Enjoying road trips in the USA is a fantastic way to see the nation and can be done on a budget with careful preparation. To the contrary, the more meticulously you prepare, the more enjoyable your journey will be.
There are tools available to you that can significantly reduce the difficulty of this endeavor. The goal of most road trips is to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, so every minute counts.
Have no fear if your thoughts are all over the place and you have no idea where to begin. The best sights to see in California, Maine, North Dakota, or Florida may now be located with the help of any number of readily available manuals, maps, and guides. To locate the best one, you need to do some research and comparison-shopping.
Our top picks for road trips in the USA you can take:
The best road trips in the USA are varied and offer travelers a chance to see many different parts of the country. Depending on your interests, you can choose a road trip that takes you through scenic mountains, charming small towns, or vibrant urban areas.
1. Lonely Planet USA’s Best Road Trips
There are 120 full-color road maps and thorough directions included. No matter how much money you have to spend, you can still choose the route you want to travel and read evaluations that are tailored to your needs.
You may feel like a local by following the book’s advice on how to avoid dangerous areas, locate toll highways, and master parking regulations.
It also provides practical facts like opening hours, pricing, and links to official websites for numerous tourist attractions in case you need more information. Everything you need to know is right here in this book, so all you have to do is hop in your car and go.
Florida and the South, New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Rocky Mountains, California, and many more are all included Best Road Trips in the USA. This book is useful whether you want to visit one city every day or travel till you get tired of the road.
2. Lonely Planet Florida & The South’s Best Trips
This book may be purchased in both electronic (Kindle) and physical (paperback) formats. You can’t go wrong with this book if you’re planning a trip to the South. In-depth information about the top sights in states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Kentucky is provided.
If you’re looking for inspiration but don’t know where to start, this book will lead you to the beaches of Florida, the nightlife of New Orleans, and the grand plantation mansions of the South.
Complete with up-to-date, accurate information and beautiful color maps. This guide can help you find your way whether you’re looking to walk the Appalachian Trail or take a trip along the Blues Highway.
Included in the package is everything you could possibly need to have an unforgettable vacation, including advice on the best routes to take to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. You can still benefit much from this book even if your intended vacation is quite short.
3. Road Trip USA Pacific Coast Highway
Whether you’re traveling north or south, the Pacific Coast Highway offers breathtaking scenery and unique points of interest. This book contains comprehensive information on all that the highway has to offer, ensuring that you enjoy your travels to the fullest.
To put it simply, it is a comprehensive guide designed for your ease, covering over 1500 miles of roadway from Oregon to the California coast.
The book features photographs, illustrations, and driving maps in full color that detail key points of interest every mile along the way. It also includes background on the area’s history and anecdotes from the roadside, as well as alternative routes to take in some of the less well-known attractions.
It has an easily transportable format, and the antique photographs included will appeal to the inner history buff in all of us.
When planning a road vacation, make sure it includes some time on the Pacific Coast Highway. Bring this helpful guide along and make the most of your time away.
4. Lonely Planet New England’s Best Trips
You will need this book if any part of your road journey takes you through New England. It is the most comprehensive resource available for this region of the country and includes maps, suggested routes, and sample itineraries.
The White Mountains, Maine’s lobster, and Massachusetts’ colonial past all sound great, and now you can add in-depth knowledge that will make the trip that much more interesting.
Finding the greatest walking tours, avoiding toll highways, and discovering hidden treasures that most guidebooks miss are all covered in New England’s Best Trips.
You can easily follow the guide’s ideas and keep on track with the guide’s full-color, straightforward maps. It also includes recommendations for affordable places to dine and sleep.
This book will improve your journey whether you’re going in the winter or summer. You won’t be sorry you spent the money on this guide, as it will come in very useful.
5. Compass American Guides: Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
This handbook has up-to-date details on hotels, activities, and dining that you won’t find in other publications.
Yellowstone is home to stunning landscapes and a plethora of species, while the Grand Tetons are home to stunning, snow-capped peaks. This guide will ensure that you experience all that the parks have to offer without missing a thing.
This handbook is a must-have whether you plan on doing any day trips, photography for a holiday album, or just taking in the sights of these two parks.
One of the nicest things about these parks is that you may enjoy them in any season. Among its numerous features is fascinating geology, and the area’s wintertime offerings will stay with you long after the snow has melted.
6. Road Trip USA Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Path crosses a huge swath of the eastern United States and Canada. It spans almost 2000 miles from Maine to the center of the South. You may stop by places like Gettysburg and the Smoky Mountains, and there are also plenty of fun activities, excursions, and oddities to see along the trip that you would not have heard of otherwise.
This handbook, which is available in both electronic (Kindle) and traditional (paperback) formats, will ensure that you see everything of interest in the region without missing a thing by providing precise driving maps and mile-by-mile highlights.
All the information you’ll need to make the most of your vacation is included, along with full-color images and antique snapshots. It also comes in a compact and lightweight form that allows you to easily pack it away in any of your bags.
Road Trips in the USA: Appalachian Trail is a must-have whether you want to hike the entire trail, even a section, or just see how far you can get in a day. It’s an all-inclusive travel guide that covers everything there is to do and see in the region.
7. Fodor’s Utah
Utah is a stunning state that will enhance the experience of any road trip, and this handbook will help you make the most of your time there no matter how long you’ll be in the Beehive State. No matter what place you find yourself in, you’ll be able to use the colorful maps and detailed descriptions of local restaurants, hotels, and attractions included inside its pages. This guide is essential whether your intended activities upon arrival include horseback riding, fishing, or hiking.
In keeping with Fodor’s tradition of producing thorough travel guides to virtually every major city in the United States, this volume covers all the bases. You can trust this book to have all the information you need about Utah, no matter where you’re going or what you want to do when you get there. There’s something for everyone here, from the state’s best natural parks to the most beautiful roads.
8. Hana Highway, Maui
Everybody who made it to Hana on the road to Hana has one of these T-shirts. The 52-mile trip from Kahului to Hana may take more than two hours and a half if you stop to admire Jurassic-era landscapes, stop for banana bread at roadside stands, and wind your way through beautiful mango trees in blossom. A cinder cone protects the red sand beach where nudists as well as endangered monk seals bask in the sun in the little hamlet of Hana on the island of Maui’s eastern coast.
Stop at Haleakala National Park’s Pools of Oheo, a softly flowing, seven-tiered gulch past Hana where the road stops (or becomes impassible, according to the majority rental vehicle contracts).
9. Blue Ridge Parkway, The Carolinas and Virginia
Nearly 500 miles of blacktop wind their way through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks, all for the benefit of tourists on the hunt for breathtaking views of the Appalachians. It’s a beautiful scenic journey year-round, with rolling hills of autumnal color in the fall, a summertime feast under the forest’s canopy, and wintertime ski resorts. The parkway has become a birdwatcher’s paradise, with more species living there permanently than in all of Europe combined (almost 50).
You’ve reached your destination: in the mines of the mineral-rich Appalachian Mountains, tourists may pan for emeralds, amethysts, rubies, topaz, and even gold.
10. 17-Mile Drive, California
In reality, the length of the so-called “17-Mile Drive” over the Monterey Peninsula in California is closer to 10 miles. The route connects the cities of Pacific Grove and Carmel via a privately owned piece of land off of Highway 1 that passes through the Del Monte woodlands that are part of the exclusive Pebble Beach golf club. Locals believe the $11.25 cost to access the private road is well worth it to see the breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific Ocean and surf-battered rocks.
We’re stopping here because the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a million gallon tank full of sharks and sea turtles, a petting zoo, and tanks filled with kelp forests.
11. U.S. 1, Florida Keys
Florida’s 120-mile long island chain, the Keys, is a tropical paradise full of beach clubs, aquatic activities, and Parrotheads (Jimmy Buffett fans). The overseas roadway connects Key Largo and Key West like a necklace, passing by lighthouses and undersea coral reef parks on its way to the world-famous 7 Mile Bridge.
Tourists may stop at the docks in Islamorada and feed tarpon which are over six feet long live bait fish.
12. North Shore Drive, Minnesota
Minnesota’s Lake Superior coast is a sight to behold, with its icy glacial formations. Leaving Duluth for Two Harbors, the lake’s glistening waters spread out to the right, while the northwoods’ birch and maple trees tower overhead on the left. You will also see ocean tankers anchored in the final inland dock of the St. Lawrence Seaway as they wait to load iron or grain from the American heartland before taking it out to the globe.
Duluth has the biggest grain elevators in the world, and they are all on display along the lake walk trail.
13. Fodor’s New Orleans
New Orleans is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most intriguing cities, and this guidebook is essential if you don’t want to miss a thing during your visit. The city of New Orleans has something to offer everyone, from sampling their delicious cuisine to going on a ghost tour through their haunted cemeteries, and if you bring this book with you, you won’t miss a thing.
The guidebook is packed with hotels and other places to stay. No matter if you’re just looking to take in some jazz or planning a trip to the city for Mardi Gras, our guide has you covered. It also provides information about off-the-beaten-path plantation homes and mom-and-pop eateries that will make your mouth wet just thinking about them, both of which are attractions that locals may like to keep under wraps.
It would be a mistake to visit New Orleans without the Fodor’s guidebook, which includes images and advice for seeing all the city has to offer. In this case, buying the book will be a good decision.
14. Going to the Sun Road, Montana
One of the most remarkable public works projects in the United States weaves its way through the snow-covered peaks, sub-alpine meadows, and lakes of Glacier National Park on its way across the Continental Divide on the spine of the Rockies. During the winter, snowdrifts may reach heights of one hundred feet, therefore the route is only completely accessible when conditions permit it (typically in the summer months).
Stop: If you want to further your knowledge of the geology of glaciers, the native cultures of the area’s Native Americans, or the environment of the park, sign up for a class at the Glacier Institute.
15. Fodor’s Arizona and the Grand Canyon
Bringing this guidebook along on a vacation to the Grand Canyon in Arizona is a must. The Grand Canyon’s beauty is unparalleled, and the guidebook will ensure that you don’t miss a thing. It includes a fold-out map and travel tips for experiencing the area’s canyons, mountains, deserts, and flora and animals.
This guidebook not only details the Grand Canyon’s natural wonders, but also the Colorado River, Native American reserves, and several breathtaking golf courses in the region. While a visit to the Grand Canyon is certainly worthwhile, there is much more to Arizona than just the canyon.
Food and lodging recommendations may be found in Fodor’s guidebook to the Grand Canyon. It can help you save time and money, letting you focus on enjoying your trip without worrying about the logistics. The Grand Canyon region is beautiful, and this guide will help you make the most of your next visit.
16. Lemhi Pass, Montana and Idaho
In 1805, Meriwether Lewis reached the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains at Lemhi Pass, an elevation of 7,323 feet. Lewis glanced west over the mountains in search of the legendary Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean but instead found more mountains. Visitors to Beaverhead Rock State Park in Montana or Salmon National Forest in Idaho who are willing to put in the time and effort and have a 4×4 vehicle are rewarded with a historic vista accessible through single-lane Forest Service roads.
Come July, watch men in buckskin outfits paddling about in dugout canoes at the annual Lewis and Clark Festival.
17. Road Trip USA Route 66
Route 66 is a legendary route that stretches over 400,000 kilometers. This colorful travel guide will tell you, mile by mile, about the interesting sights and sounds along the route. It will help you find your way around, whether you’re headed to the mystical Mer amac Caverns or the rough streets of Chicago. With the aid of this comprehensive handbook, you may learn about little-known towns, roadside attractions, and even local legends.
Even though Route 66 is now a major freeway, the road’s original routing remains unchanged, giving travelers plenty of chances to see some of the country’s most remarkable attractions. Traveling the country is an experience of a lifetime, and this handbook will help you see the sights—both big and small—that are most meaningful to you, making the most of your journey. There is no other way to gain an understanding of and appreciation for the legendary Route 66.
18. Pacific Coast Highway
Northern California to San Diego takes 10-hours, so don’t rush. The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) is one of the world’s most scenic drives, so roll down your windows.
The route traverses the westernmost coast of the U.S., where sunsets, castles, and pebbly beaches await.
Cover three coastal states from Olympia to San Diego. In Olympia, get road trip supplies before heading west on 101 to California’s 1.
Before entering Oregon, see Cape Disappointment. Here you may camp or trek the 1.2-mile Cape Disappointment Trail or 0.45-mile Benson Beach Trail. You could spot an orca.
Oregon’s Devil’s Punchbowl. At low tide, you may explore tidal pools and take a picnic, but as the water rises, seek higher land. Cape Perpetua and Samuel H. Boardman offer great photo ops.
Highway 1 starts the PCH in California (or the PCG, for those in the know). Drive through Redwood National and State Parks and relax on Shelter Cove’s black-sand beach. Before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, visit Point Reyes’ lighthouse.
Big Sur offers 90 miles of picturesque coasts, cliffs, and bridges. Pebble Beach, Pfeiffer Beach, McWay Falls, and Bixby Creek Bridge are must-sees. After Big Sur, visit Hearst Castle and Piedras Blancas to observe elephant seals. Hike in San Luis Obispo or Paso Robles before shopping in Santa Barbara.
Los Angeles’ Getty and Venice Beach should be seen before San Diego. Celebrate finishing the PCH at La Jolla Cove or Mission Beach.
19. The Loneliest Road
A cross-country highway known as “The Loneliest Road,” Route 50 may be found all throughout the United States. Your trip will start in Sacramento and end in Ocean City, Maryland. Known as “The Loneliest Road in America” since 1986, this route passes through sparsely populated areas and vast, desolate landscapes.
Get a friend to join you on this adventure, or set out on your own. Each one tastes great on its own. The trip takes you through the Sierra Nevada, the Appalachian, and the Rocky Mountains, the expansive farmlands of the Great Plains, and the arid landscapes of Utah.
From Sacramento, take the Pony Express to Lake Tahoe. Indulge in some R&R with a swim or a tour of the area before making the drive to Nevada on Route 66. After traveling through miles of mountains and sagebrush, you will eventually reach a red-rock region in Utah, just over the Wasatch Front.
The Rocky Mountain Continental Divide must be crossed in the direction of the East. Salida, Colorado is a good place to refuel for a road trip, so stop there for lunch and groceries before heading east into the Great Plains, where you’ll pass small towns and observe railroads and water towers.
In its journey from Kansas City to St. Louis, U.S. Route 50 crosses the Mississippi River, then continues through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Athens, Ohio, and the Hoosier National Forest. Stop at West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest on your way to Virginia and Washington, D.C. The route from the city to Ocean City, Maryland takes you past rural fishing and farming communities.
When you go to Ocean City, take some time to stroll the boardwalk, feel the sand beneath your feet, and think.
20. Skyline Drive, Virginia
Skyline Drive is 105 miles long and runs along the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The Shenandoah National Park charges $30 per car as an entrance fee.
There are several breathtaking vantage spots along the way from which to take in the panorama of mountains. The trip is at its most beautiful in the fall, when the leaves become a rainbow of colors from green to yellow to crimson.
The Most Unique Road Trips in the USA
Road tripping is one of the best ways to see everything that this big, beautiful country has to offer. And while there are plenty of well-known routes – think: Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway – there are also plenty of lesser-known road trips that are worth taking.
So, if you’re looking for a unique road trips in the USA that will take you to some of the most underrated places in the USA, here are 23 road trips in the USA to consider:
- The Loneliest Road in America – Nevada
- The Pigtail Roundabout – Wyoming
- The Million Dollar Highway – Colorado
- The Crooked Road – Virginia
- The Chaparral Trail – Texas
- Talimena National Scenic Byway – Oklahoma and Arkansas
- Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway – Oregon
- Seward Highway – Alaska
- Sonoran Desert Drive – Arizona
- Great River Road – Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri
- Overseas Highway – Florida Keys
- Hana Highway – Maui, Hawaii
- Big Sur Coast Highway One – California
- Atlantic Coast Highway – Maine
- “The Wilderness Road” through the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park – Kentucky
- “The Niagara Falls Heritage Corridor” – New York
- “WINE Country Roads” – Indiana
- “The Blues Museum Trail” – Mississippi
- “The Lewis & Clark Trail” – North Dakota
- “Michigan’s Gold Coast” – Michigan
- “Amish Country Byways” – Ohio
- “Hawaii’s Hana Highway” (actually on Maui)
- “Data scene Drive” in Silicon Valley
Road Trips in the USA: Final Thoughts
We hope you enjoyed our list of the best road trips places in the USA. Remember to pack your sense of adventure, an open mind and a full tank of gas. Now get out there and start exploring!