How to insure and prepare your car

Once you’ve made sure you’re properly insured and covered for a road trip, it’s time for the fun part: planning. When choosing our top picks for 2023, we considered total mileage, variety of attractions available, and travel days. Our list features destinations that offer everything from outdoor adventures to relaxing beach getaways.

Washington State: Olympic Peninsula Loop

Washington state offers a wide variety of attractions for locals and visitors, with each region catering to different interests. Washington’s wine country has more than 200 wineries within a two-hour drive, while the Seattle area offers a mix of urban and outdoor adventures.

The Olympic Peninsula is another major attraction in the Evergreen State, with most visitors heading to Olympic National Park. The loop around the park on US 101 offers some of the most scenic stretches of freeway in America. This road meanders along the peninsula, passing charming towns such as Port Townsend and Sequim, the latter boasting sprawling lavender fields throughout the summer.

We recommend making your way through one of the largest temperate rainforest systems on earth, the Hoh Rainforest. Less than an hour from the town of Forks, it is accessible via Route 101 and has a year-round campground.

The Washington Tourism website has a lot of helpful information.

Florida Keys: From Miami to Key West

For a summer road trip, a good choice is to start in Miami and drive through the Florida Keys. As you drive along Florida’s Overseas Highway, you will be surrounded by breathtaking views. Although this trip is technically only four hours each way, allow several days for stops along the way.

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Traveling through the Keys in the early days of summer will keep the humidity at tolerable levels while also allowing you great deals on hotels and activities. Interested in fishing? Key West has charter guides specializing in snapper, grouper and tuna fishing.

If you want to learn more about road trips through the Florida Keys, check out the area’s official tourism site. Here you will find a lot of information about activities and accommodation.

California: Pacific Coast Highway

Whether you start your road trip in Dana Point or Leggett, driving along the California coast via State Route 1 is a classic choice. Better known as the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), the road offers over 650 miles of breathtaking views and meanders past numerous attractions along the California coast.

Route 1 is the second longest state highway in the United States and runs through San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Big Sur. When in Santa Barbara, we recommend stopping by Stearns Wharf, California’s oldest working wharf. It is home to unique shops, fresh seafood restaurants and the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. When you reach the end of the road in Humboldt County, you have the opportunity to drive through an ancient forest of giant sequoias known as the Avenue of the Giants.

To help you plan such a long open road trip, Visit California has recommendations for must-see places along the PCH.

Maine: Portland to Quebec City

Looking to travel beyond the US border to the North and Canada? Starting in Portland, Maine and ending in the historic city of Quebec makes for a great road trip. Kids will love the Children’s Museum and Theater of Maine, named one of the top 12 Children’s Museums in America. For museum lovers, the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, Maine specializes in American and contemporary art.

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If you’re looking for more adventurous stops on your north road trip, you’ll find whitewater rafting tours and campgrounds in the West Forks. About 40 minutes later, you’ll cross the border into the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada.

Upon reaching Quebec City, you will be greeted by Old Quebec, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a rich history and numerous summer events to enjoy. Music lovers will enjoy the Festival d’ĂȘte de Quebec, held in July and showcasing some of today’s greatest artists.

Are you ready to plan a road trip through this region? For more information on attractions, see Portland and Quebec City Tourist Attractions.

Nevada: Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada

Nevada is home to much of Lake Tahoe, known as the “Jewel of the Sierra Nevada” and ranked among the clearest bodies of water on earth. On your way to Lake Tahoe, stop in Reno and Virginia City for rodeos, art shows and hiking. If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, you can even find hot air balloon tours that take you high above the lake.

Once on Lake Tahoe, you can kayak, paddle board, or take a lake cruise. There are many hiking and biking trails, as well as plenty of campsites, if you’re touring the region by motorhome.

Visit the region’s visitors page for more information on planning your road trip through the Sierra Nevada.