There’s something about packing up the tent or RV and taking off on a family road trips adventure that just feels so freeing. No schedules, no obligations; just you, your loved ones, and the open road ahead of you.
Want more ideas to round-out your Road Trips?
A lot of great ideas are in these posts!
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Are you looking for a summer road trip planner on a budget, one for everyone no matter where they are in the U.S.? The United States is filled with extraordinary, affordable destinations. Whether you’re exploring nature or visiting historical sites, these 10 road trips will fit the bill. Plus, with gas prices going up and up and up you should go now, now is the perfect time to hit the open road! So pack your belongings and get set for an adventure.
You can’t go wrong with a good ole American road trip just make sure you have the right road trip plan. Drive through the heart of the country and visit plenty of historical sites along the way. The United States has so many options that we had to narrow it down just a bit. Scroll down and check out our pick for 10 Best Budget Road Trips in America. We have taken all of the thinking on ourselves and have built you the best road trip itinerary possible complete with all of the best stops on each of the 10 sections
1. The Oregon Coast Road Trip
Country and coast meet on the Pacific coast of Oregon. The coast west of the Cascade Mountains is rugged, with dramatic cliffs and beautiful pine forests, while views east toward the mountains are expansive and scenic and is great for a family road trip.
Highlights include Cannon Beach ; home to Haystack Rock ; and impressive vistas from Ecola State Park. In the summer months, the towns along the coast come to life with festivals and events.
We live in Las Vegas, just a hard day away from the Oregon Coast. You can fly into Portland and then drive to the coast if you’re coming from out of town. The road trip itinerary will get you to the best spots without wasting time on your trip.
If you’re daring, you can take the Amtrak train from anywhere in the country and disembark at the charming town of Eugene, which is only an hour away from the coast.
The Oregon Coast is full of activities for all kinds of travelers. You can go hiking in the forests, kayaking in the bays, or visit the dozens of lighthouses that dot the coastline it is a road trip to remember.
It is one of the country’s most attractive residences, hands down. With 4,300 miles of dramatic coastline and lush green forests, your Instagram feed will thank you for visiting here.
With over 100 state parks and dozens of great restaurants, there is no shortage of things to do or places to stay on the beautiful Oregon Coast what more could you want on a family road trip. And since it’s a popular destination, you can find great deals on hotels and camping grounds.
Oregonians are some of the most friendly people in the country. If you’re looking for a place to chat with locals and learn about their culture, the Oregon Coast is the place to be.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be in heaven when you visit the Oregon Coast. From seafood to farm-to-table restaurants, you’ll find something to satisfy your taste buds. Also, it is known for its fresh, local food.
The Oregon Coast is one of the utmost pet-friendly places in the country. You can bring your furry friends with you everywhere you go, and there are plenty of dog squares and beaches where they can run and play.
No matter what your interests are, this road trip will help you find something to do on the Oregon Coast.
You can visit dozens of unique museums if you’re a history buff. If you’re into art, there are plenty of galleries along the coast where you can take in local artwork. And if you’re looking for some peace and quiet, the Oregon Coast is one of the most relaxing destinations in the country.
2. The Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip
A favorite of American drivers, the Blue Ridge Parkway winds for 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. The parkway offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys and hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. In the fall, the altering leaves make the drive even more beautiful.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile spring of road lined with miles and miles of greenery, hiking trails, and so much more. We look forward to doing this road trip many times over because it allows us to see nature and experience life to its fullest.
We recommend the first part of the trip starting in Asheville, North Carolina. When designing your trip, make sure to check out the many places in these areas to explore and stay for the night!
We recommend visiting the Biltmore Estate because not only does it allow you to see one of America’s most beautiful estates but also allows you to take a tour of the inside of the home. The time it takes is a little over an hour and shows you around the entire property. There are many other rooms, but unfortunately, they have been boarded up for safety.
The Biltmore Estate also has beautiful trails surrounding it, so if you enjoy hiking or just exploring, this place is perfect for both activities!
After looking at the estate, we head to the trails. But first…
First Stop: Fat Tire Farm
Before going on a hike, you have to replenish those much-needed carbs part of any road trip is keeping energy levels up and drinking plenty of water. A perfect stop for this would be Fat Tire Farm. This brewery provides excellent beers and even better views of the Blue Ridge Mountains! They have a vast outdoor space with picnic tables and a fire pit, and the inside of the brewery is very cozy. Their food menu has many options; we recommend the pretzels with garlic cheese sauce!
The hike you should go on…
Once you’re feeling up for it (the beer will most likely make you feel up to it), take a short drive over to Chimney Rock Park. This park is perfect for your hiking fix because it has over 5 miles of trails. We recommend taking the Hickory Nut Falls trailhead to get a miraculous view of the waterfalls and scenery of this hike!
Hiking will pretty much take up most of your day so when you’re done, head back to your place for the night, but not before…
Second Stop: Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Later after a long day of hiking, you’re going to want dinner and a beer. We recommend heading over to the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. This brewery is enormous and this is one of our favorite stops in this segment of family road trips! They have a great food menu with many vegetarian options, and of course, they have their own beers on tap! It has an outdoor space with games, plenty of seating, and an indoor room with a bar and more seating.
After dinner, take a walk around the property and check out the different gardens they have or head back inside to play some games!
The next day, we would recommend…
Third Stop: The Biltmore Winery
The last stop on our road tour was The Biltmore Winery. This winery is a part of the Biltmore Estate and is America’s most prominent winery! They have a self-guided trip that takes you through the wine-making process, and of course, they have wine tastings at the end. Following the time, you can take a stroll around the beautiful grounds.
The Biltmore Estate also has many food options, such as The Bistro and The Terrace, so no worries if you don’t enjoy wine!
After spending some time here, we recommend heading back to your house or hotel and relaxing for the day. Make sure to check out all the grotesque things Asheville has to offer!
3. The Historic Columbia River Highway Road Trip
This highway on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge no road trip to Oregon would be complete without it. The Gorge Highway has been called “the most beautiful drive in America.” After World War II, the road fell into disrepair but was rebuilt in 1996 to its original grandeur. The route offers stunning views of the Columbia River and its many waterfalls and Mount Hood and other Cascade Mountain peaks.
If you’re looking for a historic road trip to take, the Columbia River Highway is definitely the route for you. This highway winds its way along the Columbia River and offers scenic views of the river and the surrounding mountains. Also, there’s a hiking, fishing, and biking.
One of the unique features of this road trip is that it passes through both Oregon and Washington. So, be sure to pack your passport, because you’ll get to visit two states on one trip! And, if you’re propitious, you may even spot some wildlife.
We had a blast on our trip down the Columbia River Highway. We hiked, fished, and biked, and we even got to see some beautiful waterfalls. We also visited some historical sites along the route, including the Bonneville Dam. It was a great trip, and we would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and scenic road trip!
4. The Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
This legendary California road trip winds along the coastline from Los Angeles to San Francisco, offering dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean and rocky shoreline. Highlights include Malibu, Big Sur, and Monterey Bay. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of shopping and dining opportunities ; as well as popular state parks for hiking and camping.
This route follows State Route 1 for most of its length. Stretching from L.A. to San Francisco, this scenic drive offers spectacular views of beaches and mountains as you pass through Malibu, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, and more.
There are plenty of things to do on this road trip, from hiking and fishing to wine tasting and shopping. And if you’re looking for a little bit of adventure, there’s always the option to go whale watching or surfing.
One of the best things about this road trip is that it’s perfect for all kinds of drivers. The route is mainly composed of winding coastal roads, so this trip is for you if you’re a fan of twisty roads. But there are also a few more open and straight sections, so it’s perfect for those who want to take it easy on the drive.
No matter what kind of driving experience you have, this trip is an absolute must if you’re a road tripper expedition.
The Pacific Coast Highway road trip is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country and perfect for a family road trip. Located about 1,100 miles from Los Angeles to San Francisco, the route offers spectacular views of beaches and mountains as you pass through Malibu, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, and more.
5. Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway Family Road Trip
The Columbia River Highway was the first paved highway in Oregon. The roadway winds through the Columbia River Gorge and offers stunning views of the river and its many waterfalls. Part of any road trip plan should include the best natural scenery available.
Striking drives in the country. The road trip starts in Los Angeles and runs north to San Francisco, making its way through beautiful coastal towns like Malibu, Santa Barbara, and Big Sur.
The Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway is a must-see for road trips. This historic highway winds its way through the Columbia River Gorge, offering stunning views of the river and the surrounding mountains. There is plenty of goings-on to keep you busy on this trip, including hiking, biking, and fishing. And don’t fail to check out the numerous waterfalls that can be found along the way.
One of the unique features of the Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway is that it’s also a National Historic Landmark. This means that you’ll find plenty of old-fashioned charm as you travel along the road. So if you’re looking for a road spree with a bit of history and beauty, be sure to check out the Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway.
We really enjoyed our time spent on the Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway. The views were breathtaking, and there was so much to do and see. We would definitely recommend this road trip to anyone looking for a beautiful and historical experience.
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6. The Natchez Trace Parkway Road Trip Planner
Hwy 90 in Florida: The Ten Thousand Islands Loop is a 221-mile loop of Highway 90 along the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida and we have filled in all of the gaps with this best road trip plan for success. The road passes through mangrove swamps and scenic water crossings, offering pristine beaches and abundant wildlife views. Highlights include Everglades National Park and the fishing town of Apalachicola.
If you’re looking for a scenic road trip, the Natchez Trace Parkway is definitely worth your time. This 469-mile parkway winds through the beautiful Mississippi countryside, and there are plenty of things to see and do along the way. You can visit historic sites, go hiking or biking, and even camp out in some areas. The Trace is also home to several fascinating wildlife species, so be sure to keep an eye out for deer, turkeys, and other animals.
One of the best things about the Natchez Trace Parkway is everything is pretty much free to visit. You can drive or bike the entire route, or you can just pick and choose the spots you want to see. Either way, it’s a great road trip for those who like history and beautiful scenery.
If you want to take the entire Trace, you’ll start your journey at Natchez State Park in Mississippi and end up on Nashville’s doorstep in Tennessee (which is about 300 miles away). There are plenty of places to stop over and explore along the way, and you can even find a few inns and restaurants if you need a break from camping or cooking.
If you’re looking for something a bit diminutive, you can check out the section between Tupelo, Mississippi and Nashville. This stretch is about 150 miles long, and it’s home to some of the most beautiful scenery on the Trace. You can also find many things to do in this area, including museums, historical sites, and outdoor activities like hiking and fishing and this section is the perfect road trip itinerary for a family.
So if you’re looking for a fabulous road trip that’s off the beaten path, the Natchez Trace Parkway is a great option. Enjoy! No matter which section of the Trace you choose, you’re sure to have a great time.
7. North Central: Lincoln Highway Family Road Trip
The longest “original named highways,” Lincoln Highway, runs from New York City to San Francisco. Along the way, you’ll pass through many historic towns and cities that have preserved their unique heritage while forging a path into modernity. Highlights include Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and the Badlands of South Dakota.
The Lincoln Highway is an early road constructed in the U.S for travel between New York City and San Francisco. It was completed in 1913, with its original span of around 3,400 miles. Initially, parts of it ran on roads that had yet to be paved! The highway was also named after Abraham Lincoln, who served as President during the Civil War.
Since then, the road has undergone many transitions and re-routing as time went on and the automobile industry flourished. Currently, a northern section of this highway is Lincoln Highway (in its entirety), which stretches from New York City to San Francisco and parts of U.S Route 30 (which was not constructed until the 1930s).
The Lincoln Highway has been enjoyed by travelers for many years and is a popular road trip destination. Some of the unique features of this route include its beautiful mountain and coastal scenery and the various different types of terrain it passes through. Some of the activities people partake in along the way include sightseeing, dining at local restaurants, visiting historic landmarks and attractions, and more.
We had a great time visiting all the different places along the Lincoln Highway and would exceedingly commend it to anyone looking for a fun and adventurous road trip! There’s so much to see and do, you’ll never get bored.
8. Rocky Mountains: Trail Ridge Road in Colorado Road Trip Itinerary
The Trail Ridge Road is the highest unbroken paved road in the United States, crossing the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. The road winds its way to a height of 12,183 feet, offering stunning views of the mountains and valleys below. Along the way, you’ll find opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing.
We cut out of work early and drove to Estes Park. We got lucky because we were able to catch the last parking spot in a town near Allenspark, where we were meeting our friends who had taken off from work a little later than we did. It was a perfect day for an epic road trip.
The kids and I walked around the town of Estes Park, doing some window shopping before eating at a small downtown restaurant. The mountains were so beautiful! We occasionally stopped to stare at them. It was still pretty warm for September, but a nice breeze made it more bearable.
The first stop on our trip was Rocky Mountain, National Park. We drove up Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in the United States.
The views were absolutely epic! You could see for miles and miles.
We stopped at a few overlooks and then drove to Bear Lake. It was so beautiful there! The water was bright blue, and the mountains in the background were just impressive. We walked around for a little bit and then headed back down the hill.
We made a few more breaks on our way to our final destination-Breckenridge, Colorado. We stopped in Grand Lake, a beautiful little town right on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. We also stopped in Idaho Springs and drove through Central City, both old mining towns. It was fascinating to see the history of these places.
Breckenridge is a pretty ski town, and it was so much fun to walk around and explore. We ate at a few different restaurants, went shopping and took the kids on a few hikes. We also drove down to Denver one day to visit the Children’s Museum and the Denver Zoo.
It was an enjoyable trip, and I would definitely recommend checking out some of these beautiful roads in the United States!
9. South Central: Talimena Scenic Drive from Oklahoma to Arkansas Family Road Trip
The Talimena Scenic Drive winds for 54 miles through the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas, offering stunning views of the close forests and valleys. The road is particularly scenic in fall when the leaves change colour.
In our two years of travelling around the USA, we have been on the road constantly. In that time, we’ve seen much of what this country has to offer, and in a lot of ways, it has become home. We decided to try some new things on some of our favourite trips by visiting national parks at different times, but some are just best in one season or time of year. One particularly great trip is the Talimena Scenic Drive, which runs from Talihina, Oklahoma, to Mena, Arkansas.
The best way to find out your options for living the road trip lifestyle is by researching reviews of places to stay and eat before you leave home.
The Talimena Scenic Drive is a 54-mile stretch that winds through the Ouachita National Forest in Oklahoma and Arkansas. The drive is open all year, but the fall colours are something to behold. The leaves change in October and November, and the hills are alive with oranges, yellows and reds.
There are a few things to do along the way. The Queen Wilhelmina State Park is home to a looking tower called the Vista Overlook. You can climb to the top and take in the view of the surrounding hills. There’s also the Talimena Scenic Drive Memorial Museum, which tells the story
10. Southwest: Escalante, Utah Road Trip Itinerary
Escalante, Utah, is a small town located in the heart of some of America’s most scenic wilderness. The trip offers hiking, camping, and sightseeing opportunities along some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. From here, it’s a dumpy drive to the Grand Canyon ; one of the most popular destinations in the United States.
America’s National Parks are some prevalent peak destinations for a road trip. With over 400 parks to choose from, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for towering mountains, pristine lakes and rivers, or ancient forests, America’s National Parks have it all. And with miles and miles of scenic driving routes, you can explore as much of the park as you want. So get your rental car, pack your camping gear, and hit the open road ; America’s National Parks are waiting for you.
So there you have it: ten fantastic road trips that will show you the best of America. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely coastal drive, a scenic mountain drive, or an adventure through the heart of the wilderness, there’s a road trip for you. So get in your car and hit the open
America has some startling roads to drive on, and with these ten budget-friendly road trips, you can see some of the best the country has to offer. From the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest to the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains, America is a drivers’ paradise. And with plenty of activities to keep you busy along the way, these road trips are perfect for anyone looking for an inexpensive vacation. So get in your car and hit the open road ; America is waiting.
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