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15 Bucket List USA Road Trip Ideas

Are you prepared for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? America is the ideal location for a road trip because it is brimming with magnificent natural scenery and intriguing towns. These 15 road trip suggestions, from the Pacific Coast Highway to Northern California Wine Country, will inspire you to see the United States.

Pacific Coast Highway: The Ultimate Bucket List USA Road Trip (600 miles)

  • Take a 600-mile journey from San Diego to San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway

  • Stop at the 13 Prettiest Beaches in Southern California and charming beach towns along the way

  • Explore Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ojai for entertainment, shopping, and dining

  • Visit Solvang, Los Olivos, and Paso Robles for wine tasting before heading back to the coast

  • See Hearst Castle and the redwoods of Big Sur

  • Explore the quaint communities of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, and Santa Cruz

  • End your trip with a visit to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and plenty to explore in San Francisco

Northern California Wine Country (225 miles)

  • Experience California wines renowned worldwide on this road trip through Napa Valley

  • Visit vineyards, historic landmarks, and luxury hotels in Napa Valley

  • Wine taste and dine at some of the best restaurants in the USA

  • See Old Faithful Geyser in Calistoga before heading to Sonoma County and the charming town of Healdsburg

  • Shop in Healdsburg Plaza and stay overnight at the Montage Healdsburg with gorgeous vineyard views

  • Continue to Mendocino and visit tasting rooms like Navarro Vineyards & Winery

  • End your trip driving along the stunning Northern California coast route

California Highway 395 and the Eastern Sierra (300+ miles)

  • Take a scenic road trip along US Route 395 through the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range

  • Start in Lake Tahoe with plenty of fun activities like kayaking in Secret Cove and other lakes

  • Head to Mammoth Lakes and stop at Mono Lake along the way

  • If you have enough time, visit Yosemite National Park through the east entrance open in summer

  • Mammoth has plenty of summer activities like hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and kayaking

  • Visit Hot Creek Geologic Site and soak in one of the natural hot springs

  • Stay overnight in Alabama Hills, a popular film location with hiking and beautiful vistas

  • End your trip in Death Valley National Park

Southern California Deserts (285 miles)

  • Fly into Palm Springs Airport and start your road trip exploring the area of Palm Springs and Palm Desert

  • Don’t miss the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for birdseye views and a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park

  • Drive 2 hours to Temecula and visit the vineyards and historic downtown

  • Take a hot air balloon ride if you plan ahead

  • Explore Anza Borrego Desert State Park known for its natural wonders and camping opportunities

  • Visit the Salton Sea and the nearby Mecca Hills Wilderness

  • End your trip in the Imperial Sand Dunes and Glamis, a popular spot for off-roading

Route 66: The Mother Road (2,278 miles)

  • Take a trip down memory lane on Route 66, also known as the Mother Road

  • Start in Chicago and visit the Willis Tower, Willis Tower Skydeck, and Millennium Park

  • Stop in St. Louis and visit the Gateway Arch and City Museum

  • Take a detour to the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal

  • Explore Oklahoma City and visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

  • Stop in Amarillo and visit the Cadillac Ranch and Big Texan Steak Ranch

  • Visit the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert in Arizona

  • Take a detour to the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam

  • Stop in Los Angeles and visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Griffith Observatory

  • End your trip in Santa Monica and visit the Santa Monica Pier and Muscle Beach

Florida Keys (112 miles)

  • Start your road trip in Miami and visit Little Havana, South Beach, and Wynwood

  • Drive down to the Florida Keys and stop at Key Largo for diving and snorkeling

  • Continue to Islamorada for fishing and water sports

  • Visit Marathon for the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory

  • Stop in Big Pine Key for the National Key Deer Refuge

  • End your trip in Key West and visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, the Southernmost Point, and Duval Street

Great River Road (3,000 miles)

  • Take a journey along the Great River Road, following the Mississippi River

  • Start in Lake Itasca, Minnesota and visit the Headwaters of the Mississippi River

  • Stop in St. Paul, Minnesota and visit the Science Museum of Minnesota and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

  • Continue to Dubuque, Iowa and visit the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

  • Stop in Hannibal, Missouri and visit Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum

  • Continue to Natchez, Mississippi and visit the Natchez Trace Parkway

  • End your trip in New Orleans and visit the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and the Mississippi River Walk

Blue Ridge Parkway (469 miles)

  • Take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Appalachian Mountains

  • Start in Waynesboro, Virginia and visit the Blue Ridge Music Center

  • Continue to Roanoke, Virginia and visit the Roanoke Valley History Museum

  • Stop in Asheville, North Carolina and visit the Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Mountains

  • Continue to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and visit Clingmans Dome and Cades Cove

  • End your trip in Cherokee, North Carolina and visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

New England Fall Foliage (800 miles)

  • Take a road trip through New England to see the stunning fall foliage

  • Start in Boston and visit Fenway Park, the Freedom Trail, and the USS Constitution Museum

  • Continue to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and visit the Strawbery Banke Museum and the Portsmouth Harbor Trail

  • Stop in Portland, Maine and visit the Portland Head Light and the Portland Museum of Art

  • Continue to Acadia National Park and visit Cadillac Mountain and Sand Beach

  • End your trip in Newport, Rhode Island and visit the Newport Mansions and the Cliff Walk

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (500 miles)

  • Take a road trip to explore the natural wonders of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

  • Start in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and visit the Grand Teton National Park

  • Continue to Yellowstone National Park and visit Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and the Mammoth Hot Springs

  • Stop in Cody, Wyoming and visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

  • End your trip in Bozeman, Montana and visit the Museum of the Rockies and the Bridger Bowl Ski Area

Black Hills and Badlands (500 miles)

  • Take a road trip to explore the natural beauty of the Black Hills and Badlands

  • Start in Rapid City, South Dakota and visit Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the Black Hills National Forest

  • Continue to Deadwood, South Dakota and visit the Deadwood Gulch Gaming Resort and the Adamson Visitor Center

  • Visit the Badlands National Park and see the Pinnacles Overlook, the Badlands Loop Road, and the Badlands Wilderness Area

  • Stop in Custer, South Dakota and visit the Custer State Park and the Custer City and Black Hills Cowboy Monument

  • End your trip in Cody, Wyoming and visit the Buffalo Bill Center of the West and the Cody Nite Rodeo

The Outer Banks (200 miles)

  • Take a road trip to explore the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks

  • Start in Kitty Hawk and visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial

  • Continue to Nags Head and visit the Jockey's Ridge State Park

  • Stop in Manteo and visit the Roanoke Island Festival Park and the Elizabethan Gardens

  • Visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and see the Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Hatteras Island

  • End your trip in Ocracoke and visit the Ocracoke Island Lighthouse and the Ocracoke Island Pony Pen

The Deep South: The Natchez Trace Parkway and the Gulf Coast (800 miles)

  • Take a road trip to explore the Deep South, from the Natchez Trace Parkway to the Gulf Coast

  • Start in Nashville, Tennessee and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Johnny Cash Museum

  • Continue to Natchez Trace Parkway and visit the Meriwether Lewis Monument and the Fall Hollow Waterfall

  • Stop in Tupelo, Mississippi and visit the Elvis Presley Birthplace and the Tupelo National Battlefield

  • Continue to Gulfport, Mississippi and visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore and the Biloxi Lighthouse

  • End your trip in New Orleans, Louisiana and visit the French Quarter, Bourbon Street, and the Jackson Square

The Southwest: Canyonlands and Mesa Verde National Parks (1,200 miles)

  • Take a road trip to explore the natural beauty of the Canyonlands and Mesa Verde National Parks

  • Start in Moab, Utah and visit the Arches National Park and the Canyonlands National Park

  • Continue to Durango, Colorado and visit the Mesa Verde National Park and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

  • Stop in Santa Fe, New Mexico and visit the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Palace of the Governors

  • End your trip in Sedona, Arizona and visit the Sedona Red Rocks and the Sedona Arts Center

The Pacific Northwest: Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks (500 miles)

  • Take a road trip to explore the natural beauty of the Olympic and Mount Rainier National Parks

  • Start in Seattle, Washington and visit the Space Needle and the Pike Place Market

  • Continue to Olympic National Park and visit the Hoh Rainforest, the Hurricane Ridge, and the Sol Duc Hot Springs

  • Stop in Mount Rainier National Park and visit the Mount Rainier and the Paradise

  • End your trip in Portland, Oregon and visit the Portland Japanese Garden and the Powell's City of Books

With the natural beauty and cultural diversity that the United States has to offer, these 15 USA road trip ideas are guaranteed to capture your interest. These road trips have something to offer everyone, whether you're seeking for a single adventure, a family holiday, or a romantic retreat. Don't forget to bring your cameras on these outings since you'll see stunning scenery, quaint villages, and plenty of memories that will last a lifetime. The journey of a lifetime is waiting for you; therefore, fill up your tank and get going!


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