3 great American road trips you haven’t done yet

On September 9th, 2015

The open road has a mystical quality that cleanses my mind. Snarls in my thoughts loosen as the road unspools in front of my car’s nose. Ribbons of blacktop connecting sea to shining sea, linking deserts and mountains and fields of waving corn.

I yearn to grab my keys, jump behind the wheel and let the miles clarify my thoughts.

My tires eat up the miles. It takes time for the road to work its magic on me. Outside my window the landscape shifts imperceptibly until I’m in somewhere new. A destination undiscovered.

I stop the car and go exploring on a hidden beach or up a dusty trail into the mountains. This is the unspoken beauty of road trips: ability to pause your journey, put boots on ground, and tramp through new wilds.

Here are three great American road trips you haven’t tried (but should):

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Oregon-California: Highway 101 road trip

Ah, a road trip for romantic, brooding, artists and photography enthusiasts. Full of tight winding two-lane highways and stomach-clenching cliffs that drop off into teeming ocean, this road trip doesn’t disappoint on the drama.

oregon coast

Follow spectacular two-lane Highway 101 south along Oregon’s magnificent rocky coast to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California and drive among the ancient redwoods.

No complicated directions here: just pick up Highway 101 wherever along Oregon’s coast. (I started at Newport Beach: a quaint sea-town brimming with tourists, small shops, and an Art Deco-inspired bridge out of town.) Then head south to California.

Along the way, you’ll see screaming cliffs where the waves crash along the rocks, a red and white lighthouse at the north edge of Heceta Head’s crescent bay, arching bridges built in early 1900s, and views that make you drive erratically as you strive to find a pull-off to enjoy the view.

Take some time to explore the sea caves in the cliffs. Or wait for high tide to see water engulf into Thor’s Well. Either way, enjoy the moody majesty and humbling views of this road trip.

Best time of year for this road trip: early summer or fall to avoid the tourists and the fog drifting over the ocean.

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Philadelphia-Boston road trip

A road trip for all you history buffs who believe history is best learned through travel and seeing the places where great events occurred.

The East Coast is chock-full of Revolutionary War, Civil War and historical must-sees about the formation of America. This road trip will hit up the major ones and leave you the flexibility to see others along the way.


Start off in the Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin’s City of Brotherly Love (and amazing cheese-steaks and Independence Hall with the Liberty Bell!) and catch I-95 north to Boston. Wind through Princeton in New Jersey and gawk at its prestigious bricked campus.

Take a few hours to explore New York City (and it’s long history with the Revolutionary War), before continuing north on I-95, along the path that Samuel Adams would have traveled from his home outside Boston to make Congress’ meetings in Philadelphia.

Follow the curving coast and stop wherever your heart desires in the states where USA was birthed. When you hit Massachusetts, take a quick detour east to fishing village, Plymouth, and its historic Plymouth rock, before ending up in Boston where the Revolutionary War began and our nation was birthed.

Best time of year for this road trip: fall to catch the trees changing brilliant colors.

Granite Peak, Montana

Jackson, Wyoming to Glacier National Park, Montana

This road trip takes you through the original wild west of ski towns, the biggest copper mining town in the West, and ends in jaw-dropping scenery of a national park few hardly ever visit.

If you’re looking for a road trip loaded with gigantic skies, winding mountain roads, and wild life to boot, this is for you.


Explore the nearly deserted highways of ski-town Jackson before the winter crowds hit. Meander north on curving two-lane Route 189 and 287, through Grand Teton National Park to Yellowstone National Park and get stuck in a buffalo-traffic jam.

Buffalo-traffic jam, definition: when cars stop in the middle of the road because the scruffy beasts decided crossing the road right there was the best place.

Stay true on Route 287 north through scenic Montana prairies with the famous Big Sky stretching overhead, until you hit I-90. Take it west to Missoula, snaking through old mining boom-town of Butte — recognizable by the huge copper pit next to the interstate, its hills dotted with A-shaped mining mainframes and an glowing M on its butte.

Just west of Missoula, take the exit for Route 93 north towards Glacier National Park. Along the way, you curve around Flathead Lake. This national park has stunning vistas of jutting mountains and gloriously-blue lakes, accented with white snow. Coming into the park is like stumbling upon a hidden jewel.

Best time of year for this road trip: early summer or fall after school has started to avoid the crowds, especially in Yellowstone.

Ready plan a Round The World adventure?

Laura Lopuch is a copywriter and writes at Waiting To Be Read where she helps you find your next awesome book to read — and points out a few you might not know about.

Image: Laura Lopuch