Who doesn’t love a good road trip? You can jam out to your favorite tunes, pick up junk food, and play the alphabet game.
Plus, there are some places that you can’t truly experience unless you’re driving. When you’re planning your next trip, consider these destinations that should only be done by car.
- Historic Route 66
Road trippers must travel Route 66 someday. It was once the highway of choice, featuring 2,500 miles of clear roads from Chicago to Los Angeles, California. Most people drive on major interstates when going on long trips, but the historic route is still there, calling for adventure.
If you have time to travel the entire route, you’ll see the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, historic cafes and motels, the Route 66 starting and ending signs, murals, and more. These scenes are iconic, and a must-see.
- Black Hills to Sturgis, South Dakota
The Black Hills are a hidden gem in the middle of the otherwise empty state of South Dakota. Along with being the home of Mouth Rushmore, it’s also home to gorgeous rolling hills, perfect for camping and hiking.
Try to time your trip for the Sturgis Motorcycle rally when tens of thousands of motorcyclists come out to show off their bikes. Just be careful of all the motorcycle riders on the roadway at this time. You wouldn’t want to cause an accident.
- Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway
This unique U.S. route goes through Utah and Colorado and features real-life opportunities to find dinosaur fossils. There’s a paleontology lab along the way where you can see live digs and enjoy museums of dinosaur fossils. The roadside scenery is exceptional as well.
- Historic Columbia River Highway
There are very few things as beautiful as Oregon in the fall and spring, and the Columbia River Highway is one of the best ways to experience it. You could do a short, afternoon trip along this 74-mile highway that shows gorgeous views of Hood River, wildlife, vistas, and Multnomah and Horsetail Falls.
- Lake Champlain Byway
There are no monuments or notable sites along this roadway, but it attracts outdoor enthusiasts from all over the country. Whether you’re looking for boating opportunities or a relaxing afternoon by the lake, taking a drive along this scenic byway will lead you to one of the most beautiful destinations in Vermont.
- Black River National Forest Scenic Byway
This is a gorgeous scenic byway in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that begins on County Road 513. This byway has unique history as it was once a wagon trail in the 1800s. Now, there’s a road with stunning views of the Ottawa National Forest, rivers, waterfalls, and hiking trails.
This is a great road trip for outdoor adventurers. There are plenty of ski resorts, swimming holes, bike trails, and other adventure opportunities along the way.
- Pacific Coast Highway
The length of the state of California is a staple for avid road trippers. You could spend a few days exploring this gorgeous stretch of highway that goes beyond the United States into Canada. There’s a lot to see, but if you don’t have a few days to do the whole thing, focus on the road between Monterey and Big Sur. This area offers whale watching, sea lions, glorious cliffs and lookout points, lighthouses, historic bridges, and more.
- U.S. Route 1
If you’re more interested in the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Route 1 along Florida’s coast will be more your scene. It goes from the Florida Keys all the way up to the tip of Maine. This 545-mile journey should only be experienced from two or three days of driving.
This trip is loaded with gorgeous coastal views, including a bridge that literally crosses the ocean. There are also great camping sites along the way, so you can save on accommodations.
- George Parks Highway
When you’re ready to see something incredible outside the lower 48, George Parks Highway in Alaska is it. Words can’t describe the incredible natural beauty of Alaskan mountains, dense trees, and even a few coastal scenes.
The George Parks Highway goes right past the charming town of Talkeetna and then up towards the famous Denali National Park. Wildlife sightings and breathtaking mountain views are guaranteed.
- Hana Highway
You probably associate Hawaii with swimming and snorkeling on private beaches. While those are certainly perks of visiting the islands, you should also consider driving along Hana Highway on the island of Maui.
This road takes you along ravines and rainforests. You can easily do the trip in less than a day, but many road-trippers like to camp in Haleakala National Park and spread out their drive over a couple of days. There’s no better way to experience Hawaii than by car.