The Best Road Trip Adventure in Every State

The Best Road Trip Adventure in Every State

The United States is a vast nation comprising 3,532,316 square miles of land and 277,209 square miles of water. According to the Census Bureau, it ranks among the top five countries in terms of area. With 50 states spread over 3,809,525 square miles, there is likely something for everyone to enjoy, from Alaska’s lofty peaks to Florida’s lush mangroves, each state harbors unique ecosystems, spectacular sights, and incredible history.

It’s never easy to plan the perfect trip, no matter where you go, but planning the perfect road trip can be even more daunting given the wealth of options. It can be hard to eliminate certain attractions in favor of others and often we unrealistically attempt to see it all and appease every taste. By researching national parks, travel sites, and state tourism boards, 24/7 Tempo found the best road trip adventures in every state, satisfying diverse interests.

Road trips often highlight the natural wonders found across the country; beauty so vast that it is almost impossible to see it all on the first go around, or even the second. Thundering waterfalls, oceanside cliffs, rugged mountain ranges, red rock canyons, hot springs, volcanoes, and more are some of the many highlights you may encounter. Then there are the activities you can participate in, either as a spectator or an active participant, from football, baseball, and dinosaur fossils to historical monuments, jazz haunts, and mining for precious stones. Those enamored with classic Americana can even cruise the famed Route 66, encountering quirky roadside gems.

Whatever your passion – outdoor adventure, historical insights, or cultural immersion, a road trip tailored to you can most likely be found in one of the 50 states.  Here is the strangest roadside attraction in each state.

Here is the best road trip adventure in every state:


Source: sshepard / Getty Images

Source: sshepard / Getty Images
  • Route: Tuscaloosa to Auburn
  • Miles: 168
  • Type of adventure: Sports

This sports fans’ tour explores Alabama’s college football legacy, from the University of Alabama to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham to Auburn University, home of the Auburn Tigers. See multiple Heisman Trophies, Waterford Crystal trophies, and sports memorabilia dating back over 120 years.


Source: ILINWU / iStock via Getty Images

Source: ILINWU / iStock via Getty Images
The Prince William Sound near Valdez is known for its dramatic mountain views.
  • Route: Homer to Valdez
  • Miles: 519
  • Type of adventure: Nature and historical

At the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer is a great place to spot whales and other wildlife. From there, the drive up the coast features volcano views, a historic Russian fur trader village, and a dump where hundreds of bald eagles tend to congregate. Pass through old gold-mining towns and fishing villages, then continue from Anchorage to Valdez, marveling at 14,000-foot mountains, ancient glaciers, and the waterfalls of Keystone Canyon.


Source: benedek / E+ via Getty Images

Source: benedek / E+ via Getty Images
Marble Canyon is actually a limestone formation.
  • Route: Prescott to Marble Canyon
  • Miles: 302
  • Type of adventure: Historical and nature

Learn about pioneer history at the Sharlot Hall Museum and see artifacts at the Museum of Indigenous People in Prescott, then take the scenic route through the Black Hills and stop for lunch in the historic mining town of Jerome, which is built into a steep mountainside and boasts 100-mile views. Head to Sedona for stunning red rock formations and take advantage of the dining and nightlife in Flagstaff before peering over the south rim of the Grand Canyon and ending your journey at the picturesque Marble Canyon.


Source: zrfphoto / iStock via Getty Images

Source: zrfphoto / iStock via Getty Images
Hot Springs National Park features thermal springs, abundant creeks, and interesting geological features.
  • Route: Scenic 7 Byway
  • Miles: 298
  • Type of adventure: Scenic nature and hot springs

Beginning in Lead Hill and ending at the state border with Louisiana, the Scenic 7 Byway is Arkansas’ longest state highway and a motorcyclist’s dream. It crosses the Ozark and Ouachita mountain ranges and runs through the Arkansas River valley and pine woodlands. Highlights include the resort town of Hot Springs, the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks, and numerous waterfalls and fishing holes.


Source: MariuszBlach / iStock via Getty Images

Source: MariuszBlach / iStock via Getty Images
The waters of Lake Tahoe are notoriously blue due to their algae concentration.
  • Route: Joshua Tree to Lake Tahoe
  • Miles: 527
  • Type of adventure: National Parks, lakes, mountains

California’s Route 395 runs from the desert near Joshua Tree National Park into the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, passing by such well-known destinations as Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite, Mono Lake, and Lake Tahoe. You can also visit the Alabama Hills in Lone Pine, where dozens of Western movies have been filmed, or the ancient bristlecone pines in the White-Inyo Mountains – said to be the oldest trees in the world.


Source: Left_Coast_Photographer / Getty Images

Source: Left_Coast_Photographer / Getty Images
This 13th-century historic site is the largest cliff dwelling in North America.
  • Route: San Juan Skyway
  • Miles: 235
  • Type of adventure: Historic, and nature

The San Juan Skyway is nestled below 14,000-foot peaks, traversing mountain passes lined with aspen and coniferous forests. It offers access to alpine views, hiking and biking trails, mining towns, ski resorts, and alpine lakes. Be sure to explore Cliff Palace, a massive complex of Ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park, and the hot springs and waterfalls in Ouray.


Source: enfi / Getty Images

Source: enfi / Getty Images
Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven is a popular spot for bird watchers and swimmers.
  • Route: Sleeping Giant State Park to Kent Falls State Park
  • Miles: 240
  • Type of adventure: Beaches, parks, and natural wonders

Looping around Connecticut, this trip highlights the natural wonders of the state. Begin at a park in Hamden whose mountain is said to look like a sleeping giant, then head down to New Haven and travel east along the coast. Stop at any number of beaches until you hit Bluff Point State Park, which offers 800 acres of recreational area and saltwater fishing. Travel up scenic Route 169 then head west to Cathedral Pines and the cascades at Kent Falls State Park.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
The Delaware History Museum is home to the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage, which contains artifacts, art, music, and oral histories from 1639 to the present.
  • Route: The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
  • Miles: 125
  • Type of adventure: Historical

This self-guided driving tour runs 125 miles from Dorchester County Maryland to Philadelphia, highlighting the life and travel routes of Harriet Tubman as she led slaves to freedom. Stops in Delaware include the Old State House in Dover, where Samuel Burris, a free Black Underground Railroad conductor, was convicted of aiding slaves; the Corbit-Sharp house, home to a Quaker abolitionist couple known to hide slaves on their way to freedom; and the Mitchell Center for African American Heritage in New Castle.


Source: Art Wager / E+ via Getty Images

Source: Art Wager / E+ via Getty Images
In downtown Miami, stop at the Perez Art Museum and take a stroll through the Bayside Marketplace.
  • Route: Highway 1
  • Miles: 183
  • Type of adventure: Beaches, shopping, nature, nightlife

Beginning in Fort Lauderdale and ending in Key West, this trip down US Route 1 goes through numerous beach towns, offering a mix of boutique shops and cafes, and seedy motels and pawn shops. Neon signs and billboards add a vintage Americana vibe, while the Overseas Highway through the Florida Keys allows you to cruise over turquoise waters as you island hop. Stop for nightlife in Miami, detour through the Everglades, and snorkel in Key Largo before an extended stay in Key West.


Source: AnitaPatterson / Getty Images

Source: AnitaPatterson / Getty Images
Miles of nature trails span Providence Canyon State Park.
  • Route: Okefenokee Swamp to Radium Springs
  • Miles: 780
  • Type of adventure: Natural wonders, historical, state parks

Beginning in the half-million-acre, wildlife-filled wetland at Okefenokee Swamp,  you will head to Savannah for beach recreation at Tybee Island and a walk through live oaks dripping with Spanish moss at Wormsloe Historic Site, then head to Tallulah Gorge State Park and walk across the suspension bridge if you dare. Gaze at the tumbling waters of Amicalola Falls State Park, and don’t miss Warm Springs and Providence Canyon on your way to Radium Springs Gardens, where clear blue waters gurgle from an underground cave.


Source: sorincolac / iStock via Getty Images

Source: sorincolac / iStock via Getty Images
  • Route: Kailua-Kona to Mauna Kea
  • Miles: 163
  • Type of adventure: Volcanoes, National Parks, waterfalls, beachs

This loop takes you along the west coast of the Big Island, down to the southern tip, then back up the east side to the Mauna Kea volcano. Along the way, stop at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, see the waterfalls and rainforest zoo at Wailuku River State Park, and relax on the black sands of Punalu’u Beach. The diverse landscapes, stunning flora, and lava fields will keep you occupied for days.


Source: Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images

Source: Ron and Patty Thomas / Getty Images
The Sawtooth Mountains reach heights of over 10,000 feet.
  • Route: Bruneau Dunes State Park to Sawtooth National Recreation Area
  • Miles: 608
  • Type of adventure: State Parks, waterfalls, Monuments

Visit Bruneau Dunes State Park, home to the highest single-structure dune in North America. Then look at the gravity-defying Balanced Rock on your way to Shoshone Falls, a 212-foot waterfall and outdoor recreation area. Learn about the area’s cultural and natural history at the Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls, view wildlife at Mesa Falls, see fascinating lava formations at Craters of the Moon National Monument, and explore the vast wilderness at Sawtooth National Recreation Area.


Atlanta, Illinois, USA by Pom'
Source: pom-angers / Flickr

The Paul Bunyan hotdog statue in Atlanta, Illinois was built in 1966 to attract customers to a hot dog stand in Cicero that sadly no longer exists.
  • Route: Illinois’ iconic Route 66
  • Miles: 345
  • Type of adventure: Historical

Beginning in Chicago, drive down iconic Route 66 and visit the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Willis Tower Skydeck. Then, hit the road and see some of the most famous roadside attractions in the country, including the Paul Bunyan hotdog statue, the Railsplitter Covered Wagon, and Henry’s Rabbit Ranch. Stop at any of the vintage diners, soda fountains, antique malls, and quirky museums along the way – and don’t miss the gondola ride at Grafton Sky Tours.


Gothic Chapel by Sarah Stierch
Source: Sarah Stierch / Flickr

The Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis contains the grave of John Dillinger, as well as a mass burial plot of 700 orphans that are said to haunt the grounds.
  • Route: Haunted Places Tour
  • Miles: 302
  • Type of adventure: Haunted

Take a trip through Indiana’s haunted locations, beginning on Primrose Road in South Bend, where legend has it that your car and phone will malfunction if you go above 30 mph. Head to the Barbee Hotel in Warsaw, where you may run into the ghosts of the gangsters that used to frequent the place, and the Randolph County Infirmary in Winchester, a former asylum known for its paranormal activity. Look for apparitions at the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis and the Stepp Cemetery in Martinsville, and stop at multiple haunted bridges before ending at the Willard Library in Evansville, where you may see the famous Grey Lady apparition.


Source: Dimitrios Karamitros / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Dimitrios Karamitros / iStock via Getty Images
Learn all about the history, culture, and ecosystems of the Mississippi River in Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Route: Great River Road
  • Miles: 265
  • Type of adventure: Historical, nature, breweries

This scenic byway follows the Mississippi River along the eastern border of Iowa, where you can spend days visiting natural areas, breweries, quaint bed and breakfasts, and museums. Begin at the Driftless Area Education and Visitors Center in Lansing, then explore the Yellow River State Forest, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, and the Sawmill Museum in Clinton. Explore the Putnam Museum and Science Center in Clinton and the National Pearl Button Museum in Muscatine before ending in Burlington with a show at the Capitol Theater.


Source: marekuliasz / iStock via Getty Images

Source: marekuliasz / iStock via Getty Images
Fossils abound at Castle Rock, the limestone remnants of a Cretaceous-era chalk ocean.
  • Route: Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve to Mount Sunflower
  • Miles: 499
  • Type of adventure: Natural wonders

Begin at some of the last remaining North American tallgrass prairies, then head to Milford State Park and go fishing on the state’s largest lake. Check out the massive sandstone boulders at Rock City Park and hike into Horsethief Canyon at Kanopolis State Park. Go mountain biking along crystal blue waters at Wilson State Park, stop to gaze at the chalk bluffs of Castle Rock, take some epic photographs at the Little Jerusalem Badlands, and end at Mount Sunflower, the highest point in the state.


Source: kellyvandellen / Getty Images

Source: kellyvandellen / Getty Images
Over 90% of the world’s bourbon is made in Kentucky.
  • Route: Bourbon Tour
  • Miles: 400
  • Type of adventure: Distilleries

Beginning in Louisville, looping to Owensboro, and ending in Lexington, bourbon lovers will see dozens of distilleries around the Bluegrass State. Visit Michter’s to see vintage pot stills and Old Forester to watch their on-site cooper assembling aging barrels. Visit a horse farm or two along the way, and don’t skip rural Bardstown, home to 11 distilleries and the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History.


Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Kruck20 / iStock via Getty Images
The French Quarter in New Orleans is known for its variety of live music clubs and street musicians.
  • Route: New Orleans to Shreveport
  • Miles: 480
  • Type of adventure: Music, historical

Go on a musical tour of Louisiana – the birthplace of jazz – that encompasses several genres including Cajun and rock and roll. In New Orleans, venture down Frenchman Street for live jazz or visit Preservation Hall for a kid-friendly listening experience. Then head to the Martin Accordions shop in Scott, and the Savoy Music Center in Eunice to see how Cajun accordions are made. Visit the Delta Music Museum in Ferriday and end at the historic Shreveport Municipal Auditorium for more live performances.


Source: Philippe Gratton / Getty Images

Source: Philippe Gratton / Getty Images
Mount Desert Island offers fine dining, pristine views, beaches, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
  • Route: Seafood Trail
  • Miles: 264
  • Type of adventure: Nature, seafood, National Parks

Follow the Maine coastline up Route 1 from Portland, where lobsters and art are plentiful, and stop in some of the state’s idyllic oceanside towns, sampling oysters, steamed mussels, and fried haddock along the way. Spend some time hiking or swimming on Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park, then head to Machias for a lobster roll and blueberry pie. Visit the Bold Coast in Cutler, and end in Lubec on the Canadian border for a well-deserved bowl of clam chowder.


The small vineyard at Fridays Creek Winery provides the grapes for the family wine business.
  • Route: Patuxent Wine Trail
  • Miles: 80
  • Type of adventure: Wineries and Vineyards

The Patuxent Wine Trail is a vineyard and winery trip through southern Maryland’s Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties. Start at the Port of Leonardtown Winery, a cooperative of 15 small family vineyards, then head to the Cove Point and Perigeaux Vineyards. Have some wood-fired pizza at the Tuscan-inspired Running Hare Vineyard before heading north to see the historic tobacco barn at Fridays Creek Winery and the French oak aging barrels at Thanksgiving Farm Winery.


Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images

Source: DenisTangneyJr / iStock via Getty Images
The quaint town of North Adams has become a popular destination since the opening of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Route: Mohawk Trail
  • Miles: 70
  • Type of adventure: Historical, nature, arts

The Mohawk Trail, one of the nation’s first auto-touring roads, was originally a Native American trade and travel route. Beginning in Williamstown, wind through picturesque mountains and valleys, visiting North Adams, a small town with a burgeoning arts scene, and the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls. Hikers can explore the Mohawk Trail State Forest and see some of the tallest trees in the state before ending the drive in Erving.


Source: hobiedog16 / iStock via Getty Images

Source: hobiedog16 / iStock via Getty Images
The dunes at Sleeping Bear rise 460 feet above Lake Michigan.
  • Route: Holland to Potawatomi Falls
  • Miles: 733
  • Type of adventure: Nature, State parks

This trip along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior passes waterfalls, dunes, lighthouses, cliffs, and so many beaches. Beginning at the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland, head north and visit several more historic lighthouses and Sleeping Bear Dunes before stopping in Suttons Bay to visit one of the area’s cider makers. Then follow the scenic coast to the Upper Peninsula, heading to Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Seven waterfall stops lie to the west before you reach Potawatomi Falls on the Black River Scenic Byway.


Source: jimkruger / Getty Images

Source: jimkruger / Getty Images
The North Shore of Lake Superior is known for its rugged cliffs.
  • Route: North Shore Scenic Byway
  • Miles: 145
  • Type of adventure: Nature, National Parks

From Duluth to Grand Portage, this route follows the north shore of Lake Superior, affording access to small towns, scenic trails, and some pristine natural areas including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Superior National Forest. Waterfalls, smoked fish shops, lighthouses, and scenic overlooks abound, and the Grand Portage National Monument offers opportunities to learn about the Ojibwe culture and the history of fur traders in the area.


Clarksdale MS 05 Crossroads by Thomas R Machnitzki
Source: Thomas R Machnitzki / Wikimedia Commons

The Devil’s Crossroads in Clarksdale commemorates the myth surrounding legendary Delta bluesman Robert Johnson.
  • Route: The Blues Highway
  • Miles: 250
  • Type of adventure: Music

U.S. Route 61 is often called the Blues Highway, and the section through Mississippi includes a self-guided tour around the stomping grounds of dozens of blues musicians as well as educational sites including the Delta Blues Museum, the Jimmie Rodgers Museum, and the B.B. King Museum. Visit the birthplace of Elvis Presley and stop at the Crossroads in Clarksdale, where Delta blues pioneer Robert Johnson supposedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his guitar skills.


Source: traveler1116 / iStock via Getty Images

Source: traveler1116 / iStock via Getty Images
The 630-foot Gateway Arch in St. Louis stands on the banks of the Mississippi River.
  • Route: Great River Road
  • Miles: 215
  • Type of adventure: Historical, museums

Great River Road follows the Mississippi River along the eastern border of the state and offers access to historic towns, state parks, museums, and archaeological areas. Explore the history of Missouri from Mark Twain’s birthplace in Hannibal, to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, to the Civil War era Hunter Dawson State Historic Site in New Madrid.


Source: stellalevi / E+ via Getty Images

Source: stellalevi / E+ via Getty Images
Glacier National Park contains 762 lakes.
  • Route: Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • Miles: 50
  • Type of adventure: Nature, national parks

Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park winds through pristine alpine areas of the park, where you’ll see cliffs, wildflowers, alpine lakes, waterfalls, and some of the last glaciers in the area. It crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and affords opportunities for wildlife sighting, hiking, and picnicking.


Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images

Source: ChrisBoswell / iStock via Getty Images
A short detour north from Kimball, Chimney Rock is a distinctive landmark that rises 470 feet above the valley.
  • Route: Lincoln Highway
  • Miles: 400
  • Type of adventure: Historical

The Lincoln Highway was the first road built for automobiles across the United States and the remnants of this scenic byway cross the entire state of Nebraska, with some sections retaining historic brick pavement. Sites of interest along the way include the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park, the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, and multiple Pony Express stations. Climb the Golden Spike Tower to catch a glimpse of the largest rail yard in the world, the Union Pacific Bailey Yard in North Platte.


Source: KiskaMedia / Getty Images

Source: KiskaMedia / Getty Images
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is known for its red sandstone peaks and Native American petroglyphs.
  • Route: Las Vegas to Death Valley
  • Miles: 370
  • Type of adventure: Nature, national parks, entertainment

From the neon lights of the Las Vegas strip to the hottest, driest national park in the country, this Nevada loop trip takes you through Red Rock Canyon, which features a dramatic landscape of sandstone peaks and petroglyphs, as well as the ghost town of Rhyolite. After exploring the salt flats and dunes of Death Valley National Park, be sure to stop at the Goldwell Open Air Museum and spot some bighorn sheep at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.

New Hampshire

Source: Catuncia / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Catuncia / iStock via Getty Images
Franconia Notch State Park is easily accessible from Interstate 93.
  • Route: White Mountains Loop
  • Miles: 104
  • Type of adventure: Nature, national parks

The White Mountains of New Hampshire are an outdoor haven, and this White Mountain drive takes you up winding roads to scenic overlooks through rugged mountain passes lined with waterfalls, hiking trails, and rivers to tube down. Beginning in Littleton, head through Crawford Notch State Park, stopping at the iconic Omni Mount Washington Resort, before arriving in Conway to take a scenic train ride. Hop on the Kancamagus Highway for incredible views, then head to the Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves, as well as Franconia Notch State Park to see the Flume Gorge.

New Jersey

Source: AUDREY SCRIPP / iStock via Getty Images

Source: AUDREY SCRIPP / iStock via Getty Images
Visit the Knife & Fork Inn and Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City then head to the iconic Steel Pier theme park.
  • Route: The Anthony Bourdain Food Trail
  • Miles: 295
  • Type of adventure: Food

Follow in the footsteps of the late, great chef and food documentarian Anthony Bourdain. Starting in Fort Lee, you can enjoy a deep-fried hot dog at Hiram’s Roadstand, then stop for a cheesesteak at Donkey’s Place or Tony and Ruth’s in Camden. Hit the coast at Atlantic City for numerous stops including the highly-rated Dock’s Oyster House, then head north for a diner-style dessert or breakfast at Lucille’s Country Cooking, a seafood feast at Kubel’s, and a pork roll at Frank’s Deli in Asbury Park.

New Mexico

Source: miroslav_1 / iStock via Getty Images

Source: miroslav_1 / iStock via Getty Images
Taos Pueblo is one of the oldest continuously inhabited towns in the country.
  • Route: Los Ojos to Jemez Springs
  • Miles: 243
  • Type of adventure: Historical, museums, national parks

Beginning in Los Ojos, take scenic Highway 64, stopping for photos at Brazos Summit, then continuing over the towering Rio Grande Gorge Bridge to the village of Taos Pueblo, a cultural wonder and UNESCO world heritage site. Head South for a hike at the Trampas Lakes before stopping in Santa Fe to visit any number of museums including the Georgia O’Keefe Museum. Finally, explore cliff dwellings at Bandelier National Monument and drive through an ancient volcano caldera to experience a relaxing soak in Jemez Springs.

New York

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images

Source: Ultima_Gaina / iStock via Getty Images
Algonquin Peak in Adirondack Park is the second-highest mountain in New York.
  • Route: Adirondack Trail
  • Miles: 188
  • Type of adventure: Nature

Between the towns of Malone and Fonda, this scenic route runs through the Adirondack Mountains, providing access to the longest hiking trail system in the country, as well as numerous glacial lakes and ponds including Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. Experience birding, camping, skiing, mountain biking, fishing, boating, and more in the nation’s largest wilderness park outside of Alaska.

North Carolina

Source: chrisncami / Getty Images

Source: chrisncami / Getty Images
The hike to Linville Falls is short but steep.
  • Route: Boone to Cherokee
  • Miles: 180
  • Type of adventure: Nature, historical

Head through the mountains of North Carolina along the Blue Ridge Parkway where caverns, waterfalls, preserved historic sites, and diverse forests await. Stop at Linville Falls, Mount Mitchell – the highest peak on the Eastern Seaboard, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For Appalachian cultural immersion, try the Blue Ridge Music Center, the Southern Highland Folk Center, and the Museum of the Cherokee People.

North Dakota

Source: JeffGoulden / E+ via Getty Images

Source: JeffGoulden / E+ via Getty Images
The Great Plains meet the Badlands in Teddy Roosevelt National Park.
  • Route: Bowman to Parshall
  • Miles: 144
  • Type of adventure: Museums, national parks, fossils

Begin at the Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, a repository for local fossil collections including dinosaurs, and end at the Paul Broste Rock Museum, a massive display of rocks, minerals, and fossils. On the way, explore Teddy Roosevelt National Park and be sure to stop at the Badlands Overlook in Medora. See more dinosaur bones at the Dickinson Museum Center before stopping at the Lake Ilo National Wildlife Refuge, Little Missouri State Park, and the Three Affiliated Tribes Museum, a Native American heritage center.


Pro Football Hall of Fame by Erik Drost
Source: Erik Drost / Wikimedia Commons

The Pro Football Hall of Fame pays tribute to football’s greatest players.
  • Route: Winning Drive
  • Miles: 569
  • Type of adventure: Sports

This road trip begins with a tour of the Wilson football factory in Hardin, then continues to Cedar Point Beach in Sandusky, where Knute Rockne and Gus Dorais developed the forward pass in 1913. Visit the home stadiums of the Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ohio State University Buckeyes, and don’t skip the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, the Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, where the NFL was founded, and the Portsmouth Flood Wall Murals.


Blue Whale, Catoosa, Oklahoma by Nicolas Henderson
Source: Nicolas Henderson / Flickr

The Blue Whale roadside attraction in Catoosa was originally built in 1972.
  • Route: Route 66
  • Miles: 400
  • Type of adventure: Historic diners, towns, roadside attractions

The nation’s longest continuous section of Route 66 runs through Oklahoma, passing through quaint towns and providing access to retro diners and quirky roadside attractions. Stop at the Coleman Theater and Waylan’s Ku-Ku Burger in Miami, and take a drive past sights including a smiling blue whale statue and the world’s largest concrete totem pole. Museums to explore include the Will Rogers Memorial Museum, the Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum, and the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.


Source: libre de droit / iStock via Getty Images

Source: libre de droit / iStock via Getty Images
Cape Perpetua is the highest viewpoint on the Oregon coast that is accessible by car.
  • Route: Highway 101
  • Miles: 321
  • Type of adventure: State parks, nature

The stretch of coastal highway from Seaside to Brookings could be driven in a day but it should be enjoyed at a slower pace. Dozens of state parks, recreation areas, and beaches feature rugged coastal views, historic lighthouses, forested hikes, dunes, and waterfalls that flow into the ocean. Don’t miss the Yaquina Head Marine Garden, the dramatic overlook at Cape Perpetua, and Cape Arago State Park. For an otherworldly experience, check out Thor’s Well, a rock formation that seems to drain the ocean water that washes into it.


Fallingwater, Pennsylvania by Euelbenul
Source: Euelbenul / Wikimedia Commons

Fallingwater is about 90 minutes outside of downtown Pittsburgh.
  • Route: Pittsburgh to Philadelphia
  • Miles: 361
  • Type of adventure: Historical

To make the most of a drive from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, stop at Fallingwater, the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright house built on top of a waterfall, then hop on the Lincoln Highway. Stop at any number of antique shops, Civil War statues, and roadside attractions – like the giant coffee pot in Bedford – on the way to Gettysburg National Military Park. Continue to Longwood Gardens for a botanical exploration before arriving in Philadelphia to explore museums, visit the Liberty Bell, and have a cheesesteak at the Reading Terminal Market.

Rhode Island

Golden Hour at Point Judith Lighthouse by Matthew Dwyer
Source: Matthew Dwyer / Wikimedia Commons

The Point Judith Lighthouse marks the entrance to Narragansett Bay and the Block Island Sound.
  • Route: Fall foliage Loop
  • Miles: 123
  • Type of adventure: Nature, national parks

Experience New England charm in the countryside and on the coast with this circular trip that affords opportunities for apple picking, foliage viewing, and lighthouse exploration. Begin at Lincoln Woods State Park for a hike through falling leaves, then head to Sprague Farm Town Forest and Parker Woodland Wildlife Refuge. Hit up Arcadia and Burlington State Management Areas for epic hikes, then visit Trustom Pond on the coast, stop at the Point Judith Lighthouse, and walk on the beach at Goddard Memorial State Park.

South Carolina

Penn Center, Beaufort, SC by Timothy Brown
Source: Timothy Brown / Flickr

The Penn Center was established as one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves.
  • Route: Lowcountry Gullah Heritage Tour
  • Miles: 120
  • Type of adventure: Historical, food

Beginning on Hilton Head Island, visit the Gullah Museum and take a Gullah Heritage Trail Tour guided by a descendant of the Gullah settlers. Stop at the Mitchelville Freedom Park, the first settlement for freed slaves in the post-Civil War era. Then head to St. Helena Island to visit the Penn Center, founded in 1862 as a school for freed slaves, and eat at the Gullah Grub Restaurant. In Charleston, visit the Gullah-Geechee Gallery, watch weavers make sweetgrass baskets at the City Market, and don’t miss the crab and shrimp rice at Hannibal’s Kitchen.

South Dakota

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images

Source: peeterv / iStock via Getty Images
Some infamous gunslingers like Wild Bill Hickock frequented saloons in Deadwood.
  • Route: Badlands and Black Hills Loop
  • Miles: 207
  • Type of adventure: Historical, nature

A trip through South Dakota’s rugged Badlands and Black Hills will take you to numerous historical sites including Mount Rushmore and the Wild West town of Deadwood. Starting and ending in Rapid City, drive the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway through prairies and over canyons. Visit Bear Butte State Park and Custer State Park, watch a reenactment of a shootout in front of the Franklin Hotel in Deadwood, and visit the Crazy Horse Memorial.


Source: JPaulMoore / iStock via Getty Images

Source: JPaulMoore / iStock via Getty Images
The Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge in Franklin rises 155 feet above the valley.
  • Route: Natchez Trace Parkway
  • Miles: 100 (in-state)
  • Type of adventure: Historical

From just outside of Nashville to the Alabama state line, the historic Natchez Trace Parkway winds through stunning scenery in Middle Tennessee, providing access to dozens of historic sites including a preserved slave cabin, a tobacco farm, and the explorer Meriwether Lewis’s grave. On the drive, take advantage of the many scenic overlooks, picnic areas, nature trails, and interesting geological features including a natural limestone amphitheater in Waynesboro.


Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images
The San Antonio River Walk is famous for its restaurants and museums.
  • Route: Hill Country
  • Miles: 125
  • Type of adventure: Historical, nature, state parks

From Austin to San Antonio, the rolling hills of Central and South Texas hold lush state parks, hiking trails, historic towns, and more. Go snorkeling in the clear waters of San Marcos before exploring the town’s vibrant art scene. Take a tour at the Natural Bridge Caverns, check out 19th-century German architecture in the Gruene Historic District in New Braunfels, and go for a canyon swim in Guadalupe River State Park before embarking on the famous San Antonio River Walk.


Source: lucky-photographer / iStock via Getty Images

Source: lucky-photographer / iStock via Getty Images
Columns of rock called hoodoos are a fascinating feature at Bryce Canyon National Park.
  • Route: National Parks Tour
  • Miles: 373
  • Type of adventure: Nature, national parks

This epic tour of Utah takes you to five National Parks, starting with Zion, where you can go for a river hike in the Narrows of Zion Canyon. Bryce Canyon is next, with its endless vistas and wild red rock formations. Don’t skip out on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where colorful stripes of sandstone create a landscape straight out of a painting. Finally, head to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks to view more mind-boggling geologic wonders.


Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images
Autumn brings spectacular colors to Killington, Vermont along Route 100.
  • Route: Route 100
  • Miles: 216
  • Type of adventure: Historical, food, nature

Scenic Route 100 winds through quaint villages, along rushing rivers, and between rolling hills over the entire length of Vermont, from Newport in the north to Stamford in the south. In Waterbury, stop for fresh cider and donuts at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and take a tour of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory. Visit Moss Glen Falls in Granville, get lunch and gifts at the Original General Store in Pittsfield, and stock up on maple syrup at the Green Mountain Sugar House in Ludlow before taking a hike in the Green Mountain National Forest.


Source: sreenath_k / iStock via Getty Images

Source: sreenath_k / iStock via Getty Images
Over 60 peaks at elevations above 3,000 feet abut the Skyline Drive.
  • Route: Skyline Drive
  • Miles: 105
  • Type of adventure: Historical, nature

This scenic drive follows the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains through Shenandoah National Park from Front Royal to Waynesboro. Skyline Drive is the only public road through the park, connecting visitors to campgrounds and hiking trails while offering 75 overlooks. Nearby attractions that are worthy of a short detour include Luray Caverns and Monticello, the historic home of Thomas Jefferson. If you’re enjoying the drive, continue onto the Blue Ridge Parkway for many more miles of mountaintop views.


Source: RomanKhomlyak / Getty Images

Source: RomanKhomlyak / Getty Images
The Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park is one of the best examples of temperate rainforest remaining in the U.S.
  • Route: Olympic Peninsula
  • Miles: 300
  • Type of adventure: Historical, nature, national parks

A perfect round-trip opportunity from Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula contains lush temperate rainforest, quiet beaches, and charming coastal towns. Spend a day exploring historic Port Townsend, then head into Olympic National Park where you’ll be greeted by roadside lakes and waterfalls, or take a coastal drive to the stunning rock formations of Neah Bay and Cape Flattery on the Makah Reservation. Don’t miss some of the world’s largest trees in the Quinault Rainforest.

West Virginia

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park contains numerous historical exhibits and museums.
  • Route: Eastern Panhandle
  • Miles: 183
  • Type of adventure: Historical, nature

West Virginia’s eastern panhandle contains a slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers mineral hot springs, white water rafting, and plenty of historical buildings. Visit Berkeley Springs and see the open-air natural hot tub frequented by George Washington. Take a hike at Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park, where the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers meet. Explore the Charles Town Historic District, and stop to gaze at the giant statues at Farnham Fantasy Farm.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
The Great River Road follows the Mississippi River along the southwestern border of the state.
  • Route: Great River Road
  • Miles: 250
  • Type of adventure: Nature, museums

From Prescott to Kieler, the Great River Road in Wisconsin winds through unique towns and protected natural areas, offering wilderness views, bird watching, and aquatic recreation, as well as access to cheese makers, wineries, museums, and farmers markets. Visit some of the massive Native American effigy mounds and look for petroglyphs along the bluffs. Rent a kayak or go on a boat tour, and explore any of the 33 river towns along the route.


Source: skiserge1 / iStock via Getty Images

Source: skiserge1 / iStock via Getty Images
The Teton Range boasts numerous rugged peaks above 12,000 feet.
  • Route: Jackson to Sheridan
  • Miles: 420
  • Type of adventure: National Parks

Some of the most iconic scenery in the country can be experienced on this route. Starting in the picturesque town of Jackson, head into Grand Teton National Park, where you may spot elk, moose, bears, or bighorn sheep. Continue to Yellowstone National Park to view colorful springs and geysers. Be sure to stop at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone before setting off on an epic drive up the winding Beartooth Highway to the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway. Spend a day in historic Cody and explore the Bighorn National Forest before ending in Sheridan.

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