Summer is here and travel plans are on the horizon. From sightseeing along the way to hitting up local restaurants in each city, a roadtrip can be the perfect travel option. If you’re thinking about hitting the road with friends or family for your next vacation, check out this list of the best summer roadtrip destinations.
1. “The Big Five” Utah
This route is a popular attraction for travelers from all over the world due to its abundance of national parks. The “Big Five” include Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Zion and Capitol Reef National Parks. Commonly known as “the best road trip in America,” there is no shortage of stunning scenery and red rock trails.
2. Pacific Coast Highway
This 655–mile-long California highway offers breathtaking ocean views, beautiful beaches, and historical landmarks like Hearst Castle. If you’re an art lover, stop by the Laguna Art Museum, or if you enjoy camping, Big Sur is a must. Grab lunch with your family at the Malibu Farm or catch the sunset at Zuma Beach with your loved one. The route starts in San Diego and ends north of San Francisco, providing plenty to see along the way.
3. The Blues Highway
If you love music history, Route 61 will take you through several cities that have been fundamental to American music. Some of the greatest blues, jazz, rock, and country singers hail from the best stopping points on Route 61, including Memphis, St. Louis, and New Orleans. Attractions include the BB King Museum, Heartbreak Hotel, Graceland, and the infamous Crossroads where Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the devil!
4. Maine Coastal Roadtrip
As one of the most popular summer roadtrip destinations on the East Coast, Maine offers therapeutic views, dozens of lighthouses, sandy beaches, and the best lobster. One of the most popular routes to take is from Portland to Arcadia National Park and Bar Harbor, which can be completed in less than 3 hours or a full day roundtrip. If you want to make the most out of State Highway 1, split the trip up over a few days to see all the lighthouses, stop for a lobster roll or two, see the historic town of Brunswick and head to the seaside town of Camden for the evening.
5. Florida Keys
The road from Key Largo to Key West is known to locals as the “Road to Paradise,” though you may know it as the Overseas Highway. Linking the various islands of the Florida Keys, this stretch of road is surrounded by palm trees, sand, and water. A notable section of this engineering marvel is the Seven Mile Bridge, one of the longest road bridges in existence. This is a great summer roadtrip for travelers looking to cruise under blue skies and check out the beautiful beaches and fine eateries the Keys have to offer.
6. Route 66
This legendary highway stretches from the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River, but can be broken up into smaller drives. Passing through multiple states including Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, this is among the best family roadtrips as there are attractions for everyone.
7. San Juan Skyway
In the far southwestern corner of Colorado, you’ll find arguably the best roadtrip route in the state. For 233 miles, you’ll experience twists and turns through the valleys of the San Juan Mountains – some of the most beautiful parts of the Colorado Rockies. The trip starts and ends in Durango, but you’ll stop through many historic towns and views along the way.
8. Hawaii Road to Hana
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, the road to Hana is one of the most scenic drives around. This 64-mile roadtrip will take you through lush bamboo forests with plenty of sights and waterfalls all the way to Maui. The narrow road can be a tricky drive, and there aren’t many stops for food or gas, so be prepared. Stop by Waianapanapa State Park before you get to Hana to see one of the best beaches on the island.
9. Olympic Peninsula Loop
This geographically unique peninsula in Washington offers a diversity of landscapes, including rainforests, glaciers, and beaches. With many coastlines and hiking paths, it’s the perfect trip for the outdoorsy type seeking adventure. See spectacular mountain views at Hurricane Ridge, hit up Rialto Beach and Lake Crescent, or explore the Hoh Rainforest.
10. Going-to–the–Sun Road
This 50-mile highway is a short two-hour drive, but makes the list of most beautiful roads in the world. Leading to Montana’s Glacier National Park, the road passes through stunning Saint Mary Lake, which is one of the highlights. Visit Hidden Lake Lookout for a quick 3-mile roundtrip hike and views of Bearhat Mountain.
In search of the perfect car to get you through your summer roadtrip? Check out our list of this year’s best roadtrip cars.