11 Super Affordable Road Trips To Take In The U.S.

Road trips in the US don’t have to be expensive – there are many routes travelers can take that are shorter and more affordable. For those who don’t have the time or budget to drive across the country, these routes are ideal. Consider planning a road trip across America on one of these exciting trips for an adventure that’s rich in memories and light on your bank account.

11/11 Route 66

Traveling the iconic route 66 is a dream for many who visit America, and the good news is that driving this route is also affordable. There are plenty of free stops along the way to keep things interesting without paying expensive entrance fees. The Cadillac Ranch in Texas is a free art installation worth the drive to see.

Originally, the route ran across 2,448 miles from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, ending in Santa Monica, California. Nowadays, it is not necessary to drive the entire length of the journey to experience its charm.

10/11 National Coal Heritage Trail

This West Virginia route takes tourists through a unique coal mining history of railroad lines and old mining towns. It spans 187 miles in the East of the country across incredible scenery. Road trippers looking for a mix of interesting history and beautiful landscapes will fall in love with this route.

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9/11 Washington’s Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive

This beautiful road trip covers approximately 445 miles and offers food, wildlife and history. The West Coast of the United States is famous for its gorgeous scenery, and this route is no exception. Tide pools, snow-capped mountain peaks, and unique wildlife encounters abound here. The best part? No need to pay expensive National Park entrance fees to appreciate the nature here.

8/11 Kentucky Bourbon Trail

The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, or the Bourbon Trail for short, is an epic exploration of the Bluegrass State’s signature distilleries. Bardstown, Frankfort, Lebanon, Lexington, Owensboro, and Louisville are just a few of the stops on this iconic route of the original American spirit. It takes around 90 minutes to tour each distillery, and there are 37 distilleries along the way. Of course, to save time and money, travelers will want to choose a few stops to make rather than visit all the distilleries.

7/11 Gilmore Girls Tour Through Connecticut

Before Emily in Pariswas Gilmore girls, and the show continues to inspire people to travel to Connecticut, USA. Connecticut doesn’t exactly scream “epic road trip” in the traditional sense of traversing coastal landscapes and hiking in National Parks, but that’s a good thing for your budget. Connecticut is the perfect place for fans of the TV show Gilmore girls to explore, making stops in Kent, Washington Depot, and the Mayflower Inn (aka the Dragonfly Inn).

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6/11 The real El Camino

The El Camino Real De Tierra Adentro in the southern US has incredible scenery and history. The route starts in Sante Fe, New Mexico, and heads south towards El Paso, Texas. El Paso alone is worth the drive, a culturally diverse city with a strong connection to Ciudad Juarez across the border.

Related: 25 Pictures of the Weirdest Things People Saw on US Road Trips

5/11 Austin to New Orleans

The Big Easy is attractive to travelers arriving by land or air, so it’s no surprise that Austin is a popular route to New Orleans. The drive is approximately 500 miles and takes 8 hours to complete. However, there are several stops along the way that make the trip worth stretching out over a few days. Bastrop State Park, Houston, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Baton Rouge are just some of the highlights. Travelers on a tight budget can save money on lodging and enjoy the sights on a direct drive to New Orleans.

4/11 Columbia River Highway

The Columbia River Highway is approximately 75 miles long and is a scenic highway that runs from Troutdale Oregon (east of Portland) to The Dalles. This is the first scenic road in the United States so planned. The beautiful route is completely within the state of Oregon, making it accessible and can be traveled in a short amount of time.

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3/11 Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia to North Carolina)

The famous Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the best budget road trips in the United States. The parkway spans 469 miles and passes through 29 counties in Virginia and North Carolina. Named for its proximity to the Blue Ridge mountain range, the route is free to drive (no tolls) and takes approximately 3 to 7 days to complete.

2/11 Grand River Road (Minnesota to Louisiana)

The Great River Road from Minnesota to Louisiana is a collection of roads that travel through ten states, including Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi, and end in Louisiana. The iconic road follows the Mississippi River for 3000 miles and can be considered a quintessential All-American road trip.

1/11 Pacific Coast Highway

Slow travel is definitely the best way to save money – spending more time in a destination can maximize your budget. You can base decisions on the cheapest places and spend more time in affordable places. The Pacific Coast Highway is a great example of this – the 1650-mile route can be driven in a few days, but for budget travelers, stretching out the trip and moving slowly can make it more affordable.


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