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It’s time to unglue yourself from that computer chair and experience your scenic desktop wallpaper in real time. Road trips are the mecca of all things adventure, ditching the stress of busy airports and stuffy planes for some fresh air and the open road.

Whether you decide to get lost in winding roads and endless greenery or prefer a coastal route that surrounds you with white sand and blue water, the packing essentials for a U.S. road trip remain the same.

Here are 6 items you don’t want to leave without:

  1. Emergency and first aid kits to ensure you are prepared for any situation
  2. Lots of water and car friendly snacks that are easy to eat on the go, such as fruits and trail mix
  3. Pillows and blankets for comfort both in and out of the car
  4. Paper towels, toilet paper, and wet wipes for those miles between rest stops
  5. Portable loungers for when you just want to sit back and enjoy the view
  6. And don’t forget your favorite road trip playlist to set the tone of your adventure

Now that you’re all packed up and ready to go, here are routes that are sure to leave you breathless.

The 10 Best U.S. Road Trips

1. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

Mountain range on a road trip

This modest 50-mile route at Glacier National Park is packed with views that rival even the most epic American road trips. You will surely have an adrenaline rush as you spend the day white water rafting, climbing, or simply enjoying breathtaking glaciers along the trail’s steep vertical cliff road. Be sure to prepare for the weather ahead time, as snowfall and plowing schedules often close this path with little warning.

2. Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska

Alaska mountain range

Be prepared to have your breath taken away as you pass countless prehistoric glaciers and approach mountain ranges with too many snow capped peaks to count. On this 300 mile route, you will come across glimpses of the trans-Alaska pipeline while spotting herds of Alaska’s protected Dall Sheep. Give yourself over seven hours to fully enjoy the beauty of this road trip, as you don’t want to miss the massive roadside ice sheets surrounding the Matanuska Glacier and the beautiful views at the peak of Lion’s Head Trail.

3. Road to Hana, Hawaii

Sunset on Hawaii roadtrip

Don’t miss the Waianapanapa State Park and black sand beaches on this 51-mile road trip. This cliff side road is surrounded by lush green trees and is filled with sea caves, lava cliffs, and views of Maui’s coast that are sure to leave you in awe.

4. San Juan Skyway, Colorado

Beautiful mountain range in Colorado

 

This 236-mile route has been named an All-American Road, perfect for those who are looking for both history and beauty. Home of million dollar views and the Million Dollar Highway, this route is lined by mountains and hillsides of evergreens and home to the Mesa Verde National Park, where you will find the densest collection of prehistoric ruins in the United States.

5. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina

Beautiful trees in Virginia

This beautiful 470-mile route is located along the top of the Appalachian Mountains, connecting Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains. As you carve through the beautiful forests and meadows of Southern Virginia, be sure to stop at Natural Bridge, where you can hike under the 20 story bridge of solid rock that has been carved out by nature. Lastly, don’t miss this trip’s peak at Grandfather Mountain, where you can experience breathtaking panoramic views at over 5,837 feet.

6. Route 1, Florida

Route 1 on Florida Road Trip

Leave the mainland and immerse yourself in Florida’s beach bars and museums filled with sunken treasure. On this 120 mile route, a 7-mile bridge takes you over clear blue water and connects the Florida Keys, allowing you to experience colorful seascapes and breathtaking coral reefs from all perspectives. Be sure to stop at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, where you can admire Florida’s wide range of marine life at America’s first undersea park.

7. Lake Michigan Gold Coast, Michigan

Lake Michigan beach and lighthouse

This 550-mile trip is filled with endless stretches of beach dunes, orchards, and wineries. Although best taken when the water is warm in late summer or for the harvest in early autumn, this route can be enjoyed year round. Don’t be surprised if you can’t help but stop at one of the many quirky bed and breakfasts along the way.

8. Big Bend Scenic Loop, Texas

Big Bend Road Trip

This 70-mile trip is becoming more than just a Texas bucket list destination, as more and more people from all around the U.S. are rushing over to witness the beauty of this route first hand. To experience the power of nature in person, don’t forget to stop at St. Elena Canyon, where geological history is imprinted on the formations that surround you. Whether you decide to carve through the hills alongside the Rio Grande or better yet, raft through it, the insurmountable amount of beauty available on the Big Bend Scenic Loop is sure to make you fall in love.

9. Pacific Coast Highway, California

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Although the California state legislature only designates a 123 mile stretch of Highway 1 as the actual Pacific Coast Highway, those familiar with this route know that it can actually reach up to 1,800 miles, and is made up of a combination of roads and highways that carry you down the west coast of the United States. This trip hugs the cliffs along the coast of the Pacific Ocean, overlooking countless beautiful Southern California beaches before leading you over San Simeon’s most extravagant piece of architecture, Hearst Castle. Be sure to stop and experience the purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach, and the enjoy the towering Redwood forests of Northern California.

10. Route 66, Illinois to California

route66

What would this list be without this classic 2,451 mile All-American road trip? This route has been coined as the Main Street of America as it leads you through winding mountain roads that take you past the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Start your trip by enjoying a meal at what has been coined “the first stop of the Mother Road,” also known as Chicago’s famous Lou Mitchell’s, and end it by relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Santa Monica.

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