Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

6 Great American Road Trips

by Billie Cohen | August 27, 2015

The end of summer is the perfect time for a road trip. They’re the ultimate feeling of freedom: just you and the open road, and maybe some friends and family in the backseat.

Over the past few weeks, Wendy has been hand-picking the coolest American road trips, so that no matter where you are in the country, it’ll be easy for you to get in the car and drive.

In case you missed her all-American itineraries, we’re sharing them again here. Find your route and hit the road!

America’s Great River Road will steer you all the way from Canada to the Gulf Coast, passing through country dotted with historic villages, wineries, wildlife, and sweeping vistas. Wendy recommends the section that runs along the Minnesota/Wisconsin border, starting in Minneapolis.

Pop in an audio book and cruise through the country’s literary past. In New England you’ll find historic sites related to some of our best writers and philosophers, including Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, and Emily Dickinson.

Drive through Oregon and you’ll get the best of two trips all rolled up into one: a relaxing meander through the Willamette Valley’s wine country, and an invigorating exploration of the natural beauty —and adventure sports—of the Cascade Mountains.

You can’t explore the South without stopping for some good BBQ. So why not make that the theme of your next road trip? Start in Blue Ridge, Georgia, for some hickory-smoked ribs at Joe’s BBQ, voted the No. 1 BBQ joint in America by TripAdvisor readers. Then stop frequently to fill up (and nap) as you eat your way through Nashville, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park California

The drive through California’s Anza-Borrego Desert is beautiful in February and March, when the wildflowers bloom. Photo: Visit California

Southern California
Summer isn’t the ideal season for every road trip. The drive through the Anza-Borrego Desert’s buttes, canyons, and badlands is best in February and March, when the wildflowers bloom, and is also great in November, when deals abound.

Make a loop from Albuquerque back to Albuquerque, stopping in Santa Fe and Taos, and you’ll hit the best that New Mexico has to offer—mesas, museums, margaritas, and art markets, as Wendy puts it. Check out her full itinerary and start planning!

What’s your favorite American road trip?

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    You might enjoy a road trip to the South as there is much, much more than what is mentioned here. Yes, we all love Barbecue but soul food is a staple in the deep south. Think fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, greens as in turnip greens or mustard greens, and think heirloom tomatoes, plus all kinds of fresh vegetables. Focus on Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia for the deep south. Visit the Gulf of Mexico with its sugar beaches in Alabama to the hills and mountains of Birmingham; numerous lakes with great fishing, boating, and hiking; and then onto NASA in Huntsville. There is so much to do and see and so much history along the way—think Civil War. Think the Civil Rights Museum in Birmingham. Road trips should focus on the sights, the history, the beauty of the natural resources as well as the food.

  2. Jeanne

    Nashville? Definitely part of the South for a road trip. But St. Louis and Kansas City? No, no, no . … Think Midwest.

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