25 Most Patriotic Summer Road Trip Destinations

Cherry blossoms in Washington DC. (Photo via SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus) (SeanPavonePhoto / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
Michael Schottey
by Michael Schottey
Last updated: 7:00 AM ET, Tue June 25, 2019

Land of the Free

Traditionally, people think of patriotic sites and landmarks only in terms of Revolutionary War or Civil War history, and that keeps lists like this focused on the East Coast of this fantastic country. Yet, while America still may be a young country, its history is rich and diverse. These patriotic road trip destinations were selected because they cover the entirety of that rich history and are places every proud American should visit in their lifetimes.

Washington, D.C.

Maybe the easiest selection on this list, Washington D.C. can seem like a cynical place from miles away, but there is beauty in the monuments and pieces of our history that unite us far more than they divide.

Grand Canyon

If you assumed this list would just be a history lesson, think again. As we celebrate America, it's important to remember the vast natural beauty that is one of our greatest resources. Almost every country can say they have unique sites to see, but no one has anything like the Grand Canyon.

New Orleans

Culture is America's greatest export, and New Orleans is the birthplace of some of the funkiest and most-American pieces of that culture-including Jazz, and by extension, all of the music that has followed it in American history. Set aside plenty of time to visit the World War II history museum which is also in The Big Easy.


Between the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, there is more than enough Revolutionary War era history in a few blocks of Philly to justify the trip. Don't stop there, though, because the city is full of tours and museums and historical houses to fill a more extended stay.


The turning point of the Civil War is a hallowed place, where brother killed brother in defense of the more perfect union once spoke of in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Between the once blood-stained battlefield and the cemetery, this is a place of quiet reflection on the price made to make and keep this country great.


America's most famous and iconic National Park, Yellowstone embodies most of the features from "America the Beautiful" in a few square miles-along with so much more. It's also a reminder of the vast frontier that America was known for before we paved over so much of it.


The birthplace of American freedom, Boston still has that revolutionary heart beating deep within every street corner and along some of the oldest roads in America. Off-shore, check out the U.S.S. Constitution which is the oldest commissioned Naval vessel still floating anywhere in the world and saw action since before the War of 1812.

New York City

There are countless historical sites very important to U.S. history inside of New York City-the 9/11 Memorial, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Stonewall Inn, Grant's Tomb and more. Still, take all of those away, and NYC is still an amazing picture of what makes America great. It is a melting pot-homogeneous yet made up of wonderfully distinct parts. Because, as wonderful as America's history it, it will always be the people that make this country great.


Relieve the highs and lowest lows of the American Civil Rights Movement in and around Selma, Alabama-made complete with a trip to Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of 1965's Bloody Sunday conflict.

Colorado Springs

On your way to check out the "purple mountains majesty" of the Rockies, stop by the U.S. Air Force Academy which is well worth a tour and features some pretty amazing hiking trails as well!

Cape Canaveral

Add some high-flying and iconic adventure to your next cruise departure by taking a few extra days to explore Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center. The attraction is amazing for visitors of all ages, but there is something just perfect about watching a child's eyes light up as science takes life.

Mount Rushmore

Speaking as someone who visited Mount Rushmore at Age 6, don't expect the entire family to spend the whole day enthralled at looking at this monument. Still, the history of how this amazing sculpture came to life-along with the who and the why-is spectacular and a must-see. Make sure to visit the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial as well!

San Antonio

Remember the Alamo! There is a large gap in most history textbooks where America existed, but the United States as we know it today was still far off. The Texas Revolution was a huge piece of that history that deserves our full remembrance.


Entire weeks can be spent learning and immersing oneself into the Revolutionary-era history of Colonial Williamsburg. There are multiple tours-all of which should be on your itinerary on one of your multiple visits here. But, as important, take some time just to explore on your own and truly take a walk through time to an earlier-but not simpler-time.

Springfield, Illinois

Although Abraham Lincoln was not from Illinois originally, his adopted state is now the Land of Lincoln. Springfield has both his home and numerous other sites dedicated to arguably our country's greatest president.


Rockets' red glare? Bombs bursting in air? Those now-iconic words described events at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, which you can learn more about at this national monument. While in Baltimore, take a trip to nearby Annapolis for the U.S. Naval Academy as well.

Muskegon, Michigan

If you ever want to visit the most decorated submarine in US history, the U.S.S. Silversides is what you're looking for. Not only can you tour the ship, you can even spend the night! Although Muskegon has plenty to do on its own, you'll also want to check out nearby Grand Haven for plenty of Coast Guard history as well as Grand Rapids which (among plenty of amazing features) houses the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum.

Las Vegas

Depending on your personal feelings, putting a large amount of money on a gambling table may or may not be quintessentially American. Still, Las Vegas is on this list for lots of reasons outside the famous strip. Hoover Dam is a monument to American ingenuity and 16 National Parks sit within a day's drive from the city, including the aforementioned Grand Canyon along with Joshua Tree, Zion, Yosemite, Arches and more!

Upstate New York

For the more sports-inclined, I've included Lake Placid, which is the most iconic of the Olympic training grounds. Check out the Olympic History Museum and relive the 1980 Miracle on Ice. Nearby, the area is rich with Revolutionary War-era history as well as sites celebrating the time of the French-Indian War and the War of 1812 including Fort Ticonderoga and Saratoga.


Earlier in this slideshow, we pointed to Jazz as one of the most iconic pieces of American culture, but from the Jazz and Blues of New Orleans came Rock 'n' Roll which owes much of its history to Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. You can actually trace the history of music just with the list of famous musicians who called Sun Studio home-B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis' home, Graceland is right nearby as well.

The Greenbrier

Actually, a five-star resort tucked into West Virginia's Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier has been a favorite visiting place of many sitting US presidents and has hosted both professional Tennis and professional Golf tournaments. It was even used as an Army surgical hospital during WWII. However, the most fascinating piece of history is that The Greenbrier sits atop a now-decommissioned bunker which would have hosted the U.S. Congress had the Cold War ever turned hot and reached our shores.

Route 66

Life is a journey, not a destination, right? Whether you start in Illinois, California or somewhere in-between, a road-trip down this iconic American highway is going to lead to plenty of stops that are pure Americana.

Walt Disney World

Disney might not be the first thing you think about when you hear the Star Spangled Banner playing, but you'd also be hard-pressed to find a better 4th of July fireworks show than Mickey and his friends have to offer. There's also plenty of American history to take in between the Hall of Presidents and Mainstreet USA.

Kansas City

I could spend this entire slide talking about Kansas City's important contributions to the country's BBQ scene, but let's talk about the National WWI Museum and Memorial instead. Often forgotten by many thanks to a focus on the second World War, WWI comes to the forefront in this Kansas City landmark which was built in 1926 but stands just as magnificent today.

Hit the road for some nostalgia and red white 'n' blue fun!

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Michael Schottey

Michael Schottey

Michael Schottey is a freelance writer for TravelPulse. A professional writer and editor for over a decade, Schottey lives in...

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CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

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