The Best Road Trips in the U.S. You Haven’t Heard Of

Road trips are the perfect way to explore the hidden gems of the United States. While I’ve covered much of the West, my travels in the East have been limited to New England. Here are 17 lesser-known road trips I’m eager to experience, and you should be too!

1. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina

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This scenic drive through the Appalachian Mountains offers stunning vistas and charming small towns. It’s a peaceful alternative to the busier highways.

2. The Adirondack Trail, New York

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Explore the heart of the Adirondack Mountains, with its pristine lakes and dense forests. Ideal for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

3. The Great River Road, Mississippi

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Follow the Mississippi River from Minnesota to Louisiana. This route is rich in history and culture, with plenty of quirky stops along the way.

4. The Bourbon Trail, Kentucky

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Tour the birthplace of bourbon, visiting historic distilleries and picturesque countryside. It’s a must for whiskey aficionados.

5. The Natchez Trace Parkway, Tennessee to Mississippi

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Drive along this ancient trail used by Native Americans, with beautiful landscapes and historical sites. It’s a journey through time and nature.

6. The Loneliest Road, Nevada

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US Route 50 cuts through the heart of Nevada, offering solitude and stark desert beauty. Perfect for those seeking a quiet, introspective trip.

7. The Finger Lakes Loop, New York

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Discover the Finger Lakes region with its wineries, waterfalls, and charming villages. A delightful escape in upstate New York.

8. The San Juan Skyway, Colorado

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This loop through the San Juan Mountains provides breathtaking views and access to historic mining towns. An adventure in the Rockies like no other.

9. The Pacific Coast Highway, California

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Although not entirely unknown, this route offers hidden spots and breathtaking coastal views from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

10. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail, New York to Pennsylvania

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Travel along the shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, exploring charming waterfront towns and scenic landscapes.

11. The Black Hills, South Dakota

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Beyond Mount Rushmore, this region offers winding roads through forests and past stunning rock formations. A serene escape with a touch of history.

12. The White Mountains Trail, New Hampshire

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Experience the natural beauty of the White Mountains, with opportunities for hiking, sightseeing, and quaint town visits.

13. The Lake Superior Circle Tour, Michigan to Wisconsin

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Encircle the largest of the Great Lakes, with rugged shorelines, dense forests, and picturesque towns. A perfect blend of nature and culture.

14. The Outer Banks Scenic Byway, North Carolina

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Drive along the barrier islands of North Carolina, with stunning ocean views and unique coastal communities.

15. The Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

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Explore the dramatic landscapes along the Columbia River, with waterfalls, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks.

16. The High Road to Taos, New Mexico

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This historic route offers a glimpse into Native American and Spanish heritage, with beautiful mountain views and artistic communities.

17. The Ozark Highlands Scenic Byway, Arkansas

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Drive through the heart of the Ozarks, with its rolling hills, lush forests, and quaint towns. A peaceful retreat into nature’s beauty.

Ready to Hit the Road?

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These hidden gems offer unique experiences and breathtaking scenery, perfect for your next adventure. Whether you’re seeking solitude, history, or natural beauty, these road trips have something special to offer.

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.