5 Iconic American Road Trips

Launch Map
The headwaters of the Mississippi River; the towering canopy of California's Redwoods; the windswept barrier islands of the Atlantic Coast—America is undeniably a host to priceless natural beauty, and the country's open roads are the best way to take it all in. The five plotted road trips on this map make the most of the contiguous states' northern, southern, eastern and western extremes, with strategic stops along the way. A route along the country's chief river is included too, from its humble beginnings to its Big Easy finale.
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    The most logical place to start an East Coast road trip? The region's—and the nation's—largest city. If you've never been, check off the major landmarks—Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Repeat visitors can take a jog through Central Park, go see a Broadway show or simply eat their way through the city. Driving time to Atlantic City: 2.5 hours
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    Atlantic City is the East Coast's (slightly scruffier) answer to Las Vegas. Casinos, live shows and fine dining are all backdropped by the legendary Atlantic City Boardwalk. Spend some time on the strip's thrill rides, grab some funnel cakes and hot dogs or just people-watch on the sand. Driving time to Hatteras Island: 8 hours
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    The Outer Banks are your oyster when staying on Hatteras Island, an easy gateway to Jockey's Ridge State Park, Pea Island Wildlife Refuge and the Wright Brothers memorial. Want to test your sea legs? Try your hand at surfing or kitesurfing before exploring the many lighthouses that dot the shores. Driving time to Myrtle Beach: 6 hours
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    Amusement and water parks, mini-golf, live music venues and (of course) the beach itself make Myrtle Beach a constant summer vacation favorite. Golfers will also be happy to know that the local area hosts more than 100 individual golf courses—bring your clubs! Driving time to Savannah: 4 hours
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    Savannah oozes with southern charm—think elegant architecture and dripping Spanish moss. Begin a quick city tour with the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the moss-covered Bonaventure Cemetery and Forsyth Park. Brave travelers can take ghost tours of this allegedly haunted city. Driving time to Miami: 7.25 hours
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    Sure, visit the night clubs and sleek restaurants on South Beach—but don't skip this city's outdoor attractions. The nearby Everglades National Park houses 1.5 million acres of protected wetland, with plenty of opportunities to hike, fish and kayak. Driving time to Key West: 3.75 hours
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    Like Miami, Key West is a town ready to party—and you're invited. Popular island activities include sport fishing and boat tours of the bay. Start in Dry Tortugas National Park, where you can scuba dive and snorkel near America's southernmost point, before taking a break from the sun at the Harry S. Truman Little White House, the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum and the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
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    Kick off this road trip in San Diego with some serious beach time, before checking out the famed San Diego Zoo. Naval history buffs will appreciate the USS Midway Museum, while outdoor adventurers should hit La Jolla Cove and Shores, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and Torrey Pines State Reserve. Driving time to Tucson: 6 hours
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    Frolic in 5,000 acres of canyons streams and desert in Tucson's Catalina State Park. Or try hiking, biking or horseback riding to explore this region's distinct geography. You're also on the doorstep of Sabino Canyon and Saguaro National Park—where cacti create an otherworldly skyline. Driving time Tucson to Carlsbad: 7 hours
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    Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the main attraction here. The enormous cave series claims amazing geological formations—plus a fascinating nightly migration of the local Brazilian Free-tailed bats. Driving time to Dallas: 7 hours
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    When not eating tacos and queso, spend time exploring D-town's many parks, including the city's gorgeous botanical gardens. History buffs should visit the infamous Sixth Floor Museum/Texas School Book Depository and the Dealey Plaza National Historic Landmark District, where JFK was shot. Driving time to Jackson: 6 hours
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    Pause in Jackson, Mississippi for a tour of the State Capitol, the Old Capitol Museum, the Mississippi Governor's Mansion and the Eudora Welty House, the nearly-80-year home of the author with the same name. Other points of interest include the Mississippi Museum of Art, the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum and the Alamo Theater. Driving time to Montgomery: 4 hours
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    Alabama's capital is one of the most powerful destinations in the country for history buffs. Points of interest include the Rosa Parks Museum and Library, the Civil Rights Memorial Center and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. Driving time to Savannah: 5.25 hours
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    It's not difficult to have a good time in Savannah—all you have to do is take a stroll around the Historic District to take in beautiful buildings, bustling shops and some excellent dining. Don't miss landmarks like the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, the Bonaventure Cemetery and the Pin Point Museum.
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    Start in Augusta with visits to the Maine State Museum, Old Fort Western and the Children's Discovery Museum. One of America's most popular National Parks is located just a couple hours away at Acadia National Park. Try a hike to Cadillac Mountain for an excellent view or explore the scenic Park Loop Road by car. Stop by charming Bar Harbor for a lobster lunch and a boat tour of the area. Driving time to Montpelier: 3.75 hours
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    Kick off your trip in Vermont's capital, an excellent home base for exploring New England's rugged landscape. Within a two-hour drive of town, visit the Green Mountains of Vermont as and the White Mountains of New Hampshire—both are excellent for hiking nad mountaineering. Don't leave town without stopping at the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks for some famous Vermont maple syrup. Driving time to Toronto: 7.25 hours
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    No visit to Toronto is complete without checking out the iconic CN Tower. After you get that out of the way, explore the city's diverse neighborhoods, hot food scene and hipster bars. For kids, consider visits to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, the Hockey Hall of Fame or the Royal Museum of Toronto. Driving time to Mackinaw City: 8.25 hours
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    Michigan's natural beauty is underrated, and Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island are proof. Tour the many famous lighthouses of Mackinaw City before venturing over the impressive to Mackinac Island, home to Arch Rock and plenty of pristine kayaking spots. Driving time to Duluth: 7.75 hours
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    Duluth, Minnesota has long been heralded as an outdoors person's paradise. Stretch your legs at the Downtown Lakewalk or Canal Park to get familiar with your surroundings before you venture to Park Point or Spirit Mountain. If museums or history are more your thing, dedicate some time to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center or the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. Driving time to Medora: 9 hours
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    The crown jewel of the Medora area is Theodore Roosevelt National Park, an otherworldly moonscape named for the creator of the country's National Park System. When you're not exploring the park, check out the Old Town Hall Theater for Teddy Roosevelt reenactments, ride a horse around the local landscape or pay your respects for cattle rustlers at the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Be sure to pack your golf clubs—Medora's landscape is dotted with courses. Driving time to West Glacier: 9.5 hours
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    Glacier National Park is true northern wilderness. Spend the majority of your time on the trail to Lake McDonald, Logan Pass or Grinnell Glacier. If scenic drives are your thing, Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the best routes in the entire country. Driving time to Seattle: 8.75 hours
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    Tick off Seattle's top tourist spots, including Pike Place Market, Sky View Observatory and the Museum of Flight, before snapping Instagram photos at Chihuly Garden and Glass or looking for wildlife along the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. If you're not ready for your trip to end just yet, jet out to nearby Olympic National Park.
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    The headwaters of the Mississippi River are the only logical start for this route. Itasca State Park features interactive exhibits, hiking trails, kayaking and bike riding—and this might also be the only place where you can walk across the river's gentle waters yourself. Be sure to pack your fishing pole and tackle box. Driving time to Minneapolis: 3 hours
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    The Twin Cities are an underrated culture hub. Spend time at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Mill City Museum or the Museum of Russian Art and save an evening for a show at the world-renowned Guthrie Theater. Or, explore the Land of 10,000 Lakes nearby shores, including Minnehaha Park, Lake Harriet and the Lake of the Isles. Driving time to Davenport: 5.5 hours
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    The Quad Cities is actually group of five towns straddling the Mississippi: Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa and Rock Island, Moline and East Moline in Illinois. A day exploring Davenport is your best bet. Stop at the Vander Veer Botanical Park, Figge Art Museum and Chocolate Manor, a pastry and candy shop. Need to relax? Some time spent simply watching the passing boats and barges on the riverfront is never wasted. Driving time to St. Louis: 4 hours
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    St. Louis is known as the gateway to the west—and what better way to appreciate that legacy then by peering up at (or scaling) the famous Gateway Arch. Explore the Missouri Botanical Garden, slide down a 10-story slide at the City Museum, enjoy some live music or dive into the city's Mississippi River history. Driving time to Memphis: 4.5 hours
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    You can't visit Memphis without a trip to Graceland. Take a walk around Elvis Presley's former home and get a feel for what it was like to be The King (hint: private jets and jumpsuits galore). Back in town, keep the music theme at Sun Studio, the Memphis Rock n Soul Museum or the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Hit Beale Street by night to experience the city's current live music scene. Driving time to Greenville: 2.75 hours
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    Between the urban stops of Memphis and New Orleans, you'll find the beautiful, river-minded community of Greenville. Make the most of the Mississippi here at the Greenville Cypress Preserve, and learn about local Native American history at the ancient Winterville Mounds. Add some art to the mix at EE Bass Cultural Arts Center. Driving time to New Orleans: 4.5 hours
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    The final stop on your road trip is arguably America's most unique city. Grab a Hurricane at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, the country's oldest bar, before indulging in the the French Quarter's many charms—think live music at Preservation Hall, fresh beignets at Cafe du Monde and innovative creole fare at Brennan's. Walk off all those treats by exploring Jackson Square, touring an above-ground cemetery or strolling around in New Orleans City Park.
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    Work your way north from San Diego on this ultimate Pacific Coast road trip. The perpetually dry and sunny city lends itself to lazy beach days for grown-ups, while the famed San Diego Zoo and Legoland will keep the kids occupied. Outdoor adventurers should hit La Jolla Cove and Shores, Point Loma, Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, Balboa Park and Torrey Pines State Reserve. Driving time to Big Sur: 9 hours
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    Big Sur is all about majestic views. A drive along the Pacific Coast Highway provides many of those vistas, but you'll want to explore nearby parks to really take in the scenery. Choose from Andrew Molera State Park, Pfeiffer State Park and Burns State Park. Driving time to San Francisco: 3.25 hours
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    First-timers to SF will want to hit the city's iconic attractions: Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Lombard St. Take a hit of hippie culture in Haight-Ashbury and slurp noodles and dumplings in Chinatown. But between meals and the Mission, don't forget to take a minute just to relax by the Bay. Driving time to Crescent City: 6.5 hours
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    Journey through the Redwood National and State Park by foot or vehicle to get a glimpse at some of the largest living organisms on Earth. Popular spots in Redwood National and State Park include Howland Hill Road, Crescent Beach Overlook and the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. The ancient coast redwood ecosystem preserved in the parks contains some of the most majestic forest scenery anywhere in the world. Driving time to Port Orford: 1.75 hours
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    The charming Cape Blanco Lighthouse is the reason you're here, but the Port Orford area also boasts beautiful parks, including Humbug Mountain State Park and Port Orford Heads State Park. The area is also known for being quite artsy, so allow time to visit local galleries before hitting the road. Driving time to Cannon Beach: 5.75 hours
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    Cannon Beach is all about the coastline. Head to Ecola State Park to explore the beaches all the way up to the resort town of Seaside. Then, set your sights on the scenery at Tillamook Head, Hug Point State Park and Oswald West State Park. The beach's starfish-filled tide pools are just as captivating as the hard-to-miss Haystack Rock. Driving time to Seattle: 4 hours
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    Tick off Seattle's top tourist spots along the Puget Sound like Pike Place Market, Sky View Observatory and the Museum of Flight, before snapping Instagram photos at Chihuly Garden and Glass or looking for wildlife along the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

5 Iconic American Road Trips