10 Road Trips You Can Take in a Week

We've planned 10 week-long road trips with routes, must-stops and where to stay along the way.  

Photos

Black Hills of South Dakota

Black Hills of South Dakota

For history, scenery and a distinctly American taste of culture, begin your road trip on I-90 and take exit 131 for the Badlands Scenic Byway. As you travel through the Black Hills, make sure to stop at Wall Drug, Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore. And keep your eyes peeled for bison – they’re notoriously bad at following traffic rules, as seen here on the road to Wind Cave National Park. 960 1280

  

Downeast Maine

Downeast Maine

You won’t be traveling north – at least not according to Mainers – if you head out on Coastal Route 1, also known as the Lobster Trail. Starting in Kittery –where you might drop by Bob’s Clam Hut for a bit of sustenance -- the road hugs the rocky coastline “down east” through quaint New England fishing villages like Belfast and Rockland. 960 1280

John Greim  

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

The 469-mile drive that connects two national parks – Shenandoah in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina – is the most visited road controlled by the U.S. National Parks System. Starting at Front Royal in Virginia, travel along Skyline Drive to Luray Caverns and on south to the Natural Bridge and into North Carolina, where you can stop in Asheville before seeing the attractions of the Great Smoky Mountains. 960 1280

Chicago Tribune  

Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway

You can opt to drive California’s longest highway north to south or south to north along the often -dramatic Pacific coastline. Either way, it’s 653 miles from Dana Point in Orange County to Leggett in Mendocino County. Key attractions as you wind your way along the coast include Malibu, San Simeon, San Luis Obisbo, Big Sur, Monterey, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Mendocino Headlands. Hardcore road trippers will extend the coastal drive beyond the PCH from San Diego all the way to the Redwood Forest on Route 101 past Mendocino. 960 1280

Ron_Thomas  

Jackson, Wyoming to Glacier, Montana

Jackson, Wyoming to Glacier, Montana

You could make the drive from Jackson, Wyoming to Glacier National Park inMontana in a single day, but why would you? Take a week and make as many stops as possible in Big Sky Country where you’ll enjoy some of the most stunning and diverse landscape features anywhere in America – from the steep cliffs and racing rivers of the Grand Tetons to the geysers and wildlife of Yellowstone and the dramatic falls and glacial formations of Glacier. 960 1280

Wolfgang Kaehler  

Outer Banks

Outer Banks

Take this drive while you still can. North Carolina’s Route 12, also known as the Outer Banks Scenic Highway, has suffered a beating during the past decade of extreme weather, with hurricanes washing away swaths of roadway. The route starts at Bodie Lighthouse in the north and passes the narrow spits of land that make up the barrier islands protecting North Carolina’s mainland from the Atlantic Ocean. Sights along the way include the Oregon Inlet, Pea Island Wildlife Refuge and the historic Hatteras Lighthouse, where the highway continues as a boat -the Hatteras Ferry is part of Route 12 and crosses Pamlico Sound to join up with the road again on Ocracoke Island. 960 1280

NICHOLAS KAMM  

Hana Coastline

Hana Coastline

The 59-mile highway around the eastern side of Maui between Kahului crosses black sand beaches, waterfalls and 59 bridges. Some stops you may want to make include 'Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools), the Pipiwai Trail, and Waimoku Falls at Haleakala National Park, Hana Lava Tube, and the Ho'okipa lookout where you can view Maui’s famed surfers taking the waves. 960 1280

Paul Mounce  

Olympic Peninsula

Olympic Peninsula

Set out from Seattle for a 300-plus-mile road trip west across the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll enjoy gorgeous scenery and many stopping points for hikes. Within the Olympic National Park itself, you can drive through the lush Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. 960 1280

Douglas Peebles  

Route 66

Route 66

At over 2,500 miles, Route 66 is the quintessential cross-country road trip. Though travel on the Mother Road peaked in the 1940s and 1950s before the Interstate Highway system was established, you can still follow the tire treads of so many who came before. While there are countless sights as you journey between Chicago and Los Angeles, ending on the Santa Monica Pier, Route 66 may be most famous for its quirky roadside attractions like the Cadillac Ranch in Texas, the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Oklahoma, and this giant sculpture of Abe Lincoln on a wagon in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois. 960 1280

Marcia Straub#106784  

Overseas Highway

Overseas Highway

This 150-mile drive from Miami through the Florida Keys on an the iconic Route 1 is famous from countless car commercials and movie chases. The Overseas Highway, as it’s often called, crosses 42 bridges, including the Seven-Mile bridge over Pigeon Key, shown here. Though you could complete the entire ride in under four hours, the fun of this trip is taking in the life of the Keys themselves – from the Pennekamp Coral Reef Park to Key Largo’s Dolphin Research Center to the many delicious foods the area has made famous, like fried conch and Key lime pie. 960 1280

KAREN BLEIER  

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  

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  

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