The Best Road Trips In The US

From iconic natural wonders to vibrant cities and historic towns, an american road trip is a rewarding and memorable experience.

There is something special about hitting the open road and exploring at your own pace. It is one of our favorite ways to travel. From 1 week to 4 weeks or more, there are so many options for a USA road trip!

So whether you are searching for the best scenic drives in USA, the best national park road trips or simply looking for USA road trip ideas to add to your bucket list, you are sure to find some great road trip destinations in our list of the best road trips in the US.

How To Plan The Great American Road Trip

With so many great american road trips to choose from, it can be hard to decide which is the best one to plan! Here are some factors to consider when comparing the best places for road trips in USA.

Time of Year 

The US is a big place, which means some american road trip routes will be better than others depending on the time of year.

Looking for the best winter road trips in the USA? Take a look at the southwest and southeast road trips. 

If you are hoping to travel in the fall, take a look at our best Northeast road trips for spectacular foliage.

Looking for the best summer road trips? Well, you are spoilt for choice, with many states across the country perfect at this time of year. 

Interests

When deciding where to go for the ultimate road trip, it is a good idea to consider the types of things you like to do.

Do you like being outdoors and exploring National Parks? If so, renting an RV and hitting the road with one of the best RV road trips on our list is a great choice. You will need this book to plan your hikes – very detailed and helpful as mobile reception is not reliable in many of the parks.

If you love history and small towns, the US has great historical road trips (like Route 66) to choose from. A themed road trip is a great way to explore the country.

The best road trip routes will be different for everybody, so consider what you love and plan your US road trip around that.

Click here to compare US RV rental prices

car driving on the open road - best road trips america

How Much Time Do You Have?

It is very easy to get excited about a United States road trip and then try and squeeze too much in.  Less is definitely more. Use google maps to plot your road trip routes and make sure you won’t be spending too much time driving.

Who is coming?

Whether you are looking for road trip ideas for couples, the best road trips for families or the best road trips to take with friends, it is important to tailor the trip to everyone’s needs. 

Spend time up front to understand what everyone wants to get out of the trip and plan your road trip and must see places around everyone’s interests.

Best Road Trips In The US

Below are some of the best US road trips to take to appreciate the diversity of the country and it’s natural beauty. Plan to do them individually, or join them up to do the ultimate US road trip.

Pacific Coast Highway 1

Pacific Coast Highway and ocean views on best road trips southern california

Route: San Francisco, California to Los Angeles, California
Distance: 460 miles
Duration: 1 week

Route Summary 

One of the best 1 week road trips (and perhaps it’s most iconic) is undoubtedly the coastal journey along California’s beautiful Highway 1, or Pacific Coast Highway.

Though the road stretches for more than 600 miles from Dana Point to Mendocino County, the most popular and spectacular section is the drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco.                                       

Route Highlights

Some of the highlights of this 400+ mile drive include Santa Monica and Malibu in the Los Angeles area, charming and laid-back Santa Barbara, the quirky surf town of Pismo beach and of course the spectacular Big Sur and Monterey peninsula on the Central Coast.

While the drive itself could only take a day or two, we recommend spending a week or more on this road trip in order to really appreciate all of the amazing sites, natural scenery, and quintessential California seaside towns.

Though it is most popular to do the drive from north to south as you are always on the coastal side of the road, you can just as easily do it in reverse.

Best time to go

With California’s perennial good weather, there really is no bad time of year to do this road trip. But note that due to it being one of the best road trips from Southern California, it does get very busy in the summer months.

Click here to find great accommodation options along the PCH route

– Maggie from The World Was Here First

Blue Ridge Parkway

Tunnel on the Blue Ridge Parkway - one of the best road trips in Virginia

Route: Oconaluftee, North Carolina to Rockfish Gap, Virginia
Distance: 469 miles
Duration:
3-5 days

Route Summary

Running nearly 500 miles through North Carolina and Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway ranks among North America’s most iconic road trips.

With construction starting in 1935, the road was built to connect Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Shenandoah National Park. It’s been the National Park System’s most visited attraction almost every year since the mid-1940s and is undoubtedly one of the best road trips in North Carolina. 

It’s easy to see why: With stunning scenery, historic landmarks, and thousands of wildlife species (birds, bears, deer, and more), the parkway offers a taste of unspoiled Americana at its finest.

The Blue Ridge Parkway begins on U.S. Route 441 at Oconaluftee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, North Carolina. It ends at the southern entrance to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia at Rockfish Gap, where the name of the road changes to Skyline Drive and runs throughout the park. Of course, if you’re heading north to south, you simply reverse the route. 

How long it takes to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway depends entirely on how often you want to stop and spend the night along the way. If there’s no traffic, The Parkway generally has a speed limit of 45 miles per hour, with some areas having slower speed limits posted.

So if there’s no traffic and you didn’t make many stops, you could probably do the entire trip in 12 to 13 hours. But where’s the fun in that? Most people who want to see the sights tend to do the drive in 3 to 5 days, but you could easily spend a week stopping in towns along the way and never get bored. 

Route Highlights

There are way too many highlights to summarize in a short paragraph, but I’d definitely recommend spending a few days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and exploring the area in and around Asheville. Heading north from there, there’s great hiking and fishing in both the Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests, as well as charming little mountain towns such as Boone and Blowing Rock, NC.

Virginia’s must-sees include Roanoke, George Washington & Jefferson National Forest, and of course Shenandoah National Park.

Best time to go

Our favorite time to explore this region is autumn. The tourist crowds are smaller, the weather is cooler, and the stunning color of the leaves turn the Blue Ridge Mountain scenery magical.

– Bret Love & Mary Gabbett of Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

Click to see accommodation options along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Best Of The SouthWest Road Trip

Horseshoe Bend an iconic stop on the best road trip out west

Route: Kanab, Utah to Sedona, Arizona
Distance: 320 miles
Duration: 1 week

Route Summary

Although this 1 week road trip may seem small in comparison to some other epic road trips in the US, I guarantee it is packed with adventure.

First, Start in Kanab, Utah and spend some time trying to grab the hard to get (but worth it) permits to hike to the Wave at the BLM Kanab Visitor Center.

There are campgrounds and hotels in and around Kanab that you can stay at for a while. If you don’t win the walk-in lottery permits, you can still explore and hike other areas in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument near Kanab.

After exploring Kanab, make your way East on Highway 89 toward Lake Powell, where you can spend another day or two camping, hiking and exploring the lake.

When you leave Lake Powell and continue South on Highway 89, you’ll want to be sure to stop and take in the views at Horseshoe Bend located near Page, Arizona. Then continue your drive toward the Grand Canyon for another day or two visit of this epic National Park.

After you’ve had your fill of exploring the Grand Canyon, head to Flagstaff to enjoy to laid back vibes of this adorable city. Spend some time exploring the downtown area, but ultimately make your way to Sedona, Arizona where you can spend time hiking some of the best hiking trails in Sedona, off-roading in Jeeps, or even enjoying a much needed spa day.

Route Highlights

  • The Wave
  • Lake Powell and Horsehoe Bend
  • Grand Canyon
  • Flagstaff
  • Sedona

 

Best time to go

Late Fall (October-November) or Early Spring (March-April) are the best times to take this week long road trip, one of the best Arizona road trips!

– Allison from She Dreams Of Alpine

Below are a few great tour options in Sedona:

Highway 395, California

Sunset across mountain range - rv routes across america

Route:  Joshua Tree National Park, California to Lake Tahoe, California
Distance: 500 miles
Duration: 
1 – 2 weeks

Route Summary

The spectacular Highway 395 is one of the best road trips from California and one of the best American road trips to take.

Beginning in the otherworldly Joshua Tree National Park, this Western US road trip will take you through the stark desert of Death Valley National Park, into the Eastern Sierra Mountains, alongside the haunting Mono Lake, and eventually deposit you in front of beautiful Lake Tahoe.

The total distance of this epic road trip is 500 miles, and for the best experience I would allow at least 1 week to explore everything along the way. 2 weeks is even better!

Route Highlights

Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks each require at least 3 days to explore the highlights, and be sure to leave time for the Eastern Sierras around the town of Bishop! Here you will find beautiful lodging (and affordable campgrounds) with breathtaking views of Mt Whitney and the Sierras.

As you drive farther into the Sierras you will pass by Mono Lake, a unique natural lake full of unusual rock structures that have formed from mineral deposits in the water. You can rent kayaks and head out onto the still, eerie expanse of Mono Lake to get an up-close look at these rocks.

Finally, you will find yourself staring at the shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe, where a variety of lodging and water activities await you! Explore Lake Tahoe by boat on this cruise or rent a kayak and explore at your own pace.

Best time to Go

The best time of year to take the Highway 395 road trip is Spring or Fall, since Joshua Tree and Death Valley are most comfortable in the shoulder seasons.

In winter there is often heavy snow in the Sierra Mountains, so this road trip is not recommended at that time.

Click here to see accommodation options along the route

– Brittany from The Rolling Pack 

Moab to Las Vegas

HIghway surrounded by mountains dusted with snow on great southern road trips

Route:  Moab, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada
Distance: 650 miles
Duration:
1-2 weeks

Route Summary 

For you road trippers out there that live for amazing scenery the 650 mile trip from Moab to Las Vegas is a drive not to miss. Visit some of the great National Parks as well as a few bonus State Parks and hidden gems.

While it would be possible to see the highlights of this road trip in a week, to really appreciate the incredible beauty of one of the best road trips in Utah you should slow down and take twice that time.

Route Highlights

Start with 3 days in Moab to get a full day in both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. Every time you come around a corner in these Parks the view before you was different.

Then head south to Cortez, Colorado for the next 2 days, taking in the incredible Mesa Verde cliff dwellings and a look around Canyon of the Ancients. 

The next stop is the historic Goulding’s Lodge, which is in the perfect location to maximise your time driving through the amazing rock formations of Monument Valley. And don’t forget to stop for the tourist photo at Forrest Gump Point on the way to Monument Valley.

3 days in Page on the edge of Lake Powell gives you the chance to take in the striking colors and surrounds of the lake, visit Horseshoe Bend and wander through one of the sections of the very popular Antelope Canyon.  Don’t miss out – pre-book your Upper Antelope or Lower Antelope tickets before you go.

Stop at Gooseneck State Park for a unique river view before a night in Kanab. And then spend the next night in St George, Utah and spend the day in between at Zion National Park.

The final leg takes you from St George to Las Vegas which has the Valley of Fire State Park perfectly placed along the route. This had to be the hidden gem of our entire trip as we didn’t even know it existed until the last minute. The scenery here matches anything you will see on the rest of this amazing western road trip.

Best time to go

We took this route in mid February and there was an unusually large amount of snow everywhere. This made for some stunning sights but also meant some roads and hiking trails were closed because of ice.

We would love to come back another time of year as I expect it would look much different again.

– Dean from La Vida Global


Portland to Yellowstone National Park

Clepsydra Geyser Yellowstone best road trips Oregon

Route: Portland to Yellowstone National Park Loop
Distance: 1628 miles
Duration: 11 days

Route Summary

If you are looking for the best road trips in Oregon, a trip from Portland to Yellowstone will not disappoint.

Departing Portland on the I-84, follow the stunning Columbia River Gorge and if you have time, stop by Multnomah Falls. Take US 395 and pit stop in Richland.

Continue on US395/I-90 past Spokane, and take in the scenery around Coeur d’Alene lake and National Forest. Pit stop in Missoula before continuing on I-90 until you turn off onto US287 then US20 which will bring you to your destination, West Yellowstone.  Take the same route back.

Route Highlights

Highlights include the stunning scenery around Coeur d’Alene on the outbound trip. Missoula was a town that totally surprised us and the Ewan Gardens of 1000 Buddhas and the National Bison Range nearby were a hit when we stopped for a few days with our son on the return trip.

Of course, visiting Yellowstone with kids was the ultimate highlight, since it was a bucket list destination of ours. Geysers, bison and beautiful landscapes filled our memory boxes.

Best time to go

Since most of Yellowstone is closed during winter, summer is the best time for this road trip from Portland. However, be aware that late August can see the arrival of forest fires, which can impact your route.

– Cath from Passports and Adventures

US West Coast Road Trip

Pacific Coast Highway along best road trips west coast usa

Route: San Francisco, California to Victoria, British Colombia (Canada)
Distance: 890 miles
Duration:
2 weeks

Route Summary

The drive from northern California to the Pacific Northwest is on most North America road trip bucket lists, but many travelers don’t realize that the best way to experience these areas is by RV.

Other means of transport require you to stop in towns to find accommodations, whereas traveling by RV allows you the freedom and comfort of making a home-away-from-home in the very nature you had hoped to experience.  Finding accommodation is easy with this handy RV camping guide.

Starting from San Francisco and heading north on highway 101, you will not only see some of the best coastlines the US has to offer, you will also experience the country’s most amazing national forests. Here, you will fill your days surrounded by giant redwoods, lush rainforests, picturesque lakes, majestic waterfalls, and even a volcano. It is simply one of the best west coast road trips in America.

Those interested in history can find plenty to see and experience at one of the nation’s historical parks, and finding a place for the night is easy and affordable in one of the park’s campgrounds. 

Route Highlights

Memorable highlights include the Wine Country of Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Avenue of the Giants, Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree, Fort Clatsop, Multnomah and Horsetail Waterfalls, Hoh Rain Forest and a Whale Watching Tour in Victoria.

There are also countless National and State Park highlights along the way including:

  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Humboldt Redwoods State Park
  • Fort Stevens State Park
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
  • Olympic National Park

 

Best time to go

Consider taking your trip in June when the weather is milder and the crowds are fewer to see just why this is one of the best US road trips by RV.

– Kelly from My New Danish Life

Click to check the price for Moon’s Complete Guide to More Than 2,300 RV Parks and Campgrounds

New England Road Trip

Cliff Walk and Newport Mansions on best road trips in new England

Route: Boston return loop via 6 Northeast US states
Distance: 1100 miles
Duration: 10 days to 2 weeks

Route Summary

If you aren’t from the area, the easiest place to start and end a New England Road Trip is in Boston, which has the largest airport in the area. 

I’d suggest a clockwise loop through the six New England states: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Starting in Boston, head south along the coast of Cape Cod and make your first stop in Newport, RI and nearby Mystic, CT. Travel through Hartford, CT, across western Massachusetts and into Manchester, VT and the Green Mountains.

Make a stop in Burlington, VT and then head east on Route 2 past Mt. Washington, New England’s highest peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and make your way to Acadia National Park (Bar Harbor, ME).

Spend a few days hiking and exploring the national park before heading south through Portland, ME or Portsmouth, NH, and back to Boston. The range of things to do is what makes this one of the best road trips in New England.

Route Highlights

Some of the highlights of this 10 day east coast road trip include:

  • Freedom Trail in Boston
  • Newport mansions and Mystic Seaport
  • Hiking in the Green Mountains
  • Burlington breweries
  • Lake Champlain and Mt. Washington
  • White Mountains of New Hampshire
  • Acadia National Park hiking
  • All the coastal lighthouses New England is famous for.

Don’t miss any of the route highlights. Click to purchase your New England Travel Guide.

Best time to go

Visit in summer for the best weather and to enjoy the coastal towns or autumn for the fall foliage throughout New England.

Going in the winter may be great for skiers, but frequent snow may make a road trip impossible, especially through the mountains.

– Danielle from Wanderlust While Working


Anchorage Alaska Road Trip

Mountain range and glacier on the best road trips in Alaska

Route: Anchorage, Alaska Loop
Distance: 1,200 miles
Duration: 
10 days

Route Summary

This Alaska road trip route starts and finishes in Anchorage. Along the way explore Denali, Chitina, McCarthy, Wrangell, St. Elias National Park, Valdez, Kenai, Homer, Katmai National Park and Kenai National Park.

 

Route Highlights

This 10-day Alaska itinerary starts in Anchorage (day 1) to learn about Native Alaska traditions and taste local delicacies like salmon jerky or cloudberries jam.

Then head to Denali National Park (days 2 and 3) for hiking in the wilderness and spotting the fantastic wildlife. The itinerary then leads to Chitina and McCarthy where the superb Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (days 4 and 5) will offer opportunities for glacier hiking and flightseeing over the snow-covered peaks and massive glaciers. Watch for the occasional moose encounters!

Continue your road trip to Valdez (day 6) from where you explore Prince William Sound on a cruise to the Columbia Glacier or a kayaking trip to the Valdez Glacier (day 7).

Cross on a ferry from Valdez to Whittier and drive down the Kenai Peninsula to Homer (day 8), where you can fly to see the grizzly bears of the Katmai National Park (day 9). This is one of the best road trips in Alaska.

See Glacier Tour Options Here.

The drive back to Anchorage takes you through the Kenai Fjords National Park, a change to Exit Glacier up close, and Seward.

Best time to go

The period from mid-May to Mid-September is usually recommended for traveling to Alaska. July and August are the warmest though also the busiest.

Click here to compare Alaska RV Rental Prices

– Patricia from Ze Wandering Frogs

Gulf Coast

Gulf Coast Beach and Pier on best southern road trip routes

Route: Tallahasee, Florida to Lafayette, Louisiana
Distance: 496 miles
Duration: 
10 days

Route Summary

Sun, surf, and incredible food are at your fingertips during a road trip along the Gulf Coast of the United States.

Stretching from Florida in the East to Texas in the West, the Gulf of Mexico is a natural wonder and sportsman paradise. While it’s possible to drive from one side of the Gulf to the other in less than 24 hours, that would defeat the purpose if looking to enjoy one of the best road trips in Florida and Louisiana!

A Gulf Coast road trip can easily be a quick as 3-4 days or last for two weeks. Interstate 10 is the main East/West highway to travel the Gulf Coast.

Along Interstate 10 there are several destinations worth making a stop in and exploring their history, attractions and culinary offerings.

Route Highlights

A recommended route could start in Tallahassee, Florida and continue to Pensacola and across Alabama into the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi is the perfect place to stop for food and drink travelers. The area is known for seafood, bbq, and an up-and-coming craft beer scene.

The crown jewel on Interstate 10 is the “Big Easy,” New Orleans. Arguably the most famous Gulf Coast city, “NOLA” as it is often referred to, offers something for everyone.

From its Mardi Gras celebration on Bourbon Street to outstanding cajun cooking and jazz, New Orleans is the must visit destination on any Gulf Coast road trip. Book a ghost and vampires tour, a cruise on an historic steamboat or take a full day swamp and plantation tour while you are there.

See the best things to do in New Orleans here

For an off-the-beaten-path finish to the trip, continue west from New Orleans, stopping at the Tabasco factory tour and museum on Avery Island, and head into Lafayette, Louisiana, home to craft beer as well as Gulf Coast, Cajun, and Arcadian cuisine.

It’s best to plan at least 10 days for the journey from Tallahassee to Lafayette, in order to taste all of the best Gulf Coast foods.

Best time to go

The Gulf Coast is a year round destination. Try to avoid Spring Break and Mardi Gras each year, when beaches fill up and prices in New Orleans skyrocket.

Also, watch for fall weather with the possibility of hurricanes. It’s advisable to check weather forecasts before beginning any southern road trip.

– Amber from Food and Drink Destinations


San Francisco to Las Vegas

General Sherman Tree Trail on one of the best road trips west coast USA

Route: San Francisco, California to Las Vegas, Nevada
Distance: 740 miles
Duration: 2 weeks

Route Summary

Start the road trip in San Francisco before heading to Yosemite National Park. Next stop is Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks before driving to Death Valley. Final stop – Las Vegas. This is one of the best national park road trips, exploring some of the most well known parks in the USA. 

Route Highlights

Start off spending a couple of days in San Francisco. Ride a cable car, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, take a walking food tour of Chinatown, write your own fortune at the Fortune Cookie Factory, and explore the Mission. If you don’t have much time, the hop-on hop off bus is a quick and easy way to explore the city.

Then hop in your car or RV for the four-hour drive to Yosemite National Park. Hike up to the falls and/ or drive to Tunnel View lookout. You can easily spend several days here.

Next stops are Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Sequoia trees are the largest trees (redwoods are the tallest) and there are plenty of giant trees along multiple trails including the Congress Trail, the Big Trees Trail and the General Sherman Trail.

If you rent an RV, you will need to backtrack through the north entrance and go around because a stretch of the road is too windy and narrow for RVs. If you have a car, however, you can continue straight on through the south entrance, which is shorter.

It’s a long driving day to Death Valley, which you could break up into two days if you’d prefer.

Death Valley is best avoided in the summer, as it gets incredibly hot, but in the other seasons, it’s a fascinating place, with several mini desert ecosystems including salt flats, badlands, sand dunes and slot canyons. 

The road trip ends in Las Vegas, which is worth another day or two. There are so many things to do in the city plus great day trips too including a tour of the Hoover Dam or a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. Click here to find some fun experiences in Las Vegas.

Best time to go

Spring and fall when Death Valley is not too hot and Yosemite is not too crowded.

– James from Travel Collecting

Click here to check RV rental prices for your next road trip

Chicago to Florida Road Trip

City skyscrapers are the starting point for one of the best family road trips from chicago

Route: Chicago, Illinois to Orlando, Florida
Distance: 1,200 miles
Duration: 
1-2 weeks

Route Summary

The Chicago to Disneyworld road trip is a great route to take with an amazing destination for families at the end of the road.

At a total of nearly 1,200 miles, this is one of the best road trips in the South as the route takes you through numerous large cities including Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Gainesville and finally Orlando.

The road trip can be done in as little as a few days or as long as a week or two. It is a great idea to spend at least 1-2 days in each major city. 

Route Highlights

Starting in Chicago, downtown’s Loop will open up an array of tourist attractions including Willis Tower, the Bean at Millennium Park, shopping at Michigan Avenue, the Riverwalk at Chicago River and even museums such as Art Institute of Chicago and Shedd Aquarium.

The Chicago CityPASS gives you discounted access to 5 of the top attractions in Chicago and saves you time! Click here for details.

The next major city, Indianapolis, is a much smaller city but has a few great points of interest including the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway and White River State Park.

Louisville, Kentucky is a beautiful city and has amazing restaurants and food galore. Driving further south past Louisville, Mammoth Caves is a must see stop, where visitors can do numerous cave tours, camp and explore the massive park.

Nashville has a vibrant music scene and going to a concert or music show is one of the best ways to experience Nashville. A visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame (get your ticket here) and taking a trolley tour show the best sides of Nashville.

Chattanooga Zoo is a great stop while in Chattanooga. Skip the queue and pre-book your tickets here. Taking a stroll through the Art District or visiting the Racoon Mountain Caverns is also worthwhile.

Atlanta has the Centennial Olympic Park and the World of Coca Cola. Skip the queue and pre-purchase your tickets here. It is also worth doing a food tour while in the city to taste all the amazing flavors of Georgia. This family-friendly tour takes you to 7 of the cities most popular restaurants. 

Gainesville, Florida is a fun place to take a bike tour and to check out the 352 walls mural tour. Finally, Orlando is the final destination with Disneyworld, Legoland and Universal Studios among numerous other attractions for families.

Compare Disneyworld Flexible Date Tickets here

Best time to go

The best time to go is late spring before the crowds and while the weather isn’t too hot. The other great time is late fall when the summer heat begins to cool the cities off a bit.

– Diana from The Elusive Family

Fort Worth to Las Vegas

Stone Walls in National Park along the best road trips texas

Route: Fort Worth, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada Return
Distance: 2,500 – 3,500 miles
Duration:
2 weeks

Route Summary

Stops include Amarillo in Texas, Albuquerque in New Mexico, Holbrook and a detour to the Grand Canyon in Arizona before arriving in Las Vegas in Nevada.

On the return loop visit Page, Arizona and spend a night in Albuquerque on the way back to Texas.

This trip begins and ends in Fort Worth, Texas. With detours the route tallies up to around 3,500 miles. 

Route Highlights

Visiting Big Texan and Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas are the two must-do while driving through the city towards New Mexico or Colorado.

In Albuquerque, climb the Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument and take a detour to Santa Fe to see the miraculous staircase in Loretto Chapel and artistic Phantom Canyon Road.

Next stop is the Petrified Forest National Park near Holbrook in Arizona before spending a couple of nights at the Grand Canyon. From Grand Canyon  continue to Las Vegas where warm air and 114F temperature welcome you.

Visit Hoover Dam, and make a quick trip to the famous Las Vegas sign in the evening. Finally, on the return trip, don’t miss the incredible Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona.

Best time to go

Late Spring and early Fall would be the best time for this road trip as Arizona and Nevada can be very hot in the summer. 

– Umiko from Two Worlds Treasures

Click to read more about these great Las Vegas tours:

Miami to Key West Drive

Key West pier and restaurants on one of the best florida road trips

Route: Fort Worth, Texas to Las Vegas, Nevada Return
Distance: 160 miles
Duration:
4 days – 1 week

Route Summary

The road trip from Miami to Key West along the Florida Keys Overseas Highway is one of the most scenic drives and one of the best short road trips in America.

This Florida road trip begins in the vibrant city of Miami and ends in laidback Key West which is the southernmost city in the continental US. Along the way, you will stop in Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, and Big Pine Key before reaching Key West.

While the total distance from Miami to Key West is a little over 160 miles and the drive can be completed under 4 to 5 hrs depending on traffic, we recommend keeping aside at least 4 days to a week for this road trip.

The road is very beautiful: you will be driving over a total of 42 bridges and see beaches on either side. There are lots of things to do on the Overseas Highway, including many state parks and marine reserves.

Route Highlights

The road has many highlights. The Coral Castle in Homestead while a little off the road, makes a great first stop after leaving Miami.

In Key Largo, you can snorkel or take a glass bottom boat tour to see the coral reef at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Wildlife attractions include Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Dolphin Research Center, and the Turtle Hospital.

Don’t forget to take photos of the beautiful Seven Mile Bridge! In Key West, experience the sunset celebration at Mallory Square and go bar hopping at Duval Street.

Best time to go

This southeast road trip route is quite popular in winter as the perfect weather makes it a treat. Even summers are not that bad if you are prepared for the heat.

We suggest avoiding the hurricane season as hurricanes can be devastating in Florida and can cause changes in your travel plans.

– Ketki from Dotted Globe

Best Snacks For Road Trips

Spending a lot of time in the car on a road trip means you need to keep a good range of snacks on hand. Whilst it is tempting to buy a lot of sugary snacks, your body will thank you if you pack high protein, low sugar foods.

The best food for road trips is long lasting and are easy to eat snacks that don’t need refrigeration. Some of our favorites include:

  • Muesli Bars
  • Beef Jerky
  • Bliss Balls
  • Trail Mix
  • Dried Fruit
  • Popcorn
  • Breakfast cereal (eaten dry)
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Nuts

Browse a huge range of travel snacks here.

We suggest you avoid dairy and liquid snacks like yoghurt and milkshakes if you are on a family road trip. They can be messy and can cause upset tummies in the back (the LAST thing you want to deal with on a road trip!!).

Plus, if you eat healthy while in the car, you don’t need to feel so bad when you stop at a small town bakery or diner along the way.

And of course, stay hydrated along the trip. We recommend you pack a refillable water bottle (we love these ones) for each person. Use this bottle for both hot and cold drinks along your route!

Cafe sign on highway - best road trip snacks

Best Games For Road Trips

A lot of time in the car calls for some fun road trip games! Whether you are taking an american family road trip or traveling with friends, here are some fun games to play to pass the time.

Alphabet categories

Choose a category (cities, foods, songs, cars) and run through the alphabet taking it in turns to think of something in the category that starts with that letter. So apples, bananas, cranberries…

Number Plate game

Make a sentence with each of the numbers and letters on a number plate.

20 Questions

One person thinks of a thing, place or person. Everyone else has to guess what the thing is by asking questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Fun with adults and kids!

Two Truths and a Lie

One person makes three statements. Two are true and one is a lie. Everyone else needs to guess which is the lie.

Category Game

Pick any category and take turns naming as many things as you can in that category. If you take more than 5 seconds to respond, you are out. Continue until you have a winner.

Name that song

Each person takes a turn selecting songs to play. Everyone else needs to guess the song/artist. Whoever guesses correctly chooses the next song.

See more ideas for road trip activities with kids here.

Plan Your Road Trip USA

If you would like to take an RV Road Trip, click here to compare RV rental prices.

For those who prefer to explore by car (and are not a local), we recommend RentalCars.com for their range and vast network of car rentals. Click here to find the best car for your USA roadtrip.

Search for accommodation along your route at Hotels Combined.

Read about more epic road trips around the world here. For more US travel posts, click here.

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Road leading to Monument Valley with text overlay - BEST US ROAD TRIPS
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About Rachel Rodda

Rachel is the founder and writer for Adventure and Sunshine. She has been exploring the world with a backpack since her early twenties and threw it all in to take her kids around the world on a Family Gap Year in 2017. She is passionate about family adventure travel and helping others adventure more.

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