10 Best Road Trips in the U.S.

Road Trips | The Pocket Palette

Road trips are special. You are forced to talk to the person next to you and it's in those moments that you share those 8th-grade embarrassing stories you swore you'd never tell anyone. And of course, the rules and roles!  

1) The driver focuses on the road, driving like a boss.

2) The passenger is co-pilot who controls the music and GPS.

3) The back seat is for the official snack distributor who also points out all the bathroom stops and naps occasionally (or a lot).

Excited to take a road trip of your own yet? We have compiled a list of the ten best road trip destinations in the U.S. for you to go with your friends or family.

1. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone

Yellowstone is the world’s first national park and indeed is a wonder. It's a beautiful national park where you can explore mountains, lakes, wildlife, and geysers. Depending on where you are driving from, there will be plenty of mini stops to take in the scenery. We recommend that you visit Yellowstone’s National Park site, as they have included the best scenic routes from varies starting points in the U.S. including California, Chicago, Colorado, Utah, and Texas.

2. Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon

People from all over the world are attracted to The Grand Canyon because of how immense it is. It is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. That's a lot of land mass to see.  With all this space, The Grand Canyon has a way of making a person feel small, but in a good way. Want to know the best route to take? The Grand Canyon National Park Service has done a great job at charting the best directions for optimal travel. We recommend that you review it if you are considering a visit.

3. Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles long connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina. Dubbed "America's Favorite Drive" is an excellent road trip choice for a long weekend. There will be plenty of natural beauty to appreciate as it takes you through some of the oldest mountains in the world, Whitewater Falls, and Linville Gorge.

4. Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway, Cactus Flat to Wall

Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway

The Badlands in South Dakota contain some of the world’s most abundant fossil beds, providing evidence of ancient mammals such as the saber-toothed cat. Its unique landscape with twisted canyons, striped rock walls, native grasslands, and spires gives you a real Jurassic Park feeling.

5. New Mexico State Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway, Chaco Canyon to Farmington

New Mexico State Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway

This road trip is 600-miles long and will take you through Navajo Nation and Zuni land. Where you can make a stop at Chaco Culture National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

6. UFO Stopover Loop, Las Vegas to Alamo to Tonopah-Pahrump Skyline Drive

UFO Stopover Loop

Ever found yourself saying “It was aliens.” Then we recommend that you go full Fox Mulder and drive through this 487-mile road trip that takes you through Lincoln County’s Extraterrestrial Highway just north of Area 51. You know, the off-limits military base that probably contains UFOs and other secrets. If that doesn't interest you, you could also stop to take a hike through the Valley of Fire State Park (sounds pleasant).

 

7. Route 66, Illinois to California

Route 66

Is there anything more vintagey classic than driving down route 66? One of the more famous road trip destinations, its strip of road reaches from California all the way to Illinois. If you could only do one road trip on this list, it should be Route 66, preferably in a red convertible Ford Mustang.

 

8. Pacific Coast Highway, San Luis Obispo to Monterey, California

Pacific Coast Highway, San Luis Obispo to Monterey, California

Enjoy the ocean view? This road trip will fill you with all blue hue joy you could dream of. This specific trip runs in the middle of California along Route 1 or the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). You will see Big Sur, seaside cliffs and as a bonus, you'll drive through Paso Robles and Carmel, aka wine country. Extend your trip by doing a few wine tastings and staying the night in a super cute seaside motel. And if you're into seeing how the other side lives, stop by Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

9. Million Dollar Highway, Silverton to Ouray, Colorado

Million Dollar Highway

If you only took this trip because it has a cool name, you would be in good company. This stretch of road on Highway 550 will take you through old gold-mining towns climbing more than two miles above sea level. It is a breathtaking drive and is rich in history. 

 

10. Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Laramie to Saratoga

Great Skyroad

Covering a distance of 95 miles, this drive in Wyoming is all open sky and has earned the name, “Great Skyroad.” This trip will guarantee you plenty of starts to wish upon at night. Bonus! There are public hot springs which we recommend sliding into after a long day of sitting on your butt. 

 

Ready to go for a drive? Make sure to pack your Pocket Palette!