We’ve done them all and here are the best road trips Dave and I have done around the world.
Our Favourite Routes for a Road Trip
Thanks Johnny Jet and Chris McGinnis for giving us the idea to make this list. It was during their #travelskills twitter chat about road trips that we realized, “wow, we driven most of the ultimate road trip destinations on earth!”
Road Trips the USA
There’s no doubt about it, the United States is one of the best road trip destinations in the world.
We’ve been lucky enough to drive along most of the East and West Coasts of the country and here are a few of our favorite routes.
For more another great US Road trip not on this list check out: The Ulitmate 10 Day Arizona Road Trip,
1. Route 66 – Arizona
Speaking of Route 66, this road trip is very different from Scotland’s incredible coast.
We have driven many different portions of Route 66, but you can drive this entire route from Chicago to California.
Much of the 3,940km route is abandoned and decrepit as it was forgotten when the highway system was put in place, but there are parts that have been turned into national scenic byways in Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona.
Duration: 1 Day for portions to 2-3 weeks
Highlights: Best portions are in Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri and Illinois.
Read more at: Kicking it on Route 66
2. Pacific Coast Highway – California
It’s the most epic drive in the United States. The drive starts in Monterrey and weaves down highway 1 to Los Angeles.
Make sure to stay the night in Monterrey or Carmel by the Sea. There is great kayaking in the marine reserve of Monterrey and Surfing in Carmel.
It’s a beautiful coastal highway with long stretches of beaches, impressive sea cliffs and legendary stops where movie stars and billionaires have hung out for decades to escape the hustle and bustle of California cities.
And definitely take time to stay at one of the best places to stay in California (Mark Zuckerberg stayed here) the Ventana
Duration: 2-4 Days
Highlights – The Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls, Carmel by the Sea, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, and Pfeiffer Beach.
Read more at California Road Trip
3. San Francisco to LA – National Parks Route
This is the epic American route. Don’t just drive in a straight line from San Francisco to Los Angeles, go everywhere in between.
This road trip takes you through four different states and showcases the best of America’s National Parks and cities.
It takes you through the most rugged and beautiful landscapes of America and you visit the most exciting cities in the country.
Duration: 2 Weeks
Highlights – Grand Canyon, Vegas, Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park, Yosemite National Park
4. Hana Highway – Hawaii
It’s just a short drive, but everyone who goes to Maui raves about the Hana Highway. This (mostly) single lane road is a day trip spans the North Coast of the Island from Paia to Hana.
It twists and turns and you cross 59 bridges during the 2-3 hour drive (one way) there are many scenic stops along the way, but the real beauty begins after Hana when you reach Haleakala National Park.
Duration: 1 Day
Highlights: Bamboo Forest, Painted Eucalyptus Trees, 7 Sacred Pools, Waterfalls, Scenic Views
Read More:Road Trip to Hana and Beyond
5. 17 Mile Drive – California
It may be a shorty, but it is a goodie. You can take an entire day exploring 17-Mile Drive at Carmel By the Sea.
If you are looking for a different way of road tripping, try e-biking instead of going in a car. A road trip doesn’t have to be always in a car, we’ve included cycling Africa as one of our best road trips we’ve ever done!
Duration: a few hours to 1 day
Highlights: Ghost Tree, Bird Rock, the Lone Cypress, Spanish Bay, John Denver Memorial, Beaches, Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Cove.
Read More: The Best of 17 Mile Drive
6. Miami to Key West
We had flown into Miami before but never did a road trip to the Florida Keys.
When we finally rented a car and made our way to the famous ocean highway to the southern tip of the United States.
We felt like we entered a different world. Key West is like being in the Caribbean without having to stamp your passport.
It’s only a day trip from Miami to Key West, but we suggest taking your time to explore the Keys on the way down.
Duration: 1-day return trip to 1 week for exploring.
Highlights – Marathon Key, Hemingway’s House, Key Largo, Dry Tortugas National Park, snorkeling, underwater museum, Seven Mile Bridge, Southernmost Point
Read More: Our Key West Vacation
7. Lake Superior Circle Tour – USA and Canada
Road trips can take many forms and we circumnavigated the world’s largest freshwater lake by motorcycle.
The Lake Superior Circle Tour is one of the epic motorcycle routes in North America, but it’s also fabulous in a car.
From the sandy shores of the southern shore to the rocky high sea cliffs of the wild north, this is an unexpected route through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconson, and Minnesota.
Travel through small-town USA, historic treasures and the wild abandoned North of Ontario, this road trip is magnificent.
Duration: 4 days to 2 weeks.
Highlights – Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Terri Fox Memorial, Beautiful coast, three different states and one province in Canada
Read More: The Best of the Lake Superior Circle Tour
See all of the best places to visit in Michigan for your next road trip.
Canadian Road Trips
8. Icefields Parkway – Alberta
Alberta’s Icefields Parkway is often considered one of the top road trips in the world! And with good reason.
Starting in Banff, the road trip takes you north along Highway 1 through the Rocky Mountains. It spans two of Canada’s most beautiful national Parks. Banff National Park and Jasper National Park.
There are scenic lookouts galore where you can go hiking or to simply take in the view of mirror lakes reflecting jagged snowcapped peaks.
A highlight is stopping at the Athabasca Glacier for a snow cat tour of this gigantic piece of ice and to take a walk on the Icefields Sky Walk.
Continue on to Jasper where you can explore more of Alberta’s rugged and remote.
Suggested hotel Fairmont Jasper and Fairmont Lake Louise
Duration: 1-3 Days
Highlights: Bow Lake, Columbia Icefields Skywalk, Athabasca Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise
9. Dempster Highway – Yukon
For the ultimate road trip adventure, there’s not a lot that compares to the Dempster Highway.
You can drive to the Arctic on the Dempster Highway and that is exactly what we did.
This 736 km road stretches from the far Arctic in Inuvik in the Northwest Territories, to Dawson City in the Yukon.
Duration: 2-6 days
Highlights: Crossing the Arctic Circle, Innuvik, Dawson City, Eagle Plains, Tombstone Mountains
Read More: Drive to the Arctic, Yes you Can
10. Fundy Trail – New Brunswick
In the province of New Brunswick is one of the most beautiful coastal drives in Canada.
Famous for the Hopewell Rocks, we drove along the Bay of Fundy and witnessed giant sea cliffs plunging into the sea.
There are secluded and isolated beaches, it crosses through the Fundy National Park where you can hike to waterfalls and lookouts and it drives along one of the longest undeveloped coastlines in North America.
Duration: 3 – 4 Days
Highlights: Hopewell Rocks, Saint Stephen’s Sea Caves, Fundy National Park, Cape Enrage, Town of Alma, Covered Bridges.
Read More: Things to do in Saint John, New Brunswick
11. Cowboy Trail – Alberta
If you love getting away from it all and having a rip-roaring adventure, the Cowboy Trail is for you. This is one of our favourite road trips we’ve ever done.
Following the route through Southern Alberta is easy, well marked and filled with activities and beauty.
There is something to see every single day and this trip will surprise you.
From the lunar landscape of the badlands to where the great plains meet the Rocky Mountains, you’ll be driving through the varied landscapes that will take your breath away.
Duration: 2 Weeks
Highlights: Dinosaur Provincial Park, Crows Nest Pass, Bar U Ranch, Waterton Lakes National Park, Hoodoos of Drumheller
12. Cabot Trail – Nova Scotia
The Cabot Trail is one of Canada’s Ultimate Scenic Highways.
Located on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, it is filled with sea cliffs, coastal hikes, beaches, and untamed wilderness.
You’ll see moose on the Skyline walk, whales on kayaking and scenic boat trips and stunning sunsets over the Gulf of St. Lawrence explore the best scenic stops in the country.
Duration: 2-5 Days
Highlights: Skyline Trail, Alexander Graham Bell’s house, Uisge Ban Waterfall Hike, North River Kayaking, Ingonish Beach, Middle Head Trail, Boat Tours, whale watching and wildlife.
Read More: 11 Not to be Missed Stops on the Cabot Trail
13. Sea to Sky Highway
Canada is known for its multiday road trips since the country is so massive, but the Sea to Sky Highway is an excellent short road trip.
The drive is only about 90 minutes from Vancouver to Whistler, but there are many sights to see along the way.
We suggest taking at least two days and spend the night in Squamish.
Squamish has some of the best rock climbing in the world at Big Chief, there’s world-class kite surfing and backcountry hiking. It also has fantastic dining options.
On the way to Whistler (home to the 2010 Olympics), there are scenic lookouts, waterfalls, hiking trails and adrenaline sports like bungy jumping, skydiving and scenic flights)
14. Sunshine Coast
A 90-minute ferry ride from Vancouver takes you to the start of the Sunshine Coast drive at Gibsons Landing.
The beloved Canadian TV Series, The Beachcombers was filmed here for 20 years!
The Sunshine Coast takes you through a gorgeous coastal drive, historic towns, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It has some of the best mountain biking and hiking in the country with well marked trails and few crowds.
It’s a wonderful road trip taking you on several ferries.
The entire loop goes through the towns on the Sunshine Coast to Vancouver Island.
Duration: 1 week
Highlights: Gibson’s Landing, Smuggler’s Cove, Historic Powell River, Rockwater Resort, Secret Cove, Lund, Desolation Sound
The Best European Road Trips
5. Wild Atlantic Way
It’s the longest Coastal Route in the World and Ireland has done an incredible job at marketing it as the best road trips on earth.
The Wild Atlantic Way runs 2500 km up the Western Coast of Ireland. There are so many things to see and do on this route.
Every day offers spectacular views of enormous sea cliffs, incredible beaches, and unique culture.
This is a road trip that packs a huge punch in a short distance.
Duration: 2-4 weeks
Highlights: Cliffs of Moher, Skellig Michael, Mizen Head, Poulnabrone Dolmen, Slea Head Drive, Aran Islands
Read more about this Road Trip: Tips for Driving the Wild Atlantic Way
16. North Coast 500 – Scotland
It’s Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66.
With legendary castles, extraordinary coastal scenery, and famous whisky distilleries lining the winding single track lanes, the North Coast 500 is the ultimate drive for travel lovers.
At 500 miles long it is a touring route around Scotland’s northern coast, starting in Inverness.
Duration: 5 Days to 2 Weeks
Highlights: Inverness, Duncansby Head, Loch Ness, Distilleries, Dornoch Castle, Smoo Caves, Ullapool, Klinlochewe Viewpoint, Applecross, Baelnabach. Eilean Donan Castle
Read More: The Essential Guide to the North Coast 500
17. Amalfi Coast – Italy
I think the best road trip in Europe is the Amalfi Coast. We fell in love with that drive from Sorrento to Ravello.
There is a reason this drive along the most stunning sea cliffs on earth has been used in so many movies.
The towns and lookouts along the coast are something out of a fairytale. They are just gorgeous.
Duration: 2 days to a week
Highlights – Positano, Amalfi Town, Ravello, Sorrento, Beaches, Grottos, Capri, Hiking and Waterfalls.
Read more: Watch our video of our Amalfi Road Trip
Check out our post: The Best Things to do on the Amalfi Coast
18. Causeway Coast – Northern Ireland
Ireland is so amazing for driving, it actually has two epic road trips.
The Causeway Coastal Route is filled with stop after stop of amazing sights and scenery.
It’s a much shorter route than the Wild Atlantic Way and it can be done in just a couple of days, but we recommend giving at least 4 days to explore this coast.
We actually took 9 days to drive around Northern Ireland and it was perfect.
Duration: About a Week
Highlights – Giant’s Causeway, Dark Hedges, Carrick-a-Rede Bridge, Belfast, Game of Thrones.
Read more: Best things to do in Northern Ireland
19. Bavaria – Germany
Driving through the Bavarian Alps will take your breath away.
Our road trip through the Alps started in Munich where we made our way to some of Germany’s most iconic sites.
Take a trip through fairytale castles and the highest peaks of Germany for one of the most memorable drives on earth.
Go to the Olympic town of Garmish-Partenkirken, tour the world’s oldest monastery and brewery and hike through the picturesque landscape filled with rivers, valleys, lakes, and mountains.
Duration: 2 Weeks
Highlights: Neuschwanstein Castle, Berchtesgaden, Weltenburg Abbey, Danube Gorge, Munich, Nuremberg, Volkach wine region, Alpspix
20. Ring Road – Iceland
The Ring Road of Iceland circles the entire country offering drivers the chance to explore every nook and cranny.
People normally drive the route in 10 days to 2 weeks, but to really explore Iceland properly you should take longer.
You can camp or stay at hotels along the way.
With magnificent glaciers, mountains, an untamed coastline and fascinating culture, The Iceland Ring Road is definitely one of the best road trips in the world.
Duration: 2 Weeks
Highlights: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Skogafoss waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, Vik, Horseback Riding Skagafjörður Region, Myvatn Geothermal Area, Kirkjufellsfoss
Read more: 18 Photos of Iceland’s Mind-Blowing Beauty
The Best International Road Trips
21. South Island – New Zealand
The best way to see New Zealand is by driving around independently.
We traveled the South Island two ways, on a bus with the Flying Kiwi which was affordable and a great way to see the highlights, but once we took more time to explore with our own camper van, that’s when the true road trip began.
Just follow the roads in a circle around the island to explore all there is to see and do. New Zealand has a diverse landscape in a very little area.
You’ll be mesmerized by the changing landscape before your eyes at each and every turn.
Duration: 4 Weeks
Highlights: Queenstown, Milford Sound, Abel Tasman, Lake Tekapo, Kaikoura, Pancake Rocks
Read more about New Zealand: 33 Reasons to Visit New Zealand
22. Great Ocean Road – Australia
Australia is an amazing country to take a driving tour. The Great Ocean Road is probably the most scenic road trip in the country.
The route is more than 600km (400 miles) and drives along sea cliffs, jungles and out to amazing beaches. Some of the top beaches for surfing are located along this route.
If you can, get out and hike because that is where you really get to witness the spectacular coast.
Duration: 1 – 3 days
Highlights – Twelve Apostles, Bells Beach, Koalas of Kennet River, Otway National Park,
Read more: Great Ocean Walk to the 12 Apostles
Overland Europe to Asia
23. Mongol Rally – 12 Countries/2 continents
It’s the mother of all road trips and if you are up for the adventure of a lifetime, this is a must.
The Mongol Rally is on many a bucket list and it lives up to the hype!
The Mongol Rally is a charity rally starting in London, England and ending in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
You choose your route and take as long as you want to get there.
You just have to raise a certain amount of money for charity and buy a car that used to be donated to the country, but now must be shipped back when you finished.
Or if you have loads of time, drive it back around in a different route!
Duration – 3-8 weeks
Highlights – 15 countries, 2 continents, endless possibilities – Siberia, The Mongolian Steppe, Prague, Brussels, Kiev, Kazakhstan, it all really depends on the route you choose to take.
Countries include: England, France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Tip of Austria, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia.
So there you have it. The best road trips ever! (that we have taken)
Africa Road Trips
24. Garden Route – South Africa
I always thought the Garden Route of South Africa sounded a little tame.
I had visions of sipping tea in manicured gardens as we overlooked the ocean, but this road trip is filled with amazing adventure, striking coastlines, wild animals, incredible nature and world class wine and dining.
The Garden Route is the southern half of the Durban to Cape Town road trip but we highly recommend doing the entire thing.
South Africa has it all in one of the most exotic and beautiful places on earth.
Duration: 2 Weeks
Highlights – Great White Shark Diving, Cango Caves, Big 5 Safari, Ostrich Farm, Microlight over Durban, Cape Town
Read More: 12 Awesome Things to do in South Africa
25. Cairo to Cape Town – Entire East Africa
We said early that road trips take many forms, so we wanted to include this one as well. This is more than a cross country road trip, it’s a cross-continent road trip!
Even though we did it by bicycle, you can drive an SUV or motorcycle down the Eastern side of Africa. 12,000 km takes you through some of the most fascinating countries on earth.
Landscapes and cultures vary drastically as you start in the desert landscape of Egypt’s Middle East and the Islamic culture of Sudan.
It’s then into the great plains, jungles, and wildlife of Eastern and Southern Africa that takes you all the way down to the Southern point of the continent. Wow!
You can drive this epic route down Africa going through 9 countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa.
Duration: 3 – 4 months
Highlights: 10 countries, 3- 6 months, the possibilities are once again endless…Pyramids of Egypt, Blue Nile, Victoria Falls, Safaris, Chobe National Park, Addis Ababa, Nubian Desert of Sudan, Cape Town South Africa
Read more: We cycled the Continent of Africa
Road Trip Planner Apps
Going on a Road Trip Check out these driving route planners and travel apps to make the most of your trip.
Apple Maps: We used Apple Maps recently from Florida to Toronto and found it to be better than Google Maps. It offered more options for avoiding traffic than Google.
Road Trippers: Road Trippers is a popular one that is free for shorter road trips offering 7 waypoints. If you upgrade to the paid subscription you get 150 points to pin on your route.
Waze: Dave os a huge fan of Waze, even for daily commutes. It’s a social-riven app that lets you know of collisions, traffic, police radar and gas prices.
Spotify: Okay, this isn’t a route planning app, but it is a must for road tripping. We have our tunes for each part of the day sectioned on playlists.
To get started we use our Ultimate Road Trip playlist and then as the day goes on we end with our mellow mix.
Travel Tips for Road Trip Planning
We have taken a lot of road trips, and the best times we have had were when we were prepared.
We aren’t saying that you can’t stray from your route, but have what you need ready in case of an emergency or any unplanned hiccups.
I know a lot of this is common sense, but if you go through the checklist, it will make for fewer headaches when you are on the road.
Hard Copy Maps
Plan the route on your road trip planner, but have a hard copy map with you as well. In many places, you are going to drop cellular coverage and will have to rely on good old fashioned map reading.
Have car chargers for your electronics. Most cars have a USB charger, but we find we need more than one. We love the dual USB charger, we have even charged our drone in our car while on a road trip.
Insurance: If you are renting a car, check with your insurance company to see if it covers rentals, if not make sure you get insurance.
Our American Express Platinum Card also covers all insurance if we rent our car through our credit card in the same name that the rental is in. Check with your credit card company to see if you are covered for everything.
We nearly always get the extra coverage because we don’t want the hassle of having to go through our insurance should something happen.
If there is a fender bender, we just hand over the keys and don’t worry about a thing. but it is more money, so be prepared.
If you enjoyed this post, save it to Pinterest for future travel planning.
Let us know if you have a suggestion, we are always adding to our list once we’ve done an epic drive somewhere.
Read More about the road trip destinations around the world