The United States of America has got to be the best country in the world for road tripping. There are so many great US road trips you can take. We should know! We spent 18 months driving around the US. We’re expert road trip planners now and can help you plan the perfect road trip covering the best American road trip routes.
We think everyone should give road tripping in the US a go so, for this post, we broke our travels down into smaller, more manageable that are easily replicated by travellers with less time to spend in the US. These are the five best road trip ideas that we’ve come up with for a US road trip. If you’re looking for US road trip itinerary inspiration, this is the place to start.
Here are five US road trip itineraries for you to add to your bucket list
5 Amazing US Road Trips Itineraries for Your Bucket List
Pacific North West Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Starting in Seattle and ending in San Francisco
Highlights: Crater Lake National Park, Yosemite National Park and California Redwoods
The Pacific Northwest is a great patch of the US and if you’re planning a west coast road trip, this is the one to take. Spectacular National Parks, ancient forests plus a volcano with a lake inside it that you can drive around! Not to mention three top notch, hip cities to eat your way around. The Pacific Northwest is progressive, cultured and fun. You can read the highlights of our Pacific Northwest road trip in this post.
This Pacific Northwest road trip itinerary will take you two weeks.
- Start in Seattle, WA – The EMP, Space Needle and harbour cruise. More ideas on things to do in Seattle here.
- Portland, OR – Food trucks, craft breweries, Portland Children’s Museum and side trip to Multnomah Falls
- Grants Pass or Medford – Crater Lake National Park. More scenic Oregon photography locations here.
- Crescent City, CA – California Redwoods along Newton B Drury Parkway and the Avenue of the Giants
- Napa Valley – Winery tours
- Yosemite National Park – Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall and Lower Yosemite Falls
- End in San Francisco – California Academy of Sciences, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. More ideas for things to do in San Francisco here.
Utah & Arizona’s National Parks Road Trip Itinerary
Starting in Salt Lake City and ending in Las Vegas
Highlights: Arches National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Park, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon National Park
Utah and Arizona hit the jackpot when it comes to National Parks and natural wonders. I’ve outlined an extensive road trip itinerary for exploring Utah previously. There are so many natural wonders to see in this part of the USA. If you love alien landscape, rich red rock and hiking then this is the road trip for you.
This itinerary can be done in one week or expanded up to two weeks if you want to spend more time exploring each park or in Las Vegas at the end of the trip. You can start this itinerary in Salt Lake City and end in Las Vegas or do a round trip from Las Vegas.
- Start in Salt Lake City, UT – Utah Natural History Museum and Antelope Island State Park
- Moab – Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park
- Page, AZ – Via Monument Valley Najavo Park, Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon tour
- Grand Canyon – Grand Canyon National Park
- Bryce Canyon, UT – Bryce Canyon National Park at sunset and sunrise
- Zion – Zion National Park
- Las Vegas, NV – Cirque du Soliel show and buffet at Caeser’s Palace. More ideas for things to do in Las Vegas here.
Epic Cross Country Road Trip Across America Itinerary
Starting in Los Angeles and ending in New York City
Highlights: Grand Canyon, driving parts of old Route 66, Southern food and amazing East Coast cities
Everyone should experience an epic cross country US road trip at least once in their lives. It almost doesn’t matter what route you take! When you take a road trip across America, you get the experience of driving across an entire continent, witnessing the cultural difference between the states and the ever-changing landscape of the US is a once in a lifetime experience. Start on one coast, end at the other. This is one of the best cross country road trip routes IMO.
An epic cross-country road trip can take as much time as you’ve got. The road trip itinerary below will take you at least three weeks. If you’ve got more time, take detours and add in more cities along the way.
- Start in Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Walk of Fame and Disneyland. More ideas for what to do with 3 days in Los Angeles in this post.
- Las Vegas, NV – Casinos, buffets at Caesar’s Palace & Cosmopolitan and Cirque du Soliel shows. More ideas for things to do in Las Vegas here.
- Grand Canyon, AZ – Grand Canyon National Park
- Santa Fe, NM – Artists shops and New Mexican cuisine
- Amarillo, TX – Cadillac graveyard and Big Texan Steakhouse
- Memphis, TN – Graceland and the Memphis Zoo
- Nashville – Country Music Hall of Fame, Southern food and Adventure Science Center. More ideas for things to do in Nashville here.
- Nashville to Washington DC – The White House, Capitol Building, Smithsonian and Lincoln Memorial
- End in New York City, NY – Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, Central Park and cruise along the Hudson
New England Road Trip Itinerary
Starting in Montreal and ending in New York City
Highlights: Boston, lobster & lighthouses on the Maine coastline, covered bridges in Vermont, Cape Cod’s beaches and New York City!
A New England road trip is a great way to experience the history of this part of the US. History comes to life in cities like Salem, Boston and Plymouth. It’s worth taking a guided tour of each city to really get to know the history. Plus there is some stunning coastline, beautiful beaches and plenty of seafood to enjoy.
This itinerary will take you two weeks. Allow three weeks if you want to include time in New York City and Montreal. You could also make this a round trip from New York City.
- Start in Montreal, Canada – Festivals, the Vieux Port and Montreal bagels
- Stowe, VT – Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour and covered bridges
- Portland, ME – Lighthouses and lobster at Cape Elizabeth
- Boston, MA – Trolley tour through Boston, Boston Science Musuem and day trip to Salem
- Cape Cod – Via Plymouth Rock, beaches and more lobster
- Newport, RI – Newport coastal cliff walk
- Mystic, CT – Old port of Mystic
- New York City, NY – Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, Central Park and cruise along the Hudson
Here’s an alternative, shorter New England road trip itinerary if you’ve only got a few days to spare.
East Coast Road Trip Itinerary
Starting in New York City and ending in Miami
Highlights: Everything in New York City, Washington DC’s museums, historic Southern towns and Miami’s South Beach
The East Coast of the US is another historically significant hot spot for tourists to explore. If you love your US history, or if you simply enjoy great cities & museums, this is the US road trip itinerary for you.
This East Coast road trip itinerary will take you two weeks but could be expanded to three weeks if you included more time in New York City or even a Caribbean cruise from Florida at the end.
- New York City, NY – Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, Central Park and cruise along the Hudson
- Philadelphia, PA – Liberty Bell and Please Touch Museum
- Lancaster & Hershey – Hershey factory tour and Amish country
- Washington DC – The White House, Capitol Building, Smithsonian and Lincoln Memorial
- Williamsburg, VA – Colonial Williamsbury town
- Charleston, SC – Magnolia Plantation & Gardens
- Savannah, GA – Houses in the Savannah Historic District
- Cape Canaveral, FL – Kennedy Space Center
- Miami – South Beach and Cuban food
Read our full East Coast road trip itinerary here.
Read an extended Florida road trip itinerary here.
Want to know what to pack for Florida? Let me tell you!
So, which US road trip itinerary are you planning?
Got questions about planning a US road trip? Whether you want to take an East Coast road trip or a West Coast road trip or a road trip across America. Let me know. I’m happy to help! After driving 10,000+ miles around the US over the past year I think I’m qualified to help. I’m also working on a post with tips on how to plan a road trip so keep an eye out for that in the next week or so.
Top 10 Road Trip Essentials
Before you set off on your road trip, make sure you’ve got all the essential items at the ready.
- GPS covering American & Canadian roads
- AAA breakdown kit
- Car charger with multiple USB ports
- Cooler & large Ziploc bags for filling with ice from hotel ice machines
- Audible membership for listening to audiobooks
- Tide Pods – put a handful in a Ziploc bag for doing laundry on the road
- Baby wipes for wiping up after snacks or messes
- First aid kit
- Radar detector
- Travel mug
Cool, wonderful tips and defenitley on my bucketlist. I am a big fan of roadtrips and the US is just perfect for it…I have been wanting to do it for ages and now I am getting closer: Will save this article as we are now on Hawaii for a few months but we are thinking about a roadtrip through the US afterwards… 😀 Happy travels!!
This is great! We are leaving on our three month U.S. road trip on the 29th. We have a lot of these routes in our plans. So glad to find your blog and learn from your experiences!
Love seeing Memphis on the cross-country itinerary! A FANTASTIC city that I think gets overlooked by many as a travel destination.
What a beast! My husband and I did Chicago to New Orleans and back, hitting 10 states on the way. I’d love to do one out west, though I get antsy in the car too long!
Great trips and gorgeous photos. I’ve done the West Coast trip a couple of times, but I’ve got my eye on the cross country grand slam. .
great article!! I will be saving this one. I am planning to do a cross country trip from California to NYC soon!! thanks for sharing.xxx
We just completed our very own New England road trip in early September!
I love that you’ve included so many of the best things about the USA (the National Parks) in many of these itineraries
What amazing road trips! I Have done a small piece of each one, but want to use them in their entirety…starting with the pacific! Fantastic inspiration!
What a good list! Been dreaming about this since last year and we are finally doing it next year!!! So excited! Definitely bookmarking this
Great list! I hope I can cross all of those off my list! 🙂
Great job highlighting unique spots of the US! I was really inspired to start planning another US road trip after reading this. 🙂 My husband and I actually went on a road trip across the US for our honeymoon, and that’s what got us started on our blog! There is so much beauty within this country! Thanks for reminding us of all there is to explore right here.
We are currently on our #epicUSroadtrip and can’t wait to get to Utah in October! Great post!
I love travelling the USA . You have designed great tours. But why leave out the Great Lakes, Niagara Falls, or New Orleans?
How I love road trips. Planning to visit west and hope we can visit every places mentioned on your list which are definitely on my bucket list. This seems fun and every scenes looks memorable.
Thanks for the write-up. In my opinion, if one is willing to sacrifice the city ‘walk-arounds’ for driving state and county roads, I think many of these trips could be done in a much shorter time span than the one estimated/provided, with just as satisfying a trip experienced.
Hi we from South Africa and it is so awesome to have some guidance were to start. Your post is so informative and I will definitely use some of the hotels and the spreadsheet. Thanks and happy travels.
Just wandering if you can help me please? We’re trying to plan an RV road trip from Seattle to La, via Yellowstone, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon & Las Vagas for 15 nights. Do you have any suggestions please? We realise we’re trying to fit in a lot but think it’s feasible? TIA
Hi we are looking to do a trip in September for 4 weeks with our six month old baby. Thought I would see whether you have any ideas for a road trip itinerary! We are from Australia. The only places you can fly directly to from here are LA and dallas Fort Worth! Are there any road trips you’d recommend with either of them as the starting point? It would be great to do one of the flights (either there or home) direct but we would be open to doing the other flight as a longer flight. Any ideas?
If not, we were thinking a flight to Houston maybe and then a road trip from there. Any pointers would be really appreciated! We’ve both done New York, and while I loved it, neither of us are attached to the idea of going back on this trip. We are easy! We just want to see some different states and some picturesque towns or national parks. Obviously with a little one we don’t want to take on too many hours driving for his sake! Nicola and Dallas 🙂