10+ Epic Long Road Trips in North America

A road trip is one of the best ways to get out and explore the world right near us. Since who knows what the future of flying will be, it’s time to plan that road trip! Here are 10 epic long road trips in North America – that are ideally done in 10 days or more. If you don’t have that much time, check out my post with short road trips around America. Please always follow local guidelines regarding covid-19.

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Canadian East Coast

driven by Tina of The Tina Lifestyle

One of the best long road trips in North America that you can take is on around Canada’s East Coast, where you’ll get to experience three Canadian provinces: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. You’ll want to put aside at least 10 days to fully enjoy this road trip that will take you on a grand tour of the Maritime Provinces of Canada. 

This road trip will take you to over a dozen different cities, towns, and villages in Eastern Canada with stops in Saint Andrew, Saint John, Moncton, Halifax, Lunenburg, Inverness, Wolfville, Charlottetown, and Cavendish, to name a few. Stay as long as you like in each place because there will be tons to do and see. 

One epic long road trip in North America is Canada's East Coast.

You’ll eat world-class seafood in both homey and elegant settings, stay in award-winning resorts in all three Atlantic Provinces, as well as the cutest Airbnbs that Eastern Canada has to offer. Indeed, there is no shortage of beautiful landscapes to enjoy as you travel along the coastline, and this road trip ensures you get to see the best-of-the-best, from the famous Hopewell Rocks, shaped by the tides in the Bay of Fundy, to the Skyline Trail in the Cape Brenton Highlands National Parks.

Any time of year is a great time of year to visit Maritime Canada, now is the time to start planning your Eastern Canada road trip vacation! 

Boston to Nashville

driven by Nicole of The Abroad Blog

This past summer my college roommate and I road tripped from Boston, MA to Nashville, TN over the course of 11 days. Our route covered New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the South, and the USA’s Midwest, and is a route I think everyone should do. The first day will be the longest- drive from Boston, through Connecticut and New York City down to Philadelphia, PA. You’ll already be in your 5th state by the time you stop for a Philly cheesesteak for lunch. Continue on for 1.5 hours to Washington D.C. After a few days exploring the nation’s capital, I recommend stopping in the Civil War-era town of Harper’s Ferry, WV before continuing on through Virginia. Roanoke is a great city along the AT to spend a night in! From here, head into Tennessee and visit from east to west: Johnson City, Pigeon Forge- one of America’s weirdest towns, Knoxville, and finally, Nashville.

One epic long road trip in North America is  Boston to Nashville
Grand Ole Opry. Photo by The Abroad Blog

The drive from Knoxville to Nashville is about 3 hours long and is filled with scenic views of the Smoky Mountains. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance for the Grand Ole Opry and see several of Nashville’s famous murals. After a few days here, begin to loop back north by driving through Louisville, Kentucky, and then east through Ohio. Cincinnati and Columbus will be on the way back. There’s a fantastic zoo in Cincinnati you should definitely check out. From Columbus, it’s about a 3-hour drive to Pittsburgh, PA. We spent 2 full days in Pennsylvania driving east through Gettysburg, Lancaster, and back through Philly. Gettysburg is home to one of the most famous Civil War battles, so stop here to learn about some US history. From here, it is a 6-hour drive back to Boston.

New York City to Texas Road Trip

driven by Daphna of A Tiny Trip

One way to see a huge number of states is on an epic long road trip from the Northeast to Texas. There are three main driving options from NYC to Texas. This trip takes us on the scenic route, starting in New York City, which will take minimum one week, but more like 10 days if you stop to explore and hike. Your first stop is in Pennsylvania. You can sleep in the small town of Chambersburg and visit Gettysburg the following day. From there, drive to Roanoke, Virginia, where you can climb Mill Mountain. The next leg has you driving along the Blue Ridge Mountains, to Knoxville, Tennessee.

One epic long road trip in North America is  NYC to Texas!  Trees by a lake.
Nature of Arkansas. Photo by A Tiny Trip

This is a great place to stop to explore or go hiking in the Great Smokey Mountains! Driving through Tennessee, stop in Nashville. Check out the Country Music Hall of Fame or the Grand Ole Opry. Stay one more day in Tennessee as you head west to Memphis. There you can see the National Civil Rights Museum. With an extra day you can visit Graceland! Next up, is driving to Little Rock, Arkansas “The Natural State”. Take in the natural beauty or detour to Hot Springs National Park. Finally you’ll start driving through Texas. This part of your trip will be long but fast. End your long road trip in Houston or Austin, Texas with some well-deserved BBQ or Tex-Mex!

Route 66

driven by McKenna of One More Step Travels

If you have at least two weeks to spend on an exciting long road trip, venture down Route 66, which spans from Chicago to Santa Monica. This is one of North America’s most famous routes, linking two of the biggest cities in the United States and crossing over 2,400 miles through eight states.

Since Route 66 is such a long stretch of road, the options for pit stops and attractions to see along the way are endless. It’s a great route for history lovers, families, nature lovers, and adventurers and can be customized to each of those interests.

Starting in Chicago, Illinois, you’ll first want to explore all that city has to offer, including The Bean at Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago, and Lake Michigan. From there, head southwest to the next big city: St. Louis, Missouri, home to Gateway Arch and its own style of BBQ!

The next major stop is Tulsa, Oklahoma where road trippers can enjoy quirky roadside attractions, such as the Blue Whale of Catoosa.

Continue west to Amarillo, Texas, nearly the halfway mark along Route 66 and a great pit stop location. Dine at Big Texan, home of the 72 oz. steak challenge, spray paint Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch, or head a little further south to hike in Palo Duro Canyon.

Cadillac Ranch. 
One epic long road trip in North America is Route 66.
Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. Photo by One More Step Travels

After Amarillo, Albuquerque and Santa Fe (just north of Route 66), New Mexico make for an exciting stop. There, you can experience art and culture typical of the American Southwest.

Next is Arizona—be sure to enjoy the splendor of the red rock desert by making detours to Petrified Forest, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. Finally, end your trip in Los Angeles, California! The Santa Monica Pier marks the end of the route and the beach offers a fun and relaxing finale to a long trip.

These activities just scratch the surface of what a Route 66 trip entails, so bust out your map and find your own hidden treasures along the most famous road in America!

Utah Road Trip

driven by Julia of Well Planned Journey

Utah is home to 5 national parks, called the “Mighty 5”. While you could tour these parks in only a week, they are best explored on a 2-week southern Utah road trip.

Start your trip in either Las Vegas or Salt Lake City before driving to Zion National Park. The most popular of Utah’s national parks, Zion is known for its bucket list hikes like Angels Landing, The Narrows, and Observation Point. You can explore all of Zion’s best hikes in 3 days.

After visiting Zion, spend 2 days in Bryce Canyon National Park to explore the park’s famous hoodoos. Don’t miss sunrise over Bryce Amphitheater and stargazing in this remote park!

Arches of Utah.  One epic long road trip in North America is through Utah.
One of the beautiful Utah arches.

Continuing along the loop to more of Utah’s national parks, spend a few days in Capitol Reef National Park. In the fall, you can pick fruit at Fruita Orchard! Don’t miss the off-road drive out to Cathedral Valley for truly stunning desert views.

After exploring Capitol Reef, spend 4 days in Moab, Utah. Moab is the home base for visiting two more Utah national parks, Arches and Canyonlands. Don’t miss sunset at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park and sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park!

After exploring Utah’s Mighty 5, spend some time exploring other nearby parks. Don’t miss Valley of Fire State Park, Goblin Valley State Park, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Driving through these incredible parks makes this one of the best epic long road trips in North America!

Colorado Road Trip

driven by Nikki of She Saves She Travels

If you’re looking for the best road trips in North America, then the state of Colorado needs to be on your list! Colorado is spectacularly beautiful, with gorgeous mountains, big cities and so much adventure you’ll savor every moment of your long road trip!

The perfect Colorado itinerary includes stops through national parks, ski resort villages, large cities and hiking spots. To start a long Colorado road  trip, let’s start in Boulder, Colorado. Make sure to visit a local brewery and the Pearl Street Mall. You’ll want to spend at least a day in this fun city!

Next, let’s head to Estes Park, Colorado. It’s a perfect destination year-round to enjoy the outdoors. And just to the other side of Estes Park is a Colorado favorite: Rocky Mountain National Park. This is one of the most beautiful spots to enjoy the Rocky Mountains! Spend a day hiking or swim in a gorgeous lake. Make sure to drive Highway 34 through the park and stop at the Alpine Visitor Center. This area is best seen over at least 2 days, more if you have it!

Mountains reflecting in the lake in Colorado. One epic long road trip in North America is through Colorado.
Mountains of Colorado. Photo by She Saves She Travels

Then head south and west to explore all the great ski towns. They liven up over the winter months, but are just as gorgeous in the summer! Take your pick – Keystone, Frisco and Vail are all amazing spots to spend a night (or two) and enjoy the sights and local food.

On this long road trip, continue southwest and see on of Colorado’s least visited, but perhaps most spectacular park – Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. It’s a huge national park worthy of spending at least 2 days exploring. Be sure to drive the 7-mile South Rim drive.

Next you’ll head further east to the stunning Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Go off-roading on Medano Pass Primitive Road or hike to the Zapata Falls for an incredible day. You’ll likely want just a day at this national park.

Then you’ll make your way back to the cities of Colorado Springs, Denver and Boulder. Before you reach your end point be sure check out white-water rafting down the Arkansas River, feed the giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, visit the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. This will add 3-5 more days to your long road trip through Colorado.

With a state as action-packed as Colorado, you can make a long road trip your own. In a state that’s perfect for hikers and sight-seers alike, you’ll have an amazing trip through the state of Colorado. 

Denver to Glacier National Park

driven by Julie of The Cure for Curiosity

Give yourself the adventure of a lifetime by taking a road trip from Denver to Glacier National Park.  This 1,000-mile road trip will take you through four of the best national parks making it perfect for nature lovers!  You’ll want to give yourself at least two weeks for this road trip to fully enjoy each of the parks and the many amazing stops along the way.

Before hitting the road, spend a couple of days exploring all that Denver has to offer.  Afterall, Denver is the capital of Colorado and is nestled into the dramatic foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Once you’re ready to hit the road, make your way up to Rocky Mountain National Park. Here you’ll have the opportunity to hike through the mountains and admire endless gorgeous vistas.  Keep an eye out for wildlife, and don’t miss driving Trail Ridge Road if you’re there in the summer!

From Rocky Mountain National Park, you’ll continue up to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.  These two stunning national parks are neighbors and offer endless outdoor activities.  Spend a few days exploring each of the parks, taking in the hot springs, mud pots, and geysers of Yellowstone and the breath-taking sunsets over the Snake River and the majestic Teton Mountains in Grand Teton.  Definitely don’t miss the stunning Grand Prismatic Spring!

Then, continue towards Glacier National Park through Mesa Falls, Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, Ringing Rocks, the Berkeley Pit, and into the city of Missoula. From Missoula, you’ll continue on your adventure to Ewam Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, the National Bison Range, Kerr Dam, Flathead Lake, and finally into stunning Glacier National Park – your end destination. Here you’ll find endless hiking opportunities that take you to glaciers, perfectly turquoise glacial-fed lakes, and stunning panoramic views. 

Arizona, Nevada, California Road Trip

driven by Jumana of Planet Hopper Girl

One of the epic road trips to try in the West Coast of America is to take a round of Arizona, Nevada and California in two weeks, experiencing the majestic mountains of Arizona and Nevada and relaxing in the sunny coastal vibes of California in one trip. Main cities to cover in this trip include the below in different states with top things to do in each place listed. You can start the journey from any state as you like covering the below. If you put all the below places on a map, you will see that you can do a circle between these places following famous highway routes with stunning scenery.

1- California:

Los Angeles-  1or 2 days; San Francisco – 1 or 2 days; San Diego- 1 or 2 days

Depending on your taste, you can pick your top highlights in these places. I recommend not to miss Venice Beach in LA, Redwoods trees in San Francisco and Coronado island in San Diego.

2- Arizona:

Phoenix- 1 day; Sedona- 1 or 2 days; Grand Canyon South rim- 2 days

Check what you would like more between Sedona red rocks and Grand canyon. I recommend reaching the Grand canyon for sunrise or sunset, that is when it is the prettiest and going in the daytime if you plan to hike. I personally think Sedona red rock hike is prettier. 

3- Nevada:

Hoover Dam- 1 day; Las Vegas – 1 or 2 days

I recommend taking Route 66 between the Grand Canyon to the Nevada border which is a stunning drive and not to miss the Hoover Dam. If you are into partying you can spend more time in Vegas. This entire itinerary can be completed in 2 weeks adjusting the driving time as needed depending on your priorities. All the driving in Arizona and Nevada could be done in the day time to enjoy the views. Similarly, the drive between San Diego and Los Angeles can be done in day time for the coastal views.

Driving the open road in the southwest. Photo by Planet Hopper Girl

Savannah, Charleston, & Asheville

driven by Brittany of Travel by Brit

Are you looking for the perfect North American road trip? Consider driving through Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA, and Asheville, NC, on an epic Southeast USA road trip. This road trip is exceptionally diverse and offers something for everyone. One day, you’ll be relaxing on Charleston’s gorgeous, sandy beaches, and the next, you’ll be trekking through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, NC! 

Here are some of the highlights of a ten-day road trip through Savannah, Charleston, and Asheville. 

Savannah  

Start your road trip in beautiful, historic Savannah!  During your time in Savannah, experience the city’s spooky history on a ghost tour, and stroll through Forsyth Park to enjoy the city’s charming atmosphere. Explore River Street and City Market to see some of the most historic parts of Savannah, and dine at The Olde Pink House for a taste of good, ‘ole southern cooking!

Fountains in Savannah, GA. Photo by Travel by Brit.

Charleston  

After spending a few days in Savannah, drive 100 miles north to Charleston, SC! On your way to Charleston, stop at The Charleston Tea Garden, the only location tea is grown in North America, and Kiawah Island, a stunningly scenic, secluded beach. Once you arrive in Charleston, snap a photo at Rainbow Row or the Pineapple Fountain, and grab a delicious brunch at Poogan’s Porch.  

Asheville  

Conclude your road trip in the mountains of Asheville, NC, located just over 250 miles from Charleston.  Explore Asheville’s outdoors with incredible hikes, like Craggy Gardens Pinnacle or Mount Pisgah, and spend the day exploring the remarkable Biltmore Estate.  And while you’re in downtown Asheville, explore the city’s amazing breweries, and visit Biscuit Head for a delicious, southern-style breakfast. This long road trip through the south will have you walking through history!

Yosemite to Seattle Road Trip

driven by Val of Voyages with Val

A road trip from Yosemite National Park to Seattle is an unforgettable drive that will show you the best the Pacific Northwest has to offer! While it would be possible to make the whole 15 and a half-hour drive in one day, that would be a huge mistake. There are so many amazing stops on the way, you could easily spend over a week driving up the country. Two or three days in each National Park listed below should allow you to see the sights and complete the trip in ten to twelve days.
Start your trip out in Yosemite, a short drive from San Francisco, where you could stay for several days taking in the iconic granite formations of Half Dome and El Capitan and hiking among the jaw-dropping waterfalls that dot the valley. From Yosemite, you can head up to another California National Park and spend a few days exploring the Redwood National Park and State Parks. Here you can find wild elk, some of the tallest trees in the world, and the rocky Pacific Coast.

Mountains of Yosemite. Photo by Voyages with Val.

After the Redwoods, you’ll head north through Oregon. A bit of a detour, but one well worth it, is a stop at Crater Lake National Park to see the deepest lake in the United States. Another National Park on the way is Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. It’s hard to go wrong with hiking in Mount Rainier, but Skyline Trail, in particular, is noteworthy for its panoramic views over 6 miles of moderate hiking. Spend several days in Rainier, or split your time between Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park on the peninsula.

Finally, you will end your road trip in Seattle. There is so much to see in Seattle, but some of the top locations include Pike’s Place Market for delicious food and entertaining fish throwing and taking in views from the Space Needle or the Columbia Center’s Sky View Observatory. With breathtaking nature at every turn, this long road trip is definitely insta-worthy!

Albuquerque to Denver Road Trip

driven by Polina of Bucket List Places

The states of New Mexico and Colorado offer some of the most breathtaking mountain views in the United States, with pristine creeks and awe-inspiring waterfalls awaiting travellers who are ready to wander around a little bit. If you are looking to fully explore the natural beauty of these two states, this two-week itinerary, starting in Albuquerque and ending in Denver, will be a great choice, and it will offer plenty of fun on the way!

Start your trip on day one by renting a one way car in Albuquerque and settling in at a hotel for some rest to get you energized for your trip. The following morning, hit the road to Santa Fe where you will be spending the next night. Visit the historic Santa Fe Plaza, the heart of the city and stop in at some of the dozens of art galleries and shops. 

p You should spend at least a couple of days in Taos exploring everything this area has to offer. Take a stroll around the Taos Plaza, a historic plaza with beautiful Spanish old houses. Visit the historic Taos Pueblo and if traveling in the winter time make sure to check out Taos Ski area. Don’t forget to visit the Harwood Museum of Art, one of the oldest museums in New Mexico.

From Taos, head to Pagosa Springs. Here you should spend an evening relaxing in the local hot springs. The free ones right on the river are quite pretty but if you are looking for something more luxurious there are several spas in town. The next stop of your itinerary brings you to Mesa Verde National Park. Visit ancient Puebloan houses around the park and check the visitors center for more information about ancient Pueblos. 

Spend the night in the area as your next stop is right nearby. At Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, visit the Anasazi Heritage Center for more information about the site and the Pueblo people. After a couple days exploring this unique area, head to Telluride for some outdoor adventures. Visit Bridal Veil falls, go skiing or take a hike through Bear Creek Trail. Continue north on your trip to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. This striking landscape is a hidden gem in the U.S. Pick up some camping gear and spend the night camping underneath the stars. In the morning, go boating down the river for a different perspective. 

As you head into Aspen, you will feel like you have entered into a different world. This upscale town lives up to the hype. Spend a couple of days in the area and if it is winter make sure to ski Snowmass. Visit the Aspen Arts Museum or wind down at the John Denver Sanctuary. 

Gunnison National Park. Photo by Bucket List Places

Another famous ski destination, Breckenridge is a completely different pace to Aspen. Stroll down Main Street and marvel at historic 19th-century homes. At Breckenridge, you can enjoy year-round alpine activities at the local ski resort. Once you have thoroughly explored the area you will drive to Denver.

Denver is a fantastic city and deserves at least a couple of days for exploration. Visit Denver Botanic Gardens, where there are rare horticultural books and collections. Spend a day at the amusement park Elitch Gardens and marvel at the animals at Denver Zoo. Make sure to explore the different neighborhoods and try some of the delicious restaurants that make Denver home.

Final Thoughts

Just because we can’t fly, doesn’t mean we can’t explore! Hopefully these ten epic long road trips in North America inspire you to hit the road! Take in the breathtaking nature and charming cities of North America.

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