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Road Tripping Across the USA: Perfect Routes for your Summer Vacation

by Char Kernen on July 22, 2023

Ultimate Road Trips USA 

 Nothing quite compares to the quintessential summer experience of a road trip across the USA. With its vast landscapes, iconic landmarks, and diverse cultures, the US is a road tripper's dream.

In this blog post, we're going to explore some of the most captivating and popular routes for your summer adventure.
Buckle up, it is going to be a fun ride!


Ultimate Road Trips USA

Route 66: Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA

It's hard to talk about American road trips without mentioning Route 66.

This legendary 2,448-mile journey starts in Chicago, IL, meandering through small-town America, and concluding at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, CA. It's a historical and cultural joyride, with attractions like the Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, TX), Meramec Caverns, MO, The Grand Canyon, AZ, Santa Monica Pier, CA.

While these are the top attractions, there's much more to see on Route 66. The highway passes through 8 midwestern states and each state holds its own unique charms and attractions, adding to the allure of the journey.

If you are considering taking this road trip, I would suggest giving yourself 10 days to 2 weeks to really see everything. To drive along the entire highway will take approximately 30 hours but that is not stopping, sightseeing, or resting. To help you plan your trip, consider visiting this site for more information: Travel Route 66 (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)


Ultimate Road Trips - Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway: San Francisco, CA to San Diego, CA

 If stunning coastal views are your thing, the Pacific Coast Highway is a must. Starting from San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge, this route takes you through cliff-side views, redwood forests, wineries, and ends in the beachy paradise of San Diego. Don't miss the magical Big Sur, the scenic 17-Mile Drive, and the enchanting Santa Barbara with its wonderful wineries.

The Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, is a renowned scenic drive that offers breathtaking views and exciting stops. Other must stops include Monterey and Carmel area, Malibu, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Balboa Park, and San Diego Zoo.

This beautiful Highway from end-to-end spans approximately 655 miles and if driving straight through without stopping you could drive it in 10-12 hours. However, this does not account for the unpredictable Los Angeles traffic.

For a leisurely trip where you have ample time to visit the attractions listed above, it's advisable to set aside at least a week for your journey. This would allow for a comfortable pace to soak in the coastal views, explore the towns and cities along the route, and enjoy the various attractions.

For more information to help you plan the amazing trip visit: The Ultimate Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip (california.com)


Summer Road Trips - Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia to North Carolina

For those craving mountain views and serene landscapes, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a summer dream. Stretching 469 miles from Virginia's Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, this drive offers gorgeous vistas, hiking trails, and charming mountain towns.

Some of the highlights of this road trip include Mabry Mill (one of the most photographed areas on the highway), Peaks of Otter (offers a lodge for an overnight stay and amazing views), Doughton Park (offers a large recreation area), and the must-see city of Ashville, NC to name a few. For more information and places to see visit Blue Ridge Parkway (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov).


Road Trip Great River Road

Great River Road: Minnesota to Louisiana

Follow the mighty Mississippi on the Great River Road from Minnesota to Louisiana. This 3,000-mile road trip traverses ten states, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Highlights include Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, the musical city of Memphis, and the vibrant New Orleans. For more information: Great River Road Travel Map & Directory | Scenic Pathways.


New England Loop Road Trip

New England Loop: Massachusetts to Maine

For a charming blend of seaside towns, lighthouses, and delicious seafood, embark on the New England Loop. This is a popular road trip circuit that allows you to explore all six New England states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Start in Boston and drive up the Massachusetts coastline to Portland and Bar Harbor in Maine. Along the way, stop and enjoy the beautiful Acadia National Park, historic Salem, picturesque Cape Cod, the scenic cliffs of Newport, Rhode Island, Burlington, Vermont, and so much more.

Depending on your itinerary, this “Loop” can span upwards of 1,100 miles. There's much more to see and do in each of these places, and the charm of New England lies in its quaint small towns, beautiful landscapes, and local attractions. Remember to take your time and enjoy the journey!

For more information on this area visit State Maps of New England - Maps for MA, NH, VT, ME CT, RI (visitnewengland.com).


Key West Road Trip

Florida’s U.S. Highway 1: Jacksonville to Key West

If you're looking for a tropical escape, the Florida’s U.S. Highway 1 offers breathtaking Atlantic Ocean views. This road trip offers an unforgettable journey through some of the most picturesque and unique landscapes in the United States.

Starting from the vibrant city of Jacksonville, you drive south through the lush landscapes and inviting beaches of the Florida east coast. Some highlights along the way include stopping at the iconic Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach for a touch of adrenaline. Further south, visit the Kennedy Space Center in Titusville to marvel at the history and future of space exploration. Next, take time to enjoy the coastal beauty of Palm Beach and the bustling nightlife of Fort Lauderdale.

Miami offers a mix of cultures, from the vibrant life of South Beach to the historic charm of Little Havana. After Miami, you enter the magical Florida Keys, a chain of tropical islands with unmatched beauty. Stop at Key Largo to explore the underwater wonders of the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, then proceed to Marathon to enjoy its lovely beaches and wildlife.

Last stop but certainly not least, enjoy the colorful and quirky Key West. The southernmost point in the continental U.S., famous for its sunset celebration at Mallory Square, charming streets, Hemingway Home and Museum, and of course, key lime pie.


Exploring Highway 1 allows you to experience the diverse beauty and culture that Florida has to offer.
Each of these routes has its unique charms and attractions. Remember, road tripping is about the journey, not just the destination. Take your time, make unplanned stops, and soak in the scenery.
One final note, safety and preparation are key for any road trip. Make sure your vehicle is ready for your trip, have a plan but allow for those impromptu stops. Check the weather forecast each day, and research any road construction that could cause a route change. Preparation is key when heading out on the road.
Here's to a safe and enjoyable road trip.
Happy Travels!

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