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The Best USA Road Trips In July

best road trip in usa in july

It’s no secret that when summertime rolls around, we start daydreaming of all the road trips we want to take. White sandy beaches, stunning waterfalls, scenic drives with the top down on a jeep? Find a good playlist and you’re making memories to last a lifetime. Here are the best places to travel in July in the United States!

P.S. In the US, the 4th of July is a national holiday, and even when it falls on a weekend – we’re typically rewarded with an extra day off that weekend. It’s one of the busiest times to travel during the summer so make sure you plan ahead!!

A Gilmore Girls Adventure in Connecticut

Starting with a more off-the-beaten-path location for your summer road trip – consider Connecticut! Home to the birthplace of the American hamburger, miles of sandy beaches, and the inspiration for Gilmore Girls – you’ll find plenty to do in this tiny state.

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Starting your road trip from New York City, you can enter Connecticut within an hour by car (45 minutes by train). From there, start driving North to the tiny towns of Leightfield like Washinton and Bantam that inspired Amy Sherman-Palladino to create the idyllic Stars Hollow. You’ll immediately find yourself immersed in a very Gilmore Girls vibe! These tiny towns were the inspiration for the show with charming shops around every corner and not a Starbucks in sight!

After getting your Gilmore Girls fix, head about 40 minutes east to Lake Campounce , America’s oldest theme park ! Operating since 1846, Lake Compounce has a waterpark and regular rides for a refreshing break from the summer heat.

Once you’ve eaten all the cotton candy your stomach can handle, hop back in the car and head to Gilette Castle State Park! Perched on the beautiful Connecticut River, Gilette Castle is a mid-evil fortress completed in 1919, and open to the public. The over 140-acre grounds would be breathtaking to walk through at dusk!

Connecticut’s Coast

Following a tour of the delightful Gilette castle, take your summer road trip to the coast, starting with the charming town of Old Saybrook. Along with lighthouses dotting the shore, you’ll soon run into Connecticut’s pristine, two-mile-long Hammonasset Beach . Before continuing on your journey down the coast, we highly recommend spending an afternoon lounging here! It’s one of the best places to travel to in July for uncrowded beaches! (But maybe not 4th of July…)

  • Make sure you grab a lobster roll while in Connecticut! If you’ve never experienced one before – your summer road trip won’t be complete without one of these New England native delicacies. Lobster meat slathered in mayonnaise, butter, and lemon juice sauce on a fresh hot dog bun is one of the most delicious things you’ll eat in the Northeast!

Eat your lobster roll, catch some sun, and then continue down the coast to New Haven. New Haven is home to two of the things America is most famous for: Yale University and the American Hamburger!!

  • Yale University: Why would you want to stroll through a college campus? Not only was it the college stomping grounds for our favorite young Gilmore Girl, Rory, the grounds themselves are also picturesque. Founded in 1701, you can take a guided tour through the historic 136 acres of architectural masterpieces!
  • Louis Lunch: The birthplace of the American Hamburger according to Congress !! Established in 1895 – this 4th generation family business still serves their burgers on white toast, with only cheese onion, and tomatoes for garnishes.

Ideal Road Trip Time: 3-4 Days

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Explore ‘The Nation’s Summer Capitol’ : Delaware

The second smallest state in the US, Delaware was the first to become an official state of the US , having signed the constitution in 1787! Home to 28 miles of shoreline, historic forts, and cypress swamps, Delaware makes for a perfect budget-friendly USA destination in July.

When you think of beaches in the United States – most people think of Florida, California, and Hawaii. Delaware, however, is considered ‘The Nation’s Summer Capitol’ because a mass exodus occurs from Washington D.C. to their sandy shores every year! There is even a 40 year old National Sandcastle Building Contest in mid-July at Delaware Seashore State Park … we would definitely participate and let the good-natured competitiveness take over!

  • Most Popular Beaches in Delaware: Broadkill Beach, Fenwick Island, Lewes Beach, Cape Henlopen State Park, and Delaware Seashore State Park

other Than The Beach

When you’re done frolicking in the Atlantic, you can head to a few more of Delaware’s claims to fame.

  • Fort Delaware State Park : A ‘living museum’ complete with live cannon demonstrations and period re-enactments of blacksmiths, soldiers, and commanders who lived at Fort Delaware during the Civil War!
  • Dogfish Head Brewery – home to one of Ev’s favorite beers: the Dogfish 120 Minute IPA! Since Ev used to live close, he’s actually been to this brewery quite a few times and said the best part is their restaurant!
  • Trap Pond State Park : The home of Delaware’s Cyprus Tree Swamp – this location is famous for kayaking on the East Coast!

Ideal Road Trip Time: 3 Days

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Be Pleasantly Surprised in Kansas

Home to the Kansas City Chiefs, Monument Rocks State Park, and some of the prettiest sunsets in the USA , Kansas should be on your bucket list for July. It’s one of those states people often skip over on road trips – we definitely have for years! After the last few years though, we’ve started to look at all of the not so Instagrammed places to travel this summer. Here are a few stops throughout this Midwest State we’d love:

  • Visit Lavender Farms Near Topeka : Kansas is a breeding ground for these stunning lavender farms! There are quite a few throughout Kansas but these are the top-rated: The Lavender Patch Farm , Gertie’s Lavender Farm , and Washington Creek Lavender .
  • Mushroom State Park : These odd formations only exist in one other place in the US!
  • Monument Rocks: The perfect road trip stop along I-70 when you’re driving across the state. (Try to catch it at sunset!)

Kansas City

The 29th biggest city in the United States and home to a to of craft breweries, an NFL team, and air-conditioned museums when you need to cool off during your travel this summer! Here are a few things you can do during your summer road trip through Kansas City:

  • Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que – Ranked #2 in the country, you’ll have to stop in and grab brunt ends and slow-smoked brisket!
  • Kansas City Chiefs NFL Football Game : A top-ranking NFL team! Whether or not you’re specifically into sports, it’s always fun to go to live events. Get a hot dog and an ice-cold beer!
  • Nelson Atkins Museum of Art: One of the biggest art museums in the country, this museum holds of thirty-five thousand works!!
  • Percheron Rooftop Beer Garden : The best views of the city and stunning at sunset.

Ideal Road Trip Time: 4 Days

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Across The Plains of Iowa

If you’re looking for budget-friendly destinations to travel to this summer, add Iowa to your list for the best places to travel in July. Here are a few of our favorite itinerary items for a road trip through the birthplace of cornhole:

  • For the hiker : Northwest Iowa is home to the mountainous region of Decorah and Iowas Great River Road Trails.
  • Pella Historical Village District would be fun to walk through on an afternoon and see the historic Vermeer Windmill. Surrounding thousands of tulips, this village looks like it’s straight out of Holland.
  • The Influence – Selfie Museum – The first one of its kind in the US – this museum explores selfie culture and its effects on humanity. We’re sure it’s interesting… but also sounds like a fun place to get out and enjoy air-conditioning!
  • National Balloon Classic: At the end of July and into the first week of August, hundreds of hot air balloons will take to the skies over Iowa! Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy watching them all glow at sunset for a perfect way to end your July road trip through Iowa!

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The Lush Forests of Kentucky

Kentucky is one of those states that Instagram just hasn’t discovered yet. We’ve lived here for a few years together and are just now seeing all that it has to offer! From waterfalls, incredibly lush forests, and hiking to die for – it’s one of the USA’s best places to travel in July.

Get your FREE Kentucky Summer Bucket List Guide Below!

If You Like Music & 5-Minute Escapes…

You may not get to leave your day job, but you can take a 5-minute daydream break. Sometimes that’s just as good. Get your monthly playlists here & our Kentucky Summer Bucket List FREE Printable Guide!

For a few of our favorite Kentucky activities this summer, check out these posts:

  • The Ultimate Kentucky Summer Bucket List
  • Waterfalls of Southern Daniel Boone National Park
  • Best Taco’s In Louisville Kentucky

There are so many places to explore in Kentucky, so we recommend hitting a few highlights like the Daniel Boone National Forest, Red River Gorge, and Louisville! (There’s so much to see and do in Louisville – it’s our biggest city! Get all of our Louisville guides here. )

Don’t forget to check out our gear guide for waterfall hiking ! You’ll need it for exploring over 700 waterfalls that call Kentucky home!

Ideal Road Trip Time: 5 Days

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A Watery Wilderness Adventure in WISCONSIN

Wisconsin should be on every avid outdoor adventurer’s bucket list in July. Perched on the Canadian-United States border, Wisconsin also straddles two of the great lakes: Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. This area of the country is famous for its epic hiking and kayaking with some of the clearest water through the United States.

These are our bucket list outdoor adventures throughout Wisconsin:

  • Apostle Islands Sea Caves : A premier kayaking destination in the USA! Truly in our top ten bucket list experiences we want to have in the USA.
  • Witches Gulch
  • Devil’s Lake State Park- Named the prettiest place in Wisconsin by a few travel publications!
  • Ice Age Trail – 1,200 Miles through Wisconsin’s prairies and forests.
  • Interstate State Park – Along the stunning St.Croix National Scenic Riverway

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly hiking destination, Wisconsin should also be one of your go-tos because the weather is perfect for camping . With their dryer summer season hovering in the 80s during the day, and 50’s at night – you can hike in relatively warm weather, and cuddle up at night by the fire! (Camping is the most budget-friendly way to travel!)

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Explore Minnesota’s Wild Side

Did you know that Minnesota has ninety thousand miles of shoreline? That’s more than California, Florida and Hawaii have combined! Not only will you find incredibly clean beaches springing out of Minnesota’s pristine wilderness, but you’ll also find epic scenery and hiking around every turn. There is no end to the number of gorgeous photography destinations for the avid photographer too!

If we were planning a summer road trip in July through Minnesota, this would be our itinerary:

  • Mall of America – Day 1: Located in Minneapolis, this is the biggest mall in the United States with over 4.3 miles of storefronts! (And a small theme park located inside!)
  • City of Duluth – Day 2: Perched on the edge of Lake Michigan and arguably one of the prettiest
  • Itasca State Park – Day 3: – One of the prettiest parks in Minnesota with a ton of magnificent hiking adventures!
  • Boundary Waters – Day 4: – We’ve read it’s a life-changing experience to kayak here!
  • Whitewater Rafting – Day 5: In the land of 10,000 lakes, Class III rapids are a no-joke adventure sure to help you cool off this July!

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Relax At Indiana Dunes State Park

The last but not least stop on your summer road trip in July should be the Indiana Dunes State Park . With some of the bluest (cleanest) waters on the Great Lakes, miles of sandy beaches, and being only 30 minutes from Chicago – it’s really a perfect stop. So what is there to do at the Dunes?

  • 50 Miles of Hiking Trails
  • 15 Miles of Sandy Beaches
  • Rare bird watching – Take a virtual tour here!

Not to mention it would be great to camp here, making this another budget-friendly USA destination this July ! The temperatures in this area, combined with the cool breezes flowing off of Lake Michigan mean you won’t be too hot at night, even in the dead of summer.

This is the second destination we’ve shared as some of the best places to travel in July, and for good reason! It’s incredibly scenic and if you’re looking to take a longer trip – just add in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Kentucky to avoid the crowds and take in these beautiful states. (You’ll probably need about 2 weeks for a trip like that!)

Ideal Road Trip Time: 2 Days

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Did you find inspiration for all the best places to travel in July? We have a few more guides for where to travel this summer, fall, and winter.

  • The Best Places To Travel in February
  • Where To Travel This Summer in August
  • Best Places To Catch Fall Foliage in September
  • The Best Destinations To Enjoy this December

If you’ve found this post helpful, save it for later to aid you in planning! Drop us any planning questions in the comments below.

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Make sure to subscribe to our blog , snag all of your road trip basics (below), get your travel insurance , and have fun jamming to a new playlist !

Until next time friends,

best road trip in usa in july

Thanks for sharing!

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Evan and Shelby

Sharing beautiful places, sustainable & slow living tips, + good food from across the globe. You can probably find Shelbs creating a new playlist or editing photos, and Ev researching the latest and greatest in all manner of travel gear and tech. We're so happy you're here taking a moment to read and slow down a little.

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I might have to check a few of these out this summer – Montana and Wyoming are always SO PACKED! Thanks for the ideas!

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Such great ideas, I love anything Gilmore Girls related haha ??

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I love the sound of the lavender fields in Kansas, and Wisconsin looks so pretty. What I love about this post is that it’s a bunch of places I haven’t heard as much about and yet now I really want to visit them all for various reasons. I do enjoy a good road trip, going to have to keep these ideas in mind

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Rachel - Rays of Adventure

These all look great! I love the look of Iowa in particular. I can’t wait to travel to the USA again and visit some of these places.

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best road trip in usa in july

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  • Travel Destinations

30 Best Places to Visit in July in the USA

Published: July 5, 2022

Modified: December 27, 2023

by Angela Magsajo

  • Plan Your Trip
  • Travel Guide
  • Travel Tips
  • United States

A stream surrounded by greenery with mountains in the background in Denali National Park in Alaska, one of the best places to visit in July USA.

The arrival of July means summer is in full swing! Plenty of families, couples, and even solo travelers are in search of the best places to visit in July in the USA for their vacations. Luckily, the most beautiful states in the US is home to beautiful beaches and stunning national parks perfect for exploration and other outdoor activities. Additionally, many vibrant cities are worth visiting during a road trip. Choosing the best places to travel in July can be difficult due to the plethora of options.

If you’re brainstorming for couple and family vacation ideas , we’ve got a list of all the best summer vacation destinations in the U.S. From white-sand beaches and hiking trails to gorgeous lakes and lively cities, here are the best places to visit in July in the USA ! 

Best Places to Visit in July for Couples

1. san juan islands, washington.

Boats docked at the harbor of San Juan Islands in Washington State; one of the best places to visit in July USA for couples.

Photo by Bjorn Bakstad on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 51.8°F and high of 71°F; precipitation of 0.7″

Reasons to Visit July: Middle of whale-watching season, a number of local farmers’ markets are open, and seafood season.

A romantic summer trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington State is on the bucket list of many couples. Made up of over 170 islands and reefs, there is an abundance of things to do all year round. A visit during July, however, means pleasant weather with average temperatures of 70°F. The balmy conditions mean you can comfortably explore the outdoors. Go on wildlife tours, kayak through the islands, climb mountains, hike the thousands of acres of land, or simply relax by the waters. There’s a higher chance of spotting whales in the surrounding waters too. After a day of whale-watching and other outdoor activities , hit one of the local restaurants to indulge in freshly caught seafood. Don’t forget to stop by the local farmers’ markets on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islands where local merchants sell hundreds of souvenirs for you to take home.

2. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Aerial shot of the peninsula of Cape Cod with houses, greenery, and boats in the water.

Photo By Jin on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 64°F and high of 77°F; precipitation of 2.6″

Reasons to Visit July: Middle of whale-watching season. Ideal time for water activities.

Cape Cod is a hook-shaped peninsula situated in southeastern Massachusetts. It’s renowned for its quaint coastal towns, sandy beaches, and overall laid-back atmosphere. While there are a great deal of activities to do here, the main highlight for many visitors includes whale-watching , which is at its peak around June through September. Thus, you’re just in time to catch these majestic creatures when you visit in July. Moreover, it’s among the top places to go for the 4th of July if you’re looking to express your love of the stars and stripes. From parades and concerts to firework displays, you’ll find patriotic festivities all throughout the cape.

3. Bar Harbor, Maine 

Boats in the waters of Bar Harbor; one of the best places to visit in July USA.

Photo by Adam Nemeroff on Unsplash

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 57°F and high of 73°F; precipitation of 2.8″ Reasons to Visit July: Offers a more relaxing ambience than other popular tourist spots. Annual seafood festival.

Looking for the best places to visit in July in the USA where you can kick back and unwind? Bar Harbor is another seaside town with scenic surroundings and a relaxing ambience. It features rocky beaches with beautiful coastlines, picturesque lakes, and rugged valleys and cliffs. Besides the lush landscapes, it’s likewise renowned for its historic charm and vibrant art scene. Visiting during the 4th of July? Don’t forget to catch the town’s annual parade, concert series, and fireworks display over Frenchman Bay! There’s even a seafood festival wherein you can sample Maine’s famed lobster and crab rolls. 

4. Jekyll Island, Georgia

Towering oak trees in one of the parks in Jekyll Island, Georgia; one of the best places to visit in July USA.

Photo by Boris on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 77°F and high of 87.8°F; precipitation of 6.8”

Reasons to Visit July: Middle of seafood season.

Jekyll Island is another one of the best places to visit in July for couples. Located off the coast of Georgia, it’s a popular tourist destination thanks to its abundance of activities and adventures while still providing a laid-back atmosphere. Explore the town’s 10 miles worth of shoreline and sandbars. Take a step back in time as you stroll through the town’s historic district. Visit museums and galleries to immerse yourself in the local culture and history.

Looking for a more scenic way to get a glimpse of Jekyll Island’s beauty? Rent a bike and follow the 22 miles of picturesque paths and trails with majestic oak trees and sand dunes. What’s more, no trip to the Georgia coast is complete without indulging in fresh-caught seafood dishes. The best restaurants in Jekyll Island range from casual waterfront spots to fine dining establishments, all of which offer delicious Southern comfort food.

5. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Wide shot of mountain ranges of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado.

Photo by Paul VanDerWerf on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 49°F and high of 77°F; precipitation of 1.2″

Reasons to Visit July: Popular time for wilderness camping and horseback riding.

Pristine lakes, striking mountain ranges, lush greenery, and a wide variety of wildlife greet you at Rocky Mountain National Park. Spread across over 265,000 acres, this national park in Colorado is a paradise to outdoor enthusiasts. However, due to its expansive size, it experiences various climates throughout the year. You may even see snow in early July when you hike uphill towards areas with higher elevations.

Undoubtedly, the park is among the best places to visit in July in the USA for nature lovers. Wildflowers are in full bloom during this month and lots of wildlife are roaming around the valleys. There are over 300 miles of hiking trails that lead to crystal clear alpine lakes and waterfalls. Additionally, wilderness camping and horseback riding are popular activities during the month, as well.

6. Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Mountain ranges, ski resorts, and ski lifts in Steamboat Springs, Colorado during summer.

Photo by Chad Hunter on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 47°F and high of 81°F; precipitation of 0.9″

Reasons to Visit July: Balmy daytime temperatures ideal for outdoor activities and events, including hot-air balloon trips and the local rodeo.

While you’re in Colorado, make sure to include Steamboat Springs in your list of places to visit in July. On account of its world-class ski resorts and hot springs, the city is one of the popular winter getaway destinations in the Centennial State. However, it’s equally worth visiting during the summer months. July is the perfect time for outdoor fun. Start the day with a morning yoga session on top of a mountain, go horseback riding through the area’s aspen trees, and soar above the Steamboat Valley in a hot-air balloon. Camping is another popular activity. People flock to the campgrounds in Steamboat Springs for a more intimate experience with the great outdoors. What’s more, the annual Steamboat Springs rodeo competition falls around this month, so aspiring cowboys and cowgirls will certainly have a good time!

7. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Low-angle shot of the rides at Dollywood, one of the amusement parks in Pigeon Forge.

Photo by Thomas Hoang on Pixabay

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 64°F and high of 84°F; precipitation of 3.6″

Reasons to Visit July: Dollywood’s extended park hours and nightly firework shows.

Nestled in the mountains of Tennessee, Pigeon Forge is a quaint town with heaps of Southern charm. July is the warmest month in the town, though, it’s also the month with the most rainfall. The sporadic weather may deter some people from visiting, but the enjoyable atmosphere still makes it among the best places to visit in July in the USA. It draws in flocks of tourists, particularly couples, looking for a romantic getaway.

Some of the romantic things to do in Pigeon Forge during July include touring local wineries, strolling along Little Pigeon River, or a leisurely float downstream. Take in the amazing views of the Smokies in your car during a scenic drive or even on horseback. Moreover, a trip to Pigeon Forge wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Dollywood, which has extended park hours and nightly firework displays during July.

Best Places to Visit in July With Family

8. las vegas, nevada.

Wide shot of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel with the replica of the Eiffel Tower in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Photo by Wayne S. Grazio on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 80°F and high of 104°F; precipitation of 0.4″

Reasons to Visit July: Plenty of family-friendly pool parties and other events.

Despite its moniker, Las Vegas is still one of the best places to visit in July in the USA for vacationing families. Sin City isn’t just littered with casinos and nightclubs. You’ll find a myriad of kid-friendly attractions here, as well! This includes a myriad of entertainment arenas, museums, wildlife parks, and so much more. Beat the summer heat at one of the kid-friendly pool clubs or water parks. Take in the metropolis’ beauty and the nearby desert from the top of the city’s 550-foot tall Ferris wheel.

Looking for family-friendly indoor attractions? Head over to one of the city’s exciting and interactive museums. Moreover, little ones will undoubtedly enjoy touring chocolate shops and factories. It’s important to note, though, that with average temperatures ranging from the upper 70s°F to the upper 90s°F, July is the warmest month in Las Vegas. It’s also not uncommon for temperatures to soar to triple digits during this month. That said, be sure to appropriately plan what to wear in Las Vegas to keep you and your family comfortable during your stay. 

9. Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite Falls with a small rainbow over the water at Yosemite National Park, California during July.

Photo by Sam Goodgame on Unsplash

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 39°F and high of 89°F; precipitation of 0.3″

Reasons to Visit July: Bus tours are available. 

July is one of the best times to visit Yosemite National Park. Depending on elevations, average temperatures range from lows of 35°F to highs of 87°F. The warm weather draws in a number of families traveling with kids who want to experience the natural wonders of Yosemite. Featuring sparkling lakes and waterfalls, soaring granite cliffs, lush meadows, and giant sequoias, the park is a paradise for nature lovers. And one of the best ways to explore the park’s picturesque beauty is by following its 750 miles of trails. You can do so on foot, on a bike, on horseback, or even on a bus tour. In particular, the Tuolumne Meadows bus tour is popular around July when wildflower fields are in bloom. Keep in mind that some trails at higher altitudes can remain snowy even in early July. Be sure to check the trail conditions with park rangers. 

10. Sequoia National Park, California 

Sunrise over the Sequoia groves in Sequoia National Park, California during July.

Photo by Stephen on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 46°°F and high of 76°F; precipitation of 0.61″ Reasons to Visit July: Fewer crowds than in other national parks in California. Perfect time for bird watching and wildlife spotting.

Another one of the national parks in California to include in your list of best places to visit in July in the USA is Sequoia. Dubbed the Land of Giants, Sequoia National Park is home to enormous and often ancient trees that provide an abundance of shade from the sun. July is a popular month to visit the park, but it sees relatively fewer crowds than the popular Yosemite.

The diverse landscapes mean that climate and weather differ depending on elevation. Lower elevation areas such as the Foothills typically experience hot dry days. Meanwhile, higher altitudes have temperate days with cool evenings. The balmy temperatures are ideal for going on strolls through the famous Sequoia groves. July is likewise a great time to explore the park’s mountain ranges and other hiking trails , which are littered with blooming wildflowers and roaming wildlife. 

11. Zion National Park, Utah

Low angle shot of water falling over the edge of a cliff in Zion National Park, Utah during sunset.

Photo by G. Lamar on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 100.9°F and high of 100.9°F; precipitation of 1.2” Reasons to Visit July: All hiking trails, sights, and facilities are open and accessible. Great time for hiking the Narrows.

Despite the often sweltering temperatures that can reach triple digits, Zion National Park is still a popular vacation spot for families. After all, all of its numerous hiking trails, sights, and facilities are all open and accessible during July. This includes the shuttle services, the Zion Human History Museum, and the Zion Nature Center. Additionally, July is the best time to visit Zion National Park if you want to see the valley’s flora still in full bloom. For more refreshing activities, head over to the Narrows or the Virgin River.

12. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Trees and mountain ranges reflected in a body of water in Grand Teton National Park.

Photo by Andrew Parlette on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 44°F and high of 79°F; precipitation of 0.8″ Reasons to Visit July: Warm sunny days and cool nights that are great for outdoor activities.

One of the state’s jewels, Grand Teton National Park, is among the Wyoming national parks you should definitely visit. Boasting staggering mountain ranges, alpine lakes, historic sites, and lush meadows, it’s one of the best places to visit in July in the USA for breathtaking landscapes and sights. The month brings warm days and cool nights, with few chances of rain showers in the afternoon, so bring rain gear with you.

If you want to cool off during a warm day, make your way to one of the park’s lakes. String and Leigh Lakes are popular options for families who want to enjoy a scenic picnic by the waters, swim, boat, or simply relax. Looking for more adventurous water activities? Head over to one of the rivers and streams and go white-water rafting! Besides this, many visitors try their luck at conquering impressive mountain scenery by climbing and mountaineering. It’s important to note that depending on the location and elevation, some mountains may still have snowmelt around mid-July.

13. Denali National Park, Alaska

Snow-capped mountains in Denali National Park, one of the places to visit in July that are not hot.

Photo by David Mark on Pixabay

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 39.2°Fand high of 57.2°F; precipitation of 3.00″ Reasons to Visit July: Mild to cool temperatures, a great time for wildlife spotting, and bus tours are available. 

On the hunt for places to visit in July that are not hot? You certainly can’t go wrong with Denali National Park in Alaska. With average highs of mid-60s°F and lows of mid-40s°F, the weather is mild and temperate. Featuring impressive glaciers, rugged mountain peaks, and tundra and spruce forests, it is among the most stunning national parks in Alaska . 

It’s where you’ll find Mount Denali — the tallest mountain peak in North America . You’ll likewise find different species of animals roaming around the nearly six million-acre land. This includes wolves, caribou, moose, sheep, and grizzly and black bears, all of which are often seen during the summer months. One of the best ways to explore the beauty of the park is through its hiking trails . But a trip to the park around July allows you to use your own private vehicle to drive along a portion of the Denali Park Road. Furthermore, bus tours are available during this month.

Best Places to Visit in July in the USA on a Budget

14. salt lake city, utah.

Aerial view of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Photo by lassensurf on Pixabay

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 61.3°F and high of 84.7°F; precipitation of 0.3″

Reasons to Visit July: Pioneer Day celebrations.

There’s a myriad of things to do in Salt Lake City on a budget! Utah’s capital city offers visitors historic sights, nature trails, and religious attractions. Admire the 222-foot beauty of Salt Lake Temple, learn about the history of Temple Square, and get a better understanding of the state’s history and politics at the Utah State Capitol Building. Enjoy a picnic and stroll through Liberty Park. While you’re there, don’t miss out on the chance of meeting different bird species, not just from North America but from other parts of the world at the Tracy Aviary and Botanical Garden. Visit on the 24th of the month to witness the city’s celebration of Pioneer Day. Floats, bands, and dancers take to the streets to commemorate the state’s early residents, with the festivities culminating in the downtown area. There you’ll find live music, dancing, games, and food.

15. Glacier National Park, Montana

Sunrise over the mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Photo Diana Robinson on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 50°F and high of 80°F; precipitation of 1.39” Reasons to Visit July: Great time for scenic drives along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Ideal water temperatures for water-based activities.

A trip to Montana’s Glacier National Park during July means warm sunny days and cool nights. Average temperatures fluctuate between highs of mid-80s°F to lows of upper 40s°F. However, temperatures can drop at higher elevations, such as at Logan Pass, with slight chances of snow occurring any time of the year. Nevertheless, since all hiking trails, business, and services are fully operational, you’ll never run out of things to do in Glacier National Park ! This includes going for a scenic drive along Going-to-the-Sun Road, camping in the wilderness, and stargazing during the twilight hours. Furthermore, the park has some of the best lakes in the US, perfect for water-based activities such as fishing, white water canoeing, kayaking, and rafting. Want to learn more about the park? Free ranger-led activity programs are available during the month.

16. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Wide shot of the Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park during July.

Photo by Zack Frank on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 41.5°F and high of 71.6°F; precipitation of 1.6″

Reasons to Visit July: All trailheads, backcountry camping sites, and facilities are fully open. Wildflowers are in full bloom.

Weather-wise, July is one of the best times to visit Yellowstone National Park because of its daytime temperatures around 70°F. It’s a popular time to visit, with plenty of people flocking to iconic attractions such as Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic. All trails, roads, bike routes, lodges, and visitor centers are fully open. River levels drop around this time, opening up many backcountry camping sites. Moreover, wildflowers at higher altitudes are in full bloom, which further makes the landscape even more stunning than it usually is. In addition, July is part of the rutting season of the park’s male bison. Head over to the Lamar and Hayden valleys to hear these majestic creatures.

17. Grand Canyon, Arizona

Wide shot of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with clouds in the sky during July.

Photo screaming_monkey on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 50°F and high of 84°F; precipitation of 0.8″

Reasons to Visit July: Mule trips are available plus longer daylight hours.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site in the USA is a must-visit for many. People travel across the globe to witness the spectacular landscape of the Grand Canyon. Weather conditions and temperatures in the park vary according to elevation. Generally, though, July sees average highs soaring to triple digits in the daytime. After the sun goes down, nighttime temperatures fluctuate between 40s°F and 70s°F. 

It can get crowded due to the summer holidays, particularly at the South Rim, but the North and West Rims have less number of tourists around this time. Hiking and backpacking are obvious ways to explore the trails of the North Rim. However, mule trips are extremely popular with visitors, as well. Meanwhile, at the West Rim, you can go on a whitewater rafting trip or walk the glass walkway situated 4,000 feet above sea level. Furthermore, the longer daylight hours of July provide more time for exploration of this natural wonder! 

18. York, Pennsylvania

One of the historic buildings in York City, Pennsylvania during July.

Photo by Smallbones on Wikimedia Commons

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 66°F and high of 84°F; precipitation of 3.3″

Reasons to Visit July: Various farmers’ markets across the city are open.

Nestled between the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, York City is one of the small towns you should add to your itinerary of the best places to visit in July in the USA . Dubbed as the White Rose City after the symbol of the House of York of England, the metropolis is an architectural museum! It’s home to a collection of well-preserved buildings dating back to the 18th century. Strolling through the streets transports you back in time. In fact, York, PA has four national historic districts. The town isn’t just a haven for history lovers. There are a lot of other attractions that will satisfy all types of visitors. Families with kids can all meet cows and other animals at the city’s farms and nature centers. There’s various farmers’ markets and shopping centers if you want to purchase souvenirs, as well.

19. Canyon Ferry Lake, Montana

Tall trees and mountains surrounding Canyon Ferry Lake in Montana during July.

Photo from the Visit Montana official Website

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 52°F and high of 83°F; precipitation of 1.47″

Reasons to Visit July: Perfect time for fishing and camping.

Grab your best fishing rods and camping tents, and set off to Canyon Ferry Lake in Montana. Located between the slopes of the Big Belt Mountains, it provides locals and tourists alike with plenty of outdoor recreational activities. On top of the list is fishing, with the lake considered as one of the best angling destinations in the state. During warm summer months, many visit the lake hoping to reel in their prized catch. The waters are swimming with trout, sunfish, codfish and sculpin. It’s likewise a popular boating destination with three marinas in the area. On the other hand, if you’re looking for some land-based fun, there are several parks perfect for biking, hiking, and picnicking. Stay the night at one of the Canyon Ferry campgrounds to complete the experience. Expect moderately warm temperatures that range from lows of 50s°F to highs of 80s°F.

Best Places to Visit in July in the East Coast

20. acadia national park, maine.

Rocky coast of Acadia National Park, Maine during July.

Photo by demerzel21 on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 58°F and high of 75°F; precipitation of 2.8″ Reasons to Visit July: Ideal weather conditions for scenic drives up the mountains.

Acadia National Park is another one of the best places to visit in July in the USA , on account of its comfortable weather conditions. Daytime temperatures vary between lows of mid-40s°F. and highs of 90s°F. Meanwhile, water temperatures are much cooler, ranging from 50s°F to 70s°F. What’s more, all picnic areas, park roads, beaches, and campgrounds are fully open around July.

The Crown Jewel of the North Atlantic Coast spans 47,000 acres and features wetlands, rocky beaches, forests, meadows, and granite peaks. Here, you’ll also find Cadillac mountain — the highest point on the East Coast . One of the best things to do in Acadia is take a scenic drive up to the summit of Cadillac, which offers picturesque views of the eastern seaboard. Don’t forget to pack your hiking boots, in order to comfortably explore the 158 miles of hiking trails.

21. Washington, D.C.

Fourth of July fireworks on the National Park tidal basin, with the Washington Monument in Washington, DC.

Photo by MelissaMN on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 71°F and high of 88°F; precipitation of 3.1”

Reasons to Visit July: Extravagant 4th of July celebrations. 

There’s no doubt that the nation’s capital is among the top places to go for the 4th of July. Washington, D.C. is filled with celebrations from concerts, street festivals, and parades. Of course, the highlight of the celebration is the firework displays that light up the night sky against the skyline of the district’s iconic monuments and memorials. Not visiting on the 4th? There are still countless things to do the rest of the month! Enjoy free live music and theater performances at some of the most popular venues.

Note that July can get hot and humid with temperatures reaching the upper 80s°F with some occasional rainfall. While not the best conditions for outdoor activities , there are plenty of indoor attractions you can check out, including numerous museums and theaters. And if you truly want to beat the heat, make a splash at one of D.C.’s lakes, waterfront, and splash zones. 

22. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee

Rocky stream found at Great Smoky Mountains National Park; one of the best places to visit in July USA.

Photo by Jim Liestman on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 65°F and high of 84°F; precipitation of 3.6″

Reasons to Visit July: Ideal weather for outdoor activities; wildflowers and shrubs in bloom. 

July is a popular month to visit the Great Smoky Mountains and for good reason. Straddling the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Smokies during this month are ideal for outdoor adventure, such as hiking up the mountains, chasing waterfalls, and wildlife spotting. Furthermore, all picnic areas and pavilions are open during this time. Admittedly, it can get rather hot and humid during the month, with temperatures soaring into the 90s°F at lower elevations. However, the canopy of the dense woodland forest provides shade to cool off visitors. Alternatively, retreat to the mountain’s cascading falls and gentle streams. Another option is to head up to higher altitudes, such as Mount LeConte, where the weather is much more pleasant. While on your journey, keep an eye out for the assortment of wildflowers and shrubs in bloom in mid-elevation areas.

23. Outer Banks, North Carolina

One of the historic lighthouses at Outer Banks, North Carolina against a starry night sky. 

Photo by Alistair Nicol on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 75.5°F and high of 82.7°F; precipitation of 3.8″

Reasons to Visit July: Fewer crowds compared to other destinations.

Generally considered as one of the states with the best weather in the US, North Carolina experiences sunny skies with few bad weather days in July. And one of the top destinations in the state to enjoy the pleasant weather is at Outer Banks . Far away from crowded cities, gaudy nightlife, high-rise buildings that spoil the ocean views, and tourist traps, a summer getaway on this string of barrier islands means seaside tranquility.

Over a hundred miles of shoreline come alive with people lounging by the beach, splashing around the waves, and reeling in their catch of the day. Water sports, such as kayaking, kite surfing, surfing, and paddle boarding are just some of the popular water activities. Looking for things to do away from the shores? Immerse yourself in local culture when you step into local galleries. Delve into history when you visit the city’s museums and other historical sights. For a more unique perspective of the coastline, climb up one of the centuries-old lighthouses or consider hopping aboard a helicopter for a bird’s-eye view of the islands.

24. South Beach, Florida

Wide shot of South Beach in Florida during July with people lounging by the beach.

Photo by Mike McBey on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 74°F and high of 89°F; precipitation of 5.1″

Reasons to Visit July: Fourth of July street parades, firework displays, and music festivals.

A good time is always guaranteed at South Beach, a lively Miami Beach neighborhood, thanks to the number of energetic nightclubs, with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. The area hosts a myriad of festivities, including a good old-fashioned street parade, then firework displays that light up the sky. Various music festivals are scheduled around this time, as well, ranging from rap and hip-hop to classical music.

In terms of weather conditions, South Beach experiences average temperatures that fluctuate between lows in the upper 70s°F and highs in the upper 80s°F. Expect light rain showers all throughout the month, though they don’t last very long. Despite the hot, wet, and humid weather, South Beach is still considered among the best places to visit in July in the USA, especially if warm weather, perfect waves, beautiful beaches , and non-stop nightlife are what you’re after.

25. New York City, New York

Fireworks display against the New York City skyline during Independence Day.

Photo by  ungvar on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 71°F and high of 84°F; precipitation of 3.5″

Reasons to Visit July: Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular

For many, the Big Apple is among the top cities to visit in the U.S. The city that never sleeps is truly rich with diverse culture, interesting history, and countless entertainment venues. July is a great time to witness the city come alive. And the warm weather is ideal for strolling through the paths of Central Park or biking along the Hudson River. However, undoubtedly the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular is the highlight of the month in NYC. The well-known department store hosts an extravagant pyrotechnic display, accompanied by performances and appearances from major artists and celebrities.

Best Places to Visit in July in the West Coast

26. san francisco, california.

The Golden Gate Bridge with a fireworks display in the background in San Francisco; one of the best places to visit in July USA.

Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 56°F and high of 70°F; precipitation of 0.0″

Reasons to Visit July: Several race marathons, the Fillmore Jazz Festival, and Bastille Day Festival.

For West Coast destinations this July, you certainly can’t go wrong with San Francisco . The city is famous for its steep rolling hills and being home to iconic landmarks and structures. This includes the likes of the Golden Gate Bridge , the Painted Ladies, and one of three surviving Japantowns in the country. The City by the Bay is packed with events and fun activities during this month. The main highlight, of course, is the annual 4th of July celebration, with its parade, street fairs, and firework display over the San Francisco skyline. Other notable events in the city in July include several marathons and music festivals. Want to immerse yourself in French culture without leaving the Bay Area? Schedule your trip around the third week of the month for the Bastille Day Festival.

27. San Diego, California 

Signage on display about the San Diego Comic Con; one of the events in San Diego during July.

Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 63°F and high of 71°F; precipitation of 0.1″

Reasons to Visit July: San Diego County Fair, San Diego Comic Con, and the beginning of the Del Mar Racing Season.

San Diego is another popular destination in California that sees flocks of tourists during the month of July. Besides the plethora of sunning and surfing opportunities, America’s Finest City likewise offers an array of festivals and sporting events. Head over to the San Diego County Fair for some live entertainment, delicious food, and fun rides and games. Equestrian fans shouldn’t miss out on the start of the Del Mar Racing Season around mid-July. Beach sports enthusiasts will surely be thrilled to witness the annual Over-the-Line tournament in the city. Meanwhile, comic book fans definitely won’t pass up the opportunity to be part of the biggest pop culture convention in San Diego!

28. Los Angeles, California 

Wide shot of Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles with the Hollywood sign in the background.

Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 65°F and high of 83°F; precipitation of 0.0″

Reasons to Visit July: Several film and music festivals, pop culture conventions, and several sporting events.  

Countless people consider Los Angeles as one of the best places for vacation in summer. After all, it’s hard to beat its incredible natural landscape, gorgeous beaches, lively boardwalks, piers, amusement parks, and other iconic attractions. From a myriad of celebrations to sporting events, there’s truly no shortage of things to do in Los Angeles during July. Chief among them are the Independence Day concerts held across the city, though the most prominent ones are held at the Hollywood Bowl and Rose Bowl Stadium.

For sports fans, July is a great month to support the city’s baseball, soccer, or women’s basketball teams. Meanwhile, motorheads won’t want to miss out on the Port of Los Angeles’ Cars & Stripes Forever and its exhibit of over a 100 pre-1975 classic cars and motorcycles. Film enthusiasts will also be glad to know that July has several film festivals, including the Outfest LA Film Festival. What’s more, the city’s annual Anime Expo will surely thrill avid Japanese pop culture fans. 

29. Olympic National Park, Washington

Meadows with wildflowers in bloom at Olympic National Park; one of the best places to visit in July USA.

Photo by BDFri2012 on Flickr

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 49.8°F and high of 73.8°F; precipitation of 0.8″

Reasons to Visit July: All trailheads and ranger-led programs are accessible and available. Small chances of rainfall. 

Temperate weather greets you when you visit Olympic National Park in July. It’s the perfect time to explore the national park’s stunning landscapes. Thus, it’s undeniably among the best places to visit in July in the USA. Spread out across nearly a million acres, the vast size of the park encompasses three distinct ecosystems. It boasts a beautiful coastline, a lush rainforest, and alpine highlands. The 70 miles rugged shoreline features sandy beaches and rocky shores, while the temperate forest has towering trees, wildflower meadows and tranquil lakeshores. The highlands, on the other hand, features breathtaking glacier-capped mountains.

Visiting in July means all activities such as climbing, hiking, backpacking, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, and night sky stargazing are all possible. Ranger-led programs are available during this month too. In terms of weather conditions, temperatures are moderately warm, rarely exceeding 80°F. What’s more, July is the month with the least chances of rainfall but fog can sometimes persist in higher elevation areas.

30. Oregon Coast

Greenery with colorful flora against the coastline along the Oregon Coast; one of the best places to visit in July USA.

Photo by Amy Wilkins on Adobe Stock

Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 55°F and high of 85°F; precipitation of 1.1″

Reasons to Visit July: Sunny days with 11 hours of sunshine.

Planning on a road trip for your next vacation? Well, how about a trip through the Oregon Coast? Stretching over 300 miles, the region is divided into three: the North Coast, Central Coast, and South Coast. Among them, it’s the North Coast that attracts the most visitors with its sandstone cliffs, ocean caves, and iconic landmarks, like shipwrecks and the Haystack Rock.

Meanwhile, the Central Coast is a well-known fishing destination with lots of overlooks. Further down, the South Coast offers secluded black-sand beaches, jagged cliffs, and beachside forests with beautiful hiking paths. Scattered across the coast, you’ll find both popular and secluded beaches, starting from Cannon Beach in the north all the way down to Oregon Dunes. The best part? All of them are free and open to the public. As such, this picturesque shoreline is a popular cheap weekend getaway spot for both Oregon locals and tourists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where in the us has the best weather in july.

Powell Street at Union Square in Downtown San Francisco with the tram system in view.

Photo by prayitnophotography on Flickr

Cities such as San Francisco and San Diego experience cooler weather in July compared to other areas on the West Coast . Meanwhile, Washington State and coastal Maine offer comfortable summer temperatures on the East Coast . Although, if you want to escape the warm July weather, head up to Alaska, which is one of the coolest states in the country.

What Is the Best Place to Vacation in July?

Colorful firework display in the night sky during 4th of July in Bar Harbor, Maine; one of the best places to visit in July in the USA.

Photo by Geoff Livingston on Flickr

City goers can’t go wrong with the lively ambience of places like Las Vegas , New York City, Miami, Washington, D.C., or Los Angeles . On the other hand, nature lovers will find paradise in the country’s national parks and their stunning vistas. For the best of both worlds, there are a number of small towns that provide relaxing atmospheres with still plenty of options for fun and excitement. This includes the likes of Bar Harbor, San Juan Islands, and Cape Cod

What Is the Most Popular Summer Vacation Spot in the US ?

Welcome signage to Las Vegas, Nevada; one of the best places to visit in July in the USA.

Photo by Rudi Nockewel on Pixabay

Many consider New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas as some of the best places to visit in summer in the USA . Meanwhile, popular laid-back beach destinations can be found along the Oregon Coast , in San Juan Islands , and Outer Banks .

Which State Is the Best to Visit in July?

One of the beaches in California with the Santa Monica Pier in the background.

Photo by Tommaso Teloni on Unsplash

California is the best state to visit in July if you’re looking to soak up some sun and ride some waves. And since it’s home to nine national parks, it’s also a great destination if you’re planning on adventurous outdoor activities. For those looking for beautiful coastal scenery, Maine is certainly among the best places to visit in July in the USA. 

Visiting the Best Vacation Spots in the USA in July

Create long-lasting memories with your friends, family, and loved ones at these best vacation spots in the US in the month of July! From the best places to visit in July with family to romantic getaway destinations, the USA has it all. Whether you’re looking for a beach vacation, a wilderness excursion, an energetic metropolitan vibe, or tranquility, there are endless possibilities for your next summer vacation!


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Wandering Sunsets

13 Most Epic Summer Road Trips in the US

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All you need is wheels, wanderlust, and a list of the most epic summer road trips in the US!

Whether you want to tick off some bucketlist experiences or meander through charming US towns , there’s a road trip here with your name on it. Road trips are a fantastic way to explore the United States at your own pace, especially if you are traveling with kids. You are not limited with how much luggage to bring as long as it fits in your car (this is a great road trip packing list for families) and you don’t need to worry about toddler tantrums, or taking a lot of stops along the way. Here are the best summer road trips in the United States!

Best Summer Road Trips in the US

Here are some USA Road Trip routes to add to your list.

1. Alaska Road Trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks 

One of the best Summer road trips in the US is the Alaska Road Trip.

The route from Anchorage to Fairbanks is perfect for hikers and wildlife lovers. It’s 360 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks. The drive takes more than 6 hours. But with stops along the way, the route can take up to a week. This is one of the most scenic routes to add to your Alaska Itinerary . 

Some of the best places to see along the way include Talkeetna – a small, charming mountain town, which is perfect for a stop. In this town, all expeditions for Denali starts. Town offers great adventure activities, as flights over the mountains, kayaking at the river, and hiking. There is also a lot of souvenir shops and great restaurants.

Denali National Park is the best place on the route. You can take a shuttle bus for a one day trip or stay for longer camping. Private cars are not allowed inside the park. If the weather is good, you can admire Denali, the highest peak in North America. On the way, you have the possibility to see deer, caribou, and grizzly bears.

In Healy, next to the local brewery, you can stop to see the Magic Bus 142 – replica from the movie Into the Wild. You can go inside the old bus, see the pictures and memories of Christopher McCandless.

When you get to Fairbanks, it is a great idea to go to Chena Hot Springs Resort after sightseeing in the city. It’s 60 miles from Fairbanks, but it’s worth your effort. Chena is one of Alaska’s best hot springs, and it’s amazing to soak in hot water after a long road trip.

By Agnes from The Van Escape

Summer Road Trips in the US

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the best summer road trips you can take in the eastern US is the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

The Parkway runs 469 miles through Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by emerald-green mountains, late-season wildflowers, vibrant wild mushrooms, and rushing waterfalls.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an especially great road trip for hikers. Top hikes include Black Balsam Knob, Clingman’s Dome, Craggy Pinnacle, and the trail to the highest point east of the Mississippi at Mount Mitchell. 

Not a hiker? No worries! You can still get panoramic views at over a hundred scenic overlooks. Or go on short walks to waterfalls like Linville Falls and Graveyard Fields.

Be sure to pack layers for your Blue Ridge Parkway road trip. You’ll need to prepare for temperatures that can fluctuate 20 degrees Fahrenheit or more in a matter of a few miles. Mount Mitchell has even gotten snow in July and August!

Additionally, the Blue Ridge Mountains see daily severe storms in the summer. Plan to be done with your outdoor activities by 2 pm and check the weather regularly. It’s extremely dangerous to hike on an exposed ridge in a thunderstorm. However, the rain and the elevation keeps temperatures down — daily highs are usually in the 70’s Fahrenheit in summer.

By Carrie  from Trains, Planes, and Tuk Tuks

Blue Ridge Parkway, usa

3. Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake, America’s deepest lake, with its rim drive and awesome sights is a popular US road trip destination.

At a reasonable 4 and half hour drive from Oregon, it is convenient to stop at a couple of interesting places along the way. Eugene, a pretty little University city, is the perfect mid-way point to stop for a night. Eugene is a town of parks, trees and waterways, and a hiking destination. 

Salem is another interesting place en route surrounded by gardens, flower fields, vineyards, and green pastures, located an hour from the ocean and an hour from the Cascade Mountains.

Crater Lake National Park is the dream destination for photographers, hikers, and cyclists. It lies within the crater of an extinct volcano, Mount Mazama, which is 7,000 feet above sea level. The popular thing to do is drive along the 33-mile rim and stop at the various vantage points of attraction. Many of these points offer hiking opportunities. Among the top attractions at Crater Lake are Phantom Ship Overlook, Pumice castle overlook, Wizard Island, the Pinnacles, and Cloud cap Overlook.

Stopping for a day or two at one of the many convenient B & Bs in the Klamath Fall area would make it easy to not only see the Crater Lake attractions but also admire the Klamath falls.

By Jan from Leisurely Drives

Summer Road Trips

4. Florida Keys: Miami to Key West

Beach lovers looking for a classic American adventure should take a Florida Keys Road Trip . This drive from Miami to Key West follows the Overseas Highway, which connects the Florida mainland to Key West with 42 bridges along 113 miles. It’s perfect for friends, couples, and families looking for an adventurous but laid-back getaway!

The one-way drive takes about 4 hours, but its many sights make for a fantastic vacation week. First, stop at classic kitschy restaurants in Key Largo. Sample some of the Keys’ best conch fritters at Alabama Joe’s tiki biker bar, then try the famous coconut shrimp and key lime pie at Mrs. Mac’s. Key Largo is also a world-famous snorkeling and diving destination, with many options for day trips including the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Next, spend a few days in the towns of Islamorada or Marathon to explore the Middle Keys. Both are popular fishing and watersports destinations with resorts, shopping, and beach restaurants for sunset views. Check out the History of Diving Museum, visit the Turtle Hospital to see rescued sea turtles, and spend a day at Sombrero Beach, one of the best in the Florida Keys.

On your way to Key West, stop for a picnic, hike, and swim at Bahia Honda State Park.  Then get ready for the amazing restaurants and nightlife of Duval Street and the sights of Old Town Key West. Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home, climb the Key West lighthouse, and snap a selfie at the Southernmost Point of the U.S.  If you have time, take a day trip to Dry Tortugas, one of the most remote National Parks, for spectacular snorkeling and pristine beaches.

By Adrienne from The Haphazard Traveler

Best Summer Road Trips in the US

5. New England

New England, the northeastern side of the US, is an amazing place for a road trip. Covering 6 states, you can spend weeks in this area to explore all of it. However, in one road trip, you can still get a good taste of what New England offers; hikes in woods and on mountains with gorgeous views; interesting cities and towns with both history and modern city life; beaches, water activities, and more.

Leaving from NYC, take the first 3 days of your road trip to New England to explore the state parks of Connecticut, drive through Massachusetts and Portland, Maine, and make the way up to Acadia National Park. The park offers amazing hikes with beautiful sceneries. For accommodation, you can camp in the park or book a hotel in the nearby town of Bar Harbor.

In the next 2 days, explore the small towns along the coast of Maine and drive down to Boston. Here you can explore the history of this city and the independence of the United States. Boston is fun and interesting, but expensive to stay in, so it is recommended to book a hotel outside of the city. 

From Boston, drive down to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Here you can hang out on the beaches, and if you have time, book a whale-watching cruise. In the last days of the trip travel through the towns and beaches of Connecticut, absorb a bit more nature and history, and head back to NYC.

By Moshe of The Top Ten Traveler

Massachusetts Road Trip

6. Northern California Coast

One of the best road trips you can do in California in summer is along its rugged north coast. Starting from San Francisco, you can make your way up the coast all the way to Crescent City, the final stop before you either drive into Oregon or return to your start point.

With spectacular scenery, quaint towns, great food and fine wine, and quaint little museums, there’s something on this trip for all types of travelers. It’s best, however, for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Along the route, stop at Point Reyes National Seashore, where you can photograph an old shipwreck, drive through a cypress tree tunnel, or hike to a tidefall. Next up is the scenic Sonoma Coast, dotted with little towns where you can enjoy fabulous seafood and choice wines. The scenery is beautiful as well.

Further north is the Mendocino Coast, where you will find lots of things to do in Mendocino , a pretty coastal village perched on scenic headlands, and Fort Bragg, where you can see the famous glass beach.

Still further north is the Lost Coast, so rugged that no road could be built through it. Adventurous hikers can explore it on backpacking trips.

Finally, you can take in the spectacular beauty of the Redwood National and State Parks. Walk among the towering redwoods, do scenic drives along the shore, and look for wildlife.

With temperatures in the 60s during the day in summer, this road trip makes for a fun adventure.

By Dhara from Roadtripping California

California - Summer Road Trips

7. Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is one of the most beautiful drives in America. The drive along the Oregon coast can take up 7-12 hours depending on how many stops you make. But don’t worry you do not have to drive the entire coast to get a fantastic experience!

Starting in the seaside town of Astoria, Oregon, Mile marker 0, you can check out the historical sites and see where many movies have been filmed. As you drive down the Oregon Coast make a stop at Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. From there, Tillamook Cheese Factory is a must-see. There is a free cheese tasting, which is incredible!  

Now, the first part of this road trip is fun but get ready because in the next few hours you will see one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world.  There are so many spots where you feel an overwhelming desire to pull the car over and explore the coast on foot. The National Forest scenic area which includes Cape Perpetua (Thor’s well, Devils Churn, Cookes Chasm, and Cape Cove Beach) is the highlight of the road trip. Cape Perpetua is at Mile Marker 167.  On a clear day, you can see 37 miles out to sea and 70 miles of coastline.  

Thor’s Well is the top attraction. It is a massive blowhole. As the waves come in, the powerful pull of the ocean makes it the most magnificent sight to behold. We witnessed this at low tide but high tide is supposed to be even better. There are many seaside towns along the coast where you can deep-sea fish, go on a whale watching tour or see historic sites.  As you travel down the coast the views just get better and better! 

By Lisa from Planning Away

Oregon Coast - Summer US Road Trips

8. Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is well known for its unbeatable hiking, stunning scenery, and plenty of camping opportunities. The best way to experience all of this is with a road trip to Oregon and Washington through the National Parks! When planning your National Parks road trip , start in the North Cascades or Crater Lake National Park and continue up or down through Olympic and Mount Rainier National Park.

All of these parks are stunning in their own way! Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, formed from a collapsed volcano. As the name suggests, Mount Rainier National Park surrounds the iconic Washington landmark, Mount Rainier. It is full of hiking and gorgeous fire lookout towers you can even stay at!

Olympic National Park is on the coast and not only has beautiful beaches and mountains, but much of it is also a rainforest. North Cascades borders Canada, and while a bit less developed than most National Parks it is still worth the visit and is a great place for backpacking, camping, and it is a world-class photography destination!

This road trip is perfect for outdoors and natures lovers, but if you’re a city person, you can also fly into or make stops at Portland and Seattle! Portland is full of “weird” things to do, and a trip isn’t complete without a visit to Powell’s Books or Voodoo Doughnuts. In Seattle, take a drive to Snoqualmie Falls and visit the iconic Pikes Place Market and Space Needle. 

By Val from Voyages with Val

Pacific NorthWest Road Trip

9. Road to Hana in Maui

The island of Maui is mostly associated with waving palms and picture-perfect beaches. But did you know that this tropical paradise has much more to offer? The eastern coast is wild, lush, and home to a highway with no less than 59 one-lane bridges and 620 curves and hairpins over a distance of 52 miles. The Road to Hana connects the artistic town of Paia to rural Hana. 

The destination in itself is not that spectacular but it’s the journey that makes this road trip truly legendary. From majestic waterfalls to rainbow eucalyptus trees and from colored beaches to tropical arboretums, the winding Hana highway connects dozens of the Valley Isle’s natural highlights. Along the way, you’ll find the quaintest food stalls selling mouth-watering local delicacies such as banana bread or coconut candy. 

The Road to Hana counts as Hawaii’s most epic road trip so, especially on sunshiny days, there’ll be lots of people driving the same highway and stopping to see the same highlights (where there’s hardly any parking available). Therefore, leaving early is highly recommended. Also, pack plenty of water and snacks since there are no gas stations and no shops (other than the food stalls) along the Road to Hana. This is the ultimate road trip for adventurers who look forward to exploring Maui’s wild side.

By Sarah Vanheel from CosmopoliClan

Summer Road Trips - Hana to Maui

10. Route 66

Route 66 is a great summer road trip option for couples, families, and solo travelers alike. Known as the “Mother Road”, Route 66 begins in Chicago, Illinois, and ends in Santa Monica, California. At 2,448 miles, to drive the entire length would be quite a road trip, but even completing a section would make for a great summer vacation for those who love quirky roadside stops and vintage memorabilia. 

Some notable stops along the way are classic Route 66 diners such as the Midpoint Cafe in Texas, at the exact midpoint of Route 66, Pops in Oklahoma, a vintage diner and old school soda shop, and the Big Texan Steakhouse, known for its large portions. Some famous roadside attractions are Cadillac Ranch, the Standin on the Corner mural in Winslow, Arizona, and the donkeys that roam free in Oatman, Arizona. 

Other well-known cities and towns along Route 66 with many things to do are Williams and Flagstaff in Arizona, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Oklahoma City and Tulsa in Oklahoma, and Springfield, and St. Louis, Missouri.

If you are looking for popular, nostalgic places to stay along Route 66, then check out the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, which was used as inspiration for the Cars movie (as was much of Route 66) and La Posada Hotel in Winslow, home to a famous railroad hotel that celebrities used to frequent. In addition, this Route 66 summer road trip can be combined with plenty of other side trip options to visit national parks like the Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest. 

By Margie from DQ Family Travel

Route 66 - Summer Road Trips in USA

11. San Francisco to Los Angeles

California’s Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles is 479 miles of killer coastal views, sandy beaches, hikes, and wineries. If you hurry, you can drive it in 10 hours, but what’s the rush? This classic summer road trip is meant to be savored.

Some of the best stops on the Pacific Coast Highway road trip , include Monterey Bay, This deep bay harbors some of California’s most diverse marine life. You can take an otter safari on the Elkhorn Slough, a whale watching boat, or see the eerie jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Big Sur. This narrow stretch of the road is bordered by steep forest on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Take a hike in the Point Lobos nature reserve or stop to see the lovely McWay waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer beach.

If you’re a wine lover, Paso Robles OR Cambria has over 200 wineries. If you are more into history, then stay on the coast and visit Hearst Castle, which is just north of Cambria.

Pismo Beach is one of the most gorgeous beaches in the US and the only one in California which allows you to drive right onto the beach. So, pack a picnic and stay awhile.

By Carol Guttery of California Crossings

best road trip in usa in july

12. Southwest USA 

The American Southwest is one of the most memorable and unique regions of the United States. With numerous national parks, waterfalls, scenic hikes, and panoramic landscapes, the area is a nature lover’s paradise. The perfect Southwest USA road trip itinerary should ideally include portions of Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico.

Although you could spend months exploring the southwest US and barely scratch the surface, give yourself at least 2 weeks to road trip through the region. Start your road trip in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and head north into Southern Colorado to see two of the state’s best natural and cultural wonders: Great Sand Dunes and Mesa Verde National Parks. 

From there, you’ll head west to explore the Mighty 5 National Parks of Utah. Spend a few days in Moab and do some hiking in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Be sure to wake up early one morning and hike to Delicate Arch, one of the state’s most notable landmarks.

Your road trip should continue through Capitol Reef National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and down to Bryce and Zion National Park. Zion is one of the country’s most visited national parks, and for good reason. The famed park is home to two of the most acclaimed hikes in the USA, Angel’s Landing and The Narrows.

Of course, no trip to the American southwest would be complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon to take in the majestic, sweeping views. If planning a road trip to the southwest, be sure to pack plenty of hiking gear, as this area is best explored one trailhead at a time.

By Melissa from Parenthood and Passports

mesa verde national park

13. South Dakota

Most people look at South Dakota for a visit to Mount Rushmore National Monument, but there is so much more adventure throughout the western side of the state that makes the perfect road trip for any nature lover or history buff. Plan your route through 3 areas to experience all the best South Dakota has to offer: Spearfish Canyon, Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park. You can see a lot in just one day in each area, but they are all worthy of a bit more time if you have it.

It’s certainly no ordinary road trip when you travel through South Dakota on the scenic byways through Spearfish Canyon, Iron Mountain Road, Wildlife Loop Road (make sure to pack extra apples and carrots to feed the “begging burros” along the way), and Needles Highway.

Nature lovers and outdoor adventurers will love hiking the trails (don’t miss the Notch Trail in Badlands NP), some epic camping spots in the parks and in the Black Hills National Forest, and plenty of wildlife.

History buffs will enjoy touring the Delta-09 Missile Silo National Historic Site, Crazy Horse Memorial, and exploring Deadwood, SD, which offers unique sights such as the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center and Mount Moriah Cemetery.

And no road trip through South Dakota is complete without a stop at Wall Drug for some shopping and their famous hot roast beef sandwich!

By Kiersten from Hiking in My Flip Flops

Summer Road Trips - South Dakota

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10 of the best road trips in the USA

Bailey Freeman

Jan 5, 2024 • 6 min read

best road trip in usa in july

Take to the open road and discover a different side to the USA © monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images

While a plane may get you there faster, road-tripping across the US is one of the most iconically American things you can do.

Get up close and personal with the country’s most striking landscapes – dense eastern forests, windswept plains, red rock canyons, dramatic Pacific coastlines – and make pit stops at some of its most famous cities all in one go.

Crisscrossed with an extensive network of pretty well-maintained highway systems, the US is remarkably easy to traverse by car . Some distances may be long, but gas, food and accommodations are largely easy to come by (except in some of the most rural locales), and a set of wheels gives you the freedom to do extra side quests along the way.

Here’s a list of our favorite routes across America’s wide open spaces, along with some tips on how to make the most of your journey.

1. Pacific Coast Highway

Best road trip for Pacific views San Diego–Seattle; 1600 miles; 8–12 days

The Pacific Coast Highway delivers one of the US’ most iconic road trip experiences, linking together the West Coast’s most notable metropolises, quirky California beach towns, ancient redwood forests, and the dramatic capes and pools of the Pacific Northwest . The route includes Hwy 1, Hwy 101 and I-5, starting in San Diego ; it winds up the coast through LA , Big Sur , San Francisco and Redwood National & State Parks , eventually terminating in Seattle .

Planning tip: Always check for road closures, particularly in the Big Sur area, where rockslides are common along the sea cliffs.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

Best Appalachian road trip Cherokee, NC–Waynesboro, VA; 469 miles; 2–5 days

This spectacular route takes you through the heart of the US’ oldest mountain range, delivering view after view of rolling green mountains chock full of enchanting hiking trails, thundering waterfalls, ancient rock formations and prolific wildlife. The Parkway – part of the NPS system – begins adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and passes through the spectacular Pisgah National Forest, a number of state parks and recreation areas, and Roanoke, VA, before ending at the southern entrance of Shenandoah National Park .

Detour: In addition to state and national parks , many one-off hikes originate along the parkway. Consult trail maps to avoid missing some of Appalachia’s top routes.

Roadside attraction along historic Route 66 in Kingman Arizona

3. Route 66

Best road trip for American kitsch Chicago–Los Angeles; 2250 miles; 1–2 weeks

Nicknamed the Mother Road, Route 66 has permanently ingrained itself in the international psyche as the original US road trip. Starting in Chicago , it crosses eight different states and connects travelers to national parks, weird-but-wonderful roadside attractions and tons of vintage Americana.

Planning tip:  The route can be driven in pieces or all at once, but we suggest allotting plenty of time to explore – distances are long, and the activities are numerous.

4. Natchez Trace

Best road trip for Southern history Pasquo, TN–Natchez, MS; 444 miles; 2–3 days

The path for the Natchez Trace was originally carved not by humans, but by buffalo that wandered the region from middle Tennessee to Natchez, MS. Indigenous hunters and traders soon followed, and later the route became a full-fledged thoroughfare for European colonists, soldiers and dignitaries. Today, a trip down the Trace yields gorgeous scenery, historic towns and the experience of traveling one of the most storied roads in the country.

5. Florida Highway 1

Best road trip for Gulf Coast culture Amelia Island–Key West; 475 miles; 6 days

Florida’s Hwy 1 runs the length of the state’s Atlantic Coast before banking east at Miami  and ending in stunning Key West . This sublime multi-day journey takes you through tons of Florida ’s most iconic stops: historic St Augustine , windswept Canaveral National Seashore , Nascar-fueled Daytona, laid-back Fort Lauderdale and the glam and glitter of Miami and South Beach.

Planning tip: Hurricane season lasts from June through October – with the most active months being August and September – and has the potential to significantly affect Florida. If you’re visiting during this window, keep your eyes on the forecast.

Cowboys herd American buffalo across an auburn plain

6. Badlands – Black Hills Loop

Best road trip to experience the Great Plains Badlands National Park–Badlands National Park; 330 miles; 2 days

If you want to get a taste of how expansive the Great Plains really are, head to South Dakota for this fascinating road trip through a state of huge ecological and cultural importance. Start your trip at the mind-bendingly beautiful Badlands National Park before looping over to the Black Hills, home to the Crazy Horse Memorial , Mt Rushmore and Wind Cave National Park . Along the way, take in views of thriving buffalo herds, fascinating rock formations and plenty of rolling hills.

7. San Juan Skyway

Best road trip for Rocky Mountain peaks Durango–Durango; 236 miles; 1–3 days

The San Juan Skyway delivers some of the Rockies ’ biggest views in high definition. This route – which includes the renowned Million Dollar Highway – leapfrogs across central Colorado’s mountainous core connecting Durango, Silverton, Ouray, Telluride and Mesa Verde National Park , known for the cliff dwellings left behind by the Ancestral Puebloans.

Whether you’re a history buff, ski bum, landscape photographer or simply someone who enjoys a thrilling drive, San Juan Skyway has something for you.

Planning tip: A fact that can be deduced by its name, the San Juan Skyway runs through high-altitude terrain, and that makes road conditions somewhat unpredictable, particularly during shoulder season. Always check for closures or local warnings before heading out.

8. Richardson Highway

Best road trip for Alaska outdoors Fairbanks–Valdez; 364 miles; 2–4 days

No road trip list would be complete without a journey through the country’s largest, northernmost state. The Richardson Highway, Alaska’s oldest highway, connects Fairbanks with Valdez, winding past dramatic mountain peaks and glaciers and giving travelers a front seat to some of the country’s most jaw-dropping natural attractions. Be sure to make pit stops for hiking, fishing and whitewater rafting.

An older couple take a break from hiking to enjoy the view at Utah outlook overlooking a canyon. They are sitting on the cliff's edge and soaking in the scenery. The mountains and canyon are in front of them.

9. Scenic Byway 12

Best road trip through red rock country Bryce Canyon National Park–Capitol Reef National Park; 122 miles; 1 day

Southern Utah feels like an entirely different planet, and this backroads route takes you through the best scenery this geologically diverse state has to offer. Start your journey in the town of Panguitch – right outside of Bryce Canyon – and follow the road through red rock canyons, historic towns and pine forests until you finish your journey in Torrey, gateway to Capitol Reef National Park , one of the west’s best-kept secrets.

Detour: From Torrey, it’s an easy 2.5-hour drive to Moab , Canyonlands and Arches , making these routes the best way to see Utah’s Big 5 . And the road itself takes you through some amazing lunar-like scenery that contrasts sharply with the red rocks – wild.

10. Coastal New England

Best road trip for Atlantic maritime vibes New York City–Portland, ME; 430 miles; 3–5 days

Prep yourself for seafood chowder, picturesque oceanside towns and all the lobster you can handle – this coastal New England trip will definitely help you find your sea legs. Start in New York City and make your way north along the coast, stopping to enjoy the lovely beaches in Rhode Island , Massachusetts’  wealth of historical heavy hitters and New Hampshire’ s lighthouses before arriving in culinary-minded Portland, ME .

This article was first published May 22, 2019 and updated Jan 5, 2024.

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Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled

20 Amazing Places to Visit in July in the USA

Summer crowds can be an issue anywhere, but if you are savvy enough, you will find some amazing places to explore this month. From my time traveling around this month, h ere are my favorite places to get you started…

1. Finger Lakes, New York State

The Finger Lakes, NY

This area is filled with beautiful watery landscapes punctuated by hundreds of stunning waterfalls. Some tumble between forested cliffs from upwards of 150 ft.

The awe-inspiring Taughannock Falls, which plunges from 215ft, is one of the few you can swim in. I personally love the whole of the Fingerlakes area; it’s a tranquil and scenic gem, and summer is the perfect time to visit.

Much of the waterfall action is centered around Lake Cayuga’s shores and Ithaca’s picturesque town, home of Cornell University. Ithaca is everything you’d expect from an Ivy League Town, full of stunning historic brownstone buildings and leafy avenues.

I recommend exploring all the beautiful parks and gardens which are in full bloom during this month and the weather is very warm too! 

  • Visitor’s Centre Address: 35 Lake Front Dr, Geneva, NY 14456
  • Average temperature – 28 degrees

My favorite highlights…

  • Exploring Watkins Glen State Park, which features 18 stunning waterfalls.
  • Enjoying an afternoon out on the waters on a Wine Tasting Boat Tour!
  • Taking a Sea Plane Tour which was a very memorable experience flying over Watkins Glen, Seneca Lake, and Canandaigua Lake.

2. Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor, Maine summer

Bar Harbour is a picturesque town on Mount Desert Island. Its shoreline sits along Frenchman’s Bay which is the gateway to the beautiful Acadia National Park.

I’m a real foodie, and I loved their top-class dining spots and being able to eat al fresco at the harbourside restaurants. 

For Nature Lovers, I highly recommend going on a Nature Cruises trip, which sails regularly from Bar Harbour. They offer an opportunity to spot porpoises, seals, eagles, and other marine life, as well as elegant mansions and the scenic lighthouse at Egg Rock.

I suggest exploring the nearby magnificent Acadia National Park, which spans 47,000 acres of rugged Atlantic coastline interspersed by dense woodland, rocky beaches, and granite peaks such as Cadillac Mountain, the East Coast’s highest point. The scenery is just extraordinary here! 

  • Visitor’s Centre Address: 2 Cottage Street, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
  • Average temperature – 27 degrees

My highlights…

  • Strolling along the gorgeous Shore Path coastal trail, where I could view the surrounding small islands.
  • Admiring the wonderful New England Historic Architecture filled with character and quirky features.
  • Hopping on a boat over to Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park and lots of outdoor activities like hiking and cycling.

3. Olympic National Park, Washington

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park lies within the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. Stretching northwards towards the Canadian border, the park is unique as it encompasses over 900,000 acres and three specific ecosystems: temperate rainforests, glaciated mountains, and wild Pacific coastline.

In July, you are (almost!) guaranteed pleasant temperatures (although not too hot), making it an excellent time of year for wildlife spotting, hiking, and water sports. In the summer, there is also the opportunity to bike and stargaze on Hurricane Ridge.

If you only have a short time here, I’d recommend staying at the characterful Lake Quinault Lodge . This rustic lodge, built in the 1920s, is on the lake’s shores on the edge of the excellent Olympic National Forest.

  • Visitor’s Centre Address: 3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362
  • Average temperature – 17 degrees

My personal highlights…

  • Hiking the Obstruction Point Trail and seeing the gorgeous scenery.
  • Visiting the incredible Hoh Rain Forest, the trees there are very unique!
  • Spending a night at Hoh Rainforest Campground surrounded by stunning scenery.

4. Yachats, Oregon

Yachats - best places to visit in July

The minute I set foot in Yachats, I loved it. Perched alongside Cape Perpetua on an unspoiled stretch of rugged Oregon Coastline, Yachats is remarkable and still a relatively hidden gem.

It’s home to tide pools, black basalt cliffs, fern gullies, and beautiful lighthouses amid crashing ocean waves. It’s a great place to kick back, relax, and take in the wonderful scenery.

There’s a good handful of charming resturants and shops, and all the shop owners we chatted with were keen to tell us about all the fantastic community events, from ClamBakes on the beach to the weekly summer farmers market.

I didn’t want to leave, and if you go, I am pretty sure you won’t either! 

  • Visitor’s Centre Address: 241 Oregon Coast Hwy Box 728, Yachats, OR 97498
  • Checking out the eclectic variety of shops in the downtown area.
  • Tasting locally crafted award-winning beer at Yachats Brewing + Farm Store.
  • Wandering along the beach to see the dramatic shoreline filled with magnificent rock formations and sea views.

5. Geneva-on-the-lake, Ohio

Geneva On The Lake Ohio

Established in 1869, I’m a big fan of this family-friendly vacation destination. Situated in Geneva State Park on the shores of Lake Erie, I love how quaint and old-fashioned this place is.

From June to August , you can bask in the summer sunshine on one of the beautiful lakeside beaches, charter a boat, or try any of the water sports available at the marina.

I also recommend trying the canopy tours, including sky bridges, zip lines, and adventure rope courses, for a real thrill. One of my favorite experiences was a laid-back tour of local breweries and vineyards. Alternatively, you can also play golf or eat al fresco while watching a beautiful sunset.

Explore some of the cute little local shops, swim in the crystal lake waters, or hike on the trails, trying to spot birds. Mini-golf and amusement arcades galore keep the kids happy, too. 

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 5540 Lake Rd E, Geneva, OH 44041
  • Renting a jet ski!
  • Take a trip to Madsen Donuts, filled with deliciously flavored donuts and friendly customer service!
  • Eating a hearty American breakfast while gazing at the lake at Horizons Restaurant & Lounge.

6. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota

Voyageurs National Park in July

This is a fantastic park to stay in the summer. It straddles the border between Northern Minnesota and Canada, consisting of acres of interconnecting lakes and waterways. The biggest landmass in the park is the Kabetogama Peninsula, which lies entirely within its borders.

Here, it’s all about the water, with many of the most beautiful parts only accessible by boat. To the east of the park is Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, a stunning collection of forests, glacier lakes, and streams that draw millions of outdoor-loving visitors annually.

There are many accommodation options here, ranging from cute houseboats to lodges. I highly recommend exploring as many 50 miles of trails on the peninsula as possible. Amazing overlooks punctuate them, so don’t forget to bring your camera!

  • Visitor’s Center Address: Voyageurs National Park- Rainy Lake Visitor Center, 1797 Township Rd 342, International Falls, MN 56649
  • Average temperature – 25 degrees
  • Traveling around the lakes by canoe!
  • Seeing the Northern Lights (they can be seen all year round here).
  • Admiring the beautiful Ellsworth Rock Gardens, built in the 1940s they took 20 years to complete.

7. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston - best places to visit in July

I personally think Boston is an extra special travel spot in July as it hosts the fabulous Summer Pops Concerts and breathtaking Fourth of July fireworks over the River Charles.

These are connected to Harborfest, a week-long celebration of the city’s unique maritime history that kicks off on Independence Day.

When here, I recommend chilling out on one of the fantastic city beaches, grabbing a picnic and a bottle of wine, enjoying Shakespeare on the common, or watching an outdoor movie under the stars. 

Boston has beautiful parks, fantastic architecture (both old and new) and a splendid esplanade, perfect for romantic summer strolls and plenty of picnics.

I also love the excellent food and craft beer scene, the al fresco dining options, harbor cruises, and the incredible whale-watching opportunities ( May to October ).

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 139 Tremont Street Boston, MA 02111
  • Average temperature in Boston in July – 28 degrees
  • Hopping on a boat tour, sailing around Boston, and viewing the spectacular city differently.
  • Sunbathing along the Boston Beach at the main waterfront.
  • Watching the Red Sox at Fenway Park!

8. Half Moon Bay, California

Half Moon Bay California

This is a gorgeous coastal spot to spend a summer weekend or use as a base to explore the northern Californian coastline.

Its compact downtown area is filled with quaint eateries and attractive shops selling boutique products, from unique arts and crafts to delicious wine. 

There are many seafood restaurants here, but for a quirky dining experience, I’d recommend Daddy’Os, housed in an old rail car and serving delicious comfort food. 

Half Moon Bay is surrounded by protected parks and beaches, including the Mavericks, a famous stretch of coastline that hosts a world-famous annual surf competition. Other protected beaches, such as Poplars, are great spots for a sunset picnic, and the beautiful beaches here don’t get crowded like some neighbouring stretches.

I love that it’s a place that maintains a calm and relaxed coastal vibe even in the peak summer months.

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 235 Main Street Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
  • Average temperature  – 18 degrees
  • Walking along the Coastside Trail, which stretches nearly 5 miles long and offers gorgeous views overlooking the ocean.
  • Wandering along Main Street and discovering an array of shopping boutiques and fun dining options.
  • Eating a hearty vegetarian lasagne at Half Moon Bay Joe’s.

9. St Michaels, Maryland

St Michaels, Maryland - best summer vacations

Once home to shipbuilding and oyster fishing, St Michaels is a small waterfront town in Talbot County, Maryland, home to around 1,000 people.

I love that it still has the look and feel of a 19th-century seaport and is home to a charming Old Town filled with historic houses; it’s a picture-postcard pretty spot!

Topping the list of beautiful, low-key summer vacation spots, it is known for its picturesque water bodies, which I think are needed during hot summer days (average temperatures are around 31°C).

It has fun, family-friendly attractions, attractive independent shops, quaint resturants, buzzing marinas, and the picturesque Chesapeake Bay.

Whether you want to sail on a yacht, swim to cool off on a hot afternoon or treat your taste buds to some mouth-watering local cuisines, I think St Michaels is a great option! 

  • Visitor’s Center Address: PO Box 1206,  St. Michaels, MD 21663
  • Average temperature – 31 degrees
  • Visiting the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and walking through 18 acres of interactive exhibitions!
  • Walking around Hollis Park for a quieter atmosphere after a busy day of sightseeing.
  • Enjoying an exceptional dining experience at 208 Talbot Restaurant.

10. Buffalo River, Arkansas

Buffalo National River Summer

This is an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts, with many accommodation options. The river here is 153 miles long, and 100 miles of trails traverse its banks. Activities include canoeing, kayaking, rafting, tubing, rock climbing, swimming, and mountain biking (rentals are all available in the area).

The Hawksbill Crag trail is the only designated hiking trail through the wilderness area. When I hiked it, I saw incredible views of the steep bluffs formed by the winding river gorge.

I also loved the beautiful oak and hickory forests, ancient caves, waterfalls, and abundant wildlife spotting opportunities, including a herd of over 500 free-ranging elk.

There is plenty for history lovers, too; I would recommend visiting the eerie Rush Ghost Town and the even creepier Peppersauce Ghost Town at Calico Rock; both are designated historic districts with very chequered pasts! 

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 170 Ranger Rd, St Joe, AR 72675
  • Average temperature  – 33 degrees
  • Taking a dip in the Steel Creek swimming hole, 
  • Soaring through the sky on a zipline on the Buffalo River Canopy Tour.
  • Discovering the magnificent caves in the upper area, the Mystic Caves and Crystal Dome Caverns.

11. Traverse City, Lake Michigan

Traverse City in July

With a shoreline spanning 307 miles, I found choosing where to stay on Lake Michigan a little overwhelming. Still, I loved the spot I eventually decided on – Traverse City in Northern Michigan.

It was an excellent base to explore some of the most beautiful beaches and nature reserves along the lakeshore. It’s also a fantastic and vibrant city in  its own right.

I became a fan of the city because it offered fantastic boutique shopping, microbreweries, food carts, gastro pubs, and fine dining. It also has abundant public art, museums, galleries, and excellent urban walking, biking, and boating trails.

The Old Mission Peninsula, just a short drive from downtown, had some beautiful parks overlooking the water. Haserot Beach was an excellent relaxing place, and Bryant Park was the perfect picnic spot.

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 101 W Grandview Pkwy, Traverse City, MI 49684
  • Average temperature in Traverse City in July – 27 degrees
  • Wandering downtown and discovering all the boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and galleries.
  • Relaxing on the sandy Traverse City State Park Beach.
  • Biking the paved Boardman Lake Trail which took me through lovely scenery.

12. Beavers Bend Resort Park, Oklahoma

Beavers Bend - great summer destinations

I’m a big fan of this beautiful 1,300-acre resort park beside Broken Bow Lake in Southeastern Oklahoma, which is perfect for a summer vacation.

The park offers numerous activities , including a curated lineup of campfire programs, nature hikes, and arts and crafts classes. It also has 12 miles of hiking trails and roped-off swimming areas along the banks of the lake and river.

If you love the view from the water, I recommend hiring a Yakanoe, kayak, or paddleboat. There’s a steam train, golf course, visitor center, and numerous gorgeous wooden cabins to stay in, all nestled within the stunning mountainous terrain.

Don’t miss catching the sunset over the impressive Broken Bow Dam! 

  • Visitor’s Center Address: Broken Bow, OK 74728
  • Average temperature – 34 degrees
  • Hiking the scenic Cedar Bluff Nature Trail.
  • Renting a kayak.
  • Stopping by the visitor center and discovering all the activities going on.

13. Block Island, Rhode Island

Block Island, Rhode Island beach in the summer

If you’re looking for a relaxing beach summer getaway, I’d recommend Block Island. It is an incredible destination that houses the historic Southeast Lighthouse, the natural clay cliffs of the Mohegan Buffs, and many beautiful beaches. 

You can sunbathe in warm weather, dip in the sea on any of the island’s scenic beaches (notably Crescent Beach), sail, bicycle, or hike—there are plenty of things to do!

I recommend heading there for the famous annual Fourth of July parade, which includes a fabulous fireworks display! There are also plenty of accommodations on the island, ranging from cute Bed and Breakfasts and rental cottages to beachfront hotels.

  • Visitor’s Center Address:   4 Center Rd, New Shoreham, RI 02807
  • Average temperature  – 25 degrees
  • Hiking up Mohegan Bluffs and seeing spectacular ocean views before heading down 141 steps to the beautiful beach.
  • Visiting Ballard’s which had a lively vibe with live music, sunshine, and Tiki bars.
  • Hiring a bike and exploring the island to see the famous lighthouses, Great Salt Pond, and nature trails.

14. Grand Teton National Park , Wyoming 

Grand Teton National Park

Set amidst the spectacular Teton Mountain Range in Northwestern Wyoming , Grand Teton National Park, I love the breathtaking scenery, alpine lakes, and hiking trails!

I recommend boat trips to Jenny Lake or the Massive Jackson Lake, and for more adventurous people, go  rafting down the rapids. 

The 100-mile John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway is the perfect challenge for keen cyclists, taking in some of the park’s best wildlife and scenery.

Climbing enthusiasts can tackle Grand Teton, the tallest peak in the 40-mile Teton Range. My favorite highlight, though, was the spectacular sunsets! 

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 1 Teton Park Rd, Moose, WY 83012
  • Soaking up the scenery on a 10-mile float trip down the Snake River in Jackson Hole.
  • Driving up to Signal Mountain and admiring the Instagrammable panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Hiking along the trail by Jenny Lake, which took me to Inspiration Point and the Insta-worthy Hidden Falls.

15. Lake Chelan, Washington

Lake Chelan Summer

Beautiful Lake Chelan, between Seattle and Spokane, is a popular summer resort town with gorgeous scenery and a laid-back vibe!

Wenatchee National Forest, Twenty-Five Mile Creek State Park, and Lake Chelan State Park are located along its shores and offer miles of scenic hiking trails.

At its Northernmost point, it provides a gateway to the breathtaking wilderness of Northern Cascades National Park.

During the summer, it is the perfect place to experiment with various water sports. I’d also recommend hanging out on beautiful beaches, hiking spectacular lakeside trails, and enjoying local produce at the Evening Farmers Market.

  • Visitor’s Center Address:   216 E Woodin Ave, Chelan, WA 98816
  • Average temperature – 30 degrees
  • Checking out the fun Slidewaters Waterpark, rated in the top 15 in the country!
  • Enjoying mouth-watering wines at Tuscan-inspired Tsillan Cellars & Sorrento’s Ristorante.
  • Going to the High Trek Chelan and trying out their fun ziplines and obstacle courses.

16. Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park Summer

In July, the stunning natural scenery at this spot is ablaze with color, and thrill-seekers will find the Middle Fork Whitewater at its best, with water levels perfect for an exhilarating raft ride!

I love that the flowers are in full bloom, and the huckleberries are at their sweetest from mid-July!

All the trails and roads are open in July, and I personally think it’s the perfect time for a drive along the scenic Going-To-The-Sun Road.

Miles of hiking trails traverse the park, and there is a vast collection of exciting wildlife, including rare wolverines, Canadian Lynx black bears, grizzlies, and mountain lions. 

Although July is usually warm and temperate, I recommend preparing for any eventuality as the weather can change on a whim, and parts of the park are incredibly remote!

  • Visitor’s Center Address: West Glacier, MT 59936
  • Average temperature  – 21 degrees
  • Driving along the going-to-the-sun road is one of the most scenic journeys in the park, featuring an array of viewpoints.
  • Catching a sunrise at the hidden Two Medicine landmark was an unforgettable experience!
  • Dipping my feet in Lake McDonald to cool down on a hot day.

17. Ely, Minnesota

Ely, Minnesota - Places to go in the summer

Ely is a historic city in Minnesota, with an estimated 3,500 residents and a summer temperature of 27°C in July.

Famous for housing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, it’s one of my favorite destinations for lakeside activities, including canoeing! 

It has a rustic, rugged feel, but the quaint town is filled with interesting independent shops, cozy eateries and a thriving art scene.

I recommend visiting the International Wolf Centre, which is dedicated to educating the public about wolves, and going on the family-friendly Kawishiwi Falls Trail, which will take you to 70-foot-drop Kawishiwi Falls and Fall Lake Dam. 

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 1600 E Sheridan St, Ely, MN 55731
  • Renting a paddleboard and heading across the peaceful Bear Head Lake at the State Park.
  • Going for a hike along the Kawishiwi Falls Trail and admiring the impressive waterfalls.
  • Indulging in mouth-watering treats at Northern Expressions.

18. Monterey, California

Visiting Monterey in July

I was super keen to see Monterey and the historic Cannery Row Historic District, and when I visited, I knew it had to be included on this list!

Summer doesn’t get too hot here, but the weather is pleasant, and I loved its unique boutique hotels, cute independent shops, and relaxed seafood resturants where I could gaze at the waves and ocean views while dining.

I recommend walking through Monterey State Historic Park to see some of the area’s oldest and most significant buildings, including the cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo (the oldest in California).

Plenty of outdoor pursuits are available, with excellent surfing and wildlife spotting along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail and The Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary .

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 419 Webster St Suite 100, Monterey, CA 93940
  • Average temperature – 20 degrees
  • Wandering around the setting for John Steinbeck’s novel, Cannery Row Downtown, which is filled with cool shops and restaurants.
  • Taking in the coastline views at Point Sur Lightstation, a historic landmark overlooking the ocean.
  • Checking out the Monterey Museum of Art , which is home to over 14,000 pieces.

19. Marquette, Michigan

Marquette, Michigan - summer resort

I think this is an excellent choice for a low-key, peaceful summer vacation far away from the kind of crowds you’ll find in the more popular summer resorts.

It’s a quaint, relaxed, small city surrounded by miles of breathtaking hiking and biking trails and beautiful inland lakes that give way to larger acres of water bodies and scenic shorelines. The water activities on offer here are endless and range from kayaking and canoeing to swimming and rafting.

History and art lovers will enjoy this place, as it is also home to several historic lighthouses and a thriving art scene. Head for Marquette Arts and Culture Centre for excellent art exhibits, thought-provoking lectures, and an extraordinary musical series.

  • Visitor’s Center Address: 2201 US 41 South ,  Marquette ,  MI   49855
  • Average temperature – 24 degrees
  • Swimming out to the rock islands and lagoons at McCarty’s Cove before relaxing along the sandy shoreline.
  • Biking the scenic Iron Ore Heritage Trail.
  • Taking a sightseeing tour, which taught me all about the area’s history as well as enabled me to see all the best spots.

20. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park - best places to visit in July

Mount Rainier National Park spans 369 sq miles of incredible scenery around the imposing 14,411 ft stratovolcano at its center.

This place always enchants me, and I love that the foothills are a fantastic blend of subalpine meadows, valleys, and waterfalls cascading from rocky plateaus. The scenery is seriously spectacular here! 

From July through August, wildflowers transform the Paradise area of the park in an abundance of color, and the slightly warmer temperatures make it the perfect time for hiking (but you’ll still need to wrap up warm). 

Numerous trails are available to explore, depending on your preferences for wildlife spotting, uninterrupted views, or rushing falls.

  • Visitor’s Center Address: Sunrise Park Rd, Ashford, WA 98304
  • Average temperature – 11 degrees
  • Enjoying an evening of stargazing before watching a vibrant sunrise over the landscape.
  • Visiting the stunning Myrtle Falls, which offered the most gorgeous views of the park.
  • Crossing the suspension bridge located along Grove of the Patriarchs Trail which took me through the oldest trees in the park.

best road trip in usa in july

Becky Moore - Owner, writer and photographer My first true adventure began as a six-month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh-faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi-nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in the warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds, and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex-Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland. Hotel Reviewing Experience - published hotel review in the 52 Sleeps Book organised by Laterooms.com and Lonely Planet. Asked by over 12 tourist boards and many high-profile travel brands to formally review hotels including Germany Tourist Board , Canada Tourist Board , Eviivo , France.fr , Visitoostende.be , Live Riga and Queensland Tourist Board . Also travelled around the world scouting out and reviewing all the most unique hotels in the world, check out our Instagram page for photos . I’ve also been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic , The Times , LA Weekly , Yahoo Travel , Huffington Post , Business Insider , Thrillist , British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur , Daily Express , Wanderlust , Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and Metro . Winner of Travel Blog of the Year . Find me on Linkedin or Facebook .

1 thought on “20 Amazing Places to Visit in July in the USA”

I love olympic national park sooo much. When I was here, I feel like no where else

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World of Wanderlust

15 Great Road Trips in the USA to take this Summer

Are you itching for a new adventure? I know I am! With isolation restrictions easing slowly, now is a great time to start planning a road trip. With international travel restrictions likely to be here for the remainder of 2020, there is no better time to start exploring your own backyard. What better time to plan one of these great road trips in the USA! These are our top picks for the best adventures around the country this summer.

best road trip in usa in july

1. Phoenix to Page Arizona

One of my favourite memories in the United States was a road trip the length of Arizona. I started in Phoenix, slowly making my way to the top of the state and ending in Page. There are many great pit stops along the way, so this adventure needs at least a few days to complete (it would be better if you have a week).

Don’t miss out on Sedona , a beautiful town full of many great day hikes, climbing and mountain bike trails. Page is the last town before the border to Utah and it is here where you will find many of Arizona’s famous photographic points of interest. Horseshoe Bend, the slot canyons in Navajo country and The Wave are just a few!

Read more: The 13 Best Places to visit in Arizona

california road trip | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

2. Pacific Coast Highway

The West Coast is an adventure waiting to happen, especially if you like to escape the cities and explore the coastline. The Pacific Coast Highway is full of hidden gems, all situated between Los Angeles to San Francisco. You can do the drive in one day, though you will find it much more enjoyable by spending a night or two near the coast. Carmel-by-the-sea is a great base to stop for a few days and enjoy the slower pace of Californian coast life.

Guide to Joshua Tree | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

3. Joshua Tree National Park

If you live in Los Angeles, there’s no better escape than a mystical weekend away in Joshua Tree . The National Park aside, there are some great vintage thrift stores , swap meets on weekends, book stores and above all, the towns have a real quirky appeal.

If you plan to stay a few days, check in to the tiny cabin of Joshua Tree for a romantic escape, or there are plenty of great cabin rentals for larger groups. Of course, the National Park is the big drawcard for visitors and there are plenty of great short hikes to be discovered. However, be sure to spend a little more time discovering the small towns once you’ve seen the famous Joshua Trees as there’s a lot more to discover!

best road trip in usa in july

4. San Antonio to Austin, Texas

There are many great reasons to visit Texas but my two favourites are San Antonio and Austin. Both of these cities have such great personalities, so a road trip between the two is a guaranteed good time. If you find yourself in San Antonio, one of my favourite hotels in the world is here – Hotel Emma . There’s a really great emerging scene of creative people in this area of the city and it is perfect for those in need of inspiration.

best road trip in usa in july

5. New Orleans to Baton Rouge

The South is full of so many great adventures and I learned that first hand on a road trip through Louisiana about five years ago. There’s just so much culture and history waiting to be discovered! New Orleans is a melting pot of French, African, American and French-Canadian cultures is reflected in its Creole and Cajun cultures. This city is vibrant, bustling and most importantly: delicious! Make your way from New Orleans to Baton Rouge for a fun road trip discovering the culture of this southeastern state.

Guide to Newport Rhode Island | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

6. New York to Newport, RI

If you are based on the East Coast of the United States, road trips are part and parcel of the summer experience! One of my favourite destinations to visit is Newport in Rhode Island . This picturesque seaside town has enough charm to keep you coming back time and time again. The road trip to Newport from New York is especially beautiful, passing through Connecticut, one of the country’s most scenic states.

Weekend Guide to Upstate Neww York | WORLD OF WANDERLUST

7. Upstate New York

The East Coast of the USA is filled with beautiful small towns to discover. But you don’t even need to leave New York to have an idyllic escape! Upstate New York is full of beautiful hidden gems and some of them more known. Start your journey in Hudson – one of the most popular towns in the state. Then ask locals for recommendations as you go along.

best road trip in usa in july

8. The Great Smoky Mountains

It was many years ago I drove through the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, but it is a trip I have certainly not forgotten. Straddling the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, this mountain range is one of the most beautiful drives to be had on this side of the country and summer is considered the best time to visit.

9. Route 66

Starting in Chicago, Route 66 takes you all the way to the Californian coast and finishes in Santa Monica. The route will take you across much of the American Midwest, Great Plains and Southwest. It is widely considered the classic American route across the country and one of the great road trips in the USA. However, you can’t *really* take the old original route, but you can still travel much of the same scenery on various highways.

arcadia national park

10. Park Loop Acadia National Park

The East Coast of the United States is bursting with endless road trips, each more beautiful than the next! Another top pick is the Park Loop in Acadia National Park in Maine. This is one of the most scenic parks in the entire country and not to be missed. This 26-mile route will show you all the highlights and introduce you to the lifestyle in Maine.

best road trip in usa in july

11. Oregon Coast Highway

Driving the Oregon Coast is one of the surreal moments in life you probably think don’t actually happen anymore. While there are many more celebrated drives on the West Coast, this is one of those road trips flying under the radar. The best part about Oregon is the laidback lifestyle and no-rush attitude, making this one of the most soul-fulfilling journeys to take by road.

best road trip in usa in july

12. Maine Lobster Trail

If you’re a seafood lover, you can’t pass up the opportunity to visit Maine and drive the lobster trail. Throughout Maine there are endless restaurants dedicated to seafood and specifically, lobster. This is the perfect weekend escape on the East Coast, filled with endless small villages and friendly locals. As far as road trips in the USA go, this is the quintessential east coast experience.

best road trip in usa in july

13. The Alaskan Highway

A drive on the Alaska Highway can take anywhere from 60 hours to ten days. This is not only one of the best road trips in the USA, but also crosses Canada. Much of the journey takes place in the Yukon Territory and is indescribably beautiful! This is widely regarded as one of the most adventurous road trips in North America.

best road trip in usa in july

14. Zion National Park, Utah

Utah is practically bursting at the seams with road trip opportunities. But if we had to pick just one journey, we’d opt for a road trip through Zion National Park. The park borders Arizona, with the closest town on that side of the border being Page. This is where you will find beautiful locations like Horseshoe Bend and the Slot Canyons. Therefore this is a great add-on after an adventure through Arizona!

best road trip in usa in july

15. Black Hills Of South Dakota

If you’re anything like me, you’ve always wanted to visit South Dakota. Which basically just means you watched the film “Richie Rich” as a kid. South Dakota has some stunning scenery in the Black Hills. This underrated state was practically made for the great all American road trip!

Brooke Saward

Brooke Saward founded World of Wanderlust as a place to share inspiration from her travels and to inspire others to see our world. She now divides her time between adventures abroad and adventures in the kitchen, with a particular weakness for French pastries.

Find me on: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

A few snapshots from Island life in Koh Samui 🥹🌴 just shared my blog posts from this trip in Thailand and now craving mango sticky rice pudding, the kindness and hospitality of Thai people and those buffet breakfast spreads (the kinda ones that keep you full til dinner). My stay at @fskohsamui was like something out of a story book. Especially that last photo - that night was one to remember 🫶🏼 #kohsamui #thailand #travel #travelblog #thailandtravel

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The Best Road Trips in the USA For Your Bucket List

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. (And make sure to check out my essential road trip packing list (with free printable pdf) and road trip music playlist to make sure you have all your road trip essentials before you go!)

Best Road Trips in the USA

The Best Road Trips in the United States

Historic Route 66

Route 66 might be the best road trip in the US

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

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Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)

santa cruz pacific road trip stops

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

West Coast USA Road Trip

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

oregon loop one of the best us road trips

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.

Read more about this great Oregon road trip here .  – Contributed by Valerie Joy Wilson of Trusted Travel Girl

Utah National Park Road Trip

Utah Best Road Trip in the US

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

Grand Canyon Road Trip

Grand Canyon is a stop on the Great American road trips

Is there anything more American than a Grand Canyon road trip? This stunning natural wonder is located a few hours from the closest major airports, making for the perfect road trip destination.  Staring in Phoenix, take an afternoon to drive four hours north to Grand Canyon Village, watching saguaro cacti tower over you as you speed off into the sunset. The next morning, wake up to catch the sunrise over Yaki Point and take the day to hike around the South Kaibab trail, which will take you deep down into the colorful striated walls of the canyon.  The next morning, head on over to Paige, Arizona, about a two hours drive north, where you can spend the afternoon kayaking on Lake Powell or exploring Antelope Canyon, famous for its striped, narrow walls. In the evening, there’s no better place in the world to watch the sunset than Paige’s Horseshoe Bend, an incised meander of the Colorado River, where the sinking sun casts a violet glow on the towering canyon walls. The following day, head three hours due south to Sedona, renowned for its breathtaking red rocks, incomparable hiking trails, and distinctive New Age vibe. Take your time breathing in the views of Sedona’s landscape, while conquering world-class hikes like Devil’s Bridge or Cathedral Rock. Finally, it’s time to make your way back to Phoenix, as you say goodbye to those saguaros and the stunning beauty of the American Southwest .  – Contributed by Jessica from Uprooted Traveler

Washington State National Parks Road Trip

Washington State National Parks best road trips usa

This route lets travelers experience 3 different national parks in Washington in 1 week. What makes this special is the raw nature and the quality food. The entire country’s national parks are beautiful, but Washington’s are one of a kind. Washington has this beautiful combination of jagged mountains, temperate rainforest, and lush coastline not to mention the fact that the state produces some of the most delicious fruits, veggies, and artisan foods you’ll ever taste. Don’t miss famous Pikes Place in Seattle and it’s quaint islands like Bainbridge, accessed via ferry. Hike though alpine meadows in Mount Rainer National Park or through mossy trees in the Hoh Rainforest. A stop at the Fairhaven farmers market is a must especially if you love good food. Explore the Bavarian town of Leavenworth and get views of the San Juan Islands at Deception Pass State Park.  Read more about taking a Washington State National Park road trip here . – Contributed by Robyn from Nomads With A Purpose

The Road to Hana

Road to Hana Maui road trip

When you think of Hawaii you may not think of a road trip but when traveling on the island of Maui driving the road to Hana is a MUST!

The only way to get to the Eastern part of the island is by traversing the Hana Highway. The road to Hana is made up of 52 miles of one lane bridges, hairpin turns and twisty curves. This road trip will take up an entire day so make sure you pack lots of snacks and fill up for gas before hand.

The winding road takes you past jaw dropping seascape views, roaring waterfalls and exotic flora. Some highlights of this drive include Ho’okipa, Twin Falls, the Painted Forest, Honomanu Bay, Wailua Falls, Haleakala National Park and the awe inspiring Wai’anapanapa State Park.

Don’t forget to wear your bathing suit and pack a towel because pulling off the side of the road to take a dip in the ocean or swim under a waterfall is the name of the game. Buckle up, enjoy the ride and prepare for a trip of a lifetime. – Contributed by Jess from  I’m Jess Traveling

Read: The Perfect Maui Itinerary: How to Spend 5 Days in Maui (As Written By a Local)

South Dakota Road Trip

Michell Corn Palace Roadtrips USA

Tip: Drive along the Badlands Loop Road to see the beautiful eroded landscape and hike the Presidential Trail to see the sculptures from up close at Mount Rushmore. In Custer State Park, drive along the Wildlife Loop Road at dawn to see the park’s bison herd, burros, deer, mountain goats, and other animals.

The road trip from Sioux Falls to Rapid City along the I-90 takes just 5 hours without stops but there are so many things to see and do along this route that even 4 to 5 days will fly by. The highlights of this road trip are Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Another must is driving through the granite tunnels, pigtail bridges, and needles formations of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, which is among America’s 10 Most Scenic Byways. Other amazing attractions along this route include the Corn Palace at Mitchell, the Wall Drug Store, Custer State Park, and Crazy Horse Memorial. – Contributedd Ketki from the Dotted Globe

Portland, Oregon to Yellowstone National Park

smoky montana skies

Getting to Yellowstone National Park from Portland, Oregon is easy enough and taking the I90 brings you through some stunning scenery. From the Colombia River Gorge to the vast farming plains of Washington State, past the beautiful Coeur d’Alene lake and on through the edges of the likes of Lolo National Forest, it’s a great road trip to take. The scenery is constantly changing, with plenty of small towns and bigger cities to stop along the way. One of the towns worth noting along the way is Missoula, particularly if you are traveling with kids. There are plenty of things to do around the town to keep kids entertained and there are a host of hotels and family-friendly restaurants for food. If you are looking to break up the journey into more manageable chucks, a stop in Missoula is worth considering. Another place to consider stopping for an overnight stay is Richland in Washington state, where the TownePlace Suites by the Marriott will ensure you have a comfortable night’s sleep.  Read more about this road trip here . – Contributed by Cath from Passports and Adventures

Best of Idaho Road Trip

Idaho United States road trips

With untouched wilderness, secret hot springs, cute towns, snowcapped mountains and deserts, taking a week-long road trip in Idaho will prove this state is one of the most underrated destinations in the United States. The best part of exploring Idaho is you can enjoy the natural beauty without the crowds you’ll find in neighboring states.Start in the charming lakeside town of McCall and make your way to Idaho’s hip and up-and-coming capital city. Explore Boise by bicycle and sample all the craft brews you can find. Twin Falls is the start of the Snake River Canyon, the majestic Shoshone Waterfalls and a popular place to watch BASE jumpers leap from the town’s famous bridge. Heading north, you’ll pass through the cute town of Ketchum where Ernest Hemingway is buried. It’s also home to Sun Valley, a ski resort where the first chair lift was invented. Continue your road trip through the jaw-dropping Sawtooth Wilderness, a hiker’s paradise. Explore the adorably tiny town of Stanley (and be sure to stop at the famous bakery!). End your road trip with a drive up Highway 93 toward the Western-style town of Salmon, and spend the night camping beneath the stars at Goldbug Hot Springs. – Contributed by Katie Diederichs from Two Wandering Soles

Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe Road Trip

California Road Trip

Las Vegas offers fabulous experiences not related to gambling or partying, including world-class culinary experiences and luxurious spas and shopping. The route from Las Vegas to South Lake Tahoe is lined with stunning scenery, from the desert vistas of Death Valley National Park to the beautiful lakes and mountains of the Eastern Sierra. You can hike, enjoy boating or canoeing on the lakes, or visit some scenic wonders such as the tufas of Mono Lake or Bodie, the ghost town. The whole route provides awesome photo opportunities, especially in the fall. At the end of the route, you will enjoy Lake Tahoe, the huge alpine lake with crystal clear waters. This is a must-do road trip for anyone that loves nature and natural beauty. – Contributed by Dhara from It’s Not About the Miles

Beartooth Highway

Beartooth Highway is often called the most beautiful drive in America

When compared to epic road trips like Route 66 or the Pacific Coast Highway, Beartooth Highway is a hop, skip, and a jump. However, don’t let its short mileage fool you. This scenic drive packs a lot into its 68 miles. The late Charles Kuralt called it “the most beautiful drive in America,” and one trip through its mountainous terrain will verify that claim. It’s a gorgeous trek surrounded by three National Forests and next to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, with enough switchbacks to make your head spin. There are a few pullouts that allow you to get a stationary look at the landscape, and the Rock Creek Vista Point Rest Area and Interpretive Trail provides a panoramic view.

Lodging is available in Red Lodge and Cooke City, and there are several campgrounds in the National Forest. The biggest nearby attraction is Yellowstone National Park. Beartooth Highway will take you right to the northeast entrance. – Contributed by Theresa from The Local Tourist

The Great River Road


For lovers of USA road trips, The Great River Road (GRR) makes an epic journey following the course of the mighty Mississippi River from bottom to top or vice versa.  The GRR is a series of roads and highways marked with green pilot wheel logo signs, showing off 10 states from Minnesota to Louisiana and all the river towns and cities in between.  New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Vicksburg, Memphis, St Louis and Hannibal, the boyhood home of Mark Twain.  The route is strewn with iconic attractions and activities like the Budweiser Brewery tour (St Louis) and a range of visitor centres focusing on Slavery, Civil War battlefields, ancient Indian Burial Mounds and of course the Blues Music Trail.

The marching Peabody Ducks at Memphis’s Peabody Hotel is a particularly quirky attraction. Every day at 11 am the trained ducks are given the red carpet treatment and brought down from their rooftop enclosure to paddle in the lobby fountain.  They return at 5pm and draw crowds of onlookers to watch the spectacle. – Contributed by Sharon from What The Saints Did Next

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway most popular road trip in the US

The world-famous Blue Ridge Parkway travels 469 miles along the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains through Virginia and North Carolina. In 2017, the Parkway attracted more than 16 million visitors, and it’s widely known as America’s favorite drive.

The entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway is devoid of commercial ventures. There are no billboards, gas stations, or strip malls to compete for attention, just endless vistas, cool historical sites, eight public campgrounds, and more than 350 miles of hiking trails.

Highlights of a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip include touring several 19th-century farms and buildings, exploring the engineering marvel that is the Linn Cove Viaduct, walking the mile-high swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain, and hiking to Linville Falls, North Carolina’s most photographed waterfall.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina is located directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is worth more than a passing glance. Stay at the Hillwinds Inn , which is right downtown, and be sure to explore Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and North Carolina’s oldest tourist attraction, The Blowing Rock.

On average, there is a Blue Ridge Parkway campground every 50 miles. Each campground is strategically located to take advantage of the Parkway’s most interesting sites, and at $20 per night, it also makes for a budget vacation. – Contributed by Tara from Backroad Ramblers

Route 61 – following the Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans

Clarksdale. Mississippi a stop on one of the best USA road trips

Get a bit of rock ‘n’ roll and a whole lotta soul on this trip through the deep south from  Memphis to New Orleans . Beginning in the home of Elvis, get to know in Graceland and the legend of Elvis along with the origins of rock and roll at Sun Studios. At the same time, head down Beale St for a boot full of Blues.

Further south, following the mighty Mississippi, the first stop is Clarksdale, home to Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blue Club. Visit the battle of Vicksburg to reflect on the civil war before continuing south to Louisiana’s Baton Rouge. A short side trip will have you face to face with gators in Lafayette or continue to the lively French Quarter in New Orleans.

Stay at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale for live music and stay in roughly restored sharecropper shacks. As the sign says out front, the ‘Ritz we aint!’- Contributed by Warren Dobe of Sling Adventures

Deep South Road Trip

best american road trips

For a different trip take a  deep south road trip  through Alabama . Start in Gulf Shores Alabama with its great food and beautiful beaches.

Head north to the capital Montgomery for some great civil rights history sites like the new Legacy Museum, the lynching memorial, and the Rosa Parks museum. Take a side trip to Tuskegee to visit the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. Learn about the black men who defied the prejudice that they could not learn to be fighter pilots.

End in Huntsville Alabama where America’s rocket program and race to space was created. Tour the museum there with one of the only remaining Saturn V rockets or sign up for Space Camp. While you are in town also visit the largest private art space in the country at the converted cotton mill Lowe Mill.

And because this is an Alabama road trip take some side trips off the interstate for some good home cooking and some odd Alabama exclusives like a haunted chicken house in Heflin, Alabama. – Contributed by Chris Christensen of Amateur Traveler

Exploring the Small Towns of Central Texas

Texas Southern USA roadtrip

This road trip will broaden your mind of what Texas is all about.  It’s also a dream for foodies.  There’s the gourmet Blue Bell ice cream in Brehham, the best-in-the-world barbecue at Salt Lick, plus wonderful wines of the Texas Hill Country.  We discovered the beautiful painted churches that were constructed by German and Czech immigrants that look like they were just lifted out of Europe and plopped down in the fields of Texas.  There are natural springs for swimming and even a visit to LBJ’s ranch, known as the Texas White House.  Read more about this Texas Road Trip here . – Contributed by Lance and Laura Longwell of Travel Addicts

US Gulf Coast Road Trip

Gulf Coast road trip roadtrips in the us

The southern US Gulf Coast from Louisiana east to central and south Florida has some of the most scenic landscapes in the country, not to mention great history, local culture, and a whole lot of fresh seafood! It’s also a laid-back part of the country and outside the norm of traffic and congestion, especially during the hot summer months, which makes it a great destination for a  Gulf Coast road trip .

Starting in Lafayette, Louisiana, you’ll quickly know you’re in for a treat road tripping in this part of the country. Lafayette has vibrant Cajun culture, born from the Acadiana who emigrated from French Canada centuries ago. Today, the French influence is felt in the music and dance, and peppered in just about every kind of local food. Just an hour away in nearby New Orleans, the party really starts and lasts for days. An hour east of New Orleans is lovely Mobile, Alabama which deserves a few days of eating amazing Alabama shrimp and oysters. Further east another hour is Gulf Shores, where you can relax for days on some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the country.

From here, head to Tallahassee, the capital of Florida and explore the Spanish history the state was founded on. Just 20 miles south of Tally is Wakulla Springs, a natural warm spring where you can relax overnight and swim in the crystal clear waters. Finally, the road trip ends in Crystal River, Florida, where summertime is bay scallop season, and you can snorkel and gather up your own feast for dinner! – Contributed by Lori from Travlinmad

Jacksonville to Charleston, South Carolina Road Trip

One of the Best East Coast Road Trips

If you want to do a fantastic East Coast road trip that combines gorgeous landscape, historic cities and charming towns to visit then you might want to consider a trip from Jacksonville to Charleston, South Carolina. This road trip can be an easy short getaway or an extensive travel journey depending on your interest in visiting many of the fascinating places attractions and landscapes along highway I 95 that covers all the three states. Or get off the main highway and travel slowly on the coastal roads that go through smaller southern towns and beautiful landscapes of low country.

Fantastic places to discover along the way on your road trip include Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach in northern Florida and into Georgia visiting the coastal towns St. Mary’s, Brunswick and islands at St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island, Sapelo Island and finally to beautiful Savannah . The city is historic and filled with gorgeous squares, stately homes and stunning architectural buildings in the historic center of the city. On the way to Charleston in South Carolina, you can stop by stunning southern towns like Beaufort and uber trendy Hilton Head and Kiawah Island. Charleston spared by the civil war is a Southern gem exudes all the wonderful and elegant architecture, landmarks and attractions in the historic district and is worth spending more time to enjoy the beauty and magnificent details of this beautiful city.

You can also do this road trip from Charleston to Jacksonville and both locations are served by mid scale airports that service many different airlines. It is also easy to find a variety of rental car agencies directly at each airport.- Contributed by Noel from Travel Photo Discovery

Overseas Highway

Overseas Highway Florida Keys road trip

From Miami to Key West, you have to take the Overseas Highway or US 1 which connects all the islands of the Keys. There is lots of fun things to do during this roadtrip.

Along the road we made a short sidekick to visit the Everglades, but after that we took the US 1 and passed bridge after bridge after bridge.  The scenery is spectacular.  There’s water on you left and right and in front of you appears one island after another.  The road is about 182 km long but it takes you about 4 hours to get there. The final destination is Key West , a cosy town filled with bright coloured wooden houses.

If you are looking for a nice place to stay, I can highly recommend Truman Hotel .  It’s a boutique hotel in the center of town with a small inner courtyard that looks like a tropical rainforest with a pool.

If you want to explore the island, book a ride on the Conch Tour Train.  You will pass east Martello Tower, early conch houses, Sloppy Joe’s (Ernest Hemingway’s favourite bar), Bahama Village and much more. – Contributed by Wendy from WorldWideWendy

Hopefully, this post has inspired you to take an American road trip.

Have you done a road trip in the United States? What do you think are the best road trips in the USA ?

Want some more road trip inspiration from around the world?

  • Best Road Trips in Europe
  • Best Road Trips in Australia

Best Roadtrips in the USA

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This just goes to show that despite having travelled to the US 4 times, how little I have actually managed to see! I would love to do the Pacific Coast highway, it would be my top pick from this list. However, Route 66 looks pretty awesome too. I haven’t been to a national park yet so even the one from Vegas to Salt Lake City for the Utah National Park would be a great experience. And I really want to visit Oregon sometime, looks gorgeous!

Those would be my top picks too!

What a detailed and informative post! It makes me realise I’ve not seen enough of the US. Utah really appeals to me, would love to do a road trip here.

Ahh, yes, Miami to Key West… It has some boring parts, but there’s more than a few things to see along the way. Look for the big lobster as you get close… and fill up before leaving the mainland. It only gets more expensive the further out you go!

I love how informative this post is – so unique in showcasing fun roadtrips across the states. Pinning for later – thanks so much for sharing!

All look like a blast but Route 66 is near the top of my list.

Wow you have given me a ton of ideas! Route 66 is on the top of my list along with the Washington State trip. Thanks for sharing.

I saved this to Pinterest to use as a reference later. My sister lives out in Portland and my husband and I have been wanting to go out there at some point and do a road trip. We also had been planning a road trip to Memphis, but then Covid happened so we had to postpone it.

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23 Incredible Road Trips in the U.S.

Whether you’re looking for sweeping views of the pacific ocean or a multiday adventure through national parks, these road trips provide plenty of opportunities to explore the united states..

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A highway leading toward mountains

Glacier National Park is one of many scenic places you can visit on an American road trip.

Photo by Zack Frank / Shutterstock

In a country as large as the United States, there’s no shortage of destinations and detours to explore by car . Whether your idea of the perfect American road trip entails an epic, cross-country journey or a shorter jaunt through a few of its most iconic national parks , your options are as large and varied as the country itself.

Even if you don’t have the time to drive cross-country, there are plenty of road trip routes (ranging from three days to a week or longer): classic California itineraries , New England routes that shine especially well in the fall, scenic East Coast adventures, and a variety of Midwest journeys for folks farther from the coasts.

No matter your mode of transportation—be it van, RV, motorcycle, or four-door sedan—these are 21 of the best road trips in the nation to consider.

Put a New Twist on Route 66—Make It an American Whiskey Road Trip

Plan your next Route 66 trip around thirst-quenching stops.

Photo by Peek Creative Collective/Shutterstock

There are many ways to do a cross-country road trip in the USA, but these two itineraries will take you through some truly iconic American places.

1. Chicago to Los Angeles: A Whiskey Road Trip on Route 66

It doesn’t get more American than a 2,000-mile drive along the entirety of Route 66. There are endless ways to take this legendary trip (including an EV version —but to take your cross-country road trip to the next level, we recommend exploring another American pastime: whiskey.

Starting in Chicago and ending in L.A., you’ll stop by some of the leading craft distilleries in the United States, like Few Spirits in Chicago, Still 630 in St. Louis, and Red Fork Distillery in Tulsa. In between tastings, make time for detours to natural attractions, like the Grand Canyon, and quirky roadside curiosities, like Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Just remember to drink responsibly—this is a road trip after all.

Plan your trip

The full itinerary: Put a New Twist on Route 66—Make It an American Whiskey Road Trip

People biking on a busy street

No cars are allowed on Mackinac Island, so you need to park before taking the ferry to this spot.

Photo from Shutterstock

2. Bangor, Maine, to Seattle, Washington: The Great Northern on U.S. Route 2

Covering both the U.S. and Canada, a cross-country trip along U.S. 2 is ideal for anyone who wants to experience the vast diversity and expansiveness of North America. This drive runs the entire top border of the U.S. and showcases otherworldly natural wonders like Acadia National Park in Maine, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, and Mackinac Island in Michigan. The route also passes through Canada, taking road-trippers through Ontario into Quebec—this route may focus on nature, but you won’t want to miss a stop in Montreal or Ottawa.

You’ll also get to explore Montana and Glacier National Park ( reservations may be required ) before passing the Columbia Plateau and ending in the Pacific Northwest’s largest city, Seattle. Don’t miss spending time in the Olympic Peninsula (home to Olympic National Park) for a peek at one of the most scenic places on the West Coast.

3. Dana Point to San Francisco: Driving California’s Pacific Coast Highway

The seemingly endless views of the Pacific Ocean along Highway 1 (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway) are what road trip dreams are made of, and exactly what makes this California road trip so popular. However, with so many stops along the 655-mile stretch, we pulled together a list of the ones well worth pulling over to view. Don’t miss the perfect surfing waves in Santa Cruz, seasonal cuisine in Malibu, an afternoon a the boardwalk in Santa Monica, or a night in Big Sur as you drive between Dana Point (just south of Los Angeles) and San Francisco.

  • The full itinerary: The Best Stops for a Road Trip on the Pacific Coast Highway
  • The AFAR Guide to San Francisco

Wooden pier with shops on top juts out into the ocean

The seaside town of Monterey was the setting for John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row .

Photo by Denise Lett/Shutterstock

4. Big Sur to Mono County: A Literary Road Trip Through Northern California

Yes, this itinerary requires you actually put down your book to drive, but seeing some of the pivotal places that shaped American authors will be so worth it. Follow in the footsteps of writers like Jack Kerouac, Maya Angelou, and Amy Tan on this road trip that takes you through literary landmarks in Northern California, such as Caffe Trieste, a meeting place for Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Alan Watts, and other bohemian writers and thinkers. This 12-stop itinerary is perfect if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area because you’ll be able to stay make these trips in one or two days.

The full itinerary: The California Road Trip All Book Lovers Should Take

Wide shot of a red canyon with a river running through it

Arizona may take its nickname from the Grand Canyon, but the state has far more natural wonders than just that one.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

5. Phoenix to the Grand Canyon: An Iconic Arizona Road Trip

This 240-mile Arizona road trip takes travelers along some of the state’s most iconic highlights, including its most famous one, the Grand Canyon. A great itinerary for first-time visitors and returning travelers alike, it offers plenty of opportunities for scenic drives, hiking, and biking—as well as tasty food along the way. Hike the 2,704-foot-tall Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale or take in the beautiful red rocks of Sedona on a hike to Cathedral Rock while exploring the Grand Canyon State.

  • The full itinerary: The Classic 5-Day Arizona Road Trip
  • Grand Canyon guide: The First-Timer’s Guide to the Grand Canyon
  • Where to eat in Phoenix: A Chef’s Guide to the Best Restaurants
  • Where to stay: The Best Hotels in Arizona ; The Best Airbnbs in Sedona

The Delicate Arch living up to its name in Utah's Arches National Park

The Delicate Arch living up to its name in Utah’s Arches National Park

Photo by tusharkoley / Shutterstock

6. Zion to Grand Canyon: A National Parks Road Trip in the Southwest

If you’re looking to visit as many national parks as possible in one road trip, this southwestern itinerary is for you. This journey through Utah and Arizona lets you hike Angel’s Landing in Zion, feel tiny under Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, explore Fairyland Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon, and, of course, raft down the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Most visitors to the Grand Canyon remain on the rim, but take at least four days to venture within the canyon and take advantage of the trails and river rafting.

  • The full itinerary: The Ideal Road Trip Through U.S. National Parks
  • Utah’s 8 Best National Parks and Monuments
  • 10 Best National Parks and Monuments in Arizona
  • The First-Timer’s Guide to the Grand Canyon

Couple sitting in front of a curving road

Stop and admire the winding roads of the San Juan Skyway.

Photo by Anh Luu/Shutterstock

7. San Juan Scenic Skyway Road Trip: An Adventure Through Southwestern Colorado

This Colorado trip takes you along the 232-mile loop of the San Juan Scenic Skyway, where you will see plenty of alpine forests, mining towns, and craggy peaks. And for anyone looking to enjoy refreshments after a long day of driving, this route features many opportunities to stop at some of the best breweries in Colorado , such as Ska Brewing Co. in Durango.

  • The full itinerary: The Ultimate Southwestern Colorado Road Trip
  • Five Classic Colorado Road Trips To Take This Year

In small-town Buena Vista, the riverfront Surf Hotel offers front-row seats to Colorado-style adventure seekers.

In small-town Buena Vista, the riverfront Surf Hotel offers front-row seats to Colorado-style adventure seekers.

Courtesy of the Surf Hotel

8. Denver to Montrose: A 420-Mile Road Trip Through Colorado

Want to explore even more of the Centennial State? Head out on this weeklong road trip where you can fish for salmon in Colorado’s largest reservoir, visit numerous small towns, like Paonia and Crawford, with thriving art scenes along the Colorado Creative Corridor , and explore Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, one of the least visited national parks in the nation.

  • The full itinerary: Art Stars, High-Altitude Wines, and a Remote National Park: The Ultimate Colorado Road Trip
  • Where to stay: The Best Hotels in Colorado
  • The AFAR Guide to Denver

Woman walking by a mural of a river and bridge

Portland may be Oregon’s largest city, but with a population of some 652,000 (or 2.5 million in the larger metropolitan area), it isn’t intimidatingly large.

Photo courtesy of Travel Portland

9. Portland to Astoria: An Oregon Coast Road Trip for Outdoor Lovers

If you love the outdoors, then this six-day road trip along the coast of Oregon is for you. After driving to Coos Bay from Portland, travelers will meander along Oregon’s dramatic, rocky coastline, discovering some quintessentially Pacific Northwest vistas along the way: evergreen forests, seaside dunes, and marine ecosystems. Between stops, there are ample opportunities to stretch your legs hiking, kayaking, or strolling around the region’s small towns—like the historic old town in Florence.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon road trip without a stop (or three) at a craft brewery, such as Fort George Brewery in Astoria, or cozy coffee shop, like Bread & Roses in Yachats.

  • The full itinerary: An Outdoor Lover’s Road Trip on the Oregon Coast
  • The AFAR Guide to Portland

The State Capitol Building in Nashville marks the end of this road (trip).

The State Capitol Building in Nashville marks the end of this road (trip).

Photo by photo.ua / Shutterstock

10. Seneca Falls, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee: Follow the Path of the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Starting in New York’s Finger Lakes region and ending at the State Capitol Building in Nashville, this road trip traces the route of the national women’s suffrage movement. Highlights include stops at the Susan B. Anthony Museum & House ; Union Square in New York City, which was the site of the first suffrage march; and the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument in Washington, D.C.

  • The full itinerary: Celebrate Women’s Suffrage on an Epic, Self-Guided Road Trip
  • Where to stay: The Best Hotels in Nashville
  • The AFAR Guide to Nashville
  • The AFAR Guide to Washington, D.C.

A long shot of a mountain-backed city, framed by flowers and trees

Asheville is one must-stop on a North Carolina road trip.

Courtesy of ExploreAsheville.com

11. Charlottesville to Asheville: A Scenic Road Trip Through Virginia and North Carolina

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the country. Beginning in the soft hilly meadows of the Appalachian Mountains from Shenandoah National Park down into the Blue Ridge Mountains, then into the Great Smoky Mountains, this five-day road trip is best done at a slower pace, which is perfect for admiring the dramatic outlooks and green plateaus. This eclectic itinerary features stops at an art museum, a dairy farm, and plenty of hiking trails.

  • The full itinerary: The Ultimate Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip
  • Where to stay: 12 Dreamy Blue Ridge Mountain Cabins You Can Rent on Airbnb and Vrbo
  • 8 U.S. National Park Road Trips to Take in Your Lifetime

Dowa:kwe dance group from Zuni Pueblo in 2019

Dowa:kwe dance group from Zuni Pueblo in 2019

Courtesy of Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

12. Albuquerque to Las Cruces: Discover New Mexico on This Three-Day Road Trip

This route steers you away from New Mexican tourist hot spots like Taos and Santa Fe and instead takes you on a three-day adventure with places that teach you about Pueblo history. You’ll stop at Indian Pueblo Kitchen (formerly known as Pueblo Harvest), a restaurant inside the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center that features Indigenous cuisine ; pick up peppers at Three Brothers in Hatch; and slide down the dunes in White Sands National Park.

  • The full itinerary: This New Mexico Road Trip Is the Perfect Introduction to the Land of Enchantment

Green tree near brown house during daytime

Historic Fort Martin Scott is one of the places travelers can visit to learn about Fredericksburg’s history.

Photo by Mark König/Unsplash

13. A Five-Day Scenic Road Trip Through Texas Hill Country

This Texas road trip starts and ends in San Antonio with stops in small towns like Bandera, Boerne, and consider a stop in Fredericksburg, which is one of AFAR’s best places to go in 2024 ). Over five days, you’ll find opportunities to stroll in a Japanese tea garden in San Antonio, relax along the Sabinal and Frio Rivers by inner tube, and eat as many tacos as you want. Seriously: You could eat tacos for every meal on this road trip and not get tired of them.

  • The full itinerary: Tree Houses, Tubing, and Tacos: The Ultimate Texas Hill Country Road Trip

Mount McKinley looms large on a drive through Denali National Park.

Mount McKinley looms large on a drive through Denali National Park.

Photo by warnsweet / Shutterstock

14. A Weeklong Road Trip Through Alaska’s Most Majestic Sights

This weeklong drive in Alaska starts and ends in Anchorage. You travel along four scenic byways; explore Wrangell–St. Elias wilderness, the largest U.S. national park; catch sight of Denali, the tallest peak in North America; and enjoy the surprisingly stellar food scene of McCarthy, a one-road town with only a couple dozen residents.

  • The full itinerary: Glaciers, Mountain Peaks, and Organic Farms: The Ultimate Alaska Road Trip
  • Which Alaska National Parks Should You Visit?

More than geothermal pools, Kirkham Hot Springs features a piping-hot waterfall.

More than geothermal pools, Kirkham Hot Springs features a piping-hot waterfall.

Courtesy of Idaho Tourism

15. Boise to Sun Valley: Explore Idaho’s Scenic Byways

Even a short road trip can be packed with adventure, good food, and scenery, which is exactly what this trip from Boise to Sun Valley along Idaho’s Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway offers. Although the drive only takes six hours, we recommend taking a few days to explore all the stops and detours along the way. One can’t-miss spot is the Kirkham Hot Springs , where you can stand under a waterfall that will splash you with 135-degree mineral water year-round.

  • The full itinerary: The Little-Known Idaho Road Trip You Need to Drive
  • Things to do: The Best Outdoorsy Things to Do in Idaho

Grand Portage State Park is the only state park jointly managed by a state and a Native American band.

Grand Portage State Park is the only state park jointly managed by a state and a Native American band.

Photo by Shutterstock/QZ

16. Duluth to Grand Portage State Park: A Scenic Minnesota Sampler

Although there are many appealing road trips throughout the Midwest, this 143-mile, three-hour circuit, which starts and ends in Duluth, Minnesota, is worth keeping in mind. Meandering north on MN-61 with this itinerary, you will enjoy prime views of Lake Superior and towns like Grand Marais, as well as Grand Portage State Park, home to waterfalls, hiking trails, and opportunities to learn about the Ojibwe community who occupy the land today. Once back in Duluth, enjoy a beer at Canal Park Brewing Company before checking into the waterfront Canal Park Lodge nearby.

  • The AFAR Guide to Minnesota

Overhead view of curvy Kancamagus Highway through fall forest

Wind your way through colorful foliage in New Hampshire.

Photo by Shutterstock

17. Kancamagus Highway: A Quintessential New England Drive

Yes, you can take a road trip in New England at any time of the year , but this region shows off its best colors in the fall, when locals and tourists alike head out into the country to view the changing colors of the trees. Join other admirers of fall foliage on this popular, 34.5-mile road trip along New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway, colloquially known as the “Kanc,” for picturesque ponds, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.

  • Plan Your Fall Getaway With This Peak Foliage Prediction Map

Red boat beside a wooden dock in a cove

Ogunquit is home to the small, postcard-perfect harbor of Perkins Cove.

Photo courtesy of QualityHD / Shutterstock

18. Maine’s “Lobster Trail”: Travel Route 1 Along the Coast

Traveling Route 1, affectionately known as “the lobster trail,” along Maine’s jagged coastline is an exercise in indulgence. Sample lobster dishes in all forms—buttered, steamed, on a roll, or even in a decadent mac-and-cheese.

The trip starts in the quaint small town of Ogunquit , with its rare (for the area) 3.5 miles of white-sand beach. Make your first lobster of the journey count, steamed with a side of drawn butter at Barnacle Billy’s in picturesque Perkins Cove harbor. Stop at Big Daddy’s for a cone on your way to the shipbuilding center—and summer home of George H. W. Bush—Kennebunkport. Stay at the recently redesigned 150-year-old classic White Barn Inn , and consider a sailing trip for an afternoon. With lobsters cooked in ocean water, the legendary lobster roll at the Clam Shack is a must.

  • 8 Scenic East Coast Road Trips to Take This Year

Interior of Leah & Louise restaurant in Charlotte

Throughout North Carolina’s Piedmont region, innovative restaurants, shops, and restaurants like Leah & Louise in Charlotte, above, are creating a buzz.

Photo by Peter Taylor Photography

19. Raleigh to Charlotte: A 4-Day Trip Through North Carolina’s Reinvented Core

North Carolina’s Piedmont region extends from the coastal plain to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and includes farmland and rolling wooded hills, especially on the 1-40 stretch near Hillsborough. Starting in Raleigh, drive the short distances to Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and Charlotte to see how these cities are innovating through art, food, and a celebration of the past. Take your time—four days should do—to experience downtown arts districts, James Beard Award–winning restaurants, and civil rights museums that speak truths. Plan your trip

  • A Road Trip Through North Carolina’s Reinvented Core

The Florida Road Trip You’ve Been Missing

Scenic South Walton is part of the Emerald Coast of Florida.

20. Scenic Highway 30A: A Sunday Drive Through South Walton, Florida

Florida is full of places to cruise with the top down, but it’s hard to beat a Sunday (or any day) drive along Scenic Highway 30A through northwest Florida, home to a postcard-perfect stretch of seaside towns known as South Walton.

The roughly 28-mile route through South Walton County kisses the coast for nearly all its length, taking you through gorgeous residential Gulf-front communities like Rosemary Beach, Grayton Beach, and Blue Mountain Beach . Roll down the windows and let the emerald-hued views in.

Pull over to explore, too—maybe to admire the New Urbanism architecture in Alys Beach or to swim in the clear waters at Grayton Beach State Park . (The beach here has been lauded among the best in the world.)

  • The full itinerary: The Florida Road Trip You’ve Been Missing

Two stand-up paddleboarders on the water at sunset

Stand-up paddleboarding is just one way to enjoy a Florida Keys sunset.


21. The Florida Keys: An Island-Hopping Getaway

For a sunny road trip itinerary in Florida, skip Miami and head farther south. Beginning in Key Largo and ending in Key West, the Florida Keys Scenic Highway is often overlooked for more well-known routes up north, but it is well worth going out of your way to experience.

As the name suggests, this route is very scenic, so plan to spend at least a few days exploring it and numerous stops along the way. Some highlights include driving across the impressive Overseas Highway, stopping to admire art in the town of Islamorada, and enjoying the historic sites, food, and (of course) beaches in the city of Key West.

  • The full itinerary: How to Road Trip in the Lesser-Known Florida Keys

A brick building with an oversized guitar hanging off the side and a sign that says "Sun Studio"

Sun Studio in Memphis was the site of the famous Million Dollar recording session that brought together Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash.

Photo by f11photo on Shutterstock

22. Memphis to Bristol, Tennessee: A Music-Driven Adventure

If you have about a week to spare and a deep appreciation for music, take a road trip from one side of Tennessee to the other, starting in Memphis and ending in Bristol. The eastbound trip spans genres, including rock ( Graceland ), blues ( Beale Street) and, of course, country (did you really go to Tennessee if you didn’t go to Dollywood ?). Nashville serves as the halfway point on your journey—so consider penciling in an extra 48 hours to fully explore the state capital’s greatest hits.

  • The full itinerary: 5 Great American Road Trips For Music Fans

The stunning coastline near Cueva del Indio has been the backdrop of star-studded films.

The stunning coastline near Cueva del Indio has been the backdrop of star-studded films.

Photo by Alexsf.gr/Shutterstock

23. Arecibo to Condado, Puerto Rico: A Lesser-Known Side of a Well-Loved Island

In the minds of many, trips to Puerto Rico bring images of stunning beaches , delicious foods , and maybe a bioluminescent bay or two . But there’s plenty of history to be found here, too, as Puerto Rico was home to an Indigenous population known as the Taino, a heritage many Puerto Ricans embrace. That history can be explored via a road trip. Starting in the northern town of Arecibo, travel south to Ponce, then back north to Condado—along the way you’ll encounter petroglyphs, Indigenous sites, and breathtaking natural spots.

  • The full itinerary: A Puerto Rico Road Trip That Puts Indigenous Culture First

Additional road trip planning resources Picking the route for your road trip is only one part of your planning. From what snacks to pack to which podcasts to listen to, these additional resources will help you prepare for your next adventure:

  • Best road trip snacks
  • Road trip planning apps
  • Podcasts and audiobooks to download
  • What to pack for a road trip

This article originally appeared online in August 2020. It was most recently updated on April 4, 2024, to include current information. Additional reporting by Jessie Beck, Erika Owen, Ray Rogers, Terry Ward, and Sheryl Nance-Nash.

A view of stone walls and lakes over Sky Road in Galway County

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The 25 best road trips in the usa.

Best Road Trips USA

 If you’re looking for the best road trips in the USA, look no further! These great road trips will have you driving for the rest of your life.

This post was written in partnership and paid for by Hum by Verizon . All opinions are my own.

Best Road Trips USA

There’s probably nothing more American than packing up your car and hitting the open road with family or friends, some good snacks, and great tunes… and for good reason. With more than 3.7 million square miles to discover and 4,071,000 miles of road , the United States has so many hidden gems accessible by car.

Although I’ve got about 194 countries on my bucket list right now, I’m grateful to live in the great US of A and think it’s one of the most amazing countries to explore from the road. There are so many fun road trips that you can take all over the country!

Here's a Short Cut

The Best USA Road Trip Safety Tips

Get ready for the best road trips in the usa, 1. pacific coast highway, 2. park loop acadia national park, 3. washington-oregon coast, 4. great river road, 5. big island loop road, 6. musical road usa trip, 7. northern national parks road trip, 8. southwest national parks road trip, 9. hana highway road trip, 10. new york city to finger lakes, 11. williamsburg, va to charlottesville, va to washington d.c., 12. miami to the overseas highway to key west, fl: 160 miles from miami, 13. the grand canyon to las vegas, 14. black hills of south dakota, 15. maine lobster trail, 16. blue ridge parkway, 17. grand teton national park to glacier national park, 18. outer banks scenic byway, 19. olympic peninsula, 20. route 66, 21. alaska highway, 22. ultimate florida road trip, 23. the great american road trip – cross country on the i-90, 24. anchorage to seward, 25. canada to mexico.

If you’re planning to take a road trip this year, I’ve compiled the best American road trip routes in the country.  These are 25 of the best road trips in the USA that everyone should take in their lifetime. We’ve been lucky enough to drive almost every inch of this country and there is some beautiful land to see out there.

Before you leave on any road trip, be sure your car is road trip ready.  If you’re traveling the US by car, it’s important to know how to prepare.

Prepare Your Car for the Best Road Trips in the USA

Before heading out on your USA road trip, be sure your car has been serviced, and everything is working properly. When you road trip around the US, anything could go wrong! It’s best to be prepared.

Use Hum by Verizon  to Prepare for Road Trip Vacations I’ve talked about my love of Hum by Verizon before, but it’s because I love my HumX and think anyone taking a road trip should have one!

Hum by Verizon is campaigning to make the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day the “100 Safer Days of Summer.” During these 100 Days, you can find helpful tips for safer driving on their Facebook page.

According to a study from Hum by Verizon and Wakefield Research that surveyed 1,000 U.S. adult drivers ages 20 and older, 80% of participants think that drivers are more likely to speed during the summer months. The survey also found that 61% of millennial drivers struggle to focus while driving during the summer, and one in five drivers have received at least one speeding ticket within the past five years.

Hum by Verizon wants to change that, by helping us practice important road safety with “100 Safer Days of Summer.”

With so many great summer road trip destinations around the country, and so many more Americans traveling these days, safety has never been more important! The best summer trips are safe summer trips!

Best Road Trips USA

We use HumX in our car. HumX is a little device that is easily installed in your car and takes the guesswork out of driving by using connected car technology. It allows you to have quick access to emergency services and loved ones while on a road trip, or any time on the road.

If you have an accident or emergency, HumX can send assistance to help you get back on the road.

Hum X car also runs diagnostics on your vehicle to make sure that things are running smoothly so you can take these cool road trips worry-free.

I love that HumX helps you keep track of general maintenance like oil changes and tire rotation, and you can set up alerts to remind you when it’s time for service.

Best Road Trips USA

All the Hum by Verizon services can be accessed on your smartphone from the Hum App which you can find in the App Store or Google Play . HumX also comes with a Bluetooth speaker that clips to your visor. This will give you access to roadside assistance with the touch of a button and can also be used as a speaker for your phone and be connected to your contacts.

I’m also really excited to have this service when my kids start driving, which is only in 3 more years (HELP)! It provides a safety score, boundary alerts, and records speed, so you can monitor your teen’s driving.

You can also track your fuel and mileage using HumX, which is great if you’re taking road trips that are for work and need to track mileage for expenses or tax purposes.

To prepare for your American road trip of choice, be sure to follow these tips that I’ve shared in How to Plan a Road Trip . If you don’t know what to do on a road trip, these tips will help you prepare and also help you have the best time! Learn a lot and have fun along the way while you road trip USA style!

Best Road Trips USA

25 Best Road Trips in the USA

● Begin: San Francisco, California ● End: San Diego, California ● Distance: 655 miles ● Drive Time: 12 Hours

California is one of the best places to road trip in the USA! Its size and diversity provide so many options and the Pacific Coast Highway is just one. This iconic highway along the California coast covers 655 miles of awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean, stretching from San Francisco to San Diego. See classic sites like the Golden Gate Bridge and Bixby Creek Bridge along the way. The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the best summer road trips in the world!

Read more about our detailed West Coast Road Trip.

● Begin: Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Acadia National Park, Maine ● End: Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Acadia National Park, Maine ● Distance: 27 miles ● Drive Time: 2 hours This is one of the best east coast road trips I’ve ever taken. This is a quick road trip but packed full of stunning views as you drive along the Park Loop in Acadia National Park. Forests, mountains, and rocky shores greet you on your drive along with plenty of wildlife. Be sure to spend some time in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine , the town where you can base your Acadia trip from. All good road trips include some amazing scenery, and this one is no exception!

If you’re looking for a great guide to the park, check out this Acadia National Park Guide.

● Start: San Juan Islands ● End: Brookings, Oregon ● Distance: 600 miles ● Drive Time: 15 hours

The Pacific Northwest is one of the best places to go on a road trip due to its geographical diversity and stunning scenery. One of the most dramatic coastlines in the world, the Pacific Northwest offers rocky beaches, turbulent waters, thick forests, and great food. Begin in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington and continue down to the southern tip of Oregon for one of the best road trips in the USA.

● Starting point: Minnesota ● Ending point: Louisiana ● Distance: 3,000 miles ● Drive Time: 20 hours Follow along the mighty Mississippi River from its beginning in Minnesota, all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. This route is called the Great River Road and it cuts 3,000 miles down the center of our great nation, passing through 10 states, where you’ll see St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, and everything in between. This United States road trip is one of my all-time favorites as it explores some lesser-known destinations in the “fly over” states!

● Starting point: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii ● Ending point: Mauna Kea, Hawaii ● Distance: 300 miles ● Drive Time: 7 hours The Island Loop Road of the Big Island of Hawaii offers scenic views of beaches, mountains, lava fields, active volcanos, black sand beaches, and heated swimming pools. This may be the most diversity in landscape you’ll ever see in one day.

● Begin: Nashville, Tennessee ● End: New Orleans, Louisiana ● Distance: 600 miles ● Drive Time: 9 hours If you’re a music fan, then Route 61 (also known as the Blues Highway) will be a perfect road trip for you, giving you the chance to hear live music, visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, and see famous recording studios. Finish in New Orleans, where you’ll hear live jazz on the streets nightly!

If you want to continue on farther, you can do this amazing gulf coast road trip !

● Begin: Jackson, Wyoming ● End: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming ● Distance: 70 miles ● Drive Time: 1.5 hours National Parks make for the best road trip destinations. Explore both Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park with this road trip full of stunning mountainous scenery! It’s the perfect summer road trip.

● Begin: Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), Arizona ● End: Moab, Utah (one of the most amazing things to do in Utah !) ● Distance: 600 miles ● Drive Time: 11 hours This nature-packed road trip will allow you to see five stunning Utah national parks including the Grand Canyon, Zions’, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches. This is a great Utah road trip itinerary if you’re interested in exploring even more of this beautiful state.

Check out this Utah Road Trip Itinerary

● Begin: Kahului, Hawaii ● End: Hana, Hawaii ● Distance: 52 miles ● Drive Time: 2.5 hours This is possibly the most popular road trip in all of the Hawaiian Islands. The 60-mile Road to Hana takes you along the eastern coast of Maui where you will be sandwiched by beautiful ocean views and jungles filled with waterfalls. The Hana highway will wind you around approximately 600 curves, crossing 59 bridges, but the ride is worth it!

● Begin: New York, New York ● End: Corning, New York ● Distance: 250 miles ● Drive Time: 4.5 hours I love this New York road trip! After enjoying the busy city life, escape into the Fingerlakes region of upper state New York. Enjoy culture, scenery, great food and wineries along the way. New York City with kids is so much fun, but it’s great to mix it with a more relaxing and nature-filled vacation.

  • Begin: Williamsburg, Virginia
  • End: Washington, D.C
  • Distance: 240 miles
  • Drive Time: 4.5 hours

Brush up on your colonial history and visit the homes of some of our founding fathers while reliving the past. Begin your journey in southern Virginia where you can visit Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement, where you’ll witness historical reenactments and join in on living history.

Next, head to Charlottesville and visit the homes of former presidents Thomas Jefferson (Monticello) and James Monroe (Highland). Head to Mount Vernon, just outside Washington DC to visit George Washington’s home (Mount Vernon) and finish off your trip in our nation’s capital. The distance from Williamsburg VA to Washington DC isn’t much, but the history that can be found on the side of the road is amazing!

You can also do this trip in reverse. It’s one of the best road trips from DC I’ve ever taken.

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Miami, Florida End: Key West, Florida Distance: 170 miles Drive Time: 3.5 hours Take the 150-mile drive on Route 1, also known as the Overseas Highway, from Miami to the Florida Keys, crossing 42 bridges. These sandy islands are full of history, sun, and relaxation. This southern USA Florida road trip is sure to be one of the most sun-filled, fun-filled drives ever!

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Grand Canyon National Park End: Las Vegas, Nevada Distance: 250 miles Drive Time: 4.5 hours Start out with nature, and end in Sin City. This desert drive will take you through the majestic Grand Canyon, with a stop in St. George, Utah and end with some fun in Las Vegas.

Check out this awesome Utah road trip.

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Deadwood, South Dakota End: Hot Springs, South Dakota Distance: 100 miles Drive Time: 2.5 hours The Black Hills of South Dakota offer more than just Mount Rushmore. Drive along the Badlands Scenic Byway, making stops at Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park and the infamous Wall Drug. National parks are some of the places to stop on a road trip. Stunning sunsets and sunrises in the Badlands will take your breath away. Keep an eye out for bison on the road. Check out this South Dakota road trip planner for more information.

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Milbridge, Maine End: Eastport, Maine Distance: 125 miles Drive Time: 6 hours Explore the southeastern corner of Maine, also known as “Downeast Maine” as you drive along the Lobster Trail on Coastal Route 1. This colorful and delicious journey will take you through beautiful coastlines and forests while providing tasty and adventurous stops where you can find lobster and all kinds of local seafood. Try your hand at some local activities like clam digging or goat milking. There are so many more incredible east coast road trips .

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Shenandoah National Park End: Asheville, North Carolina Distance: 469 miles Drive Time: 6 hours The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular road trips in the US. Connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, this 469-mile stretch of scenic road is the most visited road controlled by the U.S. National Parks system. Stops along the way include Skyline Drive (particularly beautiful in the fall), Luray Caverns, Natural Bridge, and Asheville.

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming End: Glacier National Park, Montana Distance: 500 miles Drive Time: 9 hours Explore two national parks in one road trip by driving from Grand Teton National Park to Glacier National Park . The drive along the way will provide some of the most diverse landscapes in the U.S.

Begin: Carova, North Carolina End: Ocracoke, North Carolina Distance: 138 miles Drive Time: 5 hours North Carolina’s Route 12, otherwise known as the Outer Banks Scenic Byway spans 21 coastal villages and 138 miles of paved road and 25 ferry-traveling miles along the coast of North Carolina. Dotted with lighthouses, museums, houses and hotels, the Outer Banks is a great beach road trip.

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Seattle, Washington End: Seattle, Washington Distance: 300 miles Drive Time: 10 hours Explore Washington’s Olympic Peninsula on this scenic road trip which takes you through the Olympic National Park and Forest and the lush Hoh Rainforest. There are great spots along the way for hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting.

Best Road Trips USA

Begin: Santa Monica Pier, California End: Chicago, Illinois Distance: 2,500 miles Drive Time: Several days Follow in the path of your grandparents by taking a quintessential cross-country road trip along one of the original highways in the U.S., Route 66. This road is not traveled very often now that the Interstate Highway system is established, but you can still visit many old towns that once thrived in the middle of the last century along The Mother Road. Route 66 crosses 8 states and dozens of historic sites along the way. It’s the ultimate US road trip, but with so many good road trip places around the country, this classic can be overlooked for bigger cities and National Parks. Don’t skip Route 66!

Begin: Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada End: Anchorage, Alaska Distance: 2,500 miles Drive Time: 27 hours Stretching nearly 1,500 miles between Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada and ending in Anchorage, Alaska, the historic Alaska Highway (also known as the ALCAN) is not for the faint of heart. Though most of the road is paved, many sections are constantly under construction and parts of the road are only gravel.

It’s a road that should only be attempted in the best of weather, usually during the summer months, but the views and wildlife along the way are worth the adventure. An Alaska highway road trip should be well planned out in advance, with stops and accommodations mapped out at least six months in advance!  But it is worth the planning. Alaska is one of the most amazing places to take a road trip! Learn more about planning a trip to Alaska.

Begin: St. Augustine, Florida End: Destin, Florida Distance: 1,400 miles Drive Time: 24 hours See the majority of Florida by circling the entire state, starting in St. Augustine(America’s oldest town) then bring out your inner-child in Orlando, eat your way through Miami, and relax on the beach in Clearwater, then explore the panhandle in Destin. This route is long, but the stops and scenery are breathtaking. Learn more about the best things to do in Destin, Florida .

Best Road Trips USA

Begin : Boston, Massachusetts End : Seattle, Washington Distance : 3,000 miles Drive Time: 45 hours This is the best cross country road trip! We’ve done this road trip across America many times out of necessity. It’s more exciting to do it when it’s just for fun. The I-90 spans 3,000 miles across the entire country from Boston to Seattle or vice versa, running along the northern part of the U.S. This route makes some incredible stops like Niagara Falls, Chicago, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and Yellowstone. This is one of the best American road trips you will ever take! A US cross country road trip can seem a little daunting. Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time and map out your stops ahead of time, breaking up the long drive.

Begin: Anchorage, Alaska End: Seward, Alaska Distance: 125 miles Drive Time: 2.5 hours This quick 125-mile drive along the Seward Highway takes you from Anchorage to Seward. While small, this strikingly beautiful route offers incredible stops like seeing the Bore Tide at the Turnagain Arm, glacier hiking, berry picking, fishing, rafting, kayaking and more. Once in Seward you can finish off your trip with a fishing excursion or a wildlife cruise in the Kenai Fjords National Park where you’ll sail among whales, puffins, seals and more.

Begin: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada End: Tijuana, Mexico Distance: 2,300 miles Drive Time: 24 hours Hit three countries in one epic road trip by starting in British Columbia, Canada and using this itinerary all the way down to the border of U.S. and Mexico into Tijuana.

Whatever road trip you choose this summer, be sure to prepare your car for an epic road trip and install a HumX in your vehicle to take the worry out of your journey and to get you on the road!

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Wanderlust Crew

6 thoughts on “ the 25 best road trips in the usa ”.

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thanks for all the info and pictures! would love to do some of these one day I’ve done a lot of road trips in Europe but none in the US yet! route 66 and the grand canyon is definitely on the bucket list!

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America certainly has some awesome road trips! I’ve done a lot in Europe, but would definitely love to do more!!

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I love that some of these road trip destinations are kid friendly. The kids and us could really use some time off from the house after all that’s happening. But we ‘d like to go once things get better. or rather, safer.

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Cross country trips and most of the iconic rides like Route 66 are the best! Gotta love having the countries (and even the continents) so close to us that we can travel by land all we want.

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The Great American Summer Road Trip: Unforgettable Scenic Drives in the United States

Americans drive more than 3 trillion miles in a typical year, according to an estimate from the Federal Highway Administration . The months with the most drivers on the road are July and August, indicating that for a sizable chunk of Americans, summer travel means traveling by car. On some special byways, the journey itself can become the destination, taking you through a 3-D version of “America the Beautiful” lyrics, complete with spacious skies, purple mountain majesties, and amber waves of grain. Not to mention rugged coasts, sunset-red desert expanses, and glimpses of bygone Americana. So buckle up—here are our favorite scenic drives in the United States.

Pictured above: Interstate 40 East, near the Arizona-New Mexico border

The Big Sur Bridge along California Route 1

Given its size and embarrassment of natural riches, California was made for road trips. The most scenic of the state’s many scenic stretches of pavement hugs the jagged sliver where North America meets the Pacific Ocean. Traveling north to south along the Big Sur Coast from Carmel to Cambria, California Route 1 twists and turns along 1,200-foot cliffs flanked by crashing waves and redwood forests. You can also see sunbathing sea lions, charming villages and artist communities, the only waterfall on the continent that empties into the Pacific, and Big Sur Bridge (aka Bixby Bridge, pictured above), one of the most photographed sights in California. Start thinking up synonyms for “stunning” now. The landscape here can be unstable, and every so often (such as in 2017 and 2021), portions of the cliffside route collapse from erosion and need to be rebuilt. Check ahead to ensure the way will be clear, and have alternative inland detours in mind.

An Atlantic Coast alternative : On the other end of North America, the Florida Keys Scenic Highway links 43 barrier isles via a 100-mile overseas route with endless ocean vistas extending from either side.

Fair warning : In both California and Florida, traffic reaches its peak in the summer months. But you’re not in a hurry—that’s why you’re taking the scenic route, right?

Red bus tour on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana's Glacier National Park

An engineering marvel when it opened during the Great Depression, the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road slices through Montana ’s Glacier National Park from east to west, providing a thorough and convincing case for what makes the place special. Starting out in valleys filled with cedar forests and impossibly clear lakes, cars climb past spectacular mountain views (including of the peak the road is named after) and surprises like the Weeping Wall—a waterfall that spills right onto the road—before crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, the road’s highest point at 6,646 feet. The journey is strictly a summertime proposition: Heavy snowfall makes it too dangerous to traverse from mid-fall to early June.

Not up to the drive? If you’re not the steady-behind-the-wheel type, the road’s narrow two lanes, hairpin turns, and dizzying altitudes might be too much. In that case, you can always opt for a guided tour aboard one of the park’s vintage red buses (pictured above).

For an even more remote experience : Take on the drive from Anchorage to Valdez in Alaska , where that state’s supercharged scenery—including glaciers, enormous mountain ranges, and sheer cliffs of ice—is on full display.   

On the Keanae Peninsula, off Maui's Hana Highway in Hawaii

Hawaii’s Hana Highway , which runs along Maui ’s northeastern shore starting in Kahului, covers 50 miles but takes at least three hours (and at most a full day) to drive from end to end. That’s partly because the road has some 600 sharp curves and more than 50 one-lane bridges, and partly because you'll want to stop in numerous spots to get out of the car and wade into waterfall pools, breathe in the scents of wild ginger and plumeria flowers, sample bananas and mangos from roadside fruit stands, and snap photos of verdant hillsides lined with black- and red-sand beaches. The highway eventually ends up in the earthly paradise that is Hana , a still-secluded, still-unspoiled village in a coastal rainforest.

Start early : You want to take your time on the road to Hana, but you don’t want to be stuck in a bumper-to-bumper crawl. To beat the busiest traffic times—midmorning to afternoon—start out just before sunrise.

A Caribbean alternative : The Panoramic Route  (Ruta Panorámica) in Puerto Rico is a network of roads stretching for more than 150 miles through the island’s central mountains, past waterfalls, lush valleys, and Taino ruins. 

Planning help : Order our paperback guide to Maui or download the affordable e-book.

Route 12 through Red Canyon in Utah

You can’t drive on the surface of Mars, but you can easily pretend that’s what you’re doing on State Route 12 in Utah . The 120-mile scenic byway’s western end begins amid the rust-colored rock formations of Red Canyon (pictured above) before leading into the northern portion of Bryce Canyon National Park , where an eerie, orange-tinted expanse of skinny limestone towers called hoodoos fills the canyon floor. Continuing eastward, you can learn about the region’s native peoples at Anasazi State Park , pop into offbeat cafes and art galleries, and admire far-reaching views amid groves of aspen trees on Boulder Mountain . Mars, meanwhile, doesn’t even have oxygen.

Limited access : Route 12 has only two main entry points—from U.S. Highway 89 near the town of Panguitch on the western side, and from Highway 24 in Torrey in the east. Plan accordingly.

Quicker version :  More red rocks can be viewed along the far shorter—but still ruggedly beautiful— Route 179 in Arizona , which runs about 14.5 miles between Camp Verde and the rose-hued city of Sedona .      

Planning help : Download our affordable e-book guides to  Moab, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Bryce Canyon .   

Mabry Mill along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Meadows of Dan, Virginia

Some would argue that the Blue Ridge Parkway  is just as spectacular as the two national parks it was built to connect: Shenandoah in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. It’s certainly not hard to see what attracts road trippers to the 469-mile, two-lane parkway—panoramas of hazy, blue-tinged mountains (the show-stopping peak is the nearly 6,000-foot Grandfather Mountain on the North Carolina side) as well as more intimate scenes of woods, valleys, and down-home Appalachian living. The culture and contributions of the region’s human inhabitants are represented at craft fairs, old country stores, comfort-food restaurants, the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, Virginia, and more picturesquely rough-hewn farmhouses than you’d find in a Thomas Kinkade Company showroom.  

Come back in autumn to stock up on apple butter, roam mountain orchards, and see the forested hillsides after they’ve turned yellow, orange, red, and gold.

Rocky Mountains alternative : On the other side of the Mississippi, the best drive in the West's most iconic range is  Colorado 's 19-mile Pikes Peak Highway , which climbs to the top of that 14,114-foot beauty.     

People climbing Sleeping Bear Dunes next to Lake Michigan

After a brief dash through a forest of beech and maple trees, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive in northern Michigan , near Traverse City, opens onto dramatic views of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore—where giant, sandy bluffs tower as high as 450 feet next to sparkling Lake Michigan. Named after the lumberjack who built the road in the 1960s, the Pierce Stocking loop is only about 7.5 miles long, but there are so many good spots to stop and linger, it’ll take you a while to finish the journey. Plenty of visitors set up beach chairs in the sand to watch the sunset over the water. If you like a challenge, you can climb the dunes, though it’s a strenuous chore that might remind you of that dream where you’re trying to run up a hill but can’t make any forward progress. 

Come back in autumn to check out the foliage along the forested portion of the drive, especially near the quaint covered bridge.

For the true dunes enthusiast : Make your way to Nebraska and drive along  Highway 2 amid gently rolling, grass-covered sandhills frequented by flocks of migrating cranes in the spring. 

Sipping wine and listening to live music in Texas Hill Country

The second-largest wine-growing region in the United States by acreage is Texas Hill Country , the lush, rolling landscape north of San Antonio. Eighteen wineries are connected along 30 miles of Highway 290 , between Fredericksburg  (pictured above) and Johnson City. In addition to seeing cultivated grapes, you can spot the region’s famous wildflowers in the spring and early summer (bluebonnets blanket the hills in March and April). Many towns in the area, including Fredericksburg, retain links to their founders‘ German heritage, on display in architecture, place names, and local restaurants serving schnitzel and strudel. Also along the route: the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Stonewall, where you can tour the former president’s birthplace and ranch. 

Designated driver : If you’re going to be tasting wines along 290, park your car and rely on the handy hop-on, hop-off wine shuttle .

Wine country classic : Another great drive for appreciating American viticulture is California’s iconic Silverado Trail , a quiet country road (especially compared with nearby Highway 29) that connects Napa and Calistoga via 30 miles filled with dozens of wineries. 

Lobster Pot seafood restaurant in Provincetown

On the raised arm and fist that is Cape Cod , the historic Massachusetts Route 6A runs along the bicep all the way up to the knuckles. Also known as the Old King’s Highway, the 62-mile drive strings together one charming bayside village after another, starting with the Cape’s oldest town, Sandwich . You should count on making a day of it. Snap photos of 19th-century sea captains’ homes in Barnstable . Do your best imitation of a frolicking Kennedy on the beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore . At the tip of the Cape, enjoy the hubbub of Provincetown , a resort village notable for being a brief pre-Plymouth stopover for the Pilgrims and, today, a pilgrimage site for LGBTQ+ travelers. Then turn around and retrace your route around the Cape, catching what you missed the first time.

Summer crowds are large on the Cape, but Route 6A is often less clogged with tourists than Route 6 and, especially, Route 28. If you get caught in one of Cape Cod’s legendary traffic jams, you could always console yourself with a stop at a roadside clam shack.

For a fuller survey of New England : Hit the nearly 500-mile Connecticut River Byway , which follows the region’s longest river through the hills, farmland, and quaint villages of three states—Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The Chicago skyline along Lake Michigan

Because Chicago ’s winters get such bad press, it’s probably not common knowledge outside the Midwest that the city truly shines in summer, when residents—who’ve learned to seize sunny days when they get them—stream outdoors for street festivals, patio dining, and communion with their beloved lakefront. A great way to sample this yearly display of fleeting sun worship is with a trip along one of the nation’s greatest urban thoroughfares, Lake Shore Drive , which runs for nearly 16 miles from Hollywood Avenue on the north side to Marquette Drive in the south. On one side of your car: sailboats bobbing in a dazzling, bright blue Lake Michigan bordered by sandy beaches, parkland, and paved pathways bustling with joggers and cyclists. On the other side: the iconic skyline of a city famous for its innovative architecture .

Keep driving and you can eventually work your way around the entire lake via the Lake Michigan Circle Tour, which showcases urban as well as woodsy waterside scenery in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Another incredible city drive is the Las Vegas Strip —and we mean “incredible” in the literal sense. No matter how many times you’ve been to Vegas , it’s still somehow difficult to believe that the neon behemoths lining its most famous thoroughfare aren’t a desert mirage after all.       

Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island

For a drive that lets you look at spectacular views as well as look back at a fascinating chapter in American history, it’s hard to beat Newport, Rhode Island . This wedge of land in Naragansett Bay was the preferred summer playground for the country’s wealthiest families in the latter half of the 19th century and into the early years of the 20th—the so-called Gilded Age. Along Newport’s Bellevue Avenue and Ocean Drive loop , these rapacious industrialists built over-the-top mansions inspired by the palaces of Europe and called them “cottages,” which was either false modesty or true obnoxiousness. As you make your way along the rocky coastline, you can tour many of the homes, including the most famous, The Breakers and Marble House (pictured above), built for two generations of Vanderbilts.

Keep looking back at Fort Adams, a former Army post in Newport that dates to 1799.

Another chapter of history is commemorated on the Natchez Trace Parkway , which covers much of the same ground in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi as a footpath used for centuries by Native Americans and, during the 19th century, by traders, explorers, and soldiers.

Planning help : Download our affordable e-book guide to Rhode Island .

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Local Adventurer » Travel Adventures in Las Vegas + World Wide

21 Best Road Trips in USA to Put on Your Bucket List

  • In the City / North America / Outdoors / USA

Don’t miss out on these amazing road trips!

Since we got married, we’ve done five cross-country road trips and dozens of shorter ones. In our opinion, road-tripping is the best way to see the beauty of the United States. There is so much this country has to offer. Here is a list of 21 American Road Trips that we think everyone needs to put on their bucket lists.

21 Best Road Trips in USA

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Last Updated: March 5, 2024

− − Content Menu

  • 21 Best Road Trips in USA
  • Map of Best Road Trips in USA
  • More Scenic Road Trips to Check Out
  • Essential Tips for First Timers

Planning Checklist

  • More Resources

Whether you love the mountains, want to drive above the clouds, or cruise over the ocean, there’s a road trip for you. Here are 21 of the best road trips in the United States. Let us know in the comments below if there are more we should add to the list.

1. Pacific Coast Highway →

Location:  California    |    Distance:  123 Miles

Enjoy the endless views of the ocean and drive through some of the best beach towns on California’s Route 1. Don’t forget to stop at Hearst Castle, spend some time in  Big Sur   (one of our favorite places in the US), and Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.

Local Tip: Check the news to see if there are any big events occurring. We’ve done this road trip a handful of times with no issues, but the last time we went, there was a bike race, and we were stuck in traffic for hours.

See More: The Ultimate California Coast Road Trip

best road trip in usa in july

2. Historic Route 66

Location:  Illinois to  California    |    Distance:  2,451 Miles

Route 66 is one of the most iconic drives in America. The best stretch of this highway runs from the  Grand Canyon  to the Colorado River. To dive into the history, visit the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum in Pontiac, Illinois.

Local Tip: Unfortunately they’ve painted over most of the Route 66 signs on the road because it was dangerous for people to try to take photos with it. Apparently, some still exist, but we haven’t found them yet.

See More: Your Ultimate Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip

best road trip in usa in july

3. Overseas Highway

Location:   Florida    |    Distance:  120 Miles

We just came back from a trip to the Keys and ended up driving the Overseas Highway. It was unbelievably beautiful.

Unlike any other drive in the country, this route takes you on bridges right over the ocean. It gives you the sensation of floating over the water. Plus, the  Florida Keys  ain’t a bad destination either.

See More: 7+ Remarkable Things to Do in Key West Florida

florida overseas highway

4. Million Dollar Highway (San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway)

L ocation:  Colorado    |    Distance:  305 Miles

Twist and turn through the winding roads between two historic gold-mining towns. Take in the amazing views and don’t forget to take deep breaths as you’ll be over two miles above sea level.

million dollar highway colorado / San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway

5. Columbia River Scenic Highway →

L ocation:  Oregon    |    Distance:  75 Miles

See the amazing Columbia Gorge on a highway built purely for scenery. This drive gives you views of waterfalls and mountains, and there are plenty of pull-offs. Here are  21 best hikes in the Columbia River Gorge from short and easy day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips .

Local Tip: Part of the charm of this area is the rainy weather. Come prepared with  solid waterproof boots  and a  raincoat  ; the hikes are magical.

See More: 21 Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge Oregon

best road trip in usa in july

6. Skyline Drive

L ocation:  Virginia    |    Distance:  105 Miles

This scenic drive takes you along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. Drive through the Appalachians and stop to enjoy any of the 75 overlooks.

skyline drive fall foliage

7. Hana Highway (Road to Hana) →

L ocation:  Maui, Hawaii   |    Distance:  51.1 Miles

Explore the coastlines of Maui along the Hana Highway. You’ll find black sand beaches, waterfalls, jungles, and roadside stands. Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit!

See More: 19 Incredible Road to Hana Stops You Shouldn’t Miss

19 Incredible Road to Hana Stops You Shouldn't Miss // Local Adventurer #hana #hawaii #maui #island #hanahwy #roadtrip #tropical #usa #travel

8. Black RIver Scenic Byway

L ocation:  Michigan    |    Distance:  11 Miles

Tucked away in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Black River Scenic Byway has much to offer in a short distance. Pass by waterfalls and dense forests as you follow the river to the lakeshore.

best road trip in usa in july

9. The Loneliest Road in America (HWY 50) →

L ocation:  Nevada    |    Distance:  408 Miles

Named for the largely uninhabited region that you drive through, explore mining camps, cross mountain ranges, and stop in small cafes. Don’t forget to look up at the stars at night for some of the most spectacular views.

See More: Ultimate Nevada Road Trip – Best Places to Visit in NV

The Loneliest Road in America - Although route 50 runs coast to coast, only this part of the highway in Nevada is called the Loneliest Road by travellers. With Alkaline Salt flats to each side and mountains in the distance, you truly feel all alone // localadventurer.com

10. Route 12

L ocation:  Utah    |    Distance:  124 Miles

Drive through some of the most breathtaking views and explore Capitol Reef National Park and  Bryce Canyon National Park . You can even stop in  Boulder Mountain for a night’s stay  and a great meal.

See More: 15 Amazing Things To Do in Bryce Canyon National Park

Capitol Reef Utah National Parks

11. Kancamagus Highway

L ocation:  New Hampshire    |    Distance:  34.5 Miles

Make a trip down this highway in the fall to get some of the best fall foliage views. Enjoy the crisp breeze with your windows down and take in all the colors of the leaves.

The first time we did this drive, we missed the peak of the fall foliage by one day. The rain and wind the day before we arrived took out most of the leaves.

Kancamagus Highway White Mountains New Hampshire + 15 Beautiful Short Day Trips from Boston

12. THe High Road to Taos

L ocation:  New Mexico    |    Distance:  56 Miles

This scenic, winding road takes you through deserts, mountains, forests, and ancient Indian pueblos. You’ll find beautiful wildflower meadows and there are art galleries scattered throughout the drive. You can also take the Low Road through the valleys on the way back.

high road from santa fe to taos

13. Beartooth Highway

L ocation:  Montana and Wyoming    |    Distance:  68 Miles

Drive through southwest Montana and northwest Wyoming with breathtaking views of the Absoroka and Beartooth Mountains. You’ll drive by glacial lakes, forests, waterfalls, and wildlife. To top it off, you end at the entrance to  Yellowstone National Park .

See More: Best Things to Do in Yellowstone National Park + Essential Tips For Your Visit

Beartooth Scenic Highway + 21 Best Road Trips in USA

14. Highway 2

L ocation:  Nebraska    |    Distance:  200 Miles

See the Great Plains of Nebraska and the rolling sandhills that makeup nearly one-fourth of the state. You’ll also see huge farmlands, marshes, and winding rivers. Certain times of the year will bring huge numbers of migrating birds too.

nebraska bird migration

15. ROute 6

L ocation:  Massachusetts    |    Distance:  117 Miles

Explore the Cape Cod area on this scenic drive. Drive through forests, colonial villages, and tidal pools, and explore the harbor.

route 6 cape cod

16. Park Loop Road →

L ocation:  Maine    |    Distance:  27 Miles

This coastal drive gives you views of Acadia National Park and is one of the best places for spotting bald eagles and peregrine. You’ll get amazing views from above but also from the harbor below.

See More: 15 Incredible Things to Do in Acadia National Park

best road trip in usa in july

17. Going to the Sun Road →

L ocation:  Montana    |    Distance:  50 Miles

This drive through Glacier National Park gives you views of mountain peaks and alpine lakes while having the least negative impact on the delicate environment.

Local Tip: It closes every winter because of snow, which can reach up to 80 feet in depth. When we went in late June, they had just opened the road the week before.

See More: What You Need to Know Before Visiting Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park + 101 Breathtaking Things to Do in Montana for Anyone Who Craves Adventure // Local Adventurer #montana #adventure

18. Tail of the Dragon

L ocation:  Tennessee and North Carolina    |    Distance:  11 Miles

This drive is more about the drive and less about the scenery. Known for its degree of difficulty and sheer excitement when driving, the Tail of the Dragon is full of sharp curves, twists, and turns that demand your full attention.

Tail of the Dragon (21 Great American Road Trips to Put on Your Bucket List).

19. Route 100

L ocation:  Vermont    |    Distance:  216 Miles

Route 100 runs through almost the entirety of Vermont and takes you right through the center. See the fall foliage, stop for ice cream, and enjoy the views of the lush mountains.

route 100 vermont fall foliage

20. Cascade Loop →

L ocation:  Washington    |    Distance:  400 Miles

See rainforests, apple orchards, beautiful lakes, small towns, and more on this 400-mile loop that takes you through some of the best of what Washington has to offer.

See More: 7 Best Things to Do in North Cascades National Park

best road trip in usa in july

21. Mount Washington Auto Road

Location:  New Hampshire   |    Distance:  8 Miles

This short drive climbs nearly 5,000 feet allowing you to stop at viewpoints, see waterfalls, and gaze out at sprawling meadows. The end offers a spectacular view from above.

mt washington auto road

Bonus: Cross Country Road Trip

There’s no better way to see the country than to drive across it. There are many different routes to take, but if you’re ambitious, check out  this road trip plan  that was computed to be the most optimal way across the United States.

Map of Great American Road Trips

More US Road Trip Ideas for Your Bucket List

  • 17-Mile Drive, CA
  • Alaska Highway, AK
  • Big Island Loop Road, HI
  • Black Hills, SD
  • Bluebonnet Trail, TX
  • Blues Highway (Route 61), TN
  • Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
  • Great River Road, LA
  • Highway 143, TN
  • Historic National Road, MD
  • Lake Shore Drive, IL
  • Maine Lobster Trail, ME
  • North Shore Drive, MN
  • Ocean Drive, RI
  • Olympic Peninsula, WA
  • Oregon Coast, OR
  • Outer Banks Scenic Byway, NC
  • Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, MI
  • Silverado Trail, CA
  • Trail Ridge Road, CO
  • Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, CA

Essential Tips

  • Take your time! These trips are all about the journey so enjoy the views and pullouts. Don’t try to cover too much ground each day.
  • Avoid getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, have a  car emergency kit  ready to go.
  • Stay safe on the road by picking up a  dash cam .
  • Stay hydrated by bringing enough water and beverages with you. These  insulated water bottles  will keep your drinks cool (or hot). These are the best water bottles for travel we tested on the road.
  • Bring a few extra bags to collect garbage in the car.
  • We love having  this cooler  with us on our road trips. Helps us keep anything we need cold.
  • It’s always good to have a  physical road map  with you just in case you lose service.
  • Worried about bathroom stops, we always have  these handy  in our car in case we just can’t hold it anymore.  Wet wipes  are always handy too.
  • Get comprehensive insurance for your trip.
  • Download these helpful language apps .
  • Arrange a rental car for your trip.
  • Get airport lounge access .
  • Buy a travel charger to keep your devices charged.
  • Get a new backpack for your trip.
  • Pack the appropriate shoes for your trip.
  • Don’t forget your in-flight essentials .


  • Rand McNally Road Atlas
  • The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips in the USA
  • USA Travel Guide

Can you think of any other road trips in the US to be added to this list? What’s the best road trip you’ve been on?

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21 Best American Road Trips You Should Add to Your Bucket List

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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes ” – M. Proust

Esther and Jacob

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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Lake Tahoe

The 12 Best Summer Vacation Destinations For Families In The U.S.

All products and services featured are independently selected by forbes vetted contributors and editors. when you make a purchase through links on this page, we may earn a commission. learn more, lindsay cohn , contributor, forbes vetted.

W ith children free from the grind of schoolwork and extracurricular commitments, summertime is the perfect opportunity for a family getaway. Long, sunny days and warm weather in most of the United States make it a great time to explore different parts of the country, and a diverse landscape means there’s a destination for every type of interest. The best summer vacation destinations for families in the U.S. are sure to create core memories that will last a lifetime.

Fans of gorgeous alpine scenery should consider Park City and Aspen, while crews who crave outdoor adventure will love the adventurous spirit of the Outer Banks. Set your sights on Cape Cod or venture down to South Padre Island for sandy beaches, or head to Chicago for a city break that includes plenty of educational activities and seasonal events. Below, our picks for the best summer vacation destinations for families in the U.S. in 2024—and where to stay in each one.

Where To Stay In The Best Summer Vacation Spots For Families In The U.S.:

  • Santa Monica: Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows ; Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts ; Shutters On The Beach
  • Aspen: Aspen Meadows Resort ; The St. Regis Aspen Resort ; The Little Nell
  • Acadia National Park: Under Canvas Acadia ; Terramor Outdoor Resort ; Salisbury Woods Cabin
  • Chicago: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago ; The Langham, Chicago ; The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago
  • Cape Cod: Chatham Bars Inn ; Wequassett Resort & Golf Club ; Cottage In Dennis
  • Jackson Hole: Four Seasons Resort And Residences Jackson Hole ; The Cloudveil, Autograph Collection ; The Virginian Lodge
  • Lake Tahoe: Edgewood Tahoe Resort ; Hyatt Vacation Club At High Sierra Lodge ; Zephyr Cove Resort
  • Park City: Montage Deer Valley ; Pendry Park City ; Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley
  • Outer Banks: Sanderling Resort ; Home In Nags Head ; Dune Haus
  • Hilton Head Island: Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean Oak Resort Hilton Head ; The Inn & Club At Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort ; Harbour Town Sea Pines Condo
  • South Padre Island: Best Western Beachside Inn ; Coastal Shores Condo ; Beachfront Condo
  • Mystic: The Whaler's Inn ; Hyatt Place Mystic ; Downtown Mystic Apartment

Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier on the background of an orange sunset, calm ocean waves, Los Angeles, California

Santa Monica, California

Who Will Love It: Sun lovers; beachgoers; active families
All-Star Attractions: Santa Monica Pier; Santa Monica State Beach; Cayton Children's Museum
What Not To Miss: Riding the world's first solar-powered Ferris wheel
Where To Stay: Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows ; Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts ; Shutters On The Beach

Picture-perfect weather, beaches and nostalgic activities make Santa Monica the ideal seaside destination for families. This sun-kissed Southern California city offers miles of wide, sandy beaches lapped by the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The Marvin Braude Bike Path, also known as the Stand, runs 22 miles from Rogers Park to Torrance Beach—and it’s not just for bikes. The paved pathway welcomes walkers, runners, rollerbladers, teetering tots and parents pushing strollers. Pull off for a pitstop at North Beach Playground for slides and climbing apparatus. The epicenter of family fun, the Santa Monica Pier has an iconic Ferris Wheel and confession stands selling classic treats.

Where To Stay:

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows : This urban resort feels like a family retreat with a swimming pool that’s always full of smiling kiddos and parents, grassy lawns for youngsters to play and spacious bungalows that sleep up to eight people. In the summer, there’s also a poolside cinema.

Shutters On The Beach : A well-heeled coastal retreat right on the sand, this Santa Monica stalwart has breezy rooms, an ocean-facing pool and kid-friendly dining at Coast. Complimentary oceanfront yoga promises to help parents relax. Buckets and shovels for little ones are a nice touch, too.

Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts : For a private beachhouse-but-better atmosphere, look no further than Oceana Santa Monica. Luxury-loving families will fall hard for the generously sized suites equipped with Frette linens, Bottega Veneta toiletries and close vicinity to the Pacific Ocean. The doting staff makes guests of all ages feel like VIPs.

Sunrise hits snow dusted peaks of Maroon Bells while being reflected in lake below, along with Aspen trees in their full fall foliage display of golden colors.

Aspen, Colorado

Who Will Love It: Outdoorsy families who don’t mind a little altitude; luxury lovers
All-Star Attractions: Maroon Bells; Aspen Mountain; Independence Pass
What Not To Miss: A scenic gondola trip to the top of Aspen Mountain
Where To Stay: Aspen Meadows Resort ; The St. Regis Aspen Resort ; The Little Nell

Nestled in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Aspen sets the gold standard for outdoorsy family vacations with stunning, tree-laced alpine scenery and recreation for all ages and abilities. The scenic paved walking paths of the Rio Grande Trail are great for strollers and tots, and nearby, John Denver Sanctuary is a nice place to stop for a picnic. The whole family can enjoy the easy walk around the pond at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, and when parents want to indulge in a spa treatment or do a date night at a fabulous restaurants, it’s a cinch to book a babysitter through Aspen Nannies .

Aspen Meadows Resort : A short drive from downtown, this 40-acre property is a family-friendly goldmine with an outdoor lap pool, tennis, pickleball and several hiking trails right on site. Suites feature kitchenettes, sleeper sofas and room service that starts at 7 a.m.

The St. Regis Aspen Resort : The St. Regis feels very much like a resort with amenities like a world-class spa and complimentary s’mores by the fire pits, but it offers the added benefit of a downtown location that’s steps from shops, and restaurants (though, you can’t go wrong with the on-site dining options), and parks.

The Little Nell : The Little Nell is a luxurious respite for parents and offspring. The peaceful rooms and suites encourage even overtired tots to snooze. Chowing down on truffle fries and burgers just feet from the gondola on the patio of Ajax Tavern is a highlight for families.

Acadia National Park

View from the rugged cliff rocks to Bass Harbor Head Light. The lighthouse was built in 1858 and is located on the coast of the US state of Maine within Acadia National Park in Mount Desert Island.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Who Will Love It: Nature lovers; birders
All-Star Attractions: Park Loop Road; Jordan Pond; Sand Beach
What Not To Miss: Visiting Thunder Hole
Where To Stay: Under Canvas Acadia ; Terramor Outdoor Resort ; Salisbury Woods Cabin

July and August top the list of the best months to visit Acadia National Park due to the warmer weather (daytime temperatures average between 55 and 75 degrees). Though the lakes and ocean remain too chilly to swim comfortably, it’s still prime time for waterfront fun with kayaking tours, whale-watching cruises, excellent fishing, coastal hiking trails, tidal pools and mountain-ringed beaches awaiting families. Fledgling birdwatchers should keep an eye out for bald eagles, loons, peregrines and cormorants. In the summer, visitors have the option of staying at campgrounds inside the park (just be sure to book in advance) or nearby glamping resorts.

Under Canvas Acadia : Open early May through late October, Under Canvas Acadia attracts crews who want to be immersed in nature without giving up creature comforts. Adjacent tent setups with private bathrooms, woodburning stoves, panels for viewing the cosmos from bed and decks that are tailor-made for families.

Terramor Outdoor Resort : Just minutes from the entrance to Acadia National Park, Terramor makes it easy for kids and parents to enjoy the great outdoors with five different tent types, including one with bunk beds. Pancake breakfasts, a swimming pool and stargazing round out the family fun.

Salisbury Woods Cabin : For a getaway that’s equal parts cozy and convenient, this contemporary cabin comes with two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a spiffy bathroom and an RV pad with hookups. Guests also have access to the grounds, including a barbecue and fire pit.

Chicago Riverwalk and Skyscrapers

Chicago, Illinois

Who Will Love It: Urbanites; foodies; curious kids (and parents) of all ages
All-Star Attractions: Lincoln Park Zoo; Navy Pier; Shedd Aquarium
What Not To Miss: Igniting imagination (and burning off some energy) at Maggie Daley Park's Play Garden
Where To Stay: Four Seasons Hotel Chicago ; The Langham, Chicago ; The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago

Chicago is one of the best family-friendly city breaks in the country, and summer weather makes it even better. In June, July and August, the Windy City comes alive with seasonal events and outdoor attractions. Bring little ones to the play garden in Maggie Daley Park and watch their imagination soar on the life-sized ship, mini-lighthouse and animal-themed watering hole. Keep older kids off their devices with trips to the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Centennial Wheel. Don’t forget to pose for some family photos in front of The Bean in Millennium Park. On the off chance that the weather doesn’t cooperate, head to the Chicago Children's Museum or hit the Shedd Aquarium.

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago : Plush and full of family-oriented perks, the luxurious Four Seasons welcomes young guests with Sammy the Skyscraper activity books at check-in, an on-call ice cream cart, weekly movie nights and a dedicated kids playroom on the 32nd floor.

The Langham, Chicago : Eliminate the “I don’t want to go back to the hotel” complaints by reserving a room stocked with teddy bears, mini robes, tents and backpacks at The Langham. For a fun family night, book a private movie screening in the property’s cinema suite, complete with popcorn and sweet treats.

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago : Children lucky enough to call The Ritz-Carlton home for a few days while visiting Chicago will love the mini bathrobes and Ritz Kids program, while parents will appreciate the well-designed rooms and suites sized to keep sibling rivalry at bay.

Aerial shot of Hyannis, the "Capital" of Cape Cod on a Fall evening. Authorization was obtained from the FAA for this operation in restricted airspace.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Who Will Love It: Nostalgia chasers; beachgoers; New Englanders
All-Star Attractions: Cape Cod Rail Trail; Wellfleet Drive-In; Cape Cod National Seashore
What Not To Miss: Bayside beach hopping
Where To Stay: Chatham Bars Inn ; Wequassett Resort & Golf Club ; Cottage In Dennis

An iconic American summer destination, Cape Cod conjures images of the Kennedys frolicking at their Hyannis compound. It’s hard to oversell the charm of little towns with classic New England architecture, lighthouses, casual seafood joints, ice cream shops for sundaes that fulfill childhood dreams and stores to buy souvenir keepsakes. This hook-shaped peninsula also offers some of the best beaches in the country—including family-friendly Mayflower Beach and Skaket Beach, two bayside gems with tidal flats, clean restrooms, showers and concession stands.

Chatham Bars Inn : This timeless oceanfront resort has all the hallmarks of a classic Cape Cod summer getaway. Family-friendly perks include a private sandy beach, kiddie pool, tennis clinics, seasonal kids programming, clambakes and an on-site dock with a fleet of boats for excursions such as whale watching and sailing.

Wequassett Resort & Golf Club : This 27-acre retreat provides heaps for families to do, from hitting the tennis courts to swimming in the outdoor heated pools. The children’s center hosts day and evening programming to give parents a break—and, of course, kids will have a blast doing crafts and playing on the nautical-themed pirate ship playground.

West Dennis Cottage : When you want a little privacy, this shingled cottage in Dennis delivers quiet living and sleeping spaces and a washer/dryer (tiny people amass a lot of dirty clothes). It’s a short walk to South Village Beach and even has a fire pit for low-key nights with the family.

Jackson Hole

Early morning magenta light illuminates clouds and the Moulton Barn on Mormon Row at the foot of the Grand Tetons near Jackson, Wyoming, USA.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Who Will Love It: Outdoor adventurers; wildlife peepers; thrill seekers
All-Star Attractions: Snow King Mountain; Grand Teton National Park; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Aerial Tram
What Not To Miss: Soaking in cowboy culture at the Jackson Hole Rodeo (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day)
Where To Stay: Four Seasons Resort And Residences Jackson Hole ; The Cloudveil, Autograph Collection ; The Virginian Lodge

Jackson Hole stands out as a four-season destination for outdoor adventure, high-flying thrills and wildlife peeping. Kids as young as three years old can bounce on the bungee trampoline at Snow King Mountain, and there’s no age minimum for sparking some friendly competition at the 18-hole mini golf course or learning about constellations at the planetarium. It’s a doable drive (yes, even with fidgety youngsters) to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park for hiking and spotting animals in the wild. And of course, no trip to this western-tinged Wyoming town would be complete without saying “cheese” in front of the antler arch at Town Square.

Four Seasons Resort And Residences Jackson Hole : The Four Seasons goes above and beyond for families with children’s amenities such as baby-proofing, high chairs, cribs, rollaway beds and bottle warmers at no extra charge, plus babysitting services for an additional fee, summer horseback-riding camps and sprawling multi-bedroom residences.

The Cloudveil, Autograph Collection : This boutique hotel in the heart of Jackson supplies upscale accommodations and easy access to the outdoors. Outdoor-savvy concierges take the stress out of planning excursions to nearby parks, eco-tours and chef-prepared picnics. The property is also very dog-friendly, so it’s great for furry family members, too.

The Virginian Lodge : This Western-fringed modern motor lodge is the ideal launchpad for outdoor adventure. After days full of hiking and biking, families can swim in the year-round heated pool, roast marshmallows by the fire pit and cozy up in retro-chic rooms outfitted with Pendleton wool blankets.

Aerial View of Lake Tahoe Mountains and Turquoise Blue Water, California, USA

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Who Will Love It: Water sports enthusiasts; beachgoers
All-Star Attractions: East Shore Trail; Sand Harbor; Secret Cove Beach
What Not To Miss: A daytime cruise on the M.S. Dixie II
Where To Stay: Edgewood Tahoe Resort ; Hyatt Vacation Club At High Sierra Lodge ; Zephyr Cove Resort

The jewel of the Sierra Nevada and the highest alpine lake in the United States, Lake Tahoe is a beloved family-friendly destination that straddles the border of California and Nevada. The best way to experience lake life here is to get out on the water, whether that’s by renting a speed boat, doing a kayaking tour or traveling back in time on a a paddle-wheeler like the MS Dixie II. If trekking to the top of a mountain with tykes doesn’t seem feasible, rest assured you don’t have to sacrifice vistas by sticking to a lower elevation. Push the stroller along the 3.3-mile Tahoe East Shore Trail for beautiful views and beach pit stops.

Edgewood Tahoe Resort : Summer vacationers love Tahoe's only lakefront golf resort because of its championship course, swimming pool and sunset movies on the lawn. The new villas range from two to five bedrooms, so you can bring the entire extended family.

Zephyr Cove Resort : Nothing brings families together quite like singing songs, swapping stories and grilling hotdogs before slumbering in a tent under the stars. Not into the whole sleeping on the ground thing? This resort also offers cozy cabins, lodge rooms and an RV park.

Incline Village Condo : Featuring three bedrooms (one with kid-approved bunk beds), a full kitchen and an outdoor fire pit, this well-equipped condo in Incline Village sleeps eight comfortably—which means extending an invite to your cousins.

Park City is a city in Summit County, Utah, United States. Park City Ski Resort and Canyons resorts merged creating the largest ski area in the U.S.

Park City, Utah

Who Will Love It: Alpine adventurers; history buffs; foodies
All-Star Attractions: Park City Mountain Resort; Main Steet; Utah Olympic Park
What Not To Miss: Mornings at the Park Silly Sunday Market
Where To Stay: Montage Deer Valley ; Pendry Park City ; Stein Eriksen Lodge Deer Valley

A silver mining hub turned favored winter resort that’s absolutely fantastic for families in the summer, Park City is a great place for hiking with toddlers, teens and everyone in between thanks to easy trails around town and more challenging routes up in Deer Valley and beyond. Downtown has lots of stores to stock up on souvenir tee-shirts, outdoor gear and cowboy boots, plus a tasty ice cream shop, kid-friendly restaurants, the Park City Museum and the iconic chairlift. The Park Silly Sunday Market brings together craft and food vendors, live music, face painting and even a kid-sized rock climbing wall. There are also many excellent parks and playgrounds in the area.

Montage Deer Valley : This luxurious Deer Valley resort offers families miles of hiking trails, indoor and outdoor pools, an on-site bowling alley, in-room “camping” amenities and the Paintbox children’s program. Kiddos can also collect the Montage merit badges. The property’s UPPAbaby rental program means you don’t have to pack a stroller.

Pendry Park City : This contemporary slopeside resort in Canyons Village starts the family fun upon arrival with stuffed animals up for grabs at check-in. Add to that an awesome kids club as well as two-bedroom residences with bunk rooms that are guaranteed to earn parents extra cool points.

Stein Eriksen Lodge : A high point for families staying at Stein Eriksen Lodge is the 3,500-square-foot entertainment area with pinball, video games and billiards. The enormous luxury suites with five bedrooms, full kitchens, living and dining areas and patios could easily be mistaken for private home rentals.

Outer Banks

The coast of North Carolina's Corolla Beach in the Outer Banks

Outer Banks, North Carolina

Who Will Love It: Active families; water sports enthusiasts; history buffs; wildlife lovers
All-Star Attractions: North Carolina Aquarium; Roanoke Island Festival Park; Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Wright
What Not To Miss: Climbing to the top of the largest dune on the East Coast at Jockey's Ridge State Park
Where To Stay: Sanderling Resort ; Home In Nags Head ; Dune Haus

Families with kids who need constant action and outdoor thrills should consider the Outer Banks. A vacation to this chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina is packed with opportunities for windsurfing, paddleboarding, kiteboarding and fishing. Youngsters with an interest in pirate lore will definitely want to visit the site where Blackbeard fought his last battle at Ocracoke, while teens can go snorkeling or scuba diving around the thousands of shipwrecks (hence the destination’s nickname, "the graveyard of the Atlantic"). Extend the screen-free hours with educational trips to the Wright Brothers National Memorial and the North Carolina Aquarium.

Sanderling Resort : Tucked between the Atlantic Ocean and Currituck Sound, Sanderling Resort gives guests of all ages a taste of the Outer Banks. The zero-entry pool is a toddler favorite, while teens will favor the beach and off-site excursions organized by the adventure-versed concierges.

Home In Nags Head : Much of the fun of an Outer Banks vacation is everyone bunking up in a big house after an action-packed day. This remodeled beach house in Nags Head fits the bill with a living room with board games and toys, a swimming pool and a gas grill.

Dune Haus : This coastal cottage rental bills itself as an “oceanfront Outer Banks paradise.” With four bedrooms, a light-filled living room, a hot tub, a cargo lift to haul groceries and luggage, and private beach access, that seems like a very fitting title.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head, South Carolina, lighthouse at dusk.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Who Will Love It: Beachgoers; wildlife lovers; foodies
All-Star Attractions: Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge; Coastal Discovery Museum; The Sandbox Children's Museum
What Not To Miss: Dolphin-watching tours aboard Zodiac rafts
Where To Stay: Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean Oak Resort Hilton Head ; The Inn & Club At Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort ; Harbour Town Sea Pines Condo

For a sun-and-sand getaway, look no further than Hilton Head Island. This fan-favorite summer destination offers beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches, golf courses, great food and wildlife viewing galore. Families can look forward to catching rays on the white-sand shores and witnessing local wildlife. The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to wading birds, raptors and white-tailed deer, and you might even spy alligators sunning on the banks of the lagoons. Pirate cruises and dolphin-watching tours aboard Zodiac rafts are sure to become core memories, while even picky palates won’t be able to resist a real-deal Lowcountry boil.

Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean Oak Resort Hilton Head : A 10-minute walk from Coligny Beach Park, the Hilton Grand Vacation Club gives families access to suites the size of apartments, an oceanfront pool and bar and a picnic area with charcoal grills for cooking up crowd-pleasing burgers.

The Inn & Club At Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort : At the top-rated luxury hotel on Hilton Head Island, guests can expect elegantly furnished accommodations that are still child-friendly, seasonal beach concierge service at the Sea Pines Beach Club and a first-class golf course.

Harbour Town Sea Pines Condo : Because this villa doesn’t share any walls with neighbors, it’s a super quiet and private pick for families. The view overlooking a lagoon with fountains lends extra tranquility to the overnight experience—perhaps enough to inspire kiddos to sleep through the night.

South Padre Island

Sunrise at Isla Blanca Park, South Padre Island Texas USA

South Padre Island, Texas

Who Will Love It: Beachgoers; water sports enthusiasts; wildlife peepers
All-Star Attractions: Sea Turtle, Inc.; South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center; Laguna Madre Nature Trail
What Not To Miss: Marveling at the largest outdoor sandcastle in the United States
Where To Stay: Best Western Beachside Inn ; Coastal Shores Condo ; Beachfront Condo

Keen to trade screen time for beautiful beaches, watersports and nature-based attractions? South Padre Island, a Texas resort town on the 34-mile barrier island that shares its name, packs a punch in terms of family-friendly activities. Summer is the best time to experience the calm waters, white sands and boogie boarding at South Padre Island Beach. Animal lovers won’t want to miss Sea Turtle, Inc., South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, as well as the Laguna Madre Nature Trail. After days full of sun, sea and seeing local wildlife, toss on a tee-shirt and grab something to eat at one of the easygoing local restaurants.

Best Western Beachside Inn : It’s easy to understand why families gravitate toward the Best Western Beachside Inn. The rooms are clean and comfortable. With rates starting at $100 per night, it’s an excellent value, and you can’t beat the location right by seafood favorite Blackbeards'.

Coastal Shores Condo : This beachy boho ground floor unit comes with a lot of family-friendly amenities—including a newly renovated kitchen with all new appliances, a huge balcony to soak up the views with kiddos nap, two parking passes and a shared pool with loungers and umbrellas.

Beachfront Condo : This condo gives guests two bedrooms and a queen sleeper sofa, so there’s plenty of room for everyone to snooze. Access to a playground, outdoor pool, and tennis and basketball courts is an awesome bonus.

MYSTIC, CT - DECEMBER 17: cute buildings and shops downtown Mystic, on December 17, 2017 in Mystic, CT USA

Mystic, Connecticut

Who Will Love It: History buffs; foodies; budding marine biologists
All-Star Attractions: Mystic Aquarium; Mystic Seaport Museum; Downtown Mystic
What Not To Miss: Seeing beluga whales at the Mystic Aquarium
Where To Stay: The Whaler's Inn ; Hyatt Place Mystic ; Downtown Mystic Apartment

The 19th-century whaling village of Mystic has evolved into a coastal New England tourism darling that’s become increasingly popular with families. You could (and should) block an entire day to learn about maritime history at the Mystic Seaport Museum, while kids and parents alike will be mesmerized by the giant beluga whales, sea lions and other fascinating underwater creatures at the Mystic Aquarium. Beautiful summer weather calls for paddle boarding, kayaking and boat rides. Be sure to carve out some time to stroll around the lively downtown, snap frame-worthy photos on the drawbridge and grab a pie at Nana’s Bakery & Pizza.

The Whaler's Inn : Featuring stylish rooms and suites spread across five adjacent buildings, a kid-approved on-site restaurant that serves farm-to-fork fare and a convenient location near all the must-see sights, The Whaler's Inn is by far the best choice for families in downtown.

Hyatt Place Mystic : Clean rooms, an outdoor swimming pool and a location near the Mystic Aquarium make the Hyatt Place a great option for families looking to explore. Even with the uptick of travelers in the peak of summer, rates remain reasonable.

Downtown Mystic Apartment : For families who like to be in the middle of the action, this light-filled downtown apartment satisfies. It’s right by the iconic draw bridge and has three bedrooms, a full kitchen and use of a backyard with a patio and barbecue.

About Lindsay Cohn, Your U.S. Family Summer Vacations Guide

I'm a travel journalist with over a decade of professional experience writing, editing, and jet-setting. My passion for seeing the world has taken me to 46 countries across six continents—and counting. Whether I’m exploring somewhere new or returning to a familiar favorites, I’m always vetting the best boutique hotels, wine bars and juice shops. When I'm not writing, you can find me doing yoga, hanging with my son and planning a trip to one of the destinations on my ever-growing bucket list. In addition to Forbes Vetted, my work has appeared on Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, InsideHook, The Zoe Report, Hotels Above Par, Tripadvisor, PureWow, ELLE Decor and more.

Lindsay Cohn

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Home » North America » USA » Best Road Trip

20 Best USA Road Trips • Famous Driving Destinations in 2024

Many will say that going on an epic road trip is the best and really the only way to experience America. This is the land of the open road, the roadside attraction, the roadside diner. If all roads lead to Rome, they must eventually make a detour in the United States, I say.

There is a lot that goes into planning a road trip in the USA. What to pack, what kind of car to rent, and, most importantly, where to go. There are a million routes out there and they all have their own merits and, in some cases, oddities.

I’ve assembled a list of some of the best and most classic road trips in the country. From East Coast to West Coast and Sea to Shining Sea, the finest stretches of good ol American-made asphalt are all found in this article. Through the desert, over the mountains, into the past, doesn’t matter; we’ve got them all covered right here.

So which Great American road trip will you take?

best road trip in usa in july

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20 Greatest Road Trips in the USA

Renting a car in the usa.

Let’s get down to brass tacks and start talking about the top American road trips there are! Here are twenty for you to choose from!

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1. California Route 1 – Pacific Coast Highway

The road trip in the usa to take before you die.

  • States : California
  • Start: San Diego
  • End : Mendocino
  • Total Distance: 656 miles
  • Best Part: Camping in Big Sur

mcway falls viewpoint in day big sur california coast

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What’s a trip to California without visiting the coast or the beach? The beach is one of the most important aspects of California livin’, after all. It is talked about during just about every other conversation in the state. Who could blame the natives for loving their coastline so much when you have superlative stops like Malibu, San Luis Obispo, and Point Reyes all there?

For the ultimate road trip in California , consider driving the entire stretch of the Pacific Route 1. This epic route, which should take at least a week (two for maximum enjoyment), seriously pulls out all the stops. Gorgeous coastline, bustling metropolises – like San Francisco and Los Angeles – and more than enough In n’ Out Burger joints all combine to make the perfect road trip itinerary. This is some of the best California has to offer.

Since you’ll be starting in San Diego, why not book a nice place to stay and soak up the city before departing?

2. Route 66

The classic road trip across america.

  • States: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California
  • Start: Chicago, Illinois
  • End : Santa Monica, California
  • Total Distance:  2448 miles
  • Best Part: The Americana

route 66 sign with rusted cars - the quintessential american road trip

Route 66 is probably the first thing that springs to people’s minds when they think “Great American road trip.” Over the years, Route 66 has been practically immortalized – by Hollywood films, musicians, novels, etc – so much so that it is practically synonymous with the very idea of going on a road trip around the USA.

Since it passes through eight different states and four different regions, Route 66 offers a somewhat abridged version of American culture. You’ll get to see roadside attractions, antique gas stations, and eccentric diners; all staples of American weirdness.

One of the best parts of Route 66? Watching the landscape shift from the Great Plains and Mississippi wetlands to the deserts and mountains of the West Coast’s roadside landscapes . Entering Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona is a particularly surreal experience, as there is nowhere else quite like the American Southwest. If you have time, be sure to stop by Monument Valley for an iconic American backdrop.

best road trip in usa in july

The USA is  blisteringly beautiful. It’s also blisteringly expensive! Visiting two national parks in day can run you $70+ in entry fees.

Orrrr… you kick those entry fees to the curb, buy an annual ‘America the Beautiful Pass’ for $79.99,  and get unlimited access to ALL 2000+ federally managed sites in the States totally FREE!

You do the math. 😉

3. Skyline Drive

The most scenic mountain road trip on the east coast.

  • States : Virginia
  • Start: Front Royal
  • End : Rockfish Gap
  • Total Distance: 105 miles
  • Best Part: Parking the car and going for a quick hike

road driving through the blue ridge mountains, virgina

It’s a favorite day trip for those visiting Washington DC for a simple reason: the Skyline Drive is one of the most accessible mountain drives in the USA. In just over an hour, one could easily escape from the politics and actions of the nation’s capital and be in the heart of Appalachian Country. For those who like long-winding mountain roads, this will be one of the best road trips in the USA.

The Skyline Drive traverses the entirety of Shenandoah National Park. This means that, besides offering breathtaking views, the route also affords access to many local trails. The epic and grueling AT (Appalachian Trail) runs parallel to Skyline Drive. Those who’ve dreamed of hiking (a section of) the thru-hike can do so at many points of the road.

For those looking for a more docile couple of days in Shenandoah, there are lots of campsites and little towns around worth visiting. Winchester has a rich Civil War history while sleepy Staunton is generally considered the prettiest town in the region.

Stay in Washington DC a few days before heading out and be sure to check out all the spectacular museums.

4. Going-to-the-Sun Road

The best way to see one of the best american national parks.

  • States: Montana
  • Start: West Glacier
  • End : Saint Mary
  • Total Distance: 50 miles
  • Best Part: Seeing Saint Mary Lake for the first time

Shot on the Canon EOS 5d

Glacier is one of the best national parks in the USA . It’s the kind of place that, once you’ve visited, makes you want to pack up your bags and move to Montana. I’ve dreamt of doing this before and I’m sure a lot of people share this dream with me.

The main road that traverses Glacier is called the Going-to-the-Sun Road and it is, without question, one of the most beautiful roads in the US. Firstly, it passes right next to the stunning Saint Mary Lake, which is one of the highlights of the park. It also provides quick access to some very good trails in the park, like Hidden Lake Lookout. This 3-mile round-trip hike starts at Logan’s Pass and offers views of the uniquely-shaped Bearhat Mountain.

It should be noted that the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens late in the season and closes early due to heavy snow. The road is closed for 7-8 months and crazy busy the rest of the year. There are quite a few hair point turns as well so remember to keep your cool out there when driving.

5. Olympic Peninsula Loop

Rainforests, glaciers, and beaches (oh my).

  • States: Washington
  • Start : Port Angeles
  • End : Port Angeles
  • Total Distance: 330 miles
  • Best Part: Feeling the carpet in the Hoh Rainforest

Hurricane Ridge - amazing northwestern USA road trip

Very few places to see in the USA are as geographically unique as the Olympic Peninsula. Here, you’ll find a huge diversity of landscapes, from glaciers to rainforest to rugged coastline. This is a paradise for outdoorsy types or, at least, those who can’t quite decide what kind of outdoor adventure they want to go on during their road trip in the USA.

There are too many cool spots on the Olympic Peninsula to talk about. Hurricane Ridge offers the most spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and also offers solid skiing in the winter. Rialto Beach is famous for its sea stacks that resemble those found commonly in Iceland. The Enchanted Valley is a very remote portion that requires an overnight hike but rewards visitors with, supposedly, 10,000 falls.

The best part about the Olympic Peninsula is exploring the Hoh Rainforest. Thanks to constant rain, the woods of the peninsula are overgrown, towering, and constantly lush. Go for walk here and you’ll see more shades of green then you previously thought possible.

If you’re passing through, then take a couple of nights booking a stay in Seattle before visiting the Olympic Peninsula!

6. Kancamagus Highway

For fall foliage fanatics.

  • States: New Hampshire
  • Start : North Woodstock
  • End : Conway
  • Total Distance: 56 miles
  • Best Part: Being there in autumn

fall foliage drive in new england on a road trip

New Englanders are very proud people and there are certain things that you don’t talk shit about with them. Dunkin’ Donuts, lobster rolls, Tom Brady; even a whisper of ill will about any of these things is a sure way to piss of a local. Just as important to the New Englander identity as any of these though is it’s most noticeable natural phenomenon: the fall foliage.

From late-September to middle-October, the Patriots become slightly less talked about (until they eventually go to the Super Bowl) in lieu of the changing colors of the trees. New Englanders go crazy for the reds, oranges, and golds of the season; some plan whole weekend excursions in search of the best colors. Admittedly, it is pretty damn cool when you travel outside Boston and are hit by all those hues.

One of the most famous fall foliage road trips in New England is the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire. When the time is right (early-October), a cold fire hits the hills and they explode with color. The 56-mile stretch of the Kanc is never-ending foliage and shifting colors; it’s like driving through the barrel of a kaleidoscope. Just be warned: you and everyone else will be there – it gets busy in October!

7. San Juan Skyway

Colorful colorado at it’s best.

  • States: Colorado
  • Start : Durango
  • End : Durango
  • Total Distance: 233 miles
  • Best Part: Dallas Divide Viewpoint

dallas divide in colorado - famous drives in the usa

The San Juan Skyway is the best road trip in Colorado ! Nestled in the far southwestern corner of the state, this route offers some of the finest Rocky Mountain views you could hope for. The road twists and turns through the valleys of the San Juan Mountains, arguably the prettiest part of the Colorado Rockies, and visits many historical towns and viewpoints along the way.

This itinerary begins and ends in the former mining town of Durango. There’s not much to do here besides ride the old gauge railroad, which is admittedly pretty damn cool if you like old-school trains.

As you head north from Durango to Silverton, the scenery really starts to unfold. To the east, the rugged Weminuche goads avid climbers and hikers. To get the best views of the Weminuche and the nearby Grenadiers, be sure to stop at Molas Pass for a break.

Beyond Silverton is the remote resort town of Ouray and the Sneffels Wilderness. The Dallas Divide, which overlooks the Sneffels, is very popular with photographers, especially in autumn when the leaves change color.

After the Dallas Divide, it’s straight onto one of the most famous mountain towns in Colorado: Telluride. If you’re staying in Telluride during the summer, be sure to check for local festivals. During this time, there’s one almost every weekend.

Just got off the plane at Denver and need somewhere to crash? Check out our comprehensive accommodation guide for Denver and find something you like!

8. The Cascade Loop

The best of the “american alps”.

  • States : Washington
  • Start: Everett
  • End : Everett
  • Total Distance: 440 miles
  • Best Part: The North Cascades to the San Juan Islands

washington pass cascade loop - amazing places to visit in the usa

This is THE ULTIMATE Pacific Northwest road trip! Seriously, there are few itineraries that offer such a huge array of activities. Alpine hiking, whale watching, breweries; these are just a few of an adventurer’s favorite things!

The Cascade Loop begins in Everett, which is just north of Seattle. Everett is a pretty little town although you will not want to miss out on visiting Seattle. From Everett, you’ll head east over Stevens Pass before turning north along the Columbia Basin until looping back west across the Washington Pass and the astounding North Cascades. You should end your road trip through Washington by spending a few days relaxing in the idyllic San Juan Islands.

If the previous paragraph felt like an oversimplification, I’m sorry; but the Cascade Loop is too grand to fit in this section. To learn more about the route, be sure to visit the official Cascade Loop website for heaps of more information!

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9. Florida A1A – Overseas Highway

340 miles, almost all beaches.

  • States : Florida
  • Start: Amelia Island
  • End : Florida Keys
  • Total Distance : 340 miles
  • Best Part: Driving across the Caribbean Sea

florida coast road trip usa

Knock it all you like for its douchey spring break parties and invasive retirees, but Florida still has some of the best beaches in all of the USA. As you may have gleaned from the subtitle of this particular USA road trip, almost all of them are accessible via a single highway.

The Florida A1A runs the entire length of the Atlantic Floridian Coast AND even further into the Caribbean Sea. The portion that connects the mainland to the Florida Keys (The Florida Key Scenic Byway) is considered an engineering marvel and this is one of the highlights of the trip. Gliding across the Caribbean and into the likes of Ernest Hemingway’s home on Key West is just too good.

But there is more to this Florida road trip than just the Keys. Fort Lauderdale is shedding its MTV beach party reputation (for a more laid back vibe). Cocoa Beach and Vero Beach still surf central. Plus, there’s always hedonistic and culturally rich Miami to demand your attention (probably too much).

Use our Miami travel guide to learn more about the city!

10. Lassen Scenic Byway

A “lasser-known” road trip in california.

  • States : California, Oregon
  • Start : Lassen Volcanic National Park, California
  • End : Chemult, Oregon
  • Total Distance: 500 miles
  • Best Part: Ending at Crater Lake aka Heaven on Earth

lassen volcanic national park on a caliornia road trip

The Lassen Scenic Byway is one of the most unknown and underrated road trips in America. The route can’t be faulted either – it’s located in the relative unknown of Northern California, which, unfortunately, only enters the news when there’s a forest fire or a rebellious splinter-nation about to spring up. Yet, Northern California and Lassen are just as beautiful as anywhere else in the state.

The Lassen Scenic Byway, which takes its name from the National Park where it starts, gives a grand overview of the region. Dormant volcanoes, bubbling springs, and waterfalls are just a few of the sights you’ll see along the way. Mt Shasta, which marks the beginning of the Cascade Range, is the most prominent landmark in the area. The Park boasts some of California’s best camping spots ; enjoy the breathtaking views at Heart Lake, or kayak around Manzanita’s calm waters.

The Lassen Scenic Byway also extends across the state border into Oregon. This means you can visit one of my all-time favorite places in the USA: Crater Lake. It is an enormous body of water, perfectly serene and close to fathomless. Every time I see it, Crater Lake reminds of Thoreau and what he said about lakes in general: “(they are) the Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

11. The Oregon Coast – USA Route 101

For those who like to wear sandals and sweaters (at the same time).

  • States : Oregon
  • Start: Brookings
  • End : Astoria
  • Total Distance: 363 miles
  • Best Part: Southern Oregon Coast

oregon coast sunset at indian beach oregon coast road trip roaming ralph photography

Having spent much of my life in Portland, I’ve been on more than a few road trips in Oregon and there’s a special place in my heart for the Oregon Coast.

When I needed to get away from the city and work, I would run away to the coast. When my girlfriend and I wanted a romantic dinner, we’d skip the restaurants and instead buy fresh oysters from the local fishermen in Netarts. To me, the coast was my playground, my church, and my home away from home.

I’m not the only person who loves the Oregon Coast though – lots of people go on vacation here to get away from the madness of their lives (including everyone’s favorite Midwestern melodist, Sufjan Stevens). Apparently, the charm of old coastal towns and the particular moodiness of a cool, cloudy day is not lost on the others.

Mine romanticizing aside, the Oregon Coast is just a beautiful place to visit. The Southern portion, around Bandon, Langlois, and Samuel H. Boardman, is particularly notable as the scenery around here – rocky towers, jagged promontories, and enormous cliffs – are quintessential.

Given how sheer flippin’ magnificent the Oregon Coast is, make sure you know what areas to stay in as you drive through!

12. The High Road to Taos

The magical highway to everyone’s favorite hippy town.

  • State: New Mexico
  • Start : Sante Fe
  • Best Part: The old Spanish architecture

high road to taos and the San Francisco de Asís Mission Church in Chimayó

New Mexico is like the weird aunt that always drives up to the family gatherings in her converted VW bus and talks about gemstones all night long. Not that this is a bad thing: we all love them for doing this and hope they never change. After all, these conversations are far more interesting than the ones we have with that one overly conservative uncle (I’m alluding to you, North Dakota).

New Mexico loves art, culture, and the surrounding nature that, in turn, inspires art and culture. People from all over the country, whether native or tourist, are inspired by landscapes and old Indian pueblos of the state (even the esteemed George R.R. Martin has drawn inspiration from this landscape).

One of the best ways to experience the magic of New Mexico is via the High Road to Tao scenic byway. Starting from the city of Santa Fe and ending in Taos, this road trip not only connects two of the most artistic cities in the state, but it also features a lot of interesting stuff in between.

Chimayó makes for a very interesting stop thanks to its namesake church, which promises to heal the sick. The San Francisco de Asís Mission Church is one of the most iconic buildings in the American Southwest and could easily serve as a prop for Tarantino or Sergio Leone western.

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13. Texas Hill Country

The “green” part of texas.

  • States: Texas
  • Start : Austin
  • End : Austin
  • Total Distance: Depends
  • Best Part : The natural pools

hamilton pool - highlight of austin, texas

Texas isn’t just desert and oil fields; there is plenty of greenery around if you know where to look. In fact, there are heaps of waterfalls and grottos to be found! Texas Hill Country is full of hidden wonders that most would’ve never thought could be found arid ol’ Texas. If you’re looking for some top-notch hiking in the States and want to try some of the tastiest BBQ in the state, then consider going on a trip here.

Texas Hill Country roughly refers to the elevated areas west of Austin. Many roads that go through this area; to visit a decent chunk of it will require you to take many different routes.

Generally speaking, the best parts of Texas Hill Country are around Highway 290. Locally beloved waterholes like Hamilton Pool, Pedernales Falls, and Jacobs Well are all within about 30 minutes detour.

There are many BBQ joints and spirit distilleries spread throughout Hill Country as well. If you want some of the most legendary BBQ in Texas, be sure to drop by Cooper’s Old Time Pit in Llano.

Austin is a bit of an underrated gem, so check out our insider travel guide and make sure you experience it fully.

14. Beartooth Highway

One of the most beautiful highways in america.

  • States: Wyoming, Montana
  • Start : Red Lodge, Montana
  • End : Wyoming/Montana border via US 212
  • Total Distance: 69 miles
  • Best Part : Arriving at Beartooth Pass

motorcycle on the beartooth highway montana wyoming

For being one of the prettiest roads in America, it’s amazing how few people have probably heard about the Beartooth. When talking about what to do in Wyoming, most people talk about staying in Yellowstone or the Tetons more than anything. (Rightfully so! Those places are spectacular in their own right!)

Yet, just 2 hours away from the center of Yellowstone lies this stunner of a road trip, so stunning some say that it could easily compete with the aforementioned national park. Not to be taken lightly, this road starts at 5000 ft and climbs to a maximum height of nearly 11,000 ft. By the time you reach Beartooth Pass, you’ll be driving through high-alpine plateau; barren, humbling, and, most of all, awe-inspiring.

The drive is the show-stealer here but there’s still lots to do outside of the car on the Beartooth Highway. Lakes for fishing, trails for hiking, and kitschy shops for souvenirs all abound. Though the drive itself only takes 2-3 hours, one could easily spend several days here. Don’t just look at this as a way to connect Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks; think of this route as a park to be explored onto itself.

packable travel medical kit

Things go wrong on the road ALL THE TIME. Be prepared for what life throws at you.

Buy an AMK Travel Medical Kit before you head out on your next adventure – don’t be daft!

15. The Hana Highway

A must-do on your hawaiian vacation.

  • State: Hawaii
  • Start : Kahului
  • End : Haiku-Pauwela
  • Total Distance: 64 miles
  • Best Part: Playing “Spot the Waterfall”

hana highway, hawaii - most beautiful roads in america

Some people find the word “highway” in Hana Highway to be a gross exaggeration. “This isn’t a highway!” they might say; “this is a crooked alley in the middle of the jungle!” Fair enough fictional angry tourist I say.

The Hana Highway is not a typical highway: it’s narrow, winding, and sometimes scary to drive on. What would normally take an hour to drive will take more like two or three. The road is so small that parking on the side of the road is very difficult; sometimes it even turns into a single lane of traffic.

But the Hana Highway is worth the extra effort, of course. Waterfalls are everywhere along this road trip; during heavy rain, falls may spring up out of nowhere (be careful in this case actually). That quintessential Hawaiin lushness will be omnipresent as you coast through different areas of Maui , and you’ll even the opportunity to visit the beach! Pullover at Waianapanapa State Park just before Hana to see one of the better beaches on the island.

If you end up doing this Hawaiin road trip, just be sure to leave Kahului with a full tank of gas and snacks. There isn’t a whole lot in the way of food and gas stations along the way.

To be honest, Hawaii is yummy, expensive, and worthy of a proper adventure. Check out our budget travel guide for Hawaii and extend your trip a bit longer !

16. Charleston to Savannah

Southern comfort at its finest.

  • States: South Carolina, Georgia
  • Start : Charleston, NC
  • End : Savannah, GA
  • Total Distance : 108 miles
  • Best Part : Comparing the two cities

City Market, Savannah - Southern USA road trip

It’s a well-known fact that there’s a long-standing rivalry between the cities of Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA. Both are competing against each other for the title of “most charming cities in the South” and the competition is fierce. Thanks to their close proximity, one could easily visit one on a weekend road trip!

Charleston is the smaller city; not so hectic and pretty down-to-Earth by many standards. It’s mostly known for its old plantations and Southern hospitality. A lot of people – especially the locals – like to say that Charleston is much more laidback than Savannah and consequently much more hospitable. You can find plenty of great Airbnbs in Charleston too, so it’s definitely a place to stop over for a bit longer.

Savannah, on the other hand, is the larger of the two cities. It was formerly and economic center of the region and, as such, expanded quite fast. The original Southern architecture is very well preserved, the best examples being the cobblestone streets themselves, the old-school neighborhoods of Savannah , and the nearby plantations. Fun fact: public drinking is also legal in Savannah, which does lead to the occasional, spontaneous block party 🙂

17. The Best of the American Southwest

Take a trip through one of the most beautiful parts of the usa.

  • States : Nevada, Utah, Arizona
  • Start: Las Vegas
  • End : Las Vegas
  • Total Distance: 1200 miles
  • Best Part: Doing acid somewhere you love

havasupai grand canyon day trip driving from las vegas, nevada

This isn’t an established route; there is no single road that you’ll stay on over the course of this trip. What this is a collection of highways that together form without question one of the most phenomenal road trips around the USA.

The American Southwest is one of the most beautiful regions in the world; a dreamscape filled with surreal arches, bottomless canyons, and rocks painted by the passage of time. Hiking through the arid landscapes of Arizona or Utah is more fantasy than reality sometimes and, to me at least, a more appropriate place for Gods to inhabit than humans.

My mind reels when I think about how many wonders there are on this Southwestern road trip. The Grand Canyon, Vermillion Cliffs, Antelope Canyon, Havasupai; all of these could be considered amongst the most beautiful places in the world. Yet, I haven’t even talked about the national parks of Utah either! Zion, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, my god – it’s all too much to think about at once.

Love it or hate it, you’ll be visiting Las Vegas for this road trip, so you may as well make the most of it!

18. Route 61 – The Blues Highway

Visit some of the most significant musical sites in america.

  • States: Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa , Wisconsin, Minnesota
  • Start : New Orleans
  • End : Wyoming (Minnesota)
  • Total Distance: 1,400 miles
  • Best Part: Finding out where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil

blues hall in memphis starting the great american musical road trip

A good American road trip doesn’t ALWAYS have to be about pleasant scenery or heritage sites. Sometimes, all a good road trip takes is an appreciation for our musical forefathers and a really good playlist to go with it.

Route 61 is called the Blues Highway because it has been a part of so many American musicians’ lives. Bastions of classic American music, like Memphis, Des Moines , St. Louis, and the classic southern destination New Orleans are all connected by this road.

That means the greatest blues singers, rockers, country wailers, and more have all, at one point in their lives, driven on this road. It goes without saying that a lot of shit has probably happened here then.

Route 61 is full of interesting and sometimes strange attractions. The BB King Museum, Heartbreak Hotel, and some of the most hallowed music venues and concert halls in the country are all along this route.

The coolest place to visit on this USA road trip? The infamous “crossroads” where Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil for fame (at the intersection of Highway 1 and 8).

For a shorter version, road trippers can instead drive from New Orleans to Memphis and experience many of the same attractions.

best road trip in usa in july

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19. Seward Highway

A wild road trip in the usa’s most wild state.

  • States: Alaska
  • Start : Anchorage
  • End : Seward
  • Total Distance: 125 miles
  • Best Part: The Kenai Fjords

alaskan road trip seward highway and ice road

Choosing between this and the George Parks Highway is a tough call. The option of seeing the monstrous Denali is possible with the latter, and that alone should be enough to entice people. But overall, the Seward Highway is probably the best road trip in Alaska .

Why is the Seward Highway great? Well, it’s not too long, not too far away from civilization, and it offers a little bit of everything. The drive itself is remarkable as you’ll be afforded views of both the Chugach Mountains and the rugged Alaskan coastline at the same time, plus a bear or two (or more) as well.

For those very adventurous folk, the Kenai Peninsula offers more than just road thrills. Kayaking in the fjords among the glaciers is available as is hiking in the Kenai Mountains. Just remember: if you do decide to go off into the wilderness, don’t forget to exhibit the usual bear safety.

Now things are getting wild! You’ll be starting with a stay in Anchorage so make sure you book an awesome place in an awesome spot… it’s cold up there!

20. Park Loop (Acadia National Park)

Rugged new england coastline.

  • States: Maine
  • Start : Hulls Cove Visitor Center
  • End : Hulls Cove Visitor Center
  • Total Distance: 27 miles
  • Best Part : Sunset beers at Cadillac Mountain

acadia national park maine beach

Maine is one of the most popular road trip destinations on the East Coast during the summer. People travel here over the weekend from as far as New York City or Philadelphia in search of some far more positive vibes. The Maine coastline, long beloved for its lighthouses and sandy beaches, for one reason or another, has long been therapeutic to these city slickers.

When it comes to coastal routes, few can compare to the Park Loop at Acadia National Park. Towering conifers, fine beaches, and that rough coastline that defines New England are all featured here; all are accessible from your car. There are several hikes around that will take you to some pretty solid viewpoints as well. The sunset at Cadillac Mountain is particularly good with friends and brews.

Because everyone wants to travel to Maine these days, it can get pretty crowded during the summer. Traffic will be bad and accommodation will either be limited or expensive. Autumn, though only slightly less busy, is a nice time to visit because of foliage. Spring is a great time though you should definitely have a coat with you. Visiting in winter should only be for the mad or photographically-inclined.

BONUS: The Ultimate USA Road Trip (According to Science)

For niiieerrrdddsss (kidding).

  • States : All 48 lower states
  • Start: New York
  • End : New York
  • Total Distance: 13,700 miles
  • Best Part: The end.

new york city skyline from brooklyn

Does anyone remember when that viral image of the GREATEST ROAD TRIP ACROSS AMERICA EVER was making rounds on the web? How many people made plans to do the damn thing?

Admittedly, this road trip was more notable for its use of data, specifically using a genetic algorithm, which already sounds super cool. In lamens, this genetic algorithm allowed the whizzes behind this to see the greatest amount of American destinations with as little backtracking as possible.

So are you ready to tackle this bad boy? Are you really in the mood for the most epic USA road trip imaginable? Then put in that vacation time and pack the car up as much as you can. Don’t skimp on the Red Bull either – there are going to be a lot of long drives here folks.

With all of those competing companies and exorbitant deposits, renting a car in the USA can seem scary. Frankly, I don’t blame people if they ever felt intimidated in this country while trying to rent a car – there’s a real learning curve.

But booking a rental car can be much more manageable if you know a few things beforehand. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You need a credit card to rent a car in America – They rental company will use it to take a deposit for the car.
  • You have to be 18 – Even then, you’ll get charged more if you’re under 28. Younger drivers are seen as liabilities.
  • Don’t book rental insurance with the rental company – Use a third party because they’re cheaper and have better protection. Rentalcover is a great choice.
  • Do your research – Use search engines, like Rentalcars.com , to find the best prices. Sedans are usually the cheapest options. SUVs will cost much more.
  • Gas prices are different in every state – Use ViaMichelin  to chart gas prices in each state. As a rule of thumb, gas is cheaper the closer you get to Texas and the South.
  • Some credit cards offer rental insurance – Be sure to check if your credit card company will cover you in the case of an accident. If they do cover you, you’ll save heaps of money. You’ll need to book the car with THAT card to qualify, of course.
  • Almost all American cars have automatic transmissions – I honestly think it might actually cost more to rent a manual…
  • Check to see if there is a cleaning fee – If you made a small mess, most companies won’t charge you anything. Some shady ones will charge you a fortune for a gum wrapper though.

What to Pack for a Road Trip in the USA

First off: your road trip packing list is going to vary wildly depending on how long the itinerary is. If you’re just going for a weekend, then your list is going to be much trimmer and less demanding. But some road trips can last weeks or even months. If you’re like my friends, Kevin and Liz, you’ll eventually end up living out of your car at which point it may be time to consider investing in the vanlife .

When packing for a shorter road trip, go minimal . Take the essentials, like a roadside safety kit and some form of navigation for example, and then add more as needed. If you’re camping, take the appropriate gear. If you have a toddler, take a doona car seat stroller (it’s a seriously cool piece of engineering). If you want to save money, take lots of snacks and pre-made meals to avoid stopping at diners. Easy peasy.

lounging in the alvord desert with an umbrella eastern oregon road trip

On the other hand, if you’re planning a truly epic American road trip route, the likes of which would make Jack Kerouac or Alexander Supertramp jealous, then you’ll need much, much more stuff. I cannot cover everything in this single section of the article but I can suggest that you check out our road trip packing checklist for more ideas and suggestions.

Aside from knowing what to pack on your road trip in the USA, you’ll also need to know how to pack . If you have a lot of stuff, you will need to be conscious of how you organize everything, especially if you have a smaller, passenger-style vehicle. Get a system in place – use packing cubes and plastic bins to keep everything separated; bungee cables will be your best friends.

For more information on how to pack a car, check out this informative article at USA Today .

best road trip in usa in july

Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

What to do in Case of Trouble while Road Tripping in the USA

It should go without saying that you need to be prepared for your road trip in the USA. I would like to make a friendly reminder here to do so. Prepare thyself before embarking on your asphalt odysseys by having the following, at a minimum: a roadside emergency kit and some form travel insurance for the USA . 

A lot can go wrong on a road trip: tires can pop, accidents can happen, engines can stutter and stop. Getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because someone forgot to do something essential like change the oil could ruin your trip real fast.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

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SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

A roadside assistance kit will contain everything that you could need to fix small problems on the road. They can’t fix everything (you’ll need a mechanic for that) but at least you’ll be able to recharge a dead battery and arrest a bumper on the fly.

If the shit really hits the fan and your vehicle is really in trouble, that’s when the insurance comes in handy. If there’s a fatal problem with the car, trust me, it will be expensive, and having insurance means that you’ll have a bit of financial help.

road eastern sierra nevada california road trip

Now you could invest in two types of insurance: regular travel insurance or special rental car insurance.

Some travel insurance providers provide basic vehicular coverage and will cover you in certain circumstances. World Nomads insurance is a good example. Granted, there is at times some fine print regarding who qualifies. For example, drivers from some US states cannot qualify for vehicular assistance with World Nomads. Always be sure to double-check.

If you want total protection, go with an independent rental insurance company like Rental Cover. Most offer excellent coverage at very reasonable rates, more so than the rental car company will give you.

best road trip in usa in july

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best road trip in usa in july

Beartooth highway tops out at just shy of 11,000 feet…. not 8000.

Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve changed the detail now.

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The Planet D: Adventure Travel Blog

19 Best Road Trips in The US in 2024

Written By: The Planet D

Road Trips , United States

Updated On: February 19, 2024

Dave and I love road trips , and we’ve taken a lot of them around the world . In our 30 years together, we’ve driven a lot of the United States. It is a huge country and it would take a lifetime to see it all, but we have put quite a dent in the backroads of America and put together this guide where we have compiled some of the best road trips in the USA that promise breathtaking views, captivating attractions, and an unforgettable journey.

From the sun-drenched coasts of California to the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains, the USA is home to some of the most diverse and striking landscapes in the world. There is no better way to explore this vast country than by taking a road trip. So buckle up and prepare to hit the open road!

Table of Contents

Great Road Trips in The US

Top Road Trips in the US

Before hitting the road in America, be sure to pick up your National Parks Entrance Pass. The $80 USD annual fee gives access to United States national parks and national wildlife refuges and national forests. This American Road Trip guide goes through a lot of National Parks and National Forests and you don’t want to always be scrambling for cash.

If you are flying in and need to rent a car, check out RentalCars.com for car rental comparisons in the destination of your choice.

1. Pacific Coast Highway, California

USA Road Trip Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is one of the most iconic and best road trips in the US and for good reason. Stretching from just north of San Francisco to Capistrano Beach between Los Angeles and San Diego , this drive offers incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and gives you an unmatched taste of the California coastline.

The most scenic stretch begins as you drive south from San Francisco. Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, the city is left behind and you start to see the real beauty of this drive. A little further down the road is Santa Cruz, known for its laid-back surf culture and the vibrant Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

Continue on to Monterey, where you can Kayak with sea lions as we did or just stroll along Cannery Row, made famous by novelist John Steinbeck. Then comes the piece de resistance, Big Sur. This is a great place to stop and do some camping and it will allow you to take some time to stop at McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that cascades directly into the Pacific Ocean, and Pfieffer Beach which is an incredible place for sunset.

Pass through the opulent town of Santa Barbara, known as the “American Riviera”, before ending your journey in Los Angeles or continuing on to San Diego. The entire route is known for its beautiful beaches and family-friendly attractions.

After doing this drive we understood why the PCH is a standout among American road trips. Its imposing coastline, intriguing attractions, and diverse landscapes provide a truly unforgettable journey.

  • Location : California
  • Distance : Approximately 600 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : 5 to 7 days
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring and fall for milder weather and less crowded tourist spots

Plan Your Pacific Coast Highway Trip With these Resources

  • 16 Best Cities in California
  • The Ultimate Big Sur Road Trip Itinerary and The Best Viewpoints
  • The Ultimate California Road Trip Itinerary
  • 20 Best Things to Do in Carmel by the Sea, California
  • 27 Best Beaches in California
  • Big Sur Camping – 15 Campgrounds in Big Sur for Your Next Trip

2. Route 66: Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California

Route 66 Road Trip America

One of the most iconic and historic highways in the United States, Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, is a road trip steeped in the culture and history of the nation. Stretching from Chicago , Illinois, all the way to Santa Monica, California, this epic 2,448-mile journey takes you through a broad cross-section of American landscapes and landmarks.

Starting in Chicago , you’ll pass through the cornfields of Illinois, the plains of Kansas, the desert landscapes of Arizona , and finally, the sandy beaches of California. This varied journey is an immersive experience that gives you a sense of the vastness and diversity of the country.

Along the way, you’ll encounter many iconic landmarks and sights. These include the historic Chain of Rocks Bridge, the Cadillac Ranch public art installation in Texas, and the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Every stop on Route 66 holds a piece of American history, whether it’s a vintage gas station, a classic diner, or a quirky roadside attraction.

map of route 66 itinerary

Route 66 isn’t just a highway—it’s a slice of Americana. It embodies a spirit of freedom, discovery, and nostalgia that resonates with road-trippers. Traveling along Route 66 is a journey back in time, offering a glimpse into a significant era of American history.

Whether you’re keen on exploring the cultural heritage of America, interested in its architectural landmarks, or simply in search of diverse experiences, Route 66 offers an unforgettable road trip. As you traverse this historic highway, you’ll not only witness the changing landscapes but also the evolution of America itself.

See all of the top attractions on Route 66 here.

  • Location : Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California
  • Distance : Approximately 2,448 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : 2 to 4 weeks
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring and fall for milder weather

Plan Your Route 66 Trip With these Resources

The Ultimate Route 66 Road Trip Guide

  • 33 Best Things to Do in Arizona
  • 27 Best Things to Do at The Grand Canyon
  • 21 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago
  • Where to stay in Chicago: Best Areas and Hotels

3. Scenic Byway 12: Red Canyon to Torrey, Utah

Scenic Byway Utah

Scenic Byway 12 is a 123-mile-long road located in Utah. This magnificent stretch of road is known for its diverse geological features and jagged formations and red rock landscapes. It is one of the most scenic highways in the country.

Starting at Red Canyon, you’ll traverse landscapes that shift from rust-red cliffs to sprawling alpine forests. The drive takes you through several state parks and national parks, including Bryce Canyon National Park which is renowned for its distinctive spire-shaped rock formations that everyone knows so well from old Westerns. You’ll be dazzled by the slot canyons and sandstone cliffs of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

A highlight of the drive is the stretch known as the Hogback, where the road is bordered by steep cliffs dropping off into the valley below, offering exhilarating views. Other notable stops along the route include the Anasazi State Park Museum, which showcases the history and culture of the Anasazi People, and the town of Boulder, which holds the distinction of being one of the last communities in the U.S. to receive mail by mule.

End your journey in the town of Torrey, the gateway to Capitol Reef National Park. Here you can further explore Utah’s unique geological landscapes, characterized by layered sandstone, canyons, and striking rock formations.

If you are looking for a great National Parks Road Trip, Scenic Byway 12 offers a rewarding journey through some of the most picturesque and diverse landscapes in the United States.

  • Location : Red Canyon to Torrey, Utah
  • Distance : Approximately 123 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : 1 to 2 days
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring and fall for milder weather and fewer crowds

Plan Your Utah Trip With these Resources

  • 12 Best Hikes in Zion National Park, Utah
  • Utah National Parks: How to visit The Mighty 5
  • 22 Best Things to do in Moab, Utah
  • 15 Best Hikes In Arches National Park
  • 11 Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park

4. Hana Highway: Paia to Hana, Maui, Hawaii

Hana Highway in Maui Road Trips

The world-famous Hana Highway is one of the top road trips in America. This 45-mile (72 km) stretch of road runs from Hana to Paia on Maui in Hawaii. It may be short, but this single-lane highway running along the north shore of Maui is an awe-inspiring drive with a twisting coastal road clinging to the rocky shores containing 600 hairpin turns and crossing 59 bridges.

If you’re up for an exotic and tropical road trip, the Hana Highway on the island of Maui, Hawaii, is the one for you. This 64.4-mile stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 is known for its lush landscapes, waterfalls, and ocean vistas.

Beginning in Paia, the Hana Highway winds along Maui’s northeastern coast, traversing 59 bridges (many of which are one-lane) and more than 600 curves. The drive is renowned for its breathtaking views of pristine rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and the sparkling Pacific Ocean.

Stop by the Garden of Eden Arboretum, home to a diverse range of tropical plants, or visit the historic Keanae Peninsula for a glimpse of old Hawaii. Another must-see is the Wai’anapanapa State Park, where you can explore a black sand beach, a seabird colony, lava tubes, blowholes, and freshwater caves.

stops on the road to hana map

Your journey concludes in the small, isolated town of Hana, a place that feels worlds away from the bustling resorts of Maui. Here, you can explore Hana Beach Park, the Hasegawa General Store, and the Hana Cultural Center and Museum.

The Hana Highway offers an unforgettable tropical road trip, allowing you to explore the natural wonders and cultural heritage of Maui at a leisurely pace. With 18 waterfalls, the Haleakala National Park, bamboo forests, and Banyan trees, this is the drive of a lifetime. See the complete guide to Road to Hana: Highway Map, Things to Do, And Tips

  • Location : Paia to Hana, Maui, Hawaii
  • Distance : Approximately 64.4 miles
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Year-round, although winter can be rainier

Plan Your Maui Trip With these Resources

  • Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Maui
  • 44 Best Things to Do on Maui
  • Road to Hana: Highway Map, Things to Do, And Tips
  • Best Island to Visit in Hawaii: How To Choose
  • Top 12 Hikes in Maui to Take Your Breath Away

5. Overseas Highway: Miami to Key West, Florida

Overseas Highway Road Trip to Key West

It is truly one of our favorite road trips in America. Driving from Miami to Key West transforms from mainland USA to a little slice of the Caribbean. Once you hop on the Overseas Highway to the Florida Keys you feel as if you have entered a different country.

If you’re dreaming of an idyllic coastal drive, then the Overseas Highway will certainly deliver. This 113-mile highway, part of U.S. Route 1, begins in Miami and ends in Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United States. The route traverses the stunning archipelago of the Florida Keys, offering striking views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the surrounding islands.

Your journey will start amidst the bustle of Miami. As you proceed, the urban landscape gradually gives way to the serene tropical beauty of the Keys. The highway, sometimes referred to as the Highway That Goes to Sea, is a marvel of modern engineering. It includes 42 bridges, the most iconic of which is the Seven Mile Bridge at Marathon.

Along the route, there are many opportunities for recreational activities such as fishing, snorkeling, and kayaking. You can also visit the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first undersea park in the United States, or the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key.

Upon reaching Key West, enjoy the laid-back vibe of this small but lively island city. Visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, enjoy the sunset at Mallory Square, or just relax at one of the many sandy beaches . Now that’s a road trip!

The Overseas Highway offers an exceptional blend of beautiful coastal views, recreational activities, and cultural experiences. It’s a road trip that combines adventure, relaxation, and the unique charm of the Florida Keys.

  • Location : Miami to Key West, Florida
  • Distance : Approximately 113 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : 2 to 3 days
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Winter and spring, when the weather is mild and dry

Plan Your Road Trip to Florida the Florida Keys with these other Florida guides

  • Best Stops on a Florida Keys Road Trip Itinerary
  • 23 Best Things to Do in Key Largo, Florida
  • 30 Fun Things to Do in Miami, Florida
  • Where to Stay in The Florida Keys
  • 34 Best Things to Do in Key West, Florida

6. Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia to North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway American Road Trip

Connecting two national parks – Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina – the Blue Ridge Parkway is a serene and scenic route known for its stunning mountain vistas, diverse plant and animal life, and historical and cultural treasures.

Starting in Virginia, the Parkway meanders through the Appalachian Mountains, offering unparalleled views of the Blue Ridge mountain range. The route’s many overlooks provide countless opportunities to stop, take in the views, and snap a memorable photo.

Attractions along the way include the Humpback Rocks, which offer insight into the life of the region’s early settlers, and the Peaks of Otter with its abundant recreational activities. Don’t miss the iconic Mabry Mill, one of the most photographed sites on the Parkway, and a great place to learn about the early grist and sawmilling processes.

Upon reaching North Carolina, you’ll come across the highest point of the Parkway at Richland Balsam Overlook, standing at an elevation of 6,053 feet. Further along, the Parkway concludes near the southern entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is more than just a road; it’s a beautiful journey that intertwines with the cultural and natural history of the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Location : Shenandoah National Park, Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
  • Distance : Approximately 469 miles
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring for flowering shrubs and trees, fall for vibrant foliage

7. Going-to-the-Sun Road: Glacier National Park, Montana

Best Us Road Trip Going to the Sun Road Montana

For a truly spectacular mountain driving experience, Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana’s Glacier National Park is a must-do. This 50-mile route, known for its outstanding natural beauty, dramatic cliffs, and awe-inspiring vistas, is a testament to human engineering ability.

Your journey begins at the park’s west entrance and winds through mountainous terrain, offering breathtaking views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and pristine lakes. A highlight of the drive is Logan Pass, the highest point on the road, with an elevation of 6,646 feet. Here, you can stop at the visitor center or explore the nearby hiking trails.

Along the way, there are numerous opportunities for outdoor activities. You can hike along the park’s extensive trail system, go wildlife spotting, or simply enjoy a picnic amidst the stunning landscape. The road is also a gateway to many of the park’s top attractions, including Lake McDonald, the Garden Wall, and the St. Mary Valley.

Going-to-the-Sun Road offers an unforgettable journey through some of the country’s most dramatic landscapes. This drive is not just about reaching your destination—it’s about soaking in the grandeur of nature along the way.

  • Location : Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Distance : Approximately 50 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : 1 day
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Summer, when the entire route is open. Note that certain sections of the road may be closed in other seasons due to snow.

8. Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington

Best Us Road Trips Olympic National Park

If you’re looking to explore a breathtaking blend of coastal, rainforest, and mountainous landscapes, the Olympic Peninsula Loop in Washington State is the road trip for you. Encircling the Olympic National Park, the Loop is a veritable showcase of the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Starting from Seattle, the 330-mile journey brings you onto scenic Highway 101. Your first stop could be the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, known for its well-preserved Victorian buildings and vibrant arts scene.

As you continue west, make sure to explore the magnificent Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Walk the Hall of Mosses Trail, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into another world, where every surface is covered in a lush blanket of moss.

Further along the coast, the striking sea stacks and driftwood-covered beaches of Ruby Beach offer a perfect spot for photography. Stop by the coastal Native American village of La Push to soak in the sights and learn about the local Quileute culture.

The town of Forks is a must-visit for Twilight fans, while the Sol Duc Hot Springs is the place to relax in mineral-rich thermal pools. As you complete the Loop, don’t miss the panoramic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Canada from Hurricane Ridge.

The Olympic Peninsula Loop offers an immersive exploration of the Pacific Northwest’s diverse ecosystems and charming communities. It’s a road trip that lingers in your memory long after the journey’s end.

  • Location : Olympic Peninsula, Washington
  • Distance : Approximately 330 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : 2 to 4 days
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring to fall; summer offers the best weather, while fall presents spectacular autumn colors.

Plan Your Washington State Trip With these Resources

  • 24 Beautiful Cabins in Washington State
  • 27 Best National Parks in the USA To Visit
  • 22 Amazing Things to Do in Olympic National Park
  • Where to stay in Seattle – Best Neighborhoods
  • 19 Best Hikes in Olympic National Park
  • 21 Best Day Trips From Vancouver, British Columbia

9. Trail Ridge Road, Colorado

Best Road Trips in the USA Trail Ridge Road Colorado

Trail Ridge Road in Colorado, a part of Rocky Mountain National Park, is an awe-inspiring journey through one of America’s most iconic landscapes. Known as the “Highway to the Sky,” Trail Ridge Road holds the distinction of being the highest continuously paved road in the United States, reaching elevations of over 12,000 feet.

Your trip begins in the charming town of Estes Park, a destination in its own right, famed for its unique shops, restaurants, and the historic Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining.”

As you ascend on Trail Ridge Road, you transition from verdant forests into the subalpine region, where wildflowers color the landscape in the warmer months. Eventually, you reach the alpine world above the tree line. This tundra-like environment, sparse yet hauntingly beautiful, offers panoramic views that stretch to Wyoming in the north and the heart of Colorado in the south.

Don’t miss the Alpine Visitor Center, located near the highest point of the road. It offers exhibits on the alpine tundra ecosystem, a gift shop, and a café. Take a stroll along the adjacent Alpine Ridge Trail for even more breathtaking vistas.

Descending the western slope, you arrive at Grand Lake, a serene mountain town on the shores of Colorado’s largest natural lake. Here, you can relax, dine, and recreate before continuing your Colorado adventure .

Driving Trail Ridge Road is a mesmerizing experience, filled with natural grandeur and endless views. It’s a testament to the wild, rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

  • Location : Estes Park to Grand Lake, Colorado
  • Distance : Approximately 48 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : 2 to 3 hours, but allow extra time for stops and exploration
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Late May to October, depending on snow conditions; the road is closed in winter due to heavy snowfall.

Plan Your Colorado Trip With these Resources

  • 18 Best Hikes in Colorado
  • 12 Best Colorado National Parks & Monuments To Visit
  • 29 Best Places to Visit in Colorado
  • 24 Best Things to do in Denver, Colorado
  • 15 Best Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park
  • 17 Cozy Cabins in Colorado For Your Next Getaway
  • Winter Activities in Colorado

10. Alaska Highway: Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska

Best Road Trips in the US Alaska Highway

For the adventurous road-tripper seeking the grandeur of untouched wilderness, the Alaska Highway, also known as the ALCAN, is a trip of a lifetime. Starting in Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and ending in Delta Junction, Alaska, the highway traverses through some of the most remote and rugged landscapes in North America.

Experience unparalleled vistas of snow-capped mountains, vast forests, and crystal-clear lakes. Along the route, keep an eye out for an array of wildlife, including moose, bears, and eagles. Attractions include Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park, one of Canada’s largest natural hot springs, and Kluane National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its glaciers and high peaks.

  • Location : Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Delta Junction, Alaska
  • Distance : Approximately 1,387 miles
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Summer, for the best weather and road conditions

Plan Your Alaska Trip With these Resources

  • 19 Best Things To Do in Skagway, Alaska
  • 22 Best Things to Do in Ketchikan, Alaska
  • 45 Best Things to Do in Alaska
  • 25 Best Places to Visit in Alaska
  • 28 Amazing Things to Do in Juneau, Alaska

11. Million Dollar Highway: Silverton to Ouray, Colorado

Best US Road Trips Million Dollar Highway

The Million Dollar Highway, part of U.S. Route 550, is a short but unforgettable route in Colorado. Known for its jaw-dropping mountainous views, the drive from Silverton to Ouray is considered one of the most beautiful in the country.

As you traverse this route, you’ll be treated to staggering views of the Uncompahgre Gorge, the San Juan Mountains, and numerous waterfalls. The road is especially beautiful in the fall when the surrounding aspen trees turn a brilliant gold. Note that this drive isn’t for the faint-hearted—it features steep cliffs, narrow lanes, and no guardrails.

  • Location : Silverton to Ouray, Colorado
  • Distance : Approximately 25 miles
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Summer and fall, when the road is free of snow

12. Natchez Trace Parkway: Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee

Best Road Trips in the US Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive through exceptional scenery and 10,000 years of North American history. Used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” settlers, and future presidents, the Old Trace played an important role in American history. Today, visitors can enjoy not only a scenic drive but also hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping.

Beginning in Natchez, Mississippi, the Parkway takes you through a myriad of changing landscapes: from the deep forests of Mississippi, the rolling farmland of Alabama, to the hills of Tennessee. It’s not uncommon to see a variety of wildlife from the comfort of your car, including deer, turkeys, and numerous bird species.

Historical highlights along the way include the Emerald Mound, one of the largest Native American mounds in the United States, and the Meriwether Lewis Monument, dedicated to the famed explorer of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Near the Tennessee end of the Parkway, you can explore the Old Trace Drive, one of the last remaining segments of the original Natchez Trace.

Upon reaching the vibrant city of Nashville, you’ll find a contrast to the tranquil journey along the Parkway, but with its own historical and cultural attractions, such as the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the historic Ryman Auditorium.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a journey of beauty, history, and culture, that truly has something for everyone.

  • Location : Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee
  • Distance : Approximately 444 miles
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring for blooming wildflowers, fall for colorful foliage

13. Park Loop Road, Maine

Best Road Trips in the USA Park Loop Road Maine

Nestled in the heart of Acadia National Park, the Park Loop Road in Maine presents a captivating journey through a diverse array of landscapes including mountains, forests, and the rugged Atlantic coastline. This 27-mile loop showcases the park’s highlights, making it a must-visit road trip for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

Your adventure begins at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, where you can gather maps and information about the park. As you venture onto Park Loop Road, you’ll first encounter the Sieur de Monts Spring, home to the Wild Gardens of Acadia and the Abbe Museum, which highlights the culture and history of Maine’s Native American tribes.

Further along, you can marvel at the sheer cliffs and crashing waves at Thunder Hole, a natural rock inlet where the ocean often creates thunderous sounds and spectacular splashes. The nearby Sand Beach, although usually too chilly for swimming, is perfect for a scenic stroll or a picnic.

Don’t miss the opportunity to drive up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. Arrive at sunrise or sunset for a truly unforgettable spectacle.

Continuing on, you’ll find several pullouts with views of picturesque harbors, off-shore islands, and mountain vistas. Explore Jordan Pond Path, a leisurely trail around a crystal-clear glacial lake with the North and South Bubble Mountains framing the scene.

A drive along Park Loop Road provides a diverse and enriching experience of Acadia National Park’s natural treasures. It’s a road trip that encapsulates the beauty and allure of coastal Maine.

  • Location : Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Distance : Approximately 27 miles
  • Suggested Time to Complete : Half to a full day, depending on stops and activities
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring through fall; the road is typically closed in winter due to snow conditions.

14. Arizona Road Trip

Arizona Road Trip America

Arizona is one of the greatest states for road-tripping in the United States. From Tucson to The Grand Canyon, this drive takes you through the most beautiful desert and rocky landscape in the country. Explore the Wild West Town of Tombstone Arizona and be awed by the cactus forests of Saguaro National Park West. See the cosmically spiritual city of Sedona for some Native history and marvel at the Montezuma Castle monument.

This road trip route pops onto Route 66 where you’ll get to stand on the corner of Winslow, Arizona before witnessing the incredible monument valley .

There are so many things to see and before the trip is over you’ll witness Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon prior to reaching the Grand Canyon National Park. Could this be better? Read the entire Arizona Road Trip, Itinerary to start planning.

arizona road trip planner map

  • Recommended Arizona Road Trip Length: 10 Days
  • Where to Stay: L’Auberge de Sedona / View Hotel  in Monument Valley / Courtyard Page at Lake Powell
  • Read the entire Arizona Road Trip, Itinerary

15. California’s Interior – LA to Yosemite

LA to Yosemite Road Trip

Most people think of the Pacific Coast Highway 1 through Big Sur on a California road trip, but driving the interior of California is where all the iconic scenery comes to life.

California Route 95 is a classic drive stretching from the Mexico border in Arizona all the way to Canada. While this road trip doesn’t spend a lot of time on that highway, it does stop at incredible road trip destinations unto itself.

From Los Angeles drive west to see Joshua Tree National Park and marvel at these strange old twisted trees before driving on to the Mojave National Preserve before popping into the hottest, lowest and driest place you’ll ever encounter. Death Valley National Park is a stark landscape that reaches temperatures of 120 degrees.

At 282 feet below sea level, it is also the lowest point in all of North America but it captures a beauty beyond imagination. The trip continues to beautiful Mammoth Lakes and finally ends at Yosemite National Park . Read more at our: California road trip .

best road trips in the USA california itinerary

  • Recommended Trip Length: 7 days to 2 weeks
  • Where to Stay: Yosemite Valley Lodge There’s free parking, free Internet and a pool.
  • Check out: Where to Stay in Yosemite National Park

16. Scenic Route 100: Wilmington to Stowe, Vermont

Scenic Route 100 Vermont Road Trip America

Crossing into Vermont is our “Go-To” destination for skiing outside of Quebec. But in the summer, this is a gorgeous road trip that is also famous for its fall colours. Vermont’s longest highway takes you through the New England Villages of the Green Mountains. While this can be driven any time of year, we suggest in autumn when the fall colours are in full swing.

Pop into Lake Whitingham for some paddling before heading to West Dover to do some hiking or mountain biking up the mountain of Mount Snow.

Don’t forget to pop into Plymouth Notch to see the birthplace of President Calvin Coolage before driving on to Waterbury to tour the Ben and Jerry’s factory. Mmm, I love ice cream on a road trip.

The trip ends at Stowe, our favorite ski resort in Vermont where you can go to the top of Mt. Mansfield for epic views. (you don’t even have to hike this one, you can drive straight to the top! This is definitely one of the best east coast road trips in the US.

17. Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon (and Beyond)

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon American Road Trip

We spent one summer driving all around the interior of California, Nevada, and Utah, and the place that surprised us the most was Las Vegas. Not the city itself, but the beautiful landscape surrounding it. Make sure to do some hiking at Red Rocks before you leave town.

As you leave the city, stop to see Valley of Fire State Park , Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead. It’s only a four-hour drive from Vegas to the Grand Canyon but there is a lot going on in this little circle tour through Nevada and Arizona.

For something unique stop at the Grand Canyon West Skywalk Glass Bridge that takes you 4,000 feet above the canyon. Spend a few days going hiking or whitewater rafting. Make sure to head a little farther south to Flagstaff to hop on  Route 66 for a bit.

From here you can head back to Vegas, or go north to see the famous Antelope Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs National Monument before heading to Zion National Park to do some epic hiking. That can be a lot, but there is so much to see and do in this part of the United States. You may want an entire summer!

18. Loneliest Road in America

Lonliest Road in America Road Trip

Stretching from Sacramento to Maryland, Route 50 has been dubbed the Loneliest Road in America. But how can it be lonely when it passes through so many great destinations? I’ll admit we haven’t driven the entire route, but we have popped on it and we’ve witnessed many of its popular attractions.

If you are looking to drive one of the most epic road trips in the US, route 50 is the way to go. This 3,000-mile drive takes you through 11 states.

After leaving San Francisco (where you will start your long drive) spend a day or two in Sacramento before heading to Lake Tahoe for a few nights before crossing into Nevada. With National parks along the way, you’ll see some of America’s most iconic scenery at Arches National Park and Canyonlands NP.

Take your time going through the Colorado Rockies and then enjoy the midwest hospitality of Kansas City. You’ll even get to explore the monuments of Washington DC . This capital city totally surprised us. Celebrate the end of your drive at Ocean City in Maryland.

And there you have it, you’ve pretty much crossed America from Coast to Coast and from Canada to Mexico. Alaska didn’t make our USA road trips list only because we took a train through the state, but it’s high on our list to drive, especially after we drove the Dempster Highway in the Neighbouring Yukon Territories. Northern North America is spectacular!

19. Cross Country Road Trip: East Coast to West Coast

Best Road Trips in the US Cross Country Road Trip

If you’re up for the ultimate American road trip adventure, why not traverse the entire width of the United States? A cross-country road trip from the East Coast to the West Coast allows you to experience the vast diversity of landscapes, cultures, and attractions that the United States has to offer.

Begin your journey in New York City, where you can explore iconic landmarks like Times Square, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty. From there, you could take Interstate 80 through the heart of Pennsylvania and Ohio , where you’ll find charming small towns and bustling cities alike.

In Illinois, a detour to Chicago offers a taste of deep-dish pizza and views from the Willis Tower Skydeck. As you head west into Iowa and Nebraska, you’ll be treated to the sight of America’s heartland, with its lush farmlands and open skies.

The mountains start to appear as you reach Colorado. Take a pause in Denver for some Rocky Mountain exploration before continuing westward into Utah, where the stunning natural beauty of its national parks awaits.

Nevada will greet you with the bright lights of Las Vegas, a stark contrast to the tranquility of the desert. Finally, as you reach the Pacific Ocean in California, you could either drive up to San Francisco or down to Los Angeles depending on your preference.

A cross-country road trip is an epic adventure that showcases the country’s vastness and diversity. It’s a journey that creates memories to last a lifetime.

  • Location : New York City, New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco, California
  • Distance : Approximately 2,800 to 3,000 miles
  • Best Time of Year to Travel : Spring and fall for milder weather and less traffic

Best Road Trips in the US FAQs :

Best Road Trips in the USA FAQ

What is the most scenic road trip in America?

While beauty is subjective and each road trip offers its unique scenic charm, many travelers consider the Pacific Coast Highway in California and the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana among the most scenic in America.

Which month is best for a USA road trip?

The best month for a road trip in the USA can depend on the specific route. Generally, spring (April to June) and fall (September to November) offer milder weather and less crowded attractions.

How do I plan a good American road trip?

Planning a good American road trip involves researching your desired route, planning your stops and overnight stays, preparing your vehicle, packing appropriately, and ensuring you have entertainment and snacks for the journey.

How many days do you need for an American road trip?

The number of days needed for an American road trip can vary greatly depending on the route and how much time you want to spend at each stop. For example, a road trip along Route 66 might take 2-4 weeks, while the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway might take 3-7 days.

Our American Road Trips – Final Thoughts

American Road Trips Best

I know what you are thinking, there are fifty states in America and we only scratched the surface. There are plenty of amazing road trips that we missed! We admit it, we haven’t seen them all yet, but with our new truck and a roof tent on the way, we’re planning on hitting the road when the borders open. Who knows, we may love road-tripping America so much, we’ll swap in our truck for an RV! Nah we love staying in hotels too much, but a bit of camping along the way is a must.

Check out More Great Road Trips Around The World

  • 13 of the Best Road Trips in Canada
  • 25 Best Road Trips in the World – That We’ve Taken
  • Ultimate One Week Yucatan Road Trip Itinerary
  • The Ultimate Switzerland Road Trip Itinerary
  • Best British Columbia Road Trip – Vancouver – Kelowna – Revelstoke
  • Dempster Highway Road Trip – Yes You Can Drive to the Arctic

The Essential Guide to the North Coast 500 Scotland

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine , the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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2 thoughts on “19 Best Road Trips in The US in 2024”

I just discover your blog which is really inspiring. This article is really good for me who is looking for a road trip! Which itinerary to choose!!!!!

Planet D – Great article about road trips. We have traveled on all of these trips, with only sections of Rt 50. I encourage you to give in to that urge to purchase a gently used travel trailer and discover some of the experiences and readers, particularly with children, that you miss by limiting your reviews to hotels. Those hotels in the Keys can run from over $200 to over $500 per night during the winter months. With the recommended stay of multiple nights, a 7 night trip cold cost several thousand dollars. Another recommendation is to explore those fantastic drives in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Washington. All of these states offer you a fantastic camping experience, vice hotel experience. With your millions of followers, I am sure the trailer manufactures would sponsor you to minimize your costs. Morton’s on the move, were provided a brand new cabover camper and a new Diesel Super Duty truck for a few months to explore the drive to Alaska, and Western Canada. How about bringing along a young relative, who can provide the kids perspective on your many travels?

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Are you ready for a Road Trip? Explore these eleven incredible cross-country road trip routes across the U.S.!

best road trip in usa in july

Pacific Coast

border to border road trip badge

Border to Border

road to nowhere road trip badge

The Road to Nowhere

best road trip in usa in july

The Great River Road

appalachian trail road trip route badge

Appalachian Trail

best road trip in usa in july

Atlantic Coast

great river road trip badge

The Great Northern

oregon trail road trip badge

The Oregon Trail

loneliest road trip route badge

The Loneliest Road

southern pacific road trip badge

Southern Pacific

route 66 road trip badge

Classic American Road Trips

best road trip in usa in july

Pacific Coast Highway

Starting at the northwest tip of the United States at Washington’s Olympic National Park and remaining within sight of the ocean all the way south to sunny San Diego, this 1,650-mile, mostly two-lane road trip takes in everything from temperate rainforest to near-desert.

Highlights along the Pacific Coast Route: Olympic National Park (WA), Three Capes Loop (OR), Redwood National Park (CA)

mountain landscape with overlaid text reading Route 66 Road Trip

Historic Route 66

The romance of traveling along historic Route 66 from where it starts in Chicago and ends in Los Angeles continues to captivate people around the world. If you’re looking for great displays of neon signs, rusty middle-of-nowhere truck stops, or kitschy Americana, do as the song says and “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Highlights along Route 66: Chicago (IL), Meramec Caverns (MO), Tucumcari (NM), Painted Desert (AZ), Santa Monica (CA)

best road trip in usa in july

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Books-A-Million
  • Indigo (Canada)
  • Powell's Books
  • Apple Books

big sky and water adjacent to a road with overlaid text reading the loneliest road trip

Running coast-to-coast from San Francisco to Ocean City, Maryland, “The Loneliest Road in America” is a 3,200-mile odyssey from sea to shining sea. US-50 passes through a dozen different states, four state capitals, and the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Highlights along the Loneliest Road: South Lake Tahoe (CA), Moab (UT), The Million Dollar Highway (CO), Washington D.C.

suspension bridge backed by forest with overlaid text reading The Oregon Trail Road Trip

Following in the footsteps of pilgrims and pioneers, US‑20 takes in a little of everything during its two-lane trek from Oregon’s rugged coast to the glorious sea and sand of Cape Cod.

Highlights along the Oregon Trail: Cannon Beach (OR), Fort Boise (ID), Yellowstone National Park (WY), Mt Rushmore & Carhenge (NE)

trees with vivid fall color with overlaid text reading The Great Northern US-2 Road Trip

Dubbed the Great Northern in memory of the pioneer railroad that parallels the western half of the route, US‑2 is truly the most stunning and unforgettable, not to mention longest, of all the great transcontinental road trips.

Highlights along the Great Northern: Tumwater Canyon (WA), Glacier National Park (MT), Lake Michigan (MI), Acadia National Park (ME)

The Open Road

The Appalachian Trail

This driving route of the Appalachian Trail parallels the epic hike. From the top of New England to the heart of Dixie, it takes you through continuous natural beauty—without the sweat, bugs, or blisters.

Highlights along the Appalachian Trail: Mt. Washington (NH), The Poconos (PA), Shenandoah National Park (VA), Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC)

lakes and green landscape with overlaid text reading the Great River Road Trip

Old Man River, Father of Waters, “body of a nation,” Big Muddy: By any name, the mighty Mississippi River cuts a mythic figure across the American landscape. Tag along from its headwaters in Minnesota to where it meets the sea in Louisiana via the GRR.

Highlights along the Great River Road: Main Street USA (WI), St. Louis (MO), Natchez Trace Parkway (MS), New Orleans (LA)

dense city on a peninsula with overlaid text reading the Atlantic Coast Road Trip

Starting at the Statue of Liberty and ending with a drive across the Overseas Highway to free-wheeling Key West, these almost 2,000 miles of roadway run within earshot—if not sight—of the Atlantic Ocean.

Highlights along the Atlantic Coast: The Statue of Liberty (NJ), Assateague Island National Seashore (MD), Savannah (GA), Cocoa Beach (FL)

old Spanish-style church with overlaid text reading the Border to Border Road Trip

Starting at Canada’s Jasper National Park, and winding down in the Sonora Desert, this route traverses some of the wildest and most rugged lands imaginable: mighty mountains, glaciated valleys, raging rivers, and two very different deserts.

Highlights along the Border to Border Route: Columbia Icefield (AB), Bitterroot Mountains (MT), The Extraterrestrial Highway (NV), Joshua Forest Parkway (AZ)

dunes with overlaid text reading tThe Road to Nowhere US-83 Road Trip

Once the only entirely paved route from Canada to “Old Mexico,” US‑83 cuts across America’s heartland and remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.

Highlights along the Road to Nowhere: Sitting Bull Memorial (SD), Nebraska Sand Hills (NE), Monument Rocks (KS), Paint Rock Pictographs (TX)

trees draped with moss with overlaid text reading the Southern Pacific US-80 Road Trip

Following old US-80 and its contemporary equivalents takes you through more varied cultural and physical landscapes than you’ll find along any other cross-country route. From deserts to bayou swamps and Tex-Mex to barbecue, this route offers a full-flavored taste of America.

Highlights along Southern Pacific: The Desert View Tower (CA), Tombstone (AZ), Roswell (NM), Civil Rights Movement National Historic Trail (AL)

US map showing the 11 cross-country road trips on roadtripusa.com

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10 of the Best U.S. Road Trips for Families

Create memories with your kids on these short but sweet journeys that feature stunning scenery and unique landmarks.

Elizabeth Rhodes is a special projects editor at Travel + Leisure , covering everything from luxury hotels to theme parks to must-pack travel products. Originally from South Carolina, Elizabeth moved to New York City from London, where she started her career as a travel blogger and writer.

best road trip in usa in july

A road trip is a classic American vacation, but it takes planning to make it great — especially when little ones are involved. To help you plan your family's next journey, we've rounded up some of the best road trips around the United States for families with kids, from quick, single-day jaunts to journeys that can take more than a week. With stops the whole crew will enjoy, these drives are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Charleston, South Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia

Explore two popular southern cities on one trip with this short-distance getaway. The drive from Charleston straight to Savannah takes just under two hours, but we'd recommend taking a few days for this itinerary so you can stop to enjoy the outstanding hotels and beaches along the way. You can stay at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island an hour south of Charleston, or fill up the tank for a beach day at Hilton Head , only an hour farther. Once you've passed through Savannah, drive one more hour south for a stay at The Cloister at Sea Island . This five-star resort is another good option for families, with plenty of swimming, fishing, and nature walks.

San Diego to Los Angeles, California

At right around two hours, this drive is easy for parents and just long enough to be exciting for the kids. San Diego, Los Angeles, and the stretches of coast in between them are packed with beaches and attractions the family will love, like the San Diego Zoo, Legoland California, and Disneyland , about a 30-minute from downtown L.A. in Anaheim.

New York City or Boston to Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Whether you choose to stay in a shingled cottage or beachfront apartment, your kids will fall hard for the Cape . Wellfleet is a particularly great destination for families, reachable in two hours from Boston or five hours from New York City. You'll want to stop in other charming towns along the way, like Falmouth and Chatham, before settling in the sands of the Outer Cape. Once you're there, no trip is complete without a visit to Mac's on the Pier , where you can gaze out at the harbor and feast on whole belly clams. Exploring one of the Cape's kettle ponds, which families often have all to themselves, is also a must, as is checking out the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary , home to five miles of trails and salt marshes.

Pacific Coast Highway, California

Beginning in Orange County's Dana Point and reaching north to San Francisco, this popular drive can be completed in under eight hours. But why keep it short? With many major stops — from sprawling Los Angeles to Carmel-by-the-Sea — you could make this road trip last for days. Driving northward, head to the top of the Topanga Lookout in Malibu for incredible views of the San Fernando Valley. Then, a few hours north in Santa Ynez wine country, relax with a glass of vino as you plot your visit to Hearst Castle, where the kids can marvel at the mansion's many fountains and statues.

New York City to Philadelphia to the Poconos

At Woodloch Resort in the Pocono Mountains, you'll feel like you're back at summer camp — in a good way. On and off the property, there's plenty to do, including golf, paintball, fishing, and more. A variety of accommodation options are available, too, perfect for families of any size. Whether or not you're headed to the Woodloch, though, the Poconos are an easy getaway for East Coasters. New York City is about a two-hour drive and Philadelphia is about three hours; the two cities can easily be combined with a Poconos visit for a fun multiday adventure.

Boston, Massachusetts, to Stowe, Vermont

Stowe, Vermont, is a great destination in all seasons for families road tripping within New England. Just three hours from Boston, the town offers some of the East Coast's best skiing in wintertime and an abundance of outdoor adventure in summer. On your warm-weather visit, cool off with the kids at the Waterbury Reservoir in Waterbury Center State Park , or enjoy the fresh mountain air with a hiking or biking excursion.

There are few roads as iconic as Route 66 , so why not take your kids on this classic American trip? Whether you embark on the full journey from Chicago to Los Angeles or opt for a smaller portion of the road, you're bound have a memorable time. Little ones will love the route's kitschy roadside attractions (world's biggest ketchup bottle, anyone?), while adults will be wowed by the scenery, from the wide-open spaces of west Texas to the mountains of Santa Fe .

Tucson to the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Lauren Breedlove/Travel + Leisure

Take in some of the country's best views on a multiday road trip through Arizona . Start in Tucson and visit Saguaro National Park to see the namesake cacti before heading to Scottsdale. Next up, drive to the stunning, red rock-surrounded town of Sedona. Finally, continue north to Grand Canyon National Park for a couple of days in the great outdoors, reveling in this massive natural wonder.

Rocky Mountain Loop from Denver

If you'd like to swap red rocks for snowy mountaintops, set off on a Colorado road trip through some of the state's incredible national parks and charming small towns. From Denver, head northwest to Boulder and Estes Park, a perfect home base for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park . Drive farther into the mountains to check out towns like Glenwood Springs, Telluride, and Durango, all located in the western part of the state. Spend a day at Mesa Verde National Park , home to ancient Native cave dwellings that will fascinate kids and grown-ups alike before turning back east. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Colorado Springs are great stops en route back to Denver.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Beautiful year-round but especially colorful in spring and fall, the Blue Ridge Parkway makes for an excellent family road trip. Connecting Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park , the Blue Ridge Parkway offers scenic mountain and foliage views across the Appalachian landscapes of Virginia and North Carolina. Plus, there are plenty of great hikes for all skill levels and places to camp along the parkway if you want to spend a few nights under the stars.

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15 Scenic Road Trips To Experience In The U.S. In 2023

best road trip in usa in july

  • Destinations
  • Road Trips In The U.S.
  • Types of Travel
  • United States

With a country as large and culturally diverse as the United States, the road trip opportunities are endless. Whether you are looking to journey up or down the coast, take in the sights between the nation’s many national parks, or simply want to try a new path between two familiar places, our writers have done the legwork for you and provided unique and exciting itineraries to use as you plan your own road trips.

While we could have included many more options on this list as we worked our way from California to Maine, here are 16 of our readers’ favorites from 2022 that we hope will make planning your next trip a breeze. This is not a ranked list, but it is numbered for your convenience.

Estero Bluffs State Park

1. Pismo Beach To Pacific Grove, California

California route 1: pacific coast highway.

Enjoy 165 miles of California’s Central Coast as you slowly meander along the Pacific Coast Highway between Pismo Beach and Pacific Grove . This stretch is especially beautiful during springtime as wildflowers begin popping up all over the landscape. Temperatures are also ideal for enjoying the coast by car at this time of year, allowing you to turn off the AC and roll down the windows for fresh air. Views include such sights as Big Sur, Hearst Castle , and the many lovely towns that dot the central California coast. Road trippers are sure to indulge in many of the fruits of the region through delectable dining experiences and local wines.

Editor’s Note: Part of California Route 1 near Big Sur is closed due to rockslides. Check road conditions before heading out.

Read more about the beautiful stops on a California Central Coast road trip .

Picture-perfect coastline in the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor with blooming blue lupines in the foreground

2. Eureka, California, To Bandon, Oregon

U.s. route 101: pacific coast highway.

The trip between Eureka and Bandon along the Pacific Coast Highway is not long — less than 200 miles of driving — but it is meant to be enjoyed at a slow pace, savoring the sights, smells, and tastes along the way. Begin your journey in the mighty redwoods before making your way up the coast. Along the way, enjoy the stunning landscapes, gorgeous ocean vistas, and charming small towns that make this region of the Pacific such a worthwhile destination any time of the year. This drive up U.S. 101 through Northern California and Southern Oregon is one not to be missed.

Discover why the trek from Eureka to Bandon is our writer Louisa’s favorite annual tradition .

Historic wagons, part of Keys Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park.

3. Joshua Tree To Death Valley, California

The journey between two of California’s most visited national parks is an experience of its own. Only 4 hours separate these sizzling destinations in the California desert, and they make a great road trip for those that desire to enjoy both. After experiencing Joshua Tree National Park’s namesake yucca plants and exploring its many scenic trails, head north through the Mojave Desert — making frequent stops for fuel, water, and food as a precaution against the sweltering heat —and you will eventually arrive at Death Valley : the United States’ hottest and driest national park.

Cindy Barks shares her favorite stops along the way and how to make the best use of your time at both of these great parks .

Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

4. Kanab To Spring City, Utah

U.s. route 89.

U.S. Highway 89 runs parallel to, and just east of, Interstate 15 through the southern portion of Utah. This less-traveled route will put you within reach of many of southern Utah’s most memorable natural treasures: Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument , and Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. In addition to these amazing natural wonders filled with astonishing canyons, stunning rock formations, and pristine sand dunes, you will find yourself in historic towns that will transport you back to the times of the Old West.

Read Cindy’s full article on her favorite stops along Utah’s beautiful Highway 89 .

Views along the Salt River Canyon scenic drive in Arizona.

5. Phoenix To Salt River Canyon, Arizona

Drive east from the outskirts of Phoenix for about an hour and you may find yourself in Salt River Canyon, if you are lucky. While not as “grand” as the Grand Canyon itself, Salt River Canyon provides a unique scenic drive that you won’t want to miss, including the chance to spot wild horses . The drive through the canyon itself can prove taxing for the faint of heart, with steep grades, tight turns, and an overall drop in elevation of around 2,000 feet. Don’t let this scare you away from the breathtaking views the route has in store for those that make the journey.

Discover how to enjoy our nine favorite stops driving the scenic Salt River Canyon . And if you’re looking for more to do in Arizona, here are seven other amazing scenic drives through the Grand Canyon State .

Vegetation and hills of southwest Texas.

6. San Antonio To Marfa, Texas

U.s. route 90.

Before Interstate 10 came into existence and created a faster path through West Texas, U.S. 90 was the route preferred by many. In fact, if you have the extra time and are looking for a more scenic and traditional road trip journey through the state, you may just want to set your sights on this more remote route. Explore Amistad National Recreation Area, Seminole Canyon State Park , and many other great natural areas along your way. Stop off for fuel and food in the historic and quirky old railroad towns, including Marfa , that you will find along the way.

Learn more about these six unique stops on an exciting road trip along U.S. 90 in Texas .

Downtown Eureka Springs

7. Eureka Springs, Arkansas, To Pawhuska, Oklahoma

This two-state journey will take you from the natural springs of northern Arkansas right to the doorstep of the Pioneer Woman herself, Ree Drummond, in Pawhuska. Take in the beautiful trees and lakes of Arkansas as you make your way from Eureka Springs to Bentonville . Explore charming Vinita on historic Route 66 as you make your way west into the Oklahoma portion of your trip. Each stop on your journey will provide a reason to stop and explore.

Enjoy each of these five amazing stops between Eureka Springs and Pawhuska .

Melody and Sara enjoying a cool treat at Sweden Creme in Mankato, KS.

8. Seneca To St. Francis, Kansas

U.s. route 36.

Many motorists flock to interstates as a way to reduce travel time and avoid reduced speeds and stop lights. However, with only around 10 stoplights across the entire length of the state, the speed with which you can travel along U.S. Route 36 through northern Kansas might just surprise you. However, don’t go so fast that you miss the many great opportunities you will pass along the way. Find numerous endearing towns ready to welcome you, and explore the many parks and natural areas that you encounter during your journey.

Writer Sara Broers shares 10 reasons why you should take Route 36 through Kansas instead of I-70 .

Erick's oldest building, the Sandhills Curiosity Shop

9. Chicago, Illinois, To Santa Monica, California

U.s. route 66.

Historic Route 66 may in fact be no more, as it was officially decommissioned by the U.S. government in the ’80s, having been replaced by several new interstate highways along the way. However, several stretches of this nostalgic byway still exist along the original route, and you can jump on the interstate as needed when they run out. Retrace the path of so many before you who got their proverbial kicks along this classic road trip between Chicago and Los Angeles over its many decades in existence.

From tried-and-true favorites to lesser-known — but just as worthy — hidden gems, here are writer Bob Clinkingbeard’s nine favorite Route 66 experiences he had on a memorable trip with his wife on this famed stretch of highway.

Split Rock Lighthouse, Iona's Beach

10. Duluth To Grand Portage, Minnesota

Minnesota highway 61: north shore scenic drive.

Minnesota 61 along the coast of Lake Superior makes for a beautiful drive. Your journey will take you past great beaches, enchanting waterfalls, and stunning views out over the largest of the Great Lakes. With scores of interesting stops along the way, you will be sure to find a town or attraction of interest to you. Take the journey as fast — or as slow — as you would like as you make your way from Duluth north towards the Canadian border: Just make sure to stop from time to time to take it all in.

Writer Tim Trudell picked his nine favorite stops along Minnesota’s North Shore Drive .

Seven Mile Bridge in Florida.

11. Miami To Key West, Florida

U.s. route 1: overseas highway.

Just over 160 miles and 42 bridges is all that separates mainland Miami from the remote retreat of Key West. The sprawling city of Miami can keep you busy for days, so plan plenty of time to explore all that the region has to offer, including portions of nearby Everglades National Park . But once you are ready, hit the open road and cruise across the long stretches of bridge separating the 34 individual islands that make up the Florida Keys .

When planning your Overseas Highway trip, consider our favorite stops on an epic road trip between Miami and Key West .

Fenwick Island in Delaware.

12. North Ocean City, Maryland, To New Castle, Delaware

Delaware highway 1.

Highway 1 works its way north through the state of Delaware from its border with Maryland to Interstate 95. Along the way, you will be treated to sandy beaches, historic towns, and many unforgettable stops along the way. The southernmost leg of the journey will take you through numerous charming beach towns, including Fenwick Island and Rehoboth Beach . Then it turns inland and takes you through the capital of Dover and other great towns of Delaware’s interior. Finally, exit Highway 1 and make for historic New Castle along the Delaware River.

This small but exciting state is well worth your time; enjoy our picks for the best stops during a Delaware road trip the next time you are in the region.

Kinzua Bridge Skywalk

13. Erie, Pennsylvania, To The Poconos

U.s. route 6.

This less-traveled path more or less follows U.S. Route 6 and will take you from the shores of Lake Erie to the wooded mountains of the Poconos . The charming towns of northern Pennsylvania are rich in history and exciting attractions for all ages. Enjoy a stroll out on a former rail trestle bridge turned skywalk; learn more about the man who brought down the infamous Al Capone at a museum dedicated to him; or take a wagon ride through Pennsylvania’s own “Grand Canyon”. The Allegheny region is also chock-full of scenic vistas and natural areas to explore along your journey. This stretch of highway through northern Pennsylvania is sure to provide something for everyone.

Robin O’Neal Smith shares her favorite stops on a beautiful Allegheny road trip through northern Pennsylvania to inspire your next trip.

A bridge over the Hudson River in Hudson Valley.

14. New York City, New York, To Boston, Massachusetts

During your next trip between New York City and Boston , ditch the more crowded interstate route along the coast and opt for a leisurely road trip through New York State’s gorgeous Hudson Valley and Western Mass instead. With stops at both indoor and outdoor art exhibits, the Culinary Institute of America, and the infamous town of Salem , your journey to Boston will be sure to thrill art and history lovers alike.

Make sure to plan a trip that includes these must-stops during a New York City to Boston road trip through the Hudson Valley .

Boats resting in the harbor of Newburyport.

15. Boston, Massachusetts, To Bangor, Maine

This quintessential New England road trip will take you up the coast from Boston, through New Hampshire, and into Maine , the very heart of New England. Stop along at one of the many beaches you pass along the way and take a dip — or a brisk stroll through the sand, depending on the time of year. Each town you pass has its own unique history and charm to dig into upon arrival. Culinary treats await in Portland and Camden , with fresh lobster on the menu just about anywhere you stop. Finally, head inland to Bangor to experience the hometown of Stephen King.

Discover more about each of New England local Sandi Barrett’s picks for the 12 best stops on a road trip from Boston to Bangor .

Coldwater Covered Bridge

Bonus: Fabulous Drives Through Alabama Perfect For Every Interest

Regardless of your favorite hobbies and interests, there is likely a road trip through Alabama that will meet your specific entertainment desires. From nature to art and history to sports, the state has a trail for everyone. The state’s department of tourism has crafted 19 unique trails around the state to encourage road trippers to hit the road and explore their great state, all while focusing on the attractions that mean the most to them. Resident and Alabama enthusiast Joe Cuhaj shares 14 of his these fabulous drives through the great state of Alabama, perfect for every interest .

And once you have chosen your path, have all of your stops laid out, and fueled up your ride, ensure you are fully prepared for the journey with these road trip tips:

  • 20 Road Trip Essentials I’ve Learned To Never Hit The Road Without
  • 11 Audiobooks Perfect For Any Road Trip
  • 9 Essential Tips For Surviving A Road Trip With Your Spouse

Image of Clayton McKibbin

He has traveled to 44 states and has taken several trips outside of the U.S.; he experienced London as a tourist during college and took immersive trips to both Mexico City and Athens through a former career with a college student ministry. One of his favorite travel memories was serving a Christmas meal to refugees in Athens and hearing their stories of hope; Athens is truly the crossroads of European, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern cultures and shouldn't be missed!


Minnesota waterfall awards, 12 of the best falls across the state.

By Simon Peter Groebner • Star Tribune •  May 3, 2024

By Simon Groebner Star Tribune •  May 3, 2024

Why are we obsessed with chasing waterfalls? After all, when faced with a drop in elevation, what a Minnesota river does next — with the possible exception of the Devil’s Kettle — is fairly predictable.

But whether our favorite waterfalls are on North Shore rivers making rapid descents to Lake Superior, or southern Minnesota creeks beating their way to the Mississippi, or even on underground streams, each has its own impressive geology, its own personality, its own story to tell.

A waterfall is often the prize at the end of a long journey, a satisfying climax to a road trip or hike. Some of our favorites even double as refreshing swimming holes. All belong to the public, but we pause for a reminder that getting closer to waterfalls can be tricky — even dangerous — so tread lightly and use your head.

Read on for 12 of the biggest, most interesting and/or visually pleasing falls in the state — along with an award for each one.

Video by Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune.

Drone photography and videography made possible through the permission of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Trails.

Tallest inside the state

High falls of the baptism river.

Unlike the twice-as-tall High Falls of the Pigeon River, this also-imaginatively named cataract in Tettegouche State Park is the tallest one entirely within Minnesota’s borders. It’s the picture of a mountain falls, with mineral-reddened water descending in two or three chutes. Below, the Baptism River might be shallow enough not only for your sacrament of choice, but wading closer for full immersion.

Getting there: It’s a vigorous 45-minute hike from the Superior Hiking Trail lot on Hwy. 1 — or take the easier 1.5-mile trail from the main entrance of Tettegouche.

Photo by Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

High Falls of the Pigeon River

The tallest waterfall in Minnesota has an asterisk: This international torrent is shared with Canada. At 3,200 gallons per second, it’s a powerful symbol of peace. The spray hits your face before you even reach the overlook on the U.S. side. A rainbow might emerge from the deep, churning gorge. No wonder the Anishinaabe and French famously portaged their canoes through these parts: There’s no navigating this craggy river.

Getting there: At Grand Portage State Park on the tip of Minnesota’s Arrowhead, there’s a 1-mile round-trip hike (paved and boardwalk) to the falls.

Video by Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Most aesthetically pleasing

Minneopa falls.

A 10-foot upper falls and 39-foot lower falls carve out a wide bowl in the sandstone of Minneopa State Park. When Minneopa Creek is running high, the face of the lower falls is almost a perfect square. See it from above, or take the stairs down to get up close and personal. Stick around and try to spot the reestablished herd on the park’s Bison Drive.

Getting there: Minneopa’s southern section, 3 miles west of Mankato.

Photo by Bre McGee, Special to the Star Tribune

Most unexpected

Ramsey falls.

The lush Ramsey Park in the town of Redwood Falls is a surprising oasis amid southwestern Minnesota’s plains. Here, Ramsey Creek twists through a slender gorge, culminating in this rugged 30-footer. Cliff jumping has long been banned, but able hikers might wade into the creek below for an immersive view.

Getting there: In Ramsey Park, head to parking lot No. 4 for the observation deck, or lot No. 3 to walk there via a suspension bridge through the woods.

Video by Simon Peter Groebner, Star Tribune

Most underground

Niagara cave waterfall.

Deep below the karst landscape of southeastern Minnesota, water from subterranean aquifers has carved out vast limestone caverns. That explains the “Goonies”-esque flume that gives Niagara Cave its name. The dramatically lit plunge is a highlight on a fascinating one-hour, half-mile guided tour, which includes fossils, rock formations, 275 stairs and a wedding “chapel.”

Getting there: Tours of the cave outside Harmony are offered daily May-Aug. and weekends in April and Sept.-Oct. ($20.95)

Photo by Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Weirdest falls

Devil’s kettle.

In an M.C. Escher-esque optical illusion, one of two descending halves of the Brule River seems to disappear into a cauldron of volcanic rock. Or does it? Scientists recently used dyes to prove what happens to the diabolical cascade, but honestly, we don’t want to know. We’re content with leaving it a fun, confounding mystery.

Getting there: At Judge C.R. Magney State Park, hike a mile up the rocky Devil’s Kettle Trail (two hours roundtrip), then down 175 stairs.

Most historic

Vermillion falls.

It’s the only waterfall in Minnesota that’s 500 feet downstream from an Applebee’s. But once you’re ensconced in the winding overlook trails at Vermillion Falls Park in Hastings, you’d hardly know it. This Vermillion River beauty once powered the 1853 Hastings Mill, still in business and looming over the falls. Look for the spired ruins of the nearby Ramsey Mill, which burned in 1894.

Getting there: Vermillion Falls Park is just off Hwy. 61 in Hastings.

Video by Simon Groebner, Star Tribune

Most interactive

Hidden falls.

These not-quite-hidden falls are at the crossroads of trails in the hardwood- and wildflower-filled Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. The site is often just a dry ledge, but when it’s been raining, the seasonal Prairie Creek unfurls a broad, smooth aquatic curtain. Kids and adults can walk into the shallow creek and splash in the thin wall of water.

Getting there: Take the park’s gentle, half-mile Hidden Falls Trail.

Photo by Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Most iconic

Gooseberry falls, approx. 30 feet (middle falls).

Beloved Gooseberry is up there with the Split Rock Lighthouse as a visual symbol of Minnesota. And the whole Gooseberry River estuary is fun to explore, with a series of four cascades hurtling toward Lake Superior, plus ancient lava flows, river islands and pedestrian bridges galore. And explore people do, with more than 750,000 visitors every year.

Getting there: Gooseberry Falls State Park is 12 miles north of Two Harbors.

Most secluded

Wolf creek falls.

While most waterfalls immediately resume as a river, this lovely one in east-central Minnesota issues into a deep, cliff-ringed lagoon, where we could while away a summer afternoon. The creek then trickles into the Kettle River, downstream from the Hell’s Gate rapids. Howling coyotes, not wolves, ushered us away at dusk.

Getting there: Hike the Quarry Loop and Wolf Creek trails in Banning State Park (a 3.7-mile loop), or it’s a 1-mile hike from Robinson Park in Sandstone.

Most adventurous

Illgen falls.

Illgen might be our personal favorite falls on the North Shore: an intimate spot for a vigorous swim. View it safely from above, or climb down to the rocks below and jump into the punchbowl. We can’t swim all the way to the falls without being forced back by the Baptism River’s powerful flow, but it’s fun trying. Fair warning: The trail is steep, rocks slippery and current strong. Intermediate hiking and swimming skills a must.

Getting there: Find the less-used side entrance to Tettegouche State Park, 1.5 miles west of Hwy. 61 on Hwy. 1.

Photo by Stephen Regenold, Special to the Star Tribune

Minnehaha Falls

Helping usher Minnehaha Creek waters from Lake Minnetonka to the Mississippi, and celebrated in Longfellow’s poem “Song of Hiawatha,” Minnehaha Falls is a historic symbol of Minneapolis, enthralling 19th-century visitors and still drawing daily crowds. Please don’t take your engagement photos in the steep rock shelter behind the falls, although many have.

Getting there: Minnehaha Regional Park, 4801 S. Minnehaha Drive, Mpls.

Simon Peter Groebner is Travel editor for the Star Tribune.

best road trip in usa in july

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best road trip in usa in july

Road Trip USA: 12 Most Famous Routes To Travel In America

  • Famous routes in the USA offer adventure, quirky roadside stops, and iconic diners for road trip enthusiasts craving exploration.
  • Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway, and the Florida Keys Scenic Highway are some of the most iconic road trips in the US, with breathtaking sights and delicious food stops.
  • The Loneliest Road, the Alaska Highway, the Grand Circle, and the Oregon Trail provide unique and scenic routes through untouched wilderness, historic landmarks, and stunning landscapes.

From East to West and North to South, the United States is lucky to have numerous scenic highways and iconic roadways that are beckoning to be explored and perfect for road trips. Whether searching for breathtaking desert mountain ranges or vast misty forests, adventure, quirky roadside stops, and iconic American diners await travelers on these routes. Here are some most famous routes in the USA to travel for those with wanderlust, a yearning for exploration, and the desire to visit some of the best destinations in the US by road.


Two More Incredible Road Trips To An Already Outstanding List

America is truly a land of never-ending possibilities as far as epic road trips are concerned, and this list is richer by two more. From the East Coast to the Wild West, the United States of America is one of the best countries on Earth for a road trip. Drive safe!

Related: 10 Best Road Trips You Can Take Through The Scenic State Of Texas

Route 66: A Driving Adventure Along The Most Famous Road In The World

Over 2,400 miles across eight states, from Chicago, Illinois, to the Pacific Coast in Santa Monica, California.

Route 66 is one of the most famous road trips in the United States and a classic choice for travelers hoping to soak in Americana culture. Spanning from Chicago to California, Route 66 covers eight states and takes drivers through many historic landmarks and quirky roadside attractions, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri; the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas; and the Santa Monica Pier in California.

  • Popular sights: Ozark Mountains in Missouri, the Painted Desert in Arizona, and the Pacific Coast in California
  • Popular food stops: Lou Mitchell's in Chicago, Illinois; the Ariston Café in Litchfield, Illinois; and the Midpoint Café in Adrian, Texas

Before traveling on the most famous road trip in the US, plan to add the best stops along Route 66 to visit on a road trip to the itinerary.

The Pacific Coast Highway: A Rocky Coastline, Striking Cliffs, And Unspoiled Beaches Make PCH One Of The Most Scenic Highways

650 miles on an epic west coast road trip from the north to the south of california..

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as California State Route 1, is probably the most famous route in America to drive and stretches more than 600 miles across the California coast. The Pacific Coast Highway offers lots to see on the way and is a must-drive route for anyone seeking gorgeous ocean views, sunny weather, and carefree California vibes.

From the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, this route takes roadtrippers through some of California's most stunning and breathtaking sights.

  • Popular sights: Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Point Lobos State Reserve, Big Sur State Park, and Pfeiffer Beach
  • Popular food stops: Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, Hog Island Oyster Company in Tomales Bay, and The French Laundry in Yountville

The Florida Keys Scenic Highway: 110 miles Across The Islands Of The Florida Keys

Scenic images of dolphins swimming, manatees floating in the waters, and endangered birds gliding through the brilliant blue sky..

The iconic drive along the Florida Keys Highway is perhaps one of the most beautiful road trips in the US in terms of tropical scenery and sea views. The route takes travelers from Miami to Key West with incredible ocean sights all along the way. This road also takes roadtrippers through friendly small towns filled with quirky beach bars and laid-back Florida charm.

Outdoor lovers can spend the day swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving in Florida's pristine waters or exploring some of the beautiful parks in the area, which include the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo and the Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key. The Florida Keys are known for their fresh seafood, and travelers with a sweet tooth must try the area's famous specialty: Key Lime Pie.

  • Popular sights: Key West Lighthouse, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and the Indian Key Historic State Park
  • Popular food stops: Hogfish Bar and Grill in Stock Island, the Conch Republic Seafood Company in Key West, and the Fish House in Islamorada

Related: The History Of Route 66, And Why You Should Be Visiting Its Museums

The Blue Ridge Parkway: "America's Favorite Drive," Through The Appalachian Mountains

469 miles of breathtaking scenery through shenandoah national park and the great smoky mountains national park..

Spanning 469 miles from Virginia to North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most famous road trips in the US, as it takes drivers through the majestic Appalachian Mountains. Blue Ridge Parkway is filled with beautiful stops , and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy camping, hiking, and fishing in the beautiful state parks found along the route, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The region is filled with plenty of wildlife, and nature lovers might stumble upon black bears, deer, and birds of prey native to the area.

  • Popular sights: Shenandoah National Park, Pisgah National Forest, Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Mabry Mill in Virginia, the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park in North Carolina
  • Popular food stops: The BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville, Virginia; the Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina; and the Woodlands Barbecue in Blowing Rock

The Loneliest Road: Most Desolate, Yet Most Interesting

A road trip that touches colonial-era landscapes while passing through the wild west up to high-tech silicon valley..

The Loneliest Road is a perfect road trip route for lovers of the American Southwest and has become one of the most famous roads in America. This route belongs to the portion of U.S. Route 50 that runs through Nevada. The Loneliest Road got its name in 1986 when a travel magazine proclaimed there was absolutely nothing interesting along this route, conjuring up images of desolate landscapes and barren wastelands.

This route, however, is filled with captivating desert landscapes, historic ghost towns from Nevada's famed Gold Rush, and quirky roadside attractions.

  • Popular sights: The Ruby Mountains, the Great Basin National Park, the Eureka Opera House, and the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park
  • Popular food stops: Middlegate Station in Fallon, Grandma's in Austin, and Racks Bar and Grill in Ely

The Alaska Highway: A Work In Progress For 75 Years

A magnificent road trip through the epic northern scenery, two-thirds of which lies in canada..

Running from British Columbia to Alaska, the Alaska Highway offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore some of North America's most untouched parts of wilderness. Nature lovers can marvel at epic mountain ranges, sparkling lakes, and vast forests filled with beautiful wildlife and flora.

Visitors can hike or camp in Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve. The Alaska Highway also offers travelers one of the best places in the entire world to see the surreal beauty of the Northern Lights during the winter months.

  • Popular sights: Mile 0 Cairn in Dawson Creek, the Signpost Forest in Watson Lake, and the Big Delta State Historical Park in Delta Junction
  • Popular food stops: The Salty Dawg Saloon in Homer and Fast Eddy's in Tok

The best time of year to drive the Alaska Highway is from late spring to early fall when the weather is warmer, and there are plenty of daylight hours. Travelers who are determined to travel the route in winter can still make the drive as long as they take extra precautions to keep warm and safe.

The Grand Circle: Some Of The Most Stunning Scenery Imaginable

An epic journey through five states and nine national parks..

The Grand Circle loop takes drivers through some of the most iconic national parks in the American Southwest. Visitors will be able to see the stunning views of Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and the Grand Canyon. A popular place to start this loop is in Las Vegas, where visitors can rest and refresh after a long road trip spent hiking, camping, and exploring some of the most beautiful views in the US along the way.

  • Popular sights: Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Valley of Fire
  • Popular food stops: The Rocking V Cafe in Kanab, Utah; Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah; and El Tovar Dining Room at Grand Canyon National Park

Related: Blue Ridge Parkway Vs. Skyline Drive: Which Is More Scenic?

Maine's Route 1: Over 500 Miles Of Pavement That Snakes Its Way Through New England

A perpetually evolving panorama of coastline, historic landmarks, and charming towns..

Route 1 takes travelers along Maine's rugged coastline, rustic seaside towns, and some of the best lobster shacks in the country. From Kittery to Fort Kent, this route features some of the most charming views of this New England state, including the Acadia National Park, Maine Maritime Museum, whale-watching tours, and some of the most famous lighthouses in America.

  • Popular sights: Acadia National Park, Maine Maritime Museum, Portland Head Light, Pemaquid Point Light, and West Quoddy Head Light
  • Popular food stops: Red's Eats in Wiscasset, Moody's Diner in Waldoboro, The Whale's Tale in Boothbay Harbor

The Great River Road: A National Scenic Byway And All-American Road Following The Mississippi For 3,000 miles

A collection of state and local roads that take the course of the mississippi river through 10 states of america..

The Great River Road is also among the most famous road trips US states have to offer; it follows the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana and features charming river towns, breathtaking views of the epic Mississippi River, and historic sites related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the American Civil War. This route is also one of the best road trips in the US for foodies, offering everything from Tennessee barbecue to New Orleans gumbo.

  • Popular sights: Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi; the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri; and the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana
  • Popular food stops: The Frostop Drive-In in New Orleans, Louisiana; The Blue Owl in Kimmswick, Missouri; and Fitz's Root Beer in St. Louis, Missouri

Related: Here's What Roadtrippers Should Know About The Loneliest Road In America

The Oregon Trail: America's Historic Road Trip Where 400,000 Pioneers Traveled From 1840 To 1880 In Wagons

Nearly 2,000 miles through mountains, valleys, and wild prairie on the historic route of america's first settlers..

Exploring The Oregon Trail is one of the most famous roads in America; it's a road trip made for history buffs and adults who spend their childhoods playing the popular video game. This historic route follows the path of the 19th-century pioneers who settled in the West, offering a fascinating glimpse into America's frontier past. There are plenty of museums on the route that tell the story of westward expansion, such as the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon.

Tourists can even visit pioneer cemeteries scattered along the Oregon Trail that shed light on just how grueling this journey was. Some of these cemeteries include the Whitman Mission National Historic Site in Walla Walla, Washington, and the Blue Mountain Cemetery in Prairie City, Oregon.

  • Popular sights: Independence Rock in Wyoming, Chimney Rock in Nebraska, and Fort Laramie in Wyoming
  • Popular food stops: The Oregon Trail Restaurant in Baker City, Oregon, and Fort Laramie Bed and Breakfast Cafe in Fort Laramie, Wyoming

Mighty 5: A Ride Into The Heart Of America's Red Rock Country

Driving through 5 national parks of utah for the most epic adventure..

Known to many as "The Utah National Parks Road Trip" or "Mighty 5 Road Trip", this famous US route is often considered the best road trip in America and, by some, even the best in the world. Drive through Utah's national parks with canyons stretching as far as the eye can see, soaring sandstone cliffs, fire-colored rock hoodoos, and thousands of dramatic arches, like the famous formations in Arches National Park .

  • Popular sights: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Arches National Park, and Canyonlands National Parks
  • Popular food stops: Hell's Backbone Grill and Farm in Boulder, Capitol Burger in Torrey, Arches Thai in Moab, I D K Barbecue in Tropic

Olympic Peninsula Loop: a 300 Mile-Long Odyssey Through Stunningly Gorgeous Landscape

Winding around the perimeter of olympic national park, passing rugged mountain peaks, pristine alpine lakes, lush green forests, and scenic beaches..

Although packed with famous US highways that are seemingly made for road trips, few Washington drives are as iconic as the Olympic Peninsula Loop. The Olympic Peninsula Loop is 330 miles long and studded with countless sites to explore.

Although the loop can be covered in one day, to justify this road trip, travelers on the route can break the journey along many stops, such as the glassy Lake Cushman inside Olympic National Forest, Port Townsend known for its Victorian architecture, Lavender farms in the town of Sequim (pronounced “Squim”) and a historic lighthouse from 1857 inside Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Seattle and Portland are two major cities accessible from the Olympic Peninsula Loop.

  • Popular sights: Lake Cushman, Lighthouse inside Dungeness Refuge, Hoh Rain Forest, La Push, Ruby Beach, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent
  • Popular food stops: Pellegrino's Italian Kitchen in Tumwater, Jean-Pierre's Three16 in Tumwater, Gardner's Restaurant in Olympia

Road Trip USA: 12 Most Famous Routes To Travel In America

Politics live: Sunak accused of 'hiding from voters' - as SNP names new leader without contest

The SNP has named John Swinney as its new leader to replace Humza Yousaf. Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak has insisted the general election is "not a foregone conclusion" despite the Tories taking a hammering in last week's local polls. While you scroll, listen to a new Politics At Jack And Sam's.

Monday 6 May 2024 19:25, UK

  • New SNP leader reiterates independence aim
  • Ex-candidate 'has big role to play' | What happens next?
  • Connor Gillies: The big questions facing John Swinney
  • PM insists general election 'not a foregone conclusion'
  • Sunak accused of 'hiding from voters' by not setting poll date
  • Exclusive:   UK 'considered using Iraq in Rwanda-type asylum deal'
  • Politics At Jack And Sam's: Listen above and tap here to follow. 
  • Vote 2024:   Council results in full  |  Mayoral results in full

The Foreign Office has denied the UK's ambassador to Russia was "summoned" by officials in Moscow over military support for Ukraine.

It comes after Russia warned Ukrainian strikes on its territory with UK-supplied weapons could bring retaliatory attacks against British military facilities and equipment on Ukrainian soil or elsewhere.

Russia's foreign ministry said the UK's ambassador to Moscow, Nigel Casey, had been "summoned" to make him "reflect on the inevitable catastrophic consequences of such hostile steps by London".

But the Foreign Office said he had just taken part in a diplomatic meeting with ministry officials.

"The ambassador reiterated the UK's support for Ukraine in the face of unprovoked Russian aggression, and restated the UK's position on providing support to Ukraine," said a statement.

Read more below:

John Swinney is preparing to take over the SNP, and the role of Scotland's first minister, after days of Holyrood drama.

There is no doubt this is a proud moment for Mr Swinney, his wife and son. He was Nicola Sturgeon's deputy for the best part of a decade - and can now stand out from her shadow and set his own agenda.

His previous days as SNP leader in the early 2000s were described as a disaster - but everything is different now.

There are questions about how much of a fresh perspective he will be able to inject into the party he has been part of for 40 years.

He has the hangover of being education secretary during the COVID crisis when children's learning was harmed, overseeing Scotland's finances for a long time, and wiping his COVID WhatsApps.

And now, there are two major issues sitting in his in-tray that will shape the future of this party.

Read Connor's full analysis below:

Labour shadow minister Lisa Nandy has said the party "absolutely" supports people's right to peaceful protest after Oxford and Cambridge university students set up pro-Palestinian encampments on campus.

The scenes have echoed those seen at major US universities recently, though some of those have led to tense and sometimes violent stand-offs with police and security personnel.

Ms Nandy backed the policing of the UK protests so far, saying they have "broadly speaking, got the balance right".

"We absolutely support the right of people to peaceful protest and support the police in being able to make operational decisions about when peaceful protest spills into intimidation," she said.

You can read more on this from our reporter Niamh Lynch :

Here in the Politics Hub, we've been reporting on Israel's seemingly imminent military incursion into the Gazan city of Rafah today, as both Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer have advised against it.

They have expressed concern about the number of citizens - many of whom have already evacuated their homes in other parts of Gaza - sheltering there.

Our Middle East blog team are now reporting a potentially major development, with Hamas saying it has accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar.

However, Israel has indicated it doesn't agree with the terms.

Follow live updates in our Middle East blog:

Aside from the local elections, the prime minister has today been questioned about Israel's seemingly imminent ground offensive in Rafah.

The country's military is telling Palestinians sheltering in Gaza's southernmost city to evacuate, even though many have already had to flee their homes.

Labour's Keir Starmer and David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary, have today urged Israel not to carry out the incursion (see 17.00 post).

Rishi Sunak said he is "deeply concerned" about the prospect of the offensive because of the number of civilians sheltering in Rafah.

He said he had raised his concerns "repeatedly" with Israel's prime minister but also said Hamas had a role to play in ending the conflict.

Mr Sunak said: "The priority right now should be on all parties, but particularly Hamas, to agree to a deal, to release hostages and allow more aid to go in as part of a temporary pause which will allow us to build a sustainable ceasefire."

The Sky News live poll tracker - collated and updated by our Data and Forensics team - aggregates various surveys to indicate how voters feel about the different political parties.

With the local elections complete, Labour is still sitting comfortably ahead, with the Tories trailing behind.

See the latest update below - and you can read more about the methodology behind the tracker  here .

The results of the local elections made for grim reading for the Conservative Party.

Last Thursday, polls opened in 107 English councils, with thousands of seats up for grabs. Ultimately, the Tories lost 474 seats and 12 councils, while Labour gained 186 and eight respectively.

You can see the results in full below:

There were also a number of mayoral elections.

In total, 11 mayors were elected. Here are the results in full:

  • Tees Valley, Conservative Ben Houchen re-elected
  • York and North Yorkshire, Labour's David Skaith 
  • North East, Labour's Kim McGuinness 
  • East Midlands, Labour's Claire Ward
  • Liverpool City Region, Labour's Steve Rotheram re-elected
  • South Yorkshire, Labour's Oliver Coppard re-elected 
  • Greater Manchester, Labour's Andy Burnham re-elected 
  • West Yorkshire, Labour's Tracey Brabin re-elected 
  • London, Labour's Sadiq Khan re-elected 
  • Salford, Labour's Paul Dennett re-elected 
  • West Midlands, Labour's Richard Parker defeats Conservative incumbent Andy Street

Two of Westminster's best-connected journalists, Sky News's Sam Coates and Politico's Jack Blanchard, guide you through their top predictions for the next seven days in British politics. 

Following the local and mayoral elections, Jack and Sam discuss how Rishi Sunak will try to get back onto the front foot and whether the Conservative rebels will continue to plot against him.     

They also predict that the country will come out of recession and look forward to a new SNP leader in Scotland following the resignation of Humza Yousaf. 

 Email with your thoughts and rate how their predictions play out:  [email protected]  or  [email protected]          

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has joined his shadow foreign secretary David Lammy in warning against an Israeli offensive in Rafah ( see 14.12 post )

Israel has repeatedly been urged by Western allies not to go ahead with the operation, but it looks set to take place in what the country's government has described as "specified areas".

It is telling Palestinians sheltering in Rafah, many of whom have already evacuated from their homes elsewhere, to move to a "humanitarian area".

Sir Keir said: "With more than a million Palestinian civilians sheltering in Rafah, an Israeli offensive must not go ahead.

"There must be an immediate ceasefire, the immediate release of all hostages, and unimpeded aid into Gaza that can be delivered regularly, quickly and safely."

You can follow more on this in our Middle East live blog:

Andy Street, the defeated former West Midlands mayor, has thanked people for their support since losing his job over the weekend.

He was beaten by Labour's candidate in one of the most bruising results for the Tories across last week's elections.

Mr Street was quick to warn his party not to take the wrong message from his defeat, telling Rishi Sunak to guide the Conservatives back towards the centre rather than further to the right.

Posting on X (formerly Twitter) today, Mr Street said he had been "slightly taken aback by the number of messages" he'd received.

"Your support means a lot to me at a testing time," he said.

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  1. The Best USA Road Trips In July

    If we were planning a summer road trip in July through Minnesota, this would be our itinerary: Mall of America - Day 1: Located in Minneapolis, this is the biggest mall in the United States with over 4.3 miles of storefronts! (And a small theme park located inside!)

  2. 30 Best Places to Visit in July in the USA

    Photo by Bjorn Bakstad on Adobe Stock . Average Temperature and Precipitation: Low of 51.8°F and high of 71°F; precipitation of 0.7″ Reasons to Visit July: Middle of whale-watching season, a number of local farmers' markets are open, and seafood season. A romantic summer trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington State is on the bucket list of many couples.

  3. 13 Most Epic Summer Road Trips in the US

    Here are some USA Road Trip routes to add to your list. 1. Alaska Road Trip from Anchorage to Fairbanks. One of the best Summer road trips in the US is the Alaska Road Trip. The route from Anchorage to Fairbanks is perfect for hikers and wildlife lovers. It's 360 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks.

  4. 10 of the best road trips in the USA

    3. Route 66. Best road trip for American kitsch. Chicago-Los Angeles; 2250 miles; 1-2 weeks. Nicknamed the Mother Road, Route 66 has permanently ingrained itself in the international psyche as the original US road trip. Starting in Chicago, it crosses eight different states and connects travelers to national parks, weird-but-wonderful ...

  5. The 31 Best Places to Visit in the USA in July

    The sightseeing season is short, so if you plan an Alaska road trip, July is a perfect month for your visit. The weather is the most pleasant, and it allows all kinds of activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing trips, cruises, or bear viewing. It's definitely one of the best vacations in the United States - one you'll never forget!

  6. 20 Amazing Places to Visit in July in the USA

    Admiring the beautiful Ellsworth Rock Gardens, built in the 1940s they took 20 years to complete. 7. Boston, Massachusetts. I personally think Boston is an extra special travel spot in July as it hosts the fabulous Summer Pops Concerts and breathtaking Fourth of July fireworks over the River Charles.

  7. 15 Great Road Trips in the USA to take this Summer

    7. Upstate New York. The East Coast of the USA is filled with beautiful small towns to discover. But you don't even need to leave New York to have an idyllic escape! Upstate New York is full of beautiful hidden gems and some of them more known. Start your journey in Hudson - one of the most popular towns in the state.

  8. 24 Best Road Trips in the USA For Your Bucket List

    1. California's Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) - One of the most famous USA road trips. Location: California. Distance: 480 miles. When it comes to spectacular California road trips, it's pretty hard to beat Highway 1, also known as Pacific Coast Highway and Route 1.

  9. The BEST Road Trips in the USA For Your Bucket List

    Washington State National Parks Road Trip. Route: Seattle - Seattle. Distance: 700 Miles. Suggested Duration: 8 days. Best time to go: Summer or fall is definitely prime time for this road trip that way you can experience all the great nature, hiking trails, and wild berries in bloom.

  10. 23 Best Road Trips in the U.S.

    From Hawaii to the Florida Keys, these are 23 of the best road trips in the U.S. By. Sarah Rose. Updated on March 15, 2023. Photo: Loki1100/Getty Images. From the dramatic California coast to the ...

  11. The Best Road Trips in the USA

    The Best USA Road Trips. 1. The Ultimate California Road Trip. Sonoma - San Francisco - Santa Cruz - Monterey - Big Sur - Paso Robles - Santa Barbara - Malibu - LA - Laguna Beach - San Diego - Palm Springs - Joshua Tree - Death Valley - Yosemite - Lake Tahoe - Sacramento - Yolo - Shasta Cascade - Mendocino.

  12. 15 BEST USA Road Trips of a Lifetime 2023 (Photos + Maps)

    If you're interested in this road I recommend checking out our article on the best things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. 14. Natchez Trace Parkway. Location: Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, USA. Distance: 444 miles (715 km) Suggested Time: 5 days. Minimum Time: 1 day. Best Time of Year: October - November.

  13. 23 Best Road Trips in the U.S. to Take in 2024

    Photo by photo.ua / Shutterstock. 10. Seneca Falls, New York, to Nashville, Tennessee: Follow the Path of the Women's Suffrage Movement. Starting in New York's Finger Lakes region and ending at the State Capitol Building in Nashville, this road trip traces the route of the national women's suffrage movement.

  14. The 25 Best Road Trips in the USA

    23. The Great American Road Trip - Cross Country on the I-90. 24. Anchorage to Seward. 25. Canada to Mexico. If you're planning to take a road trip this year, I've compiled the best American road trip routes in the country. These are 25 of the best road trips in the USA that everyone should take in their lifetime.

  15. The Great American Summer Road Trip: Unforgettable Scenic Drives in the

    The Great American Summer Road Trip: Unforgettable Scenic Drives in the United States. By Zac Thompson. Americans drive more than 3 trillion miles in a typical year, according to an estimate from the Federal Highway Administration. The months with the most drivers on the road are July and August, indicating that for a sizable chunk of Americans ...

  16. 21 Best Road Trips in USA to Put on Your Bucket List

    Here are 21 of the best road trips in the United States. Let us know in the comments below if there are more we should add to the list. 1. Pacific Coast Highway →. Location: California | Distance: 123 Miles. Enjoy the endless views of the ocean and drive through some of the best beach towns on California's Route 1.

  17. The 12 Best Summer Vacation Destinations For Families In The U.S

    July and August top the list of the best months to visit Acadia National Park due to the warmer weather (daytime temperatures average between 55 and 75 degrees).

  18. 20 BEST USA Road Trips (2024 Destination Guide)

    End: Rockfish Gap. Total Distance: 105 miles. Best Part: Parking the car and going for a quick hike. One of the best mountain drives in the United States. It's a favorite day trip for those visiting Washington DC for a simple reason: the Skyline Drive is one of the most accessible mountain drives in the USA.

  19. Experience Florida's Best Beaches And Vibrant Cities On This ...

    Ranked among the top five of U.S. News' 10 Best States for a Road Trip, its white sand beaches, theme parks, and urban city attractions have gained much attention. Florida's southern peninsula, in ...

  20. 13 Road Trips To Take In The USA That Are Bucket-List Worthy

    The United States is famous for being one of the best places for road tripping. There are plenty of potential road trips to take all through the United States (and not only in the Lower 48).

  21. 19 Best Road Trips in The US in 2024

    11 Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon National Park. 4. Hana Highway: Paia to Hana, Maui, Hawaii. The world-famous Hana Highway is one of the top road trips in America. This 45-mile (72 km) stretch of road runs from Hana to Paia on Maui in Hawaii.

  22. 24 Epic Western US Road Trips for Your Bucket List!

    Colorado is an amazing state to visit, and one of the best western US road trips takes you to three national parks in Southern Colorado. For this Colorado road trip, start in Alamosa and end in Montrose, for about 600 miles of driving. The best time to do this road trip is early summer or early fall, when the weather is mild.

  23. 11 Epic Cross-Country American Road Trips

    Buy Now. Your great American road trip awaits! Get the fully updated 25th Anniversary Edition of Road Trip USA for the glovebox or as a gift for your favorite armchair adventurer. Author Jamie Jensen's full-color guide includes over 125 driving maps and key sights along the eleven cross-country road trip routes featured on this site.

  24. 9 of the best road trips in the USA

    Valdez to Fairbanks. Northern Lights. The Atlantic Coast. New York to Florida Keys. NYC. Miami. Florida. Road to Hana. Hana to Kahului.

  25. 10 Best Family Road Trips Around the United States

    Tucson to the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Take in some of the country's best views on a multiday road trip through Arizona. Start in Tucson and visit Saguaro National Park to see the namesake cacti ...

  26. 15 Scenic Road Trips To Experience In The U.S. In 2023

    Photo credit: Cindy Barks. 3. Joshua Tree To Death Valley, California. The journey between two of California's most visited national parks is an experience of its own. Only 4 hours separate these sizzling destinations in the California desert, and they make a great road trip for those that desire to enjoy both.

  27. Minnesota Waterfall Awards: 12 of the best falls across the state

    35 feet. It's the only waterfall in Minnesota that's 500 feet downstream from an Applebee's. But once you're ensconced in the winding overlook trails at Vermillion Falls Park in Hastings ...

  28. Road Trip USA: 12 Most Famous Routes To Travel In America

    Related: 10 Best Road Trips You Can Take Through The Scenic State Of Texas Route 66: A Driving Adventure Along The Most Famous Road In The World . Over 2,400 miles across eight states, from ...

  29. Politics live: SNP names new leader

    The SNP has named John Swinney as its new leader to replace Humza Yousaf. Meanwhile, at Westminster, the Lib Dems want to force a vote of no confidence in the government after the Tories endured a ...