • Days: 10-14
  • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Stops: White Mountains NH; Green Mountains VT; Catskills NY; Shenandoah National Park VA; Blue Ridge Parkway NC
Farm in Vermont colorful with fall leaves part of the Appalachian road trip in US
Appalachian Trail road trip featuring photogenic farm near Woodstock Vermont in Fall

What Is The Appalachian Trail Road Trip?

The Appalachian Trail is one of the most famous hikes in the US. But what if you don’t have half a year spare to walk from Georgia to Maine? Well, you drive it instead.

Follow the iconic hiking trail by car as you drive through some of the most stunning scenery on the US east coast along the Appalachian mountain range.

Why Is The Appalachian Trail One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

From top to bottom the Appalachian Trail road trip is non-stop scenery overload. You will pass through the best of New England and have the chance to explore Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

Near the end of the Appalachian Trail you will drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, which features on almost every US road trip bucket list.

Top Tip – Start in Maine at the end of September and you will follow peak Fall foliage colors all the way down the US east coast to the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

3. Black Hills Loop

  • Start: Rapid City, SD
  • End: Rapid City, SD
  • Distance: 550 miles
  • Days: 4-7
  • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall (Best in Fall)
  • Stops: Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Wind Cave, Sylvan Lake, Deadwood SD; Devils Tower WY
Mount Rushmore at sunrise - one of the most popular stops on a black hills loop road trip in south dakota usa
Black Hills road trip with Mount Rushmore glowing at sunrise

What Is The Black Hills Loop Road Trip?

The popular Black Hills Loop road trip takes in western South Dakota’s finest scenery, landmarks and national parks in under one week.

Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Devils Tower and Wind Cave National Park are just the beginning of an unforgettable vacation to South Dakota.

Why Is Black Hills Loop One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

This special road trip around the Black Hills has become one of our personal favorite places to visit in the US. The region is overflowing with scenic drives, awesome hikes and historic wild west towns.

Hike to the summit of Black Elk Peak to stand at the highest point east of the Rockies. Take a tour of the third longest cave in the world in Jewel Cave. Or drive Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road over and over.

Read: Our top rated South Dakota Road Trip itineraries for a 4 and 7 day visit to the Black Hills.

4. Blue Ridge Parkway

  • Start: Waynesboro, VA
  • End: Cherokee, NC
  • Distance: 469 miles
  • Days: 3-7
  • Season: Year Round (Best in Fall)
  • Stops: Shenandoah, Natural Bridge, Roanoke, Mabry Mill VA; Boone, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls, Mount Mitchell, Asheville, Biltmore Estate, Great Smoky Mountains NC
Blue Ridge Parkway in early fall bending road
Blue Ridge Parkway road trip in Fall

What Is The Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip?

The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited NPS site in the United States, receiving almost 16 million recreational visitors in 2021 alone.

This world famous stretch of scenic byway is postcard-perfect from start to finish as it passes through rural Virginia and North Carolina.

Why Is Blue Ridge Parkway One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is endlessly picturesque but it also features several hiking trails, waterfalls and overlooks that shouldn’t be missed, including ending at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is easily accessible for millions on the US east coast without needing to cross the country or fly and hire a car. Fall is by far the best but most popular time to drive this iconic US road trip.

5. Border To Border

  • Start: Jasper National Park, Canada
  • End: Nogales, AZ
  • Distance: 2245 miles
  • Days: 10-14
  • Season: Year Round (Best in Spring or Fall)
  • Stops: Jasper National Park, Banff Canada; Glacier, Missoula MT; Craters of the Moon ID; Great Basin National Park, Moon Caves, Las Vegas NV; Phoenix, Saguaro AZ
Craters of the Moon in Idaho road winding through volcanic fields
Border to Border road trip featuring Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho

What Is The Border To Border Road Trip?

The Border to Border road trip follows US-93 from Glacier National Park in Montana down to the Mexican border at Nogales in Arizona.

This classic route transitions from dramatic mountains in the north to arid desert in the south. Although rural in parts, there are plenty of national parks and national monuments to keep things interesting.

Why Is Border To Border One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Most people think of great American road trips as going from west to east or vice versa, but going north to south means a far more varied topography over a shorter distance.

Border to Border takes in both spectacular mountain scenery and those classic open desert views as far as the horizon. This route is lesser known and therefore quieter when compared to other long distance road trips in the United States.

6. Coastal New England

  • Start: New York City, NY
  • End: Bar Harbor, ME
  • Distance: 610 miles
  • Days: 10-14
  • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall (Best in Fall)
  • Stops: New York City NY; Stamford, New Haven, Mystic CT; Providence RI; Cape Cod, Plymouth, Boston, Salem MA; Portsmouth NH; Portland, Boothbay Harbor, Bar Harbor, Acadia ME
Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine is one of the best stops to make on a Coastal New England road trip in northeast USA
Coastal New England road trip with Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine

What Is The Coastal New England Road Trip?

The Coastal New England road trip hugs the US eastern seaboard from New York City to Bar Harbor in Maine.

Technically, NYC isn’t in New England but starting here means you can drive through Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts without having to go back on yourself from Boston.

Why Is Coastal New England One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

This road trip has a bit of everything from maritime history to sublime seafood and from big city life to quaint fishing villages. It even ends at exceptionally popular Acadia National Park.

The more days you can include, the more immersive your coastal road trip experience will become. Take a whale watching tour, hike in Acadia and eat as much seafood as you can stomach.


7. Columbia River Gorge

  • Start: Portland, OR
  • End: Hood River, OR
  • Distance: 60 miles
  • Days: 1-2
  • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall (Best in Spring)
  • Stops: Portland, Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wakheena Falls, Multnomah Falls, Wahclella Falls, Eagle Creek, Hood River OR
Hiker in middle of thin waterfall along the Columbia River Gorge one of the best US road trips
Columbia River Gorge road trip features multiple waterfall hikes

What Is The Columbia River Gorge Road Trip?

The Columbia River Gorge is a wonderful 60 mile drive between Portland and Hood River in Oregon. What is there to do? Well, it’s all about waterfalls and hiking.

You will spend more time out of your car than you will driving on this incredibly popular road trip. The best way to experience the gorge is by driving back to Portland on the Washington side the next day for more waterfall action.

Why Is The Columbia River Gorge One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Do you like waterfalls? Who doesn’t!

Well, you will be blown away by the Columbia River Gorge. There are dozens of picture-perfect waterfalls, including but by no means limited to the famous Multnomah Falls.

The best part is that there are plenty of hard to reach and off the beaten path waterfalls for the more adventurous looking to escape the roadside waterfall crowds.

8. Deep South

  • Start: Charleston, SC
  • End: New Orleans, LA
  • Distance: 1100 miles
  • Days: 14-21
  • Season: Year Round (Best to avoid Summer)
  • Stops: Charleston SC; Savannah, Atlanta GA; Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, Mobile AL; Biloxi MS; Baton Rouge, New Orleans LA
Deep South road trip features the famous tree tunnel in Savannah GA
Deep South road trip featuring the famous tree tunnel in Savannah GA

What Is The Deep South Road Trip?

The Deep South road trip combines the best of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana into one unforgettable trip.

Learn about the civil rights movement, discover the birthplace of American music and gorge on the best barbecue food on the planet in the US southeast.

Why Is Deep South One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

If you’re looking for a true off the beaten path American road trip experience, the Deep South states are for you. The tourist hordes are everywhere but here, which makes for a more authentic and immersive trip to the US.

You will be charmed by the Southern Belle states from delicious food to friendly locals. Plus, there are dozens of stops you can include in neighboring states of Florida and Tennessee if you have more time.

9. East Coast (Atlantic Coast)

  • Start: Miami
  • End: Boston
  • Distance: 1700 miles
  • Days: 14-21
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Miami, Orlando FL; Savannah GA; Charleston, Myrtle Beach SC; Outer Banks NC; Virginia Beach VA; Washington DC; Philadelphia PA; New York City NY; Hartford CT; Boston MA
New York City skyline at sunset is one of the top places in the USA to start a road trip including the East Coast or Atlantic Road Trip
East Coast road trip with the famous New York City skyline at sunset a highlight

What Is The East Coast Road Trip?

The East Coast road trip is a true US bucket list driving experience that involves city hopping between the major urbanized areas on the Atlantic seaboard.

A more relaxed and scenic middle section is sandwiched by Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington DC in the north and Miami, Savannah and Charleston in the south.

Why Is East Coast One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

This epic coastal road trip is steeped in history from top to bottom and it takes you into the heart of life on the Atlantic Coast.

Add more time to combine those world famous cities with endless outdoor activities in between for the ultimate East Coast road trip experience.

10. Great Northern

  • Start: Seattle, WA
  • End: Acadia National Park, ME
  • Distance: 3300 miles
  • Days: 14-21
  • Season: Summer, Fall
  • Stops: Seattle, Leavenworth WA; Coeur d’Alene ID; Glacier National Park MT; Devils Lake ND; Duluth MN; (Canada), Burlington, Stowe VT; Gorham NH; Bar Harbor, Acadia ME
Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park Maine marks one end of the Great Northern USA road trip
Great Northern road trip terminus at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse in Acadia National Park

What Is The Great Northern Road Trip?

The Great Northern road trip is a long distance journey following US Highway 2 across the top of the USA from Washington in the west to Maine in the east.

This huge undertaking combines the best of northern America and even crosses into Canada for a spell between Michigan and Vermont.

Why Is Great Northern One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

This quiet and relaxing road trip route running parallel to the Canadian border is rural, isolated and entirely away from any crowds.

From mountain views to prairies, great plains and forest in the western and central parts of northern America, you will drive through Ontario and Montreal in Canada before re-entering the US at Lake Champlain.

Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in New England complete the longest trans-continental highway in the US.

11. Great River Road

  • Start: Minneapolis, MN
  • End: New Orleans, LA
  • Distance: 1400 miles
  • Days: 7-14
  • Season: Year Round (Avoid Winter in the north)
  • Stops: Minneapolis, St Paul MN; La Crosse WI; Le Claire IO; Hannibal, St Louis MO; Memphis TN; Natchez MS; New Orleans LA
Largest 6 pack of beers in the world in La Cross Wisconsin
Great River road trip featuring the world’s largest six pack in La Cross WI

What Is The Great River Road Road Trip?

The Great River Road passes through 10 US states following the famous Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota to its mouth in the Gulf of Mexico.

Several local, state and federal roads have combined to create the GRR, which is signposted with a green pilot’s wheel and steamboat from top to bottom.

Why Is Great River Road One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Great River Road is by no means the most attractive US road trip with riverside industrial areas a common sight. However, town hopping downstream through farmland, swamps, forest and wildlife areas is a unique experience.

This is a chilled foodie and music lovers road trip, away from the tourist attractions and cities on the coasts. The name of the game is to eat, drink and sing your way from Minneapolis to New Orleans.

12. Kancamagus Highway

  • Start: Lincoln, NH
  • End: Conway, NH
  • Distance: 35 miles
  • Days: 1
  • Season: Year Round (Best in Fall)
  • Stops: Hancock Overlook, Pemigewasset Overlook, Sugar Hill, Champney Falls, Rocky Gorge, Albany Covered Bridge
Heart Lake along the Kancamagus Highway road trip through White Mountains in New Hampshire during Fall one of the best short easy road trips in America
Kancamagus Highway road trip in Fall

What Is The Kancamagus Highway Trip?

The Kancamagus Highway is a fantastic one day road trip route from Lincoln to Conway in New Hampshire’s stunning White Mountains.

This is a year round road trip, but it is best and most popular in peak Fall foliage season around the beginning of October.

Why Is Kancamagus Highway One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

For such a short, easy and accessible road trip, “The Kanc” packs a mightily impressive punch of picturesque rolling hills, waterfall hikes and photogenic covered bridges.

This is 35 miles of pure White Mountain scenery at its finest and should be included on any visit to the New England region, particularly in Fall when the colors are most vibrant and radiant.

Read: Our complete road trip guide to the best stops along Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire.

13. Los Angeles To Las Vegas

  • Start: Los Angeles
  • End: Las Vegas
  • Distance: 1050 miles
  • Days: 14-21
  • Season: Spring, Fall
  • Stops: Los Angeles, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Lone Pine, Death Valley National Park CA; Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas NV
Lake Tahoe emerald bay at sunrise one of the best places to visit on a USA road trip
Lake Tahoe to Las Vegas road trip starting or ending at Emerald Bay State Park

What Is The Los Angeles To Las Vegas Road Trip?

Our version of the perfect Los Angeles to Las Vegas road trip takes you on an alternate route through the best highlights of eastern California.

Visit popular national parks, state parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty flanking both sides of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Why Is Los Angeles To Las Vegas One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

How does this route sound?

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, northern California hot springs, Alabama Hills, Death Valley National Park and ending with a party in Las Vegas.

Pretty awesome combination, right?!

This custom US road trip is perfect for hikers and photographers looking for adventure and spectacular landscapes.

14. Las Vegas Loop (Utah + Arizona)

  • Start: Las Vegas, NV
  • End: Las Vegas, NV
  • Distance: 1700 miles
  • Days: 14-21
  • Season: Spring, Fall
  • Stops: Valley of Fire NV; Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks UT; Monument Valley, Page AZ; Kanab UT; Grand Canyon North Rim and South Rim, Sedona, Phoenix, Saguaro National Park AZ
Grand Canyon South Rim is one of the best places to visit on a Utah and Arizona American Southwest road trip through USA
Las Vegas Loop road trip into Utah and Arizona features Grand Canyon South Rim

What Is The Las Vegas Loop Road Trip?

Our version of the classic Las Vegas Loop road trip combines the best of Utah and Arizona into one incredible American Southwest adventure.

This quintessential US road trip is about iconic rock formations, adventure hikes and some of the most unique photography locations on the planet.

Why Is Las Vegas Loop One Of The Best Road Trips In The US?

There are almost too many visually stunning parts of the American Southwest to include here, but think Valley of Fire, Grand Canyon, Zion and one of our favorite places in the US – Sedona, Arizona.

This journey through Utah and Arizona is a strong contender the best road trip in the USA, but it is a busy region. Consider visiting Kanab Utah if you’re looking for a quieter experience in the American Southwest.

15. Loneliest Road

  • Start: Sacramento, CA
  • End: Ocean City, MD
  • Distance: 3100 miles
  • Days: 14 – 21
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Lake Tahoe CA; Great Basin National Park NV; Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park UT; Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park CO; Kansas City, St Louis MO; Cincinnati OH; Washington DC
Delicate Arch at sunset on the Loneliest Road trip across America
Loneliest Road road trip passes through Arches National Park and this sunset at Delicate Arch

What Is The Loneliest Road Road Trip?

The Loneliest Road is a cross country road trip running west coast to east coast from Sacramento, California to Ocean City, Maryland.

Also known as ‘The Backbone of America”, this epic long distance road trip follows US highway 50 passing through 14 states, 4 state capitals and countless varied landscapes.

Why Is Loneliest Road One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Loneliest Road isn’t as rural and lonely as it sounds, at least not today. This country dissecting route passes through stunning mountains, lakes, desert and farmland. There are stops at Great Basin National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park en route.

Nevada’s portion of US 50 is desolate but stunningly beautiful. This particular section is known as “The Loneliest Road in America”. If you’re going cross country in the USA, this road trip has a bit of everything.

16. Mount Rushmore To Yellowstone & Grand Teton

  • Start: Rapid City, SD
  • End: Jackson, WY
  • Distance: 775 miles
  • Days: 10
  • Season: Summer, Fall
  • Stops: Rapid City, Mt Rushmore, Spearfish Canyon SD; Devils Tower, Buffalo, Cody, Yellowstone National Park loop, Grand Teton National Park, Jackson WY
Grand Prismatic Spring colorful and steaming in Yellowstone National Park Wyoming a popular road trip route in the USA
Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone and Grand Teton road trip featuring Grand Prismatic Spring

What Is The Mount Rushmore To Yellowstone & Grand Teton Road Trip?

Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone and Grand Teton is a custom road trip itinerary encompassing the best of South Dakota’s Black Hills and the two most popular places to visit in Wyoming.

Split your time between hiking and sightseeing near Mount Rushmore with the best highlights of Yellowstone and Grand Teton in ten unforgettable days.

Why Is Mount Rushmore To Yellowstone & Grand Teton One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

We have personally driven this route twice and both times were amazing. You can tick off so many bucket list places in one trip from the Black Hills to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

The drive between allows you to visit Devils Tower National Monument and drive Cloud Peak Skyway over the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming.

If you’re looking for something a little different and unique, try this awesome route for your next road trip in the USA.

Read: Our popular 10 day Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone and Grand Teton road trip itinerary.

17. Natchez Trace

  • Start: Nashville, TN
  • End: Natchez, MS
  • Distance: 444 miles
  • Days: 4-7
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Nashville, Franklin, Leiper’s Fork, Hohenwald TN; Florence, Muscle Shoals AL; Tupelo, Natchez MS
Country bar called Luke's in Nashville TN
Natchez Trace road trip starting on Lower Broadway in Nashville TN

What Is The Natchez Trace Road Trip?

The Natchez Trace road trip is a hugely popular 444 mile journey from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi.

This route is all about music, civil war history and Americana. The shorter distance means you can spend more time immersing yourself into the culture of each area along the way.

Why Is Natchez Trace One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Driving the two lane Natchez Trace scenic byway is a road trip for relaxing. With a speed limit set to 50mph throughout, road trippers are forced to explore the beautiful south in the slow lane.

Stopping in the most popular parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, this classic US road trip is free of commercialism and takes you into the heart of authentic American history.

18. New England Fall

  • Start: Burlington, VT
  • End: Boston, MA
  • Distance: 570 miles
  • Days: 7-14
  • Season: Fall
  • Stops: Burlington, Stowe VT; Franconia Notch, Mt Washington, Kancamagus Highway, Lake Winnipesaukee NH; Woodstock, Manchester VT; Route 2 North Adams to Harvard MA
Stowe Vermont smugglers notch road from drone colorful trees in Fall make new england one of the best USA road trips
New England in Fall road trip featuring Smugglers Notch in Stowe VT

What Is The New England Fall Road Trip?

The New England Fall road trip is one of those truly unmissable experiences for those who enjoy natural beauty and unique experiences.

This world famous US road trip includes driving through rural Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts during peak Fall foliage season.

Why Is New England In Fall One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

You can find Fall colors scattered throughout the United States, but nowhere compares to the unimaginably vibrant colors in New England at the end of September and beginning of October.

Photographers and nature lovers flock to New England in Fall by the thousands to see the famous church in Stowe Vermont and stunning farms and covered bridges in Woodstock Vermont.

Hikers head to Mount Washington, Artists Bluff and Flume Gorge in New Hampshire before driving the Kancamagus Highway and crossing into Massachusetts to drive the Mohawk Trail.

19. Olympic Peninsula

  • Start: Seattle, WA
  • End: Seattle, WA
  • Distance: 400+ miles
  • Days: 3-7
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Seattle, Port Townsend, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, Forks, Hoh Rainforest, Lake Quinalt, Staircase, Seattle WA
Hoh Rainforest is a must stop on the Olympic Peninsula road trip in USA pacific northwest
Olympic Peninsula road trip featuring Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park

What Is The Olympic Peninsula Road Trip?

The Olympic Peninsula road trip is a fantastic 400 mile loop drive circling Olympic National Park in Washington, USA.

This road trip takes you to every part of the ever popular Olympic National Park, from Staircase in the east to Hurricane Hill in the north and from the beaches near Forks in the northwest to Hoh rainforest and Lake Quinault in the southwest.

Why Is Olympic Peninsula One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Olympic National Park is home to fun hikes leading to rugged mountain summits, serene lakes, sandy beaches with stunning sunsets and extraordinary temperate rainforest with hanging moss.

The Olympic Peninsula Loop takes you to all of these places plus Port Townsend and even the San Juan Islands with more time. This short loop road trip out of Seattle is easy, accessible and fun to its end.

20. Oregon Coast

  • Start: Astoria, OR
  • End: Brookings, OR
  • Distance: 340 miles
  • Days: 4-7
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Astoria, Cannon Beach, Tillamook, Pacific City, Otter Rock, Newport, Yachats, Heceta, Bandon, Samuel H Boardman, McVay Rock OR
Stunning sunset at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast one of the best road trips in the US
Oregon Coast road trip sunset at Cannon Beach

What Is The Oregon Coast Road Trip?

The Oregon Coast road trip is a popular 340 miles coastal drive from Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south of Oregon.

This road trip is all about taking things slowly, stopping in at every coastal town and watching epic sunsets every evening from another beach along the route.

Why Is Oregon Coast One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Oregon Coast road trip is as picturesque as it is relaxing. You can up the ante with side stops to Silver Falls State Park and even Crater Lake National Park.

This is one for photographers to get excited about with countless coastal rock formations creating iconic subjects, such as Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach and Thor’s Well in Yachats.

21. Oregon Trail

  • Start: Cannon Beach, OR
  • End: Cape Cod, MA
  • Distance: 3200 miles
  • Days: 14-28
  • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
  • Stops: Cannon Beach, Oregon, Columbia River Gorge OR; Boise, Craters of the Moon ID; Yellowstone WY; Mt Rushmore SD; Sioux City IO; Chicago IL; Indiana Dunes IN; Niagara Falls, Finger Lakes NY; Boston, Cape Cod MA
Niagara Falls near Buffalo New York is a popular stop on the Oregon Trail road trip route in the US
Oregon Trail featuring Niagara Falls New York on the US – Canada border

What Is The Oregon Trail Road Trip?

The Oregon Trail road trip follows the old US-20 Highway across country from Cannon Beach in Oregon to Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Pioneers once followed the historic Oregon Trail west to the Pacific Coast. Today this epic road trip traditionally runs west to east through some of the finest scenery in America.

Why Is Oregon Trail One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Oregon Trail is one of the most attraction packed long distance cross country US road trips. This epic route includes the Oregon Coast, Columbia River Gorge, Yellowstone, Mt Rushmore, Chicago, Indiana Dunes, Niagara Falls, New York Finger Lakes and Boston.

You will need 3-4 weeks if you intend on visiting the best stops on the Oregon Trail road trip. If you have the time, this is a once in a lifetime USA road trip you’ll always remember.

22. Outer Banks

  • Start: Nags Head, NC
  • End: Ocracoke Island, NC
  • Distance: 128 miles
  • Days: 1-2
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Roanoke Island, Bodie Island, Pea Island, Cape Hatteras, Ocracoke Island NC
Outer Banks in North Carolina pier and beach at sunset
Outer Banks road trip in North Carolina

What Is The Outer Banks Road Trip?

The Outer Banks road trip is a popular 128 mile long scenic byway over several islands off the coast of North Carolina.

Following highway 12 through 21 coastal villages with two ferry crossings, this island hopping route in the Atlantic Ocean is best driven slowly over a few lazy days.

Why Is Outer Banks One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Outer Banks road trip is relaxing, peaceful and serene. Miles of stunning coastal scenery, sandy beaches and sounds of the ocean crashing make for a sleepy vacation.

Not everyone wants to hike mountains or drive a thousand miles across a bleak landscape. If you’re more interested in tranquil walks on the beach and watching a stunning sunrise, this is the one for you.

23. Overseas Highway

  • Start: Miami, FL
  • End: Key West, FL
  • Distance: 160 miles
  • Days: 1-3
  • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer
  • Stops: Miami, Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, Key Largo, Islamorado, Marathon, Seven Mile Bridge, Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park FL
Overseas highway in Florida freeway built over turquoise water in southeastern USA
Overseas Highway road trip in Florida connects mainland USA to the keys

What Is The Overseas Highway Road Trip?

The Overseas Highway road trip connects Miami to the dreamy Florida Keys in the far US southeast. There are never-ending Atlantic Ocean views to the left and Gulf of Mexico views to the right.

Drivers will cross 42 bridges to visit 44 small islands surrounded by water along a 113 mile stretch between Key Largo and Key West.

Why Is Overseas Highway One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Overseas Highway road trip is perfect for those seeking a slice of the Caribbean within the United States. You could drive the entire route in a day, but why would you?!

Get away from the typical mountain ranges and deserts with a calming and unhurried road trip through turquoise waters instead. Eat, drink rum, sit on the beach and visit all 3 national parks in the area.

24. Pacific Coast Highway

  • Start: Olympia, WA
  • End: San Diego, CA
  • Distance: 1800 miles
  • Days: 21
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Olympic National Park WA; Cannon Beach, Samuel H Boardman OR; Redwood National Park, San Francisco, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego CA
Pacific Coast Highway pacific ocean and cliffs
Pacific Coast Highway road trip typical coastal views

What Is The Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip?

The legendary Pacific Coast Highway road trip combines the best of the US west coast into one epic long distance adventure.

Starting with a counter-clockwise loop around the Olympic Peninsula, the route follows US-101 down the Oregon Coast and all the way down the California Coast to San Diego.

Why Is Pacific Coast Highway One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Pacific Coast Highway is scenic, sunny and sandy from top to bottom. There are countless places to stop in Oregon and northern California before the “popular” section begins at San Francisco.

Spring or Fall would be the best time to drive with the roof down and tunes blaring along the winding coast hugging roads of 101. This is a true bucket list road trip in the USA.

25. Road To Hana

  • Start: Mile Marker 0 (Route 360), HI
  • End: Hana, HI
  • Distance: 34 miles
  • Days: 1
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Twin Falls, Garden of Eden, Honomanu Bay, Lava Tube, Waianapanapa State Park, Hana HI
Road to Hana in Hawaii lush green trees with curving road and waterfall
Road to Hana road trip in Hawaii lush green vegetation and waterfall

What Is The Road To Hana Road Trip?

The Road To Hana road trip is a twisting and slaloming 34 mile scenic byway on the eastern side of Maui in Hawaii.

Starting at mile marker 0, the ever curving coastal road passes by several waterfalls and overlooks as it runs southeast to the town of Hana. The route does continue beyond Hana and encircles most of Maui but it isn’t technically a part of the “Road To Hana”.

Why Is The Road To Hana One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Road To Hana is Hawaii’s best road trip route. It constantly snakes and bends around turn after turn, leading to a dozen or so beaches, gardens, lava tubes and waterfalls.

If you’re visiting Hawaii, the two things you can’t miss are Haleakala National Park and driving The Road To Hana. A word of warning – this route is very busy and can be dangerous so drive safely!

26. Road To Nowhere

  • Start: Minot, ND
  • End: Brownsville, TX
  • Distance: 1885 miles
  • Days: 7-10
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Bismarck ND; Pierre, Badlands National Park SD; Smith Falls, North Platte NE; Liberal KS; Abilene, San Antonio, South Padre Island TX
Badlands National Park on a cloudy day in April
Road to Nowhere road trip featuring Badlands National Park, SD

What Is The Road To Nowhere Road Trip?

The Road To Nowhere road trip is a long distance north-south route from North Dakota to Texas following US highway 83.

Following 89 almost exactly dead south, this is a route on which you will encounter not a single famous or popular tourist attraction or city.

Why Is Road To Nowhere One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Road To Nowhere truly is a case of driving across country without stopping too often. Take it easy, drive 200 miles a day at a leisurely pace, soaking up the never-ending grasslands on Midwestern USA.

A short side trip to Badlands National Park, SD provides the only national park option. Otherwise, it is just small town after small town until you reach San Antonio in Texas. Don’t forget to remember the Alamo!

27. Route 66

  • Start: Chicago, IL
  • End: Santa Monica, CA
  • Distance: 2450 miles
  • Days: 14-21
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Chicago, Gemini Giant, Springfield IL; St Louis, Sullivan MO; Arcadia OK; Shamrock, Amarillo TX; Santa Rosa NM; Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon South Rim AZ; San Bernadino, Los Angeles, Santa Monica CA
Chicago cloud gate sculpture at one end of the famous USA road trip Route 66
Route 66 road trip starting or ending at Cloud Gate sculpture in Chicago IL

What Is The Route 66 Road Trip?

Route 66 is arguably the most iconic road trip in North America. It is the classic, the one USA road trip everyone knows and wishes they did in its heyday back in the 1950’s.

Once known as “America’s Highway”, millions would drive from Los Angeles to Chicago each year which created a network of connections between small town middle America.

Why Is Route 66 One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Route 66 is not what it once was. But it is more than just a slice of nostalgia today and is still one of the best ways to travel across most of America.

The legendary and historic “Mother Road” passes through 8 states and 3 time zones. That includes stops at Grand Canyon National Park and ending at Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles.

28. San Francisco To San Diego

  • Start: San Francisco, CA
  • End: San Diego, CA
  • Distance: 630 miles
  • Days: 7-10
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: San Francisco, Monterrey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo, Solvang, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County, La Jolla, San Diego CA
Bixby Bridge near Big Sur on one of thest most popular USA road trips from San Francisco to San Diego
San Francisco and San Diego road trip featuring Bixby Bridge near Big Sur

What Is The San Francisco To San Diego Road Trip?

The San Francisco to San Diego road trip accounts for around one-third of the complete Pacific Coast Highway. But this section is by far the most popular and heavily traveled.

The best places to visit along this road trip include Monterrey, 17 mile drive, Carmel-By-The-Sea, Big Sur, Solvang, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. The key is giving yourself enough time for this action packed journey.

Why Is San Francisco To San Diego One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Driving the entire length of the Pacific Coast might not be achievable for many. This shorter version including most of the top highlights is a wonderful alternative.

This is the sunniest, warmest and most exciting section on the PCH to drive. You can stop at an array of beaches and explore California’s finest coastal cities from SF to San Diego.

Read: Our popular guide to the best stops on a San Francisco to San Diego road trip.

29. Southern Pacific

  • Start: San Diego, CA
  • End: Savannah, GA
  • Distance: 2900 miles
  • Days: 14-21
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: San Diego, Jacumba CA; Tombstone AZ; Guadalupe Mountain National Park TX; Carlsbad Caverns National Park NM; Dallas TX; Shreveport, Gibsland LA; Jackson MS; Selma, Montgomery AL; Columbus, Macon, Savannah, Tybee Island GA
Sunset Cliffs in San Diego living up to its name with a gorgeous sunset
Southern Pacific road trip starting or ending with a serene sunset at Sunset Cliffs in San Diego CA

What Is The Southern Pacific Road Trip?

The Southern Pacific road trip begins in sunny San Diego California and follows old US highway 80 across the southern lands of the USA all the way east to Savannah Georgia.

A diverse array of landscapes, cultures and scenery awaits drivers hugging the US south. You can almost guarantee good weather which makes this one of the only true year round cross country journeys.

Why Is Southern Pacific One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

The Southern Pacific road trip combines old desert gold rush towns with arid national parks and important civil rights movement history.

This is a wild and wonderful long distance journey and it might just have the best food of any road trip you can think of in the US. From tex-mex to cajun and creole, this is how foodies should drive across America.

30. Zion To Bryce Canyon

  • Start: Zion National Park, UT
  • End: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  • Distance: 87 miles
  • Days: 3-5
  • Season: Year Round
  • Stops: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park UT
Zion Canyon overlook spectacular vista through the giant canyon walls of Zion
Zion to Bryce Canyon road trip sunset at Zion National Park Canyon Overlook

What Is The Zion To Bryce Canyon Road Trip?

The Zion to Bryce Canyon road trip focuses on just 2 of the 5 major Utah national parks in Zion and Bryce Canyon. This is perfect for those who want to get a taste for the American Southwest and take on some of the top bucket list hikes in Utah.

Ideally you will spend 2-3 days in Zion National Park and 1-2 days in Bryce Canyon National Park to make the most of both unique landscape. There is nothing to see in between and driving is kept to a minumum.

Why Is Zion To Bryce Canyon One Of The Best Road Trips In The USA?

Zion and Bryce Canyon showcase the beauty of Utah with dramatic topography, incredible hikes and stunning photography opportunities. This road trip can be completed in a long weekend or mid-week period using Las Vegas as a start / end point.

Zion’s hikes are out of this world and Bryce Canyon’s amphitheater is like nothing you’ve seen before. This is one of the best short road trips in America.

Read: Our action packed 3 day road trip from Zion to Bryce Canyon National Park.

FAQ’s For The Best USA Road Trips

Let’s finish with some of the most asked questions about the most popular road trips in the USA.

What Is The Best Road Trip In The United States?

Driving a loop from Las Vegas to the Utah Mighty 5 and Arizona parks and back to Las Vegas has to be considered as one of the very best road trips in the United States. It is action packed, filled with extraordinary landscapes, accessible year round, logistically very easy and can be completed in 2 weeks.

What Is The Most Scenic Drive In The United States?

The Pacific Coast Highway from Olympia to San Diego and New England in Fall are two of the most scenic drives in the United States for very different reasons. Mountains, beaches and bucket list cities await on the PCH. Conversely, New England is all about vibrant fall foliage lighting up quaint rural towns in Vermont and New Hampshire.

Can You Drive Across The US In 2 Weeks?

The shortest drive across the US takes around 34 hours from San Diego, CA to Jacksonville, FL. In 2 weeks, you can drive across the US between several start and points, with multiple stops at points of interest on the way.

How Long Would A Full US Road Trip Take?

Driving around the entire US could take anywhere between 1-6 months. Total length depends on how many stops you intend to make and whether you are including Alaska and Hawaii.

More Best Of The USA Guides

We hope this guide to 30 of the best USA Road Trips helps with planning your next American adventure!

Please let us know if you have any questions about this list of the best road trips in the USA in the comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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