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Before you max out your vacation days this summer, why not consider a real, honest-to-goodness road trip? Road trips are a great way to tour around states, countries, and even continents. Our VacationRenter team scouted out some of the best road trip routes all over the United States, and it has us itching to go out and explore. 

Whether you’re using your everyday car, a top-down convertible, or decked out RV ⁠— each of the routes listed below should be enjoyed pleasantly without much of a rush. The most important thing is that you use a trusty vehicle, put on a great playlist, and bring along even better company. Be our guest and read through this ultimate road trip series, including detailed road trip routes throughout the country, a list of on-the-road essentials, and even playlists for you to enjoy on your drive. By the end of it, we hope you’ll feel inspired to seek adventure too.

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Keep in mind that each road trip’s duration varies based on how many stops you want to make. You could also break each route up into weekend trips, or drive the entire route in one go. Realistically, all these road trips can start at any point on the route that you want. You can even reverse the starting point and ending point, depending on your location. 

The Routes 

  1. California’s Scenic Pacific Coast Highway

    Starting off with the longest, and most breathtaking state route in California: the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, or just simply “the 1”. This drive is filled with spectacular views of the ocean and is a true vision of California’s coastline. 

    Click here to see the route on Google Maps.

    Starting point: San Francisco
    Closest airport to starting point: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
    Ending point: San Diego
    Closest airport to ending point: San Diego International Airport (SAN)
    Driving distance: about 600 miles
    Duration of trip: 5 days

    For a five day itinerary with must-see stops and local tips, click here to read more.

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  2. California’s National Park Loop

    Our second road trip route takes us on a loop to hit four of California’s National Parks, and then some. Needless to say, you’re in for a wild ride. This route covers a good chunk of California, so you can make your starting and ending point anywhere along the route since it goes in a loop.

    Click here to see the map on Google Maps.

    Starting point: Reno
    Closest airport to starting point: Reno International Airport (RNO)
    Ending point: loops back to Reno
    Driving distance: about 1,330 miles
    Duration of trip: 1 week

    For a week long itinerary with must-see stops and local tips, click here to read more.

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  3. Arizona and Utah Loop

    If there’s any state in the entire U.S. that screams characteristics of being otherworldly, without a doubt, Arizona is the champ. This loop allows you to see all of Arizona’s most noteworthy cities and sites, including the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell and the highly in-demand “The Wave.” Keep your eyes peeled during this entire road trip because a lot of your time behind-the-wheel will be equally as breathtaking as some stops.

    Click here to see the route on Google Maps.

    Starting point: Phoenix
    Closest airport to starting point: Phoenix International Airport (PHX)
    Ending point: loops back to Phoenix
    Driving distance: a little over 1,000 miles
    Duration of the trip: 2 weeks

    For a two week itinerary with must-see stops and local tips, click here to read more.

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  4. Florida’s Coastline Drive

    This route would be a fantastic idea for a romantic tropical getaway, or for BFFs who just want to hop from one beach view to another. Consider this entire road trip route as the epitome of cruising. To make the most out of Florida’s sunshine, the best time to go would be between January and April, before the rain and humidity take over.

    Click here to see the route on Google Maps.

    Starting point: Jacksonville
    Closest airport to starting point: Jacksonville International Airport (JAX)
    Ending point: Key West
    Closest airport to ending point: Key West International Airport (EYW)
    Driving distance: roughly 560 miles
    Duration of the trip: 1 week

    For a week long itinerary with must-see stops and local tips, click here to read more.

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  5. The Great Northwest Loop

    You already read about the gorgeous route scaling the southern half of the West Coast, so it’s time to find out what’s on the north end. We know what you’re thinking and yes — the West Coast is so beautiful that its entire landscape is road-trip-worthy, except this time you’ll be greeted by mountains, forests, greenery, and a few other surprises along the way.

    Click here to see the route on Google Maps.

    Starting point: Portland
    Closest airport to starting point: Portland International Airport (PDX)
    Ending point: loops back to Portland
    Driving distance: about 1,160 miles
    Duration of trip: 2 weeks

    For a two week itinerary with must-see stops and local tips, click here to read more.

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The Essentials


Once you’ve found the right route for your next vacation, it’s time to take note of your on-the-road essentials. Aside from the many “wow” moments you’ll have on your drive, one particular aspect that makes a road trip more fun is when you have a fun playlist to vibe out to. An impromptu car karaoke session belting out your favorite tunes can be just as effective as a cup of coffee to keep you awake on the road.

If you get through all your go-to playlists and albums during your excursion, don’t panic. We curated three playlists made specifically for this occasion. Follow VacationRenter on Spotify to access them anytime!

Ultimate Road Trip Playlist (Vol. 001) – Modern Gems


Ultimate Road Trip Playlist (Vol. 002) – Just Let the Music Drive You


Ultimate Road Trip Playlist (Vol. 003) – Car Karaoke Classics


VacationRenter Podcast Picks

Every now and then, you might need a break from the tunes. Thankfully, it’s 2019 and we have podcasts! We asked the VacationRenter team which podcasts keep them entertained, and here are our staff picks below.

Riveting True Crime: To Live and Die in LA

To Keep Up With Current Events: The Daily

Deep Dives Into Music: Dissect

Far From Boring History Lessons: Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

Classic Comedy: Conan O’ Brien Needs a Friend

Engaging Interviews: The Tim Ferris Show

Sports Stories: 30 for 30

Good Reads for the Road

And finally, for our bookworms, when you have a moment to sit back and relax in between all the driving, here are a few book suggestions from our team as well.

Ensure Extra Comfort at Your Rest Stops

You’ll be spending a good chunk of your trip in the car, so it’s very important to make sure you have a comfortable bed to sleep in during your rest stops! Vacation rentals are a fantastic overnight option because it allows you to get the local experience, and in most cases, you get the place all to yourself. Be sure to book the your rentals using VacationRenter. Our site aggregates properties from the industry’s top websites and puts them into one easy-to-use platform, making trip planning a breeze.

We hope this guide was helpful and encourages you to explore any corner of this beautiful country. As the wise Babs Hoffman once said, “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey.”

Feel free to show us bits of your journey using the hashtag #VacationRenterAdventures. We might get blown away and want to share your photos too.

Safe travels and happy road tripping!