North America is full of fascinating cultures, breathtaking views, and unforgettable experiences. With hundreds of miles of open road to explore, it’s no wonder why so many travelers choose to see it all from the comfort of their cars.
Whether you’re throwing camping gear in the trunk or driving to the best hotels along your route, a road trip is a great way to get the most out of the areas you visit. The diverse cities and landscapes of northern North America (the United States and Canada) offer countless historic and scenic highways for you to explore.
Not sure where to get started?
Add these ideas for a perfect North American road trip to your bucket list:
1. Trans-Canada Highway
Canada has so many fantastic travel opportunities that you might have a hard time deciding what to see and do. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose. A trip along the 4,860-mile-long Trans-Canada Highway will take you across the entire country. The highway spans from west to east, connecting all ten Canadian provinces and many of the country’s major cities. You can even take a ferry out of Nova Scotia to reach the highway’s easternmost end in Newfoundland.
Along the way, catch a glimpse of all the diversity and beauty Canada has to offer. Snap photos of rugged mountains and vast prairies. Wander off the road for a while to get up close and personal with moose, bison, and other members of Canada’s wildlife. Alternatively, stop in Vancouver, Montreal, or any of the other major cities around the route to get your fill of art, history, and culture.
2. Route 100 Through Vermont
With rolling mountains, dense forests, and impossible amounts of charm, Vermont provides the perfect escape for any traveler. Route 100, a stunning 146-mile byway that cuts through the center of the state, provides a convenient way to experience it all. Explore the eastern side of the iconic Green Mountains. Make sure you leave room in your itinerary to visit some of the cozy eateries, inns, and breweries along the way. Route 100 also connects many of the state’s top skiing areas, making it a perfect addition to a classic Vermont winter ski trip.
3. Million-Dollar Highway
Also known as the San Juan Skyway, this spur of U.S. Highway 50 connects Ouray and Silverton in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Plan plenty of time for this trip, as you’ll want to stop to take in the incredible views of the surrounding mountains and gorges. The road itself features narrow lanes, winding turns, and steep cliffs on either side, making it just tricky enough to be a thrilling drive. The historic mining towns on either end of this section of byway are also worth exploring. Of course, the actual stretch between Ouray and Silverton isn’t very long, but you can extend it by making it part of a grand Colorado road trip adventure.
4. Route 12 Through Utah
This All-American Road is 122 miles of Southwestern beauty and one of the best ideas for a perfect North American road trip. Travelers can delve into Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, and several other gorgeous parks, forests, and monuments along the way. Make sure you stop at the Head of the Rocks Overlook for a jaw-dropping view of the Escalante Canyons. Other scenic overlooks that dot the route are also worth the visit, as are the small-town shops and restaurants you can stop at along the way.
Related Read: 3 Great Reasons Why Road Trips Are Better Than Flying