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The Perfect Road Trip

7 years ago by

The Perfect Road Trip

We love road trips – who doesn’t?
There’s no better way to truly explore a landscape, they’re always an adventure!

One man, Randy Olson, recently mapped out the optimal road trip across the US. He used an algorithm to chart the best route that:
1. Covered all 48 states (omitting Alaska and Hawaii)
2. Stops only at national monuments, landmarks, historic sites or parks
3. Only requires a car

The result was a road trip that would take 224 hours of continuous driving, which would take close to three months to complete realistically, with 50 stops. See the map here.

Even though we think this is a super cool idea, it also feels a little beside the point. You want to have a direction on a road trip, but half the adventure is the not knowing – the spontaneous and surprising things you encounter and discover along the way. Don’t you agree?

What was your most memorable road trip?


Add yours
  • Two weeks in New Zealand. A car, my best friend and no reservations anywhere. We slept in our (very small) car several times, but we have memories for life.

  • This summer I’ll have a road trip to Austria…
    XOX, Gap.

  • My husband and I drove from our home west of Boston all the way to the west coast and back this past summer. We left in mid-August and returned in early October. We were heading for Portland, but we also camped in British Columbia and had a serendipitous, last minute house sitting opportunity that allowed us a week and a half in San Francisco. We brought the dog!

    It was every bit as romantic as the road trip we took more than thirty years ago during our first summer together when we drove up into Quebec and camped most nights.

  • Easy, Arizona via Grand Canyon thru Colorado to Montana and Yellowstone, followed by Glacier Park. Perfect.

  • this seems amazing! I would love to do a road trip


  • Ai-Ch'ng March, 25 2015, 9:57 / Reply

    Wow- imagine a mind that can calculate algorithms for road trips! My maths is not strong, so I’m in full admiration of that!

    I’m not a road trip sort of person, but two remain strongest and most fondly in my memory.

    The first was one with my brother and parents when we were twelve and fourteen respectively. My father drove us for one tend days, down South of Western Australia. I’ll never forget it: the taste of the fresh produce; the sweet fragrance of the towering trees that were sentinels on every part of our long drive south; the kindness of the local people; climbing the tallest tree with our bare hands- no safety ropes in those innocent, early, pre-litiginous days; the wind in our faces as we wound down the car windows and shouted into the buffeting wind stream, my parents- carefree and young.

    And then, another ten day road-trip through the South Island of fantasy-beautiful New Zealand, when I turned forty (six years ago) with my parents in their late sixties, my brother, his wife and three kids, my husband and our son- all the kids aged between five and ten… It was Heaven on earth.

  • Katherine March, 25 2015, 10:00 / Reply

    Best road trip was throughout the Southwest: Oklahoma (who knew Tulsa was so cool?), Texas (who knew it was full of nothingness?), New Mexico, Arizona, Southern Utah, Colorado, Kanasas, Missouri, back to Indiana. Visited five national parks (Zion and Grand Canyon were my faces) and went fly fishing. Happy, happy days. It may have been an outdoorsy vacation, but I brought GREAT shoes with me!

  • A much shorter than a trip cross country, but a convertible drive up Highway 1 from Los Angeles/Santa Barbara to Northern California with stops in Solvang, Cayucos, Big Sur, Carmel/Monterey, Santa Cruz, etc. I would do this trip again in a heartbeat and add a stop in Cambria for bohemian artist living, a stay at the Post Ranch Inn & camping in Big Sur and I would keep heading north until I hit Vancouver.

  • great tips ! love going on a road trip :) so much fun!


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  • It’s on my bucket list, but I do have a certain fascination with trains. I love the idea of taking Amtrak half-way because of the photography you can take and possibly meeting people.


  • three weeks in france, all by myself! paris, provence, the cote d’azur, camargue, loire valley…in a rented fiat panda with (almost) no hotel reservations, just winging it as i went-it was heaven! hooked up with friends in barcelona for a week (pre-cellphones – how did we DO that??) and back to france for more. best road trip of my life!

  • San Francisco – Lac Taho – Page – Grand Canyon – Monument Valley – Denver – Nebraska – Kansas City – Chicago tranquillou en roulant tous les jours un peu, sur presque 3 semaines. C’était il y a 20 ans et avec mon mari nous en parlons encore avec toujours autant d’émotion. Un magnifique voyage

    Belle journée

  • The most beautiful one I’ve been on was definitely going around Switzerland and Germany with my family. I can’t forget all the castle ruins we saw!

    – rocionaval.blogspot.com x

  • J’ai honte de dire que je n’en ai jamais fait… Pourtant ça serait un rêve, et encore plus aux US, c’est tellement mythique. Mais je suis d’accord qu’algorithme et road trips ne font pas bon ménage !


  • This summer I did a road trip from North Dakota (almost bordering Canada) all the way to Miami and Key West – the most southern point in USA. Then I took a plane, landed in Poland and did one more trip to France. It was incredible! Staying there for some time, but did some trips from France to Lithuania, I was the only one driving and it took 3 days, but I’d do it again any time!

  • I agree – I definitely appreciate the planning and efficiency here, but do have a longing for the unknown too!

    Warm Regards,

  • Tous les voyages aux U.S., au Mexique, en Israel, en France avec mon boyfriend a l’epoque, devenu mon mari depuis.
    Nous etions jeunes, aventureux et pouvions dormir n’importe ou, sous la tente ou a la belle etoile. Que de merveilleux souvenirs !

  • My mom and I drove from southern Manitoba (Canada) to Boonsboro, Maryland, USA for a book signing. It took us 9 days roundtrip and was totally wonderful. I treasure that car trip memory so much!

  • Miss Annie March, 26 2015, 10:34 / Reply

    New Zealand for me as well. I spent a few days travelling round the East Cape of the North Island with my brother and his daughter (who was 3 at the time). Stunning coastal scenery and great company – will remember it forever!

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  • I always enjoy a long journey through some of the city by using a motorcycle. It was a challenge and satisfaction for me, which is really priceless. Sometimes I also do other trips, across different regions by using a motorcycle with a lot of people. But I could not enjoy it, because it is as if it does not give better satisfaction than when we travel alone. Nice Post.

  • We love road trips too! We recently took 2 days to go from France through Spain then Portugal. Here are some photos: http://www.wearesolesisters.com/2015/03/road-trip-from-france-to-portugal-photo.html

  • Such beautiful post. definitely going around Switzerland and Germany with my family. I can’t forget all the castle ruins we saw!

    Thanks for sharing your moments though !

  • Agreed & appreciated. Nice.

  • Gret post. thank you for sharing post

  • Gret post. thank you for sharing post

  • Thanks for sharing your moments though !

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