5 Great Road Trips to Take

by Teresa Bitler and Rachel Friedman

5 Great Road Trips to Take

by Teresa Bitler and Rachel Friedman

Whether your happy place is on the open road or gazing upon earth's natural wonders, there's no better time to take a road trip. We've rounded up five of the best road trips to take, from never-ending water views to lush greenery filling up the road for as far as the eye can see.

Whether your happy place is on the open road or gazing upon earth's natural wonders, there's no better time to take a road trip. We've rounded up five of the best road trips to take, from never-ending water views to lush greenery filling up the road for as far as the eye can see.

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Scenic highway / iStock/bluejayphoto
7 Mile Bridge
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The Florida Keys Scenic Highway

Also known as the Overseas Highway – and the Highway that Goes to Sea – the Florida Keys Scenic Highway runs more than 100 miles from Miami to the southernmost point of Key West. Along the way, it crosses a whopping 42 bridges, including the infamous Seven Mile Bridge. While the typical drive takes four hours, you could spend days taking in scenic ocean views, exploring island culture, visiting local attractions like the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, and more. Extend your road trip by picking up the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway in Miami and heading north.

Read more: A Budget Guide to Key West
 

Also known as the Overseas Highway – and the Highway that Goes to Sea – the Florida Keys Scenic Highway runs more than 100 miles from Miami to the southernmost point of Key West. Along the way, it crosses a whopping 42 bridges, including the infamous Seven Mile Bridge. While the typical drive takes four hours, you could spend days taking in scenic ocean views, exploring island culture, visiting local attractions like the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, and more. Extend your road trip by picking up the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway in Miami and heading north.

Dixon, Illinois from Lincoln highway
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Lincoln Highway

Before Route 66, there was the Lincoln Highway, the nation’s first transcontinental road. You can retrace the entire route from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco (plan your route here), but we like the 179-mile Illinois stretch for its windmills, covered bridges, and original route markers. Highlights include Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home in Dixon and the Joliet Prison, now part of a free public park. Get your kicks on Route 66 where it intersects the Lincoln Highway (US 30) in Joliet or visit “The Crossroads of the Nation,” the intersection of the Lincoln Highway and the Dixie Highway (US 1).

Read more: The 5 Best Road Trip Games
  

Before Route 66, there was the Lincoln Highway, the nation’s first transcontinental road. You can retrace the entire route from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco (plan your route here), but we like the 179-mile Illinois stretch for its windmills, covered bridges, and original route markers. Highlights include Ronald Reagan’s boyhood home in Dixon and the Joliet Prison, now part of a free public park. Get your kicks on Route 66 where it intersects the Lincoln Highway (US 30) in Joliet or visit “The Crossroads of the Nation,” the intersection of the Lincoln Highway and the Dixie Highway (US 1).

Natchez Trace Parkway
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Natchez Trace Parkway

This 444-mile highway stretches from Natchez (in Mississippi) to Nashville, following the route of the historic Old Trace walking path that linked the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. Parts of the Old Trace still exist, and you can explore it from various points along the route. You can also see burial mounds, walk through a swamp, and learn how tobacco is made at The Tobacco Farm while cruising the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Read more: Easy Southern Escapes: Natchez, Mississippi

This 444-mile highway stretches from Natchez (in Mississippi) to Nashville, following the route of the historic Old Trace walking path that linked the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. Parts of the Old Trace still exist, and you can explore it from various points along the route. You can also see burial mounds, walk through a swamp, and learn how tobacco is made at The Tobacco Farm while cruising the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Scenic Byway 12
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Scenic Byway 12

For sheer beauty, few road trips can compare to Scenic Byway 12 in Utah. The route begins in Red Canyon off US 89, continues through the northern part of Bryce Canyon National Park, winds through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, crosses over Boulder Mountain, and then finally ends in Torrey, just five miles west of Capitol Reef National Park. If you go, brace yourself for the Hogsback, a narrow stretch of asphalt clinging to a rocky ridge. What it lacks in guardrails it more than makes up for with astounding views of the cottonwoods below.

Read more: Utah's "Mighty 5" National Parks: Which Should You Visit?

For sheer beauty, few road trips can compare to Scenic Byway 12 in Utah. The route begins in Red Canyon off US 89, continues through the northern part of Bryce Canyon National Park, winds through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, crosses over Boulder Mountain, and then finally ends in Torrey, just five miles west of Capitol Reef National Park. If you go, brace yourself for the Hogsback, a narrow stretch of asphalt clinging to a rocky ridge. What it lacks in guardrails it more than makes up for with astounding views of the cottonwoods below.

Mississippi River
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Great River Road

The Great River Road follows the course of the Mississippi River through 10 states – from northern Minnesota to Louisiana – on 2,000-mile-plus route that takes most travelers up to 10 days to complete. (Plan your road trip or find itineraries here.) Possible stops include the Mark Twain Museum Interpretive Center in Hannibal, Missouri; The Gateway Arch in St. Louis; the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi; and Vicksburg National Military Park.

Read more: 13 Ways to Experience Louisiana Like a Local

The Great River Road follows the course of the Mississippi River through 10 states – from northern Minnesota to Louisiana – on 2,000-mile-plus route that takes most travelers up to 10 days to complete. (Plan your road trip or find itineraries here.) Possible stops include the Mark Twain Museum Interpretive Center in Hannibal, Missouri; The Gateway Arch in St. Louis; the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi; and Vicksburg National Military Park.

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