Sometimes, driving is the family vacation — not to mention a cheaper alternative to flying with kids. So, let out your inner Clark W. Griswold and load up the fam for a vacation along “Holiday Road.” These are the best family road trip destinations in the U.S.
Pacific Northwest, Coastal Cruising
Start by driving some of the 362 miles of coastline on Highway 101, where you'll encounter some of the most varying coastline in the country, including miles upon miles of dunes at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, rocky cliffs, stretches of beautiful forest, and lighthouses galore. And after making your way up the coast, stop off at Cannon Beach, one of Oregon's most picturesque (and family-friendly!) beach areas.
After you leave Cannon Beach, hop right on Route 26 East and cruise down into Portland, where you'll find tons of family-friendly fun, including the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children's Museum.
California, Pacific Coast Highway
End the trip in Los Angeles, and take a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, learn about movie making in Universal Studios, and visit the house of the mouse, Disneyland, in nearby Anaheim.
Florida, Alligator Alley
Mid-Atlantic, The History Tour
Along this family road trip destination, you can visit George Washington's Mount Vernon, visit one of the nation's 19 free Smithsonian museums, hop aboard historical ships in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and see the Liberty Bell.
With a little more time, continue up the road to New York City, park the car and ferry over to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty before enjoying the spoils of Manhattan.
Southeast, Slow as Molasses
Kayak through marshy wetlands, go crabbing along the dune-covered beaches, and watch for sea turtles hatching from numerous nests on sun-filled days. Then stroll cobblestoned streets in the South's historic cities, such as Charleston, South Carolina. Or, if you're looking to experience the less coastal side of things and see what the deeper south has to offer, check out Great Smoky Mountains, one of the U.S.'s most popular and well-traveled tourist attractions. Sharing land between North Carolina and Tennessee, this picturesque, 800-square-mile slice of American pie is seen by more than nine million people per year, and offers more than 380 miles of drivable terrain, complete with canyon loops, nature trails and beautiful mountain vistas.
If you'd like to extend your journey, or just want to stay a bit closer to the coast line, take a ride down some of the 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, consistently ranked one of America's best and most scenic drives.
Midwest, Get Your Kicks
If you travel far enough west, you'll come across our country's biggest hole in the ground: the Grand Canyon, as well as numerous scenic vistas.
New England, Dune Diving
Southwest, Desert Tour
Pass over the Hoover Dam -- be sure to stop and take in the massive size (and stand foot in both Nevada and Arizona) -- en route to Arizona's Grand Canyon, where you can camp out, old-school style or check into a cozy hotel and embark on outdoor adventures like rafting, hiking, horseback riding and mule rides. The canyons are home to plenty of family-friendly sites and activities, including standing 4,000 feet in the air at the Grand Canyon Skywalk and hiking the canyons' North Rim.