Guest Post: 8 of the Best Road Trips in America

Good morning everyone.  Today’s blog post is written by my friend Matthew.  He is a car enthusiast and loves going on road trips.  Here are some of his favorite road trips in the United States, and I added my favorite road trip from my recent trip to Maui.  Enjoy the blog post and leave any comments or questions below.  Have a great day everyone!


As drivers, we sometimes want to just hit the road and experience the wonders that our country has to offer.  There are road trips available for all different tastes, from those who crave challenging drives to those who just want to enjoy beautiful scenery.  We’ve highlighted a few of the best routes in America; the next time you want to enjoy a drive, consider taking one of these road trips.

Overseas Highway

The Overseas Highway is the ideal road trip for ocean fans; not only will you see amazing views of the ocean, you’ll also have a chance to see stunning coral reefs as you travel through the Florida Keys.  The 113-mile trip runs between Miami and Key West and consists of 42 overseas bridges.  During the trip, drivers will see a large collection of wildlife, including ospreys, Key deer and the American crocodile.  If you’re a movie buff, the Seven Mile Bridge segment of the trip may seem familiar to you; it’s been featured in a list of films, including “Mission Impossible 3” and “2 Fast 2 Furious.”  The Overseas Highway offers plenty of places for you to get out and stretch your legs.  If you want to learn more about Key deer, the National Key Deer Refuge is a good place to start.  Bahia Honda State Park offers great ocean views and beautiful beaches.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100262962@N08/9498661067

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/100262962@N08/9498661067

Tail of the Dragon

Tail of the Dragon is an exciting road trip that will test your driving skills and satisfy your taste for a thrill.  The road is part of U.S. Route 129 and traverses across the Tennessee and North Carolina borders.  This route is only 11 miles long and features an astounding 318 curves, making it a popular destination for drivers and motorcyclists alike.  This is not a road for the inexperienced; tight and frequent curves offer great excitement, but you need to use good sense and caution to avoid an unfortunate incident.  Movie buffs may recognize a familiar dam near the start of the route; it’s the very same dam that played a significant role in the Harrison Ford movie, “The Fugitive.”  The road itself features some decorative dragons for drivers to appreciate, and a lake overlook awaits drivers at the top of the road.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TailOfTheDragon.jpg

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TailOfTheDragon.jpg

Massachusetts: From Boston to the Berkshires

For those wishing to travel through Massachusetts on a rambling and peaceful route, taking a road trip from Boston to the Berkshires may be for you.  Near the beginning of the route, visitors can see President John F. Kennedy’s childhood home, now a historical site.  A few miles down the path sits the Wayside Inn, a location that was immortalized in poetry by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Poetry lovers may also enjoy a trip to Amherst.  This city is the home of the Emily Dickinson Museum, which includes the house she grew up in.  Nature fans will also enjoy this tour.  The entire journey is about 121 miles and will take about six hours to complete.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ramon/4006892690

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ramon/4006892690

Venture down the Historic Apache Trail

Adventurous drivers who don’t mind a little challenge can experience breathtaking desert vistas on the 115-mile Historic Apache Trail.  The highlight of the trail is the 22-mile unpaved section, which separates the day-trippers from the dedicated adventurers.  Along this road trip, which stretches between the towns of Mesa and Globe in Arizona, you’ll experience a number of great attractions.  The start of your journey will be marked by a series of historic motels and castle rocks.  In the town of Apache Junction, enjoy the legendary food at the Café at Tortilla Flats. Soon afterwards, you’ll run out of pavement as you head towards Fish Creek and the other attractions of the Apache Trail.  The Tonto National Monument and the Besh-ba-Gowah Archaeological Park both offer ancient cliff dwellings that you can see in person.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apache_Trail_06.jpg

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apache_Trail_06.jpg

The Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway follows the Blue Ridge Mountains from Virginia to North Carolina.  This road connects two national parks, Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The parkway has earned the distinction of becoming a National Parkway because of its unparalleled scenery, colorful wildflowers, majestic peaks and much more.  In the fall, the trees along the road burst into amazing shades of red, orange and yellow.  Along the way, there are a number of notable stops, ranging from historical sites to natural wonders.  In Virginia, Mabry Mill is a popular photography spot and a place to learn about early state history.  Looking Glass Rock, located in North Carolina, is a granite mountain that is known to glisten in the sunshine.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncbrian/294760083

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncbrian/294760083

New York: Hawks’ Nest

The Hawk’s Nest road trip is a part of New York Route 97 and begins four miles from Port Jervis.  The short stretch of road, a part of the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, is a favorite among driving enthusiasts and has featured prominently in a number of car and motorcycle ads.  This winding two-lane road parallels the Delaware River along much of its length and picks its way through rolling hills thickly blanketed with trees.  Stone walls at the start of the Nest mark the remnants of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, and at the end of the 30-minute journey drivers can see the Delaware Aqueduct, the oldest wire suspension bridge in the United States.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hawks_Nest_in_HDR.jpg

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hawks_Nest_in_HDR.jpg

Ancients National Scenic Byway

The Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway, a 480-mile roadway in the Four Corners region of Colorado and Utah, offers drivers a trip through stunning desert scenery and culturally important landmarks.  The roadway, which is rich in archaeological sites, began construction in the 1990s and earned national recognition in 2005.  The road can be driven in under a day, but drivers who want to explore more of what it has to offer may want to take several days.  Visitors interested in the archaeological history of the region can find preserved villages at the Hovenweep National Monument and the Edge of the Cedars State Park.  Drivers can enjoy spectacular desert scenery at the Natural Bridges National Monument and the Valley of the Gods.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/24446459920

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/24446459920

Route 66

Route 66 was one of the country’s first highways, running from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA.  As a major route of western migration, especially during the 1930s, Route 66 earned a place in popular culture and was a fixture in music, television, movies and more.  As the freeway system evolved, however, Route 66 was eventually decommissioned from the highway system.  Today, it lives on in the form of scenic byways and local roads.  The longest remaining stretch of Route 66 is a 166-mile road in Arizona, which runs from Flagstaff to the New Mexico state line.  The roadway is littered with relics from its past, including oversized wigwams, giant jack rabbits and more.  Meteor Crater and the Petrified Forest offer a more serious set of natural attractions.  Walnut Canyon National Monument lets you get close to ancient cliff dwellings.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/villamon/4436497726

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/villamon/4436497726

<Now back to Grant>

Bonus Road Trip! Road to Hana

Thank you Matthew, that was a great list of road trips in the United States.  I would like to add a road trip that I did a few weeks ago – Road to Hana on Maui.  The road features several hairpin turns, narrow bridges, waterfalls, and food vendors along the way.  You can spend a day driving or hiking, or a combination of the two.  Fun fact: you don’t have to drive all the way to Hana.  At about 2/3 of the way, you see all the cool sights.

Image source: Grant's iPhone 7

Image source: Grant’s iPhone 7

matthew-young-bio-picAbout the author:

Matthew Young is a Boston based freelance writer.  As an aspiring automotive journalist looking to make a name for myself in the industry, he is passionate about covering anything on 4 wheels.  When Matthew is not busy writing about cars or new emerging tech, he usually spends time fiddling with his camera and learning a thing or two about photography.  You can tweet him @mattbeardyoung.

9 thoughts on “Guest Post: 8 of the Best Road Trips in America

  1. Andrew

    That’s ridiculous. Not a single trip on West Coast? Really? I can name at least 3 drive in WA that are better than top 7 of yours combined. Road to Hana and TotA are the only exception.

    Better preparation next time!

    Reply
      1. Andrew

        Hard to pick! In WA: US2, 101, Mountain loop, 195 (and overall Palouse), 410. In OR: 101, I-84, 38, Crater lake rim drive. In CA: 1, 101, Redwoods, 120, 325, 190. What about Grand Canyon? What about Nevada and the rest of Utah? Montana and Yellowstone? I seriously cannot agree that Blue Ridge is more worthy than Yellowstone. This is really not a just comparison!

        Reply
          1. Andrew

            Indeed! I once bought a book about best road trips and it listed about a hundred! But ones in this article nowhere near “top 8” )))

          2. Grant

            Haha, where is my legal disclaimer?: “Top 8 list may not actually consist of ‘top 8’ road trips in the United States”.

  2. Wendy

    A couple of my favorites are the “Going to the Sun” road in glacier national park. US 250 in West Virginia and Virginia (from the Ohio line to Staunton). I’d go as far to say any two lane state or federal highway in the US. All of them have beautiful areas that you won’t see if you stay on interstate highway.

    California 36 between I-5 and the coast is beautiful but very narrow, winding, drop offs and cliffs on a road that is only one lane in places unless its been improved since the last time I was on it.

    Reply

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