Where to drive to experience the real America.
After a long year of hard work and holidays, summer has finally arrived. It’s time to get out on your own or with the family and explore all the beauty that America has to offer. One of the best ways to do this is by taking a road trip!
You might be a fan of taking a flight and landing at an exotic destination, but there’s no better way to gain an appreciation of nature and America’s historic sites than to make your way through it in a car. Get off the beaten path and take every opportunity to stop and explore. You’ll also create memories that you’ll never forget.
Not sure where to go on your road trip? We’ve got you covered. Read on to learn all about the road trips you should take this summer!
- Drive the Natchez Trace
If you’re interested in exploring all the beauty the deep south has to offer, then you have to check out the Natchez Trace.
The Natchez Trace is a 444-mile road that stretches across three states. Start out in historic Natchez, Mississippi and drive through northern Alabama all the way up to Nashville, Tennessee. You can explore Natchez’s charming Antebellum architecture, stop in Tupelo to see Elvis Presley’s childhood home, and get your fill of country music and good eats in Nashville.
This road was built along a travel corridor that was frequented by American Indians, European settlers, soldiers, and many more. The Natchez Trace is one of the most scenic highways in America, and there are lots of opportunities for hiking and camping along the way!
- Explore the Pacific Coast Highway
If you’re more of a beach person, then you have to take the time to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway.
California may not be the size of Texas or Alaska, but it has 655 miles of coastal highway that should be on everyone’s bucket list to explore. It starts out in San Diego and goes all the way north to Mendocino County.
Along the way, you’ll get many picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. But even more, you’ll be able to get your fill of California’s many different iterations of beach culture. Explore Orange County’s artistic enclave, Laguna Beach, or take a minute to be a tourist on the Santa Monica Pier.
Up North you’ll see stunning views, not just of the ocean, but of California’s picture-perfect redwoods. Between all of these fun stops and the slower-than-average speed limit on PCH, be prepared to spend a good amount of time exploring the coast. You won’t regret it.
- Get Your Kicks on Route 66
U.S. Route 66 is one of the most iconic highways in United States’ history. This 2,448-mile road stretches from California to Arizona, through New Mexico, the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, before terminating in Missouri.
Also known as the Will Rogers Memorial Highway, Route 66 was one of the first highways ever established in the U.S. Highway System. It’s so famous that it has a song about it, it inspired the Route 66 television show, and was even mentioned in John Steinbeck’s iconic novel, The Grapes of Wrath.
This trip is great for history buffs and American pop culture fans alike. Start out at the beach in Santa Monica, stand on the corner in Winslow, Arizona (and try to keep The Eagles out of your head), and stand in awe of the beauty of the American plains.
This is a great trip to take with the whole family, including Fido. If your sweet dog gets a little nervous in the car, get him some relaxation with CBD oil for anxiety in dogs. If this isn’t on your bucket list, it should be.
- Grand Teton National Park to Glacier National Park
Are you a fan of national parks? Do you love obscenely beautiful natural sights? Then this is the road trip for you.
This road trip has you starting out in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and then driving 500 stunning miles to Glacier National Park in Montana. Without stops, the drive time between these two national parks is approximately nine hours, but, like any other adventurous traveler, you will likely want to get out and explore.
Grand Teton National Park is filled with stunning mountains, gorgeous lakes, and is rich with wildlife. There are over two hundred miles of hiking trails that you can explore. Or if you’re more into relaxation, grab an inner tube and float along the Snake River.
Glacier National Park, like Grand Teton, is situated in a mountain range. Here you’ll see gorgeous snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows, untouched forests, and beautiful lakes. There are over 700 miles of hiking or biking trails, and plenty of chalets and lodges to catch some sleep in.
- Traverse the Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains stretch across most of the southern coastal states. Within those mountains is the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway that goes from North Carolina through Virginia.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is both a National Parkway and an All-American Road, and it is the longest linear park in the country. Named for the color they appear to be from a distance, the Blue Ridge Mountains are truly some of the most scenic mountains in America.
Take lots of opportunities to stop at the scenic vistas and take in the view. If you’re on your own, you could even be a little adventurous and take everything in on a motorcycle. There’s plenty of hiking and camping sites, too!
- Turquoise Trail
If you’re looking for a shorter trip with more opportunity to explore America’s cultural history, then the Turquoise Trail is for you.
The Turquoise Trail follows New Mexico State Road 14, and it stretches 54 miles from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Though the route is short in length, the Turquoise Trail covers 15,000 square miles throughout New Mexico.
Albuquerque is New Mexico’s biggest city and has lots of opportunities to take in live music and museums. Santa Fe is one of the most stunning towns in the country. Check out the Georgia O’Keefe Museum, walk the historic Plaza, and eat lots of delicious food (don’t forget the chili).
- Explore the Olympic Peninsula
The Olympic Peninsula encompasses all of the arm of coastal western Washington south of the Puget Sound. It contains both the Olympic National Park and the Olympic National Forest.
This is a great stop to explore if you’re interested in cooler weather, stunning pine forests, and rocky beach shores. Start out in Seattle and take in some great live music, check out the Space Needle, and grab a coffee at Starbucks’ first location. Then traverse south to Olympia and back north all the way to Port Angeles.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can grab a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, British Columbia. And for Twilight fans, Forks is just a quick jaunt southwest of Port Angeles.
- Discover the Alaska Highway
If you’ve hit the Olympic Peninsula and are ready to explore further north, then you have to check out the Alaska Highway!
Bring your passport, because this 1,390 mile begins in British Columbia and stretches well into Alaska’s beautiful wilderness. There are so many beautiful stops you have to make on the Alaska Highway. Check out glaciers, wildlife, pristine forests and everything else you can imagine.
Be sure to bring warm clothing!
- Get Some Sun in Florida
Did Alaska leave you feeling chilled? Then it’s time to hit the beach in Florida. Florida has a number of scenic routes you can explore to warm your bones, but the best has to be the Keys Highway that goes from Miami all the way to Key West.
Start out working on your tan with all the beautiful people in Miami Beach, then hop in a car and drive down a highway built on top of miles of ocean. At the end is Key West, the historic home of Ernest Hemingway, and the southernmost point in the United States.
Grab a drink, hit the beach, and relax. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins and coral reefs!
Prep for the Road Trips You Should Take This Summer
These ten trips are just a short list of possible road trips you should take this summer. This country has so much to offer in natural sights and culture, and you should take every opportunity to explore it and soak it all in. Whether you end up traversing the scenic Blue Ridge mountains or soak up some sun in Florida, if you take these road trips, they’ll be an experience you won’t soon forget.
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