Whether it’s a special occasion or not, sometimes it’s nice to get in the car with the one you love and take a romantic road trip. There are a lot of options in the United States for scenic drives on a weekend or for a week. We have compiled some romantic road trip options in different regions of the US so you can choose your favorite.
New York City -> Connecticut
A drive from New York City through Connecticut is particularly lovely in the spring when everything is green and in the fall when the leaves change colors. It will take you roughly 2 hours to drive north from Manhattan, and along the way, you will get views of the Hudson River or Long Island Sound, depending on what route you take. Stop in New Haven for a romantic stroll around the Yale University campus, and then eat some of the local delicacy – clam pizza. You can then head north to one of the state parks or state forests, like Talcott Mountain State Park, or go a bit further east to Gillette Castle State Park on the Connecticut River.
Miami -> Key West, FL
This iconic road trip starting in Miami takes you over the clear blue water for about 150 miles, until you reach the end of the line (and the US) in Key West. The romantic drive on the Overseas Highway, aka, Highway 1, will take you about 3.5 hours. But you will be handsomely rewarded by the scenery and beaches along the way.
Pro tip: Time your road trip for sunset to achieve maximum romance.
Portland, Maine -> Acadia National Park
Do you find snow-covered nature beautiful? Then Maine is the perfect place for a romantic drive. The scenic route from Portland north to Acadia National Park takes you through small towns, thick forests, and mountainous terrain before you hit the wondrous Acadia National Park, sitting on an island in the Atlantic Ocean. The drive will take you a bit more than 3 hours, and keep in mind that roads might not be open during the winter months so the romance might have to wait until the summer.
Atlanta -> Savannah, GA
Experience Southern charm and take a drive on the Georgia backroads from Atlanta to Savannah. This romantic route takes you through charming small towns and forested landscapes. Hop on Interstate 20 until Madison, then drive south on Highway 441 until Dublin, then head east on I-16. The drive will take about 4 hours, but in the end, you get to drive through the historic and beautiful city of Savannah!
Chicago -> Madison County, IA
Start off by driving down the Miracle Mile in Chicago, or cruise along the shores of Lake Michigan. After that, head through the farmland of Illinois and Iowa on I-88 and I-80 until you hit Des Moines, Iowa. Then the most romantic part of this road trip begins! If you go south on I-35 and west on Highway 92, you can drive through the covered bridges of Madison County, as featured in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County”.
Rocky Mountain Region
Scenic Byway 12, Utah
This road sits amid natural wonders in south-central Utah. It’s a 5-hour drive from Las Vegas north on I-15. Then you can go east on Highway 20 past the Dixie National Forest. That road turns into Highway 12, which takes you through Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and ends up at Capitol Reef National Park. There are ample opportunities for hiking or simply seeing stunning sunrises and sunsets.
If you want a road slightly less traveled for your romantic road trip, head to the Oregon Coast Highway. Otherwise known as Highway 101, it runs for more than 330 miles along the coastline. Stop along the way to see sea lions and other marine life at places like the Sea Lion Caves north of Heceta Beach.
Napa Valley, CA
You don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy a road trip through the vineyards and lush farmland of the Napa Valley. If you are coming from San Francisco, simply head north either over the Golden Gate Bridge or the San Franciso-Oakland Bay Bridge. When you get to Napa, drive north on Highway 29 or Highway 121, depending on whether you want to drive through small, charming towns or simply enjoy the scenery.
Pacific Coast Highway, CA
This classic road trip is made better in a convertible or sports car. The Pacific Coast Highway, or State Route 1, runs for more than 650 miles up the California coastline from Dana Point south of Los Angeles to Leggett, CA in the northern part of the state. On the way, you will see breathtaking ocean views, plus you can stop in the beach communities of L.A., Big Sur, Monterey, Point Reyes National Seashore, and see the rugged coastline and forests of the northern part of the state.
Hana Highway, Maui
Also known as the Road to Hana, the 65-mile drive between Kahului and Hana on the island of Maui is well worth the slow going. You should allocate a full day to do the drive so you can truly enjoy all of the lush scenery and the road’s twists and turns. Simply take Highway 36 from Kahului, which will then turn into Highway 360. Why not try to drive the route in a rush? Because you will go over many bridges (several of which are one lane) and winding roads where you can’t safely drive more than 30 miles per hour. Plus, you should take the time to savor the tropical rainforest and waterfalls you will see. What can be more romantic than that?