With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact travel around the world, more people are opting to drive to their destinations than ever before, and, according to the latest Travel Advisor Sentiment survey from MMGY Travel Intelligence and TMR, 40% of all inquiries that advisors are getting are about travel to U.S. destinations, including beach and mountain destinations.
Thankfully, there are countless corners of America to be explored on the open road. Here are the top road trip routes search results across the U.S., according to the most recent Google consumer searches.
1. Route 66
Route 66. Photo: Shutterstock.com
Passing through eight states between Chicago, Illinois, and Santa Monica, California, and spanning 2,300 miles, Route 66 had great stretches of scenic open road that connected the small towns along the way, bringing people out West during the Dust Bowl era. While it was largely replaced by interstates, particularly I-40, in the 1980s, it’s still possible to follow the original route for an iconic all-American road trip full of retro diners, classic automobiles, and relics of a bygone era.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway, Carolinas and Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo: Shutterstock.com
The Parkway’s 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina weaves America’s rich cultural heritage, from Cherokee life and agricultural history to Southern Appalachian crafts and music. Spanning the southern and central Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a glimpse at the scenic landscape, from the mountains to numerous waterfalls.
3. Pacific Coast Highway, California
Pacific Coast Highway. Photo: Shutterstock.com
The classic Coastal California road trip, the route takes travelers through the towering redwood forests of Northern California, along the coast of Big Sur, down to the stretch beaches of Southern California. Stop along the way in San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego, whether it’s a two-day or two-week journey.
4. Silverado Trail, California
Silverado Trail. Photo: Shutterstock.com
Linking the 30 or so miles between the towns of Napa and Calistoga, the Silverado Trail winds through the Napa Valley wine region amid rolling hills and mountains. Originally built in the 1850s during the silver rush, the route runs parallel to CA-29. Though only an hour drive from start to finish, add stops to the region’s exceptional wineries hot springs and mineral pools in Calistoga for a jaunt.
5. Scenic Byway 12, Utah
Scenic Byway 12. Photo: Shutterstock.com
In the heart of the American West, drive through rugged terrain, aspen and pine groves, the meadowlands of Boulder Mountain, and desert landscape. The nearly 123 miles journey begins to the west in Panguitch near the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument and ends in Torrey to the northeast, and connects Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef national parks.
6. North Shore Scenic Drive, Minnesota
North Shore Scenic Drive. Photo: Shutterstock.com
Follow the majestic shoreline of Lake Superior and experience some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. The drive provides access to eight state parks, and the Superior National Forest and offers unlimited opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in all seasons.
7. Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington
Olympic Peninsula Loop. Photo: Shutterstock.com
On this 445-mile road trip, experience the best of the Olympic Peninsula, an area of land in western Washington that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle. The 31-mile scenic loop around the Olympic National Park offers sights of the dramatic coastline, from rugged cliffs and thick forest, sights of eagles, otters, and gray whales, and the crystal waters of Ozette Lake.
8. The High Road to Taos Scenic Byway, New Mexico
Taos Scenic Byway. Photo: Shutterstock.com
Rich in history, art, and culture, the 56-mile High Road to Taos is a winding road through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos. It travels through high desert, mountains, forests, small farms, and tiny Spanish Land Grant villages and Pueblo Indian villages.
9. Florida Keys Scenic Highway, Florida
Florida Keys Scenic Highway. Photo: Shutterstock.com
The 110-mile stretch of US 1 from Key Largo to Key West is known by locals as the “Road to Paradise.” Driving down the highway where the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico meet, experience the laid-back lifestyle of the Florida Keys and the tropical scenery of palm trees and turquoise waters.
10. Saddle Road, Hawaii
Saddle Road. Photo: Shutterstock.com
Not for the faint of heart, Saddle Road, or Route 200, cuts through Hawaii from the Kona Coast to the tropical Hilo side. At its highest point, Saddle Road reaches a maximum elevation of more than 6,600 feet. The highway was once considered to be so dangerous, it has undergone extensive renovations since then. But with striking views abound – tropical forests, arid desert, lush grasslands and misty mountaintop fog – it makes for one of the best ways to experience the Big Island’s diversity.