Major Destinations to See When Planning a U.S. Road Trip

Posted February 23, 2023 by in Lifestyle

A road trip with your friends and family can be a great bonding experience while allowing you to see multiple destinations in one trip. On top of this, the average cost of what’s considered a steal for round-trip airline tickets has reached $398, meaning driving on your trip could actually be cheaper than flying. 

When planning your road trip, whether it’s your first or one of many, there are a number of key destinations you need to add to your list. 

paper map on car dashboard during road tirp

Where to Visit by Road Trip Type

Regardless of the type of road trip you decide to take, there’s no wrong option to visit. Pick your spots based on the activities you want to enjoy and based on what you can afford, working in the below suggestions where you can. Any of the below road trips can be started from either direction: 

Cross Country Road Trip

  1. Yosemite National Park, CA

For those looking for nature, starting your road trip with camping in Yosemite National Park can be a beautiful beginning. This park spans over 1,000 square miles in east-central California, and offers restaurants, hotels, shops, spas, and more.

  1. Lake Tahoe, NV

Taking your journey North, you can stop off in Lake Tahoe between the border of California and Nevada. A laid back city, Lake Tahoe is best for those seeking hiking trails and lounging on beaches in the Summer. 

  1. Jacksonhole, Wyoming

Going halfway across the state, stopping in Jacksonshole to enjoy summer or winter sports and to take in the scenery can be an excellent choice. There are few places to stop in the middle of the country, but Jacksonhole is a must-see. 

  1. Chicago, Illinois

Continuing on your journey East, Chicago is a major metropolitan center with a rich culture. Consider visiting the famed Navy Pier or taking a walk around part of Lake Michigan while admiring the skyline. 

  1. Niagara Falls, New York

Finally, end your trip on the East Coast by sightseeing at the famous Niagara Falls, where you may just see a wedding or other celebration. 

East Coast Road Trip

  1. New York City, NY

For those on the East Coast, start in one of the most famous cities in the world in New York City. With Broadway, Grand Central Station, the Statue of Liberty, and so much more available to see, you can never be bored starting your trip in the city that never sleeps. 

  1. Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia may not jump to the front of your mind when planning your trip but stopping in this famous Pennsylvania city is a great choice. Iconic sites such as the Liberty Bell and Museum of Art make for great photo opportunities, or simply pop in to enjoy the food of the city. 

  1. Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is one of the biggest East Coast cities and is best for history and science lovers. With Civil War history everywhere and many science destinations, you can’t go wrong in this city. 

  1. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta boasts famous locations such as the World of Coca-Cola, indoor skydiving venues, and so much more. With great food and bars, there’s something for everyone in this city. 

  1. Miami, FL

Ending your road trip, or starting it, in Miami is best for those seeking a blend of nightlife and leisure. Soak up the sun on the beach or hit the town for a night out on your trip. 

West Coast Road Trip

  1. San Diego, CA

Starting your trip in San Diego is an excellent choice. With ample activities at the famous Balboa Park along with countless beaches, San Diego offers something for everyone on a road trip.

  1. Los Angeles, CA

A short two hours away is Los Angeles, with famous sites such as Hollywood, Griffith Observatory, and more. Consider stopping just shy of Los Angeles to see Disneyland if you’re an amusement park fan. 

  1. San Francisco, CA

About six hours further up the coast is San Francisco. With a rich culture and famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, you won’t be lost on what to do in this city. 

  1. Seattle, WA

Going up North, Seattle offers the famous Space Needle along with amazing food location at Pike Place Market and throughout the city. For music and culture lovers, the Museum of Pop Culture could be a great visit. 

  1. Portland, OR

Finally, stopping in your drive in Portland can be an excellent end to the trip. Famous for its greenery including Washington Park and the Portland Japanese Garden, you can enjoy great food while taking in the sights of the Pacific Northwest. 

car on desert road trip

Design a vacation to remember

Plan out your ideal road trip well in advance and book activities before you ever hit the road. Once on the road, don’t be afraid to stop off and take in the view, as part of the fun of a road trip is the drive itself.