Want to road trip the US? If you are looking for road trip inspiration and ideas for your next great American road trip, I have put together a list of the best road trips in the USA as suggested by my fellow travel bloggers.
Best Road Trips in the USA
Historic Route 66 Road Trips in the USA
Route: Chicago to Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles
Distance: 2,448 miles
Suggested Duration: Approximately 2 weeks
Best time to go: The best time to go is from May to October, with peak season during June, July and August.
Tip: Pick up a Route 66 travel guide because GPS will direct you to the fastest route instead of the historical route. Route 66: EZ66 GUIDE For Travelers is considered one of the most useful Route 66 guides.
Route 66 is a historic road that traverses 8 states across USA and one of the most famous road trips in the world. It was one of the country’s first transcontinental highways that originated during the Great Depression. During these tough economic times, hundreds of families moved to California following what is now the historic Route 66. This road tells the quintessential story of freedom and the American Dream. Highlights of this route include Cadillac Ranch in Texas, an art installation that has become a must stop and Santa Fe, with its Spanish-influenced old town and adobe architecture. It is also worth taking a bit of a detour to visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona. – Contributed by Teresa from Brogan Abroad
Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)
Route: Leggett, California to Dana Point, California on California State Route 1
Distance: About 659 miles
Suggested Duration: At least a week depending on stops
Best Time to Go: Any time of the year
Tip: If you have more time, explore the entire West Coast by extending the road trip to Seattle (see West Coast Road Trip below).
A Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) road trip is one of best road trips you can take in the USA and is a good way to explore the California coast. While the CA State Route 1 starts in Leggett, California in the North, some people skip the northern portion and start the trip in San Francisco. CA State Highway 1 ends in Dana Point which is in Orange County but you can extend your trip to San Diego or end the trip in LA.
If time is short, the leg between Monterey to Cambria is one of the most beautiful portions. Click here to read about must see Pacific Road Trip stops.
West Coast Roadtrip Road Trips in the USA
Route: San Diego to Seattle (HWY 1 + 101 up to Seattle)
Distance: Around 1300 miles
Suggested Duration: 1-2 weeks depending on stops
Best Time to Go: This trip is best in the spring, summer or fall.
A trip up the West Coast is not to be missed. Starting in San Diego, and heading north to Seattle will take you to some awesome places. San Diego to Los Angeles is filled with beautiful beaches and great surf. Head north towards San Francisco, and spend some time in the Bay before heading to the Redwoods. In Oregon, you can typically find some exciting sea life just off the shore. There’s lots of forests and great lookout spots all the way up into Washington just before the end of the coast in Seattle. Notable stops along the way include the Hollywood Sign, Big Sur cliffs, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Space Needle, along with several beautiful spots along the coast.Be sure to get out of the car and explore! Don’t forget to hit the Northeastern most point of the 48. – Contributed by Sara from Our Kind of Crazy.
Oregon Loop Road Trips in the USA
Route: Portland to Portland loop
Distance: 774 miles
Suggested Duration: 5 days
Best time to go: Oregon remains pretty cool year-round, so it’s best to stick to warmer months. The best time to go is late spring to early fall.
Oregon is one of the most beautiful states in the US. With a rugged coastline, epic waterfalls, and stunning mountains, it makes for one of the best road trips in the country! Start in Portland and work your way (via coastline if you have enough time) to Klamath Falls to Running Y Ranch, which features horseback riding, a spa, incredible views and an 18-hole Arnold Palmer gold course. Work your way from Klamath Falls to Crater Lake National Park,
America’s deepest lake (be sure to fill up your tank there isn’t gas around for miles)! Oregon may be well known for it’s waterfalls and mountains, but Bend is a stark contrast from the rest of Oregon with it’s desert landscape. Be sure to get up for sunrise at Smith Rock State Park and stick around to climb at of the country’s best climbing destinations, or a take in the views with a hike.
From Bend, head to Mt Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. Whether you plan to ski it, hike it, or just drive to it, Mt Hood’s size will take your breath away. Visit must-see spots Rowena Crest and Multnomah Falls before heading to Portland.
Portland is a city where they love to keep things weird. You’ll find all kinds of obscurities throughout the city. A great time to visit is summer for their brew-fest, as the city has some of the best micro-breweries in the US.
Utah National Park Road Trip
Route: Starts and Ends in Salt Lake City, Utah (but can be modified to start and end in Las Vegas, Nevada)
Distance: 900 miles
Suggested Duration: 7 days
Best time to go: This Utah road trip is best done in early fall or late spring. The weather is nice but not super hot.
Tip: Plan in advance and get permits to hike in Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park. Try to camp in each of these parks – it is a unique experience.
Utah is the land of national parks. The state has 5 national parks all within a half-day drive of each other. From Salt Lake City, head to Moab and spend two days exploring the unique stone pillars of Canyonlands National Park along with world’s largest concentration of arches in Arches National Park. From there head over to Capitol Reef National Park and take a scenic drive and enjoy some pie. Bryce Canyon National Park is next. Hiking in this park takes you in and around the hoodoos. This is one of the best parks for sunrises. The last stop is Zion. Zion National Park is the place to push your fears and take an epic hike up to Angels Landing. – Contributed by Jennifer Melroy from National Park Obsessed
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