20 Road Trips For 2020 Adventures For Your Bucket List
The vastness of the United States frontier has made road trips a classic piece of Americana. It is the ultimate way to the explore the states. But that said, there are so many routes to take. In celebration of a new decade and the 50th birthday of our Avion, we are sharing 20 road trips—from half day excursions to multi-day epic quests—that you should add to your bucket list.
Prescott to Flagstaff, Arizona
Highway 89A divides from Highway 89 in Prescott, Arizona and travels 90 miles through many of our favorite haunts in the state. Hunt ghosts in the historic mining town of Jerome. Hike red rock buttes in scenic red-rock Sedona. Take a break and relax in Flagstaff Arizona.
Natchez Trace Parkway
Tennessee, Alabama, & Mississippi
The Natchez Trace connects Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. The 444 mile route roughly traces the historic dirt trading path.* Experience historic homes, prehistoric mounds, diverse wildlife, and dramatic vistas.
Glacier National Park
Tour the highlights of Glacier National Park from stunning vistas to wildlife on the Going-to-the-Sun road. This 50-mile routes covers valley floor to alpine heights with almost guaranteed opportunity to see the dramatic views and exciting wildlife directly out of the car window.
California West Coast
Explore the sea cliffs, redwoods, and stunning sunsets of the west coast along California’s Highway 1. While the highway traverses much of the pacific coast line, we want to highlight a particularly isolated, narrow, and winding route between San Francisco and Los Angeles often referred to by the name of a small town in the heart of the route, Big Sur. See sea otters, whales, and even the endangered California Condor.
South East Texas
Route 170 along the Rio Grande is a constantly compounding collection of cliffs, hoodoos, ravines, wildflowers, and ruins. The route is about as close to the US-Mexico border as you can get without swimming in the Rio Grand and connects the art community of Marfa, Texas with the majestic wilderness of Big Bend National Park.
Blue Ridge Parkway
North Carolina to Virginia
The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge mountains between North Carolina and Virginia. The parkway was constructed to connect the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The resulting thoroughfare is it the longest road planned as a single unit in the United States and the longest linear park. Any iconic shot of the Smoky Mountains is likely taken from along this route.
Columbia River Gorge
Highway 14 & Highway 84
The Columbia River Gorge traces the border between Washington and Oregon—including the eclectic city or Portland—concluding at the Pacific Ocean. The fertile land cut by the Columbia River is designated as a National Scenic area. In the spring, the hillsides are lush with lupine and other wildflowers.
Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a remote and lush region skirting Lake Michigan. Little of the area is developed, aside from a few historic mining and trapping bases that have survived as towns. Explore the wilderness from Duluth to Mackinac Bridge full of deep green forests, clear water, and dramatic rock outcroppings.
South East Utah
Moki Dugway is a mind-blowingly scenic stretch of dirt road connecting Utah Highway 95 and US Highway 163. Travelers from the south take the Moki Dugway from the Valley of the Gods to ascend an 11% grade to the top of Cedar Mesa and access Muley Point. Experience some of the most awe inspiring vistas from this short detour.
The Mother Road
You’ve heard the songs and likely even traveled a stretch of Route 66 at some point, But have you truly delved into the history and delight of The Mother Road from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA? It’s a long trek along odd Americana, tourist traps, and a constantly evolving landscape.
Scenic Highway US-163
Scenic Highway 163 threads through southern Utah gems such as Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, Goosenecks State Park, and Forest Gump Point. Explore remote and colorful Utah vistas and continue on to Lake Powell to the west or Shiprock to the east.
The CIA may have only acknowledged the existence of Area 51 on June 25, 2013, but this isolated patch south of Rachel, Nevada has been a hot-spot of ufo, extra-terrestrial, and conspiracy theory for decades. Highway 375 connects this small lonely south Nevada town with the outside world with plenty of oddities along the way.
California's Eastern Sierras
Highway 395 parallels the Eastern Sierras of California, traveling from high desert to Lake Tahoe. Explore the surreal landscape of Mono Lake, wander through film history in the Alabama Hills & Movie Road, and hike the Sierras in the John Muir Wilderness.
Old Fall River Road
Rocky Mountains National Park
For those interested is wandering down dirt roads but not ready for the rough and tumble of overlanding, Old Fall River Road is a scenic and exciting introduction. Rocky Mountains National Park’s Old Fall River Road traverses 11 scenic miles from the valley floor to alpine heights.
Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado
Highway 70 from Denver, Colorado to Grand Junction, Colorado is one of the most scenic stretches of Interstate in America. The Route wanders through mountains down into a deep valley winding past the famous ski towns of Breckenridge and Aspen. But don’t bother trying to boondock, overnight parking is banned all the way to Grand Junction.
Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Highway 191 from Jackson Hole, Wyoming to West Yellowstone, Montana connects two of the United States’ most iconic parks: Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. This route travels through some of the most popular points in each park. So have your camera ready for Old Faithful, views of Grand Teton over the Snake River, and impressive wildlife.
Eastern Wyoming & Western South Dakota
Highway 90 traverses some of the notable wilderness of the midwest. The route unites the dramatic Devil’s Tower, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Badlands National Park. Leave a little extra time for tourist diversions in Rapid City and Wall Drug.
Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma to Hot Springs, Arkansas
Highway 270 wanders through Ouachita National Forest, crossing the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas. This scenic region is full of outdoor activities from hiking along waterfalls, boating on Lake Eufaula and Lake Ouachita, and taking a dip in historic Hot Springs National Park.
Olympic National Park, Washington
Discover the highest latitude rainforest, expansive tide pools, and alpine tundra along Highway 101. Starting in Seattle, Washington, take the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and connect with Highway 101 to follow it through Olympic National Park and down the Washington Coast.
Blue Water Highway
Surfside Beach to Galveston, Texas
Explore the Texas Gulf Coast from Galveston Island to Surfside beach on the Blue Water Highway. While this is a relatively short but scenic stretch of highway, continue the adventure south to hit Corpus Christi, Mustang Island, and South Padre Island.
What do you think?
Of course, these are some favorite routes from our last 5 years of travel. We can’t wait to share new gems that we discover in 2020 and beyond. Do you have any recommendations for other routes we should take? Let us know in the comments!