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21 Most Popular Road Trips in the US

By: Jennie Baird and Deanne Revel

From On the Road to Thelma and Louise to Easy Rider, is there any endeavor more American than the road trip? On these popular drives, getting there is more than half the fun.

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Photo: iStock/ChrisBoswell

Black Hills of South Dakota

For history, scenery and a distinctly American taste of culture, begin your road trip on I-90 and take exit 131 for the Badlands Scenic Byway. As you travel through the Black Hills, make sure to stop at Wall Drug, Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore. And keep your eyes peeled for bison — they're notoriously bad at following traffic rules, as seen here on the road to Wind Cave National Park.

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Photo: John Greim

Downeast Maine

You won't be traveling north — at least not according to Mainers — if you head out on Coastal Route 1, also known as the Lobster Trail. Starting in Kittery —where you might drop by Bob's Clam Hut for a bit of sustenance — the road hugs the rocky coastline "down east" through quaint New England fishing villages like Belfast and Rockland.

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Photo: Chicago Tribune

Blue Ridge Parkway

The 469-mile drive that connects two national parks — Shenandoah in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina — is the most visited road controlled by the US National Parks System. Starting at Front Royal in Virginia, travel along Skyline Drive to Luray Caverns and on south to the Natural Bridge and into North Carolina, where you can stop in Asheville before seeing the attractions of the Great Smoky Mountains.

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Photo: Ron_Thomas

California's Pacific Coast Highway

You can opt to drive California's longest highway north to south or south to north along the often dramatic Pacific coastline. Either way, it's 653 miles from Dana Point in Orange County to Leggett in Mendocino County. Key attractions as you wind your way along the coast include Malibu, San Simeon, San Luis Obispo, Big Sur, Monterey, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Mendocino Headlands. Hardcore road trippers will extend the coastal drive beyond the PCH from San Diego all the way to the Redwood Forest on Route 101 past Mendocino.

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