10 Most Epic Road Trips in the United States

Epic road trips in the united state

America is made for epic road trips. With endless miles of open road, incredible scenery, and attractions around every bend, a great American road trip adventure promises beautiful landscapes, fun pit stops, and lasting memories.

Whether you want to cruise along the coast, traverse mountain ranges, or meander through heartland highways.

These are epic road trips in the States

Pacific Coast Highway, California

The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the world’s most famous epic road trips, winding along the Central and Southern California coast for 655 stunning miles.

This National Scenic Byway and All-American Road passes right along the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean for most of its length. You’ll drive over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge heading out of San Francisco, cruise along Big Sur’s epic cliffs and sea views, drive through vibrant beach towns like Santa Barbara, and finally hit swanky Malibu and Los Angeles as you head south.

Stops like Monterey, Carmel, Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach, and Laguna Beach will impress along the way. Set aside 5-7 days to drive the entire route and take detours.

Route 66

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Driving the Mother Road east to west is the quintessential American epic road trips. This nostalgic route from Chicago to Los Angeles covers over 2,400 miles across eight states and three time zones.

Hit historical stops like the Cadillac Ranch art installation in Texas, the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, and the Santa Monica Pier, the western terminus point. Stay at retro motels, eat at classic diners, and take kitschy photo ops.

This trip takes 10-14 days, not counting side trips to attractions like the Grand Canyon. Be sure to drive sections like Arizona’s Historic Route 66.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia & North Carolina

Road trip In the USA
10 Most Epic Road Trips in the United States 1

Wind through the ancient Appalachian Mountains on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a national parkway 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina.

This scenic drive has plenty of overlooks to admire the peaks, rolling green valleys, and lush forests that make these mountains famous. Stop at iconic sites like Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock and small towns like Boone and Asheville.

Take several days to drive the parkway and explore side roads like Skyline Drive in Virginia. The best times to visit are spring through fall when the parkway is fully open.

Overseas Highway, Florida Keys

Make this scenic drive across 42 bridges linking the Florida Keys for fantastic ocean views. The 113-mile Overseas Highway runs from Key Largo down to Key West, the southernmost point in the continental U.S.

This trip includes pass-through views of emerald Islamorada waters and drives right through Bahia Honda State Park, known for its postcard-perfect white sand beaches. Stop to swim, snorkel, kayak, fish, or relax at a beachside bar.

Allow 3-4 days for this road trip, spending time in Key West before returning. The Keys are stunning year-round, but the most ideal is October through April.

Pacific Northwest Road Trip

A Pacific Northwest road trip is the perfect way to experience the region’s natural beauty and incredible, cultured cities. Most routes start in Seattle, Washington, and end in Portland, Oregon.

Take advantage of seeing iconic Mount Rainier, exploring the artsy small towns around Puget Sound, and hiking through lush forests and coastlines. Check out the hip scenes in Portland and Seattle before venturing out. Other highlights include Mount St. Helens Volcanic Monument and Columbia River Gorge.

You can drive this route in 5 days, but two weeks allows for a deeper exploration of side trips, like seeing the Olympic National Park. Go in summer for the best hiking weather.

Highway 1, Big Sur Coast, California

While the entire Pacific Coast Highway is epic road trips, the 90-mile stretch through Big Sur is considered one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world.

The road is carved out of cliffs towering high over the ocean below. You’ll cross the photogenic Bixby Creek Bridge and drive around Carmel-by-the-Sea’s posh resort area. Be sure to leave time to hike and enjoy ocean views at magical spots like Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Driving the entire Big Sur portion of Highway 1 takes about 1.5 days but extend your trip to go hiking and enjoy all the scenic viewpoints. Summer and fall are ideal times to visit.

Great River Road

Follow the Mississippi River for over 3,000 miles of history and culture. This National Scenic Byway connects ten states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

You can drive chunks of this route. Highlights include exploring origins in Itasca State Park, MN, the river-bluff views around La Crosse, WI, small towns like Hannibal, MO, blues, and barbecue around Memphis, and breezy balconies of Natchez, MS.

Over 100 recognized attractions, like museums, historic towns, and archaeological sites, line the route. You’ll find winding country backroads, quaint main streets, and endless river views.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park

This engineering marvel in northwest Montana spans 50 miles through the wild Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide over Logan Pass at 6,646 feet elevation.

The aptly named Going-to-the-Sun Road offers jaw-dropping scenery around every turn. Drive past crystalline lakes, waterfalls, and towering peaks, and watch for wildlife like mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and bears.

While scenic at any time, aim to travel between June to October when the whole route is open. Plan to spend 1-2 days driving and admiring the stunning high-altitude views.

Utah’s National Parks

Utah is an outdoor wonderland, boasting 5 National Parks and a landscape of red rocks, slot canyons, natural bridges, and arches.

A road trip here will immerse you in the colourful Southwest. Explore parks like ArchesCanyonlandsZion, and Bryce Canyon. Stand beneath Monument Valley’s iconic red rock spires and hike through Capitol Reef’s hanging gardens.

You need 5-7 days to see all five parks. Late spring and fall bring cooler temperatures for exploring the rugged terrain on foot.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Wind along rocky Atlantic coastlines in Down East Maine as you explore Acadia National Park. Drive along scenic Park Loop Road with stunning ocean outlooks. Tour the rugged shoreline, stopping to hike and picnic by the sea.

Nearby, walk the quaint streets and harbours of Bar Harbor before venturing to Acadia’s more remote hiking trails and wave-swept beaches. Take your time driving to Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the U.S. Atlantic coast, for sunrise or sunset views.

A long weekend gives you time to see highlights, but plan 5-7 days to explore the region thoroughly. Visit between May and October to have access to all sites and trails.

Start Planning Your Epic Road Trips in American Now

Cross-country road trips provide an excellent way to see the diversity of the United States. From coastlines to mountains, small towns to big cities, a road trip lets you control the pace and explorations. For a memorable vacation, choose one of these incredible routes.

Pack your car, queue up your playlists, and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!

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