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From Sea to Shining Sea

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.

Highway 89A

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.

Going-to-the-Sun

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 route covers valley floor to alpine heights with almost guaranteed opportunity to see the dramatic views and exciting wildlife directly out of the car window.

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Highway 1

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 coastline, we want to highlight an isolated, narrow, and windy route between San Francisco and Los Angeles often referred to by the name of a small town in the heart of the highway, Big Sur.  See sea otters, whales, and even the endangered California Condor.

Route 170

Southwest Texas

Route 170 along the Rio Grande is a continuously 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 Grande 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. Winding through the dense woods of North Carolina and Virginia, the parkway connects 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. Those iconic sunset shots over the Smoky Mountains at sunset are vista points 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 a National Scenic area.  In the spring, the hillsides are lush with lupine and other wildflowers.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Highway 2

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a remote and lush region skirting Lake Michigan.  It is a relatively undeveloped area, 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.

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Moki Dugway

Southeast 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.

Route 66

The Mother Road

You’ve heard the songs and likely even traveled a stretch of Route 66 at some point,  But have you delved into the history and delight of The Mother Road from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, CA?  It’s a long trek passing by odd Americana, tourist traps, and a continually evolving landscape.

Scenic Highway US-163

Southern Utah

Scenic Highway 163 is an awe-inspiring route, threading 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 to Lake Powell to the west or Shiprock to the east.

Extraterrestrial Highway

Southern Nevada

The CIA may have only acknowledged the existence of Area 51 on June 25, 2013. Still, 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.

Highway 395

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. The Rocky Mountains National Park’s Old Fall River Road traverses 11 scenic miles from the valley floor to alpine heights.

Highway 70

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 from Denver to Grand Junction.

Highway 191

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.

Highway 90

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.

Highway 270

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.

Highway 101

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 five 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!

Lexi lives in a truck camper down by the river.

Comments:

  • Olin Jaye

    July 14, 2020

    Great drives, all.

    However, TX Route 170 along the Rio Grande is in Southwest Texas-not Southeast Texas?..

    reply...
    • admin

      August 29, 2020

      Yes indeed. Thanks for the heads up! What a silly mind slip. I have it fixed.

      reply...
  • Arlin

    August 13, 2020

    The picture of the buck along the road in your old Fall River road segment of your Rockie Mountain National Park trip, is actually a bull elk not a buck deer!

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    • Lexi Goforth

      August 13, 2020

      Great catch! Thanks, Arlin!

      reply...
  • John Haehl

    August 25, 2020

    Love your suggestions! Did Denver to Grand Junction in a race team truck a few years ago. I want to do drive in auto so can stop a d look!

    reply...
    • admin

      August 27, 2020

      That sounds so cool! It is definitely worth the followup by auto.

      reply...
  • August 28, 2020

    You may want to Travel the Bear Tooth Highway from Yellowstone NP up to Montana and visit the Top of the World.

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    • admin

      August 29, 2020

      Thanks for the recommendation, Becky!

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  • September 5, 2020

    Thank you for the info , going on our first road trip next month

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    • admin

      September 11, 2020

      That is awesome! Where are you headed?

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  • September 8, 2020

    Do you have brochures that describe all the road trips?

    reply...
    • admin

      September 11, 2020

      I don’t have any printed material to distribute. Is there something, in particular, you are looking for?

      reply...
  • Elliott

    September 16, 2020

    I-70 does not go through, or in sight of Breckenridge, CO.

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    • admin

      September 17, 2020

      Right you are! But we consider a 10-mile detour to be a perfectly acceptable stop on a road trip.

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  • Jude

    September 23, 2020

    I’ve never seen a truck camper like you have, it’s so cool! I’m almost in the middle of my 2 month road trip and have hit some that you’ve mentioned. The highway 191 just might be added now since I’ll be around Jackson Hole area soon. Thank you for the idea.

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    • admin

      September 24, 2020

      Thanks, Jude! It’s an Avion C11 built in 1970. There aren’t a lot of them around these days but it’s always a fun surprise to spot one. I hope you’re having a delightful road trip!

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