16 of The Best Road Trips in the World

We've taken a lot of epic drives in our travels. We never made a list of just how many until we hosted a Twitter chat about the world's best road trips with Johnny Jet and Chris McGinnis.

From one day trips to 3 months adventures, we've done them all and here are the best of what Dave and I have seen and done.

best road trips

16 of the Best Road Trips on Earth

Best Road Trips in the World

#1 Wild Atlantic Way

best road trips mizen head ireland

Ireland's 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

Where to Stay on the Wild Atlantic Way

#2 Ring Road – Iceland

road trip ideas ring road

Scenes from the Ring Road of 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

Iceland's Blue Lagoon, Is it Worth it?

#3 Cabot Trail – Canada

road trip ideas cabot trail canada

Canada's Cabot Trail

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 toe be Missed Stops on the Cabot Trail

Welcome to the Skyline Trail

#4 North Coast 500 – Scotland

road trip ideas north coast 500

North Coast 500 – Duncansby Head

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

8 Things to do in Inverness

#5 Route 66

road trips route 66

Speaking of Route 66, this road trip is very different from Scotland's incredible coast.

We 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

#7 Cowboy Trail – Canada

hoodoos road trips canada

The Hoodoos of Drumheller

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

Read more:

The Many Sights of Pincher Creek

Full Itinerary – Alberta Road Trip

#8 Durban to Cape Town – South Africa

road trip ideas garden route south africa

Garden Route of 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

28 Reasons you Should Visit South Africa Right Now

#9 South Island – New Zealand

road trips of the world new zealand pancake rocks

The Pancake Rocks are a must visit on a South Island Road Trip.

The best way to see New Zealand is driving around independently.

We travelled 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

15 Unique Things to do in New Zealand

#10 Causeway Coastal Route – Northern Ireland

road trips dark hedges

Dark Hedges of Causeway Coast

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

A Game of Thrones Tour 

#11 San Francisco to Los Angeles –  USA

road trip Ideas

America's West – Antelope Canyon

This is the epic American tour. 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

Read More:

How to Make the Most of your Antelope Canyon Photography Tour

A California Road Trip: The Perfect Two week Itinerary

#12 Hana Highway – Hawaii

road trip ideas

Bamboo Forest on Maui's Hana Highway

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

Beautiful Maui, Our Week in Photos

#13 Lake Superior Circle Tour – Canada/USA

road trip ideas lake superior

3 States, 1 Province around Lake Superior

A road trip can take many forms and we circumnavigated the world's largest fresh water 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

The Long Way Around, Our Epic Summer Adventure

#14 Canadian Arctic

road trip ideas

Dempster Highway to the Arctic

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

Wild Yukon, Fall in Love with the Rugged and Remote

#15 Mongol Rally – 12 Countries/2 continents

road trips round the world mongol rally

The Mongol lRally

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 a charity rally starting in London, England and ending in Ulanbataar, 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.

Read More about the ultimate of all Road Trips:

Tips for Driving from England to Mongolia

Mongol Rally Gear Guide

#16 Big Sur

It's the most epic drive in the United States with iconic stops like the Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls and Pfeiffer Beach. The drive starts in San Francisco 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.

Read more at  California Road Trip, 17 Mile Drive, Photography Guide to Big Sur

#17 Cairo to Cape Town –  Entire East Africa

Eastern Africa

Road Trip Through Africa

We said early that road trips take many forms, so we wanted to include this one as well.

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 The 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!

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

Top 10 Fears of Cycling Africa 

road trips car

As I round up this post, I realize just how lucky Dave and I are that we chose an unconventional life.

It was taking a chance in 2008 to cycle the continent of Africa that started our life of adventure.

We spent a lot of our hard earned money on that trip, but I remember talking about it long and hard.

We said “we could go back to school and spend a fortune on a career we are unsure of, or we can invest in ourselves, follow our passion and love of travel and take a risk that this will work out.”

With a plan, a dream and a lot of perseverance, it paid off and we now have the opportunity to round up the greatest road trips on earth. And we ain't stopping yet people!

Read More:

Wild Atlantic Way – Tips for Driving Ireland’s Coastal Route

The Road to Hana and Beyond – Maui’s Great Coastal Drive

The Best of the Lake Superior Circle Tour

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