The 10 Best Road Trip Routes in America

America has some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth and there are plenty of scenic drives around the country that show off dramatic landscapes and dreamy sunsets

With spring officially here and warmer, longer days on the horizon, now is the perfect time to plan a spring road trip. Nothing beats packing up the RV, making some new playlists, and heading off for a road trip. Here are 10 of my favorites from sea to shining sea.

Hit the road!

Galleta Meadows sculptors, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

San Diego to Joshua Tree National Park

As biomes go, deserts often get a bad rap but taking a 225-mile spin from the sandy shores of San Diego to Joshua Tree National Park is anything but dry. This Southern California road trip is spiritual, stylish, and outdoorsy. The first stop as you head east over the San Jacinto Range is Julian, a nostalgic town with u-pick apple orchards and the famous Julian Pie Company.

Coachella Valley Preserve © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Press on through vista-filled mountain passes to Anza-Borrego Desert, California’s largest state park. Every spring it’s one of the most reliable spots to peep a super bloom. It has great hiking with chances to see 2,000-year-old petroglyphs and pictographs or bighorn sheep. Nearby Galleta Meadows contains 130 mammoth steel sculptures by Ricardo Breceda. Borrego Springs, an artist colony, is a good place to stop for lunch and gallery hopping. The Salton Sea has excellent birding as it sits along the Pacific Flyway.

Palm Springs reveres its mid-century modern architecture and Rat Pack roots but embraces its natural environment at the Coachella Valley Preserve and the Living Desert. Spend a day opting outside at Joshua Tree National Park, slightly larger than Rhode Island and full of strange Seussian trees and don’t leave before the stars come out as it’s a certified dark skies park.

Moki Dugway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Trail of the Ancients and the Moki Dugway

The Trail of the Ancients which traverses Colorado and Utah is America’s only national scenic byway dedicated solely to archaeology and will take you to some of the most famous sights in the country including Four Corners, Monument Valley, and Mesa Verde National Park. You could make this 480-mile drive straight through in one very long day but following a seven-day itinerary allows you to truly experience the Native American history along the route. The Trail of Ancients is paved, save for a harrowing three-mile, switchback-laden stretch known as the Moki Dugway as it descends to the Valley of the Gods offering unrivaled panoramic views of this otherworldly landscape.

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile drive connecting two national parks—Shenandoah in Virginia and the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina—and it is the most visited road controlled by the U.S. National Parks System. This journey is epic at any time of year but in autumn when the colors begin to change and the trees glow with vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows you’d be hard-pressed to find a prettier drive and road trip destination in North America.

Giant sequoias © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

California’s Giant Sequoias

When you think of California’s giant redwood trees, you likely imagine coastal redwoods. Those are the tall ones dotting the rugged northern California coastline and a road trip to see them is a must-do. But the giant sequoias are no slouches themselves! The giant sequoias you’ll see on this road trip are only known to exist in 75 specific groves along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. What makes these giants unique is that they grow incredibly large around their base and this differentiates them from coastal redwoods which are typically measured in height.

This specific journey north from San Francisco spans 900 miles and it will take you to the Discovery Tree, the first redwood noted by naturalists in the 1850s and should the weather permit give you a sunset in the famed Yosemite Valley. Have your camera charged and ready to capture the magic of this road trip destination as Ansel Adams once saw it.

Bourbon Trail © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Kentucky Bourbon Trail (with a designated driver)

Traveling the Kentucky Bourbon Trail can take three days or three weeks. It is whatever you make of it so stop by the gift shops, take distillery tours, and soak up the history lessons, and the tasty beverages. Having a designated driver each day of your road trip makes all of this possible and safe.

Fort Gaines © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Alabama’s Coastal Connection

True to its name the 130-mile-long Alabama’s Coastal Connection connects multiple communities and cities bordering Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It also connects travelers to nature and history at nearby preserves, parks, and historic sites. The scenic byway features a ride on the Mobile Bay Ferry connecting Dauphin Island to the Fort Morgan Peninsula. The 40-minute ride across the mouth of Mobile Bay spans two historic forts where the Battle of Mobile Bay took place during the Civil War. Here Union Adm. David G. Farragut bellowed his now immortal command, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From Dauphin Island to Orange Beach, Alabama’s 60 miles of Gulf Coast includes white-sand beaches. For a socially distant experience, explore the 7,100-acre Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on the Fort Morgan Peninsula. In addition to beach access points to uncrowded sands, there are hiking trails through a maritime forest and coastal dune habitats with views of saltwater lagoons, freshwater lakes, the beach, the bay and the chance to see wildlife. A number of waterfront towns line the coast. The artsy Eastern Shore enclave of Fairhope has a pier jutting a quarter-mile into the bay with an adjacent beach park and shady areas for a quiet picnic.

Bayou Teche at Breau Bridge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Deep Bayou Drive from NOLA

You should start this road trip with a rollicking good time in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Enjoy a few late NOLA nights, too many Hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s, and some jazz at Preservation Hall, then sleep all that off before heading west (in your RV, of course) to begin a deep bayou road trip adventure. The area is known for its swampland dotted with moss-draped cypress trees teeming with wildlife which makes it the perfect destination for bird watching, paddling, fishing, and numerous other outdoor activities.

Lake Martin © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The best road to drive is Highway 31 which will take you along Bayou Teche from New Iberia to Breaux Bridge, a scenic route with garlands of moody Spanish moss that dangle from oaks and cypress trees while alligators and herons splash about in the swampy lagoons. Nature watchers and photographers have immediate access to some of the best birding sites in North America including Lake Martin (near Breaux Bridge) with its expansive shoreline and bottomland hardwood forest. At last count, birders have spotted 240 species here. In the evenings, snowy, great and cattle egrets, little blue herons, green herons and yellow-crowed night herons gather to roost. Be sure to tour the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site where you’ll learn about the area’s Creole and Cajun history and culture.

RV/MH Museum and Hall of Fame © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Interstate 90

Not for the faint of heart, I-90 spans from sea to shining sea. From Boston to Seattle, this 3,024-mile highway travels through 13 states and features niche attractions like the Jell-O Gallery Museum in Le Roy, New York, the birthplace of Superman in Cleveland, and the RV/MH Museum and Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana. Some larger attractions not far from I-90 include Mount Rushmore, Niagara Falls, and national parks including Yellowstone and the Badlands.

Chippewa Square, Savannah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The Atlantic Coast

America’s longest north-south interstate, I-95 stretches for more than 1,900 miles down the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Miami with plenty to see and do along the way. Road trippers can kick off their journey with a visit to Acadia National Park in Maine followed by a stop in Boston to explore the cobblestone streets and the city’s waterfront neighborhood. Further adventure await in New York City with endless sights to see, things to do, and places to eat before venturing on to the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Continue down the coast to the scenic shores of Outer Banks in North Carolina then explore historic downtown Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville, and Daytona Beach before reaching your final destination in Miami.

Mississippi River near Memphis © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Great River Road

The Great River Road has been dubbed “The Best Drive in America,” covering 3,000 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. While it would take about 36 hours to drive this entire route, travelers can make a spring (or summer) vacation out of this journey that follows the Mississippi River through 10 states. Starting in Minneapolis road trippers can visit the famed Mall of America or one of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes before heading south to Wisconsin. This historic route also features iconic monuments like Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, and streets like Beale Street—otherwise known as “Home of the Blues” —in Memphis and the French Quarter in New Orleans. Road trippers can rest and recharge at numerous campgrounds and RV parks along the way.

Worth Pondering…

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.

—George Harrison, Any Road

Blow Your Mind at the Weirdest Roadside Attractions across America

Roadside attractions exist between major destinations as detours on the way to someplace else

There are numerous variables that make a fantastic road trip but none are more universal than the urge to detour to see something weird on the side of the road less traveled. Our highways are dotted with oddities that are as head-scratching as they are alluring: highly specific museums dedicated to whatever or gigantic versions of everyday items plunked into a field for no particular reason.

Here are six of the weirdest roadside attractions in the US. While road tripping, it’s often the undiscovered path that makes the most memorable moments on and off the road.

INSIDER TIP: For the deepest dive, jump off the interstate and wander the local or back roads instead.

Wigwam Motel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This Quirky Motel Is an Iconic Stop

The old Route 66 is the home to American kitsch. There are few places you will find unbelievable sights. One Route 66 icon in particular truly stands out from the rest.

Wigwam Motel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It was part of a small chain of similarly designed motels strewn across the country, the brain child of Frank Redford. This particular motel was built in 1950 by Chester Lewis, who purchased the design rights and became the sixth one. Since then, it has become an iconic part of Holbrook, Arizona and the old Route 66.

World’s Largest Killer Bee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Killer Bee Capital of the World

In October of 1990, the first colony of Africanized “killer bees” was found just outside Hidalgo, Texas. Though their unwelcome arrival into the U.S. set the media abuzz with panic, the south Texas city had an unusually sweet reaction.

World’s Largest Killer Bee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Hidalgo was the only place that honored their arrival with a bit of fanfare. Rather than shy away from the sting of all the bad press, the city’s mayor decided to celebrate its connection with the dreaded insects. The city became known as the “Killer Bee Capital of the World” and the Hidalgo Economic Development Department spent $20,000 to erect a 2,000-pound, lifelike statue of a massive Africanized honey bee. The city even sells posters and postcards that feature the feared bug.

UFO Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Dine At a UFO-Shaped McDonalds

Roswell, New Mexico is famous for its connection to the extraterrestrial. Is an alien ship being kept in a government facility? Do UFOs abduct unsuspecting people passing through? Are the aliens themselves being held captive? Does this conspiracy go all the way to the top? Who knows?

UFO Museum © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Regardless, you can explore all things weird in this city that has embraced its alien ties—even the local McDonald’s is shaped like a UFO. And the burgers? Well, they’re out of this world!

The Peachoid © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Peach of a Water Tower

The small town of Gaffney, South Carolina is well known for its peaches. Nicknamed the “Peach Capital of South Carolina,” Gaffney contains thousands of the juicy fruits but it also features one that is abnormally large—a peach that’s 135 feet tall. With a tall pedestal at the bottom supporting a spherical ball at the top, the Gaffney Peachoid is shaped like any conventional water tower but its design is slightly modified. The Peachoid is so big that its leaf alone is 60 feet long.

Goldfield Ghost Town © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Goldfield Ghost Town

We’ll say it: Goldfield is a dazzling nugget of desert entertainment. This roadside reconstruction of a gold discovery boom town delivers period characters, a mine tour, a mystery spot, a reptile museum, and legends of a lost treasure.

Goldfield Ghost Town © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The original town sprang up in 1892, peaking at 28 buildings with a community of up to 4,000. Five years later after prospectors had dug out all of the gold, the population deflated and Goldfield went ghost dark. Located on the Apache Trail (Arizona Highway 88), Goldfield booms once again—as a commercial Ghost Town with a sprawling array of recreated buildings and Wild West trappings that tourists crave.

World’s Largest Roadrunner © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Icon of Las Cruces

The roadrunner is the official state bird of New Mexico. A giant recycled roadrunner—20 feet tall and 40 feet long—has been an icon of Las Cruces ever since artist Olin Calk built it in 1993. It was made exclusively of items salvaged from the land fill. In early 2001, Olin stripped off the old junk, replaced it with new junk, and moved the roadrunner to a rest area along Interstate 10, just west of the city. Signs around the sculpture warn of rattlesnakes, but when we stopped by to visit people were blissfully trudging out to the big bird anyway, to pose for snapshots or examine the junk (We did, too).

Worth Pondering…

Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.

—Emma Chase

Before You Forget: 14 Absolutely Essential Items to Pack on Your Next Road Trip

There are certain essential products that are must-haves for RVers

Packing the right items is key to the perfect road trip. In addition to necessities like your wallet, phone, clothes, and keys, you’ll be glad you brought these 14 items along for the journey.

Full hookup camping showing power cord, water and sewer hoses, and cable TV © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Basic toolkit

It’s always a good idea to buy and stock a basic toolkit, just in case. The toolbox in your RV should include screw drivers, sockets, claw hammer, pliers, utility knife, tape measure, cordless drill, and adjustable and combination wrenches. Also, consider extension cords and spare fuses.

Water hose connection showing pressure regulator © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadside Emergency Kit

An emergency roadside assistance kit won’t break the bank but it just might save the day in the event of a breakdown or accident. Pick one up from any big-box store and bring it along for long road trips. Reflective road triangles are so effective, they are used by the Amish as electricity-free tail lights.

Dump station © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First Aid Kit

Like a roadside emergency kit, a first aid kit is a must for road trippers. This way you’ll have essential first-aid supplies to help treat most common injuries, including cuts, scrapes, swelling, sprains, and strains. Your first aid kit should include antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, antiseptic cleansing wipes, gauze dressing pads in varied sizes, tape roll, tweezers, adhesive bandages in varied sizes, scissors, disposable vinyl gloves, and Red Cross Emergency First Aid Guide.

Use extra care with snow and ice © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bug Spray

All kinds of annoying bugs come out in the summer so make sure you’re prepared to keep them at bay and avoid itchy bites by grabbing some bug spray with DEET. 

GPS Device

Having a portable one of these helps for adventures taken outside your car, too. There have to be at least 24 satellites in a “GPS constellation” of synchronized orbits in order for your GPS device to work. That’s a lot of rocket science and delicate mathematics, so take advantage of it.

Drive with care © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Paper Atlas

An atlas you can hold in your hand is the ultimate back-up plan. If the technology seems old, that’s because it is—road maps go back as far as 5th century Rome.

USB Charger

Don’t let your gadgets die on you. Modern USB connections aren’t just faster than their predecessors—they consume less power, too.

Ambassador RV Resort © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Vacuum

You’re enjoying the great outdoors—which means you’re bringing the great outdoors back into your RV with you. Staying at campsites means mud, grass, and insects—all of which can dirty up your home-on-wheels quickly. A small, cordless powerful vacuum is a must-have.

Fort Camping at Brae Island, Fort Langley, British Columbia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Folding steps

Folding steps are one of those useful tools you might not think about, but they’re handy to have around. As extra seating, an added step to get into your RV, and standing on to reach things when making repairs or finding the back of a high cupboard, it’s a useful tool.

Heavy duty sewer hose and secure connection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

High-quality sewer hose

Some things you definitely don’t want to skimp on, and your sewer hose is one of them. No one wants to be dealing with a ruptured sewer hose while on vacation. Invest in a high-end hose—your peace of mind and nasal passages will thank you.

Smokiam RV Resort, Soap Lake, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Folding tables

You can find a basic folding table in most stores—but you won’t find them in most campsites. They’re a great addition to your packing plans for meals, games, and hobbies. The benefit of a folding table is they take up a small amount of space and are generally water-resistant.

Cooler on sliding tray © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cooler

The cooler, or portable ice chest, was invented in 1951, but things have gotten a little fancier in the 67 years since. Some modern coolers can plug into your RV’s electrical outlet and use a powered fan to draw away heat and keep things even cooler.

Cash for tolls

Keep some quarters and spare paper cash so you never have to go digging.

Mitchell Corn Palace © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Camera

This one is obvious, but don’t leave home without it. How else are you going to document your visit to the world’s only corn palace, located in Mitchell, South Dakota?

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

The Best Road Trip Songs

These road trip songs will make your next excursion a memorable one whether you’re driving a roadster or an RV

Don’t get me wrong—I love urban life. But sometimes a visit to a local park or neighborhood walk doesn’t quite satisfy your need for an escape to the open road. Time to hit the highway for that classic American tradition: the road trip.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Of course, you can’t drive in complete silence—well, you can, and we sometimes do, but the very thought may give you a flat tire—so here’s my list of the best road trip songs to get your motors running and kick your highway journey into high gear. Whether you’re off to a state or national park or an extended cross-country road trip, here are the 13 best sounds to keep your engines purring. Crank up classics from the Eagles, the U2, Ray Charles, the Man in Black, John Denver, and even some Willie (and there’s plenty more where that came from). So grab your keys, pack up the RV, and crank up the volume. It is road trip time!

Driving Roaring Fork Nature Motor Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson

Nothing beats hitting the open road where you can escape the stress of work, bills, city life, and just be free, man. Just ask tireless road dog Willie Nelson. The Red Headed Stranger penned this 1980 country hit—the ultimate get-the-hell-out-of-town anthem—where else, but the back of his tour bus.

Corpus Christi, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash

Music has always had the power to educate. Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” taught us more 20th-century American history than a year’s worth of eighth-grade social-studies classes. And when it comes to geography, there is no better musical resource than this name-dropping country ditty, first released with North American locales in 1962 by Canadian crooner Hank Snow.

Helena, Montana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In four verses, 91 places are rattled off in rapid-fire succession—destinations both big (Chicago and Nashville) and small (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and Haverstraw, New York). The song has been covered many times and adapted for different regions of the globe, but we’re partial to the Man in Black’s 1996 rendition simply because his weathered, gravelly bass-baritone suggests a man who has indeed been everywhere.

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2

This opening track from U2’s landmark 1987 LP, The Joshua Tree, is an ideal kick starter for any road trip especially if you’re wandering about the California desert where this classic yucca plant is commonly found. From a whisper, the sound of an organ builds up like the start to a gospel hymn. It’s over a minute before the Edge’s guitar and Adam Clayton’s bass kicks in. More time passes before Bono’s vocals touch-down. By then, you’re ready to hit overdrive and wail along: “I want to run/I want to hide/I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside.” Though the song is about Bono’s vision of an Ireland free from class boundaries, it has inspired countless highway warriors to venture out to those places where the streets truly have no name. Or where they at least have weird names!

Driving Utah Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads

The gospel-choir intro to this upbeat single, off 1985’s Little Creatures, makes for a great start to any road-trip mix. The song celebrates the journey over the destination. Not every end point is a good one, but we’ll be damned if this march doesn’t have us enjoying the ride.

Driving the country roads in Bluegrass Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Take It Easy” by the Eagles

The Eagles took flight in 1972 with their debut single: a quick but mellow song of praise to the romance of the road where a world of troubles can be shucked at the mere sight of a girl (my lord!) in a flatbed Ford. Cowritten by frontman Glenn Frey and his friend Jackson Browne, the song’s rejection of worry and release into a relaxed and happy adventure are perfect for relieving tension on a long drive. And as the lyrics gently urge: “Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy.”

Driving Route 66 somewhere in Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Route 66” by Chuck Berry

This R&B standard, written in 1946 by Bobby Troup, has been covered by everyone from Nat King Cole to the Rolling Stones to John Mayer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bing Crosby, Asleep at the Wheel, and Depeche Mode. The song uses a twelve-bar blues arrangement and the lyrics follow the path of Route 66 which traversed the western two-thirds of the U.S. from Chicago, Illinois to Malibu, California. We’re partial to Chuck Berry’s 1961 rendition which matches the 2,400-mile pilgrimage on the connecting iconic highway to a T. Who better than the father of rock & roll to accompany a trip past greasy-spoon diners, tiny towns frozen in time and striking Americana landscapes?

Driving Creole Nature Trail, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles

Fiendishly simple with its descending piano chords, “Hit the Road Jack” is sung from the perspective of a philanderer being rejected by his lady. By all rights this 1961 R&B classic should win a prize for being impossible not to sing along to: “What you say???” screams soul hero Charles to his velvet-voiced Raelettes. The track’s most memorable use in a road trip appears in the 1989 comedy movie The Dream Team.

Driving Alabama Gulf Coast © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Because of college pigskin rivalries, this song could not be made today! College football is a matter of life and death down there. Skynyrd was born deep in SEC country: The boogie-rock brothers were from Jacksonville, not Alabama, and cut the track in Georgia. Could you imagine a bunch of Gators fans cutting a tune that could in any way be construed as “Roll Tide”? Yankees and rivals love to mock and loathe the Crimson Tide, but when this ditty plays, every human in the room, no matter the allegiance, becomes a temporary, gen-u-wine southern country folk.

Driving Bush Highway, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Truckin’” by Grateful Dead

Let us pause, and acknowledge the fact that this song has been recognized by the U.S. Library of Congress as a national treasure. Mmmm. Written and performed by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, and lyricist Robert Hunter, the catchy, bluesy tune—off 1970’s American Beauty—turns the band’s misfortunes on the road into a metaphor for getting through life’s constant changes. And really, what’s a good road trip—or a good life—if you can’t exclaim at the end, “What a long, strange trip it’s been”?

Driving the country roads in Parke County, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane

Okay. We know how heavy-handed these metaphors are and how forced the rhymes are. We never said every song on this list was a masterpiece. But we dare you not to sing along with the chorus of this 1991 tune—especially on a highway. Maybe no one ever listens to the song in its entirety, but one or two “life is a highway”s are pretty much mandatory.

Driving the winding roads of Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Everyday Is a Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow

The little sister to Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway,” Sheryl Crow’s 1996 hit unabashedly co-opts the use of automotive byways as metaphors for life’s ups and downs. The “wacky” characters in Crow’s songs are often a bit much for my liking—in this case, a vending-machine repairman with a daughter he calls “Easter” (what?)—but the chorus gets us fired up for some hairpin turns even when we’re cruising down a seemingly endless straightaway. The song takes us back to San Francisco’s Lombard Street whose residents probably have this tune swirling in their heads 24/7.

Driving the roads of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“King of the Road” by Roger Miller

The tale of the hobo, the migrant farm worker, and the dust bowl refugee are as pure 66 as the image of the Corvette and soda shop. This 1965 Roger Miller classic has got to be one of the most lighthearted hobo songs making it perfect driving or even wishing you were driving. Regardless, it’s a timeless everyman’s anthem and darn if it isn’t catchy.

Driving the roads of West Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

John Denver’s signature song is the official state anthem for West Virginia. It has been played at every West Virginia University Football game since 1972 as their theme song. But did you know that the song was actually inspired by another state? Bill Danoff and his wife, Taffy Nivert, wrote the classic song with help from Denver. Nivert grew up in the Washington D.C. area and one day she and Danoff were driving down an old road in Montgomery County, Maryland called Clopper Roads. Danoff started singing about the winding roads they were driving down and it had a ring to it.

Worth Pondering…

You’ve heard the old Willie Nelson country music song with the lyrics, “On the road again. Just can’t wait to get on the road again…” We’ll be singing this song for sure.

What You Need to Know to Have a Perfect Road Trip

Travel essentials to maximize your mobile vacation

Good morning. Trying to think of a single thing that’s bad about the outrageous amount of daylight we have right now, and…drawing a blank. It’s simply magnificent at every level especially in an RV. 

wan•der•lust(n.) a strong desire to travel

Reconnect with nature at Bernheim Forest, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Desire to travel! Desire to escape! Desire to reconnect with nature! The sense of wanderlust is stronger than ever and the idea of hitting the open road to find a change of scenery may be on your mind. At the end of the road, what will you find? Perhaps that is where your journey is just beginning.

Jetting off on vacation by plane has its advantages like efficiency and built-in downtime.

Jekyll Island, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

But the disadvantages can outweigh the upsides: Air travel means missing out on the freedom and sense of adventure that come with road-tripping. The open road affords unplanned discoveries and cultural oddities taking in the view at a scenic overlook for however long you like and the feeling of satisfaction when you stop and stretch your legs out in the fresh air. A road trip is its own reward, no matter your destination.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

GPS and smartphones have made taking a road trip easier than ever before but all you really need are miles of asphalt (which America has in abundance), an RV packed with supplies of your choice, and activities to keep you entertained during down time. Our wanderlust stays alive through the memories of the joy and fulfillment our travels have brought us in the past and the hope of realizing travel dreams again this summer.

Summer is full of life and excitement. It’s as thrilling as it can be calm and serene.

Davis Mountains in West Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

According to an annual American Automobile Association survey, more than two-thirds of American families take vacations each year with 53 percent opting for road trips. The global pandemic forced us to quarantine indoors for several months leaving many with cabin fever; RVing is proving to be the perfect solution. With many popular vacation destinations no longer an option due to closures, restrictions, and safety concerns, more and more people are turning to camping and RVing.

Roaring Fork Motor Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Par, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A recent Ipsos research examining consumer interest and planned actions on travel choices in light of the COVID-19 crisis suggests that RV travel and camping provide an appealing vacation option for American families. According to the research, 46 million Americans plan to take an RV trip in the next 12 months. If you’re one of those families, we hope these suggestions keep you on the right path.

Quail Gate State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Rules of the road

  • Don’t hesitate to make detours. Road trips are all about discovering new places.
  • Stop and stretch often. Your muscles will thank you and your focus will be renewed.
  • Put away your screens. The passing scenery—and chats with your fellow travelers—is your source of entertainment!
  • Avoid dehydration: Drink plenty of water.
  • Play it safe. Get plenty of rest and stay alert on the road. Sleeping for at least eight hours each night is a good start.
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Music tunes for the Road

  • “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson
  • “Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
  • “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads
  • “Take It Easy” by the Eagles
  • “Route 66” by Chuck Berry
  •  “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Hank Snow
  • “Ramblin’ Man” by Hank Williams
  • “Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane
  • “Everyday Is a Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow
Avery Island, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

More tunes for the Road

  • “King of the Road” by Roger Miller
  • “Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles
  • “Carolina In My Mind” by James Taylor
  • “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
  • “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver
  • “Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles
  • “Jambalaya” by Hank Williams
  •  “Wide Open Spaces” by Dixie Chicks
  • “Waltz Across Texas” by Ernest Tubb
  • “Miles and Miles of Texas” by Asleep at the Wheel
Get back to nature at Roosevelt State Park, Mississippi © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

JUST DO IT

  • Get back to nature
  • Learn something new at a historical marker
  • Take the scenic route
  • Sing “On the Road Again,” out loud, word for word
Kenedy County Courthouse in Sarita, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Photo Op

  • A small-town courthouse
  • Field of wildflowers
  • Winding country road
  • Botanical garden
Truth Barbecue in Brenham, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

VITTLES

Pecan pralines at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

The journey, and not the destination, is the joy of RVing.

Tips to Help You Plan Your Post-Coronavirus Road Trip

Everyone has a touch of cabin fever after the worldwide COVID-19 (coronavirus) lockdowns. So it’s no surprise that people want to travel soon. But you’ll want to consider a few new strategies to protect yourself and others.

Rethinking RV travel and changing your perceptions is the key to getting the most out of your next camping adventure. Yes, driving trips are still possible, but the road rules are a little different for now.

Highway 12 Scenic Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A good driving trip can teach you something important for your mental health: The world is huge and most of it thrives without the slightest concern for human headlines. As lockdown orders end and isolation recommendations ease, the number of travelers on the roads will increase.

Yes, RV road trips are safe—as long as you take steps to protect both yourself and others.

US-321 between Gatlinburg and Townsend in East Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Road trips in 2020 are not like the road trips that came before. This year requires a bit more planning and patience, not just for your own health but to protect other people as well. If you’re planning a road trip—even one that only lasts a few days—you’ll need to consider several new strategies. Don’t worry. The scenery is the same.

Bring hand sanitizer

Francis Beider Forest, South Carilina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s not possible to have a road trip and not touch anything. You’ll be handling fuel pumps, money at check-outs, credit card/debit terminals, the doorknobs of gas station washrooms, and lots of other unexpected things.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Carry a big bottle of sanitizer in your RV and toad—and keep it out of sight because amazingly there have been cases of muggings and burglary in which hand sanitizer was the target. So hide the stuff as if it were money. For that matter, you might also consider bringing some toilet paper in case some lout ahead of you stole what the gas station had.

Drive carefully

Applegate River Valley, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This sounds like standard advice, but these aren’t standard times. People are not driving normally right now. Traffic-free conditions bring out the worst in drivers who think they don’t have to observe the rules anymore. Some locales have even adjusted the timings on stoplights to enforce traffic calming on overenthusiastic drivers.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Other drivers are traveling slower or more erratic because they’re stressed or they haven’t been behind the wheel much in a while. Even steady drivers are feeling taut as drums because they’re afraid of getting in an accident that will send them to the belly of the beast—i.e., the ER.

Whitehall, New York © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

To preserve your sanity and to keep ambulances working on more important jobs, maintain the speed limit and put ample distance between you and the other vehicles on the road.

Plan RV parks ahead of time

River Run RV Park, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t assume you can find last-minute RV parks and campgrounds as you travel. It may be possible in some areas but not as easy as it was previously. RV parks are operating in a different way these days. Two new wrinkles affect road trips in particular: Not all private RV parks and public campgrounds are open and not all of them are accepting reservations from non-essential workers and overnight RVers.

On-Ur-Way RV Park, Onowa, Iowa © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So plan your route and nail down your campgrounds ahead of time. (Aren’t you glad you brought that extra toilet paper now?)

Maintain social distance

Bluegrass Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Your RV is your domain. You don’t need to worry much about new pathogens appearing in there. But whenever you step outside, Pandemic Rules go back in effect. Keep your distance from everyone.

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refufe, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You’ll need to pack more patience. You may need to wait longer for a scenic viewpoint to empty out. You may need to pass on popular hiking trails that don’t provide enough space. But you will find alternatives—a parking spot that’s a little farther down the road, a vantage point that few others have discovered, and unexpected hidden gems.

Mount Lemmon, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

We still may not have a cure-all for what’s troubling our bodies, but travel has always been a panacea for troubled minds.

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Most Scenic Road Trips in America

These drives aren’t just a road to someplace scenic they are jaw-dropping on their own and will have you constantly looking for places to pull over so you can take more photos

These drives aren’t just a road to something beautiful, they are jaw-dropping on their own.

“To everyone in this country, the car represents freedom, mobility, and the control you feel over your destiny/destination,” said Callie Khouri, Oscar-winning screenwriter of Thelma & Louise.

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

From the dramatic California coast to history-lined thoroughfares of New England, there are countless scenic drives across the country—and some stellar standouts. We’ve picked the routes with heart-stopping vistas. For example, the winding Blue Ridge Parkway, now over 75 years old, winds its way past limestone caverns, clear mountain springs, and Appalachian majesty.

So round up the family, prep the RV, and hit the road. In Khouri’s words—go see what America tastes like.

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The nearly 500 miles of blacktop twisting through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks was built for travelers seeking Appalachian overlooks. It’s a panoramic drive for all seasons, with undulating slopes of color in autumn, a bounty of forest canopy in summer, and hot-cider ski resorts in winter.

Blue Ridge Parkway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stop: In the mines of the mineral-rich Appalachian Mountains, visitors can pan for emeralds, amethyst, rubies, topaz, and even gold at Emerald Village (Milepost 334).

Route 12, Utah

Highway 12 Scenic Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The red rock majesty of Utah is on triumphant display on State Route 12 winding between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks. The 124-mile strip has funky small towns and very few entry points, so it takes a map and determination to witness the steep sandstone canyons and bluffs of purple sage, and to tackle the narrow cliff-hanging ridgeline road called The Hogback.

Highway 12 Scenic Byway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stop: The log-and-sandstone Kiva Koffeehouse in Escalante supplies travelers with art, coffee, and views of Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument.

Iron Mountain Road, South Dakota

Iron Mountain Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What seems like a long bike ride is actually one of the most picturesque portions of pavement in the country and it’s surrounded by fun things to do. Officially known as US Route 16A the Iron Mountain Road twists and turns through a portion of Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Iron Mountain Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stop: The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is the crown-jewel of an Iron Mountain Road trip.

Ocean Drive, Newport, Rhode Island

Ocean Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The 10-mile coastal route packs in historic mansions and spectacular views over Narragansett Bay. The Gilded Age “cottages” of Ocean Drive compete with maritime scenery for jaw-dropping splendor, including opulent homes built for titans of industry, the Vanderbilts, Astors, and Morgans.

The Breakers on Ocean Drive © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stop: War buffs can visit historic Fort Adams which garrisoned soldiers for more than 125 years.

Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina and Tennessee

Cherohala Skyway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Travel the Cherohala Skyway and enjoy panoramic vistas as you wind through the Southern Appalachian high country. It winds up and over 5,400 foot mountains for 18 miles in North Carolina and descend another 23 miles into the deeply forested back country of Tennessee. The road crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests thus the name “Chero…hala”.Peak colors typically occur during the last two weeks in October.

Cherohala Skyway © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stop: The Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains is a “must stop” before starting up the Skyway. Stop by for free maps, Skyway driving conditions and local area souvenirs and gifts.

Gold Rush Trail, California

Sutter Creek © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The California Gold Rush expended 125 million troy ounces of gold, worth more than $50 billion by today’s standards. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of the gold in the Mother Lode is still in the ground. Many of the historic and picturesque towns that developed in the area still exist, linked by California Highway 49, the Gold Rush Trail.

Placerville © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Stop: Hangtown, which has since been renamed Placerville, is where the famous “Hangtown Fry” was invented and is still featured on many local menus. An omelet with cheese, bacon, onions, and oysters, the first Hangtown Fry was whipped up during the height of the Gold Rush when a suddenly successful miner demanded, “the most expensive food you’ve got!”

Worth Pondering…

Nothing says summer travel like a road trip, whether you’re venturing to a nearby favorite spot or setting out in search of distant adventures.

14 Essential Items to Pack on Your Next Road Trip

There are certain essential products that are must-haves for RVers

Packing the right items is key to the perfect road trip. In addition to necessities like your wallet, phone, clothes, and keys, you’ll be glad you brought these 14 items along for the journey.

Basic toolkit

The essentials all in place at Columbia Sun RV Resort in Kennewick, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s always a good idea to buy and stock a basic toolkit, just in case. The toolbox in your RV should include screw drivers, sockets, claw hammer, pliers, utility knife, tape measure, cordless drill, and adjustable and combination wrenches. Also, consider extension cords and spare fuses.

Roadside Emergency Kit

Water hose with pressure regulator at 12 Tribes Casino RV Park in Omak, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An emergency roadside assistance kit won’t break the bank but it just might save the day in the event of a breakdown or accident. Pick one up from any big-box store and bring it along for long road trips. Reflective road triangles are so effective, they are used by the Amish as electricity-free tail lights.

First Aid Kit

Power cord and water and sewer connections in place at Vista del Sol RV Resort in Bullhead City, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Like a roadside emergency kit, a first aid kit is a must for road trippers. This way you’ll have essential first-aid supplies to help treat most common injuries, including cuts, scrapes, swelling, sprains, and strains. Your first aid kit should include antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, antiseptic cleansing wipes, gauze dressing pads in varied sizes, tape roll, tweezers, adhesive bandages in varied sizes, scissors, disposable vinyl gloves, and Red Cross Emergency First Aid Guide.

Congaree National Park in the South Carolina Lowcountry issues bug alert © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bug Spray

You will need bug spray when touring the Audubon Swamp Garden near Charleston, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

All kinds of annoying bugs come out in the summer so make sure you’re prepared to keep them at bay and avoid itchy bites by grabbing some bug spray with DEET. 

GPS Device

Moody Mansion in Galveston, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Having a portable one of these helps for adventures taken outside your car, too. There have to be at least 24 satellites in a “GPS constellation” of synchronized orbits in order for your GPS device to work. That’s a lot of rocket science and delicate mathematics, so take advantage of it.

Paper Atlas

Hiking the trail to Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park; don’t forget the bug spray © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

An atlas you can hold in your hand is the ultimate back-up plan. If the technology seems old, that’s because it is—road maps go back as far as 5th century Rome.

USB Charger

Roseate Spoonbills along the Creole Nature Trail south of St. Charles, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Don’t let your gadgets die on you. Modern USB connections aren’t just faster than their predecessors—they consume less power, too.

Vacuum

A warning to watch for and not step into a hill of fire ants © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You’re enjoying the great outdoors—which means you’re bringing the great outdoors back into your RV with you. Staying at campsites means mud, grass, and insects—all of which can dirty up your home-on-wheels quickly. A small, cordless powerful vacuum is a must-have.

Folding steps

Monahan Sandhills State Park in West Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Folding steps are one of those useful tools you might not think about, but they’re handy to have around. As extra seating, an added step to get into your RV, and standing on to reach things when making repairs or finding the back of a high cupboard, it’s a useful tool.

High-quality sewer hose

Pack a high-quality sewer hose and required attachments © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some things you definitely don’t want to skimp on, and your sewer hose is one of them. No one wants to be dealing with a ruptured sewer hose while on vacation. Invest in a high-end hose—your peace of mind and nasal passages will thank you.

Folding tables

Horse farm in Bluegrass Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can find a basic folding table in most stores—but you won’t find them in most campsites. They’re a great addition to your packing plans for meals, games, and hobbies. The benefit of a folding table is they take up a small amount of space and are generally water-resistant.

Cooler

Touring Fort Adams State Park, Rhode Ialand © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The cooler, or portable ice chest, was invented in 1951, but things have gotten a little fancier in the 67 years since. Some modern coolers can plug into your RV’s electrical outlet and use a powered fan to draw away heat and keep things even cooler.

Cash For Tolls

Keep some quarters and spare paper cash so you never have to go digging.

Camera

Mitchell Corn Palace © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

This one is obvious, but don’t leave home without it. How else are you going to document your visit to the world’s only corn palace, located in Mitchell, South Dakota?

Worth Pondering…

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”