We all know about Route 66 and the history it has for traveling from California to Illinois. With a country as big as America, you’d think there would be more road trips available for those who already tackled Route 66. Here are 5 road trips that are not Route 66 that you should take at some point:
- Interstate I-40 (Barstow, CA – Wilmington, NC)
- The Great River Road (Itasca, MN – New Orleans, LA)
- Blue Ridge Parkway (Rockfish Gap, VA – Smokey Mountain National Park, NC)
- Route 20 (Newport, OR – Boston, MA)
- Lincoln Highway (San Francisco, CA – New York City, NY)
Interstate I-40: Barstow, CA – Wilmington, NC
Most of the Western half of this trip overlaps the Mother Road, which is part of old Route 66. Now, it’s part of a larger highway connecting the west and east of the country. You go through states like Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, and go through towns like Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, and Nashville. There are some interesting sites to see along the way that pass through some of those old towns with the kitschy vibes.
- Calico Ghost Town (Yermo, CA)
- Meteor Crater (Winslow, AZ)
- Blue Hole of Santa Rosa (Santa Rosa, NM)
- Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, TX)
- Stafford Air & Space Museum (Weatherford, OK)
- Fort Smith National Historic Site (Fort Smith, AR)
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, TN)
- Buckner Hill Plantation (Faison, NC)
The Great River Road: Itasca, MN – New Orleans, LA
Known as the Great River Road, it follows the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from north to south. You’ll pass through 10 states and one could argue it’s the most important scenic byway in America. And, of course, you could follow the history along the way. The Mississippi River is not only an important part of American geography, but it also holds an immense amount of history from settlement to Westward migration and the problems faced.
- Historic Fort Snelling (St. Paul, Minnesota)
- Stonefield Historic Site (Cassville, Wisconsin)
- Buffalo Bill Museum (LeClaire, Iowa)
- Old Chain of Rocks Bridge (Madison, Illinois)
- Trail of Tears State Park (Jackson, MO)
- Wickliffe Mounds (Wickliffe, KY)
- Mississippi River Museum (Memphis, TN)
- Lakeport Plantation Home (Lake Village, AR)
- Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale, Mississippi)
- Historic New Orleans Collection (New Orleans, LA)
Blue Ridge Parkway: Rockfish Gap, VA – Smokey Mountain National Park, NC
While you may not be experiencing different historical museums and other important marks, the Blue Ridge Parkway drive is the All-American Road noted for the 429 miles of scenic beauty, the US’ longest linear park. It runs along the Blue Ridge, which is a major chain part of the Appalachian Mountains.
Originally the Appalachian Scenic Highway, it began with the FDR administration. There are tunnels constructed through rocks, and the parkway is carried across streams, railway ravines, and cross roads by 168 bridges and six viaducts.
While on your trip, you can roll into Piegeon Forge, TN outside of the smokies, or check out the Dinosaur Kingdom in Virginia which is a museum dedicated to an alternate history where dinosaurs helped the Confederacy win the Civil War. Not to mention the “Foam Henge” – a replica of Stone Henge made of foam.
Route 20: Newport, OR – Boston, MA
Another coast-to-coast alternative to Route 66, Route 20 is the longest road in the country and runs for 3,365 miles but broken at Yellowstone National Park. It drives through Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts. It has stops in Boston, Toledo, Chicago, Gary, Sioux City, Casper, Boise, and two cities named Albany.
- Salt Creek Falls (Oakridge, OR)
- Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument (Hagerman, ID)
- Yellowstone National Park (MT, WY)
- Carhenge (Alliance, NE)
- Field of Dreams Movie Site (Dyersville, IA)
- Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio (Oak Park, IL)
- Michael Jackson’s House (Gary, IN)
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (Cleveland, OH)
- Harriet Tubman Home (Auburn, NY)
- Old North Church (Boston, MA)
Lincoln Highway: San Francisco, CA – New York City, NY
The Lincoln Highway was built during a time when America had few roads and a majority were dirt. People took trains everywhere. Carl Fisher thought America needed a coast-to-coast highway, and they named it after Abraham Lincoln. A numbered system replaced the name of the Lincoln Highway. It was originally 3,389 miles but was shortened to 3,142 which is the length today.
- Historic District of New Brunswick (New Brunswick, NJ)
- Liberty Bell Center (Philadelphia, PA)
- Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Spread Eagle Tavern (Hanoverton, OH)
- Embassy Theater (Fort Wayne, IN)
- Lincoln Monument (Dixon, IL)
- Original Lincoln Highway Bricks (near Boy’s Town, NE)
- 9th and 9th (Salt Lake City, UT)
- National Automobile Museum (Reno, NV)
- Remnants of Original Road (Donner Pass, CA)
With so many paths to choose from, it’s no wonder the song goes, “America the Beautiful.”