by Elizabeth Rossbach
any people are hesitant about traveling during the coronavirus pandemic, yet they still want to take that traditional summer family vacation. While it is difficult to social distance on an airplane, traveling in your own car makes it easier to adhere to COVID-19’s health guidelines. For this reason, taking a road trip might be a good alternative to flying that allows you and your family to travel while staying safe. Whether you are looking to visit exciting and historical places or if you are looking to experience some of the most scenic routes in America, there are tons of options for road trips out there to fit your travel desires. You can map out your road trip or check out this list of some of the most popular road trip routes in the U.S.
- Blue Ridge Parkway: If you are interested in national parks, this might be the road trip for you. The 469-mile drive connects two national parks, Shenandoah in Virginia, and the Great Smokey Mountains in North Carolina. Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited road in the U.S. National Park System. Begin your trip in Front Royal, Virginia a quaint country town where you can enjoy nature. Take a day or two to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park. Next, you’ll travel along Skyline Drive to Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the United States. From here, you can travel on to the Natural Bridge at the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley. This breathtaking rock bridge was once known as One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Modern World and was worshipped by the Monacan Indians. This bridge will take you into North Carolina where you can take a pitstop in Asheville before heading on to the Great Smokey Mountains.
- Black Hills of South Dakota: This is a road trip that will give you a taste of American culture and history. Start your journey on 1-90 and take exit 131 to Badlands Scenic Byway. There are many places to stop along the way. Make sure to check out Wall Drug, Custer State Park, and Mount Rushmore. There’s also a pretty good chance you’ll see bison as you travel along this route.
- Downeast Maine: For a more laid back and scenic road trip, head out to Coastal Route 1, also known as Lobster Trail, travel down the rocky coastline through numerous quaint New England villages. Stop in the coastal towns of Belfast and Rockland, Maine, where you can take in the picturesque towns and enjoy some delicious seafood.
- California’s Pacific Coast Highway: This road trip can start in the north and head south or start south and head north along the gorgeous Pacific coastline. Dana Point in Orange County and Leggett in Mendocino bookend this 653- mile long trip. You’ll pass key attractions like Malibu, San Simeon, San Luis Obispo, Big Sur, Monterey, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Mendocino Headlands. If, by the time you reach Leggett, you still want more, you can extend the coastal drive all the way down to the Redwood Forest on Route 101.
- Jackson, Wyoming to Glacier, Montana: If you’re looking for something a bit shorter of a drive, this road trip is a good option for you. It’s possible to make this drive in one day, but you can extend the trip by taking your time to stop at the many interesting places along the way. Like Big Sky Country, you can take a few days to explore the unique and diverse landscape features such the rivers of the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone’s geysers and wildlife and, the glacial formations of Glacier, Montana.
- California Route 395: This is a road trip for nature lovers. This scenic drive features many bucket-list destinations such as Death Valley National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Yosemite National Park, and Lake Tahoe. All these destinations are full of outdoor activities and picturesque views. If you’re a lover of the great outdoors, this road-trip is a must.
- Route 66: It’s hard to have a list of road-trips and not include Route 66. This classic cross-country drive has been popular since the 1940s before the Interstate Highway system was established. This trip stretches between Chicago and Los Angeles, where it comes to a close at the Santa Monica Pier. Route 66, or the Mother Road, is famous for its odd roadside attractions that demand a closer look. Attractions like the Cadillac Ranch in Texas or the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle in Oklahoma.
- Richardson Highway, Alaska: Another road-trip for nature enthusiasts the eight-hour drive from Valdez to Fairbanks features lovely 100-mile stretches of some of Alaska’s most scenic views. Take in the breathtaking glacier lakes and waterfalls and be sure to stop at Rainbow Ridge. These startlingly colorful mountains are made of red and green volcanic rock and yellow siltstone. If you’re looking to be immersed in some of nature’s most stunning places be sure to take a drive down Richardson Highway.
- Old King’s Highway: This road-trip provides a historical look at Cape Cod, where you can visit some of the oldest towns in America as you travel down Route 6A in Massachusetts. Visit towns like Bourne, which settled in 1640, or Yarmouth, which settled in 1639. Along your drive, you will have the opportunity to visit some of the buildings on National Register of Historic Places such as the Jonathan Young Windmill in Orleans.
- 30 A, Florida: Take a drive down Florida’s Emerald Coast where you can relax on white-sand beaches, some of which feature rare dune lakes. Along the way, there are many lovely beach towns you can stop in for a day or two. Be sure to check out Santa Rosa Beach, one of the oldest coastal towns along 30A and the quaint town of Seaside.
These are just some of the most popular road trip options, but there are many more out there. Take the time to research your route and find one that the whole family will enjoy.