The United States is one of the best countries for a road trip. But where do you start? In this article, I’ll share 5 amazing USA road trip itineraries.
How much time do you need for a USA road trip?
For a decent USA road trip, you need more time than just a couple of days. Especially when you fly from Europe to the United States. That’s why I would highly recommend taking your time and spent at least two weeks on a road trip. And if you have more time, it will be more fun!
For some states (like Florida and Hawaii), two weeks might be enough. But you definitely need more time if you’d like to explore West USA. In this article, I’ll share 5 amazing road trip itineraries, with a time span of 2-, 3- or 4 weeks.
Two weeks: Road trip in Florida
Florida was the very first state I visited in the USA. In two weeks, my friend and I explored the many great places the Sunshine State has to offer. We started our Florida road trip in Miami, drove over the Overseas Highway to Key West, spotted some alligators in Everglades National Park, relax at the gorgeous beaches at Florida’s Gulf Coast, and had a lot of fun in the theme parks in Orlando.
Mileage 1200 kilometers / 745 miles
Highlights Miami Beach, Key West, Everglades National Park, white beaches at the Gulf Coast and theme parks in Orlando.
Best time to travel Late November to Mid-May. Between Mid-May and November, you can also go road-tripping in Florida, but it gets really hot and humid, and you might encounter some thunderstorms.
Check out this awesome 2-week Florida itinerary.
Two weeks: Toronto & New York
Combining Canada and the United States in one road trip? That’s a great idea when you connect Toronto and New York City in this two-week road trip! You start and finish in the amazing city of Toronto, check out Lake Ontario, climb to the top of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondacks, visit one of the most vibrant cities in the world (New York!), drink some wine at the Finger Lakes, and get wet at the spectacular Niagara Falls.
Mileage 2000 kilometers / 1243 miles
States Ontario (Canada), New York State (USA), Massachusettes (USA), New Jersey (USA) en Pennsylvania (USA).
Highlights Thousand Islands (Canada), Adirondacks (USA), New York City (USA), Watkins Glen State Park & the Finger Lakes (USA), Niagara Falls, and Toronto.
Best time to travel April to October. During the summer months it can get really hot in New York City, but the temperature at the other places will be very pleasant.
Check out the full Northeast road trip itinerary.
Two weeks: Check out the Hawaiian Islands!
Traveling to Hawaii was a dream come true. In two weeks, I went road tripping on three different islands. The first island I visited was Oahu, where I was impressed by the history of Pearl Harbor and where I felt like being in Jurassic Park in the Kualoa Ranch. On the island of Maui, I drove on the famous road to Hana, fell in love with the beauty of Haleakala National Park, and saw many sea turtles while I was snorkeling. The last Hawaiian Island on my trip was Big Island, which was covered in lava. I visited Volcanoes National Park, some beautiful black-sand beaches, and learned something about the history of Hawaii in Kailua.
Mileage 1100 kilometers / 684 miles
Highlights Waikiki, Pearl Harbor, Kualoa Ranch, the road to Hana, Waiʻānapanapa State Park, Haleakala National Park, the historical village of Lahaina, snorkeling with sea turtles, Akaka Falls State Park, Volcanoes National Park, Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, and Kailua.
Best time to travel All year round!
Video of my trip to Hawaii
Check out this Perfect itinerary for Hawaii.
Tree weeks: Road trip in West USA
A road trip in West USA is probably the ultimate road trip in the United States, with many gorgeous National Parks, and some cool cities. For a road trip to West USA, you’ll need at least three weeks (more is better!). In three weeks you can see the Grand Canyon, get your kicks on Route 66, sleep in one of the weird themed hotels in Las Vegas, visit one of the hottest places in the world (Death Valley), and might see some bears in Yosemite National Park. From there you make your way down the USA West Coast and visit San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Mileage 4500 kilometers / 2800 miles
States California, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
Highlights There are so many! Some of my favorites: Joshua Tree National Park, Route 66, Grand Canyon National Park, Antelope Canyon (in Page), Monument Valley, Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Las Vegas, Yosemite National Park, San Francisco, Big Sur, and Los Angeles.
Best time to travel April to November. During the summer months it can get really hot in some places (like Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Park), so bring plenty of water. During other months, some roads might be closed due to snow (for example in Yosemite and Bryce Canyon).
Check out this great 3-week West Coast USA road trip itinery.
Four weeks: explore the Pacific Northwest
Another great area for a USA road trip is the Pacific Northwest. The landscape changes constantly, from large forests empty roads in deserts, and exploding geysers. You need at least 4 weeks to explore this region, but you will see a lot and drive from one highlight to the other. During this road trip, you’ll visit some of the most beautiful sights in Oregon. For example, you’ll explore the awesome city of Portland, enjoy the famous Oregon Coast, and see the beauty of Crater Lake National Park.
You’ll also discover some beautiful places in Northern California and drive on the loneliest road in the United States in Nevada. The absolute highlight of this Pacific Northwest road trip is a visit to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park.
Mileage 7500 kilometers / 4660 miles
States Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.
Highlights This road trip has so many highlights! To name a few: Portland, Crater Lake National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Highway 50 in Nevada, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.
Best time to travel From the end of May to October. During the other months, a lot of the roads will be closed due to snow.
Video: Grand Teton and Yellowstone
Check out this amazing Pacific Northwest road trip itinerary.
Road trip with a car or a RV?
Do you prefer road tripping in the USA with a car or an RV? That’s all up to you! When you travel in an RV, you sleep in the same bed every night, but you also have to find campgrounds for RVs. When you travel by car, you can choose: do you go camping or do you sleep in a hotel? RVs are very popular in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest USA, but it’s more common to travel by car in Florida and Northeast USA. In Hawaii, it’s common to rent a Jeep (that’s the only car you can fit a surfboard in!).
Good websites with good deals for a rental car or an RV are:
How to plan a USA road trip?
Where to start when you want to go on your first USA road trip? First, you have to figure out what you really want to see and then check if the sights you want to see can be combined in a road trip. For example, I wouldn’t combine a visit to New York City and the Grand Canyon in one road trip, it’s way too far! But you could go on a road trip from New York to Florida. To plan a road trip, I always try out several itineraries in Google Maps. You can also save the place you’d like to see during your road trip. Keep in mind, the times you see on Google Maps might be a little optimistic, it usually takes longer to drive from one place to another. Another great website for planning a road trip is Roadtrippers.
How much does a USA road trip cost?
To be honest, a road trip in the United States is not the cheapest trip in the world. Especially not when you come from Europe, because the cost of a plane ticket and a rental car will big chunk out of your budget. Of course, you can make it as expensive or cheap as you want. Do you prefer sleeping in five-star resort hotels, do you eat out in restaurants, and are you planning a helicopter tour? Your trip will get really expensive! But if you like to cook your own meals, go camping and hiking, it might not be that expensive. I usually go for a combination of cheap and expensive and spent roughly $700-$1000 a week during a USA road trip. Hawaii is the most expensive area to travel in, and Florida might be cheaper.
I wrote a budget post about traveling in Southwest USA and Hawaii:
– How much does it cost to travel in Southwest USA?
– How much does a trip to Hawaii cost?
Useful tips for a road trip
Lastly, I would like to give some useful tips for a USA road trip:
- Take your time! There’s a lot to see and the biggest advantage of a road trip is that you can stop anywhere you want.
- Make sure to get a good rental car and know the main traffic rules.
- Stock up on snacks and water.
- Make sure to have a full gas tank. Especially in Southwest USA, you might not a gas station for miles and miles.
- Make a sing a long playlist to have even more fun during your road trip.
- Have fun!
Do you need more road trip tips? Check out these articles:
– How to plan a perfect road trip
– Solo road trip tips: how to have the best experience ever!
These are my favorite USA road trip itineraries! Have you ever been road tripping in the USA? What’s your favorite area for a USA road trip?
More road trip inspiration
Would you like some more road trip inspiration? I can highly recommend these books:
The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips in the USA
The Most Scenic Drives in America, Newly Revised and Updated: 120 Spectacular Road Trips
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