The car has become the symbol of freedom in the USA’s Jazz Age of the 1920s. These four-wheeled vehicles offered the chance to get away, take a deep breath elsewhere, and find a new perspective. With the highway system being developed around three decades later, people set forth to discover the rest of the country. These years molded the driving tour culture of America. So we have brought to you a carefully curated USA Road Trip Destinations sampling, that will enable you to plan your next trip.
Today, Americans and adventurers from around the world acknowledge the American road trip as a unique way of getting to know this great nation. It’s a rite of passage that anyone is free to experience at least once in their lifetime.
Now it’s typical that trips can take up a lot of time and money, which are two things you have to make sure you have when going on a road trip. If you’re set on hopping on that ride to your next adventure, we’re giving you our top picks for USA destinations that will delight your eyes without hurting your pockets.
Here are the best driving tour destinations within the country to go to when you’re on a budget. Check them out!
- 1 Best Midwest USA Road Trip Destinations
- 2 Best Southeast USA Road Trip Destinations
- 3 Best Southwest USA Road Trip Destinations
- 4 Best Northeast USA Road Trip Destinations
- 5 Best Northwest USA Road Trip Destinations
- 6 Wrapping Up Best USA Road Trip Destinations
Best Midwest USA Road Trip Destinations
Cave Point County Park, Wisconsin
The quintessential beauty of the Door County is depicted in the vast landscape of the Cave Point County Park. It’s not a national- or state-run park, but it’s beautiful in it’s right. You can find a cavernous stone born out of violent waves crashing the shores for centuries. Scuba divers and kayakers have discovered underwater caverns within the area.
The local county protects the park, and it’s free to enjoy picnics and trails while sightseeing the majestic beach connecting the Whitefish Dunes State Park.
Oval Beach, Michigan
Michigan’s Oval Beach Park is open all year for people who want to take a dip or share a quick meal with family or friends. The crystal blue waters are paired with rolling dunes for the backdrop, creating a scene out of a photobook. It has been recognized by several award-giving bodies, including the Top Freshwater Beaches in the USA by the National Geographic Traveler.
The entrance fee for vehicles costs $10, with a season permit at $50 for beach lovers. If this sounds steep, check out our dedicated sampling of best free and cheap things to do in Michigan
Starved Rock State Park, Illinois
In Illinois, the top voted attraction is Starved Rock State Park. It’s a delight of nature to drive through towering foliage and witnessing the Illinois River while you’re enjoying the view. There are also seasonal waterfalls to find in spring when heavy rains leave trails on the rock formations.
There’s no entry fee going to the state park, which makes it absolutely budget-friendly for you! For more such budget-friendly places and activities in Illinois, check out out dedicated sampling.
Best Southeast USA Road Trip Destinations
Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee
Tennessee’s Fall Creek Falls State Park is one of the most visited large state parks that encompasses over 29,800 acres. It’s teeming with waterfalls, streams, cascades, gorges, and lush hardwood timbers that nature lovers will love. Fall Creek Falls is measured at 256 feet, a breathtaking landmark you should visit in the Southeast.
It’s free to visit Fall Creek Falls, and there are picnic areas around the beautiful place.
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
Dubbed as America’s Favorite Drive, you’d have to go on a drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and see why it’s talked about by road trip enthusiasts. Go on a relaxing, slow-paced ride and discover long-range vistas and rugged mountains up-close. You can also see the grandeur of the Appalachian Highlands, not to mention the rich flora and fauna of the area.
You don’t have to pay any fee when you visit the Blue Ridge Parkway!
Lula Falls, Georgia
Whenever you’re planning a road trip to Georgia, don’t forget to include Lulu Falls in your itinerary. This 120-feet free-fall waterfall isn’t the only natural beauty you will witness—the emerald-hued Lulu Lake will also take your breath away. However, you should take note that the park is open on certain weekends only, so it’s wise to plan and contact the venue.
There is a $15 per car reservation fee, but it’s worth the price since all proceeds go to the conservation efforts for this regal attraction.
Best Southwest USA Road Trip Destinations
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
The Horseshoe Bend in Arizona takes its name from the shape of Colorado River’s incised meander. This iconic Southwest destination is better appreciated when you stop and take a good, long look at the geology of the area. It’s straight out a Jurassic World depiction, with the sandstone offering you a pensive feeling of being small in such massive earth.
There’s no entry fee to explore the Horseshoe Bend, which means you can enjoy the view for as long as you want.
Big Bear Lake, Southern California
Southern California’s Big Bear Lake is a place to enjoy all four seasons, which transforms the mountain and lake into all the vibrant colors of nature. It is considered as the gem of the San Bernardino National Forest. There are so many activities to do, which include fishing, hiking, skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking, and more.
If you’re visiting only for the day, you don’t have to pay entrance fees to the Big Bear. However, there are lodging and extra activities that you can avail of for a price if you’re planning to stay for a weekend.
Seven Magic Mountains, Nevada
The Seven Magic Mountains in Nevada is an outdoor installation made by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. It’s a fascinating display on public land that comprises seven colorful towers of stacked boulders over thirty feet high. It’s a burst of color and form in the vastness of Mojave.
This art installation is near the side of the highway, and totally free for the public to enjoy. For more such free and cheap attractions of Nevada, check out our dedicated sampling.
Best Northeast USA Road Trip Destinations
As an old city in the US, York in Maine carries a rich history along with a peppering of restaurants, shops, and beaches across the metro. You will get a coastal view of the York Beach and Cape Neddick’s focal point, the Nubble Light. This lighthouse is arguably the most photographed in the country. There are benches around Nubble’s Park where you can take some time to open a book or relish a snack while taking in the beauty in front of you.
The best part: you don’t need to pay anything to tour around the city and take a picture with the world-famous lighthouse!
Ice Castles, New Hampshire
The seasonal tourist attraction in Ice Castles, New Hampshire, is the place you need to visit if you’re anywhere in the Northeast. It’s a unique experience that involves thousands of icicles artfully installed by expert ice artists. The magnificent ice castles are accentuated by LED lights for that striking effect. You can also see ice-carved tunnels, frozen thrones, fountains, slides, and other spectacular art pieces you will enjoy.
This hand-placed attraction can be accessed for as low as $12 for the entrance fee, but the art and experience are definitely priceless. If you want to know more such budget attractions in New Hampshire, please check out our dedicated sampling.
Bushkill Falls, Pennsylvania
Bushkill Falls is lauded as the Niagara of Pennsylvania, which is one of the Keystone state’s pride. The scenery’s highlights are eight-series waterfalls resting deep into the Pocono Mountains. There’s a network of bridges and hiking trails leading you to the view, along with foliage along the way.
The entrance fee to Bushkill Falls starts at $14, with an easy hike to the amazing waterfalls that are worth your money.
There is also a Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, if you want to know more, check out the top road trip destinations of the state.
Best Northwest USA Road Trip Destinations
Rialto Beach, Washington
If you want to experience the Pacific Ocean in all its glory, Washington’s Rialto Beach will give you the stretch of seaside topography that will leave a lasting impression on your memory. You will find sea tide pools, sea stacks, and a stunning shoreline that are just a few of the sights you can appreciate in this area.
This public beach is free! Witness the sunset and start a bonfire or a cookout while you’re at it to ensure that you get the most out of your road trip.
Tioga Pass, Northern California
If you’re up for a back road trip in California, The Tioga Pass going to the popular destination Yosemite will give you a surprising view that you can explore for free. It’s a postcard drive where you can gaze at the granite splendor of the Half Dome at Olmsted Point. You’ll find many opportunities for snapshots along the way, whether you’re en route to Yosemite or not.
Just take a drive to the passway, and don’t worry about toll fees because there’s none!
Jenny Lake, Wyoming
Coming to the final destination of our USA road trip sampling, however, there are many amazing spots to explore and no list can ever be complete. Take the Jenny Lake Loop in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and watch how the light from the west mountains beautifully illuminates the lake itself in the early morning. The Jenny Lake is the centerpiece of the park, with a 600-feet elevation called the Inspiration Point that will show you how grandiose this attraction truly is, giving you the bird’s eye view of the western shore.
There’s a $30 access to the Grand Teton National Park per vehicle, but there’s so much to do and see within the park that you’ll surely get worth what you paid for and more.
Wrapping Up Best USA Road Trip Destinations
So these were some of the top USA road trip destinations that you can check out as you plan a trip to any of these states. There is so much to explore that one trip is neversufficient. You can plant a trip every year and have a unique adventure while exploring each of the states in the US. This is a great starting point for you to begin your road trip escapade.
Now that you know about top USA road trip destinations, check out about some great accomodations in all of these states on our platform Rental Trader . It has an exciting selection of vacation rental properties to choose from. For more details you can fill out the web form or call us directly.