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8 Great Road Trips in the USA

With 4.18 million miles of roads in the United States, there’s a whole lot of room for adventure. And ever since the genesis of the automobile, Americans (and people from around the world) have been hitting U.S. highways in search of the most beautiful places, the most interesting people and the weirdest tourist traps.

Looking to take a great American road trip this year? There’s an amazing variety of ways to do that, from sun-soaked beaches to windswept wilderness and everything in between. Here are eight U.S. road trips that you’ve gotta experience to believe. (Make sure to note and obey all state and local safety precautions related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including a self-quarantine if necessary.)

Source: EpicStockMedia/Shutterstock 

  1. Pacific Coast Highway 
  • Start: Los Angeles, CA
  • End: San Francisco, CA
  • Distance: 484 miles 

Cue up a Beach Boys track on your stereo (or your motorcycle helmet speakers) for this gorgeous drive through some of America’s most iconic coastal landscapes. You’ll see jagged cliffs, beautiful beaches, frothing waves—and many, many taquerias, most of which are worth stopping at. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that the start and end points are two of America’s most fascinating cities: the glitzy and glamorous LA and the hip and tech-obsessed San Francisco. 

  1. Southeast Coast
  • Start: Ocean City, MD
  • End: Savannah, GA
  • Distance: 670 miles

The Southeastern coast offers warm weather, beautiful landscapes and historical sites aplenty (even if some of that history isn’t pleasant). Starting in coastal Maryland, you’ll head down the Eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay and then wind your way through the North Carolina Tidewater and beyond. This route includes stops in beautiful historic coastal cities like Wilmington, NC and Charleston, SC before finally reaching the Southern Gothic charm of Savannah, GA. And if you’re here to party, Myrtle Beach is calling your name.

  1. Vermont Route 100
  • Start: Wilmington, VT
  • End: Newport, VT
  • Distance: 182 miles

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the beauty and character of New England, Route 100 is a drive unlike any other. This Vermont highway runs from the Massachusetts border all the way up to the Canadian border, so you’ll get an eye-poppingly gorgeous cross-section of some of America’s most beautiful country. Allocate plenty of time for stops along the way. There are all kinds of cute country stores and restaurants you’ll want to check out, not to mention the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury! 

  1. I-95 Mega-Trip
  • Start: Miami, FL
  • End: New York, NY
  • Distance: 1,277 miles

Ready to go big for your road trip? Try this trek up I-95 South Florida to the Big Apple (or vice versa), which will take you through a ton of iconic East Coast locations and offers many options for things to do. The historic attractions of Washington, DC, the majesty of the Kennedy Space Center, the primeval forests and swamps of the Deep South—it’s all on this route, and it will give you a new appreciation for life in the United States. Motorcyclists should make sure to pack a motorcycle intercom for easy communication, as traffic can be more of a problem on this route than others, making it easy to get separated.

Source: Anna Om/Shutterstock 

  1. Florida Keys
  • Start: Key Largo, FL
  • End: Key West, FL
  • Distance: 112 miles

Florida’s Overseas Highway runs slightly over 100 miles through the series of small islands known as the Florida Keys. These are the lands that have inspired everything from the music of Jimmy Buffet to the writing of Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway, and you’ll find that it’s just about impossible not to get swept up in the magic. Keep an eye out for the dainty key deer, North America’s smallest deer species. They’re cute and friendly, but they’re also endangered so drive carefully.

  1. Southwest Sun Run 
  • Start: Santa Fe, NM
  • End: Los Angeles, CA
  • Distance: 848 miles

The American Southwest is a truly wild and impressive landscape, and this road trip will take you through some of its most incredible scenery. Running from New Mexico through Arizona and finally into Southern California, this route is guaranteed to make you wonder if Clint Eastwood is going to show up in a cowboy hat around the next turn. Plus, Grand Canyon National Park is just a short way off the route, so make sure to check that one off the bucket list if you haven’t yet. 

  1. Route 66
  • Start: Chicago, IL
  • End: Santa Monica, CA
  • Distance: 2,139 miles

You didn’t think we’d have an article about road trips without Route 66, did you? Although the famous road itself has since been carved up into other roads, its route still remains, and many people consider it the king-daddy of U.S. road trips. At well over 2,000 miles, this trip is not for the faint of heart or the time-crunched, but it’s well worth it for the amazing journey through the American landscape that it provides. From the Midwest to the Southwest and into the West Coast, you’ll see one painting-worthy scene after another, and many of the classic Route 66 tourist traps—such as the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX—are still alive and kicking. 

  1. Idaho Adventure
  • Start: Twin Falls, ID
  • End: Coeur d’Alene, ID
  • Distance: 584 miles

If you’re looking for a unique road trip that will be the envy of your social media feed, Idaho is it. This road trip, which takes you from southern Idaho nearly up to the Canadian border, is packed with incredible sights that most Americans have never even heard of. Enjoy the majesty of the Snake River’s million-year run through Hells Canyon, the higher-than-Niagara plunge of Shoshone Falls and the vast and ancient Payette National Forest. Opportunities abound for adventures of all kinds, from epic hikes to hair-raising whitewater rafting. 

Source: Flamingo Images/Shutterstock

If you find exploring to be one of life’s great pleasures, each one of these U.S. road trips will offer you something unique and awesome. Remember to be safe, take your time and obey speed limits. Nothing ruins a road trip faster than a speeding ticket!

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