Plan your next great American road trip with these ideas and travel tips

Road trip ideas


  • 20 First-hand road tripping experiences

  • Recommended routes by theme

  • How to get the most out of your trip


There’s nothing quite like the freedom, independence and sense of discovery you get on a road trip, and there are few better places to load up and hit the highway than America. Whether you’re looking to get away in summer or at other times of year, here’s a collection of ideas based on the experiences of staff at RoadLoans and Santander Consumer USA, as well as trips researched by theme. For smooth travels there are also tips for what to take, what to eat, what to listen to and how to prepare your vehicle. Get perusing and start planning your next adventure.


Where to go: Destinations and experiences


Road trip: Western calm in wine country
Exploring Bodega Bay and the charming towns and vineyards of Sonoma County, on the Californian coast.

Road trip: What I learned going from Texas to California
Experience is priceless. Here are the biggest mistakes Corey Neal learned to never (again) make on a long-distance road trip.



Road trip: Across the Rocky Mountains in Colorado
From Denver, the Mile High City, across the Rocky Mountains to Vail, CO, is a majestic road trip that will take your breath away.

Road trip: A view from the top
Vacation week meant a 781-mile journey from Texas to an idyllic cabin halfway up Pike’s Peak, CO, and an exhilarating 19-mile drive to the very top.

Road trip: Dallas to Durango and back – Part 1
Getting there really is half the fun, as Mark Macesich rediscovered traveling through the Texas Panhandle, a corner of New Mexico and on to Victorian-era Durango, CO.

Road trip: From Dallas to Durango and back – Part 2
A detour from Durango across the Continental Divide to Colorado Springs led to rocky hiking trails, buffalo burgers and a vista full of hot air balloons.



A road trip to Destin, FL, white-sand beaches and seafood
Leaving Dallas late on a Friday and arriving at Destin’s Another Broken Egg Café for breakfast the next day kicked off a vacation of sun, sand and surf.



An Atlanta road trip filled with meaning and new memories
It was a last-minute trip to see far-away family, and some interesting stops were called for. They included a small southern town with a large historical impact on the Civil Rights Movement – Selma, AL.

Road trip: Visiting the South – Georgia and South Carolina – Part 1
Picked up at Augusta, GA, a Chrysler Town and Country proved the perfect vehicle for a road trip into the Deep South.

Road trip: Visiting the South – Georgia and South Carolina – Part 2
Getting from Augusta, GA, to Aiken, S.C., was easy, and opened the door to a town with an equestrian feel, charming shops and stylish restaurants.

Road trip: Visiting the South – Georgia and South Carolina – Part 3
A road trip from Aiken to Charleston, S.C., via Orangeburg, is gorgeous, and makes you dream of moving to a secluded corner of the Deep South.



Road trip: On a mission to West Bend, Iowa
The mission was completing a long journey home for a family reunion, with familiar sights, smells and tastes en route.



Lively steps and lilting tunes in Branson
A thriving country music scene, great dining, plenty of entertainment and beautiful mountains can be found in and around Branson, MO.

Route 66 still kicks in cities across America
Roll along a section of iconic Route 66 – The Mother Road – in southwest Missouri, and visit Springfield, “The Birthplace of Route 66.”


North Carolina

Road trip: A letter from Camp Rockmont
LaQuenda Jackson and her son were not prepared for the beauty of North Carolina and the majestic mountains around Asheville – the perfect place for a summer camp.



Road trip: Going to Guthrie
Thirty miles north of Oklahoma City and 234 miles from Dallas lie Guthrie, a quaint town and former capital of Oklahoma, and the nearby Cimarron River Canyon.



From eagles to Elvis: Experience West Tennessee
For Andrew Berry, one U.S. road trip destination stands above all others. West Tennessee offers Reelfoot Lake, a must for nature lovers, the Memphis music scene, National Civil Rights Museum, Shiloh National Military Park and more.



Road trip: Beaucoup bats and battered dishes in Austin, Texas
There’s no shortage of attractions in and around the Lone Star State capital, from water activities in Lake Austin, Lake Travis and the quieter swimming holes to an acclaimed restaurant and bar scene.

Road trip destination: Floating down the Guadalupe River
Floating gently down the Guadalupe River has to be a state pastime in Texas, and it’s a great way to relax and cool off when summer temperatures start to climb.

Road trip: Going to Galveston a family tradition
The Gulf-shore beaches of Galveston are a quick, affordable getaway for many Texan families, just five hours by road from the likes of Dallas in North Texas.

Road trip: Living large in the Lone Star state
Texas is a land where everything is known to be bigger, and that even extends to convenience stores. Enter Buc-ee’s, laying claim to being the world’s biggest, located off I-35 near New Braunfels. It’s what road trips are made of.

Road trip: My adventure from North Carolina to Dallas, Texas
Graduating from the University of North Carolina and starting work in Dallas, TX, led to a memorable 19-hour drive through multiple states, time zones and temperatures for Matt Holman, with a welcome break in New Orleans.

Road trip: San Antonio and back in three days
Fort Worth to San Antonio is 249 miles, making a three-day family road trip, with a day spent at San Antonio’s Sea World, very doable.


Road trips by theme

Summer vacation

Road trip season has arrived
To kick off summer season travels, here’s a selection of U.S. road trips recommended by Lonely Planet.

Road trips: The cure for ‘summertime blues’
A little interstate cruise can prove to be therapeutic, not to mention a fascinating and fun way to explore this big ol’ country.

Summer road trip ideas from the experts
From outdoorsy to bucket-list to weekend trips, take a look at these point-to-point road adventures recommended by experts at Kayak, USA Today, Skift, Outdoor Magazine and more.


Spring break

When is spring break? Dates, destinations and details to help plan your trip
Check college spring break dates with this comprehensive list, and see top spring break destinations around the U.S.

10 Spring break road trip destinations you’ll really want to visit
From East Coast to West Coast, we’ve compiled some of the best beachy and city-focused spring getaways.

Top 8 road trip cities for spring break 2015
Vegas, Miami, Daytona Beach … the list goes on and the bright lights await you.

Road trip America – It’s about the experience
For many, whether they’re of school age, in their college years or a parent, spring break is synonymous with memory-making road trips.


National and state parks

America’s greatest road trips: U.S. National Parks
Some of America’s very best road trips are to and through national parks, like Acadia in Maine, Big Bend in Texas and the Everglades in Florida. Find out what to see and do, and what’s nearby.

5 Road trips for Memorial Day weekend

From hiking trails through thick forest to stargazing in the desert, these breaks to some of America’s finest parks and protected areas will feel a world away from home, yet are surprisingly accessible from a handful of major cities.


City breaks

Top 8 road trip cities of 2014
Get inspiration from some of the most popular road trips posted on the internet, and details of what makes them special.


Valentine’s Day

Romantic road trips to make Valentine’s Day miles better
Why not turn Valentine’s Day into a weekend excursion? These scenic suggestions will help you plan it.


The ‘perfect’ road trip

What’s the perfect road trip? Chevrolet tries to find out

Chevrolet and data scientist Randy Olsen teamed up to create what they believe to be the optimal routes for road trippers, with an epic, start-anywhere 13,000-mile guide and various regional trips.

Places missed on the ‘perfect’ Northeast road trip

Putting together their ideal road trip for the Northeast, Chevrolet and Olsen left out some sights we think are definitely worth a detour. Here are Josh Myatt’s recommendations.

Places missed on the ‘perfect’ Texas road trip map

In such a big state with so much to see it’s hard to fit everything into a road trip, but here are three destinations not to be missed within the magic triangle of Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.


What to pack

10 Essentials for a road trip back to that college campus
No one wants to arrive on campus after the annual road trip only to realize they left an essential sitting on the nightstand. Read this infographic before you go.

Tips for traveling with pets
If you’re road tripping with a pet for company, these tips on what to pack and how to handle the journey will smooth the way.

What to pack for a college sporting event road trip
Traveling to a rival school for a sports game is a decades-old tradition, and packing the right stuff should be part of it if you want to make the most of the experience.


What to eat

Road trip: Food for thought when you’re traveling
Food is a way to embrace the experience of travel, and Sonny Bynum’s recipe for a tasty road trip includes old faithfuls, new classics and local flavor.

Road trips and restaurants: Eating your way across America
Check out AAA-inspector restaurant recommendations that are definitely worth a stop.


What to listen to

The top 38 summer road trips songs
Our melting pot of tunes, like all good mixes, features a wide variety. Browse the selection and hear our summer road trip playlist on Spotify.


How to prepare your vehicle

Summer is here. Is your vehicle ready?
Beware of potential frustration on the road. Prepare for happy travels with these nine summer car-care tips.

Roadside emergency & car safety kit list
It’s good to be prepared for anything that comes your way on the road. An emergency kit, and some safety steps, may prevent your road trip turning flat.


More travel tips

Holiday road trip
See a dozen great ways to prepare for a holiday season automobile adventure in this infographic, from thinking like a Boy Scout to keeping the kids busy.

Safe winter driving tips for the holidays and beyond
Driving in the winter can be scenic, but also dangerous. Travel safely with these tips for vehicle preparation, what to bring, driving in snow and more.

Road trip: AAA advice on hitting the roads safely this summer
Don’t be one of millions of motorists stranded on the roadside when you should be vacationing instead.



Written by:

Competitive Rates

Lower your monthly car payments by applying for a car loan with

Apply for a Loan

*View disclosures & offer information
Dodge Charger