Special Report

The 15 Ultimate Summer Road Trips

Source: sarkophoto / Getty Images

11. Alaska Pipeline
> Start / end: Homer, Alaska to Valdez, Alaska
> Miles: 519

At the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula, Homer, Alaska is a great place to seek out whales and other wildlife. From there, the drive up the coast features volcano views, a historic Russian fur trader village, and a dump where hundreds of bald eagles tend to congregate. Pass through old gold mining towns and fishing villages, then from Anchorage to Valdez, and witness mountains that rise to 14,000 feet, ancient glaciers, and waterfalls in Keystone Canyon.

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12. Seafood Trail
> Start / end: Portland, Maine to Prince Edward Island, Canada
> Miles: 543

Route 1 follows the Maine coastline on what is sometimes called the Lobster Trail. From Portland, where lobsters and art are plentiful, head up the coast through Maine’s many idyllic oceanside towns to Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. From there, the towns are fewer and far between, and the coastline is king. Cross the Canadian border in New Brunswick and drive along the Bay of Fundy, being sure to stop at the geologic wonder, Hopewell Rocks. Cross the massive Federation Bridge to Prince Edward Island, and end at Cavendish Beach, where more seafood awaits.

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13. Wild West Tour
> Start / end: Taos, New Mexico to Bisbee, Arizona
> Miles: 579

The Wild West tour takes you from one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in the United States — Taos Pueblo, a pre-Columbian settlement — to the old mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. From Taos, head north for the scenic route through Carson National Forest, then south to Santa Fe, a city known for its arts culture and architecture. After visiting the famous Santa Fe farmers market, head to Caballo Reservoir then turn west on Route 152 to Silver City, through the Gila National Forest, where you can explore hot springs, ancient cliff dwellings, and high desert landscapes. In Arizona, stop at Tombstone, home of the O.K. Corral, for a gunfight reenactment before ending at Bisbee.

Source: Thomas R Machnitzki (thomas@machnitzki.com) / Wikimedia Commons

14. Great River Road
> Start / end: Bemidji, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana
> Miles: 3,000

Following the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota through 10 states, the Great River Road National Scenic Byway traverses wild countryside, canyons, farmland, cities, and hundreds of small towns in the heart of America. Cross Minneapolis, St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans off your bucket list in one trip, and visit some of the numerous Native American archaeological sites along the way.

Source: RudyBalasko / Getty Images

15. Michigan Coast
> Start / end: Holland, Michigan to Potawatomi Falls, Michigan
> Miles: 733

This trip along Lake Michigan and Lake Superior passes waterfalls, sand dunes, lighthouses, cliffs, and so many beaches. Beginning at the Big Red Lighthouse in Holland, skirt the coast and visit several more historic lighthouses and Sleeping Bear Dunes before stopping in Suttons Bay to visit one of the area’s cider makers. Then follow the scenic coast to the Upper Peninsula, heading to Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Seven potential waterfall stops lie to the west before you reach Potawatomi Falls on the Black River Scenic Byway.

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