Dog hanging out the window at sunset.
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18 Road Trips to Take This Summer, In Every Part of the Country

In the U.S.A., no matter where you are, an unforgettable road trip is never far away.

Sometimes it's more about they journey than the destination. For these 18 road trips, that is definitely true.

With America being one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, it is home to mountains, prairies, canyons, desert, lakes, beaches, forests, and just about everything you can think of. If you like road trips, a lot of these incredible landscapes are accessible by road, with tons of sights to see and other adventures waiting around each bend. If you don't like road trips, well, this list might change your mind.

Every corner of the United States has some incredible sights to see, and whether you're looking for history, nature, interesting towns, or anything in between, there's a drive for you. Take advantage of the nice weather and check out these summertime drives; the adventures below definitely won't disappoint.

Best Scenic Road Trips in the Southeast

morning light spills out on the Lynn Cove viaduct along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Getty Images, aheflin

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.

Here's another must-see place for every American history buff. Explore 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 Jim Beam's American Stillhouse.

Newfound Gap Road via Visit My Smokies

When you get on Newfound Gap, you won't believe the wealth of overlooks, picnic areas, and trails to explore. 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. The views get more and more breathtaking, putting a lifetime's worth of astonishing natural eye candy into a couple gallons of driving.

Skyline drive through the colorful autumn forest of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

This stunning drive runs a length of 105 miles north and south through Shenandoah National Park along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Despite its lower latitude, in the winter driving conditions can be rather sketchy, with its altitude bringing in more snow, ice, and cold.

In the summer this ice gives way to views of green rising high out of the Shenandoah Valley. While driving through the elevated winding road, you'll feel tucked away in the green forest a top the ridge, and then be rewarded with expansive views in the valley far below at the many scenic viewpoints along the road. In the fall and winter, though, you'll see even less crowds and even better colors.

As a bonus, there's plenty to see close by, including Harper's Ferry, Front Royal, and tons of Civil War historical sites. This is a great drive to catch a dose of nature and a dose of history in the same day.

Best Scenic Road Trips in the Midwest

Country drive in Kentucky at Sunset

Getty Images, DanBrandenburg

Chase County Chamber of Commerce

For when you can't decide between flowering prairie and relaxing fishing, travel to Flint Hills. Take Kansas Highway 177 through historic country to end up at the beautiful Chase State Fishing Lake and Wildlife Area. The Great Plains are a unique environment, and tallgrass prairie used to make up about 40% of the United States. Only about 1% of this landscape remains, and this drive is a great way to get a taste of what much of North America looked like thousands of years ago.

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.

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. If you're into fishing, there's tons of places to stop and see how you fare at catching a midwest classic like catfish, walleye, sturgeon, and bass. There is also a boatload of historic attractions. Every American should visit the Lewis and Clark Historic Site in Hartford, Illinois.

Ohio River Scenic Byway, Kentucky Side

Driving the 443 miles of the Ohio River Scenic Byway, even the busiest 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.

Best Scenic Road Trips in the Northeast

Cars driving on road in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA. One car holds a canoe on its roof.

Getty Images, Allard1

Sculpted by glaciers, Cayuga Lake endures as one of the loveliest places to visit in the great State of New York, and it's 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.

Lancaster County via Wikimedia

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.

Best Scenic Road Trips in the Northwest

Top down drone view of scenic road through pine trees in the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon in the summer.

Getty Images, Eifel Kreutz

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. There are popular steelhead fishing spots along this great drive.

Known as the "Highway of Waterfalls," the Umpqua River Scenic Byway has tons of natural water features for your viewing and swimming pleasure. Just driving along this river will refresh and cool you in the warm summer months in beautiful Oregon. This is a classic Pacific Northwest stop that should be on everyone's list.

Washington is just too beautiful to list only one drive. If you haven't been on the Cascade Loop, you're absolutely missing out. This 440-mile stretch of highway tours some of the most beautiful scenery Washington has to offer and will give you a few European-feeling experiences, including Skagit Valley which hosts a tulip festival akin to that of Amsterdam (though you'll have to hit this one more towards springtime to catch the tulips), and Leavenworth, a mountain town giving off Bavarian village vibes with views of snowy mountains and smells of pretzels and schnitzel.

Driving this road in the summer is much safer than the winter, and if you're early or late in the season there's still a good chance to get the snowy mountain views without the treacherous icy roads. And you might even see Mount Baker, Washington's glacier-covered stratovolcano, second in the state in thermal crater activity to Mount Saint Helens.

Aside from the towns and the mountains, there are a few lakes for a chilly dip among the picturesque mountains in unbelievably turquoise waters. Notably, there's Ross Lake and Lake Chelan. Lake Chelan is also home to Stehekin, a town nestled in the mountains and not accessible by road - but there is a gorgeous 70-minute boat ride to this remote town, or seaplanes and hiking trails if you're looking for a different adventure to get there.

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 18 and 19 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.

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.

With its high point reaching nearly 11,000 feet, this road is only open about five months of the year due to snow and dangerous conditions the rest of the time. It is definitely a summer must-see, especially if you're heading out west for a Yellowstone trip.

Best Scenic Road Trips in the Southwest

Shafer Trail road in Canyonlands National Park, Utah USA

Ershov_Maks/Getty Images

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 wildlife, and (if you're lucky) wild elk herds as well. This area is also home to 94 of the 126 butterfly species found in Arkansas.

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, Texas, 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.

For those who have no fear, this 51-mile stretch of highway is known for being haunted as a result of much violence from both Native Americans and white settlers in the area. There are many spooky ghost stories that come from the tales of its history, and the winding road has been home to many devastating car accidents. Drive safe, if you dare to drive here at all.

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. In a relatively short stretch of road, there are 22 scenic viewpoints, and you can't go wrong with any of them while you're exploring this road.

Best Scenic Road Trips Beyond the Lower 48

Camper vav traveling in Alaska, USA. This shot wad taken at Tern Lake along Seward highway.

Getty Images, Noppawat Charoensinphon

Camper vav traveling in Alaska, USA. This shot wad taken at Tern Lake along Seward highway.

Seward Highway stretches 125 miles from Anchorage to Seward through the stunning Kenai Penninsula. Starting at the bustling hub of Anchorage, this highway winds along the Turnagain Arm through soaring peaks and passes several lakes, all lovely shades of blue lighter than what you would expect to see so far north. Driving along this road will definitely give you the feeling of being hugged by mountains; they feel so close throughout the whole drive.

You'll pass through the quaint Alaskan mountain town of Moose Pass. If you're lucky enough to time your trip with the summer solstice, you might be able to make it to the Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival, hosting live music, food & beverages, games for the kiddos (and the adults), vendors for all sorts of goods, and fun times all around. Consider renting an RV to cut down on costs if you're just visiting, as hotel prices during the high season can be pretty costly, and this will allow you to explore more of what Alaska has to offer.

The reward for taking this beautiful drive out to Seward is Seward itself, which is a small coastal town that is busy and booming in the summer months, tucked right up against some peaks that will give this town the feel of being truly cut off from everything else. But amidst the isolation the mountains provide, there are tons of activities to do: whale & wildlife watching tours, glacier excursions (by foot or by helicopter), tons of hiking, and the Alaska Sealife Center. Whatever extras you choose for this little road trip are just the cherries on top.

Gorgeous famous road to Hana along the ocean in Maui, Hawaii.

Getty Images, ehabaref

Last, and most certainly not least, is Hana Highway. This gorgeous drive is 64 miles from Kahului to the more remote eastern side of the island, home to the small town of Hana and the K?pahulu district of Haleakalā National Park. While the counts vary slightly, this road has over 600 turns and at least 46 one-lane bridges.

As a result, driving Hana Highway one way will take at least two and a half hours, but who's complaining? Take it slow and embrace island time on this rock in the middle of the Pacific. Besides, with rainforest, countless waterfalls, and interesting features like lava tubes, black sand beaches, and red sand beaches, there's no good reason the rush the adventure.

On the way out, check out the arboretums, and don't forget to stop for some of the best banana bread you'll ever eat. Take advantage of everything Hana has to offer and explore the history, the organic farms, and embrace the time to disconnect and relax.

READ MORE: The Cheapest Way To Go RVing This Summer