Publication date February 27, 2023
10 Amazing and Relaxing Family Vacation Road Trips in the USA
It's that time of year again. The snow is melting, birds and other animals are coming out of their burrows, and in some places, it's already warm enough to wear a t-shirt. Spring Break is a time-honored tradition in the United States. It is a time to celebrate the arrival of spring and have some well-deserved fun.
On our list of the 15 best Spring Break road trips in the United States, you'll find cities full of family getaways, lively celebrations, national parks full of life, breezy coastal hamlets, and party-perfect beach towns for that classic Spring Break vibe.
If you're itching to get out of town or just want to spend a few days in the sun with a new view, we've found some fun trips that are great for a break from college with friends or a trip with kids. Read on to get some ideas for springtime.
1. Pacific Coast Highway
Source: Wawanesa Insurance
The most popular route for road trips in the United States. Period. There aren't many roads in the country that can compare to the Pacific Coast Highway in terms of beauty. This is a route you can't miss on a spring break road trip, whether you're going from Los Angeles to San Francisco or the other way around. The Pacific Coast Highway between San Francisco and Los Angeles has everything you need to wake up after a long winter's nap. Both Los Angeles and San Francisco have a lot of fun things to do.
2. Yosemite National Park
Source: Conde Nast Traveller
The best part about driving to Yosemite National Park is that the route is flexible no matter where you start. If you start your trip in San Francisco or San Jose, you can go on a short but beautiful drive. If you start in Los Angeles or Las Vegas, you can take a longer route. Depending on which way you go, there are many places to stop along the way. Another great thing about this route is that as you get closer to Yosemite, the road gets more beautiful. When you start in a city like San Francisco, there are just too many great places to go, like Oakhurst, Fish Camp, Mariposa Grove, and Wawona. Most of these places are so pretty that you would want to stop there.
Source: Department of State
This rough, cliff-hugging mountain road that goes for 50 miles (80 km) is the only way to cross Glacier National Park in Northwest Montana, and it is a real treat. Route 2 or Route 86 is where it starts. This east-west, west-east road trip in Montana will take you on a beautiful trip over the continental divide, through lush green forests along Lake MacDonald, down into deep valleys under plunging glacier-covered mountain tops, and to Saint Mary Lake, where you can see the 100-foot (160-meter) high gushing crystal waterfall. This road is really beautiful to look at, so keep an eye out for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and other animals that might be flying around.
4. Niagara Falls
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica
Dylan Sprouse being goofy in Niagara Falls
Do you want to get a rush of adrenaline on the road trip for Spring Break? You're all set with Niagara Falls! Along the route to Niagara Falls, there are many fun places to stop, but the Niagara Falls National Park has even more exciting things to do. There are many things to do in the park, such as the Cave of Winds, Bridal Veil Falls, Maid of the Mist, Prospect Point, Aquarium of Niagara, and many more.
5. Brandywine Valley - Pennsylvania and Delaware
There's nothing better than a short drive that takes you back in time and shows you beautiful places from the past. Between South Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, you'll find this beautiful little route that will take you on a loop through scenic chateau country with historic summer estates, narrow roads lined with wildflowers that follow the Brandywine River, and oak and tulip trees with their branches reaching high into the sky.
6. Route 66
Route 66 is on another level of greatness when it comes to how popular road trips are. Route 66 is one of the oldest roads in the United States, so it's a great place to stretch your legs before spring comes. After you're done exploring Chicago, Illinois, you can start your Spring Break road trip there. Sometimes it's hard to find a place to park in Chicago, so make sure you've reserved a spot before you leave. Route 66 goes through some of the most beautiful parts of the country, and there are many beautiful places to stop along the way. There are cornfields in Illinois, the Grand Canyon, the heartland of Oklahoma, and the golden sands of Los Angeles, which shows how different the land is. Taking a road trip is one thing, but taking a spring break road trip along a route with so much to see and do is something else entirely.
7. Historic Columbia River Highway - Oregon
This 23-mile (37-kilometer) road trip is the oldest scenic route in the country. It was built in 1917 and was thought to be one of the best things ever done at the time. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark that shows some of the most amazing views you can see from your vehicle. Starting in Troutdale, you'll go on an exciting trip that will leave you in awe of things like the Vista House, which is over 700 feet above the Columbia River, and the series of waterfalls (LaTourell Falls, Wahkeenah Falls-242 feet, and Multnomah Falls-620 feet) that cover the foliage-covered cliffs and flow under the triumphant bridges that are still standing. Don't forget the road tunnels that cut through the Cliffs.
8. Red Rock Country - Arizona
Source: Travel Channel
This 23-mile (37-kilometer) road trip is the oldest scenic route in the country. It was built in 1917 and was thought to be one of the best things ever done at the time. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark that shows some of the most amazing views you can see from your vehicle. Starting in Troutdale, you'll go on an exciting trip that will leave you in awe of a lot of things like the Vista House, which is over 700 feet above the Columbia River, and the series of waterfalls (LaTourell Falls, Wahkeenah Falls-242 feet, and Multnomah Falls-620 feet) that cover the foliage-covered cliffs and flow under the triumphant bridges that are still standing.
Source: Lonely Planet
Colorado is the place to go for an exciting summer adventure in some of the most beautiful mountain scenery on the planet. From beautiful ranches like Zapata and Smith Fork to high-end places like Dunton Hot Springs and Taylor River Lodge, you're sure to find the place that's just right for you. When you combine picture-perfect mountain towns like Crested Butte, Aspen, Telluride, and Ouray with beautiful back roads that cross high passes, you have everything you need for the perfect summer road trip.
10. CALIFORNIA’S SIERRA NEVADA
Source: Sunset Magazine
In early June, California's Yosemite is a magical place with a completely different landscape. The park's famous waterfalls are still flowing strong, the valley floor is usually warm, and flowers like dogwood, lupine, Mariposa lily, penstemon, and others are in full bloom. After a long winter of snow, Tuolumne Meadows and Glacier Point, which are higher up in the park, are now open to visitors. Continue north through the Sierra foothills towards Sacramento, stopping in old gold rush towns and new wineries, or turn south to Sequoia National Park and the world's biggest trees.