Every year, nearly one in four Americans hit the road with family, friends, or on their own to see the country. Whether it’s from city to city or to stop at a series of campgrounds along the way, the ultimate US road trip is out there waiting for us to plan it. Thankfully, we’ve put together the best road trip you might ever go on if you want to see the whole country in one fell swoop.
Here are the ten stops to make on your ultimate road trip.
1. Start in Portland, Maine
To start the ultimate U.S. road trip, you need to start in good weather, way out at the tip of Maine. Not only are you going to get some of the freshest and best tasting seafood around, but you’re going to see the best views of the Atlantic Ocean.
You’ll see some gorgeous lighthouses and some serene views, too.
If you haven’t packed up your trailer yet, take some time to view more of what there is out there.
2. A Weekend in NYC
Before you head south, you should spend a weekend in NYC. Forego some of the tourist traps and focus on what the city has to offer for free.
Go through Central Park, and take a long stroll on Broadway south to Chinatown. Get yourself some dumplings and let yourself be taken off your route as the city calls you. You’ll find there’s more to do than just stand in line to see the monuments.
3. Hop by Nashville
On your way south, take a detour down to Nashville to see a little bit of live music. Get a few plates of chicken and some biscuits and make sure you drive through downtown at night.
You’ll find that it’s one of those towns where there are few worse places to end up for food or for music. there are so many great places to eat and to drink that you’ll have a tough time narrowing it down. Check out this guide for tips.
4. Don’t Skip Atlanta
Atlanta has been one of the hottest places in the country for music, food, and fun for a number of years. They have a whole culture of exotic dancing, live music, and buffet food that’s like nothing else in the world.
On top of that, they’ve got some of the best museums in the whole southeast of the United States. You’ll find Atlanta is so diverse and so much fun that you’ll never want to leave.
5. Take It Easy in New Orleans
Everyone has their own idea of what’s great about New Orleans. Whether you want to be able to take your drink out of the bar and into the street or join an impromptu parade, you can have it all. New Orleans is a city that really prides itself on having fun.
Enjoy a walk down Fretret Street or Oak Street to take in the most authentic vibes from the Big Easy before you continue your journey.
6. Austin Is a Must
Do you like tacos, live music, and cheap drinks? Then Austin is the place for you.
So long as you stay off the beaten path at night, you’ll have a memorable time in this city with high-quality live music at some of the best honky tonks around. If you know how to dance or even if you don’t, you’ll get to watch people cut a rug to some local legends like Dale Watson.
Stock up on eats from one of the many locations of Torchy’s Tacos to get you through the next part of your drive.
7. Check Out Phoenix
Phoenix is the outdoor person’s dream. Whether it’s the Desert Botanical Garden or Camelback Mountain, you won’t have a shortage of places to take a stroll and see the sights.
Put on your hiking boots and bring some water along. In moderately warm months, you’ll find it’s quite a pleasure to walk around the Phoneix area and then get some dinner downtown at night.
8. Find Yourself in LA
As soon as you come upon it, no matter how many times you’ve been there, it’s easy to get swept up in the charm of Los Angeles. There are so many great cultures that have come together to make the city feel magical.
You’ll have options for the best Mexican food in the country, some fantastic art at the Getty Museum, or even just a walk. Take a stroll along the stretches of West Hollywood where there are free music and comedy every night and enjoy yourself.
Stretch your legs before the long journey north.
9. Head Up to Portland
If you love quirky cafes, nature hikes, and tasty restaurants, Portland is the place to be. You’ll get some real bang for your buck here with all of the great things the city offers.
Check out the Japanese Garden or Mount Hood to take in some of the most beautiful sights the city has to offer. You’ll find that no matter where you go in this city, you’ll feel welcome.
If you’re interested in one of the local smoke shops, they’re much friendlier than you’d imagine. Take a risk and get adventurous.
10. Stop in Chicago on the Way Back
If you think you’ll drive all the way back, consider taking a break in Chicago. The city has so many great museums, restaurants, and cute neighborhoods to walk through that you’ll easily burn up a week there.
Don’t be afraid to stay longer than you intended, because, for all it has to offer, it’s still one of the cheaper cities to live in in the whole country.
The Ultimate US Road Trip Requires Planning
If you want to go on the ultimate US road trip, you’re going to need to do some careful planning. You’ll need places to sleep, places to eat, to know where to park your car, and a backup plan if your car breaks down. However, there are lots of helpful guides to figure out how to plan.
In fact, check out this guide of five tips to keep in mind in advance of your next adventure.