Best Summer Roadtrips in the U.S. for 2019

Summer is a great time for a road trip, whether you're packing an SUV full of kids or taking a spin in your sporty convertible.

You can pick a destination, follow a certain highway or route, you can ramble aimlessly, or you can give your roadtrip a theme to keep it fun and interesting.

Here's a list of road trips for everyone -- from history buffs, UFO hunters, solo drivers who love curves, folks who like the offbeat, daredevils who want to escape it all, (or at least escape the pavement) and some good old-fashioned scenic drives.

The Lincoln Highway
The Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway

Make a cross-country trip by following one of America's oldest roads. The Lincoln Highway, created in 1913, was the vision of Carl Fisher, the man responsible for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The idea was a 3,400-mile, paved, coast-to-coast, New York-to-San Francisco, highway over the shortest practical route.

Today, most of the route is U.S. Highway 30, and you'll probably spend a lot of time on Interstate 80. This gas station is on Highway 30 in Grand Island, Neb.

Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

The Lincoln Highway
The Lincoln Highway

If you follow the route of the Lincoln Highway, you'll get to see good ol' roadside attraction classics like the Haines Shoe House in York, Pa.

Photo: Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock

The Lincoln Highway
The Lincoln Highway

Above, the Lincoln Memorial Monument in Laramie, Wyoming on the Lincoln Highway. Much of the route in Wyoming today is dirt and gravel, you have to jump off and back on to Interstate 80 to follow the route. Read more about the Lincoln Highway at the Lincoln Highway Assn.

Photo: Sandra Foyt / Shutterstock

The National Road
The National Road

The National Road

The 620-mile National Road, or Cumberland Road, was the first highway built entirely with federal funds. In 1811, Congress wanted to establish a road from what was then the center of the U.S. (Maryland) to the westward side of the country, which, at the time, was Ohio. Above, the Wheeling Suspension Bridge spans the Ohio River in Wheeling, W.V., and was completed in 1849.

Photo: Shutterstock

The National Road
The National Road

Many of the National Road's original stone arch bridges also remain, including the Casselman River Bridge near Grantsville, Md., pictured here. The bridge was built in 1813-1814 and was the longest single-span stone arch bridge in the world at the time.The National Road route, now U.S. Route 40, runs from Cumberland, Md.to Vandalia, Ill.

Photo: Shutterstock

Great River Road
Great River Road

Great River Road

This north-south route that follows the course of the Mississippi travels through 10 states, covering 1,968 miles of American folklore, musical history and tasty food, while you take in the beauty of the mighty Mississippi River.

Photo: Shutterstock

Great River Road
Great River Road

On your drive of the Great River Road, Roadtrippers recommends Paul Bunyan's Animal Land in Bemidji, Minn., and ending with a visit to the Degas House and the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Photo: GTS Productions / Shutterstock

Great River Road
Great River Road

Visit places like the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Miss., the Mastadon State Historic Site in Imperial, Mo., and Judy Garland's birthplace in Grand Rapids, Minn.

Pictured is Arrow Island on the Mississippi between Iowa and Illinois.

Photo: Shutterstock

The Bourbon Trail
The Bourbon Trail

The Bourbon Trail

This historic trail was created as a marketing tactic by the Kentucky Distillers Association. If you like history, scenic country and bourbon, then hit the road, (hopefully with designated driver.)

Photo: Irina Mos / Shutterstock

The Bourbon Trail
The Bourbon Trail

You can make your own version of the Bourbon Trail and along the way you'll visit some of the oldest distilleries in the country, including Wild Turkey, Maker's Mark, Buffalo Trace and Jim Beam. While you're in the area, you can also swing by Daniel Boone's grave in Frankfort, Ky., see the log cabin where Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Ky. (pictured) and visit the Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, Ky.

        Take a Tour of the Maker's Mark Distillery

Photo: Todd Taulman Photography / Shutterstock

Extraterrestrials
Extraterrestrials

Extraterrestrials

If you believe, you'll want to do some form of a roadtrip that gives you at least a chance of alien abduction. Curated by Roadtripper, this 615-mile trip takes you from the Lunar Crater National Landmark in Nevada, past Area 51, the Alien Research Center in Hiko, Nev., and ending at the remote Lower Pahranagat Lake campground where, if you don't see any UFOs, you'll see plenty of stars and wildlife.

Photo: DiegoMariottini / Shutterstock

More Extraterrestrials
More Extraterrestrials

UFOs

Want more UFOs? Fodor's recommends these essential seven stops on your extraterrestrial road trip, starting with the UFO Reporting Center in Myrtle Beach, S.C., passing through Roswell, N.M., driving along Nevada's Devil's Highway, (Route 491) passing through the vortex at Sedona Ariz., and ending in Joshua Tree, Calif. 

Photo: Shutterstock

Fun to Drive: Tail of the Dragon
Fun to Drive: Tail of the Dragon

Fun to Drive: Tail of the Dragon

If you enjoy zipping around curves in your sports car or on your motorcycle, the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina/Tennessee has 318 curves in just 11 miles. It's the No. 1 motorcycle road on Motorcycleroads.com.

The curvy US 129 is flanked by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, and there are no intersecting roads or driveways to worry about. 

Photo: Josh Betts / Shutterstock

Fun to Drive: The Three Sisters, or Twisted Sisters
Fun to Drive: The Three Sisters, or Twisted Sisters

Fun to Drive: The Three Sisters, or Twisted Sisters

This series of ranch roads in Texas hill country northwest of San Antonio makes for a twisty, hilly roller coaster ride, according to motorcycleroads.com. It's not heavily traveled and there are few gas stations, but it's scenic in springtime, and you'll meet plenty of other bikers.

Photo: Shutterstock

Quirky Roadtrip: Offbeat Museums
Quirky Roadtrip: Offbeat Museums

Quirky Roadtrip: Offbeat Museums

This nearly-cross-country trip of unusual museums, curated by RoadTrippers, takes you from the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, along a mostly northern route all the way to the Oasis Bordello Museum in Wallace, Idaho, above. The Oasis Bordello Museum building housed an active bordello until 1988 when the occupants hastily left town leaving personal items, furnishings, food in the cupboards, and even groceries unpacked on the kitchen counter.

Photo: VisitNorthIdaho.com

Quirky Roadtrip: Offbeat Museums
Quirky Roadtrip: Offbeat Museums

The 4,500-mile excursion of offbeat museums embodies the spirit of American roadside attractions, with a sophisticated touch. It includes stops from the mysterious to the kinky, the edible to the humorous and fun.

See the Garbage Museum in Hartford, Conn., Mister Ed's Elephant Museum in Orrtanna, Pa., the Mothman Museum (pictured) in Point Pleasant, W.V. and the Leather Archives S&M Museum in Chicago.

Photo: Gregory M. Davis Jr / Shutterstock

Quirky Roadtrip: Offbeat Museums
Quirky Roadtrip: Offbeat Museums

For the hungry, there's a SPAM Museum, a Jell-O Museum, and the Idaho Potato Exposition.

Photo: SPAM Museum

Quirky Roadtrip: Giant Vegetables
Quirky Roadtrip: Giant Vegetables

Quirky Roadtrip: Giant Vegetables

Still hungry? You'll have to map this one yourself, but Roadside America has a list of giant roadside vegetables you can visit across the country, from a big red apple in Cornelia, Ga. to a watermelon water tower in Luling, Texas, shown here.

Photo: xradiophotog / Shutterstock

Quirky Roadtrip: Giant Vegetables
Quirky Roadtrip: Giant Vegetables

The giant vegetable list of roadside attractions includes a giant ear of corn, as well as a giant egg, lemon, olive, peanut, potato and strawberry, plus more. If you're in Alaska, you can see real giant vegetables at the Alaska State Fair, which runs from Aug. 22 to Sept. 2 this year. Above is an 82-pound Kohlrabi at the Alaska State Fair.

Photo: Laura Lohrman Moore / Shutterstock

Lonely Roads
Lonely Roads

Lonely Roads

If you want to get away from it all, or from everyone, there's a road for that. U.S. Highway 50 in Nevada stretches more than 400 miles across a mostly barren, mostly uninhabited landscape between Lake Tahoe and Great Basin National Park, earning it the name "Loneliest Road in America."

Photo: Shutterstock

Lonely Roads
Lonely Roads

The emptiness of the Nevada road makes it a favorite among motorcyclists. You'll pass a number of mountain ranges, old mining towns and Sand Mountain, above, in Fallon, Nevada.

Photo: Shutterstock

Lonely Roads
Lonely Roads

Stop in historic Virginia City, Nev., pictured here, then head into the Sierra Nevada to cool off in the deep blue waters and snow-capped mountains of Lake Tahoe.

Photo: Dan Holm / Shutterstock

Lonely Roads: Alaska's Dalton Highway
Lonely Roads: Alaska's Dalton Highway

Lonely Roads: Alaska's Dalton Highway

Another lonely and desolate road, recommended by Driver, is Alaska's Dalton Highway, a treacherous and sparsely populated road that runs 413 miles from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Prudoe Bay, crossing the arctic circle and passing just three towns with names like Coldfoot and Deadhorse.

Photo: Shutterstock

Lonely Roads: Alaska's Dalton Highway
Lonely Roads: Alaska's Dalton Highway

The Dalton Highway is a gravel road, featured on the show "Ice Road Truckers," so is not for the faint of heart, two-wheel drive or anyone whose idea of survival gear is an extra pair of high heels and a Starbucks gift card. Here's 30 Incredible Things to Do on Your Alaska Vacation

Photo: Shutterstock

Dirt Roadtrip
Dirt Roadtrip

Dirt Roadtrip

Speaking of gravel roads, if you like mud, sand, snow, and rocks, try a version of the TransAmerica Trail, a network of routes made up of dirt, gravel, forest, farm, and brief sections of paved roads. The "TAT" as it is known, is designed to avoid paved roads, except for gas and other necessities. It may be traveled using street-legal vehicles, such as a dual-sport motorcycle or a 4×4 vehicle. There are three spurs, which can theoretically take you all the way from East Coast to West Coast. Sam Correro scouts and maps the TAT, and you can buy route maps at transamtrail.com. For those who don't want to rattle their kidneys for 5,000 miles, there are also shorter routes in some states.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic Road Trips: Denver to Glacier
Scenic Road Trips: Denver to Glacier

Scenic Road Trips: Denver to Glacier

You can get scenery overload on this epic journey from the mile-high city all the way to Yellowstone National Park. If you've got the time and the grit, continue on from Yellowstone, visiting the old boomtowns of southeast  Montana, and on to Glacier National Park. The route takes you through Rocky Mountain National Park, above, crossing the Continental Divide on the country's highest paved road.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic Road Trips: Denver to Glacier
Scenic Road Trips: Denver to Glacier

From there, head to Estes Park, Colo. and on to Laramie, Wyo., Wind River County, and Jackson, Wyo. Jackson is the gateway to the Grand Tetons, above, and Yellowstone National Park.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic Road Trips: Denver to Glacier
Scenic Road Trips: Denver to Glacier

Pass through towns like Virginia City and Missoula in Montana, and visit Fairmont Hot Springs on your way to Glacier National Park. There, you'll take Going to the Sun Road, above, into the park, one of the most scenic roads in America. Yellowstonepark.com outlines this route as two loops, with itineraries and the best places to stop.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic Road Trips: Overseas Highway
Scenic Road Trips: Overseas Highway

Scenic Road Trips: Overseas Highway

This is a shorter road trip, just 150 miles from Miami through the Florida Keys on Route 1 ending in Key West. Above, colorful artwork on display along the popular Calle Ocho in Miami's historic Little Havana.

Photo: Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Scenic Road Trips: Overseas Highway
Scenic Road Trips: Overseas Highway

Route 1 takes you through the Keys and across the Seven-Mile Bridge, above, which is just one of 42 bridges you'll cross.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic Road Trips: Overseas Highway
Scenic Road Trips: Overseas Highway

Don't rush this trip -- enjoy the beaches and fine hotels on the Florida Keys, have a piece of key lime pie, and adapt to the laid-back lifestyle. Finish in Key West, above.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon
Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon

Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon

Start in Washington's capital, Olympia, above, in the shadow of Mt. Ranier. You'll actually head north, not south, on Hwy. 101 to drive the loop around the Olympic Peninsula. See lavender fields in Sequim, veer west past Dungeness, where there is an abandoned fishing community from the 1890s. You'll then turn south down the coast and toward the Oregon border.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon
Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon

There's plenty of scenery and hiking opportunities. Within the Olympic National Park itself, you can drive through the lush Hoh Rainforest, above, one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon
Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon

Take in the lonely coastline of Washington. Near the Washington-Oregon border, you reach Cape Disappointment State Park, a 1,882 acre camping park at the south end of the Long Beach Peninsula with two miles of beach, two lighthouses, an interpretive center and hiking trails. Above, Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park. Visit this site for a list of attractions and stops along the route.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon
Scenic: Olympic Peninsula-Pacific Coast Washington/Oregon

The second leg of the trip, down the coast of Oregon is another 363 miles. In Oregon, Hwy. 101 hugs the coast the whole length of the state. Stop in Newport along the way, and visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which has a glass tunnel into the open sea, above.

Photo: Steve Estvanik / Shutterstock

Scenic: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
Scenic: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Scenic: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Start in Anchorage and traverse the scenic Seward Highway, stopping in places like Girdwood, Moose Pass, Sterling and Clam Gulch. With a side trip to Hope, Alaska it's a 200- to 250-mile road trip around the Kenai Peninsula that packs in the most wildlife and scenery you'll ever see. (Another side trip to Palmer, Ala., and you might get a chance to see the giant vegetables at the Alaska State Fair.)

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
Scenic: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

You can easily spend two weeks driving around the Kenai Peninsula, stopping to birdwatch in Potter Marsh, hiking in Chugach State Park, fishing in Whittier, and whale-watching in Seward. Pictured is the Kenai Fjords National Park.

Photo: Shutterstock

Scenic: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula
Scenic: Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

Along the Seward highway, there are places to view the Twentymile River as the bore tide comes in, pictured here. If the wave is big enough, you might see surfers and kite-boarders riding it.

Photo: Shutterstock

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