Top 6 Road Trips for Summer Travel

See the best that America has to offer from the open road

The best part of any road trip isn’t the place you’re going to, it’s the journey to get there. The most memorable moments are the quirky pit stops, the roadside dining, and the ever-changing landscapes out the window. So load up the RV and queue up the music (think, On the Road Again and King of the Road) because summer is the season of road trips.

There’s a long distance between point A and point B, but on these road trips there’s plenty to do and see along the way.

Turquoise Trail

Santa Fe, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New Mexico State Road 14, better known as the Turquoise Trail, may only be about 50 miles long, but it’s got enough history, art, shops, and sights to make it the perfect day trip. Designated a National Scenic Byway in 2000, the Turquoise Trail is named for the precious stone first mined here centuries ago.

Albuquerque as seen from Petroglyph National Monument © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Formally known as New Mexico State Road 14, the Turquoise Trail is the perfect road trip for those who want to immerse themselves in Southwestern culture. Driving south from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, the route follows the trail where the precious turquoise stone was first mined.

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66 in Western Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Although Historic Route 66 is no longer the “Main Street of America,” this long stretch between Chicago and Long Beach, California is still an iconic American road trip.

Historic Route 66 display at the Route 66 Museum in Kingman, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This corridor is like a journey through American history, where you can see flickering neon signs, abandoned gas stations, quirky museums, breathtaking natural formations, old-fashioned diners and motels, and some of the nation’s most-famous landmarks. Don’t rush your Route 66 road trip; the journey is the destination here.

Florida’s A1A

Along Florida’s AIA at Daytona Beach © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Running along the eastern coast of Florida, you’ll get plenty of beach views on Florida’s A1A. Travelers taking the A1A can experience sea turtles at Fort Lauderdale’s Sea Turtle Oversight Protection Headquarters, explore fine art at J.M Stringer Gallery of Fine Art in Vero Beach, and spend time in the historic city of St. Augustine.

Along Florida’s A1A on Amelia Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The northernmost point of A1A is Amelia Island, which also feels like a living history museum. Especially Fort Clinch State Park, where you can see remains of a pre-Civil War fortress. Visit the small Fernandina Beach and end your trip with a night at Fort Clinch campgrounds.

Portland to Seattle

Off I-5 neat Mount St. Helens © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Two of the Pacific Northwest’s most vibrant cities, Portland and Seattle, have plenty of exciting stops in between. RVers can take various pathways between the two cities. For the most scenic—and slow—route, veer to the coastline and hop the cities there. 

Columbia Riverfront RV Park along the Columbia River © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But even the most straight-shot route, up Interstate 5, is full of fun stops. A drive straight through will only take about three hours, but you can drag it out over a few days and see scenic parks and mountains, museums and gardens, islands and lakes.

Highway 191 from Moab to Lake Powell

Arches National Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s around 186 miles from Moab to Lake Powell—a long highway packed with an endless amount of outdoor adventure and recreation. This road trip gives you access to Arches National Park, the Valley of the Gods, Goosenecks State Park, and Monument Valley.

Valley of the Gods © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Valley of the Gods is Utah backcountry at its finest. Those looking for Ancestral Puebloan ruins can search for petroglyphs around Bluff, Utah, and catch a glimpse of the Tsegi villages.

Catalina Highway

Along the Catalina Highway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Climbing to over 9,000 feet with a near 7,000-foot elevation change in a mere 30 miles, the Catalina Highway (also called the Mount Lemmon Highway) is a brilliant ascent with countless curves, numerous vistas, and three major switchbacks. Numerous pullouts and vista points line the route up the mountain. They’re all beautiful and worth a look but there are two in particular you won’t want to miss—Windy Point (Mile 18) and Aspen Vista Point (Mile 27).

A veiwpoint along the Catalina Highway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Since there’s only one paved road up this mountain, when you reach the top, you’ll have no choice but to turn around and let gravity assist in your descent.

Worth Pondering…

It’s not just a drive.

It’s an experience.