Last updated: 11:27 AM ET, Mon July 11 2016

7 Great Summer Road Trips

Features & Advice | Rich Thomaselli | May 15, 2016

7 Great Summer Road Trips

PHOTO: The Pacific Coast Highway is a must (Courtesy Thinkstock)

This might be the best summer in more than a decade to get out and drive.

According to AAA, “The relatively lower price for gasoline is also reportedly prompting more drivers to take to the roads … This increase in driving may put pressure on local gasoline markets and cause prices to move higher if demand outpaces the available supply of gasoline. However, consumers remain poised to benefit from substantial comparative savings as we enter the busy summer driving season, and it is likely that most drivers will pay the cheapest summertime prices in 12 years.”

So, where to go?

There are countless great road trips in the U.S. to take, but here are just seven of our favorites that cover the northeast, south, southwest, midwest, west coast, Alaska and Hawaii.

Some are long. Some are short. All are great.

New England

There’s no particular set agenda but depending on how long you want to drive, this one will take you through the six states of the New England area –Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Set your own trail by starting in Connecticut, where you will find cosmopolitan bedroom communities of New York City in the southeast part of the state. You can also visit one of the pre-eminent colleges in the world at Yale University, the great covered bridges, the beaches of Long Island Sound and so much more.

Massachusetts brings the historical city of Boston, Harvard, MIT, Revolutionary War sites, and one of the world’s great island outposts, Cape Cod.

Rhode Island, the smallest state, has Newport and its stunningly beautiful coastline.

Vermont is the home of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, beautiful farmland, Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains, maple syrup shacks and some of the most quaint small towns and villages in the country.

New Hampshire has the spectacular White Mountains, another Ivy League school in Dartmouth, and the amazing coastal town of Portsmouth.

And Maine has some of the most beautiful coastline in the country, and the northeast’s only national park in Acadia National Park.

Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama

Just a short 54-mile drive, but certainly one of the most important and historical – this is the route used by civil rights demonstrators in 1965 when they marched from Selma to Montgomery. On this National Scenic Byway you will drive over the famous Edmund Pettus Bridge, where demonstrators and police engaged in a bloody clash, en route to Montgomery and the Rosa Parks Library and Museum.

Lake Superior Circle

Like New England, another one that is lengthy that might have to be done in stages, but is so worth it.

It literally is what it states – a loop around mighty Lake Superior that takes you through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Canadian province of Ontario. It’s about 1,300 miles in total.

Route 66

No, we’re not asking you to drive the entire length of the Mother Road, just a 38-mile portion of it between

Albuquerque, New Mexico and Moriarty, New Mexico. If you drive east on what is arguably American’s greatest highway (now known as I-40), you will come across the ‘Musical Road’ near the town of Tijears. Rumble strips were installed there two years ago and if you drive over the at precisely 45 miles an hour, the vibrations of the strips play the song ‘America the Beautiful.’

Pacific Coast Highway


Just drive anywhere on PCH in California and take in the absolutely stunning scenery of the Pacific Ocean.

George Parks Highway

There are few places in the U.S. where you can see incredible wildlife from your car – wildlife that is free to roam and not contained in an amusement park, that is.

The 387 miles between Anchorage and Fairbanks is one of those places as you go from major city to major city, with some cool, quirky stops along the way.

Oahu Tour

Assuming you are staying in Honolulu, do what we once did – rent a cool Corvette for the day, put the top down, and drive around Oahu.

The bluest of blues in the ocean is a given as you start to circumvent the island, but the lush greenest of greens will also blow your mind. Stop off at one of the shrimp shacks on the way to the North Shore part of the island, where some of the biggest waves in the world entice the greatest surfers. You can’t drive completely around the island in a circle, but that’s OK. From the North Shore cut down the middle of the island heading back to Honolulu and visit the Dole Pineapple Factory.

Coast to Coast

Clearly we are talking the whole summer with this one – more than 3,000 miles from Boston to Seattle on I-90, covering 13 states.

Along the way, some great national parks, including Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park, are easy off-shoots to visit. 

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