How To Have an Epic US Road Trip in 2019

Maine’s Acadia National Park is a perfect road-trip destination
Maine’s Acadia National Park is a perfect road-trip destination | © Allard Schager / Alamy Stock Photo

According to Brand USA, 2019 is tipped to be the year of the camper van as the trend for vacations on wheels continues to rise. So if you’re geared up and ready to hit the highway, here’s how to have an unforgettable American adventure.

Thanks to the rise of #vanlife on Instagram, the American road trip is now firmly etched on every intrepid traveler’s bucket list. And it’s no wonder: from the glorious Great Plains to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, the USA isn’t short of kaleidoscopic scenery and sites that are ripe for exploring. As long as you have a map app, a tank of gas, a decent playlist and an open mind, you can expect the adventure of a lifetime.

For an epic route, look no further than this trip mapped out by data scientist Randy Olson. Described as the “optimal road trip across the US,” it covers 48 out of 50 states and provides the shortest route by road between an impressive 50 landmarks across most states. The 13,699-mile (22,046-kilometer) trip would take about 224 hours of driving to complete – or two to three months – but it’ll be a rare opportunity to tick off national American treasures such as:

Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

This geological marvel is the result of ancient volcanic activity that’s given the landscape a moon-like, otherworldly quality. The monument’s cavernous lava tubes are worth roaming for hours, or you can attempt to follow The Great Rift – a 62-mile-long (100 kilometers) crack in the earth.

The monument offers spectacular and strange scenery | © jay goebel / Alamy Stock Photo

Gateway Arch, Missouri

Not only is this impressive structure the tallest man-made arch in the US, but you can ride to the top of it to catch a stunning view of St. Louis. The newly revamped museum below the arch is also a big hit with visitors.

The Gateway Arch stands beside the Mississippi River | © Chris Boswell / Alamy Stock Photo

Okefenokee Swamp Park, Georgia

You may or may not want to catch sight of the alligators that call Okefenokee Swamp Park home – but thankfully the snappy predators aren’t the only residents of the beautiful wildlife refuge. Keep your eyes peeled for rare birds, otters and black bears (from a safe distance, of course).

Alligators bask along the Suwannee River in Okefenokee Swamp | © wildnerdpix / Alamy Stock Photo

Lost World Caverns, West Virginia

Not your typical caverns, this national landmark looks like a scene straight out of Jurassic Park. Journey 120 feet (37 meters) below the Earth’s surface at your own pace to appreciate the Lost World’s winding network of tunnels, waterfalls and rock formations – including the Snowy Chandelier, a 30-ton stalactite said to be the largest in the country.

Lost World Caverns | © Dave Riggs/Flickr

Acadia National Park, Maine

Few parks are as breathtakingly beautiful as Acadia, a 47,000-acre (19,000-hectare) national treasure on the coast of Maine that’s known for its picture-perfect scenery, woodland, rocky beaches and rewarding hiking trails. It’s also home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the East Coast.

Acadia National Park is perhaps the most ruggedly beautiful spot on the East Coast | © Megan Amato / Alamy Stock Photo

Visit these landmarks and more using this handy map from Roadtrippers:

Looking for more road-trip inspiration in the USA? Check out these itineraries from New York to Cape Cod, Rhode Island or the Hamptons.

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