Road Trip Ideas: Five Great Routes in the U.S.

road trip ideas

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Before you've packed your bags and grabbed your essential car items, you need to figure out where you'll go on your road trip. The U.S. has several direct routes leading to and from major cities, and whether you're heading out with a buddy, a partner or the whole family, you'll find something to do. Below, find our recommendations for five great U.S. road trip ideas.

New York to Florida - Snowbird Route I-95
Looking to escape the bleak New York landscape and get some sun? Pop in the car and head down US I-95 for a drive through New Jersey, Maryland, the Carolinas, and a few other states before reaching The Sunshine State. This route is great for beginners since it's lined with enormous rest stops chock-full of restaurants, clean bathrooms and gas stations. Once you're past Maryland there's more space between the stops but the crown jewel of rest areas, South of the Border, a Mexican themed wonderland with souvenir shops, activities, food stands and even fireworks, lies just between North and South Carolina. You'll find plenty of towns and cities off I-95 for a good night's rest, too.

Los Angeles to San Diego - The Pacific Coast Highway
If you want a short road trip idea with scenery that can't be beat, take a drive from the bright lights of Los Angeles to the quaint Gaslamp District of San Diego. Right out of the city you'll meet the gorgeous waters and chic resorts of Orange County, followed by stunning mountain scenery, a few small vineyards and orange groves everywhere. Since you're never that far off from cities, there are countless places to stay, eat and shop and if you love the water, you can't pick a better way to view the coastline.

Miami to the Florida Keys - The Overseas Highway
Though it may not be the first route that comes to mind when you consider road trip ideas, the overwater highway connecting Florida to the Keys is an experience not to be missed. The Overseas Highway, a 127-mile section of US Highway 1, will take you from just outside of Miami down to Key Largo, Marathon Key and finally, Key West. A highlight of the drive is the Seven-Mile Bride, a floating highway connecting Knight's Key to Little Duck Key. For the best trip possible, check traffic reports and times of the year; during busier days the 4-hour journey across the Keys can take much, much longer.

Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon - US 93 and the Hoover Dam
It's almost unbelievable that just beyond the neon lights and glam casinos of Las Vegas Boulevard there lies one of the most amazing and favorite natural parks in the entire country, but it's true. Rent a car and zip out of Vegas using US 93 when you tire of the glitter. You'll need to switch off to I-40 to finally reach the West Rim, but this sparse desert highway, dotted with cacti, wild horses and far-away mountain-scapes is too good to miss. Before turning off of US 93, take a gander at the Hoover Dam, a modern marvel in its own right.

Classic USA - Route 66
Known as the "Main Street of America," Route 66 is what most people think of when they set out to take a trip and learn more about the U.S. As one of the original highways across the States, this road passes through Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and others on the trip from Illinois to California. Of the quirky roadside stops dotting the highway, drivers can expect to find Chloride, an Arizona ghost town, a large shoe repair building shaped like a shoe in California, a Missouri Stonehenge and the old Idaho penitentiary. While the towns and attractions of Route 66 have seen better days, it's a great reminder of the American spirit that launched a million more innovative byways.

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