Heading out into your own backyard or planning a long road trip across the U.S.? If you're old school and would prefer a physical map over relying on your phone (and let's face it, data will be spotty across huge parts of the United States), this is the article for you. You'll find resources for fun and interesting maps of the United States, as well as which maps and atlases we recommend buying for a trip across the country.
Resources for Maps of the United States
U.S. City Maps: City Data contains thousands of United States city maps with local resident statistics, user-submitted facts, similar cities lists, top 100 cities summary (sorted by criteria, such as most females, among others), and weather forecasts.
Eisenhower Interstate System: Here you'll find details on the 65,000 miles of U.S. international highways and the story behind the nation's highway infrastructure, which was initially developed for military use.
National Highway System: Not to be confused with the Eisenhower Interstate System, the NHS focuses on connecting transport modules: major freeways and two lane roads with train stations, bus and ferry terminals, airports, and more.
US Topographical Maps: Topographical maps of the United States. Here you'll find Delorme gazetteers, National Geographic trail topographical maps and USGS topographical maps for traveling in the U.S. back country.
Essential if you're hoping to hike your way off the beaten track!
Maps Full of Useful Information
Weather Maps from the Weather Channel are useful for planning the day ahead of you. On the site, you'll find tons of weather forecasts for every scenario: travel forecasts, a driving forecast, an interstate forecast, rush hour information, events forecast, storm watches, and more.
It's definitely worth taking a detailed look at the weather maps here, especially if there's an activity you really want to coincide with a sunny day.
U.S. Time Zone Map: Planning a trip and want to check out whether you'll be crossing any time zones? World Time Zone has a map of the United States to show you what time it is where.
Buy U.S. Maps and Guidebooks
Lonely Planet's Road Trip Route 66 (2015): Ah, the world-famous Route 66 is a road worth driving, if only to soak up the history and marvel at the roadside attractions. Lonely Planet's guide to the route is one of the best.
The Most Scenic Drives in America (2012): The best part of a road trip is stopping to admire the beauty of the country you're traveling through, so why not base your trip around the prettiest drives in the U.S.?
The New Roadside America: Okay, so this was published in 1992, so is far from being up-to-date, but is definitely worth a read if you're planning a wacky road trip across the United States. Full of fun Americana stops and oddities, you'll only need a quick google to find out if the attractions are still standing (most likely they are.)
Buy U.S. Road Atlases
When it comes to road atlases of the United States, there are plenty to choose from.
Here are some of the top-rated ones you can buy:
Rand McNally USA 2017 Large Scale Road Atlas: Rand McNally is the ultimate in road atlases -- if you're looking for a road atlas of the United States, you can't go wrong with this.
Basic Rand McNally US / Canada / Mexico Road Atlas: If you're planning on heading further afield, this road atlas covering the United States, Canada, and Mexico is the one for you.
Michelin North America Road Map Atlas 2017: An alternative road atlas for North America is this one from Michelin. Containing GPS co-ordinates of anywhere you could possibly want to go, this is perfect for us with a GPS or your phone.
Buy U.S. Maps for Decorative Purposes
Let's face it: maps really do look super-cool, and what better way to show your appreciation of a place than to hang a map of it on your wall?
Here are some great options for your room:
United States Classic Map (National Geographic Reference Map): This is one of my favorite maps of the United States, from National Geographic. It's super-detailed, super-large (6x4 feet), and super-beautiful! It would be great for buying some colored pins to mark off where you've visited in the country so far.
United States Explorer Wall Map - Laminated (U.S. Map) (National Geographic Reference Map): Another beautiful option from National Geographic, it's similar to the previous one, but has colored states to see them a little more easily.
Rand McNally Classic United States Wall Map: Rand McNally offers a wall map in addition to their atlases, and I love the colors they've opted to use for the states in this one.
This article was edited by Lauren Juliff.