The Best Road Trips in the US

Road By Sea Against Sky
Melanie Hobson / EyeEm / Getty Images

There’s just something about road trips that make you feel alive. Packing up the car and hitting the road, rolling the windows down and letting the warm air in, cranking up the music as you watch the changing landscape, not to mention the excitement of not knowing exactly what’s going to happen along the way. Whether you're looking for jaw-dropping scenery, historical routes, or a drive through the country's music cities, there's a U.S. road trip perfect for you.

01 of 10

National Parks & Highway 12 (Salt Lake City to Grand Canyon)

Zion National Park

TripSavvy / Vince Fergus

Heading southbound from Salt Lake City, Utah will take you to a playground of gorgeous national parks stretching to neighboring Arizona. Highway 12 Scenic Byway, a 122.9-mile route that’s regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, is a designated “All-American Road” that runs from Capitol Reef to Bryce Canyon National Parks. You’ll enjoy breathtaking views of desert red rock and alpine forest.

Make a stop at Anasazi State Park and the Anasazi ruins (dating back to 1050 A.D.) in Boulder, Utah before enjoying a meal at James Beard-nominated Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm. Continue on to the incredible Grand Staircase-Escalante before retiring to Yonder Escalante, a new lodging and campground experience. Wake up refreshed and ready to continue, with visits to Bryce and Zion National Parks, before finishing at the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

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02 of 10

The Blues Highway (Nashville to New Orleans)

Jazz Band in a public square of New Orleans

TripSavvy / Violet Smirnov

Skip the crowds on U.S. Route 66 and jump aboard Highway 61, better known as “The Blues Highway.” Recognized as the famous road written about by dozens of blues artists, road trippers will travel through a piece of history and enjoy all sorts of scenic views.

Cruise through some of the country’s storied music spots, starting in Nashville, home to country music’s most famous stage and the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum. Continue on to Memphis where Elvis Presley fans can fully immerse themselves in the King of Rock n Roll’s life. Enjoy southern hospitality and royal treatment with a stay at The Guest House at Graceland before heading on to Mississippi and finally New Orleans, where the French Quarter has long inspired musicians, writers, and artists.

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03 of 10

Pacific Coast Highway (California)

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur

TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is one of the best known coastal drives in the country, stretching along most of California’s coast. Starting in Dana Point, California this road trip will take travelers to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, and San Francisco past stunning cliffs, the iconic Hearst Castle, and redwood forests. A hike down Fern Canyon, where "Jurassic Park: Lost World," is a must. Rest up with an overnight at the Palihouse Santa Monica to experience the Cali-cool lifestyle of L.A., and finish your road trip with a luxurious stay at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn near California wine country.

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04 of 10

Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (Oregon)

Man looking at view, Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach, Oregon, USA.
Francesco Vaninetti Photo / Getty Images

Oregon offers an alternative to the PCH that's just as jaw-dropping as the famous California drive. Starting in Astoria, you'll travel down the Oregon coast for 363 miles before ending near Brookings. Along the way, you'll pass by endless options for sand and surf, including Cannon Beach and Whaleshead Beach. Take some time to hike through less-crowded state parks, like Cape Lookout and Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor, and walk under the world’s largest eucalyptus tree (at almost 70 feet tall) along Myrtle TreeTrail.

Camping grounds with beachfront views and RV parks are available for booking, and for those looking to spend the night at a hotel, Best Western Plus Agate Beach Inn in Newport, Oregon, is a pet-friendly option with views of the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

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05 of 10

Highway that Goes to Sea (Florida)

Downtown Key West with souvenir shops

 TripSavvy / Taylor McIntyre

Road trip through the state of Florida to experience picturesque views of pristine beaches, sunsets, and palm trees as you pass through charming cities and end at one of the most scenic drives in the nation. Begin with some golf in St. Petersburg at the historic Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club before heading south to Cape Coral where you can swim in the Gulf of Mexico. Continue on to Fort Lauderdale for picturesque sunsets with an overnight at the oceanfront Atlantic Hotel & Spa, then on through the swaying coconut palms of Islamorada. Finally, drive across the Overseas Highway and the crystal clear waters of the Florida Keys, ending in Key West with a stay at Casa Marina.

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06 of 10

Blue Ridge Parkway (West Virginia to Tennessee)

Morning light over viaduct, Blue Ridge Parkway
aheflin / Getty Images

The Blue Ridge Parkway, beginning in Shenandoah National Park and ending in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has countless winding roads and stunning scenery that keeps the ride interesting. Some must-do activities include hiking up Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi and a visit to the Biltmore Estate, the family home of George and Edith Vanderbilt. A trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway is not complete without a ride on the “Tail of the Dragon” at Deals Gap, adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains. 11 miles long with 318 curves, it’s a popular and challenging motorcycle destination. Spend a night in Asheville, North Carolina, known for its food and craft brew scene, with a stay at The Foundry Hotel before finishing your ride in Tennessee.

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07 of 10

Adirondacks (NYC to The Finger Lakes)

Marina on Lake Cayuga
haveseen / Getty Images

A trip to the Adirondacks is one for the adventurer. Covering 6 million acres the world is your oyster when it comes to the outdoors and there's no shortage of hiking and biking trails as well as intimate villages and historical sites. There are numerous vineyards with tasting rooms in the Finger Lakes wine region, including Heart & Hands Wine. After a peaceful, scenic drive through New York state’s rolling hills, travelers will enter the quaint village of Aurora and feel at ease with the calming waters of Cayuga Lake and pristinely restored historic homes that make up the lakeside luxury boutique resort at the Inns of Aurora.

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08 of 10

Ohio’s Amish Country Byway (Ohio)

Horse in field in Amish Country, Ohio
Sarfraz Abbasi / Getty Images

The Amish Country Byway in Ohio boasts views of natural landscape along winding curves and rolling hills making it one of the most beautiful backdrops for a road trip. This charming country byway will offer a great selection of Amish country cooking, old-world artisan shops, and historic sites detailing the history of Amish and German people. If you’re feeling adventurous, get out and explore the Mohican-Memorial State Forest for a few hours. For an unforgettable overnight stay, check out The Mohicans Treehouse Resort just a short drive away in quaint Glenmont, Ohio.

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09 of 10

Black to Yellow Route (Wyoming)

Colourful Sunset On Devils Tower
Philippe Widling / Design Pics / Getty Images

The Black to Yellow Route—which starts on I-90 traveling from Wyoming’s Black Hills in the northeastern corner to Yellowstone National Park in the northwest portion of the state—allows travelers to see the nation’s first national monument and first national park while enjoying charming towns and scenic byways along the way. Stopover in Sheridan, a beautiful small town filled with western history (including The Mint Bar, which was built in 1907 and became a famous cowboy bar) and a growing brewery and distillery scene. Stay at the historic Sheridan Inn, where each of room reflects the life and times of Buffalo Bill Cody.

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10 of 10

Natchez Trace Parkway (Mississippi to Tennessee)

Countryside view from the Natchez Trace parkway in Tennessee, USA.
deebrowning / Getty Images

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile-long stretch that winds up from Mississippi, through Alabama, and ends right in Davidson, Colorado just west of Nashville. Along the way, explore the many waterfalls including Fall Hollow Waterfall and Jackson Falls, where you can stretch your legs and go for a cool swim. Quaint towns like Leiper’s Fork offer unique galleries and artisanal boutiques. A stop at the Loveless Café on milepost 444 is a must—this former roadside motel serves fluffy biscuits, pies, and iconic Southern cooking. There are also more than a dozen campgrounds and ample opportunitiy for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

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