Is there anything quite like a long drive? No, we mean a long drive. Highways are the backbone of the classic American road trip. Wherever it is in this country you want to go, there’s a road for that. While this list may seem like nothing but a collection of numbers, these highways are all about seeing the country the best way we know how: on the open road.
From: Mexico to Canada
Length: 1,381.29 miles
Best stops: LEGOLAND California, Disneyland Park, Griffith Park, Lemay – America’s Car Museum, Peace Arch
Technically, the I-5 only exists in the United States, but this country-long roadway just about touches three countries. In the south, it kicks off in plain sight of the Mexican border, beginning in San Ysidro, California, but just minutes from Downtown Tijuana.
The San Diego Freeway passes right through the city, and you’re never far from the Pacific Ocean until veering in to catch a glimpse of Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Burbank. After Sacramento and a cozy drive through Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the I-5 leaves California behind in favor of Oregon.
The highway delivers a magnificent view of Portland from the east side of the Willamette River before cutting through the heart of Seattle, Washington. Three states and 1,300 miles later, Interstate 5 comes to halt at the Canadian border and the Peace Arch monument, giving way to British Columbia’s Highway 99, with access to yet another major city: Vancouver.
From: Miami to Maine
Length: 1,919.31 miles
Best stops: Maine Wildlife Park, Bronx Zoo, Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, World Golf Hall of Fame
Trying to add to your list of states visited? Just drive the I-95 from start to finish — you’ll have been through 16 of them by the time you’re finished. This drive is better done from north to south, because once you get to Miami, you’re not ever going to want to leave. But before you do, enjoy the I-95 for what it is: an American state bucket list crusher.
The interstate starts in Houlton, where Maine meets the Canadian province of New Brunswick. While you’ll be in the US, you’ll also find yourself north of three major Canadian cities: Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, plus nearly all of Nova Scotia. After that oddity, the I-95 includes some typically wonderful Maine driving before entering the heart of New England, taking a detour around Boston, and showing off several of Connecticut’s prominent cities.
The 95 makes a brief appearance on the northern part of Manhattan before winding through rural New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In the 16th and final state, Florida, much of the road drives directly south, parallel with the Atlantic Ocean. Following glimpses of Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, and Hollywood, you’ve reached the apex. Welcome to Miami.
From: Florida to California
Length: 2,460.34 miles
Best stops: USS Alabama museum, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
From east to west or west to east, this highway drive can be done in good weather any time of year. In Jacksonville, I-10 begins by feeding off another of our favourites, the I-95. Then it goes straight west for what feels like forever, including a rewarding stretch overtop the Mobile Bay before crossing into Alabama and then Mississippi while flirting with the Gulf of Mexico.
The heart of the drive begins in Louisiana. First, a stretch over water, then a few minutes on the outskirts of the Bayou, and finally a look at the French Quarter, Louis Armstrong Park, and the famous Mercedes-Benz Superdome. After New Orleans, the 10 consists mainly of swamp and wildlife refuge until entering Texas and passing just north of downtown Houston. If you like rural Texas, this next part is for you. If not, close your eyes until San Antonio.
After that, it’s more small-town driving until the interstate veers closer and closer to the Mexican border before hitting the bustling city of El Paso. Then prepare for a long stretch of country roads until Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona. The trip includes some California desert before culminating in Los Angeles and coming to a close at the Santa Monica Pier.
US Route 1
From: Fort Kent to Key West
Length: 2,369 miles
Best stops: Miami, Key West
You haven’t driven Florida until you’ve hopped aboard Route 1. Yes, Highway 1 technically begins all the way in Fort Kent, Maine on the Canadian border and basically traces the eastern shore of the country. But we’ll skip ahead, because the main event is found all the way in the south, in Florida. That’s where you’ll find some of the most scenic driving in the world thanks to its proximity to the Indian River, so many great Floridian cities, and of course the Atlantic Ocean.
Cruise through Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, and Aventura in classic Florida fashion. Then, after a glamorous stop in Miami, prepare for the final act: The Florida Keys. Route 1 in all its glory continues through the Keys and onto the Seven Mile Bridge, as if suspended in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, all the way to Key West at the tip.
From: Boston to Seattle
Length: 3,020.44 miles
Best stops: University of Notre Dame, Niagara Falls, Sturbridge Living Museum
If you’re looking for America’s longest interstate highway, that would be I-90, a mammoth cross country drive that takes off at Boston Logan International Airport and caps off at Seattle’s Greyhound bus station in front of the city’s baseball and football stadiums. Talk about a convenient trip!
What starts as the infamous Massachusetts Turnpike (AKA, the Mass Pike) winds through Boston’s suburbs into Upstate New York, caressing Lake Erie and the Canada-US border after Buffalo, and ducking Cleveland in the process. After browsing Ohio and Indiana but narrowly avoiding Michigan, I-90 could be your ticket to Chicago. Your road trip through the American midwest includes stints in Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and a brief stint in Idaho before settling in Washington state.
US Route 20
From: the Pacific Northwest to New England
Length: 3,365 miles
Best stops: Cedar Point, Carhenge, Longfellow’s Wayside Inn
At more than 3,300 miles, US Route 20 is the single longest road in America. And it’s another major highway that starts in Beantown and takes a similar route to the I-90. This one actually begins in the Back Bay neighbourhood on Commonwealth Avenue, so it’s first mile includes the historic Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. (Don’t miss the iconic Citgo sign!) After crossing the Charles River, the 20 becomes Main Street, beginning a legendary stretch through 12 states.
From Fenway Park to the former Boston-Buffalo highway stretch to the Mississippi River and Yellowstone National Park, this looong stretch is packed with history. By the time you get to Newport, Oregon, you’ll have seen just about all of the northern part of the country — and you’ll have driven a road longer than anyone else has in the United States.
Ready to hit the road? Us too. If the best way to travel is the road trip, the best way to road trip is by bus. No other vehicle provides the convenience and comfort of a charter bus. A coach bus rental allows you to travel in big groups with access to things like WiFi, a bathroom, and undercarriage storage — all rather necessary for trips this long.