Embarking on a road trip is the ultimate adventure, allowing you to witness the stunning landscapes, cultural gems, and hidden treasures that the United States has to offer. From iconic highways to coastal drives, we've compiled a list of the top five can't-miss bucket list road trips that will leave you with lasting memories. Buckle up and get ready to explore the wonders of America!
Route 66: The Mother Road (Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California)
Route 66, often referred to as the "Main Street of America," is a legendary road that takes you on a journey through the heart of America. From the vibrant streets of Chicago to the sun-kissed beaches of Santa Monica, this route is lined with quirky roadside attractions, vintage motels, and classic diners. Along the way, you'll pass through the picturesque landscapes of the Great Plains, the stunning landscapes of the Southwest, and the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon.
- Distance: Approximately 2,448 miles
- Sights: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, the Petrified Forest National Park, and the Santa Monica Pier.
- Music: Fill your playlist with classic tunes like "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" by Chuck Berry and "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen.
- Cuisine: Indulge in classic American comfort food, such as juicy burgers, hearty steaks, and apple pie. Don't miss the chance to try Tex-Mex cuisine in New Mexico and enjoy a slice of deep-dish pizza in Chicago.
- Lodging: Experience the charm of vintage motels along the route, such as the Blue Swallow Motel in New Mexico or the Wigwam Motel in Arizona.
Pacific Coast Highway: California Dreamin' (San Francisco, California to San Diego, California)
The Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH, offers breathtaking coastal scenery, picturesque beaches, and charming seaside towns. This road trip takes you along the rugged coastline of California, showcasing the natural wonders of the Pacific Ocean. From the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the sun-soaked beaches of San Diego, the Pacific Coast Highway is a visual feast.
- Distance: Approximately 656 miles
- Sights: Big Sur, Hearst Castle, the scenic beauty of Monterey Bay, and the stunning coastline of Malibu.
- Music: Set the mood with the soothing melodies of "Hotel California" by The Eagles and "California Love" by Tupac Shakur.
- Cuisine: Savor fresh seafood delicacies in San Francisco, indulge in wine tasting in the vineyards of Napa Valley, and try fish tacos in San Diego.
- Lodging: Enjoy coastal resorts, charming bed and breakfasts, or camp under the stars in scenic campgrounds along the Pacific Coast Highway.
Blue Ridge Parkway: A Scenic Drive through Appalachia (Shenandoah National Park, Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina/Tennessee)
The Blue Ridge Parkway winds its way through the picturesque Appalachian Mountains, offering breathtaking vistas, vibrant fall foliage, and a rich cultural heritage. This road trip takes you on a journey through charming mountain towns, cascading waterfalls, and stunning panoramic views.
- Distance: Approximately 469 miles
- Sights: Luray Caverns, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, Craggy Gardens, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
- Music: Immerse yourself in the sounds of folk and bluegrass music, with songs like "Country Roads" by John Denver and "Wagon Wheel" by Old Crow Medicine Show.
- Cuisine: Satisfy your taste buds with Southern comfort food, including barbecue, fried chicken, and homemade biscuits. Don't forget to try a slice of delicious apple pie in North Carolina.
- Lodging: Choose from cozy mountain cabins, charming bed and breakfasts, or campgrounds nestled amidst the serene beauty of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Great River Road: Exploring the Mighty Mississippi (Minnesota to Louisiana)
The Great River Road is a scenic route that follows the course of the iconic Mississippi River. This road trip showcases the cultural diversity, historical landmarks, and natural wonders along America's most famous river. From the charming river towns of Minnesota to the vibrant city of New Orleans, this journey is filled with captivating stories and stunning landscapes.
- Distance: Approximately 2,340 miles
- Sights: The Mall of America in Minneapolis, Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, and the French Quarter in New Orleans.
- Music: Immerse yourself in the soulful sounds of jazz, blues, and Cajun music, including songs like "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin and "Walking to New Orleans" by Fats Domino.
- Cuisine: Delight in Southern delicacies, such as gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets. Indulge in mouthwatering barbecue along the Mississippi Delta.
- Lodging: Experience the charm of bed and breakfasts in quaint river towns or immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of New Orleans with a stay in a historic French Quarter hotel.
Going-to-the-Sun Road: Glacier National Park's Majestic Highway (Montana)
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a breathtaking mountain highway that traverses Glacier National Park in Montana. This road trip offers awe-inspiring alpine vistas, sparkling lakes, and pristine wilderness. As you wind your way through the heart of the park, you'll witness the rugged beauty of the Rocky Mountains and the enchanting landscapes of the Glacier region.
- Distance: Approximately 50 miles
- Sights: Logan Pass, Lake McDonald, St. Mary Lake, and the Weeping Wall.
- Music: Immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature with instrumental tracks like "Mountains" by Hans Zimmer and "The River Flows In You" by Yiruma.
- Cuisine: Sample regional favorites such as huckleberry pie and bison burgers while savoring the flavors of Montana.
- Lodging: Stay in cozy lodges within Glacier National Park or camp under the starry skies surrounded by nature's beauty.
Embarking on these unforgettable road trips will leave you with lifelong memories and a deep appreciation for the diverse landscapes and cultures that make up the United States. Whether you're cruising down Route 66, admiring the Pacific Coast, or exploring the Great River Road, remember that EverWash car wash membership ensures your vehicle looks its best throughout your journey, allowing you to focus on enjoying the adventure. So, fuel up, hit the road, and let the wonders of America unfold before your eyes!