With summer on the horizon, it’s time to rid the minivan—or sports car—of old to-go boxes and to double-check that the spare tire is still in the trunk. Warm weather means stellar road conditions, which means it’s time to participate in an American tradition: road trips.
The Great American Road Trip isn’t quite as old as the car itself, mostly because the roads that existed when the first automobiles were taking to the streets in the early 1900s. If today’s drivers think winter potholes are bad, the streets when the automobile was first being developed were meant for horse and buggy. People still traveled and the first successful cross-country road trip took place in 1903. It wasn’t until cars became more accessible and paid vacation time was given to workers in the post-World War II boom that Americans really started turning their wanderlust into a trip from sea to shining sea.
Now there’s around a car per person and 4.18 million miles of road in the United States, according to a February 2017 report by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. It’s all but impossible to drive down every single one just like it’s impossible to see everything the U.S. has to offer in only one trip. Stacker utilized the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration and state travel guides to locate must-drive roads in every U.S. state to help any would-be road tripper to narrow down their options. We researched roadways for the devilishly daring, the tranquil soul, the lonesome and lovesick, the wildlife lover, the fisherman and more, leaving no parkway unturned in order to bring joy to road warriors across the nation.
Walt Whitman understood the importance of traveling highways and byways, as made evident when he said, “I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.” Hit the gas pedal and take to an open road of your own this summer. Read on to learn about must-drive roads in every state.