Road trips may seem like a thing of the past, but they’re actually still pretty popular. It’s a great way to see whatever country you’re in. There are many scenic road trips to experience all over the world, and the United States has some of the most popular ones. The US is the fourth largest country by land mass (after China, Canada, and the largest, Russia), so there’s much to explore.
Border to Border Road Trips
#1: Border to Border
The United States is bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south, and there’s a road trip specifically for going from north to south (or vice versa). The “Border to Border” road trip begins in the north at Canada’s Jasper National Park and follows US-93 down to the Sonora Desert (located in both Arizona and New Mexico) on the Mexican border.
#2: The Road to Nowhere
This is another border to border trip that takes you along US-83 from Swan River, Manitoba (Canada) all the way down to the southernmost tip of Texas in Brownsville. This route takes you straight through the Great Plains region of the US.
#3: The Great River Road
This route takes you alongside the mighty Mississippi River that runs from Minnesota in the north, all the way down past the state of Mississippi and into Louisiana.
Coast to Coast Road Trips
#4: The Oregon Trail
The Oregon Trail takes you from Portland, Oregon in the west to Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the east. This 5,311km (3,300 miles) trip takes you along US-20, allowing you to see Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, and Niagara Falls along the way.
#5: The Loneliest Road
The Loneliest Road gets its name from the fact that this 4,828km (3,000 miles) trip along US-50 takes you through the Great Plains, also known as the Heart of America. Starting in San Francisco, California and ending in Ocean City, Maryland, there’s not much to see except for desert lands, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, and finally, the Appalachian Mountains. This is definitely a trip for those who like “the scenic route”.
#6: The Southern Pacific
If you want a road trip whose landscape is just as diverse as the people and cultures, then the Southern Pacific road trip is the one for you. Starting on the Pacific coast, you’ll depart from San Diego, California, and 4,828km (3,000 miles) later traveling the historic US-80, you’ll end up in Savannah, Georgia. In between coasts, the landscape changes from deserts to plains, to swampy bayous.
The Most Popular US Road Trips
#7: Pacific Coast Highway
If you’ve ever wanted to see the entire Pacific coast, then this is the trip for you. You’ll only drive through three states, since California’s coastline is longer than both Washington and Oregon combined. From Seattle to San Diego, there’s much to see and experience, especially Big Sur in central California.
#8: The Appalachian Trail
One the Atlantic coast, there’s a similar trip that runs from north to south. This one follows along the Appalachian Mountains, appropriately named The Appalachian Trail. This route takes you through almost every state that touches the Atlantic Ocean, with beautiful mountains and national parks to see and experience along the way.
#9: Historic Route 66
Route 66 is probably the most notable road in the US. Nicknamed the “Main Street of America”, Route 66 stretches over 3,218km (2,000 miles) from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. This trip will allow you to see several major cities and unique attractions across the US.
Tips for Success
Also, don’t try to complete any road trip too quickly, as many of them can easily take a week to complete. You don’t want to put too much wear and tear on your car trying to see everything as quickly as possible. With that being said, it’s smart to have an emergency car kit with you with helpful items such as jumper cables and a spare tire and jack. You’re also going to need car insurance in the US, and make sure your car insurance policy includes roadside assistance – just in case.
Finally, keep in mind that the US is a large country, with some very large states. Texas and California are the biggest in the contiguous US, so it will take quite a while to drive through them. Also, the weather varies drastically all over the US, so plan accordingly.