Travel can open our eyes to the beauty of the world. It gets us out of our comfort zone and brings new experiences that make us better people. That’s why it is so often on our list of New Year’s resolutions—though the past few years have changed how that looks. But even with always-shifting travel restrictions, there is one type of trip that will never go out of style: the road trip.
Life on the open road has always been a part of American culture. Our vast highways don’t just carry consumer goods—they carry hopes, dreams and memories. And recently, the classic road trip is experiencing a renaissance. Where will you go this year? Use our road trip planner to discover new destinations throughout the United States.
Come along on some of SIXT’s favorite places to road trip in the US:
1. Coudersport, PA
What to see: Starry Eastern skies in Cherry Springs State Park
What to drive: Mercedes-Benz G Class
There are two total lunar eclipses in 2022, and both will be worth the road trip. Cherry Springs State Park in Pennsylvania is the perfect place to view the first lunar eclipse, which will happen from late night on Sunday May 15 to early morning May 16. Designated a Gold Level Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association, Cherry Springs is one of the top places in the country for stargazing. You might even see an asteroid, a meteor shower, the Northern Lights or the Milky Way.
2. Lake Powell, UT
What to see: Starry Western skies in Natural Bridges National Monument
What to drive: Range Rover Sport
The second lunar eclipse takes place in the early morning on November 8 and will be best viewed from the western United States. Natural Bridges National Monument in Utah was the world’s first International Dark Sky Park and remains dedicated to preserving dark sky environments. It’s popular with photographers and stargazers—check out the Milky Way rising over Owachomo Bridge while you’re there for the eclipse.
3. Holbrook, AZ
What to see: Classic Route 66
What to drive: Mini Cooper convertible
No road trip planner is complete without Route 66. Many people think of the ending of Route 66 in Santa Monica when they picture this iconic California road trip—but it’s actually best to fly into Los Angeles Airport, rent a car and hit the road toward Holbrook, Arizona. Along the way, you’ll drive through the Angeles National Forest and the Mojave National Preserve. When you reach Holbrook, head north to the Painted Desert and then end your Route 66 road trip in the Petrified Forest.
4. Lincoln, MT
What to see: Incredible art at Sculpture in the Wild
What to drive: Jeep Wrangler
Montana is known as Big Sky Country, but some of the best sights are actually on the ground. The Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture Park is the perfect destination for an art lovers’ road trip. Located a little over an hour from both Missoula and Helena, the 26-acre sculpture park celebrates the rich heritage of the Blackfoot Valley with 14 large-scale installations and a rotating guest sculpture. Go ahead and bring Fido on this road trip—dogs are allowed on leash.
5. New Ulm, MN
What to see: Quintessential fall foliage
What to drive: BMW 8 Series Coupe
Leaf peeping is a time-honored tradition for much of the northern United States—and if you haven’t experienced it, this is the year. New Ulm is one of the best places to go on a road trip in the fall. Rent a car at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and follow the Minnesota River 95 miles southwest to New Ulm. Stop off at the stunning viewpoints in La Sueur, St. Peter and Mankato, then head to your final stop, the Hermann Heights Monument in New Ulm, for an amazing view.
6. Key West, FL
What to see: Tropical vibes along theOverseas Highway
What to drive: Audi A5 convertible
Need an escape from wintery weather? A road trip to Key West could be in your future. The bridges connecting the Keys are a breathtaking feat of humanity—you’ll feel like you’re floating on the water. Start in Miami for a shorter, 100-mile trip, or tour Florida’s east coast with a 370-mile trip from Tampa. Either way, you’ll end your trip in Key West, one of the most tropical places on the planet. Stop into Lagerheads Beach Bar for an incredible sunset view and super-fresh fish tacos.
7. Glenwood Springs, CO
What to see: Secluded mountain views
What to drive: Jeep Grand Cherokee
The Colorado Rockies are filled with quaint, remote towns—but Glenwood Springs is one of the best places to road trip in the mountains. With fishing, rafting, hiking, and snow sports, this is a mountain wonderland year-round. From Denver International Airport, your 180-mile journey will take you through the best the Rockies have to offer, including Vail and Aspen. Once you reach town, stop by CO Ranch House for a steak—or elk, buffalo, or trout—then hit Sweet ColoraDough for dessert.
8. Port Arthur, TX
What to see: Plate after plate of incredible food
What to drive: BMW 2 Series Coupe
When you think “foodie road trip,” Houston may not be the first city that comes to mind. Yet it’s the fourth-largest city in the country—and may be the largest melting pot. Get Viet-Cajun at Cajun Kitchen, barbecue at Killen’s, and chicken-fried steak at Frank’s Americana Revival. Then head east on Route 10 from Houston George Bush Airport to visit The Cuban Café in Baytown for the best sandwiches and Cuban coffee this side of the Gulf.
9. Mount Rainier, WA
What to see: Fields of colorful wildflowers
What to drive: Range Rover
Mount Rainier is one of the most famous places in the country for wildflowers, and in July and August, it’s easy to see why. From Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, head 55 miles south and make Rainer your home base for exploring Mount Rainier National Park. There’s some debate whether Paradise, on the mountain’s south slope, or Sunrise, to the north, is the best viewing spot, but one thing is certain—this road trip never disappoints.
10. Goodsprings, NV
What to see: The (haunted) past in the present
What to drive: BMW X3
Some people want to know the best places to go on a road trip for food or scenery—and others want to visit creepy, haunted ghost towns. Goodsprings, Nevada makes that list, and better yet, it’s just 35 miles south of Las Vegas. Goodsprings was once the richest mining town in the county, and you can still see its historic saloon, general store and elementary school, among other spooky buildings. Fly into Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and enjoy the casinos and pool parties of Sin City before embarking on your road trip.
11. St. Joseph, MO
What to see: Historic landmarks along the Pony Express Trail
What to drive: Chrysler Pacifica
If you’re a history buff, you might have seen the Freedom Trail in Boston and the Civil War landmarks in Gettysburg. But you probably haven’t taken the Pony Express—the historic trail that runs from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. In the 19th century, riders on horseback delivered mail over that 2,000-mile expanse in less than 10 days. Today, you can fuel up at Cafe Belle Epoque, then start your road trip at the the Pony Express headquarters and decide how far you want to go.
12. Vicksburg, MS
What to see: Music venues and highlights on the Blues Highway
What to drive: Ford Mustang GT convertible
There’s no shortage of best places to road trip for music in the United States: Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville and more. But you’re no tourist. If you want to mingle with locals and hear the real story behind the history, you have to road trip along the Mississippi Delta. Start in Memphis, where you can visit Beale Street and the Hall of Fame Museum before heading south on Route 61. Stop off in Clarksdale’s adorable downtown for jazz and art, and the Onward Store in Rolling Fork for live music and a classic country feel. It’s about 235 miles overall, and so worth it.
13. Asheville, NC
What to see: Romantic scenery and places to get close
What to drive: BMW Z4 convertible
North Carolina is one of the fastest-growing states in the country, and a road trip to Asheville will reveal all the reasons why. This city of 90,000 is famous for its hiking, biking, and waterfalls, but it also has plenty of indoor activities, with museums, breweries and more. It’s the perfect road trip destination for you and your special someone. When you start at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, you’ll drive through the best of the Appalachians. You can even stop off in Athens to check out its gorgeous antebellum architecture.
14. Bar Harbor, ME
What to see: Plenty of adventure in Acadia National Park
What to drive: Toyota Tundra
Yosemite and Yellowstone aren’t the only national parks that are among the best places to go on a road trip. Acadia National Park is one of the top-ten most visited parks in the United States, with more than three million guests per year. Bar Harbor is your home base, so get a table at The Veranda for farm-to-table food and ocean views. Then it’s time to get going: Whether you go in the winter for snow shoeing and cross-country skiing or the summer for hiking and biking, there’s no shortage of adventure in Acadia.
15. Monroe, UT
What to see: Steamy hidden pools atMystic Hot Springs
What to drive: Chevrolet Tahoe
Half the fun of a road trip is finding secluded spaces that make it feel like you’re the first one who discovered them. Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe is one of those places. Relax in natural hot springs at the edge of the wilderness, with only the sounds of llamas as your soundtrack. Yes, the farm has llamas, emus and goats. Monroe is about 175 miles south of Salt Lake City and just a short drive from both Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, where you can see some of Utah’s famous rock formations.
You don’t have to leave travel off your 2022 New Year’s resolution list. There are plenty of destinations right in your backyard that are just waiting to be explored. With our road trip planner and the perfect rental car, you can see some truly incredible sights—without even leaving the country.