Megan Bryant is a passionate writer and traveler who has combined her two loves to help others fulfill their traveling dreams. When she isn’t writing, she’s usually curled up with her 3 Dachshunds and a good book or planning her next adventure—wherever that may be.
There is no better time for a road trip than the summer. And no matter your vehicle preference, whether it’s a car, a van, or an RV, there are some iconic routes all over America that every road trip lover should travel down.
Americans are blessed with a diverse range of landscapes, sights, and attractions just waiting to be explored. And what better way to traverse the country than on a road trip? If you’re planning your next road trip adventure, then you shouldn’t miss these iconic routes off of your bucket list.
Route 66 – Chicago to Los Angeles
The most iconic and well-known route on the planet—Route 66—should be at the top of everyone’s must-do road trip adventures. The Mother Road—which starts in downtown Chicago—covers eight states and roughly 2,500 miles before ending in Santa Monica, is one of the original routes of the United States Highway System. But what really makes the route popular are the countless books, songs, and movies that feature or are named after this incredible stretch of road.
Pacific Coast Highway – California
The Pacific Coast Highway runs from Orange County down to California. And with its treacherous turns, breathtaking views, and the well-known Bixby Bridge, which soars 260 feet above a steep canyon, it’s no wonder so many people flock to Cali to have their turn at the wheel.
Extraterrestrial Highway – Las Vegas to Tonopah
Sure, the most popular routes are cool and all. But the Extraterrestrial Highway takes you through deserts in Nevada, where people have claimed to see and encounter aliens. The Nevada State Route 375 is one of the most unique stretches of road in the country, with alien attractions lining the roadside. Just don’t try to enter the Nevada Test and Training Range at Nellis Air Force Base—AKA Area 51—as you’ll be swiftly turned away. What are they even hiding in there anyway?
Blue Ridge Parkway – Virginia to North Carolina
Roll the windows down, turn up the music, and enjoy a leisurely drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway. With a speed limit of 45 mph, you won’t be zipping down this route fast. But in all honesty, you wouldn’t want to. And that’s not just because of the sharp corners and heights that reach up to 5,000 feet.
The Blue Ridge Highway, which takes you through the Great Smokey Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains, has some of the most incredible views you’ll ever lay your eyes on. And if you can time your road trip perfectly, the trees of New England transform into beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow come the fall.
Overseas Highway – Florida
A completely different road trip experience can be found in Florida on the Overseas Highway. Stretching for 113 miles from Key Largo to Key West, the Overseas Highway transports you over Florida’s turquoise-blue ocean while passing lighthouses, reefs, and impeccable white-sand beaches along the way.
Beartooth Highway – Montana to Wyoming
The Beartooth Highway in Montana and Wyoming is one of the most beautiful drives in America. However, the crest of the route—Beartooth Pass—experiences a considerable amount of snowfall, so it’s typically only open for five months from mid-May to mid-Ocotober.
Although only 68.7 miles long, the Beartooth Highway reaches an elevation of 10,947 feet above sea level and winds its way through peaks. Because of the sheer drop-offs, this route isn’t for the faint-hearted. But with forests, lakes, and glaciers right outside your window, it’s definitely one not to be missed.
Going-to-the-Sun Road – Montana
The Going-to-the-Sun Road was built to promote tourism to the Glacier National Park, and it has fulfilled its purpose tenfold. Carving through the Glacier National Park, the Going-to-the-Sun road spans for 50 miles and crosses the Continental Divide offering views of glaciers, valleys, waterfalls, and mountains to those in search of adventure. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is even listed as a National Historic Place.
Lincoln Highway – New York to California
Did you know that the Lincoln Highway was the very first transcontinental road for automobiles in the US? Spanning from Times Square in New York all away across the country to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, the Lincoln Highway is the most epic route for an extended road trip adventure.
In total, the highway travels through 14 states and over 700 cities. And although in recent years, the Lincoln Highway has been dissected into smaller routes—the largest being U.S. Route 30—you can still drive from coast to coast across the entirety of the original highway route.
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