Are you fond of road trips? Do you prefer domestic travel over international vacations? If yes, here are the best roadtrips in the USA to satisfy the wanderlust.
Often, while swooning over Asian travel destinations or European holiday spots on Pinterest, you tend to forget that there are a ton of beautiful places in the US too.
However, you’re not alone.
Most travelers completely ignore the idea of discovering new places in their own country.
Luckily, the USA is home to stunning national parks and winding roads that stretch for miles on end.
Why not take advantage of the situation and take a road trip to an unknown place in the US?
Table of Contents
The Best Roadtrips in the USA
You can also take your own car, pack a few snacks, and create a playlist that you can jam to.
Once that’s arranged, you’re ready to take on the best road trips in the USA.
If you’re unfamiliar with some of the hidden gems in your country, allow me to introduce you to your next travel destination.
1. Columbia River Highway, Oregon
The Columbia River Highway is a 74-mile road trip that begins from Portland and spans the Columbia River Gorge.
When you’re on this route, prepare yourself to be fascinated by the wonders of nature.
Waterfalls, bridges, and rivers border the whole road.
As if that wasn’t serene enough, you’ll be traveling among mountains, surrounded by nature on all sides.
The Columbia River Highway is a concurrent route extending to Oregon Route 35 and Route 30. If you don’t want an overnight trip, you can break the journey into smaller portions.
For instance, you can take the 48-mile route that goes from Portland to Hood River. It will merely take you a day to cover this distance.
However, to make things more interesting, stay at a campsite at night. Most campgrounds in the region charge less than $50 for the night.
Overall, the Columbia River Highway is among the best family road trips since it has plenty of beautiful sights and wildlife along the way.
Also, you can enjoy free attractions, such as Horsetail Falls, to keep the trip budget-friendly.
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2. State Highway 82, Colorado
Colorado is known for everything outdoors, and road-tripping is one of them.
During the summer season, the state highway is the perfect spot to travel and discover. While you’re on the road, don’t miss the Independence Pass.
Running across 32 miles of the region’s mountainous terrain, the Independence Pass is a popular spot for tourists.
If you’re unsure about the right time to take this road trip, take my advice, and head out in the fall season. Since the roads close during winters, your only remaining chance to explore the route is during summers.
However, there’s just something divine about the leaves changing color against a scenic backdrop that you wouldn’t want to miss.
3. The Big Five in Utah
If your interest lies in fiery geography, this is among the best road trips in the USA for you.
The Southwestern region of the country is a popular attraction for local and international travelers due to an abundance of national parks.
Since the region has five national parks, it’s called ‘The Big Five.’
These include Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Zion National Park, and Capitol Reef national parks.
Check out what it looks like driving through Zion National Park from the ViaTravelers YouTube channel.
While all these parks are equally stunning and popular, I know some interesting facts about the Arches National Park.
Did you know that the park gets more than 1.5 million visitors every year?
Quite obviously, the major attraction in the national park is the Delicate Arch. It’s such an iconic geographic landmark that you’ll see it pictured on the state’s license plates.
Also, if you happen to spend the night on your road trip, you’ll see the most beautiful sky. Since there’s little light pollution and better air quality in the region, the stars shine much brighter than they do anywhere else.
Keep in mind that the weather can be quite harsh in Utah.
Make sure you stay hydrated and bring enough drinks along. Moreover, if you’re camping, keep all your van camping equipment at hand to deal with the fluctuating weather.
See Related: The Ultimate Grand Circle Road Trip
4. Pacific Coast Road Trip
If you’re in love with the ocean, why not spend 655 miles traveling along the vast Pacific?
The Pacific Ocean road trip is quite long, so it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
However, the highway has much more to offer than the ocean.
It also has tons of beaches, such as Pismo Beach, and historical landmarks, like Hearst Castle.
For those of you who’re into reality shows, you must know about Laguna Beach. Yes, it’s an actual beach on the Pacific Coast Highway. Quite close to the beach is the Laguna Art Museum, which is a perfect chilling spot for art lovers.
Today, the museum has over three thousand pieces of art from Californian artists.
Here’s another place to travel for the MTV enthusiasts: Malibu. Yes, the same Malibu that Miley Cyrus sang about.
You can visit the Malibu Farm or stop there for lunch. Alternatively, the sunsets at Zuma Beach make for a delightful experience.
5. Route 66
The chances are that you’ve heard about this route but never tried it.
Since it’s a longer road trip, you can either break it up into smaller parks or take the whole journey if you’re up for an adventure.
The road passes through multiple states. These include Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, and California. Thus, if you’re searching for the best road trips from Chicago, here’s a quintessential option for you.
If you’re traveling during the winter season, you’re in luck. Chicago holds the Winter Wonderfest during December. The festival offers different kinds of entertainment and seasonal attractions.
Since the event is indoors, you won’t be cold out in the open.
Also, you’ll be surrounded by more than five hundred Christmas trees, snow slides, and carnival rides.
Therefore, it’s among the best family road trips, since there will be an attraction for everyone.
Plus, if you happen to pass by Olean, Missouri, you may get to experience the Testicle Festival. Yes, you read that right.
As the name indicates, the festival is characterized by the consumption of battered or fried animal testicles. However, don’t be too bummed if your taste buds can’t stand the flavor of testicles.
The festival also includes other local cuisines, family events, and music.
Apart from these, there are plenty of other Midwest festivals that you can enjoy while you’re on a road trip on Route 66.
Thinking of having a trip on a different route? Here’s our guide for taking a famous route in Vermont for your family getaway.
6. Highway 7, Arkansas
Unfortunately, Arkansas isn’t as often talked about as it should be. The scenic beauty of the area is hard to beat.
Highway 7 stretches for up to 290 miles and will take you through the state’s hardwood and pine forests. Additionally, you’ll find yourself driving along rolling hills and magnificent rivers.
If the driving exhausts you, stay in the small towns in the region.
You can also visit the Ozark National Forest, which looks like a botanical work of art during the spring season.
For staying the night, you should consider one of the many lodges in the state. While most lodges start above $100, the tent sites prove to be a cheaper option. Most of them are under $30, even during the weeknights.
However, if you travel during peak season, which is during the summer months, the rent may be higher.
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7. Hawaii to Hana
If Adam Sandler movies have taught us one thing, it’s that Hawaii is the best place to be if you just want to sit back and relax.
The road trip from Hawaii to Hana is definitely one of the most aesthetically pleasing trips you’ll ever take in your life.
The route is covered by bamboo forests and winding roads all the way to Maui.
Being a 64-mile road, the trip can take some time. Thus, make sure that you have all your travel essentials, such as travel humidifiers and electronic accessories with you.
Also, the route is a bit tricky, considering it has many blind corners. If you’re not an expert, maybe let someone else take over the wheel.
In the meantime, you can marvel at all the sights during the journey.
8. Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Highway 101 forms the Olympic Peninsula Loop, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Therefore, even if you can travel across the region for a short while, it will be worth it. When you’re there, don’t forget to walk through the Hoh Rain Forest.
Also, the Loop has many coastlines and hiking paths that you can enjoy if you like to take on little adventures.
However, the most thrilling part of the journey is the scenic drive. The route offers the sight of Washington’s wildlife, massive mountains, and heart-pleasing waterfalls.
Needless to say, you won’t want to blink for a single moment of the trip.
If you make it snappy, you can travel across the route in just three days.
But if you want to have a full experience, stay a bit longer and try to visit every attraction along the way.
For instance, you can spend an hour or two at Lake Crescent. The lake is presumably thousands of years old and is crystal clear.
Another popular attraction in the Olympic National Park is the Staircase. You’ll find it in the southeastern corner of the park, covered by giant Douglas firs.
Here, you can either hike up a trail or simply admire the flora.
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9. Great River Road
The Great River Road expands along the Mississippi River, spanning ten states.
Along the way, you’ll spot many wildlife resorts, such as the Yazoo Refuge. Additionally, you can eat or spend time in the river towns, such as Rosedale. Or, you can sleep at Greenville before heading further on the route.
If you decide to take the full journey, you’ll soon find yourself in New Orleans, among the pleasing jazz music and interesting local food.
Since it’s a long journey, make sure to take the best cooler for a road trip along.
After all, you’re not going to take a sip from the Mississippi, are you?
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10. Ocean City to California
While some routes are considered the best family road trips for the versatile entertainment options in the way, this particular path will have you craving company because of how lonely and quiet it is.
Stretching from Maryland to Sacramento, California, the road trip is for people who love scenic beauty. The road takes you through four state capitals and twelve states in total.
For miles and miles, all you’ll see around you is a highway and mountains.
That’s where the route tends to get a bit quiet. Thus, it’s best to take a buddy along.
However, the road trip will also introduce you to some of the most beautiful places in the US. Among them, the Great Basin National Park tops the list.
Once you reach Nevada, you’ll find yourself glued to your camera since every sight along the way is worth capturing.
See Related: Best California Road Trips
Tips for Enjoying the Best Road Trips in the USA
If you’ve never taken a road trip due to the fear of over-spending, here are a few tips for driving across the US successfully without breaking the bank.
- Set a budget for the whole journey. If you’re traveling with family, make sure everyone sticks to the budget limit.
- If your relatives or friends live in the states you’ll pass during the road trip, ask them if you can stay the night. Besides helping you save money that you’d otherwise have to spend on a campsite or a lodge, you’ll also learn about new spots to explore from a local’s perspective.
- Instead of taking your kids to expensive entertainment sites like carnivals and amusement parks, keep them busy with road trip books.
- For one or two-day trips, pack food from home. You’ll save a lot by not eating out. You might want to check out our article for the best travel coolers you can find right now to help you with your saving.
- Don’t buy equipment. Instead, ask a friend if they can lend you their tent or camping gear. Likewise, you can also rent stuff.
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Wrapping up, I can confidently say that this guide covers some of the best road trips in the USA for families and solo travelers. There is still a lot more we can suggest like focusing on exploring the Midwest which is fun like any other road trip.
Whether you prefer the desert or love the sound of crashing waves, there’s an option for you on the list. On that note, Bon voyage!
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