The United States is a big country and planning a USA road trip can seem a bit overwhelming, even for people like us who once lived in the states. However, rather than one giant road trip USA, we have broken our USA adventure into small segments.
Whether it’s big cities or small towns, road trips or single destinations, on each visit to the states we explore somewhere new.
Our road trip USA highlights
This page is segmented via the US Census Bureau statistical regions. With each of the regions, we highlight our favourite destinations and road trips. Between us, we have lived in all four regions at one time in our lives.
Are you planning on self-driving in the USA?
Traffic laws fluctuate between the states making driving in the USA interesting. Local rules vary with regard to right turns on red lights, u-turns, and other day-to-day driving guidelines. As a result, knowing the rules can be confusing. Regardless of the state, Americans drive on the right side of the road and the steering wheel is on the left.
International visitors must have a valid driver’s license from their own country to drive in the states. In addition, some states also require an International Driving Permit (IDP). Contact the motor vehicle department of each state you will drive in for its requirements.
Taking a rental car over state lines is not a problem; although, crossing into Canada or Mexico is nearly always prohibited in the rental agreement.
Since we discovered RentalCars.com, we have been using them without incident. We simply enter our starting and ending cities, dates, and car preferences (compact, SUV, etc) and we are presented with a list of options comparing cars, providing local dealer ratings, and the drop-off fee. Compare rental car prices at RentalCars.com
Road trip USA driving tips
- While you always need to be cautious on any road trip, it’s always good to know which are the safest cities in the country.
- The USA is a litigious society. Personally, I wouldn’t drive a car in the states without carrying liability insurance. If you don’t already have auto insurance, you can get it when you rent your vehicle.
- One thing is certain, on a USA road trip there are plenty of restaurants and cafes along the way. However, we always seem to be hungry during those rare hours when there are none. Therefore, we always carry some road trip food.
- We have always done self-driving in the USA, often flying between major regions, as the USA is very large. We use CheapFlights to find the lowest cost flight options.
Travel light. You won’t regret it. If you need help figuring out what to bring, we will send you a copy of our packing light checklist when you sign up for our mailing list.
More USA adventure tips
- Non-USA citizens often require a visa obtained in advance. Check here to see entry visa requirements.
- If you are thinking about camping, here are a few of our favourite camping spots.
- Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more. *World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Don’t miss our favourite cities around the world.
Save on your trip with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we travel. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
- Accommodations: we use Booking.com (hotels) or VRBO (self-contained).
- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
- Campervans or Motorhomes: we use Campstar where Albom Adventures readers get a 3% discount
- Private guides: we love the private guides at Tours by Locals
- Travel Insurance: our go-to is World Nomads*.
Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Save for later
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Will we see you during our next USA Adventure?
Disclaimer: We worked with several of the local tourism boards as we travelled in the USA, as well as many individual venues and hotels on much of our USA adventures featured on this page. We are frequently offered media rates or provided with complimentary entrances, meals, transportation, and/or accommodations. However, we do not let this influence our writings. The opinions here are strictly our own.
I currently reside in the United States and would like to take the trip you have planned! Joshua Tree National Park has been on my bucket list for a long time; I just need to go, lol. I see you stopped in Nashville, but if you ever have the chance to visit Tennessee again, you should stop in Knoxville. It’s a fantastic little city with a fantastic downtown vibe.
I think a road trip is the best way to see the USA. We not only have wonderful destinations to visit, but also great roads and a good infrastructure. We took many of these road trips throughout the years. My best memory is from 2001, when we drove across the States, from California to Detroit. We drove the entire coast of Oregon which was absolutely spectacular. You are right about USA being a litigious society. Having liability insurance is a must.
This looks amazing. I would love to travel around America. I have been to New York and Florida which was amazing, I would love to visit Las Vegas!
These are some great domestic destinations! We take a family road trip to different parts of the US every summer!
I live in the USA currently, and I want to take this trip that you laid out! Joshua’s Tree National Park has been on my bucket list for a while, I need to just go, lol. I see you stopped off in Nashville, but if you ever get a chance to go through Tennessee again, you should check out Knoxville. It’s an awesome little city with a great downtown vibe.
We are heading to California in the summer and cannot wait, so much to explore so we are doing a road trip
I am excited for you and jealous. I was born in Seattle and have been back a few times. That is a great city to visit. 🙂
What great holiday plans you have.. can’t wait to live through your photos!
indah nuria savitri
looks like a great adventure. I went to Nicaragua last year and I really enjoy it. I hope we can start our trip to USA National parks as well April.
Merlinda Little (Glimmer of Hope)
Drooling over your photo and your plan! I especially love Oregon and didnt know its so stunning there!
Whao..that’s certainly a massive trip that you are planning. I’m sure I’ll be able to see the places that you visit in this blog in months to come 🙂
Wow This is a mega trip!!! I am so jealous!
Great pic collection!
Wow! Rhonda what a fab journey to, lovely photos I always look forward to seeing the pics of your adventures 🙂
Have a tanfastic day 🙂
I’m from the PNW, and it looks like you’ve hit all the right places 🙂
Looks like a lot of wonderful places to visit and photograph…
Ruth - Tanama Tales
Rhonda, all these sound fabulous.
It’s a real treat going down the Oregon and California coast. Beautiful countryside and yes I’ve done it several times.
I was born and raised in Tillamook, Oregon so I’m familiar with its coastline.
Have a fabulous day Rhonda. 🙂
Alex J. Cavanaugh
That’s going to be a beautiful trip. You’ll come home with so many photos.
Paul F. Pietrangelo
WOW! Some trip. I wish I could travel with you both. I love your photos. Next time you’ll be in Chicago, you’ll be very close to Detroit – Windsor, Ontario Canada where is live in Amherstburg just down from Windsor. Why don’t you stop by. Ha,ha,ha. Oh ya. Enjoy your travels. I can’t even get my wife to go back to back on a cruise. Oh well. See ya.
Holy cow – that’s a huge trip! The cruise sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve never been on one. There’s a LOT to see and do in the US.
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
How exciting! I enjoy living vicariously through your travels. I’m particularly enjoying your take on the PNW and especially Astoria and Portland since we used to live there.
Sounds like an epic trip. Lovely pictures too. 🙂
I haven’t seen as much of the Oregon Coast as I’d like because on our trips back and forth to Seattle from Southern California we always took I-5 because it was faster. My favorite part of the Oregon Coast was Sunset Bay State Park south of Oregon. I camped there for a night with the kids on one trip home and it was almost deserted. There were lots of photo ops and I wish I could have taken more than the hour I had to hike around and take photos. Unfortunately, we had to get home.
I am from The Netherlands and my husband and I visited Oregon last year.
Drive PCH from Astoria into California. We found it and epic drive. The rugged coast, beautiful beaches and great beachtowns will keep you surprising.
I wrote a blog (although in Dutch it can be converted into any language) about Highway 101 and about Oregon. Portland is great. We stayed at Hotel Lucia and their restaurant is recommandeble. Also Restaurant Departure for fusion Asian food. A visit to Su Lan Chinese Garden is worthwhile. Enjoy your trip
Hi Rhonda – it sounds amazing and I enjoy seeing your photos and reading your descriptions of places visited. Wonderful trip … so pleased for you all … cheers Hilary
Wow! Epic journey. Great itineraries and I’m sure you enjoy every little part of it. I can’t say I have done the Pacific northwest coast drive of USA. I have been on a cruise around the Caribbean and visited Aruba and I also have been to Canada a few times. I will look forward to your upcoming travel posts. 🙂