Best Road Trips ~ Stunning USA Self-Drive Tours and Adventures

Last Updated on August 22, 2022 by Alice Benny

Road trips are a wonderful way to enjoy the United States. Many Americans take their own self-drive tours each year. Residents of Canada and Mexico frequently come to the United States for the best road trips as well, thanks to the close proximity.

With a little bit of road trip planning, you will be well on your way to enjoying one of these beautiful self-drive tours. The great thing about all of these drives is that there is lots to see. You won’t spend hours and days in the car trying to reach only one destination. There are multiple places to see on each of these drives.

There are driving vacation ideas across all of the beautiful United States. If you plan to travel to more than one National Park, it’s a good idea to get a park pass. You can buy it the first time you are at one of the parks on your itinerary. The pass is officially called America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series. You can buy it through the U.S. National Park Service. Pay one time and use it at all the parks and national wildlife refuges along with all federal recreation sites, which include state parks and monuments. National Parks in the USA That Should Be On Your Travel List

Whether you love taking road trips or are going reluctantly — how to pass all those hours in the car? — here are the best self-drive tours in the United States.

8 Stunning USA Self-Drive Tours

Road Trips - Everglades
Road Trips – Everglades

Florida’s Beaches

Amelia Island – Cedar Key – Clearwater – Crystal River – Daytona Beach – Mount Dora – Orlando – Sarasota – Seaside – St. Augustine – Tarpon Springs – Wakulla Springs – Anna Maria Island – Everglades – Florida Keys – Seminole State Preserve – South Beach

For those who prefer a semitropical beach holiday, taking a tour through Florida’s beaches is an ideal solution. From Amelia Island to South Beach, you’ll get to sample some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches and most rugged coastlines.

Although the beaches are the highlight of this self-drive tour, you’ll also get to see a glimpse of Florida’s interior forests. The Everglades and Mount Dora provide the perfect place for hiking, camping, and other summer activities. This is a great escape that allows a little bit of everything to be experienced.

Road Trips New England Countryside
Road Trips New England Countryside

New England Countryside

Boston – Kennebunkport – Jackson – Green Mountains – Woodstock – Woodstock – The Berkshires – Stockbridge – Newport – Cape Cod – Boston departure

For this lovely New England holiday self drive tour, you’ll start in Boston. This will allow you to fly in from wherever you are easily. From there, you’ll rent a car and head out into the New England countryside.

This is a great trip to take in the fall, between the months of September and November. This is when the leaves are at their brightest colors in New England, with vibrant reds, oranges, yellows dominating the countryside.

A variety of beautiful little inns or bed and breakfasts dot the landscape, allowing you to stop for rest almost anywhere. As you travel through, be sure to sample the local seafood.

Road Trips Grand Canyon
Road Trips Grand Canyon

Western Wanderer’s Tour

Los Angeles – Palm Springs – Grand Canyon – Lake Powell – Bryce Canyon National Park – Zion National Park – Springdale – Las Vegas – Death Valley National Park – Visalia – Yosemite National Park – El Portal – San Francisco – Pismo Beach – Depart Los Angeles

Plan lots of time for this trip; you can expect this trip to take you approximately 2 weeks. You’ll start and beautiful sunny Los Angeles, which is almost tempting enough on its own.

From there, you’ll travel to Palm Springs, eventually reaching the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell. That’s the great thing about this self drive tour…. You’ll experience everything from beautiful Pacific beaches to Death Valley National Park and onto Yosemite National Park. It is a multifaceted road trip that can provide you with true glimpse of Western America.

Road Trips Yellowstone National Park
Road Trips Yellowstone National Park

The Mountains in Summer

Depart from Denver – Colorado Springs – Alamosa – Durango – Grand Junction – Moab – Salt Lake City – Jackson – Yellowstone National Park – Cody – Sheridan Rapid City – Cheyenne – end in Estes Park

If you prefer a holiday with plenty of outdoor activities, dazzling mountain scapes, and plenty of fresh air, Rocky Mountains in summer is the perfect holiday itinerary.

This self drive tour will take you from Denver through Colorado Springs, where you’ll continue under Grand Junction, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone National Park, and on through Cheyenne and Estes Park.

This is the perfect holiday to take in mid-to-late summer, although spring and fall are equally nice as well. There’s plenty of swimming, camping, fishing, and hunting, but amenities are nearby to most of these locations if you prefer a bit of comfort. You’ll get to experience the elevation so if you plan any hiking, always bring water and sunscreen. This tour will take you approximately 20 days. Best Time to Visit Colorado

Road Trips Civil War tour
Road Trips Civil War tour

The Deep South

Atlanta – Nashville – Memphis – Natchez – Lafayette – New Orleans – Pensacola – Montgomery

There is plenty of history to be found in the deep South, and the self drive tour will take you through several of the most famous historical areas.

  • Atlanta was once a hotbed of social activity, before the Civil War tour the country apart.
  • Nashville is the home of country music, and Memphis isn’t far behind in that regard.

From Lafayette through New Orleans, you’ll enjoy plenty of Creole food, friendly locals, and celebrations. Depending on your interest, New Orleans can be extra-amazing around Mardi Gras, so your trip should be held around the same time as possible. At the same time, if you want to avoid this tourist season with crowds, plan accordingly and go a different time.

Pensacola and Montgomery will finish off your trip, allowing you to get the beaches with ease. Top 5 Family Friendly Destinations in the United States South

Road Trips Wild Mustang Sanctuary
Road Trips Wild Mustang Sanctuary

America’s Best Locations

Kootenay National Park – Yosemite National Park – White Mountains – Del Monte Forest – Dinosaur National Park – Boothbay Harbor – Great Smoky Mountains – Ybor City – Big Bend National Park – Mt. Vernon – Wild Mustang Sanctuary

This self drive holiday is designed to allow you to see the best of the United States all in a single trip. Kootenay National Park actually begins in British Columbia, Canada, but it’s an excellent starting point for this trip. Pln for your passports and identification when crossing the borders.

You’ll travel on from there to Yosemite National Park, where you can hike and swim. The White Mountains are next on your list, and then the Del Monte Forest.

Dinosaur National Monument and Boothbay Harbor all provide plenty of historical interests, and the Great Smoky Mountains are known for their beauty.

You’ll continue on to Big Bend, Mt. Vernon, and the US’s Wild Mustang Sanctuary, where you can catch a glimpse of the horses that remain wild to this day.

Road Trips Chicago
Road Trips Chicago

America Cross-Country Self Drive Tour

Chicago – St. Louis – Springfield – Tulsa – Oklahoma City – Amarillo – Albuquerque – Santa Fe – Holbrook – Grand Canyon National Park – Las Vegas – Santa Monica – Los Angeles

This is a road trip that’s designed for those who want to experience the USA from the East Coast to the West Coast. You can expect this trip to take approximately 20 days, although it can be done in 16.

You’ll start in the Midwest, with things to do in Chicago, where you’ll travel on to St. Louis in Springfield. These are all bustling, busy cities, and they hold their own charm. From there, it’s on to Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Family Fun Ideas in Northern Arizona and New Mexico

Then, Holbrook in the Grand Canyon National Park invites you to come and enjoy their beauty. From there, you’ll reach Las Vegas in Santa Monica, and then onto Los Angeles.

This trip is great for those who prefer to see the natural beauty around them, while sticking close to amenities. 

Road Trips Seattle
Road Trips Seattle

Western Frontiers

Depart from Seattle – Vancouver – Kamloops in British Columbia – Jasper National Park – Banff National Park – Kootenay National – Glacier National Park – Missoula – Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone National Park – – Grand Teton – Jackson – Salt Lake City – Bonneville Salt Flats – Elko – Reno – Lake Tahoe – Sacramento – Wine Country – San Francisco

Enjoy the best of the Northwest with this Western frontier self drive tour. You’ll start in busy Seattle, and you’ll even wander into Canada briefly. Remember to bring extra identification for crossing the border between countries.

If you enjoy spending time in national parks, this tour will take you through several the most beautiful national parks in Canada and the United States combined. This is a great place to best places to visit in September as the weather should be perfect and kids will be back in school. 

Thanks to the inclusion of the Grand Teton Mountains, Bonneville Salt Flats, and Lake Tahoe, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of some of the Northwest most beautiful landscapes. You’ll end in wine country, where you can spend some time relaxing.

Tips for a Successful Road Trip

There is so much to see in the glorious USA with a partner, a family or on a solo road trip in America. How you plan for a successful road trip will depend on who is traveling with you. Whether you are going alone, traveling with other adults (hopefully you can take turns driving) or if you are traveling with kids, stay positive. When carefully planned and with the right mindset to keep things as carefree and fun as possible, it can be a memorable family trip.

Here are some tips.

  • Planning ahead is key
  • Make sure to have your car checked, fuel tank filled up, and all the necessary documents, including identification, auto insurance cards, addresses, maps, etc., before heading out on the open road.
  • Booking your hotels in advance can save you money and time and will give you a destination each day which makes you plan an itinerary.
  • Consider taking a scenic route
  • Bring snacks and drinks with you
  • Bring entertainment for the car for passengers (books, Kindle, puzzle books, small toys, craft projects, iPad, rent a RedBox movie, etc.) and for the driver (podcasts, books on tape, music playlists on Spotify, etc.)

Road Trip Vacation

Traveling by car is a popular way to take a long road trip in the United States. If you don’t have access to a car or don’t want to put miles on your car, you can rent one.

Road trips are a great way to spend time with family and friends. They offer an opportunity to explore new places and experience different topography, landscapes, and scenery, climates, and cultures. North America has an abundance of beauty and differences across the country.

Taking a road trip vacation in the United States is a great way to see a lot of the country in a short amount of time. There are endless possibilities for routes and activities, so you can tailor the trip to your own interests. With plenty of scenic drives and interesting attractions, there’s something for everyone on a road trip vacation.

Planning a road adventure will give you a great starting place to plan the trip of a lifetime. Still undecided about taking a road trip vs flying? There are advantages to both. Pros and Cons of Driving vs Flying

Learn more about places in the United States to road trip to:
Places to Visit Tucson Arizona
Best Time to Visit Zion National Park

Everglades National Park Camping

Saguaro National Park