Skip to main content

14 Country Road Trips Made for Summertime Drives

One of the great things about the U.S.A. is that no matter where you are, an unforgettable road trip is never far away.

Cruising down country roads is one of America’s great pastimes. You can hop in a truck, rev the engine, and see where the road takes you.

Here are 14 of our favorite places to visit all across this great land. Did a route near you make the list?

Northwest

Oregon: Umpqua River Scenic Byway

Umpqua River Scenic Byway via U.S. Forest Service

Besides the challenging fishing, beautiful camping and excellent wineries along the Umpqua River, one of the best things about this getaway destination is the 66 miles of road that run alongside the river.

Just driving along this river will refresh and cool you in the summer months in beautiful Oregon. This is a classic Western stop that should be on everyone’s list.

Fishing in your plans? Then you know you’ll have enough room to store everything if you’re driving a Ram truck, with the Class-exclusive RamBox® Cargo Management System. It includes four adjustable Cargo Tie-Down Hooks, a Bed Cargo Divider/Extender, and LED Bed Lighting. You’ll always feel secure about your stuff if you’re in the habit of leaving your car parked and exploring.

Washington: Palouse Country

Palouse Country, Washington

The phrase “rolling hills” just might have been coined here on US highways 195 and 95, along with Washington Highway 27.

Drive out here for the stunning, colorful views; stay to explore the iconic John Wayne Trail outside of the town of Latah. Head to Palouse Country on August 18th and 19th to catch the National Lentil Festival, a.k.a. Food & Brew Fest, offering free admission to a relaxing mix of food tastings, farm exhibits, live music and other activities.

Montana/Wyoming: Beartooth Highway

Beartooth highway, Wyoming side via Mapio

Beartooth highway (US Highway 212, crossing over from Montana into Wyoming) has been called “America’s most scenic road.” In the span of 69 miles, you’ll see more than 20 mountain peaks, along with dense forests, twisting roads, calm lakes and alpine meadows. Toss in a view of the Absaroka Mountains, formed by the slow buildup of volcanic debris over tens of millions of years, and you’ll drive off 212 feeling like you’ve seen a little of just about everything in the Great Outdoors.

Midwest

Kansas: Flint Hills

Chase County Chamber of Commerce

For when you can’t decide between flowering prairie and relaxing fishing, travel to Flint Hills, taking Kansas Highway 177 through historic country to end up at the beautiful Chase State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area.

Bonus: check out the Chase County Historical Museum and Library to see how your great-grandparents would have lived here just after the Louisiana Purchase.

Illinois, Iowa and Missouri: Great River Road

Great River Road via Explore St. Louis

It’s hard to think of anything more American than a trip down the Mississippi river, and the 556-mile Great River Road (Illinois Highways 111, 3, 84, 92, and 96, and US Highway 20) is without a doubt one of the best ways to experience this remarkable natural landmark.

If you travel the entire length, you’ll see 29 state recreation and conservation areas, plus a truckload of historic attractions. Every American should visit the Lewis and Clark Historic Site in Hartford, IL.

Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky: Ohio River Scenic Byway

Ohio River Scenic Byway, Kentucky Side

Driving the 443 miles of the Ohio River Scenic Byway, even the most unquiet mind will find peace.

Make sure to visit Historic Fort Steuben, nicknamed “Where the West Began,” first built in 1786 for the protection of mapping surveyors. The reconstructed site includes historically accurate buildings, such as a hospital and guardshop, to tell the story of frontier life.

Visit in June to experience the Ohio Valley Frontier Days, a special event featuring re-enactors, music, musket shooting, and other activities.

Southwest

Texas: Devil’s Backbone

Devil’s Backbone via Mapio

One of the most interesting sections of the beloved Texas Hill Country drive is the Devil’s Backbone, heading South in the direction of Canyon Lake State Park, a great place to visit in every season and surrounded by 80 miles of shoreline.

For small-town fun, visit Wimberly, TX, and enjoy the quirky shopping, wine tasting, and historic attractions. It goes without saying that the Devil’s Backbone drive takes you through absolutely stunning Texas landscapes; it’s a journey that doesn’t need a destination.

Arkansas: Scenic 7

Arkansas Scenic 7 via Pinterest

Starting in the town of Hot Springs, take Arkansas Highway 7 Northward to the Ozark National Forest. Along the way (157 miles in full), there are many opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, camping and, of course, photography.

If you’re in it for the woodland, don’t miss the St. Francis National Forest, offering completely different landscapes from its neighboring Ozark. Along this road, you’ll see lots of rare wildlife and (if you’re lucky) wild Elk herds as well.

Oklahoma: Talimena Scenic Drive

Talimena Scenic View via Pinterest

On the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma, this hidden gem is a 60-mile stretch of road (heads up: there are no gas stations) that takes you through mountainous panoramas, followed by the Ouachita National Forest, dense with evergreens.

Along with plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, the views along this country drive are truly beyond words. You should take the whole family, which isn’t a problem when you’re in a Ram truck.

Southeast

Georgia: Enduring Farmlands

Georgia Department of Transportation

Drive back in time through Georgia’s rich farmlands and small, historic towns, taking Georgia Highways 11, 112, 233, and 30. Here, a wealth of crops are grown, including strawberries, pecans, apples, soybeans, cotton, peaches, and many others. With fair weather year-round, Georgia’s Enduring Farmlands byway is the ideal escape in the heat of summer.

Kentucky: Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway

Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home via Abe Lincoln Tours

Here’s another must-see place for every American. Exploring the land of Honest Abe’s  youth as well as several significant Civil War sites. Learn what Lincoln’s log cabin life was really like at the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville, Kentucky; then visit Lincoln’s birthplace, and the original Lincoln Memorial, at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park. If you’re so inclined, you can pair these educational adventures with a stop or two at one of the many breweries and distilleries the area is famous for, such as Jeam Beam’s American Stillhouse.

Tennessee: Newfound Gap Road

Newfound Gap Road via Visit My Smokies

When you get on Newfound Gap, you won’t believe the sights. Then, a mile in, you won’t believe the sights. This will continue for 31 miles.

Take this spectacular road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park to experience the pristine wilderness that drives millions of Americans to this wildly popular park year after year. This pattern will continue as the views get more and more breathtaking, putting a lifetime worth of stunning natural eye candy into a couple gallons of driving.

Northeast

New York: Cayuga Lake

Ithaca, New York, via Trip Advisor

Sculpted by glaciers, Cayuga Lake endures as one of the loveliest places to visit in the great State of New York, beautiful year round. Also along this 41-mile road, you’ll see the 215-foot vertical drop of Taughannock Falls, pouring into a gorge that will make you want to go swimming immediately, if you didn’t already.

Take New York Highway 89 for this unforgettable journey.

Pennsylvania: Lancaster County Amish Country Drive

Lancaster County via Wikimedia

Finally, a visit to Amish country is a worthwhile addition to your summer drive plans. When all else fails and you’re looking for the idyllic peacefulness of a pure country drive, circle around the city of Lancaster and see some of the gloriously beautiful landscapes. Unplug and experience communities of people who aren’t affected by the hustle and bustle of modern life, instead keeping their treasured traditions alive and strong to this day.

NEXT: 10 TRUCK CAMPING TIPS FOR THE ROCKIES, EAST COAST, DEEP SOUTH, AND MORE

14 Country Road Trips Made for Summertime Drives