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Most US Scenic Road Trips to Take This Summer

Road trips are always the perfect travel idea to combat the intense heat of the summer. You can hop on your ride with family or friends and take some of the best routes for a fun-filled experience. It’s a rite of passage for Americans to discover the vastness of the country by land, gaining half the fun along the way.

Check your car tires and oil for that long ride ahead. To help you spend a memorable summer while on the road, here are some of the best and most scenic routes that connect bustling cities and sleeping towns across the country.

Pacific Coast Highway

The long and picturesque road from Crescent City to San Diego, known as the Pacific Coast Highway, will take your breath away no matter how many times you traverse this route. It offers eye-catching views of the many cities, parks, and shorelines. You can witness the Big Sur’s marine wildlife, and make a stop at Muir Woods where redwood trees abound.

The Pacific Coast Highway is a long stretch of road spanning the state of California, with many stops along the way. For water lovers, the beach towns of Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz are a worthy stop to take a few hours (or days) to lounge lazily by the shore or take a cooling dip. You can also visit Hearst Castle and the Point Loma to discover what history these tourist attractions possess. You will also pass through the Golden Gate Bridge

This highway spans 988 miles—the long and winding road that will mesmerize you, from redwood forests to wildflower-lined cliffs and a glimpse of Mother Nature and her greatness. Also, there are some other road trip destinations in California that are also best for a summer road trip.

Route 66

Route 66 is famous not only for Americans but for anyone around the world because this road has been in countless movies, documentaries, and commercials. Whenever you hear it, you can almost see its rustic appeal, and feel the breeze as the car drives past this historic route. Luckily, you can experience it for yourself when you decide to take this road for the summer.

This scenic route stretches between Chicago and Los Angeles, which means that there is plenty to do and things to see while you’re on this road trip. It’s the mother of all roads and spans eight states, gaining its Americana charm and former Main Street of America title. Some of the iconic attractions you can see include the Petrified Forest, the Grand Canyon, and Meramec Caverns, and so much more.

This 2,500-mile highway will make you appreciate America in all its faces—the modern, the vintage, and everything in between. On the other side, if you’re on Route 66, you’ll have a great opportunity to experience Chicago’s nightlife.

Hana Highway

Hawaii might just be where you’ll find the ultimate road trip of your life. The “Road to Hana” or Hana Highway stretches for only 52 miles, but making this drive in an hour or less is impossible. Be ready for an exhausting yet adventurous driving tour as it takes you through 59 one-lane bridges, 617 hairpin curves, and an unbelievable number of blind spots. There’s also the 25-mph speed limit to think of, making the average drive time of around two and a half hours without traffic, of course.

While the road might be a challenge, staying focused on the ride is another obstacle you have to conquer. There are plenty of pleasant distractions along the way, such as the pretty waterfalls and roadside stands filled with Hawaiian delicacies, leis, and jewelry.

To truly experience Hana and Maui, locals recommend learning about the colorful stories about the gods and historic battles fought on the land. It has such a rich legend that it will get you to appreciate not only the road but also the entire island.

Overseas Highway

The southernmost part of Highway 1 in the US is dubbed as the Overseas Highway, or “The Highway That Goes to Sea”, which is another scenic drive for road trip enthusiasts. This road takes you from Miami to Key West, a 113-mile ride that features ever-changing landscapes as you pass one city to the next.

The Overseas Highway was completed in 1912 but underwent severe damage due to the Labor Day hurricane in 1935. It was refurbished in the 1950s and now remains as a coastal highway, taking you through an exotic path. You’ll pass by a tropical savanna and the US’ largest expanse of coral reefs. You’ll be treated to a wide stretch of the sea along the way.

While you’re on the road, stop by the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail to stretch your legs for a bit. You can also visit the History of Diving Museum, where sea exploration artifacts and gadgets are displayed. You can also discover more about the smart sea mammals at the Dolphin Research Center. There’s so much to do!

Olympic Peninsula Loop

Gear up and feast your eyes with the good graces of Mother Nature when you drive past the Olympic Peninsula Loop. This 445-mile road trip is rich in sceneries—rainforests, tide pools, snow-capped peaks, and wildlife-teemed waters—every ride is a unique experience on this roadway.

You can start this road trip in Seattle, the Emerald City, with a certain charm to it. The Pike Place Market is a worthy stopover, where you can get to know the city more. Of course, exploring the Olympic National Park is a must when you choose this road trip. Find mossy woodlands, sweeping cliffs, lush waterfalls, and endless beaches that will renew your love for nature.

When skies are clear, you will get to see the grandeur of the Olympics and its romantically wild quality. Experience this road trip for yourself and enjoy the marriage of legend and reality in one adventure.

Million Dollar Highway

Southwestern Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway is one of the driving tours you’ll never forget. This adventure-packed roadway from Silverton to Ouray stretches 70 miles and is filled with surprising twists and turns that will test your patience and driving skills. The road is high up in the mountains, which means you’d have to conquer your fear of heights if you have any.

The Million Dollar Highway will give you a spectacular view of the San Juan Mountain Range and the deep mountain canyon Uncompahgre Gorge, which is located in the San Juan National Forest. The highway got its name from someone who commented the refurbishment of the Ouray to Silverton road would sum up to a million dollars. The nickname stuck, and now it’s also thought to mean that this scenic road trip has a million-dollar view.

If you decide to take this driving tour, be warned that there are no guardrails—you’ll have to be careful (and brave) to drive along the cliff’s edge. However, there’s no need to be scared because the shoulder is wide enough; just don’t let it intimidate you!

Highway 12

When we’re talking of special road trips, the Highway 12 in Southern Utah is a worthy member of the list. This scenic byway is more than just the breathtaking landscapes you’ll see, but by the way that it has been thoughtfully built. The road is more than just the way to see the sights—it feels like a sight by itself. The 122.863-mile highway is All-American and has enticing qualities that are unique to this tourist destination.

At the summit of the road, around 9,000 feet up, you’ll find out why Highway 12 is a famous road trip for many Americans and international travelers alike. When you reach the road between Escalante and Boulder, you’ll feel like you’re flying even as you’re seated cozily in your automobile. This portion of the byway is nestled between a narrow perch dropping downwards on either side, revealing the beauty of the landscape.

From this road, you can explore the Grand Staircase-Escalante, the Henry Mountains, and the Capitol Reef National Park with its iridescent red rock. Taste some of the local food, specifically delicious calzones right in the town of Escalante!

Highway 89

Arizona’s Highway 89 is the scenic road trip that takes you back to the land’s rich history and inspiring nature that has the power to change your perspective. The road stretches across a 206-mile long drive, with many places to see along the way.

When you take this driving tour, you can make memorable stops such as the rustic Riordian Mansion, the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, and the Navajo Nation. These spots are where you can find several historic sites, tribal parks, and the Lake Powell that offers water activities for some extra adventure. You’ll also pass through the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim and the Echo Cliffs, so be sure to stop by these iconic destinations while you’re on Highway 89.

On this drive, bask in the grandeur of the rock formations and discover why people come back each year just to witness the scenes this highway offers.

Get driving

Getting to these scenic road trips in the USA are not a problem if you have a reliable rent-a-car service that can serve your needs for the long ride ahead. Tick off all the car-hire essentials, and be conscious of what you hire—meaning, rent a car from a company you can trust!

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