BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
It’s not deciding to go on a road trip that’s the hard part, that’s obvious; it’s choosing which is the best road trip. Do you want to drive through cities and go bar hopping and shop in the best malls in America? Do you want to see mountains and wildlife and go camping? Do you want your route to be nothing but the open desert roads with only rest stops along the way? Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a road trip in America that will fulfill all of your needs.
Actually, there’s probably more than one. You could pretty much choose any state you’ve wanted to see and start there, or choose a famous spot you’ve been day dreaming about for years, or you can choose a famous road trip that thousands have been on and fell in love with. To help make your choice we’ve narrowed it down to some of the best road trips in America.
These are the five best road trips in the USA:
Pacific Coast Highway
This is definitely one of the most famous highways in the world and it’s for good reason. The scenic route stretches from California’s northern border with Oregon and goes all the way down to San Diego. Cruising down Highway 1 means hours of ocean views, stunning bluffs and California sunshine…you can’t really go wrong with this one. With a total of 1,060 km of road, it’s the longest state route in California and has plenty of attractions for you to stop off along the way.
Best stops? The Golden Gate Park in San Fransisco; Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk; Bixby Bridge in Big Sur; Elephant Seal Rookery at San Piedras Beach in San Simeon; Santa Barbara Zoo; Topanga Canyon in Malibu; Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles; Monterey Bay Aquarium; and drive though Legget’s 276 ft. drive-thru redwood tree.
This route goes from Miami to the southernmost point in Continental USA, Key West. This tropical road trip will be like a road trip through paradise. The trip is only 270 km so can be done quickly, but why not stretch the trip out into a longer journey? There’s definitely enough stops along the way to make this road trip worthwhile.
Best stops? John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo; drive down the Seven Mile Bridge; go bar hopping and eat fresh seafood on Key West’s Duval Street; watch a sunset in Mallory Square; Ernest Hemingway’s house; Key West Aquarium; and check out the Southernmost point buoy.
This iconic road trip is a long one with lots to see. Spanning over 3,950 km this route will take you from Chicago, Illinois through St. Louis, Missouri, to Oklahoma City to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to the Grand Canyon in Arizona and will end up in Santa Monica, California. This is a historic highway that will offer you desert towns, booming cities and natural wonders of the world.
Best stops? Wrigley Field; Cloud Gate in Chicago; the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; ride a riverboat in St. Louis; Oklahoma’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum; Frontier Park; museums and all the historic spots in Santa Fe; take photos and experience all of the beauty of the Grand Canyon; and walk down Santa Monica Pier.
This National Scenic Byways highway stretches from southwest Montana to northwest Wyoming and leads into Yellowstone National Park. This is the perfect road trip to see natural wildlife as the highway leads you through National Forest and National Wilderness boundaries. This is the perfect road trip for you if you’re looking for a natural experience as there are some rest spots but only one commercial property. Prepare for cold weather at night if you take on this trip.
Best for? Along with the views and wildlife of the highway itself, it also connects you to these famous spots. The Chief Joseph Scenic Byway: the most famous stretch of the adjoining highways as it’s the most scenic; drive down Buffalo Bin Cody Scenic Byway: famous for lots of wildlife, natural rock formations and tiny mountain communities; and don’t forget about Montana Scenic route, which is a 644 km loop known for going though four National Forests, 15 of Montana’s rural communities and to Glacier National Park.
Blue Ridge Parkway
This is a high-altitude drive stretching from Virginia to North Carolina. This 750 km drive takes you through the mountains and offers some of the best scenic views and historical stops. This road trip is best taken in the fall to get the full beauty of the Autumn foliage along the road.
Best for? Wine tasting in Afton; hike the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the fall colours and waterfalls; downtown Roanoke shopping; stop to smell the flowers at Craggy Gardens; take photos and enjoy the Humpback Rocks; buy something at the historic 200-year old Mast General Store; and stop in the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.