Tennessee, Johnson City to Gatlinburg.
Dang beautiful, these 90 miles of rural Tennessee might inspire you to grab a banjo and strum an Appalachian love song.
Take U.S. Route 11E toward Davy Crockett’s birthplace (Everyone: “Born on a mountaintop …”). At Greenville, where two homes of Andrew Johnson anchor a governmental historic site, drift onto U.S. Route 321, skirting the majestic Fantastic Smoky Mountains National Forest. Next day, depending on your choice, go to the park or, for mountains of a various kind, nearby Dollywood.
Florida, Overseas Highway.
Only car-crazy America would link a 105-mile long chain of islands– from Key Largo, just south of Miami, west to Key West, with a highway, U.S. Route 1. “You’re on either a bridge or a causeway, surrounded by glittering water,” says Janet Groene, author of Great Eastern RV Journeys. “It’s a lovely, charming drive.”
Two tips: Crowds are smaller throughout spring and early summer, and capture the sunset at Key West’s Mallory Square Dock.
South Dakota, Pierre to Mount Rushmore.
Mythic Mount Rushmore does not dissatisfy, even after driving more than 200 miles across jaw-dropping cool surroundings. From Pierre, follow U.S. Path 83 driving across the Missouri River and striking meadows to Interstate 90, going west. The great sights aren’t visible from the interstate, so be sure to turn off at Murdo for buffalo burgers, Badlands National Park for the dry, dusty canyons, and Rapid City for dead presidents sculpted into the Black Hills landscape.
California, Monterey to Morro Bay.
Like you needed reminding that state Route 1 along California’s central coast stands as one of America’s, or even the world’s best driving road trips. South of Monterey begins 125 miles of windy highway within extraordinary landscapes, and includes amazing vistas at Big Sur, where the Santa Lucia Range sloped down steeply into the Pacific. By the time you hit San Simeon, the Hearst Castle’s architectural wonders will hardly impress up against what Mother Nature simply revealed to you on your drive.
Finally, regardless of your journey, travel pros prompt folks to plan their routes ahead of time and to pack a map, not simply directions on a phone. Don’t be one of those that thinks they understand everything and can’t get lost. Many a terrific weekend trip has actually been ruined by such bad preparation.