The Blog

9 North American Roadtrips for the End of Summer

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

By Becky Mahan

Summer is almost over, which means the kids are STILL out of school, you can't even remember when it was cold anymore, and you're getting, maybe, a little stir-crazy. And all of that means it's the perfect time for an epic road trip. Pack the kids (or the pets...or neither!) in the car, grab a tent and some blankets, and take one of these awesome routes:

California to Illinois, USA

Photo: Route 66 by: Vvillamon flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Like the old song says: get your kicks on route 66. Known as the "Main Street of America," the legendary highway got its name from the plethora of small towns, iconic cafes and motels, and picturesque landscapes it passes through. Stretching from Los Angeles to Chicago, it cuts through the bulk of America's heartland and embodies Americana at its best. Drive just a stretch of it or tackle the whole thing: this one's for the bucket list!

Pacific Rim Highway

Vancouver to Tofino, British Columbia

Photo: British Columbia by: Hardo flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Canada's far left coast is underrated and underappreciated, and therefore makes the perfect summer road trip getaway. Explore wild, untamed Alberni Valley with its deep-ocean inlet before twisting and turning into surfer's territory, coastal rainforest, and the
.

California coast, USA

Photo: California State Route 1 by: Kai Lehmann flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Another fabled drive awaits along the Pacific Coast Highway, which winds along stunning rugged coastline, coastal forests and cliffs, beautiful little towns (not to mention big, famous ones like San Diego and Los Angeles) and some of California's amazing nature. Stop frequently to enjoy the views because, trust us, you'll want to keep your eyes on this road.

Alaska, USA

Photo: Seward Highway by: Christoph Strässler flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
If you're seeking seclusion away from the giant billboards and cheesy diner cafes, Alaska's wild frontier may be more your pace. Seward Highway passes by formidable glaciers, jagged mountains, and untouched nature from Anchorage to Resurrection Bay, a stretch of 127 miles for your road tripping pleasure.

Banff and Jasper National Parks

Alberta, Canada

Photo: Banff National Park by: Alaskan Dude flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Arguably some of the most beautiful corners of the planet, Banff and Jasper National Parks are full of the kind of views that will turn your head, drop your jaw, and make you pull over for a photo shoot pronto. From Calgary, head west to pass through dense forests and alpine country, punctuated by pristine glacial lakes. After a day of heavy sightseeing, stay a night at the historic
, which was modeled after a Scottish castle.

Highway 1

Photo: The Florida Keys by: cogito ergo imago flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
There's a lot to do and see on this iconic highway, which happens to double as a bridge to connect the island of Key West to the Florida mainland. This is more of a pop culture experience, where you can indulge in great seafood, tacky tourist shops, and thriving nightlife in the Keys towns. Of course, you can also stop nearly anywhere for some great snorkeling or water sports.

Big Sky Country

Photo: Glacier National Park by: Michal - Courtesy: Trip.com
Stretching 360 miles through America's big sky country is the All American Road - a route that takes you through southern Montana from Livingston and into northern Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park. The road is flanked by soaring mountain peaks, flat plateaus, and untamed wilderness where you can go horseback riding, white-water rafting, mountain climbing, or soak in bubbling hot springs.

Vancouver to Lillooet, British Columbia

Photo: Sea to Sky Highway by: paul bica flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
This picturesque cliffside road stretches from Vancouver to Lillooet, offering scenic Pacific Ocean vistas, dramatic waterfalls, and quaint small towns. Since it's the main route from Vancouver to Whistler, the route won't be empty, but slow down a few paces and enjoy the ride. Let the point-to-point travelers do their thing and you do yours.

Appalachian Highlands, USA

Photo: Blue Ridge Parkway by: sporadic flickr - Courtesy: Trip.com
Considered "America's Favorite Drive," the Blue Ridge Parkway is truly unique: meandering for 470 miles through the Appalachian Highlands, you'll pass rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes on a slow-paced and relaxing drive in the heart of America. Summertime is perfect for camping, exploring, and hiking, while Autumn brings some of the best red-and-gold foliage you'll find in the entire world.

Trip.com's mission is to find people places to eat, stay, and play that are perfect for them. Join the Outdoor Enthusiasts Tribe to find more awesome road trips around the world.