Short Road Trips You Can Take This Summer in the United States

Short Road Trips You Can Take This Summer in the United States | Gravel

Pacific City, Oregon to Seaside

This coastal road trip takes a little under two hours with lots to look at. When you end at Seaside, you can take your pick from sandy beaches to awesome surf. 

This route is perfect for anyone whether you are an adventure seeker or a chiller.

Blue Ridge Parkway - Virginia

This 469 mile road connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. This route is truly something else. There is a ban on commercial traffic + commercial towns and the speed limit is only 45 miles/hour. If you're a speeder, this may not be for you and that's okay!

You can start from either Boone or Cherokee then find your way to Blue Ridge Parkway Road. This will take you through mountainous terrains, some eerie fog, near waterfalls, and wild turkeys and birds. You will always get something different depending on the time of year. This route changes with the season. 

blue ridge parkway

Going to the Sun Road - Montana

You can hit this stretch from Route 2 Or Route 86 This east/west, west/east road trip in Montana takes you on the continental divide for an easy 1 hour and a half duration through lush green forests alongside Lake Mac Donald, then down into valleys below glacial covered mountain tops to Saint Mary Lake where you can view a 100 ft beautiful waterfall.

It is recommended to rent a small car, if you are able, since some of it gets pretty narrow.

going to the sun

Salt Lake City to Moab

Calling all adventurers: Moab is the perfect destination for climbing, Jeeping, camping and more. See the iconic Utah Arch (You know, the one on the license plates?) This road trip takes about four hours from a major airport. (You didn't hear it from us, but don't speed through Green River.)

salt lake city to moab

Salt Lake City to Yellowstone

Yellowstone has a lot of fun things to see. It's one of the best national parks in America. Not only can you see the super famous sites, but you can also come face to face with moose and bison. 

Why fly into SLC? When you fly into Salt Lake and drive to Yellowstone, you also get the chance to see Grand Teton National Park on the way. If you were to fly into Idaho, you would miss this 2-for-1. Plus, SLC is a major hub so you can get a lot of cheap flights into the hub!

salt lake city to yellowstone


Outer Banks in North Carolina
The Outer Banks of North Carolina are super rad. Along this 100 mile route you will find fishermen towns, unique white sand beaches and lots of historical towns. Beach lovers will find beaches like they have never seen before. 
This road trip is for the people that love some fresh air and sand between their toes. 
You can even find shipwrecks along this route!
Salt Lake to Puerto Penasco
Not only is the destination is super picturesque, but the journey is a load of fun from SLC to Mexico.
Since this is a longer trip, you can break it up into a couple days if you choose. There is so much more to Las Vegas than just the strip. Take a hike in the gorgeous Red Rock canyon. There are a ton of hikes that range from easy to hard. 
If you want to travel a little further, you can make it to Lake Havasu and spend a day on the lake. Super fun! 
Right now, you do need a Covid test to return to the United States if you fly, but you DO NOT need one if you drive (As of 4/22/21; ALWAYS check the latest Covid travel suggestions and restrictions before you go!) 
Salt lake to Puerto Penasco
Jackson Hole to Yellowstone
You won't want to blink on this drive, there will always be something to look at. This picturesque drive is already part of your SLC --> Yellowstone drive. This stretch of the drive is only about an hour and will keep you on the lookout for wildlife and beautiful landscapes.
Cell phone service is not guaranteed, so be sure to download maps offline when you are traveling to Yellowstone. Take screenshots of the current Old Faithful schedule along with other things you might want to see on your road trip. Always be sure to check what is the most recent info! 

Salt Lake City to San Francisco

Salt Lake City to San Francisco has a lot of fun stops along the way.

Stop in Elko for some awesome outdoor activities. If it's the winter season you can snowmobile, if it's warm you can hike. 

If you drive a little further, you will hit Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is known for lake activities, of course, but you can also ski and snowboard here during the winter months. 

The next time I drive this way, I want to hit up the 12 mile stretch made up of hot springs. After a trip full of hikes, a hot spring sounds like a great place to end up.

jackson hole to yellowstone  
Route 66 St. Louis to Amarillo, Texas
Route 66 runs from technically runs from Chicago to California, one of the best parts of it is a two-day drive from St. Louis to the edge of Texas, via Lake of the Ozarks and Oklahoma City. 
There's a reason why artists talk about this famous route in songs, poems and TV shows. It's historic and it takes you a lot of rad places you may never have picked to go.
Be sure to check out the  4.6-mile long cave system called the Meramec Caverns in Stanton. It is a chain of underground spaces that were used by Native Americans for shelter. It was also reported to be a hideout used by outlaw Jesse James. 
Looking for a rad campground? This app helps you plan a road by helping choose  your route, camping style, 
driving preferences. You can also find top-rated camping along the way. Try out the Dyrt Pro app with a free 90-Day Travel. Sign up for free by clicking here.
Where are you road tripping this summer? Let us know where you are going in the comments.

1 comment

  • NutmegsMom

    I drove logistics a few years. It built up my endurance for OTR driving. In early Fall 2019, I drove 2,220 miles from SE Michigan to Montclair, CA alone and drove back with my boyfriend. The sights I saw there and back were gorgeous. We were able to stop and enjoy our journey instead of go go go pick up a load race to deliver a load. The USA lower 48 has some beautiful areas in every stare and I enjoyed all the different dialects.

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