10 Most Popular Road Trip Routes in the US

From "On the Road" to "Thelma and Louise" to "Easy Rider," is there any endeavor more American than the road trip? On these popular drives, getting there is more than half the fun.

Photos

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Drivers have little choice but to take their time enjoying the serpentine Blue Ridge Parkway connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. 960 1280

Moment / Getty Images  

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

The route's speed limit is a strictly enforced 45 mph, which at some points is lowered to a mere 25 mph. Traffic builds up on this popular byway during October when leaf-peepers glimpse nature’s colorful display outside their car windows. 960 1280

Jimmy_Joe Flickr Creative Commons 2.0  

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive takes you on an amazing ride, slithering through Shenandoah National Park along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The drive offers perfect views of Piedmont Valley to the east and the Shenandoah River Valley to the west. 960 1280

By Philip N. Wheeler [CC BY-SA 3.0]  

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive

Virginia's Skyline Drive is beautiful year round, but if you're looking to enjoy it in all its splendor, there's no better time to drive down the 105-mile scenic byway than in the fall. Its route along the Blue Ridge Mountains through Shenandoah National Park is not only perfect for leaf-peeping, but also offers close to 70 scenic overlooks. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Kancamagus Scenic Byway

Kancamagus Scenic Byway

New Hampshire's Kancamagus Scenic Byway, a 34.5-mile section of Route 112 running through the White Mountain National Forest, is renowned for its autumn leaves, making it one of the top road trips during the fall leaf-viewing season. 960 1280
Kancamagus Scenic Byway

Kancamagus Scenic Byway

As a National Scenic Byway, the "Kanc," as the locals call it, remains unspoiled by homes or service stations, allowing visitors to watch the maple, beech and birch trees burst into color without distraction. 960 1280

Photodisc / Getty Images  

Historic National Road

Historic National Road

Maryland's stretch of the 170-mile Historic National Road -- originally built to foster settlement into the West by aiding the movement of people and goods -- takes road-trippers on a journey through 300 years of history. 960 1280

Dwight Nadig / iStock / Getty Images Plus  

Historic National Road

Historic National Road

The lush region and towns surrounding the highway have become a mid-Atlantic hot spot for fall foliage viewing and offer plenty of historic interest to travelers. 960 1280

Panoramic Images / Getty Images  

US 1

US 1

US 1 runs between the beach and Interstate 95 along Florida's east coast, allowing easy access to A1A (the road closest to the coast) while letting you hightail it past cities that don't pique your interest. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

US 1

US 1

The 2,376-mile stretch of highway between Fort Kent, Maine, and Key West, Florida, passes through every state on the eastern seaboard.
960 1280

By Wsvan [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  

Acadia National Byway

Acadia National Byway

Designated an All-American Highway by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Acadia Byway winds along Maine’s coastline for 40 miles past granite peaks, craggy outcroppings, coastal fishing villages and lush old-growth forests. 960 1280

Universal Images Group / Getty Images  

Acadia National Byway

Acadia National Byway

Fresh lobster feasts and the chance to be among the first people in America to see the sunrise are just a few of the reasons to put the Acadia Byway in Maine on your road-trip radar. 960 1280
Gulf Coast Road Trip

Gulf Coast Road Trip

From Florida to Mississippi, the Gulf Coast is not only a beautiful spot for a beach vacation, but an important ecosystem that’s home to thousands of sea turtles, seabirds and other wild creatures. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Gulf Coast Road Trip

Gulf Coast Road Trip

Set off on a road trip along Route 98 through the region’s best state and national parks, and appreciate the wonders of the Gulf Coast and its unique ecosystems. 960 1280

By Ebyabe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons  

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway

The Glenn Highway (AK-1) travels north from Anchorage and past Chugach State Park to Glennallen 179 miles away, where it meets the Richardson Highway (AK-4). 960 1280

Z-lex  

Stretch Your Legs along the Glenn Highway

Stretch Your Legs along the Glenn Highway

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway (AK-1) follows the Matanuska River and passes the Matanuska Glacier, the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. The Glacier is located at Mile 101, and is 27-miles long and four-miles wide. Matanuska Glacier Adventures offers guided glacier treks. 960 1280

Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon  

Whittier: Gateway to Prince William Sound

Whittier: Gateway to Prince William Sound

Whittier is a small community on Prince William Sound of about 200 people, most of whom live in a single 14-story, apartment-style building connected to the rest of the town via tunnels to avoid harsh winter weather. It connects to the Seward Highway (AK-1) via the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel that goes through Maynard Mountain and is the second-longest highway tunnel in North America at 13,300 feet long. Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises offers tours between Whittier and Valdez, where wildlife such as sea otters, seals and humpback whales are commonly seen in Prince William Sound. 960 1280

Daryl Pederson / Design Pics  

Prince William Sound

Prince William Sound

Named in 1778 to honor the son of Great Britian’s George III, Prince William Sound is rich in marine life and is the terminus of five glaciers. It is a popular sight-seeing destination from Whittier and Valdez, and is known for its sea otter and whale sightings. It was the site of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and has since recovered. Kayak among sapphire iceburgs in Prince William Sound with Pangaea Adventures in Valdez. 960 1280

Kevin Miller  

Alaska's Little Switzerland: Valdez

Alaska's Little Switzerland: Valdez

Valdez is a commercial and sport-fishing port as well as the terminus of the Alaska Pipeline. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Valdez is called Alaska's "Little Switzerland." 960 1280

Steve Larese  

The Richardson Highway

The Richardson Highway

The Richardson Highway (AK-4) is a 368-mile-long stretch that connects Valdez to Fairbanks. The Richardson Highway passes many scenic stops such as the waterfalls of Keystone Canyon. This route makes a classic Alaska road trip, or leave the driving to John Hall's Alaska tours. 960 1280

Gary R. Johnson  

The Alaska Pipeline

The Alaska Pipeline

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, commonly called the The Alaska Pipeline, was completed in 1977 and stretches 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. It can be seen along Richardson Highway from Fairbanks as it travels to the Valdez Marine Terminal. Information kiosks along the route give details about this massive engineering feat, such as how heat exchangers are used to keep the permafrost from melting underneath the pipeline. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is America's largest national park and is filled with nine of the 16 highest peaks in North America, glaciers and miles of hiking trails through boreal forests. Its main visitor center is located off of the Richardson Highway (AK-4) between Copper Center and Glennallen. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

End of the Road: The Alaska Highway

End of the Road: The Alaska Highway

Completed in 1942 to aid the war effort during World War II, the Alaska Highway (also called the Alcan Highway) travels 1,387 miles from Dawson Creek in British Columbia, Canada, to Delta Junction, Alaska, where a monument marks its end point. Today it is a popular route for road trippers who pride themselves on completing the entire route through two nations. Alaska's segment of the Alaska Highay is also called the Richardson Highway (AK-4). 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Fairbanks: Gateway to the Arctic

Fairbanks: Gateway to the Arctic

Fairbanks is the northern extent of many Alaska road trips and is home to the Golden Heart Review at Pioneer Park, which explains Fairbanks' storied history through song and comedy. The Fountainhead Antique Cars Museum has an impressive collection of rare autos. The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center explores Alaska's many indigenous cultures, as do the Chena Indian Village and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

It's a Dog's Life

It's a Dog's Life

Visitors are welcome at Trail Breaker Kennel along the Chena River in Fairbanks. Established in 1980 by David Monson and four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher, Trail Breaker Kennel breeds sled dogs and educates the public about the dogs and sport. Dog sledding is a popular and often necessary sport in Alaska, and the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes place annually in March. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

The George Parks Highway

The George Parks Highway

The George Parks Highway (AK-3) travels 361 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and is the gateway to Denali National Park and Preserve. The Alaska Railroad parallels much of the highway. 960 1280

mcveras  

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve

Grizzly and black bears, moose, wolves, caribou, Dall sheep and many other animals are seen within Denali National Park and Preserve’s six million acres. The 92-mile park road connects the park entrance to Kantishna, where remote lodges are located. Buses are the only public transportation permitted into Denali’s backcountry other than planes. Road trippers can park at the park’s main entrance and take a bus into the park. 960 1280

David Rasmus/Getty Images/iStockphoto  

Land of Lake–and Volcanoes

Land of Lake–and Volcanoes

Wonder Lake within Denali National Park is one of Alaska's 3 million lakes larger than twenty acres. At 586,400 square miles, Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. Alaska also has more than 12,000 rivers and 40 active volcanoes. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Denali: The High One

Denali: The High One

Denali, meaning "The High One" in the Koyukon Athabascan language, is the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet. It can be seen from vantage points along AK-3 near Denali National Park. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Denali Backcountry Lodge, Kantishna

Denali Backcountry Lodge, Kantishna

Situated along Moose Creek within Denali National Park and Preserve, Denali Backcountry Lodge is 92 miles from the park's main entrance and reached only via a bus that takes guests through the park. Road trippers may park at Denali's main visitor center to catch a shuttle to the lodge. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Alaska's Friendly Skies

Alaska's Friendly Skies

Alaska’s preferred method of transportation is airplanes, with many residents living in areas where there is no direct road access, if there’s any at all. The venerable Piper Cub is a popular plane, and is owned by many Alaskans in the same way as others would own a passenger car. Planes are often seen taking off and landing on waterways throughout Alaska, which uses its many rivers as roadways. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Flight Seeing in Talkeetna

Flight Seeing in Talkeetna

Road trippers can trade their car for an airplane in Talkeetna for a flightseeing tour of Denali National Park to the north. K2 Aviation takes passengers on scenic flights into the park, and can even land on glaciers for hiking. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Roadside Beauty

Roadside Beauty

Throughout the summer wildflowers such as fireweed add color along Alaska's highways. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Back to the Beginning: Anchorage

Back to the Beginning: Anchorage

Often the starting and ending point for Alaska road trips, Anchorage offers much to see and do itself. The Anchorage Museum details the history, cultures and art of Alaska. Local shops and restaurants such as 49th State Brewing Company make exploring Anchorage's charming downtown worthwhile. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah

UT 12 winds through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which protects 1.88-million acres of landscape containing unique Native American and geological sites, including petroglyphs, fossils and natural arches. With its quiet backroads, spectacular national parks and monuments, the large area called the Grand Circle that encompasses southern Utah and northern Arizona makes for one of the most memorable road trips in the United States. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

The Wave, Utah/Arizona border

The Wave, Utah/Arizona border

The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness on the Utah/Arizona border near Kanab, Utah, requires a permit from the Bureau of Land Management and a difficult hike to reach. The payoff is remote, otherworldly scenery and the surreal swoop of sandstone called The Wave, formed by wind erosion. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah's first national park, was created in 1909 and is renowned for its red cliffs, hidden gardens, waterfalls and emerald pools. It is a favorite destination for hikers worldwide. 960 1280

AndrewSoundarajan  

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park was established in 1928 and protects a colorful landscape of sandstone spires called hoodoos that were formed through eons of freeze-thaw erosion. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park protects 378-square-miles of colorful landscape and historic human inhabitation, including ruins left by ancient Native Americans and Mormon settlers in the 1880s. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Fremont Petroglyphs, Utah

Fremont Petroglyphs, Utah

Located in Captial Reef National Park, these petroglyphs were left by the Fremont Culture some 2,000 years ago. Utah's striking landscapes and public lands contribute to Utah's $7.4 billion tourism industry. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, protects more than 2,000 natural stone arches, including Double Arch, pictured here. 960 1280

  

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

Natural Bridges National Monument protects natural arches (including the pictured Sipapu Bridge), Native American ruins and a lush riparian watershed. President Theodore Roosevelt declared the site a national monument in 1908. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Gooseneck State Park

Gooseneck State Park

Gooseneck State Park near Mexican Hat, Utah, is a popular photo and camping stop with eight first-come-first-serve sites. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

One of Utah's "Might 5" national parks, Canyonlands National Park is a playground for outdoor adventurers. Mountain bikers, four-wheelers, hikers and backpackers explore these 337,598 acres of unique geology and Native American ruins. 960 1280

Jeremy Pawlowski  

Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, established by President Obama in 2016, protects hundreds of Native American archaeological sites. The area is still an important source of traditional resources and spiritual significance to several Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation. Bears Ears National Monument encompasses Valley of the Gods. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Bluff, Utah

Bluff, Utah

Bluff, Utah, is a gateway to many of Utah's popular destinations including Bears Ears National Monument, and is home to the Twin Rocks Cafe, name for the towering rock formation behind it. Many areas in Utah are revered for their dark night skies, which are among darkest in North America. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Cow Canyon Trading Post, Bluff, Utah

Cow Canyon Trading Post, Bluff, Utah

This weathered 1949 Buick Super parked in front of Cow Canyon Trading Post in Bluff has become a must-stop photo attraction for road trippers. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

US 163 on the Utah/Arizona border

US 163 on the Utah/Arizona border

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park as seen driving south on US 163 from Utah into Arizona. The entrance to the park is on the Utah and Arizona border. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah/Arizona

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah/Arizona

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is called Tse'Bii'Ndzisgaii in the Diné language and means "Valley of the Rocks." This iconic 91,696-acre park has been featured in many movies and has come to symbolize the American West. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Antelope Canyon east of Page, Arizona, is a surreal labyrinth of slot canyons on Navajo tribal land. A Navajo guide is required to visit the site, and several tour operators are located in Page. It got its English name from the herd of pronghorn antelope that used to live in the area. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

The Colorado River flows through Horseshoe Bend four miles south of Page, Arizona, accessed via a 3/4-mile-long trail on the west side of US 89. It is 1,000 feet from the canyon rim to the water. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Hopi Pueblo, Arizona

Hopi Pueblo, Arizona

Hopi dancer Kyle Chase of the Pollen Trail Dancers displays his talent throughout the Southwest, including at Grand Canyon National Park. Hopi Pueblo consists of three ancient villages east of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The Hopi Cultural Center off of AZ 264 in Second Mesa details the history and culture of the tribe, and the tribally owned Moenkopi Legacy Inn & Suites near Tuba City makes a good road trip rest stop. 960 1280

  

Cameron Trading Post, Arizona

Cameron Trading Post, Arizona

A Navajo master weaver demonstrate her skill in the Cameron Trading Post weaving room. Cameron Trading Post, located 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon's East Entrance on AZ 64, is a trading post, restaurant and hotel that was built in 1916. 960 1280

STEVE LARESE  

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park is 277 miles long and 18 miles across at its widest point between the north and south rims, and one mile at its deepest. It was established in 1919 by President Theodore Roosevelt, who said of it: "The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison–beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world...Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children's children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see." 960 1280

Steve Larese   

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