What comes to mind when you think about American culture? There are baseball and fireworks on the 4th of July, but it could be argued that nothing’s more American than the cross-country road trip. Traversing America’s unique landscapes and locales has been around since the early 20th century and continues to capture the passions of Americans today.
We all know about the classic road trips like Route 66 and the Pacific Coast Highway, but America’s northern half gets neglected by most road trips — until now. US Route 20 (US-20) runs an astounding 3,365 miles from Newport, Oregon to Boston, Massachusetts making it the longest highway in the U.S. If you’re ready to take on a beast of a journey let’s gear up for the US-20 road trip. We’ve included several parks, sights, and landmarks to help you get the most out this mighty road trip.
You can begin your journey at Oregon’s South Beach State Park on the Pacific Coast. South Beach offers a great starting point with plenty of camping including electrical hookups along scenic South Beach. The park features hot showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and an RV dump station. For fun, South Beach features miles of hiking and biking trails, playground, disc-golf, beachfront and on-the-water activities including guided kayak tours, and much more. Start your trip right on Oregon’s West Coast.
AddressYellowstone National Park, WY 82190, USA
Though two separate parks, we’ve included Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park together due to their proximity on this 3,500-mile road trip. Yellowstone is America’s most famous national park and is filled with dozens of miles of trails, wildlife you’re not going to spot anywhere else, geologic features like geysers and pools, long rolling meadows filled with wildflowers, and nearly 3,500 square miles of space to explore. You can spend a half day to a couple of weeks at Yellowstone depending on how much you want to see. After you’re done with Yellowstone, you can drive to the nearby jagged peaks of Grand Teton National Park and the outdoor adventure it offers. Yellowstone is a must for all road-trippers at least once.
AddressBoise River Greenbelt, Boise, ID, USA
Boise is an outdoors paradise and shows off its natural beauty on the Boise River Greenbelt. The Boise Parks and Recreation Department has worked hard over the past several years to make this 25-mile stretch of waterway one of the most picturesque in the region. What was once a runoff river is now lined with beautiful trees, walking and bike paths, wildlife viewing areas, and wetlands. Walk as little or as much as the Greenway as you’d like for different sights and animals.
Travel Tip: You can rent electrically-powered e-bikes to explore the Greenbelt if you didn’t pack your bicycle.
Fort Robinson State Park is highlighted by the Fort Robinson Museum and History Center, but there’s much more to the park than Old West history. This 22,000-acre park and historic preservation site feature outdoor activities, history, or a great place to have a pleasant picnic after being cramped on the road. Though overlooked by most roadtrippers, Nebraska and Fort Robinson State Park offer camping for you and your ride, fishing, horseback riding, miles of hiking and biking trails, scenic overlooks, a playground, swimming, and much more. Fort Robinson is the perfect respite while motoring through the Great Plains.
Travel Tip: World-class theater at a state park? With Fort Robinson — you bet. Try to line up your calendar when shows are on at the Post Playhouse.
Route 66 has the colorful cars of Cadillac Ranch, but US-20 offers another bizarre twist on ‘car-art’ with Carhenge. As the name implies, Carhenge is a quirky roadside attraction where several cars have been painted and stacked to resemble England’s famous Stonehenge. The monument to motoring was built in 1987 by Jim Reinders to honor his late father. Reinders studied Stonehenge while traveling in England to replicate the structure with 38 vehicles forming an almost 100-foot circle. In 2017 Carhenge harkened to its ancient mystical roots when a total eclipse passed over the site. There is a secondary exhibit at Carhenge where stoppers-by can paint their mark on the vehicles.
AddressMillennium Park, Chicago, IL, USA
Get your picture in the bean and see the hustle, bustle, and beauty of the Windy City by visiting Chicago’s Millennium Park. Millennium Park is both park and museum as the park is operated by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs. The 24.5 square-mile urban sanctuary features prominent artworks and features like Lurie Garden, Crown Fountain, and Cloud Gate, more popularly known as "The Bean." Because Millennium Park sits on top of a parking structure, it’s considered the world’s largest rooftop garden. Millennium Park gives you a truly unique urban experience.
Travel Tip: It’s challenging to navigate a large RV through the streets of Chicago and is not suggested. Try to stay in a park on the outskirts of the city with public transportation stops or complimentary shuttles into the city.
AddressCedar Point, Sandusky, OH 44870, USA
The United States is filled with amusement parks, but few can hold a candle to Cedar Point Amusement Park. Cedar Point offers everything for the whole family from easy rides and attractions for the little ones to some of the world’s best rollercoasters for adrenaline jockeys. Cedar Point bills itself as the "Rollercoaster Capital of the World," and considering they have six separate coasters above 200 feet tall and 17 coasters in total — it’s hard to refute that claim. Explore 350 acres of thrill rides, indoor water parks, outdoor water parks, live entertainment, dining, and more with a visit to Sandusky and Cedar Point Amusement Park.
Travel Tip: If you’re RVing to Cedar Point you can camp adjacent to the park at Cedar Point owned Lighthouse Point Campground. Cedar Point traditionally operates between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
There’s plenty to do in Cleveland, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is undoubtedly the jewel of a city known as the Rock and Roll Capital of the World. Officially opened in 1985 The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame features seven levels showcasing the history of rock and roll in the country and around the world. You can stand just a few inches from some of the most iconic items in rock history including instruments and memorabilia from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley. You can explore a feature honoring the impact of one-hit wonders, and even learn about what it takes to record a number one song. All music lovers need to visit the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Travel Tip: Avoid a trip to the Hall if the Cleveland Browns are playing at home. The massive NFL crowds want to see the Hall too and will choke out a pleasant experience.
If you’re attempting a 3,300-mile road trip - you’ll likely be using an RV. What better way than to honor your ride by visiting the RV and Motorhome Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. If the town of Elkhart sounds familiar, it’s because chances are good your RV was built there. The 100,000 square foot museum and facility illustrates the history of traveling by RV and reflects on the history of built-it-yourself RV trailer kits, early giants in the industry like Airstream and Winnebago, and some of the more bizarre RVs to hit the market. You can check out the oldest Winnebago, the smallest Airstream, or spend your time learning about innovations throughout the years.
You don’t have to choose between visiting gardens or a zoo when you visit Erie as this Pennsylvania town has rolled them into one highly-rated venue. Stroll through the different exhibits and gaze at both animals from across the world and plants and flowers arranged in gorgeous patterns. Exhibits at the Zoo and Gardens include a children’s zoo, the Michele Ridge Rose Garden, a tropical greenhouse, and more. Popular animal exhibits feature African lions, river otters, alligators, and more to get everyone excited. Between the exhibits, you can set the kids loose on the many rides that dot the park.
Travel Tip: Erie Zoo isn’t huge so take your time walking across the park. You can bring your lunch and eat it at Glenwood Park for a break in your day.
No stop through upstate New York would be complete without a visit to the museum honoring America’s beloved pastime. Stand in the shoes of the baseball’s greatest sluggers and view items that are forever etched into Americana like the gloves Ricky Henderson wore when he swiped his 939th base or a baseball that was smacked more than 500 feet by Babe Ruth. The Hall is filled with exhibitions surrounding the game including Baseball at the Movies that reflects on baseball’s role on the silver screen or the Sandlot Kids Clubhouse that lets your little ones blow off some steam. Of course, you can’t visit the Hall without honoring the greatest names to ever play the game by visiting their plagues.
Travel Tip: Cooperstown is right next to fun on the water at Otsego Lake. This major league lake offers kayaking, on the boat tours, and fishing. Get all you can out of Cooperstown by visiting the Hall and the Lake.
Our long road trip ends in Boston on the city’s famous Freedom Trail. First established in 1630, Boston is filled with history on our founding fathers and the founding of our country. The Freedom Trail directs you through downtown Boston on a 16-stop, 2.5-mile historical walk. The stops feature significant moments and places in America’s history including Park Street Church, the site of the Boston Massacre, the Paul Revere House, and Old North Church. Stop by the National Parks operated visitor center in Faneuil Hall to grab a map of the trail or start a guided tour. You can live history as America’s founding fathers did by walking this historic trail.
Travel Tip: Want to keep going? Keep driving past Boston out to gorgeous Cape Cod, home of the freshest North Atlantic seafood in the U.S.
From parks to museums, and roadside attractions, the US-20 road trip offers fun for the whole family. Want more good news? Our list is only a fraction of the attractions found along this coast-to-coast route. Use our stops to start but feel free to put your stops in between to make the journey as long as you need it to be. Happy travels and enjoy what the northern U.S. and US-20 have to offer.