The Great American Road Trip

By Kylla Benes

Summer road trips are as American as apple pie. Since just after World War II, with the availability of affordable cars and an expanding highway system, summer road trips have been a rite of passage for American youth and annual traditions for American families for generations. Their persistent popularity may lie in the fact that road trips embody many core American values. On the road feelings of freedom, independence, and adventure cannot be ignored.

Some may argue The Great American Road Trip is a cross-country journey, a trip that takes you to every National Park, or a drive to see our nation’s most sacred spaces. But The Great American Road Trip isn’t actually about the distance or destination. It’s about connecting to the feelings that remind us of our core American values. It’s about seeing the diversity of spaces and faces that make up the fabric of this great country. It’s about disconnecting from the daily grind and re-connecting to those you are travelling with — be it family, friends, or just yourself.

So this summer, pack up your car, open a map (or not), and discover the America that lies on the open road beyond the borders of your home town.


Here are a few suggested routes and resources to help you plan your version of The Great American Road Trip:

USA Today’s 10 Best Bucket-List Road Trips

National Geographic’s Top 10 Motorcycle Rides

National Park Foundation’s 4 Ultimate Road Trips

Road Trip USA’s 11 Different Ways to Drive Cross-Country

Drive and then walk, most USA cities have free walking tours

Build Your Own Trip based on the fastest or most scenic route