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Iconic American Road Trips: Routes and Must-See Stops

american road trips

Embarking on a road trip across the United States is a quintessential American experience, offering the freedom to explore diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and hidden gems along the way. From the rugged coastlines of the Pacific Northwest to the majestic mountains of the Rockies and the iconic landmarks of the Southwest, the possibilities for adventure are endless. In this guide, we’ll take you on a journey through some of the most iconic American road trips, highlighting the routes, must-see stops, and unforgettable experiences that await you on the open road.

Pacific Coast Highway (California State Route 1):

Stretching along the scenic coastline of California, the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most breathtaking road trips in the country. Starting in Dana Point near Los Angeles and winding its way north to Leggett in Mendocino County, this iconic route offers stunning ocean views, rugged cliffs, and charming coastal towns. Must-see stops along the way include Big Sur, Monterey, Santa Cruz, and the picturesque towns of Mendocino and Fort Bragg.

Route 66:

Known as the “Mother Road,” Route 66 is perhaps the most famous road trip route in America, spanning from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. This historic highway passes through eight states and offers a nostalgic journey through small towns, quirky roadside attractions, and iconic landmarks. Must-see stops along Route 66 include the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, and the Santa Monica Pier in California.

Blue Ridge Parkway:

Winding through the scenic Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is renowned for its stunning vistas, lush forests, and vibrant fall foliage. Starting in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and ending in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, this 469-mile-long route offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and access to numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks.

Great River Road:

Following the course of the mighty Mississippi River, the Great River Road is a historic route that stretches from Minnesota to Louisiana, covering over 2,000 miles of scenic beauty and cultural heritage. Along the way, travelers can explore charming river towns, historic plantations, and iconic landmarks such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, and Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana.

Going-to-the-Sun Road (Glacier National Park, Montana):

Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Going-to-the-Sun Road is a spectacular scenic drive that traverses Glacier National Park in Montana. This engineering marvel offers breathtaking views of glaciers, mountain peaks, and alpine meadows as it winds its way through the park. Must-see stops along the route include Logan Pass, Lake McDonald, and the historic Many Glacier Hotel.

Highway 101 (Oregon Coast):

Stretching along the rugged coastline of Oregon, Highway 101 offers a scenic drive through some of the state’s most stunning landscapes. From the windswept beaches of the Oregon Dunes to the dramatic sea stacks of Cannon Beach and the charming towns of Newport and Astoria, this iconic route showcases the natural beauty and coastal charm of the Pacific Northwest.

Historic Route 1 (Florida Keys):

Running from Key Largo to Key West, Historic Route 1 offers a scenic drive through the tropical paradise of the Florida Keys. Travelers can soak up the sun on white sandy beaches, snorkel in crystal-clear waters, and savor fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants along the way. Must-see stops include the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Bahia Honda State Park, and the iconic Seven Mile Bridge.

Highway 12 (Utah):

Known as one of the most scenic drives in America, Highway 12 winds through the stunning red rock landscapes of southern Utah. Starting in Panguitch and ending in Torrey, this 124-mile-long route passes through two national parks – Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef – as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Highlights along the way include the towering hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, the scenic overlooks of the Grand Staircase, and the dramatic sandstone cliffs of Capitol Reef.


Embarking on an iconic American road trip is an adventure like no other, offering the opportunity to explore diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and hidden gems across the country. Whether you choose to cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway, follow in the footsteps of Route 66, or explore the scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway, each road trip offers its own unique charm and unforgettable experiences. So pack your bags, hit the open road, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime on one of these iconic American road trips.

Jive Travel
Author: Jive Travel