Our RV Lifestyle Fellow Travelers are no strangers to road tripping across the U.S., often sharing fantastic stories of life on the road.
If you’re anything like us, you’re likely always looking to plan your next adventures, whether it’s next week or next summer.
That’s why I took notice when the U.K.’s Evening Standard issued their list of “20 of the Dreamiest Road Trips in America.”
Now I usually don’t look across the information for travel tips in the U.S., but I found their list to be pretty on point.
To make things, shared the list below with details from 10 of them based on past reports from the RV Lifestyle.
Route 66 – From Chicago to Santa Monica, California
It was John Steinbeck who named Route 66 “the Mother Road” and for countless tens of thousands from roughly 1926 through the early 60’s, it was THE way west, a 2,000 plus mile journey through eight states.
In the 1930’s, when Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath, it was the road refugees from the dust bowl used to flee their dried up farms in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. But in the ensuing years, it was fun, adventure, tourism and the classic road trip experience the lured most folks and local communities built thriving businesses that served them – motels, drive-in restaurants, gas stations, tourist shops and hokey made-up attractions like the world’s biggest ketchup bottle, or the world’s biggest rocking chair to lure the tourists in.
Then, the interstate highway system bypassed most of Route 66 and interstates like U.S. 55 and U.S. 40 siphoned off the once-steady streams of Route 66 traffic. It was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985. Communities which once bustled with business shriveled up and almost died.
Over the past 20 years or so, many small towns have worked hard to restore as much as they can of the historic old route and while it meanders and stops and starts in many places, it’s once again possible to drive most of the route. It’s not a route for those who are impatient. There lots of stop signs, stop lights, road improvements. small towns and photo ops along the way.
To adequately do the entire trip from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., you really need about three weeks.
Beartooth Highway – From Tower Junction, Wyoming to Red Lodge, Montana
The Beartooth Highway is one of the more spectacular drives you can take when touring in your RV out west, comparable to the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. It’s a 1930s WPA project that opened access to the Yellowstone region from the northeast, and an impressive engineering accomplishment. Fortunately for us, it’s still in good repair and easily traversable by all but the most anemic RVs – there are probably a few gas Class As that shouldn’t attempt it, but the rest of us can drive it easily.
The eastern end of the Beartooth Highway is Red Lodge, MT, a 44 mile drive from I-90 coming down US 212 from Laurel, just west of Billings. Red Lodge is a nice little town with all the RV amenities – water and a dump station at the Chamber of Commerce, groceries at the IGA, gas, diesel and propane from multiple stations. Provision yourself well because the next significant amenities are when you come back out on I-90 in Livingston, MT, 175 miles away.
Pacific Coast Highway – From San Juan Capistrano, California to Leggett, California
The ultimate California road trip, the Pacific Coast Highway begins just south of Laguna Beach and hugs the coastline through Los Angeles, Monterey and San Francisco. RV Lifestyle has written about what it’s like to RV the route. Be sure to check those stories out here.
Route 20 aka North Cascades Highway – A loop with a recommended starting point of Everett, Washington ( just north of Seattle).
A seasonal highway that closes during the depths of winter, Washington’s North Cascades Highway first opened over four decades ago and has been enchanting visitors with miles of lush evergreen forests ever since. Be sure to check out what it’s like to RV the route in this previous report from RV Lifestyle.
Finger Lakes – From Ithaca, New York to Hammondsport, New York
We have fallen in love with the Adirondacks and New York State. There are mountains, raging rivers, deep gorges, gorgeous lakes and hiking that can’t be beat. Then there is the beautiful Finger Lakes area and, of course, America’s top-rated state park, Letchworth State Park. Check out our video below from a recent trip to the region.
Route 6 – From Bishop, California to Provincetown, Massachusetts
RV Lifestyle contributor Janet Arnold just filed a report about this route so be sure to check it out here. The Evening Standard says the route “takes you horizontally across the US, through the forgotten towns of America and ends at the stunning Cape Cod, looking out to the Atlantic Ocean.” Unless you go the other way, of course.
Route 50 aka The Loneliest Road in America – From Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento, California
This one was featured recently in our “Five Bucketlist-Worthy Places Not on Most Bucketlists.” AKA “The loneliest highway in America,” as declared by Life magazine in 1986, Fellow Travelers Gary and Caril Wormus recommend heading east away from Carson City, Nev. on this particular section of U.S. Highway 50. The two-lane highway is not very well-traveled, meaning you can take your time traversing several large desert valleys separated by numerous mountain ranges towering over valley floors. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful scenery, hot springs, little mining towns, the Great Basin National Forest, and more. Gary and Caril recommend allotting three or four days so you can really enjoy stops along the way.
Great River Road – From Lake Itasca, Minnesota to Venice, Louisiana
Winding its way vertically up the center of the U.S., the Great River Road follows the mighty Mississippi River from its source all the way down to where it meets the Gulf of Mexico. The 3,000-mile drive should take travelers around two weeks to complete, as you pass along the borders of states including Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee, Minnesota, and Arkansas. The RV Lifestyle featured the route in an “Off the Beaten Path” report that can be found here.
Route 12 – Panguitch, Utah to Torrey, Utah
This is a 122-mile journey through one of Utah’s most scenic byways. The road here takes you through a number of parks, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef with Utah’s hallmark red sandstone on full display. Those looking for info on RVing through the area should check this previous report from the RV Lifestyle.
Here are the routes rounding out the Evening Standard’s list of “dreamiest” routes:
- Going-to-the-Sun Road – From Apgar, Montana to St. Mary, Montana
- San Juan Skyway– A loop starting and ending in Cortez, Colorado
- High Road to Taos– From Santa Fe, New Mexico to Taos, New Mexico
- Deep South – From Charleston, South Carolina to Memphis, Tennessee (though Atlanta and Nashville)
- Texas Hill Country – A loop starting and ending in San Antonio Texas
- Valley of Fire, Nevada – Round trip from Las Vegas through Valley of Fire State Park
- Hana Highway – Kahului to Hana on the island of Maui, Hawaii
- Blue Ridge Parkway – From Rockfish, Virginia to Cherokee, North Carolina
- Hatcher Pass Scenic Drive – A loop starting and ending in Anchorage, Alaska
- Overseas Highway – From Homestead, Florida to Key West, Florida