Skip to Content

Best Road Trips in the US to Experience

Route 66 is one of the best road trips in the US.
Route 66 (photo: Karlis Dambrans)

If you're a keen traveler, retired, taking a gap year, or just feeling adventurous, this summer is the perfect time for one of the best road trips in the US.

And you don't have to travel far, as the United States has a well-developed highway system that can help you get to any and every state.

Highways are also a great place to see some of the country's untouched scenery, including mountains, deserts, forests, and historic buildings.

If you're from the United Kingdom, Australia, or any of the other countries on the US Visa Waiver Program, and planning to visit, then remember to apply for an ESTA as applications, as it can take a long time to be processed.

Without one, you can be denied entry.

Top 5 Road Trips

Route 66

This highway takes those who choose to travel on it from Illinois to California.

It is without a doubt, the best-known route, and is on most road trippers' bucket lists.

You can also start and end in various places.

For example, if you start in Albuquerque, where you can still spot a neon Route 66 sign downtown, you can then drive through the Cibola National Forest until you reach Tijeras and the singing road.

If you continue to Moriarty, you'll be able to see more Route 66 relics.

Overseas Highway, Florida

Route 1 from Key Largo to Key West is a great route to take, although the first part of this highway from the Florida mainland to Key Largo may seem a little dull.

However, if you continue on this route from Key Largo through Islamorada to the terminus of Route 1 in Key West, you'll be rewarded with a turquoise sea.

You'll get to cross the 7-Mile Bridge and find secluded islands, shipwrecks, and if you're into fishing, some of the best fishing spots in the Caribbean.

Plus, there's the chance to see turtles, dolphins, and North America's smallest species of deer.

Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Coast Highway (photo: jcookfisher)

Pacific Coast Highway, Route 1

Another of the best road trips in the US is Route 1 — you'll travel through California, Oregon, and Washington.

The ride from Santa Barbara to the Canadian border provides incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and coastal mountains.

Although the Pacific Coast Highway has 123 official miles, Route 1 is much longer and offers more for road trippers.

The 17-mile drive runs across California's Monterey Peninsula from Pacific Grove to Carmel, while passing through the famous Pebble Beach golf course.

Boston To Seattle Via I-90

This summer, if you want to see a large part of America, take an epic journey from coast to coast.

If you do want to travel across this vast country, take the long route I-90, which connects Boston to Seattle, also the longest interstate in the US.

You'll pass through 13 different states.

Some drivers have been able to do this route in about six days, but if you want to appreciate each state, take your time, and make detours.

Route 12 in Utah
Route 12 in Utah (photo: Ian Bruce)

Route 12 in Utah

This road is also known as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, as it runs from Capitol Reef National Park to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah.

The route goes on for 124 miles, and road trippers get to experience forested mountains as well as the mountains in Boulder.

The road also begins to follow a narrow ridge along the red canyons of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

While we focused on some of the most popular routes in the US, a lot depends on where you want to travel.

No matter which one of the best road trips in the US you decide to take, remember to research what you'll find before you set off.

You wouldn't want to miss any sights along the way!

________

This story was brought to you in partnership with ESTA.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends: