USA Road Trip Ideas | The best American road trip routes

There is truly nothing like a road trip! Between beautiful views, epic playlists, random pit stops, fun adventures, delicious snacks, camping and everything in between, a road trip is a great way to explore and make great memories! When it comes to the perfect road trip, there is no better place than the United States. From historical cities to beautiful coastlines and phenomenal National Parks to soaring mountains, there are so many USA road trip ideas you could add to your bucket list!

With this in mind, we asked road trip extraordinaire and US resident, Taylor from Brown Eyed Flower Child, to put together some ideas including routes in four of her favorite areas of the USA: New England, Southern California, Colorado and the South.

Because the States is such a gigantic country to explore there are obviously heaps more places you could add to your Great American Route Trip Route, some of which we’ve included as bonus ideas at the end of this article.

Your USA road trip planner

Before we hit the highway, I thought I’d plot out the best American road trip routes for you in the map below.

Picking the right rental vehicle for your road trip

If you want to check out the best prices for car rentals for your USA Road Trip, then we suggest you check out the latest deals on RentalCars.

And before you start your road trip, make sure that you’re in the know and have planned ahead well, you’ll definitely want to tick off your road trip essentials checklist.

New England road trip

Let’s get this USA road trip started with New England, one of the most beautiful areas in the United States. From the charming streets of Boston to biking in Cape Cod or boutique-hopping in Mystic, New England offers you everything from coastal gems to spectacular national parks.

When to go to New England

One of the best times to visit the New England area is during autumn which runs from about September to December each year. Between the outstanding fall foliage, crisp weather and the expanse amount of autumn activities, there really is no other place in the world like New England during autumn.

New England – your road trip route

Below are the destinations you can’t skip out on when doing a New England road trip:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  • Newport, Rhode Island
  • Mystic, Connecticut
  • The Berkshires, Massachusetts
  • Woodstock, Vermont
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Portland, Maine
  • Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts

The perfect start and end point for your New England road trip is Boston. That’s since Boston is a large city where it’s easy to fly to and from different parts of the world to begin your road trip. Below is everything you have to do when you’re in bustling Boston:

  • Visit the Liberty Hotel. Formerly known as the Charles Street Jail, this luxury hotel is the perfect place to grab brunch, lunch or dinner
  • Wander through Boston’s most charming neighborhood – Beacon Hill – one of the most Instagrammable spots in Boston.
  • Enjoy Boston’s nature by taking a stroll through the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common
  • Have a drink at the Cheers Bar
  • Go beer tasting at either Samuel Adams Brewery or Harpoon Brewery
  • Watch the sunset on the Boston Harbor

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Travel time – Boston to Cape Cod: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cape Cod in Massachusetts offers the perfect beach vacation spots for all to enjoy within the state. Even if you aren’t visiting Cape Cod during the heart of the summer season, there are still so many memorable things to enjoy:

  • Enjoy the nature and beauty at Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Savor a comforting New England clam chowder at The Skipper Restaurant & Chowder House
  • Go wine tasting at Truro Vineyards
  • Watch the sunset on the bay
  • Treat yourself to retail therapy at one of the many shops in Provincetown
  • Visit one of the many lighthouses
  • Rent a bike and ride along the Cape Cod Rail Trail

Newport, Rhode Island

Travel time – Cape Cod to Newport: 1 hour 30 minutes

Newport is a quaint harbor city that is known for its Gilded Age mansions, scenic Cliff Walk and quaint downtown filled with amazing seafood restaurants and boutique shops. Discover the top things to do in Newport:

Mystic, Connecticut

Travel time – Newport to Mystic: 1 hour

Mystic is a coastal Connecticut village that is perfect to explore on a lovely day. The downtown area features renowned restaurants, including the famous Mystic Pizza, along with surrounding state parks that offer the best of nature. Below is everything to see during your time in Mystic:

  • Walk around downtown Mystic and go boutique shopping
  • Go back in time at Olde Mistick Village, a quaint shopping center
  • Visit the Mystic Aquarium
  • Grab lunch or dinner at the famous Mystic Pizza, where the Julia Roberts’ film took place
  • Take a bike ride around Bluff Point State Park

The Berkshires, Massachusetts

Travel time – Mystic to Lennox: 2 hours

One of the ultimate destinations to experience fall foliage in New England is in the Berkshires. Located in Western Massachusetts, the Berkshires are a highland region known for outdoor adventures, quaint villages and a lovely farm-to-table scene. Here are the top things to do in Lennox, Massachusetts:

Woodstock, Vermont

Travel time – Lennox to Woodstock: 2 hours and 30 minutes

One of the most beautiful towns in Vermont is Woodstock. No matter what time of the year you decide to visit this gorgeous area in Central Vermont, it is absolutely magical. Below is what you cannot miss out on when you visit Woodstock:

  • Learn how maple syrup is made at Sugarbush Farm
  • Craft beer taste at Long Trail Brewery
  • Enjoy fun fall activities such as pumpkin picking, savoring hot apple cider and donuts and going on a hayride at Sleepy Hollow Farm
  • Discover the “Instagrammable” bridges of Woodstock such as Taftsville Covered Bridge and Middle Covered Bridge
  • Grab a lovely dinner and see the beautiful Woodstock Inn & Resort

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Travel time – Woodstock to Portsmouth: 2 hours

Portsmouth is a port city located in Southern New Hampshire. This lovely city cannot be missed on a New England road trip and the below recommendations are what you must see during your visit.

  • Savor a delicious breakfast at The Friendly Toast
  • Hang out at Portsmouth Book & Bar where you could read, enjoy a drink and listen to live music
  • Enjoy the beauty at one of Portsmouth’s beaches such as Wallis Sands State Beach, Jenness State Beach and North Hampton State Beach
  • Shop till you drop at one of the many stores in downtown Portsmouth
  • Visit the Strawberry Banke Museum and discover extensive urban archaeology

Portland, Maine

Travel time – Portsmouth to Portland: 45 minutes – 1 hour

Portland is a charming port city in Southern Maine. Within the city of Portland are amazing seafood restaurants, lovely boutique shops, stunning parks and so much more. Discover the best things to do in Portland, Maine:

  • Stroll around Portland’s Promenade and admire the coastal views
  • Visit Portland’s picturesque lighthouses such as Spring Point Ledge Light and Portland Head Light
  • Savor a lobster roll from Bite Into Maine in Fort Williams Park
  • Discover Portland’s local beach towns such as Old Orchard Beach, Biddeford Pool and Kennebunkport
  • Enjoy the pubs along Congress Street
  • Warm up with a delicious chowder at Gilbert’s Chowder House

Acadia National Park, Maine

Travel time – Portland to Acadia National Park: 3 hours

Known as the Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast and one of the most amazing places to experience fall foliage in the state of Maine is Acadia National Park.

Located in Bar Harbor, Maine, Acadia National Park features ponds, lakes, meadows, forests and so much more. Below is everything to see and do in and around Acadia National Park:

  • Savor a delicious lobster roll at Side Street Café in Bar Harbor
  • Do a hike within the National Park
  • Watch the sunrise over Cadillac Mountain
  • Enjoy the views along the Park Loop Road
  • Go on a mini cruise excursion and whale watch
  • Wander through the quaint town of Bar Harbor

Travel time – Acadia National Park back to Boston: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Keen on New England but looking for a different route? Check out the Appalachian Trail in the Bonus section. Or as this is quite a long drive and want to keep yourself entertained, why not find out more about your travel buddies with some fun road trip questions!

Southern California coastal road trip

There is nothing like a coastal road trip in the breathtaking state of California during the summertime. Southern California is the perfect area to do a road trip adventure within the state because there are stunning cliffside beaches, gorgeous mountains, renowned restaurants, beautiful desert and other fun sites and attractions along the way.

When to go to Southern California

Since California is all about the beach and  sunshine, you’ll want to go when summer is in full swing. Usually that means doing your USA road trip route between May to October, with August and September your best bets. That said, if you’re on a budget, you should definitely consider late November or early December.

Southern California – your road trip route

Discover the best places to stop during a Southern California coastal road trip:

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Malibu, California
  • Anaheim, California
  • Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park, California
  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California
  • San Diego, California
  • Laguna Beach, California
  • Huntington/Newport Beach, California
  • Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

The perfect city to start and end your Southern California coastal road trip itinerary is Los Angeles. It is the most convenient city to fly to and from and there are hundreds of different activities to enjoy from going to the beach to more wintry fun, like celebrating Christmas in Los Angeles. Discover the top things to do in Los Angeles:

  • Take a walk around Rodeo Drive and go shopping
  • Watch the sunset at Santa Monica Pier
  • Hike to the Hollywood Sign from Griffith Observatory or Runyon Canyon
  • Star search on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Rent bikes and ride along the Venice canals
  • Savor a burger at In ‘n Out
  • Enjoy the hipster vibes at Venice Beach boardwalk

Malibu, California

Travel time – Los Angeles to Malibu: 45 minutes

One of the most breathtaking areas in Southern California is Malibu. Between gorgeous coastline, picturesque mountains and canyons, it is hard not to fall in love with Malibu. Some of the best things to do there? Just read on:

  • Savor a seafood lunch with an ocean view at Malibu Seafood
  • Have fun on an open-air safari while sipping wine at Malibu Wine Safari
  • Enjoy yard games, beer, snacks and nature at Malibu Café
  • Relax and watch the surfers at Zuma Beach
  • Indulge in a delicious farm-to-table dinner while watching the sunset at Malibu Farm

Anaheim, California

Travel time – Malibu to Anaheim: 1 hour

Situated just outside of Los Angeles is the city of Anaheim. Home to the Disneyland Resort, you can’t miss out on visiting this fun city during a Southern California road trip. Here are a few fun things to do in Anaheim, California:

  • Have fun on the rides at Disneyland
  • Catch a ballgame at Angel’s Stadium
  • Take a stroll through nature at Yorba Park
  • Eat your way through the Anaheim Packing District
  • Attend a Disneyland After Dark event for an awesome themed night in the park

Palm Springs and Joshua Tree National Park, California

Travel time – Anaheim to Palm Springs: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Located in the desert of Southern California is the posh and midcentury-modern city of Palm Springs. Palm Springs features colorful stylish hotels, hot springs, indie shops and so much more. A few ideas of what to do there include:

  • Walk through the Moorten Botanical Garden
  • Enjoy vintage shopping on Palm Canyon Drive
  • Rent a bike and do a self-guided door tour. Don’t forget to see #thatpinkdoor
  • Visit Joshua Tree National Park and enjoy the famous Yucca trees
  • Relax in a hot spring and enjoy some R&R at a spa in Desert Hot Springs
  • Admire the colorful Leonard Knight artwork at Salvation Mountain

Anza-Borrego, California

Travel time – Palm Springs to Anza-Borrego: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Anza-Borrego is the largest state park in California. Located in the Colorado Desert, Anza Borrego offers 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and many miles of hiking trails. Below is everything you must do in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park:

  • Hike the Palm Canyon Oasis Trail and see the hidden oasis
  • Savor delicious Mexican food at Los Jilberto’s
  • Relax in Anza-Borrego’s geothermal springs at Borrego Springs
  • Admire the cool metal sculptures at Galleta Meadows
  • Check out The Slot, a hidden slot canyon in the desert

San Diego, California

Travel time – Anza-Borrego to San Diego: 2 hours

San Diego, California is one of America’s favorite cities and it definitely can’t be missed during a Southern California road trip. Between the beaches, delicious food spots and everything in between, explore the top things to do in San Diego:

  • Visit the seals at La Jolla Cove
  • Hike Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
  • Enjoy a relaxing beach day in Coronado
  • Have a fun and cozy campfire at night in Mission Beach
  • Savor a delicious Italian dinner in Little Italy
  • Explore the stunning nature in Balboa Park
  • Watch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

Laguna Beach, California

Travel time – San Diego to Laguna Beach: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Laguna Beach is one of the most beautiful beach towns in the state of California. The beaches are picturesque, the restaurants are incredible, the art galleries are some of the best and shopping is perfect for all of those looking for retail therapy. Here are the best things to do in Laguna Beach:

  • Enjoy a fancy sunset dinner at Las Brisas, a Mexican seafood restaurant
  • Admire the gorgeous views and tropical flora at Heisler Park
  • Pretend you’re in a fairytale at Victoria Beach, which features the Pirate’s Tower
  • Do the Top of the World Hike that offers ocean views and it even leads into the Aliso Canyon
  • Cool off by savoring your favorite gelato flavors at Gelato Paradiso

Huntington/Newport Beach, California

Travel time – Laguna Beach to Huntington: 20 minutes

As you make your way north into Orange County, you cannot miss out on visiting Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Both of these beaches are perfect for relaxing, surfing and soaking up the sun. Here are a few things to add to your USA road trip list:

  • Walk along the Huntington Beach Pier and enjoy the beautiful ocean views
  • Also known as Surf City USA, make sure to watch the surfers as you soak up the sun on Huntington Beach
  • Enjoy a sunset bonfire on Huntington Beach
  • Stroll the Newport Pier on Balboa Island
  • Cool off with a frozen banana on Newport Beach

Travel time – Huntington back to Los Angeles: 45 minutes

Colorado mini road trip

Colorado is one of the most breathtaking states here in the United States and it is filled with so much adventure, making it the perfect destination to do a mini road trip.

When to go to Colorado

I’ve focused this road trip itinerary on the winter months between December to February, as there are so many great activities – everything from skiing to frozen waterfalls – to do in the cold. However, Colorado is also great to visit during the warmer months between June to October so you can hike in the many beautiful parks and enjoy the sun outdoors.

Colorado – your road trip route

These are the top places to stop at on a Colorado mini road trip:

  • Denver, Colorado
  • Alamosa, Colorado
  • Cañon City, Colorado
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Golden, Colorado
  • Boulder, Colorado
  • Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Denver is the capital of Colorado and it is the perfect place to start and end your road trip since it is the most convenient city to fly to and from. Denver offers 300 days of sunshine, is one of the eco-friendliest cities in the country and offers a plethora of wonderful things to do for the adventure enthusiast and beyond. Discover the top things to do in Denver below:

  • Visit Union Station and grab breakfast at Snooze an A.M. Eatery
  • Walk through Larimer Square at night as it is lit up with dreamy stringed lights
  • Enjoy the beautiful plant life at Denver Botanic Gardens
  • See a concert at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater
  • Have a picnic in Washington Park
  • Attend the Denver German Christkindlmarkt during the holiday season and also go ice skating at the rink at Skyline Park

Great Sand Dunes/Alamosa, Colorado

Travel time – Denver to Alamosa: 4 hours

One of the most beautiful areas in Colorado is Alamosa. The snowcapped Rocky Mountains dominate this area and it also features The Great Sand Dunes National Park along with Zapata Falls. Below is what you must do in Alamosa:

  • Go sandboarding or sleighing at The Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Hike to the frozen Zapata Falls
  • Indulge in delicious Mexican food at one of the many Mexican eateries
  • Watch the sunset at The Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Admire the snowcapped Rocky Mountains

Cañon City/Royal Gorge, Colorado

Travel time – Alamosa to Cañon City: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Cañon City is a small municipality in Colorado. It is home to the Royal Gorge as well as many other wonderful historical sites in the state. Discover what to do during your time in Cañon City:

  • Visit Royal Gorge Park in Cañon City and take the gondola over the gorge
  • Walk over the Royal Gorge Bridge and admire the scenic views
  • Zip line across the highest zip line in America at Royal Gorge Park
  • Get a thrilling experience from the Royal Rush Skycoaster
  • Tour The Museum of Colorado Prisons and check out the cool artifacts related to the history of operations within the Colorado state prison system

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Travel time –Cañon City to Colorado Springs: 1 hour

Colorado Springs is a beautiful city located two hours from the capital. Located in Colorado Springs is a lovely downtown area with renowned restaurants, amazing hiking spots and stunning hotels and resorts. Here are a few must-visit locations:

Breckenridge, Colorado

Travel time – Colorado Springs to Breckenridge: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Breckenridge is a ski resort town at the base of the Rocky Mountains’ Tenmile Range, and it is also known for its Gold Rush history. During a winter mini road trip in Colorado, you cannot miss out on the fun at Breckenridge:

Breckenridge Colorado, one of the stops on a USA road trip

Golden, Colorado

Travel time –Breckenridge to Golden: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Known as a former Gold Rush town, Golden is a wonderful city to visit during a Colorado road trip. Whether you are doing a nearby hike, visiting the famous Coors Brewery or enjoying a café, you’ll find the top things to do in Golden below:

Coors Factory Golden Colorado

Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park, Colorado

Travel time – Golden to Rocky Mountain National Park: 1 hour and 30 minutes

A road trip around Colorado would not be complete without visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. Located in Northern Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park features protected mountains, forests and alpine tundra. The National Park is actually located within Estes Park. Below is everything to do:

  • Grab breakfast at Notchtop Bakery & Café in Estes Park
  • Hike the Bear Lake Trail and see Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Savor the views on Trail Ridge Road
  • Do a short hike to Alberta Falls, a 30-foot waterfall
  • Stroll around the cute village of Estes Park and enjoy retail therapy
Explore Rocky Mountain National Park

Boulder, Colorado

Travel time – Rocky Mountain National Park to Boulder: 1 hour

Boulder is the perfect city to explore on your way back to Denver from Rocky Mountain National Park. Discover what you must see below:

  • Walk around Pearl Street and explore its cafés and shops
  • Either hike or drive up Flagstaff Mountain and enjoy the views
  • Hike Chautauqua Park and experience the Flatirons
  • Savor delicious Colorado craft beer at one of the many breweries
Flagstaff Mountain Boulder

Travel time – Boulder to Denver: 30 minutes

Southern road trip

The American South is the perfect area in the United States to do a road as it features charming cities, a melting pot of different cultures, history and beautiful nature spots.

When to go to the South

You definitely want to head to the South in springtime between March and May when the temperatures are warm, but mild. You’ll be rewarded with beautiful magnolia trees, lovely parks and lots of delicious food to sample during the spring.

Alternatively, you could plan your USA road trip between September to November.

The American South – your road trip route

Discover the best cities to visit during a Southern road trip:

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Amelia Island, Florida
  • Seaside, Florida
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Charlotte, North Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is lovely city filled with bright colors, amazing Southern comfort food, wonderful history and so much more. Discover the best things to do in Charleston:

  • Go shopping on King Street
  • Visit the Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park
  • Admire the colorful homes on Rainbow Row and the beautiful mansions in The Battery
  • Walk through the Charleston City Market
  • Enjoy a Southern comfort brunch at Poogan’s Porch
  • Get a history lesson at a plantation such as Magnolia or Boone Hall Plantation
  • Visit a nearby beach like Folly Beach, Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island

Savannah, Georgia

Travel time – Charleston to Savannah: 2 hours

Savannah is a charming destination located near the coast in Northern Georgia. Just like Charleston, Savannah is another city that cannot be missed on a Southern road trip since it is filled with interesting history, delicious food and beauty. Check out some of the top things to do:

Amelia Island, Florida

Travel time –Savannah to Amelia Island: 2 hours

Northern Florida has a lot of quaint beach towns that must be visited during a Southern USA road trip. I’ve listed some of the best things to do in Amelia Island below:

  • Go horseback riding on the beach
  • Do a Beach Creek tour to Cumberland Island in Southern Georgia
  • Savor a delicious Southern brunch at Lagniappe
  • Watch the sunset on the marina.
  • Spot wildlife by doing a kayak excursion
Go horse riding on Amelia Beach

Seaside, Florida

Travel time –Amelia Island to Seaside: 5 hours (you are also crossing from Eastern to Central time zone)

Seaside is a multi-hued beach town situated along Florida’s 30A area along the panhandle. It is a peaceful town filled with lovely restaurants, colorful hotels and beachfront rentals as well as fantastic adventures. Below is what you must do in Seaside:

  • Enjoy a fun beach day
  • Savor some tasty eats at the Seaside Square food trucks
  • Rent a bike and enjoy the ocean breeze
  • Visit the Seaside Farmer’s Market on Sundays
  • Indulge in delicious Southern food at the Great Southern Café
Go to the farmers market in Seaside Florida

New Orleans, Louisiana

Travel time –Seaside to New Orleans: 4 hours 30 minutes

New Orleans is one of the most fascinating cities to visit in the American South. Between its rich culture, jazz music, stunning architecture and expansive history, there is so much to enjoy in this entertaining Louisiana city. Here are the best things to do in New Orleans:

Jackson, Mississippi

Travel time – Orleans to Jackson: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Jackson is the capital of the state of Mississippi. It offers Southern charm, historic sites and a great culture. Check out the best things to do in Jackson:

  • Visit the Civil Rights Museum
  • See the original Freedom Riders Bus Station
  • Do a street art and mural hunt
  • Cool off with popsicle beverages at Deep South Pops
  • Enjoy boutique shopping
Head to Jackson Mississippi

Memphis, Tennessee

Travel time – Jackson to Memphis: 3 hours

Known as the home of rock ‘n’ roll and former residence of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, Memphis is a great city to visit on a Southern road trip. Discover the best things to do in this wonderful city located on the Mississippi River:

  • Visit Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley
  • Have fun at a live music venue on Beale Street – the most iconic street in Memphis
  • Take a stroll around Tom Lee Park
  • Tour the Memphis Music Hall of Fame
  • Do a tour of Sun Studio, known as “the birthplace of rock ‘n roll”
Check out Beale Street Memphis on your USA road trip

Nashville, Tennessee

Travel time – Memphis to Nashville: 3 hours

Nashville is one of the most exciting cities in America, filled with country music venues, creative street murals, delicious Southern comfort food and so much more. Check out what there is to see in Nashville during a road trip:

  • Savor a warm biscuit at Biscuit Love
  • Have fun at a honky-tonk (live country music bar) on Broadway
  • Enjoy an evening at Pinewood Social, which features a 50’s retro-style bowling alley
  • Go mural hunting
  • Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it’s one of the best places to visit in Nashville
  • Walk around Centennial Park
  • Watch the sunset at Nissan Stadium

Asheville, North Carolina

Travel time – Nashville to Asheville: 4 hours and 30 minutes (note you are crossing from Central to Eastern time zone)

Located in between the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina is the vibrant city of Asheville. Known for its art scene, beer culture and history, Asheville is an up and coming American city that many are eager to explore:

  • Enjoy Asheville’s craft beer scene at one of the many breweries
  • Visit the Biltmore Estate, America’s largest home
  • Do a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Admire Asheville’s street art and murals by doing an urban walking tour
  • Savor delicious biscuits at Biscuit Head

Charlotte, North Carolina

Travel time – Asheville to Charlotte: 2 hours

Charlotte is North Carolina’s largest city and it is the perfect place to end your Southern road trip. Learn about the best things to do in Charlotte:

Bonus: More USA road trip ideas

None of the above USA road trip ideas tickled your fancy? Maybe looking for a way to be a tourist in your home state? There are honestly so many options in a country as large and varied as the States, from a road trip through America’s Heartland to great coastal drives… With that in mind, here are a few of the best road trip destinations you could add to your list and some of the best cross country road trip routes for your planning:

Oregon Trail

It’s over 2,000 miles (3,500km) of history in one route. The Oregon Trail is a historic trail done by many an emigrant between Oregon and Missouri (although you can go as far as Pennsylvania) and encompassing states like Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon. Key stops include:

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Cannon Beach, Oregon
  • Fort Boise, Idaho
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
  • Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Niagara Falls, New York

Utah National Parks road trip

If you love National Parks, then this is undoubtedly the road trip idea for you. Not only will you cross through five National Parks in the state of Utah but you can stop off to see the Grand Canyon as well as stunning Salt Lake City too, where you should start and end this 1,300 mile (2000 km) cross country road trip.

  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Canyonlands National Park, Utah
  • Grand Canyon National Park, Utah (also Arizona)
  • Zion National Park, Utah
  • Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
  • Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Pacific Coast Highway

Seaside villages, vineyards and forests your style? The Pacific Coast highway road trip offers all of these and more. Usually stretching from Seattle all the way down to San Diego you have about 1770 km (1, 100 miles) for your trouble. Must-visit places include:

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Olympic National Park, Washington
  • Redwood National Park, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Monterey and Big Sur, California
  • San Diego, California

Pro Tip: Looking for something a little different to add to that tried-and-tested route? You could take a trip out to the stunning San Juan islands or indulge your Twilight obsession to see where the books and film series was set in Forks, Washington.

Route 66

Is there any more internationally renowned road trip in the USA than the Route 66 road trip? Stretching between Chicago and the City of Angels, Los Angeles, you’ll find all the ‘stereotypical’ signs of American life, from roadside diners and lonely truck stops to the Grand Canyon and the Ozarks. Must-see stops include:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Branson, Missouri
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Tinkertown, New Mexico
  • Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
  • Los Angeles, California

Appalachian trail

Known as boasting some of the best hikes in the USA, the Appalachian trail takes you all the way from the heart of Maine all the way down to Georgia. A few highlights include:

  • Monson, Maine
  • Mount Washington, New Hampshire
  • The Poconos, Pennsylvania
  • Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

You can also do a portion of this trail by journeying along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a USA road trip of about 500 miles (800 km) that takes you through North and South Carolina and Virginia, including the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks.

Great Northern road trip

Hugging the coast of Canada this epic road trip is the longest of the legendary USA road trips, with some unique and epic attractions. Kicking off near Seattle you’ll see arid plans, white-tipped mountains and a huge dose of local history on this route that ends in Maine.

  • Seattle, Washington
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Lake Michigan, Michigan
  • Ottawa, Ontario (Canada)
  • Acadia National Park, Maine

If you’re keen to stay up north you could also just attempt the 500 mile (800 km) stretch between Glacier National Park in Montana and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, providing some beautifully diverse landscapes for 9 hours of time on the tarmac.

Florida road trip

Looking for a bit more sun on your USA road trip? You could just head to the state of Florida and explore all it has to offer. From beautiful beaches fishing on the lagoons, the state is very big so you could just stick to the peninsula itself, extending from the Georgia border down to Key West. Regardless of your route, some important stops are:

  • Miami, Florida
  • Everglades and Florida Keys, Florida
  • South Gulf Coast, Florida
  • Egmond Key State Park / Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Walt Disney World, Florida
  • Daytona Beach, Florida

Did I miss any key routes from this great American road trip route planner? Have some more USA road trip ideas to throw into the mix? Whether it’s doing the Great River road trip or barreling around the black hills of South Dakota, drop your ideas in the comments or get in touch here.

About the Author
Taylor is the millennial, boutique travel blogger, writer and content creator behind Brown Eyed Flower Child. Originally from New Jersey, outside of New York City, Taylor enjoys traveling all over the world and showcasing everything she experiences “through her eyes” on both her blog and social media. Along with traveling and blogging, Taylor’s hobbies include being active and going hiking, skiing and ice skating as well as doing yoga and dancing. She also loves to read; visit wineries and discover hidden food gems.  


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Wanting to go on an epic road trip? We've got the ultimate list of USA road trip ideas including what to do in each place, and driving distances
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