5 Destinations for the Great American Road Trip

If you’re planning a family vacation anytime soon, chances are you’re leaning more towards a road trip than hopping on a plane. With the Coronavirus pandemic, many trips have been canceled or changed in some way. That leaves more time to plan the great American road trip.

Your biggest speed bump may be where to go. Let’s check out some destinations to put on your itinerary.

1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Nothing says American road trip like a visit to Grand Canyon National Park. There’s more to do here than just see the canyon itself. Grand Canyon National Park offers campsite options if you’re planning to stay a few days. These usually book up quickly so it’s best to call as far ahead as you possibly can.

To get a great view of the Grand Canyon, it’s recommended to stop at Yavapai Point. If you have more time on your trip, a ride to Kaibab National Forest also offers some wonderful views.

Driving to the Grand Canyon

As you pack up the family for your Grand Canyon trip, you should have a general idea of what to expect from your road trip. Most people choose the Grand Canyon’s South Rim as their destination. It’s the most famous part of the park.

To get there from the Las Vegas area, expect a 4-5 hour drive. Follow I-515 South to US-93 South to the Hoover Dam. This is worth stopping off to see as it’s a popular structure in America. From there, you’ll head east on I-40. Eventually, you’ll get on US-180 which will lead you to the park entrance.

If you’re planning to drive from New York and the east coast area, plan for a much longer trip. You’ll have to break it up because it will take you about 35 hours to get to the Grand Canyon from New York City. Start on I-87W and follow to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. From there you’ll travel on I-70W to I-44. Your last main road will be I-40 which will bring you into the park.

Since this is such a long trip, it could end up being a trip where you stop to see some other sites along the way. You’ll pass through Pennsylvania which has great historical sights. You’ll also travel through Illinois, Ohio, and several other states.

2. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis is synonymous with Graceland and Elvis Presley, but there’s more to do there than see Elvis’ old stomping grounds. The National Civil Rights Museum is worth a visit as well as walking down Beale Street to check out great restaurants. You may even be able to see a quick music show. There’s also the Memphis Zoo as well as several other museums to keep the kids busy.

Driving to Memphis

The drive to Memphis from California is going to take you a whopping 26 hours. Plan on staying overnight somewhere along the road to rest. I-40 east is the most direct and quickest way to get there.

If you’re driving from the New York City Area, plan on a 16-hour drive. You may want to plan a night in a hotel along this route as well. This route will take you I-78W to I-81S to I-40W to get into Memphis.

3. Williamsburg, Virginia

This is a trip that can combine some history with amusement park fun. Williamsburg, Virginia, is rich in American history. Be sure to visit Colonial Williamsburg where there are plenty of activities and tours. They make learning history fun here so the kids will enjoy it and not get bored. 

You know they’ll also love a visit to Busch Gardens Amusement Park. You’ll want to check park availability and hours because things are constantly changing these days. But, if you get to visit, the kids will have a blast.

Driving to Williamsburg, Virginia 

The good news is that if you’re driving from the New York City area to Williamsburg it’s only about a six-hour drive. You just head down I-95 to MD-295. You’ll take I-64 to get into Virginia and the Williamsburg area.

The trip from the west coast is much longer because you’re driving across the country. A drive from the Las Vegas area to Virginia is going to take 36 hours. This means plenty of stops along the way. I-40 East is the way you’ll want to go for a very, very long time until you eventually hit I-64 East to get into Williamsburg.

4. Lincoln, New Hampshire

If you live on the east coast and want to take a road trip but don’t want to spend your entire week in the car, a trip to Lincoln, New Hampshire could be a good choice. The trip from the New York area to Lincoln is about five hours. When you get there, enjoy plenty of outdoor activities.

Franconia Notch State Park is a great place to visit with plenty of hiking and biking. Echo Lake offers fishing, canoeing, swimming, and pedal boat rentals. This is a great road trip if you want to have some outdoor fun with the entire family.

Driving to Lincoln, New Hampshire

From the New York City area, you hop on I-95 and follow that north to I-90. After a while, you’ll get on to I-93 to get into Lincoln, New Hampshire.

5. The Pacific Coast Highway

For people along the west coast who want to hit the road but don’t want to go cross country, the Pacific Coast Highway could be a good choice for your great American Road Trip. You can start in Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, or any other sunny beach in the south and head north.

You can stop along the way and catch the sites like Hearst Castle. The great part about this road trip is that you customize it to fit your trip length. If you take Highway 1 it runs 656 miles from Dana Point in Orange County to Leggett in Mendocino County. 

Driving along The Pacific Coast Highway

This road trip has an easy route. Get on The Pacific Coast Highway, which is also called State Route One. Follow this road for your entire trip until you want to stop!

Now that you know where to go and how to get there, it’s time to pack up the family. The open road awaits you!

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