You're Not a Real American Until You've Taken These Road Trips

By Charles McCool

Big Sur, Blue Ridge Parkway, Route 66, and the Overseas Highway (Florida Keys) are covered in practically every list of American road trips. Instead, I asked my fellow travel writers to surprise us. The resulting drives cover many states and vary from beaches to mountains to country roads to deserts. Which have you taken, and what would you add to this list?

Road to Hana, Maui

Maui’s Hana Highway is one of the country’s most famous, and most beautiful road trips. (Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson)

Navigating the canyon switchbacks and one lane curves of Maui’s Hana Highway yields gorgeous waterfalls and lagoons, swimming pools carved out of old lava flows, and picturesque swimming bays with aquamarine waters. The unspoiled beauty and magnificent cliffs epitomizes the best that nature has to offer in Hawaii, driving on a razors edge between heaven and earth. — Ann Tran of

America’s Heartland

What’s more American than a Louisville Slugger? Follow the big bat to the museum and factory. (Photo: Chris Christensen)

We took a road trip last summer through the heart of America, from Kansas City to Little Rock, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, and Cincinnati. Along the way, we ate BBQ, visited the Negro League Baseball Museum, stopped in the Clinton Library, explored the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, saw the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, ate more BBQ, saw a concert in Nashville, visited a Corvette plant in Kentucky, hiked Mammoth Cave National Park, toured the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and so much more. I called it the Great American Road Trip. — Chris Christensen of

Talimena National Scenic Byway, Arkansas and Oklahoma

Beginning at Mena, Arkansas, this scenic byway stretches for 54 miles along crests of the Ouachita Mountains before terminating at Talihina, Oklahoma. The route offers some of the best sightseeing in Arkansas, with vistas from atop the highest peaks between the Rockies and Appalachians. Stop at the Queen Wilhelmina State Park, which reopened July 1 after a $9.6 million renovation and expansion. The park has a lodge, restaurant, camping, picnic areas, miniature railroad, and hiking trails — and the revamped lodge now offers even better views of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains.

Another way to view Arkansas in all its diversity, from cotton fields to mountains, is to follow Route 7 from El Dorado at the Louisiana border to its finale at Missouri. The highway was the first state-designated scenic byway in Arkansas and visitors will enjoy four geographical regions as they head straight up the center of the Natural State. Scenic Byway 7 begins in the state’s coastal plains and continues through the Ouachita Mountains and hot springs, then up through the Ozarks, passing through the Buffalo National River area (the first National River to be designated by the National Park Service). Along the way are springs, whitewater rafting, historic towns, and authentic Southern cuisine. — Kerry Krauss of

Related: The Strangest Tourist Attraction in the World is in Wisconsin

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Designate a driver and hit the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. (Photo: Midlife Road Trip)

This is a road trip you will want to savor. Start the Bourbon Trail in Louisville, Kentucky. We suggest three days and a designated driver to hit all nine historic distilleries on the trail—including Jim Beam —which range from 8 and 80 miles apart, and are dotted through quaint country towns and beautiful landscape. It’s best to plan ahead to take advantage of the behind-the-scenes distillery tours and tastings. — Sandra McKenna and Rick Griffin of

Finger Lakes Region, New York

More than thirty vineyards are based around Seneca Lake alone. (Photo: Jessica van Dop DeJesus)

On a drive around Seneca Lake, in Western New York’s Finger Lakes region, you will discover beautiful landscapes, majestic waterfalls, tasty roadside eats, and of course, wine: More than thirty vineyards are based around Seneca Lake alone. Download a list and start tasting. Don’t miss the Hermann J. Wiemer winery for a sip of its award-winning Riesling. For local eats, head to FLX Wienery for locally made sausages and cinnamon donuts. — Jessica van Dop DeJesus of

Related: Jonathan Adler Tells Us How to Have a Perfectly Chic Road Trip

South Central Texas

Catch some tunes in Luckenbach. (Photo:

The cute towns and sights in south central Texas, in the general area of Austin and San Antonio, are linked by an easy route that makes for a great long weekend through country studded with wildflowers, wineries, and tons of character. Spend as much time as you can in the charming town of Fredericksburg, with its German heritage, thriving wineries, shopping, and many B&Bs. Your second stop should be Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, a massive pink granite dome that is about 6 million years old. After that, catch a performance in Luckenbach, Texas, a music destination that hosts periodic festival and events, and get your history dose in Stonewall and Johnson City, historic sites related to Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th U.S. President. — Lance and Laura Longwell of

Brandywine River Valley, Delaware and Pennsylvania

The Brandywine River Art Museum is one of many cultural stops in the valley from which it takes its name. (Photo: Brandywine River Art Museum)

The multi-hued hillsides of the Brandywine River Valley — outside Wilmington, DE — wind through pastoral country roads rich with history dating from the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. Wyeth artwork is showcased at the Brandywine River Museum of Art (pictured) and there’s a wine trail. The incredible Du Pont legacy of art, architecture, gardens, and parklands dominates the drive, as seen in the riverfront Hagley Museum, the 18th-century-style Nemours Mansion and Gardens, the bountiful Longwood Gardens, and the collection-rich Winterthur Museum. The Inn at Montchanin Village — the 19th-century hamlet where Winterthur workers once lived — has been restored for guest lodging. — Irvina Lew of

Related: The Best Parks Around the World (From Pro Travelers!)

The Great River Road, Wisconsin

Stop for a tasting at Elmaro Vineyard in Trempealeau, Wisconsin (Photo: Elmaro Vineyard)

Nestled in an area nicknamed God’s Country, the Great River Road traces the banks of the Mississippi winding through the lush valleys, fertile farmland, and limestone bluffs of rural western Wisconsin. It passes through 33 quaint townships, like Trempealeau, the small village where you’ll find Perrot State Park and boutique vineyard Elmaro. Countless lookouts for bald eagles pepper the route, along with plenty of local gems such as Nelson’s Cheese Factory (where you can sample Wisconsin’s finest cheeses). — Heidi Siefkas of

County Road C002, New Mexico

You won’t see may people, houses, or other cars on County Road C002. And that’s the beauty of it. (Photo: Charles McCool)

Am I wrong to think that the loneliest road in America should not have places to eat, sleep, and shop? Geronimo Trail, between Douglas, Arizona and the New Mexico border, is more lonely than roads listed in lonely road articles. In an hour and a half, I saw only a handful of vehicles. That, my friends, was the road I drove to get to the loneliest road—County Road C002 in the extreme southwestern corner of New Mexico. How lonely? I did not see another vehicle, person, or sign of a person (house, farm, etc.) for 90 minutes of driving. No people — but fun unpaved roads, incredible scenery, and the best kind of solitude. — Charles McCool of

Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway, Montana

One of the houses in the ghost town of Coolidge, Montana. (Photo: Donna L. Hull)

For a Montana scenic drive that escapes the crowds of Glacier or Yellowstone national parks, explore Pioneer Mountains Scenic Byway in the southwestern portion of the state. The 49-mile paved road travels through the heart of the Pioneer Mountains in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest from the town of Wise River to Dillon. To the east, 10,000-foot granite peaks stand guard over a lodgepole pine forest that stretches to the west. The ghost town of Coolidge makes a fun side trip, or try your luck looking for quartz at Crystal Park. To soothe your road-weary bones, take a soak in the Elkhorn Hot Springs. Nine campgrounds are scattered along the drive or bunk for the night in the small ranching community of Polaris. — Donna L. Hull of

US Route 12, Idaho

Route 12 runs through Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest. (Photo: Teresa Bergen)

US Route 12 runs 2,500 miles from Aberdeen, Washington to Detroit, Michigan. But if you love forest, hot springs, rivers and streams, the stretch through Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest can’t be missed. History buffs will enjoy the Nez Perce Indian and Lewis and Clark sites. Hikers tramp through fir and spruce forests, likelier to spot a moose or an elk than another human. This stretch of Route 12 is one of America’s top motorcycle roads, and also popular with cross-country cyclists. Campsites abound. If you like electricity, hot showers, and other amenities, stay at Lochsa Lodge. — Teresa Bergen of

Related: 14 Amazing Road Trips Around the World

Avenue of the Giants, California

The Avenue of Giants passes through Humboldt Redwoods State Park. (Photo: Visit California/Facebook)

The Avenue of Giants is a road like no other. What began as a stagecoach road to Oregon is now a national treasure, a 31-mile portion of California’s old Highway 101 (now State Route 254), which passes through Humboldt Redwoods State Park and shows off the tallest, most massive redwoods on Earth. narrow ribbon of blacktop winds through the trees with enormous trunks standing only inches from the pavement. There are several interesting stops along the way: Founder’s Grove, the Immortal Tree, and the touristy Shrine Tree (of cars-driving-through-a-tree postcard fame) are all just off the road. One thing we can promise, you will never look at trees the same way again. — David and Veronica James of

What’s your favorite road trip in the USA?

Watch: Mexican Wrestling Is the Most Fun You’ll Ever Have in Tights

Let Yahoo Travel inspire you every day. Hang out with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.