Did you know there are over 4 million miles of road in the United States? While not all of those miles are ideal for summer road trips, enough of them are that it can be difficult to narrow down the best routes.
Traveling by highway and country roads gives you a chance to see scenery and history that you can't spot flying overhead in a plane. Road trips are also budget-friendly, allow more flexibility, and you don't have to worry about TSA packing restrictions.
Before heading anywhere, it's important to carefully prepare by planning your route, ensuring your car's maintenance is up to date, and enabling roadside assistance. If you're ready to map out your summer road trip, here are some of the best routes.
California's Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)
With over 650 miles of its primary segment from Orange County in Southern California to Mendocino County, Highway 1 in California (aka PCH) is renowned as one of the world's most thrilling, scenic drives. Along the PCH are local favorites like Neptune's Net in Malibu or Nepenthe in Big Sur, a cliff-top restaurant offering some of the most beautiful sunset and coastal views in the world. Enjoy white sand beaches and whale watching at many points along the coast and don't miss landmarks like Hearst Castle and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Get Your Kicks on Route 66
Whether you drive west from Chicago or east from the Santa Monica Pier, Route 66 is probably the most famous American road trip of all time. Using interstate highways to connect famous sites, many people take two weeks to complete the 2,500-mile trip. The original highway route connecting small towns and quirky roadside attractions is best driven over an entire month according to the National Historic Route 66 Foundation.
Enjoy the Sea Breeze of the Florida Keys
Florida's Route 1 is as dramatic as California's similarly named coastal highway. Driving the 150-mile Overseas Highway from Miami through the Florida Keys can take as little as four hours. You'll want to spend much longer visiting each Key to explore natural wonders like John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Each Key has its own character, from Islamorada's sport fishing and dolphin watching to Key West, the southernmost point in the United States and a haven for artists, musicians, and free spirits alike.
Follow the Great River Road
At over 3,000 miles, the Great River Road National Scenic Byway is one of the longest road trips in the United States. Starting at the Mississippi River's origin in Minnesota, the route follows the river through 10 states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, and Louisiana. As you drive, watch for the Pilot's Wheel road signs that designate the official roads of the scenic and cultural River Road route. Although it's possible to drive the entire route in about 36 hours, you'll want to take your time to enjoy the Mississippi River and its many cities, villages, sights, and cuisines more if you slow down and plan a trip from 7 to 10 days.
Southwest National Parks Road Trip
Starting at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and traveling north through Utah, you can visit five national parks on the spectacular Southwest National Parks drive — the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches National Park. If you're planning to tow a camper or boat, there are many opportunities to use them along this route. You can extend the 600-mile trip by stopping over in Las Vegas to the southwest, where you can see Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Colorado River as it cuts through the Mojave Desert.
Prepare Your Car for the Open Road
If you're setting out for a summer road trip, especially through harsh climates like the southwest, you'll want to make sure you and your car are protected with an extended warranty. Protect My Car's Ambassador Policy offers free oil changes and tire rotations and covers most vehicles, regardless of year or mileage.
Spend your summer road trip enjoying the scenery and history of whichever route you choose, instead of dealing with car issues. Make sure your trip is worry-free by requesting a free quote from Protect My Car today.