The Best Road Trip Destination in Every State

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By Jill Krasny,

Nothing heralds the arrival of summer quite like taking a cross-country road trip. But if you're relegated to just one state, there is plenty to see.

California's Pacific Coast Highway offers a stunning juxtaposition of mountains and ocean, while Connecticut's Route 169 takes you through quintessential New England. And that's just the beginning.

If you've got the travel bug but can't afford a trip abroad, here are 50 drives to consider that are well within budget. Grab your gas rewards card, cue the radio and get behind the wheel. (Just be sure to pay any balances off on time to keep your credit score intact. You can see how your credit card use is currently affecting your credit by viewing your two free credit scores each month on

1. Alabama

Natchez Trace Parkway

Built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this scenic route was once a migratory trail for buffalo and Native Americans.

Don't Miss: Keep an eye out for Civil War battle sites, ghost towns and parts of the original Natchez Trace Trail.

Planning: Commercial services are lacking, but there are plenty of traveler-friendly B&Bs.

2. Alaska

Seward Highway

This stunning three-hour drive begins in Anchorage and meanders south across the Kenai Peninsula, ending in the harbor town of Seward on Resurrection Bay.

Don't Miss: Canyon Creek, where the mountains beckon for snapshots and the water is perfect for kayaking.

Planning: The drive can go fast, but don't rush it. Devote a long weekend to exploring the array of natural wonders, such as Chugach State Park and Bird Point.

3. Arizona

Catalina Highway

Catalina Highway offers jaw-dropping views of canyons and valleys, with some mind-bending, brake-testing curves. You'll ascend through a variety of ecosystems as you climb Mt. Lemmon, the highest peak of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Don't Miss: Windy Point, which comes about 18 miles into the drive.

Planning: The town of Summerhaven marks the end of the drive and offers a handful of restaurants, but you'd be wise to pack your own snacks to have along the way.

4. Arkansas

Pig Trail Scenic Byway

Named for the winding byway between the towns of Fayetteville and Ozark, this 19-mile stretch cuts through the heart of the Boston Mountains and Ozark National Forest and over the Mulberry River.

Don't Miss: Eureka Springs, a North Arkansas town famous for its historic Victorian homes.

Planning: Hit Turner Bend for food and refreshments. Cabins and camping are also available if you want to stay just a bit longer.

5. California

Pacific Coast Highway

This twisting, cliff-hugging route takes about five hours to complete, if you're not rushing it. The drive encompasses both the Big Sur Coast Highway and the San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway.

Don't Miss: The upscale, artsy town of Carmel, which has 80-plus art galleries.

Planning: Make sure you're well-rested, as narrow shoulders and sharp drop-offs pose occasional risks. Leave your oversized RV at home -- this drive is better meant for cars and SUVs.

6. Colorado

Independence Pass

Stretching 27 miles from Twin Lakes through Aspen, this narrow ribbon of road offers cinematic views worthy of an IMAX film.

Don't Miss: Lake Creek, where the forests surrounding the steely blue water look like an oil painting.

Planning: Weather permitting, the two-lane pass typically opens on the Thursday before Memorial Day and closes on November 7. Be sure to check COtrip for status updates.

7. Connecticut

Route 169

Passing colonial homesteads, covered bridges and stone walls, this country road is as riddled with history as it is quaint. Stop by The Golden Lamb Buttery, in Brooklyn, for a late-afternoon hayride.

Don't Miss: Mashamoquet Brook State Park, in Pomfret, which offers excellent hiking.

Planning: Allot an hour to drive without stopping or a full day to take in the sights. Make a mental note to return in autumn, when the foliage reaches its peak.

8. Delaware

Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

Take an unforgettable drive through historic Château Country, home to the fabulously wealthy DuPont family and other early American aristocrats.

Don't Miss: Nemours Estate, the late Alfred I. DuPont's 77-room mansion, which he built as a gift to his second wife, Alicia.

Planning: Set aside an hour for the ride and two to three days for sightseeing.

9. Florida

Old Florida Heritage Highway

Here's your chance to get a glimpse of the Florida that time forgot. This route takes drivers past wetlands and homesteads, cattle and historic towns.

Don't Miss: Micanopy, the oldest inland town in the state. Just south of Gainesville, it's teeming with antique shops and the kind of barbecue that'll make your eyes water.

Planning: Head out early if you plan to explore the towns, as most still shut down at 5 p.m.

10. Georgia

Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway

This 41-mile drive encompasses part of the Appalachian Trail, the Chattahoochee River and Wildlife Management Areas. As you wind your way through the Chattahoochee National Forest, you'll get terrific views of the valleys below.

Don't Miss: Georgia's beloved Vogel State Park, at the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest.

Planning: Pack your bag for a spontaneous hike or swim -- there are recreation stops galore.

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