America’s Best Road Trips Are In These 5 States
Pack your bags! We’ve rounded up the best road trips that don’t require you to cross state lines.
In North Dakota, plan a road trip that takes you all the way across the state on I-94. It’s less than five hours from end-to-end, but there’s a lot to see and do in between. Start in Fargo with stops at the Fargo Theatre and Vinyl Taco before heading west for selfies with the World’s Largest Buffalo Monument in Jamestown. Continue along I-94, then grab a bite to eat at historic Peacock Alley before touring the state capitol building in Bismarck. As you approach Dickinson, make a quick detour in Gladstone for eight roadside sculptures that make up the Enchanted Highway. The last stop is Medora, which is home to the Medora Musical, a famous western-style musical show, and provides access to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The 36-mile Scenic Loop Drive around the park is a must, as is looking for ghost towns as you road trip across the state.
Everything is big in Texas and so is a road trip across the state on I-10, which runs nearly 1,000 miles. Start on the east side of the state in Beaumont where you’ll want to wade with baby alligators at Gator Country, snap a selfie with Big Beau, and dine on fried Cajun seafood at Floyd’s. Not far down the road you’ll land in Houston where a visit to Space Center Houston is a must-do for an inside look our space program. In the middle of the state, pay a visit to San Antonio, home to The Alamo, the River Walk (think colorful umbrellas) and Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest caverns in Texas. If you keep going west, you won’t see much, so hit a gas station before you get much further along I-10. Take photos with the giant road runner statue in Fort Stockton, then keep on driving to New Mexico.
Take I-90 across South Dakota for a road trip that offers something for everyone. Start in Sioux Falls with a picnic alongside the waterfalls at Falls Park (you can also grab a bite at Falls Overlook Café). Take time to walk the various trails around the waterfalls. Next, go west for a stop at the World’s Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, which offers free guided tours of the murals made from more than 275,000 ears of corn. Continue west along I-90 and spend the night in a log cabin at Frontier Cabins Motel, which is just a few blocks from Wall Drug, home of the jackalope and the five-cent cup of coffee (you’ll see billboards for miles). Keep going west for stops at Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills. In Rapid City, kids will love Reptile Gardens and Dinosaur Park. Sturgis, home to an annual 10-day motorcycle rally, is near the end of I-90.
Start in Philadelphia and take I-76 (a.k.a. Pennsylvania Turnpike) across the state from east to west, which goes all the way to Pittsburgh and beyond into Ohio. On its own, Philadelphia has plenty to do, like Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell (one of the best free tourist attractions in any state), and Reading Terminal Market, so you may want to first spend a few days exploring the city. Next, add a guided tour of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg to your road trip planner (though you may want to make a detour before that for roller coasters at Hershey Park). Continue west to Somerset for hiking at Laurel Hill State Park and exploring covered bridges, like Walter’s Mill Bridge. Finish up your road trip in Pittsburgh, which is home to world-class art museums, like The Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art, as well as a variety of distinctive neighborhoods.
In Tennessee, you’ll hit nearly all the major cities and attractions as you drive I-40 across the state on your road trip, starting with Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Make time to hike up to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, and take at least a few steps along the Appalachian Trail. Next, take I-40 west into Knoxville for a visit to Market Square and a walk around the University of Tennessee campus. As you continue west, I-40 takes you right through Music City, USA (aka Nashville), home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as, yes, a full-size replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, which is must-stop for lovers of roadside attractions. Keep driving and just before you leave Tennessee, you’ll find yourself in Memphis, home to Elvis’s Graceland, Beale Street, and really, really good barbecue.