If you’re looking to take an All-American road trip, look to one of these five highways.
The click of the seat belt, the hum of a motor and maybe some classic rock playing in the background. Yep, it’s road trip time and there’s nothing better than jumping in the car with friends or family and heading out for what is sure to be an epic adventure. But where should you go? What should you do? We have a few suggestions for five of the most famous highways in America. Drive the entire route, or maybe just a portion, but in the end, you’ll experience some of America’s greatest landscapes and iconic destinations. From amber waves of grain, to rocky cliffs, snow-capped mountains and everything in between, these five highways have something for everyone to enjoy.
1. Route 66 – If there’s one road that tells the story of America its Route 66. Since 1926 people have traveled down this iconic stretch of highway that runs from Illinois to California. Sometimes called the Main Street of America, there are 2,451 miles to enjoy as you pass through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s. The road supported many economies of the communities it passed through and while many have fought to keep the historic route alive, it was officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985 after being replaced by segments of the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road have been designated “Historic Route 66” and it’s still a must-drive road trip for the enthusiast.
2. Pacific Coast Highway – Noted for its breathtaking scenery, and sometimes loathed for its traffic, the Pacific Coast Highway (or PCH) is worth the 1,400-mile road trip! Opened in the late 1920’s as part of the Roosevelt Highway, this band of asphalt runs almost the entire length of the California coast with scenes of crashing waves, palm trees, redwood forests and wildlife galore. Take advantage of some of the best photo ops around as you take in scenic overlooks, whale watching, a day at the beach, or maybe a tour through the wine country. While you can make the trip in one day, try to carve out at least a weekend so you can enjoy what California has to offer.
3. US Highway 1 – Ride on this stretch of road for 2,390 miles for a drive down the Atlantic coast like no other. This scenic drive takes you from Fort Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida, the southernmost point in the Continental U.S. Much of this route is regulated by stoplights as you go through city limits so plan on a much slower trip than I-96, but that’s what a road trip is about. Stopping to take it all in. Meet the locals, eat at a local diner, take a selfie in the town square. US Highway 1 takes you through Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, District of Columbia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and finally Florida. It’s a road trip riddled with historic sites that will provide an unforgettable experience.
4. Blue Ridge Parkway – Rolling through the Appalachian mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is an absolutely brilliant drive in the fall. As lush forests change to shades of red, orange and gold, the views are breathtaking. One of the most visited sections of the National Park System, the Parkway is 469 miles of awesome, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains national Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virgina. Scenic overlooks coupled with abundant hiking trails, picnic areas, campsites, and recreational activities makes for an ideal road trip for the outdoor enthusiast.
5. Great River Road – If the coasts aren’t your style, try the Great River Road, one of America’s national treasures. Follow the mighty Mississippi from Louisiana to Wisconsin during this picturesque drive. From small town life to a big city atmosphere, this drive is a sampler platter of everything from the deep South to the upper Mid-West. The Great River Road is actually a collection of roads and the route is specifically for tourism and historic purposes. Gather souvenirs from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Experience a piece of road trip history and consider one of these great stretches of highway for your next road trip. Whether it’s a couple days and a couple hundred miles in your car, or a couple weeks in a motorhome and the entire length of Route 66, these roads represent the fabric of America. From sea to shining sea, there is something for everyone on this list. A smorgasbord of scenery, food and history that is sure to leave you wanting more.