10 Best American Roads to Hit on Your Summer Road Trip
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- Route 66
- Pacific Coast Highway
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Overseas Highway
- Highway 12
- Great River Road
- Top of the World highway
- Mount Washington Auto Road
- Pikes Peak Highway
- Going-to-the-Sun Road
- Be prepared
From the Historic route 66 to the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway, there are hundreds of miles of famous roads in the United States. And with a summer road trip potentially in the cards, you’ll have plenty of options for fun (and beautiful!) drives no matter where you are in the country.
But don’t head out on the road without car insurance. There’s no better way to kill that road trip buzz than getting stranded without the right coverage. Jerry can find you great insurance at an affordable price—so you can spend that extra cash on souvenirs.
Ready for some serious road trip inspo? Whether you’re looking for the California coast or the Montana mountains, we’ve got you covered with 10 famous American roads to work into a road trip.
At this point, Route 66 is more parts American folklore than it is road. Stretching 2,000 miles from Illinois to the Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles county, the famous road cuts through a wide range of fascinating landscapes.
The parts worth seeing this summer, though, are the rural stretches. Have a cruise through the countryside, winding through ghost towns in New Mexico towards the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Then head into Los Angeles for a summer getaway.
Pacific Coast Highway
Californians dub it the PCH, and the road is as equally smooth as its nickname. Running along the California coastline from Orange County up past San Francisco, the 656-mile stretch of road rarely veers from ocean views.
The PCH is sprinkled with iconic landmarks such as Malibu and the Santa Monica pier—but the best drive comes further north along Big Sur.
Stop at San Simeon to see elephant seals lounging on the sand, or check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium further north. There are ample spots to have a stroll along the beach or just take in the sunset.
Looking for that perfect Instagram photo op? Don’t miss the striking Bixby Creek Bridge.
Key Takeaway The Pacific Coast Highway is one of California’s must-see attractions—and a perfect stretch of highway for a road trip.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is widely claimed to have the best views of any road in America, and it’s not hard to see why.
Stretching nearly 500 miles from Virginia down into North Carolina, the road hugs the edge of the Appalachian Mountains and offers sweeping views of the peaks over all four seasons.
It can be a weekend’s drive or even a longer trip for avid hikers, starting at Shenandoah National Park with stops at any number of small towns along the way.
An interesting stop veers slightly off the road into Grayson Highlands State Park, which features friendly wild ponies. Once you wind down into North Carolina, head over to Asheville, a scenic Appalachian gem.
As beautiful as the scenery is, be aware of ice during the winter and lots of wildlife throughout the summer.
Once an old railroad, the overseas highway is a wonderful stretch that makes Florida island hopping a reality. Long stretches of road are flanked by coral reefs, palm trees, and tropical wildlife, with several interesting stops along the way.
Nature lovers should head to the Lower Keys, an isolated stretch of islands full of wildlife and marked by two nature reserves.
Check out Bahia Honda State Park for a potential spotting of the rare Miniature Key Deer. Another option is to drive into Miami, capping off a day that comfortably blends beautiful nature and vibrant city life.
MORE: 15 road trip games
Highway 12 was built in 1914 and lay mostly dormant as part of a wild stretch of the Utah highlands for some 70 years—until it started getting a makeover in the 80s.
Since then, the road has been steadily renovated and now winds through plentiful natural forests and national parks.
The best route is to start in Bryce Canyon, cruise through Dixie National Forest, and then venture up to Capitol Reef Natural Park. Highway 12 climbs to 9,000 feet, at which point the view opens up into the desert, featuring a contrast of dry red rock and subalpine fir and aspen.
It’s a drive that can be knocked out in three hours or extended into a camping getaway, with bountiful changes in scenery and different national parks along the way—all in one 122-mile stretch.
Great River Road
The Great River Road delicately traces the Mississippi River, following it nearly 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Itasca. Like the river itself, it confronts a multitude of changing landscapes.
Look out for a series of quaint towns accompanied by constant scenic river views. An interesting stop is Galena, Illinois, a cultural and geographic turning point located at the juncture where the great plains turn into rolling hills.
It features a blend of old pioneer buildings and newer five-star hotels, serving as a reminder of past and present.
As you head north, the landscape becomes more mountainous and views open up. For great scenes, take a stroll at Buena Vista in Wisconsin, featuring a dramatic look down onto the expansive Mississippi.
Key Takeaway The Great River Road traces the Mississippi and offers a walk through American history.
Top of the World highway
Top of the World Highway is both the best-named road on this list and the hardest to access. This 80-mile stretch cuts from eastern Alaska into Canada, though it may be easier to approach from the Canadian side.
The appeal of the road is very much in the name. It sits atop grassy hills for miles, with sharp views down into lush valleys in the Alaska wilderness.
Alaskans often boast that it’s the most beautiful road in the world, and the lush views certainly give it a case. The route is scattered with remnants of the gold rush, too.
Be warned that you’ll need good tires for this trip (especially in the winter!) and a passport to head across the border.
Key Takeaway Though isolated, Top of the World Highway is a hidden gem in northern Alaska.
Mount Washington Auto Road
Mount Washington Auto Road was the site of the first auto race in the United States, held in 1904.
While it’s terrifying to think how dangerous that contest might have been some 120 years ago, the road is far safer now—and an exciting part of a New England vacation.
You’ll need to pay for use of the toll road, but you get a lot for your money: a steep 4,500 foot climb high into the mountains concluding with a panoramic view off the top of Mount Washington.
The 7.6-mile drive can be a vacation by itself, with campgrounds along the way and a number of interesting hiking and biking trails to explore year round.
Pikes Peak Highway
Climbing high into the Rockies, Pikes Peak Highway is a drive for car enthusiasts and eager families alike. The 19-mile stretch of road has been immortalized by a fan-favorite track on the Gran Turismo video game series.
Though you have to follow speed limits in real life, the winding road offers dramatic views of the Rockies—with plenty of stop-off points, too.
The official website recommends that you have at least half a tank of gas ready and prepare for potential lightheadedness due to a dramatic shift in altitude. Such might be expected when winding up to 14,000 feet.
It’s a safe drive with plenty of space on either side of the road, but be careful to look after your brakes in the hot summer months and have the right tires in the winter. Note, too, that you’ll have to pay a $15 toll to use the highway.
If you fancy a summer vacation to a national park, Going-to-the-Sun Road is an unavoidable stretch—and that’s not just because it’s the only way into Montana’s Glacier National Park. Meandering through the mountains for nearly 50 miles, the road crosses the continental divide as it traverses the Rockies.
Look out for sudden changes of scenery, switching from glacial lakes to alpine tundra as the road rises and falls. Logan pass is a good stopping point to see bighorn sheep and mountain goats, while Jackson Glacier Overlook is the best place to see a glacier on the stretch.
You’ll only be able to enjoy this drive during the summer, as the road tends to be closed starting in October due to adverse weather conditions. It’s also a popular spot for cyclists, so be sure to share the road!
Key Takeaway Going-to-the-Sun Road offers some of the best glacier views in the country.
Be prepared for your summer drive
Even when you’re on some of the most beautiful roads in the country, breakdowns happen. And if you don’t want to be walking miles through the mountains to find a gas station, having the right insurance coverage—including roadside assistance—is important.
Jerry’s roadside assistance coverage features up to 10 miles of towing plus jump starts, tire changes, fuel deliveries, and more.
It also comes with some exclusive benefits, including car advice, key replacement, and Uber credits. And it only costs $6.99 for one car!
To protect you even further on the road, Jerry can find you great car insurance at an even better price.
After providing you with a comprehensive cross-analysis of the best policies across providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals for your top pick so that you don’t have to. So why do all that extra work when Jerry can do it better?
“I have no clue how they did it, but they just about cut my rate in half with the same provider (Progressive) and the same coverage. I even went through the new policy after it was finalized to make sure all the coverage was the same and the deductibles were the same. I still can’t believe it!” —Jerry user
What makes Route 66 so famous?
Route 66 was one of the original highways in the US Highway System. It’s taken on many different lives since its opening in 1926 and was originally the ideal route to the west for farmers during the Great Depression—a journey immortalized by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath.
Since then, it’s become a cultural icon, the subject of many a song, and an idealized route that’s associated with the excitement of heading west.
How does insurance work if I’m renting a car?
This is where things can get a bit complicated. Most rental car companies offer insurance coverage for purchase, but check with your own provider to see if you’re covered for damages. Many credit cards even offer coverage if you use them to pay.
Of course, if you need rental car insurance, Jerry can help find you the right coverage at an affordable price.
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