With 164,000 miles and counting, the national highway system offers a dizzying array of options for RVers who are looking for adventure. With so many choices, it can be difficult to know where to begin. We've pared down the numerous notable RV road trips to our top three all-time favorites. These road trips made the final cut for their near-perfect combination of scenery, interesting opportunities for adventure along the way, and routes that work well for RV travel. With each journey, we’ll describe what you'll see along the way as well as a few don’t-miss stops you’ll encounter along the route. Don’t forget that, with so much driving, you may want a comfy captain’s seat cover to help ease fatigue.
East Coast RV Trip: Blue Ridge Parkway
Do you fancy 500 miles of pristine vistas, lush hardwood forests, and an abundance of breathtaking mountain vistas? Then an RV trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway is ideal for you. This road trip is worthy of a week or more of your time. "America's Road," as it's fondly known, encompasses large swaths of Virginia and North Carolina's Appalachian Mountain majesty. This RV-friendly route features eight official campgrounds, all with RV sites. The National Park Service, the caretakers of the Blue Ridge Parkway, hosts a handy page that lists all eight sites, where they are along the Parkway, and available activities. Save money and avoid disappointment by booking your RV site ahead of time.
Make sure to stop by the Natural Bridge, a twenty story high natural stone archway. It’s accessed via a short nature trail that makes it an ideal place to stop and stretch your legs while you take in one of nature’s wonders.
Music & Arts
For those looking to take in some local music, the Blue Ridge Music Center. The outdoor concert venue hosts famous groups playing music from the region, designed to delight music lovers young and old. If the arts are on your agenda, be sure to swing by the Southern Highland Folk Art Center near Asheville. It contains three galleries, a gift shop, and library, all dedicated to preserving the past and highlighting the future of Appalachian arts and crafts. From March to December, the center hosts live artist demonstrations daily.
West Coast RV Trip: California Coastal Route
Near-perfect weather, some of the country’s finest wineries, and dramatic coastal scenery are your reward along this route that clocks in almost 800-mile trek. Beginning in Los Angeles, this route follows Highway 101, along the coast of California. It ends at Crescent City, the last major town before crossing the border into Oregon.
Santa Barbara: the American Riviera
With miles of stunning beaches, the Santa Barbara area earns its nickname honestly, as the American Riviera. A RV road trip through this iconic town wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Butterfly Beach. This stunning stretch of sand faces west, making it an idea place to watch the sunset over the Pacific. Plan to stay the night in a campsite nearby so you capture the essence of southern California.
As you motor into central California, there are two towns you won’t want to miss. Monterey is your first stop. This quaint seaside town hosts one of the most interesting aquariums on the West Coast. The building was originally home to the largest cannery in town back in the boom days of the fishing industry. Their sea otter conservation program makes this aquarium a standout. Resident sea otters that have been rescued off of the coast nearby and can’t be successfully reintroduced into the wild enjoy creating a show for visitors. You’ll enjoy watching their antics as they dive for fish and swim up close, looking you over to satisfy their curious nature.
John Steinbeck Childhood Home
Literary buffs will know that Monterey figures prominently in many of John Steinbeck’s most famous tales, Cannery Row being the most well-known. In fact, Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas is just a 45 minute drive away. Be sure to stop at the home he was born in. It’s owned by a local women’s organization that preserved the building and created a restaurant in the lower level. Ask for a brief tour afterwards. You’ll be treated to some interesting tales about one of America’s finest authors as well as get to poke your head into the room he was born in.
Golden Gate Bridge
You’ll know you’re officially in the northern part of the state as you cruise your RV across the Golden Gate Bridge. Four years of work and eighty thousand miles of wire come together to create one the most iconic symbols of the American landscape. As you drive across this engineering marvel, you’ll be treated to expansive views of San Francisco Bay, the infamous Alcatraz Island, and Angel Island, the Ellis Island of the West.
No trip to northern California would be complete without seeing the redwoods. The first of two prime places for viewing these giants of the natural world is Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It’s home to the Avenue of the Giants. This 32-mile stretch of road is enough to make anyone feel small. It winds through some of the largest, original-growth redwoods in the state. If this drive leaves you hungry for more, your final destination in Crescent City is the gateway to Redwood National Park. A collection of towering redwoods and dramatic coastal scenery make this a fitting endpoint to an epic journey.
Transcontinental Route: The Great Northern
From Maine to Washington State, this cross country route is one of the longest, most varied roads you can take. US Route 2 is your guide for nearly 3,600 miles as you cross the far northern portion of the United States. It’s so far north, in fact, that a small part of the route runs through Canada! If you forgot your passport, don’t worry — you can detour off the main route and stay in the States. You’ll feel like true trailblazers as you follow the path that famous explorers Lewis and Clark took nearly two centuries ago. Even at such a high latitude, the sun can be intense. Keep your RV cooler and protect your dash and seats with a sturdy windshield cover when your RV is parked.
Acadia National Park
The starting point for this RV road trip is in what’s arguably the most popular park in the eastern U.S.: Acadia National Park. From the idyllic, low-key Jordan Pond Path to one of the vertigo-inducing iron rung routes, your sure to find just the trail you’re looking for as you take in the classic Maine scenery.
Glacier National Park
As you motor west along the route, you’ll marvel at the deep woods, lonely grandeur of the open prairie, and stark beauty of the badlands. Make sure you save at least two days for a stop at Glacier National Park. Aptly dubbed the Crown of the Continent, it’s one of the most scenic parts of the Rockies. With over 700 miles of trails to choose from, you’ll have no problem finding a trail (or three or four) that fit your activity level. Looking for something different? Try renting a kayak and heading out into the crystal blue waters of Lake McDonald. This mountain lake is ringed with snow-capped peaks and give you the feeling you’re paddling in a postcard-worthy setting. Before you head back on the road, be sure to drive the Going To The Sun Road. This alpine pass winds through some of the most scenic parts of the park, treating you to jaw-dropping views at every bend.
Olympic National Park
As you reach the end the road, it’s hard to think of a better place to end your epic trek than Olympic National Park. The sheer variety of ecosystems here makes this place special. Rocky beaches like Ruby Beach beckon you for an easy stroll that will leave you feeling invigorated. Don’t pass up the drive to the top of the alpine pass at Hurricane Ridge. Whether you take the trail that leaves from the parking lot or not is up to you. Either way, the views into the Olympic Range will leave you breathless.
As you wind your way back down the mountains, consider spending a night or two in Port Angeles. This beach town is the home base of the Black Ball Ferry Line. This fleet of vessels operates direct service to Victoria, British Columbia. In less than two hours, you’ll come ashore right in the heart of the city. From the miles of shoreside walking paths, to the famous Butchart Gardens, and exciting urban draws like their vibrant Chinatown, this is a destination you’ll be hankering to get back to soon.
When you own an RV, there’s no limit to the opportunities to get out and explore. The sense of freedom and excitement that comes with hitting the open road is priceless for those who love the lifestyle. If there’s a road that goes there, you can too. With so many must-see places to visit, including the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, it will be hard to decide which road trip to enjoy first!
If this is your first major RV road trip, you may want to check out RVing for Beginners, which offers eight tips to guide you as you plan your trip.Next Article: 3 of the Best Lakes in Texas You Can Live and Boat On