America is all about the journey. Our love affair with the automobile, nearly a century old, has reshaped every aspect of American life. Our interstate highway system, nurturer of this romance, is the world’s largest public works project. What better way to experience a nation in motion than in an RV? The road trip is the quintessential American vacation; this itinerary will take you from sea to shining sea.
Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Florida to the end of Cape Loop Road in Clallam County, Washington are the farthest points for a direct drive you can take in the continental U.S. This route runs 3,799 miles through 13 states. While you could technically drive to Alaska, you’d have to cross through Canada, so it would no longer be the ultimate U.S. RV trip. This route is also not the most direct way to cross the country; there’s a northern route that saves 130 miles. The track we’re interested in, however, goes through more states and is a more exact diagonal bisection of the country. With 56 hours of drive time and a week of 8-hour days, it’s time to buckle up!
Day one is an all Florida affair. You’ll drive from the Keys, through Miami and Orlando, rising up out of the marshes and swamps of the South, all the way to the limestone bluffs and pine forests around White Springs. Nestled along the Suwanee River, on the edge of Big Shoals State Park, there are plenty of places to camp.
The next morning, fire up the RV and head north up I-75 to Georgia. Hook a hard left when you get to Atlanta on I-20 towards Alabama, through Talladega National Forest and Birmingham. From there, veer north to Tupelo, Mississippi, which is your rest spot for the night and the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
On day three, follow the footsteps of the King up to Memphis. Stop in for some BBQ and a walk along the mighty Mississippi to hold you over for the haul across Arkansas, ‘The Natural State’ and one of the most beautiful. Carry on to Walnut Creek State Park, along the Arkansas River just outside of Tulsa.
The next day is a long one, as you’ll have to travel 10 hours to Denver. Take in the amber waves of grain in a metaphoric ocean that stretches out in all directions. Put the RV in park in the mile-high city and take a minute to catch your breath from the altitude before partying!
As the fifth morning rises, head north into Wyoming, then west to drive over the Rockies to Salt Lake City. Through that stretch of southern Wyoming, you’re likely to see more natural gas wells than people since it’s among the least populated places in the country.
From Salt Lake, cross into Idaho and follow the Snake River up past Boise. The Boise National Forest to the north is one of the nation’s largest. Bed down on the banks of the Columbia around Hermiston, Oregon. The Columbia is the border between Oregon and Washington. Only one more state to go!
For the final leg of your journey, finally enter the Evergreen State. Cross over the breathtaking Cascade Range on your way to Seattle. Make a horseshoe around the Puget Sound before catching Highway 101, sandwiched between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. Keep heading west until you run out of road.
Congratulations, you’ve just completed the ultimate American RV trip! Road trips share a spot with baseball and barbeques as classic American pastimes. This country is full of rich, natural beauty, and there is no better way to enjoy it than hitting the open road.