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Summer is almost here, which means it’s time to pack the car and hit the road. This year, in particular, is a great time to take a road trip because gas prices will be at their lowest in 12 years, according to AAA.
So the question isn’t whether to take a road trip, but which one to take, because there are so many wonderful places across America to explore. To help you plan an itinerary, here are 30 of the best road trips you can take along the East and West Coasts and everywhere in between, and even in Alaska and Hawaii.
1. Big Bend Scenic Loop Road Trip
- Starting point: Panther Junction Visitor Center, Big Bend National Park, Texas
- Ending point: Panther Junction Visitor Center, Big Bend National Park, Texas
- Distance: 100 miles
A drive through the vast and isolated Big Bend National Park in western Texas offers stunning views of massive canyons, mountains, desert expanses and the Rio Grande River. It’s important to drive within the 45 mph speed limit and watch for wildlife along the road — especially at night. Those who want to drive through the park’s back country on dirt roads need to make sure they have a high-clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive.
You can camp at one of the park’s three campgrounds for $14 per night. Or, you can stay at the Chisos Mountains Lodge, with rooms starting at $141.
2. High Road to Taos Road Trip
- Starting point: Santa Fe, N.M.
- Ending point: Taos, N.M.
- Distance: 105 miles
The High Road to Taos, N.M., twists and turns through the scenic Sangre de Cristo mountain range, and takes drivers past artist colonies and villages with well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. The drive from Santa Fe can take several hours if you stop along the way to Taos, which draws visitors to its ski resorts, art galleries and historic sites. You can find lodging at the Taos Country Inn, with rooms starting at $165.
3. Million Dollar Highway Road Trip
- Starting point: Montrose, Colo.
- Ending point: Durango, Colo.
- Distance: 105 miles
If you drive from Montrose, Colo., to Durango, Colo., on U.S. Route 550, you’ll pass through a 25-mile stretch from Ouray to Silverton that’s called the Million Dollar Highway. It’s considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the U.S., but also one of the most spectacular.
There are no guardrails or shoulders, the drop-offs are steep and the curves are sharp. But there are stunning views of Uncompahgre Gorge and the San Juan Mountains. At the end of the drive, you can find accommodations in Durango — such as Best Western Durango Inn & Suites, which has rooms from $159.99.
4. Skyline Drive Road Trip
- Starting point: Front Royal, Va.
- Ending point: Rockfish Gap, Va.
- Distance: 105 miles
Take your time along this scenic drive through the Shenandoah National Park to stop at any of the 75 overlooks and soak up the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll want to stick to the 35 mph speed limit because the road is curvy — and you’ll have a better chance of spotting wildlife such as deer, black bears and wild turkeys.
You can camp in one of the park’s four campgrounds for $15 to $20 per night. Or you can stay in more upscale accommodations, such as the Skyland Resort, which is near the highest point on the drive and has rooms from $137.
5. Tail of the Dragon Road Trip
- Starting point: Deals Gap, N.C.
- Ending point: Tabcat Creek Bridge, Tenn.
- Distance: 11 miles
Motorcyclists and sports car drivers flock to this portion of U.S. Route 129 along the Tennessee/North Carolina state line that has 318 curves in 11 miles. You’ll have to stick to the 30 mph speed limit, or drive even slower, to handle the curves — and enjoy the scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains.
There are various lodging options in the area, including motels, resorts, lodges and vacation homes. Rooms at Fontana Village Resort and Marina — which is just 7 miles from the Tail of the Dragon — range from $109 to $139 per night.
6. Black River Scenic Byway Road Trip
- Starting point: Bessemer, Mich.
- Ending point: Black River Harbor, Mich.
- Distance: 11 miles
Highway 513, which is designated as National Forest Scenic Byway, winds through Ottawa National Forest in Michigan along the Black River. The highlight of the drive are the several waterfalls that require short hikes to reach. You can find lodging in nearby Ironwood. For example, rates at the Comfort Inn start at $114 per night.
7. Overseas Highway Road Trip
- Starting point: Key Largo, Fla.
- Ending point: Key West, Fla.
- Distance: 113 miles
You’ll be transported to the tropics as you drive through the Florida Keys along the southernmost portion of U.S. 1 known as the Overseas Highway. You’ll cross 42 overseas bridges as you make your way from Key Largo to Key West, and see turquoise waters teaming with wildlife and beach towns that offer everything from fishing and fine dining to eco-tours and fine-art galleries.
It’s a popular tourist destination, so expect crowds and heavier traffic during holidays. Lodging options include campgrounds, hotels, resorts and bed and breakfasts. For example, rates at The Gardens Hotel in Key West start at $195 per night.
8. Scenic Byway 12 Utah Road Trip
- Starting point: U.S. Highway 89, near Panguitch, Utah
- Ending point: Torrey, Utah
- Distance: 124 miles
Scenic Byway 12 winds through some of the most remote yet awe-inspiring landscape of Utah. Along the route, the landscape ranges from alpine meadows and aspen trees in Dixie National Monument to towering red rock formations called hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park.
The road has sharp curves and narrow shoulders in parts, and cellphone service isn’t available in many areas. Camping is available in the parks along the byway. You also can find lodging, such as the Bryce Canyon Pines Motel that has rooms with rates from $115 per night.
9. Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip
- Starting point: Monterey, Calif.
- Ending point: Morro Bay, Calif.
- Distance: 147 miles
Designated as an All-American Road, the Pacific Coast Highway is considered one of the best American road trips, according to Travel and Leisure. As it winds along the central California coast, this highway offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, roadside attractions and cool towns to explore.
Beware, though, that the Pacific Coast Highway can get crowded on weekends and holidays. You can find a variety of lodging options, such as the Anderson Inn in Morro Bay, where room rates start at $289 per night.
10. Route 6 Cape Cod Road Trip
- Starting point: Sagamore, Mass.
- Ending point: Woods Hole, Mass.
- Distance: 160 miles
You can easily make this road trip in a day, but you could spread it out over several days to stop and explore some of the oldest towns in America. Along the route is Cape Cod National Seashore, which has 40 miles of beaches, marshes and ponds.
Traffic on Route 6 can be heavy in the summer. You can find a variety of accommodations, such as the Hyannis Travel Inn, which has rooms starting at $117.
11. Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park Road Trip
- Starting point: Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Acadia National Park, Maine
- Ending point: Hulls Cove Visitor Center, Acadia National Park, Maine
- Distance: 27 miles
You can see the mountains, forests and rocky shoreline of Acadia National Park on Maine’s Mount Desert Island, as you drive along Park Loop Road. Drive slowly, though, because there is a lot of wildlife.
You can camp at one of the park’s campgrounds for $15 to $22 per night. Or the town of Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island has accommodations, such as Bar Harbor Grand Hotel, with summer rates starting at $159 per night.
12. Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Road Trip
- Starting point: Grand Island, Neb.
- Ending point: Alliance, Neb.
- Distance: 272 miles
This stretch of Highway 2 takes you through the Nebraska sandhills and along wetlands, marshes and rivers, where millions of birds stop along their migration routes. You can learn about pioneer life at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island, visit working ranches or see the largest hand-planted forest in the world at Nebraska National Forest. You can find a variety of lodging, such as the La Ruche Bed and Breakfast in Seward, Neb., where rooms start at $85 a night.
13. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario Shorelines Drive Road Trip
- Starting point: Dunkirk, N.Y.
- Ending point: Cape Vincent, N.Y.
- Distance: 276 miles
You can see both of the Great Lakes that border New York — Lake Erie and Lake Ontario — if you travel from Dunkirk, N.Y., to Cape Vincent, N.Y. Along the way, you can take a short detour to the breathtaking Niagara Falls.
You can stop along the way, or find lodging at the end of the trip near Cape Vincent, where Lake Ontario meets the St. Lawrence River. For example, you can get a room at 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel in nearby Clayton, N.Y., for about $170 a night.
14. Pacific Northwest Wine Country Road Trip
- Starting point: Salem, Ore.
- Ending point: Walla Walla, Wash.
- Distance: 288 miles
Wine lovers can get their fill of winery tours — and wine — as they drive from Salem, Ore., to Walla Walla, Wash. Salem lies within Oregon’s largest winemaking region, Williamette Valley — where you’ll also find rivers, hot springs and waterfalls, in addition to vineyards. And the Walla Walla Valley is home to more than 100 wineries.
From RV parks to hotels, there’s a range of lodging options. For example, rates for rooms at A Room with a View Bed and Breakfast start at $140 per night.
15. Great River Road Road Trip
- Starting point: Minnesota
- Ending point: Louisiana
- Distance: 3,000 miles
You can follow the route of the Mississippi, from its origin in Minnesota to where it meets the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, with a road trip along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway. As you pass through 10 states, you’ll see small and large cities — including Minneapolis, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans.
Depending on where you decide to start and end your trip, you will need lodging for several nights. Rates will vary depending on the property and city, but you can stay right on the riverfront for $110 per night at Alma Home Style Lodging in Alma, Wis.
16. Big Island Loop, Hawaii Road Trip
- Starting point: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
- Ending point: Mauna Key, Hawaii
- Distance: 300 miles
You can drive around Hawaii’s Big Island along a series of connecting highways that will take you past jungles, beaches, mountains and active lava flows. You can start at sea level in Kailua-Kona, then make your way to the 13,796-foot summit of Mauna Kea. You can get a room at the Hawaii Volcano House, within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, starting at $285 per night.
17. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire Road Trip
- Starting point: Lincoln, N.H.
- Ending point: Conway, N.H.
- Distance: 34.5 miles
You can see fall foliage at its finest along this stretch of New Hampshire Route 112, but you don’t have to wait until autumn to enjoy this road trip. This American Scenic Byway cuts through White Mountain National Forest and offers views of the White Mountains, Swift River, two waterfalls and a gorge. It’s a curvy route, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.
There are no gas stations, restaurants or hotels on Kancamagus Highway. There’s only one cabin — Radeke Cabin — along the highway that can be rented for $40 per day.
18. Dalton Highway Road Trip
- Starting point: Fairbanks, Alaska
- Ending point: Deadhorse, Alaska
- Distance: 414 miles
This mostly gravel highway that was built as a service road for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline will let you escape civilization and see the dramatic scenery of the Arctic. There’s plenty of wildlife, including grizzly bears and caribou, but only a few places to stop for fuel.
You’ll need to pack food because there are no grocery stores. Plus, there’s no cellphone service, and camping is the only lodging option.
19. Southern Seafood Tour Road Trip
- Starting point: New Orleans, La.
- Ending point: St. George Island, Fla.
- Distance: 425 miles
You can sample the South’s freshest seafood as you make your way along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline from Louisiana to Florida. Grab a meal at any of the great restaurants in cities such as New Orleans and Destin, or catch your own fish by casting off the beach on St. George Island, Fla.
There are many places to stay, including Sea Breeze Inn in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., that has rooms starting at $105 per night.
20. Blue Ridge Parkway Road Trip
- Starting point: Charlottesville, Va.
- Ending point: Asheville, N.C.
- Distance: 469 miles
This parkway winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering stunning views and connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It’s been named “America’s Favorite Drive,” and is one of the most-visited parts of the National Park System. You can get a room at the Pisgah Inn, which offers the highest elevation lodging on the parkway, for $145 per night and up.
21. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana Road Trip
- Starting point: West Glacier National Park entrance, Mont.
- Ending point: St. Mary, Mont.
- Distance: 50 miles
This two-lane highway spans the width of Glacier National Park in Montana, offering spectacular views of mountains, glacial lakes and wildlife, such as bighorn sheep. There’s a $30 park entrance fee for vehicles. You’ll need to make this drive during the summer because snow can make the road impassable at other times of the year.
Five of the park’s 13 campgrounds are along the road. Or you could stay at lodges in the park, such as Apgar Village Lodge that has rooms starting at $105 per night.
22. Southern Colorado Loop Road Trip
- Starting point: Durango, Colo.
- Ending point: Durango, Colo.
- Distance: 500 miles
Take a tour of southern Colorado as you drive from Durango to Great Sand Dunes National Park — which has the tallest dunes in North America — to Gunnison, then through the Red Mountain Pass back to Durango. You can stop along the way in Almont, Colo., at Three Rivers Resort, which has lodge rooms starting at $75 per day.
23. Alaskan Road Trip
- Starting point: Anchorage, Alaska
- Ending point: Homer, Alaska
- Distance: 500 miles
Experience Alaska as you head down Route 1 from Anchorage through Chugach State Park, then to Seward on State Highway 9. You can get a room at the Glacier Lodge in Seward starting at $159 per night. Head back to Route 1, then down the Kenai Peninsula to Homer on Kachemak Bay.
24. National Parks Tour Road Trip
- Starting point: Jackson, Wyo.
- Ending point: Glacier National Park, Mont.
- Distance: 600 miles
A road trip that starts in Jackson, Wyo., and heads north will take you through Grand Teton National Park, then Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park and home to Old Faithful geyser. Then you can stop at Missouri Headwaters State Park on the way to Glacier National Park in Montana.
You can camp or stay in lodges in the parks. Camping fees start at $15 per night. Lodging costs vary.
25. Blues Highway Road Trip
- Starting point: Nashville, Tenn.
- Ending point: New Orleans, La.
- Distance: 657 miles
Route 61, known as Blues Highway, offers music lovers the chance to listen to live music, explore famous recording studios and visit Graceland, the home of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. The trip could take several days, and there are various lodging options along the way — including the Ace Hotel in New Orleans that has rooms starting at $206 per night.
26. Beartooth Highway Road Trip
- Starting point: Red Lodge, Mont.
- Ending point: Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, Wyo.
- Distance: 68 miles
This National Scenic Byways All-American Road passes through one of the highest and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states — offering views of Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, glacial lakes, waterfalls, forests and wildlife. In fact, this winding stretch of Highway 212 is the highest-elevation highway in the Northern Rockies, and has been called the most beautiful drive in America.
The road is open May to October and should not be driven at night because of sheer drops and hairpin turns along the entire route. There are campgrounds — several of which don’t charge fees — in the three national forests the highway crosses.
27. Southwest National Parks Road Trip
- Starting point: Grand Canyon National Park (North Rim), Ariz.
- Ending point: Moab, Utah
- Distance: 862 miles
Take a tour of some of America’s most spectacular national parks, starting with the less-crowded North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Head north to Utah to Zion National Park — where you’ll see massive sandstone cliffs and deep, narrow canyons — then to nearby Bryce Canyon National Park to see the world’s largest collection of massive rock pillars called hoodoos. Continue driving north through Canyonlands National Park, then finish your trip near Moab, Utah, at Arches National Park — which has more than 2,000 natural stone arches.
Keep up to date on weather hazards during this trip because heavy rains can cause flash floods. Also, you will need to make multiple lodging stops on this trip. The national parks have campgrounds with varying fees, typically $25 or less.
28. Hana Highway, Hawaii Road Trip
- Starting point: Kahului, Hawaii
- Ending point: Hana, Hawaii
- Distance: 52 miles
A road trip on Hana Highway will take you along Maui’s eastern coast — where you’ll get beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean on one side and cliffs, jungles and waterfalls on the other side of the road. You’ll want to take your time not only to enjoy the spectacular scenery but also to safely navigate the highway’s 600 curves. You can stay at the Garden Room guest cottage in Hana for $158 per night.
29. New Mexico-Texas Road Trip
- Starting point: Las Cruces, N.M.
- Ending point: Las Cruces, N.M.
- Distance: 950 miles
Take the lonely highways of southern New Mexico and West Texas to see the world’s largest gypsum dunefield at White Sands National Monument, the spectacular caves of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, the Rio Grande in Big Bend Ranch State Park and the funky, artsy desert town of Marfa, Texas. As you head back to Las Cruces, make a detour to Roswell, N.M., to visit the International UFO Museum.
Pack plenty of water for this long trip and plan to make several stops. You can find lodging at spots such as Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces in Las Cruces, N.M., for $129 per night.
30. Bourbon Trail Road Trip
- Starting point: Varies
- Ending point: Varies
- Distance: varies depending on number of distilleries visited
Head to the birthplace of bourbon — Kentucky — to see how “America’s Official Native Spirit” is crafted at the nine distilleries along the Bourbon Trail. Not only can you tour and sample the bourbon at distilleries such as Jim Bean and Maker’s Mark, you’ll also see some of state’s most beautiful horse farms and scenery.
Just don’t drink and drive. There are local transportation options that can serve as the designated driver for these tours, such as Mint Julep Tours. There are numerous lodging options, including the artsy 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, Ky., that has rooms starting at $279.
This article originally appeared on GoBankingRates.