Summer is right around the corner, and what better way to spend it than riding cross-country? A cross-country road trip is the true way to experience America. Each state has its own pride: a diner, a weird roadside attraction, a heritage spot.
With all 50 states and 10 million square kilometers, how can you maximize your summer road trip in the USA? Here are 15 road trip ideas for 2024. Even if you can’t squeeze them all in the months of June to September, be sure to tick them off your bucket list!
Get your maps ready and fill up your gas tanks. We’re going on a road trip!
1. The Big Five – Utah
Utah is home to five national parks: Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef. It is the ultimate road trip destination. Soak in the natural beauty of rock formations, babbling brooks, and forestry.
Riding an RV reduces hotel and lodging costs because you take your home with you! Here are some RV owner road trip ideas. Go for a hike and take up the challenge to finish the big five in 10 perfect days.
2. Florida Keys – Florida
Is a summer complete without a salty breeze hitting you while digging your toes in the sand? The beach is quintessential to a summer road trip, and where else has the best beaches than Florida? Start at Amelia Islands and end at Florida keys in a 340-mile trip driving across the Caribbean Sea.
3. Pacific Coast Highway – California
Start in San Diego and end in Mendocino for a total of 650 miles in one of the most scenic routes in the United States. You need a week or two to enjoy this route. Explore and camp in scenic coves and check out the bustle of the metropolis.
4. Red Rock Country – Arizona
The box canyons of the Arizona Red Rock come straight out of a surrealist painting! Your main mission is to hike and take in the views of this national reserve.
5. Historic Columbia River Highway – Oregon
The Historic Columbia River Highway offers a stunning view of the Columbia River Gorge. Bring a bike or furry companion as you brave the arid terrain.
6. Going-to-the-Sun Road – Montana
This road earned its name from local legends of a deity who came down from the sun to teach man the rudiments of hunting. It stretches from West Glacier to Glacier National Park entrance.
Without stopping, it takes 2 hours to traverse, but then you’d miss the breathtaking views. At the end is a national park to cap the trip. It’s one of those trips where the destination is as good as the journey.
7. Outer Banks – North Carolina
The best things about a road trip are the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin. So blast some jams while cruising through the ocean-front highway of North Carolina! Venture into white sand duck beaches and historic colonial towns.
8. Seward Highway – Alaska
Alaska offers one of the most breathtaking sites in all of America. Stay cool even in the summer with glacier views, bears, and fjord kayaking.
9. Olympic Peninsula Loop – Washington
If you’re a nature fan, you will love the Olympic Peninsula Loop. This loop is the perimeter of the Olympic National Park.
It’s home to 300 miles of wildlife, mountains, rainforests, and waterfalls. Perfect for the nature lover on the road.
10. Route 66 – Chicago to California
Route 66 was the nation’s first all-weather highway connecting Chicago to Los Angeles. Its rich history and historic towns make it a road trip staple.
The route flanks eight states, which offers you a brisk summary of the American experience. Find yourself in diners, gas stations, and iconic roadside attractions. Prepare for a road trip with a 2-week planner on Route 66 and get lost in the community and history.
11. Skyline Drive – Virginia
Do you ever want to go radio silent? Want to wind down from work with winding roads? The Skyline Drive in Virginia is perfect for you.
You’ll find campsites in cities rich with Civil War history for you to rest in. They have pretty towns, sleepy towns, and perfect hiking spots.
12. Hawaii to Hana
Don’t let the moniker “Divorce Highway” fool you. The Road to Hana is your key to a world within a world. What is Hawaii, if not a slice of paradise in a hectic modern world?
Put on some sunscreen and treat yourself to a tropical road trip for the summer! If you’re brave enough, bring your spouse.
13. Route 61 – New Orleans
While the famous song is about Route 66, Route 61 is where the blues are at. Music lovers, gather around your best tracks and delve into the town of rockers, blues, and wailers.
This is the land of the most hallowed music venues. Check out the infamous crossroads between Highway 1 and 8 where someone allegedly sold his soul to the devil. While they probably don’t have those transactions anymore, you can still take in the soul of blues driving through.
14. Cascade Loop – Washington
Washington is a melting pot of culture. It’s impossible to experience it holistically in one area. Take the Cascade Loop and circumnavigate Everett, Snohomish, Leavenworth, Chelan, Winthrop, and Coupeville!
Visit breweries, go whale watching, and hike the thick pines. No other place offers a rich itinerary quite like the Cascade Loop.
15. Kancamagus Highway – New Hampshire
Is September catching up on your big summer road trip? Feast your eyes on the fall foliage of Kancamagus Highway.
Picturesque and firey, the viewpoints do not disappoint. This 56 mile stretch from North Woodstock to Conway is the perfect autumn ending to your summer fling.
Make Memories With a Summer Road Trip
A summer road trip is a perfect fix to satisfy that wanderlust. Go sightseeing, immerse yourself in local culture, and have once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Thank you for reading our article! Head over to our other blog posts to learn more about destination trips and travel tips. Pack your backpacks; it’s going to be a long ride!