The Best United States Road Trip Vacation Ideas

No matter where you live, an interstate highway is just a short distance away. Take a day trip or travel for several months if you'd like. Wherever there's an interstate there are interesting stops.

Most people don't take road trips anymore - they're just too busy to hop in a car and tour. But it can be fun, interesting and educational, and a lot less expensive than air travel for folks with a large family.

No matter where you live, an interstate highway is just a short distance away. Take a day trip or travel for several months if you'd like. Wherever there's an interstate there are interesting stops.

One of the most popular interstates is the I-95, which runs from Maine to Miami Beach. For those living on the east coast, I-95 can provide entertainment almost every inch of the way, beginning with the cliffs of Maine and its many tourist attractions, including Bar Harbor, Camden and the scenic inlets that are a photographer's dream. Traveling south, one can visit Boston, Martha's Vineyard and Plymouth Rock. Farther down are New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Plan on several days to a week to visit our nation's Capital - there are just too many things to see there, including numerous Smithsonian museums, Arlington Cemetery and the National Zoo.

Further south, one can visit the naval shipyards near Richmond Virginia or have a clambake by the Chesapeake Bay. A side trip off the I-95 will find Myrtle Beach and Charleston, S.C. Back on the interstate you can see the plantations of Savannah, enjoy delicious shrimp in Brunswick, Georgia, and tour the historic city of St. Augustine, Florida, where Ponce DeLeon was said to have discovered the Fountain of Youth. Driving to the tip of Florida will take you through Daytona Beach, an hour from Disney World and Universal Studios, and to the fancy beaches of West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. You can even leave Miami and venture forth on the Florida Keys.

Leaving Miami you can cross over to the Gulf side of Florida and visit St. Petersburg and the exciting sponge docks at Tarpon Springs. Follow Interstate 75 and you will connect with Route 10, a southern route that takes you across the lower part of the United States. After leaving Tallahassee you'll drive to Mobile, Alabama where you can take a rest on the scenic Gulf Shores. Keep traveling and you can enjoy some jazz and Cajun cooking in New Orleans and Baton Rouge before departing for the Lone Star State and visits to Houston and Galveston, both on the Gulf. Another day's ride and you'll enter San Antonio. Another day's ride after that and you'll be in El Paso, which is right on the border of New Mexico. Shortly after leaving New Mexico you'll enter Arizona, still on Route 10, and the historic town of Tucson. As you follow Route 10, you can take a side trip to visit Phoenix, or continue west through Yuma and arrive in California's Baja Peninsula.

If you're going to be in Arizona, however, it would be worth the trip to travel northward and visit the Grand Canyon. Then keep going into Utah and visit Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. If you keep on going you can visit Salt Lake City and see the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. It's a detour well worth taking the time for.

After leaving the scenic splendors you can continue on to Las Vegas and then to California, where you can drive the coastline northward and spend a week or so seeing all the sites and cities on the Pacific Ocean. If you're in a hurry and don't care about the ocean, hop on Route 5 which quickly takes you north into Oregon and eventually the city of Portland. Keep on Route 5 and you'll visit the cities of Tacoma and Seattle, and you could drive all the way to British Columbia if you wanted to. If not, take Route 90 at Seattle and begin the trek eastward, through Spokane and into Idaho. A short trip through that state finds you in scenic Montana, a land of national forests and sprawling landscape. You will travel through the Rocky Mountains to Billings, and past the Little Bighorn Battlefield. As you keep following Route 90, you will turn south and drive into Wyoming, right next to the Bighorn National Forest. You'll experience the awe of the early settlers as they made their way across the country, and you'll wonder how they made it through such rough terrain. Route 90 will take you east again, into South Dakota and the Black Hills. Past Rapid City is the Badlands National Park, well worth a stop to take dozens of photos and step back into the past. After you leave Sioux Falls, you'll be in Minnesota and back toward dense populated areas. Eventually, you'll be in Chicago, where you might want to spend a day or two and enjoy the city.

If you stay on Route 90, you'll drive through Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse before entering Albany and back to the East Coast.

Of course, the above routes are just a handful of interstate roads that snake their way across this country. I-40 is another wonderful east-west route that doesn't travel as southerly. Just pick up a map and you'll see the many roads that will take you to cities and towns, each providing you with a new and exciting experience.

Road trips are fun, exciting, and a challenge to see where you can visit. There are many other places to visit, including Yellowstone National Park, Mount Rushmore, the Biltmore Estate, Nashville, Memphis and places too numerous to mention. Mormons travel the route the original pilgrims followed from Illinois to Utah. Baby Boomers seek out the old Route 66, famous on television in the 1960's. History buffs follow the trails made during the Civil War, visiting the many battlefields along the way. Racing buffs travel the NASCAR circuit, traveling from track to track as they watch their favorite drivers match wits against each other.

All you need to do is purchase an inexpensive road atlas and chart out a course. The possibilities are endless, and you don't need to leave your country to create fabulous memories and fill a photo album with delightful family pictures.

If you plan to travel over busy holiday times or in the summer, however, you would be wise to make hotel or motel reservations in advance. Most of the chain hotels offer free booklets showing where each of their establishments are located, so you can call in advance and reserve a room. It's fun taking off and traveling when and where you feel like going, but during the busy season you could be left with no accommodations, and that's not good when you're tired and need a good rest.

If you're looking for places off the beaten path, however, there could be ample accommodations at inns or bed-and-breakfasts. On the other hand, there could be nothing. Be prepared. Make sure your gas tank is at least half filled when driving through mountainous and desert areas, and keep a gallon of water or antifreeze in the trunk in case your radiator runs dry. For those who are handy, taking hose bandage and a tool kit is a good idea for breakdowns far from civilization. A cell phone is a good thing to have when traveling in unknown areas, in case you need to call for help. And it might be a good idea to join an auto club.

© High Speed Ventures 2011