North-South Road Trips

Have you ever dreamed of driving along the cliffs that overlook the Pacific with the windows down? Or imagined traveling from border to border? Explore these six incredible North-South road trip routes across the U.S.


The Pacific Coast Road Trip

1. Pacific Coast

Starting at the northwest tip of the United States at Washington’s Olympic National Park and remaining within sight of the ocean all the way south to sunny San Diego, this 1,650-mile, mostly two-lane route takes in everything from temperate rainforest to near-desert.

Highlights along the Pacific Coast Route: Olympic National Park (WA), Three Capes Loop (OR), Redwood National Park (CA)


The Border to Border Road Trip

2. Border to Border

Starting in the north, across the Canadian border at Jasper National Park, and winding down in the Sonora Desert, this route traverses some of the wildest and most rugged lands imaginable: mighty mountains, glaciated valleys, raging rivers, and two very different deserts.

Highlights along the Border to Border Route: Columbia Icefield (AB), Bitterroot Mountains (MT), The Extraterrestrial Highway (NV), Joshua Forest Parkway (AZ)


The Road to Nowhere US-83 Road Trip

3. The Road to Nowhere

Once the only entirely paved route from Canada to “Old Mexico,” US‑83 cuts across America’s heartland and remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.

Highlights along the Road to Nowhere: Sitting Bull Memorial (SD), Nebraska Sand Hills (NE), Monument Rocks (KS), Paint Rock Pictographs (TX)


The GRR Road Trip

4. The Great River Road

Old Man River, Father of Waters, “body of a nation,” Big Muddy: By any name, the mighty Mississippi River cuts a mythic figure across the American landscape. Tag along from its headwaters to its mouth via the GRR.

Highlights along the Great River Road: Main Street USA (WI), St. Louis (MO), Natchez Trace Parkway (MS), New Orleans (LA)


The Appalachian Trail Road Trip

5. The Appalachian Trail

This driving route of the Appalachian Trail parallels the epic hike. From the top of New England to the heart of Dixie, it takes you through continuous natural beauty—without the sweat, bugs, or blisters.

Highlights along the Appalachian Trail: Mt. Washington (NH), The Poconos (PA), Shenandoah National Park (VA), Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC)


The Atlantic Coast Road Trip

6. Atlantic Coast

Starting at the Statue of Liberty and ending at free-wheeling Key West, these almost 2,000 miles of roadway run within earshot—if not sight—of the Atlantic Ocean.

Highlights along the Atlantic Coast: The Statue of Liberty (NJ), Assateague Island National Seashore (MD), Savannah (GA), Cocoa Beach (FL)

West-East Road Trips

Whether you want to traverse the great deserts and mountains along the “Backbone of America” or travel the Oregon Trail in a car instead of on a computer, these East-West routes across the U.S. are worth the trip.


The Great Northern US-2 Road Trip

7. The Great Northern

Dubbed the Great Northern in memory of the pioneer railroad that parallels the western half of the route, US‑2 is truly the most stunning and unforgettable, not to mention longest, of all the great transcontinental road trips.

Highlights along the Great Northern: Tumwater Canyon (WA), Glacier National Park (MT), Lake Michigan (MI), Acadia National Park (ME)


The Oregon Trail Road Trip

8. The Oregon Trail

Following in the footsteps of pilgrims and pioneers, US‑20 takes in a little of everything during its two-lane trek from Oregon’s rugged coast to the glorious sea and sand of Cape Cod.

Highlights along the Oregon Trail: Cannon Beach (OR), Fort Boise (ID), Yellowstone National Park (WY), Mt Rushmore & Carhenge (NE)


9. The Loneliest Road

Running coast-to-coast through the heart of America on a 3,200-mile odyssey from sea to shining sea, US‑50 passes through a dozen different states and four state capitals, as well as the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

Highlights along the Loneliest Road: South Lake Tahoe (CA), Moab (UT), The Million Dollar Highway (CO), Dodge City (KS)


The Historic Route 66 Road Trip

10. Route 66

The romance of Route 66 continues to captivate people around the world. If you’re looking for great displays of neon signs, rusty middle-of-nowhere truck stops, or kitschy Americana, do as the song says and “get your kicks on Route 66.”

Highlights along Route 66: Chicago (IL), Meramec Caverns (MO), Tucumcari (NM), Painted Desert (AZ), Santa Monica (CA)


The Southern Pacific US-80 Road Trip

11. Southern Pacific

Following old US-80 and its contemporary equivalents takes you through more varied cultural and physical landscapes than you’ll find along any other cross-country route. From deserts to bayou swamps and Tex-Mex to barbecue, this route offers a full-flavored taste of America.

Highlights along Southern Pacific: The Desert View Tower (CA), Tombstone (AZ), Roswell (TX), Civil Rights Movement National Historic Trail (AL)

US map showing the 11 cross-country road trips on roadtripusa.com