A road trip is a classic way to travel, not only see the country, but to experience its culture and local characteristics. By camping along the way, you’ll immerse yourself in new cultures and local flavors all while being on your own. Each of these five trips rolls out the beauty and diversity of the American countryside and its people.
Highway 1 in California
Drive from Dana Point to Leggett, north of San Francisco, a distance over 650 miles of mostly stunning Pacific Ocean views. You’ll find plenty of urban and rural coastal campgrounds along the way. Nearby Interstate 5 is a multilane alternative for those who suffer from acrophobia or claustrophobia. Parts of Highway 1 hug the tall cliffs over the ocean, and the road narrows to two narrow lanes frequently.
Don't forget that it's okay to rest a for a couple nights while on a road trip. It's good to go with the flow of things. You might pass through Santa Barbara and decide to set up shop for a couple days, or Los Angeles might be more your speed. In that case, find a rental or hotel room, kick back, and spend a little extra time exploring the area that's right for you.
Highway 61 in Minnesota
Once you reach Duluth, a port city on Lake Superior, travel north on this scenic highway. Summer is the obvious time for a road trip, but enough campgrounds stay open throughout the winter to experience the beautiful and brutal Minnesota winter. White birches, oaks, and pines populate the hillsides along Lake Superior, which is the largest body of fresh water in the world.
Route 60 in Arizona and New Mexico
When you want to experience an open and lonely (albeit beautiful) road, try Route 60 that passes through New Mexico and Arizona. You can catch it south of Albuquerque on Interstate 25 at Socorro. You’ll pass by the Very Large Array, large radio telescopes searching for intelligent life in the universe managed by National Science Foundation. This is a great one to do by motorbike if possible. You’ll get that warm, south wind as well as amazing desert views. Be aware of construction, road repairs and other road hazards as you go.
Once past a few rustic campgrounds, there is little civilization until you reach Pie Town (pop. 186). After filling up, you’re in Arizona. Camp in comfort near Springerville-Eager and Greer at 8,000+ feet, surrounded by lush forests and mountain lakes, rivers and streams. Stay on Highway 60 to eventually reach Phoenix to witness the progression from alpine life zones to the deserts.
Great River Road
If you have plenty of time and a big love of camping, drive from the mouth of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota to its terminus in Mississippi, a distance of 2,069 miles. You’ll drive through American history through hundreds of cities, towns, and the country. This is a great opportunity to camp in nature while also visiting a lot of local museums.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Drive through the 469 miles of this Parkway at a moderate pace to experience the Appalachian Highlands firsthand. If you have even more time and ambition, walk the 360 miles of trails inside the park, which has tent and RV campgrounds, as well as group and backcountry areas.
Use your car, trailer, camper, or rent an RV and hit the road this year. The U.S. is home to an amazing amount of natural destinations all with a convenient highway.