Let’s face it; the United States is massive. Not only are their 50 states, but the diversity between all of them can be be dissected into many more regions. There’s so much to see and do, it could easily take you five lifetimes to see it all. While I suggest visiting all parts of every country, there are some areas that just cannot be missed. To properly see the states, you must indulge in a road trip! To really understand it’s vastness and beauty, renting a car and driving the length of a state, visiting the national parks, the diners, the landmarks, and everything in between is what makes the states so special.
If you’re thinking of going to the states for your next trip, make it a road trip. Get that car, hit the open road, and see the beauty and the crazy unfold in front of you. Check out my list below of the U.S. road trips to do before you die:
Pacific Coast Highway
To me this is something I wish every person in the world could see. Hugging the West Coastline the entire way from the bottom of California up to the Oregon border, Highway 1 is breath-taking at every curve. Popular stopping points include Malibu, the Hearst Castle, San Jose, Monterey, Eureka, and the Redwoods National Forest. The windy road provides any photographer a dream come true with stunning sunsets, big waves, and the bluest ocean water. If you’re planning a trip to California, do not miss out on even a fraction of this road. The most photographed is Carmel by the sea where you can snap breath taking landscapes with the iconic PCH bridge.
As you cross the California border into Oregon, the Highway changes to Highway 101 but keeps its intentions of being the most beautiful coastline road trip. Oregon’s rugged ocean rock formations, luscious green forests, and cute seaside towns make this a must for both visitors and locals alike. Popular spots like Bandon, Newport, Canon Beach, Seaside and Astoria make a trip up the Oregon Coast a lot of fun. Home to breweries, the best seafood and chowder on the West Coast, great hikes, and plenty of movie film locations, the Oregon Coast will delight everyone.
Idaho Highway 55 to 95
Idaho gets missed quite a lot when it comes to planning a trip to the states. For the outdoor enthusiast, Idaho might be the best playground of your dreams. The state highway that starts in Eagle in the south and goes up to Coeur d’ Alene in the north is one of America’s best road trips. Besides being less crowded, the geography of Idaho is impressive. As you leave Eagle you twist and turn alongside the Payette River, one of the best for white water rafting until you make your way to McCall where you are surrounded by mountains, lakes and forests. The terrain changes drastically when you embark up the Whitebird Summit where the landscape changes to dramatic basins and desert-like regions. Continue on up to Moscow and you’re back in the trees as you catch glimpses of Lake Coeur d’ Alene as you pull in to one of the most beautiful towns in the state. Trust me, it’s worth driving.
Going to the Sun Highway-Glacier National Park
Montana boasts landscape unlike any other in the country. With wide open spaces, grand mountains, and unbelievable wildlife, Montana is cowboy country. But it’s also road trip heaven. And one of the best road trips to take in the state is in Glacier National Park. Located at the northwest region of Montana, the national park is home to the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 55-mile road winds around the mountains past Bighorn Sheep to the top of the mountains where the sun feels so close you could almost touch it. Waterfalls, glaciers and incredible landscape are all part of the drive.
Blue Ridge Parkway- Virginia and North Carolina
See the East Coast during the autumn season is a must regardless if you’re on a road trip or not. But having a car to follow the changing of the colours is one great way to see it all. A great road trip to include in your travels would be the Blue Ridge Parkway that goes through Virginia and North Carolina. It’s a photographer’s dream not only with the beautiful fall colours, but for the roadside attractions and national parks as well. The parkway travels through the Shenandoah and Smoky Mountains National Parks. Don’t forget to stop at the massive Biltmore Estate to see one of the biggest mansions in the world.
The most iconic road trip highway, Route 66 starts in Chicago and makes its way to Los Angeles. With funky roadside attractions, American-style diners, a lot of farmland and quirky museums, this highway has become an American institution for tourism. Many come from all over the world to travel this route in efforts to be a part of the everyday ‘American life.’ One of the highlights is a Cadillac museum where you can go visit a bunch of brightly-painted old Cadillacs half buried in the sand. It you like wide open roads and land, this trip is screaming your name.