The United States is a nation of geographical diversity. While it’s possible to experience its unique landscapes and regional culture on a visit to one of the country’s top destinations, there’s nothing quite like a road trip through the flat plains, coastal byways, lush forests, and desert spaces for a true taste of America. Here are your best US road trip options.
Pacific Coast Highway
This famous stretch of scenic road runs from San Diego, California, to Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, offering intrepid drivers unmatched views of rocky coastline. The two-lane Highway 1 is best known for points of interest such as Hearst Castle and Redwoods National Park, with plenty of bridges, lighthouses, and other landmarks to catch the eye.
Few stretches of blacktop are more iconic than Route 66—a subject of American folklore for decades. Much of the original road from Los Angeles to Chicago is gone, but travelers can still pass through classic bits of Americana like Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Major cities en route include Albuquerque, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and St. Louis.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Coined “America’s favorite drive,” the Blue Ridge Parkway connects two national parks of scenic beauty: Shenandoah in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. Rural and mountain communities are tucked away among rolling pastures and national forests here.
Great River Road
Actually a series of roads that connect 10 states—from northern Minnesota down to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana—the Great River Road follows the meandering 3,000-mile (4,828-kilometer) path of the Mississippi River. Much of the roadway is designated a National Scenic Byway. Travelers will find panoramic outlooks, interpretive centers, and historical river towns featuring local culture and cuisine along the way.