Special Report

The Best Road Trips to Take Before Summer Ends

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Canada To Mexico
> Start: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
> End: Tijuana, Mexico
> Total miles: 2,300

If time is on your side, try this triple-country road trip that takes you from the diverse Canadian seaport town of Vancouver to the bustling Mexican beach town of Tijuana. On the way, stay a few days in both Seattle and Portland, dining and sightseeing. Stop at the 620-foot Multnomah Falls and the deepest lake in the United States — Crater Lake. Then head to Lassen Volcanic Park before exploring wine country, then hitting the California coast for a long and often scenic drive to the border.

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Route 66
> Start: Chicago, Illinois
> End: Santa Monica, California
> Total miles: 2,500

Before the Interstate, there was the Mother Road, Route 66. Spanning eight states between Chicago and Santa Monica, the former “Main Street of America” is dotted with Americana: vintage gas stations, diners, drive-in theaters, and a diverse array of roadside attractions. You won’t be able to miss the muffler man in Springfield, Illinois, the huge milk bottle in Oklahoma City, or Cadillac Ranch, in Amarillo, Texas. Natural wonders also abound, like the Petrified Forest in Arizona and the Amboy Crater in California.

Route 50
> Start: Ocean City, Maryland
> End: Sacramento, California
> Total miles: 2,862

Beginning on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and ending in California’s Central Valley, Route 50 reveals not only the incredibly diverse topography of the U.S., but also the distinctive regional cuisine of 12 states, from down-home Appalachian comfort foods, to the beef-centric dishes of ranch country, to the Mexicali delights of central California. Stop and appreciate the towering mountains, big skies, deep canyons, and lonely deserts that this country has to offer.

Great River Road
> Start: Bemidji, Minnesota
> End: New Orleans, Louisiana
> Total 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.

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> Start: Boston, Massachusetts
> End: Seattle, Washington
> Total miles: 3,000

This trip across the northern United States follows America’s longest Interstate Highway. After exploring historic Boston, head up to Niagara Falls. Stop in Chicago and Madison for urban adventuring through museums, botanical gardens, and theaters. Stretch your legs at the Dells of the Wisconsin River, Sioux Falls in South Dakota, and Badlands National Park, then take your pic from Bighorn, Custer Gallatin, or Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests. In Seattle, take advantage of some of the city’s world-class eateries.

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