Top 10 Bucket List Road Trips
Nothing compares to loading up the truck with supplies to last a few weeks and hitting the open road for a much-needed road trip. While heading down the highway for a relaxed drive is a great way to de-stress and see the country, it’s important to be sure to take time to have your brakes checked and make sure your car is good to go before loading up and taking off.
If you’re in need of a little time to clear your mind, check out some amazing scenery and burn some rubber as you cruise down the highway, here’s ten of the best bucket list road trips you may want to consider checking out.
The Road to Hana
If you live on the mainland of the United States, you will need to ship your car to Hawaii to take this scenic road trip, but it’s well worth the trip to drive this long and winding road. The Hana Highway, located in Maui is a nearly 65-mile drive where you’ll see spectacular waterfalls, lush floral, rare trees and beautiful, dense forests. This ride is guaranteed to be one of the windiest roads you may ever travel. On top of that, you’ll be able to check out some of the most scenic coastal views in all of Maui as you cruise down the highway. When you’re not cruising, be sure to check out the local surf scene, Thai restaurants and shopping centers in Maui for days on end of fun in the sun and discovering the best that Hawaii offers to visitors.
Pacific Coast Highway
Sunny California is the place to be when you want to have excellent views of the ocean while cruising through some of the most happening spots in all of the west coast. You can take the Pacific Coast Highway for a ride that will last just over 123 miles and make plenty of stops in cities including Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Monterey and San Francisco among others. If you start in San Francisco and ride the route all the way down to San Diego, you’ll have around 10 hours to drive and get a great view of the California coastline and the many great places to play, shop and dine along the way.
San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway
The San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway is 232 miles of some of the most magnificent scenic highway in the United States. Designated as an All-American Road, this long stretch of asphalt running through Colorado showcases breathtaking mountain views and stopovers in towns like Durango, Silverton and Cortez. You’ll be able to see natural hot springs, old mills, lakes and rivers as well as the majestic mountain peaks all throughout the ride.
Skyline Drive Scenic Highway
While you can travel down Skyline Drive in Virginia anytime of the year, the fall is the best time to venture down this 125-mile road that will put you directly into the Appalachian Mountains. Known as the Gateway to the Shenandoah Valley, you’ll catch breathtaking views of the mountains and will have plenty of action to partake in if you choose to stop. From white water rafting, camping and hiking the Appalachian Trail, you’ll never be at a loss for something to do while traveling through this beautiful area of Virginia. You’ll find that traveling through Front Royal, Harrisonburg, Staunton and Waynesboro, Virginia will offer a wide array of scenery, bursting colors of leaves and plenty of down home places to stop and grab a bite to eat along the way.
Black River Scenic Byway
While this road trip is a mere 11 miles, you’ll find it may be one of the best drives in America because of the amazing views and things to do. You can take time to stop for a picnic at the lake or even hike to the falls on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a day filled with energetic fun and excitement. This stretch of road is packed with undeveloped forest land and is a favorite spot for locals but often never seen by tourists traveling through Michigan. It’s one of Michigan’s rare gems and a great place to take a road trip.
Location: New Hampshire
Want in on a little secret? New Hampshire is the place to be this fall when the leaves start changing color. While so many people flock to the south to see the fall foliage, New Hampshire is often overlooked although along the Kancamagus Highway, the leaves are bursting with vibrant colors and a beautiful stretch of highway just waiting to share the beauty of the state with you. Road trips are made for taking photos and you’ll want to make sure you have your camera with a fully charged battery as you travel along the 35 miles of scenic highway in Northern New Hampshire. Not only will you see plenty of fall foliage if you choose to travel during the fall, but you can visit the White Mountains and the Swift River anytime of the year and spend hours, or even days, exploring the woods, camping and relaxing in beautiful, scenic surroundings.
Park Loop Road
If you’ve never been to Maine before, road tripping down Park Loop Road will be a great excuse to head north to explore the beautiful state. Along the 27 miles through Acadia National Park in Maine you can see the beautiful Maine coastline as well as eagles soaring in the sky, lush forest land and majestic lakes.
Tail of the Dragon
Location: Tennessee and North Carolina
Starting on Deals Gap right on the Tennessee/North Carolina border, the Tail of the Dragon is one of the most popular road trips for bikers as well as car drivers in the Appalachian Mountains. Complete with long, twisting roads filled with some of the sharpest turns you’ll ever drive, this is one scenic route that is well worth the drive to see. For some, it’s a thrill ride and one that can be dangerous if your eyes leave the road for even a second. For others, it’s a peaceful area with a long and winding road where photo ops are everywhere and there are plenty of spots to pull off the road, take a little hike and really enjoy the brilliant mountainous scenery for hours on end. Be sure to watch the road carefully during the drive and don’t gawk at the scenery unless you’re pulled over or sitting in the passenger seat because as beautiful as this road may be, it’s also one of the deadliest in the U.S. because of all the twists and turns and some of the speed demons traveling along the way.
Mount Washington Auto Road
Location: New Hampshire
If you love great scenery and enjoy hiking, bicycling or splashing around in waterfalls, then a drive to Mount Washington Auto Road in New Hampshire is the place to be. This legendary road trip offers scenic views up to 5000 feet above sea level and has breathtaking views not for the faint at heart. This is a popular drive and one you can take in your own car or even in a guided van as drivers show you the best views along the way. At the base of the road, you’ll find a spectacular lodge where you can spend an evening sitting by the fire, dining in luxury and sleeping in a comfortable bed before heading back out on the road again. Be sure to take your camera and be ready for a great photo shoot as you take this road trip.