The Ultimate US Road Trip Itinerary (2024)

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The Ultimate US Road Trip Itinerary

JP and I embarked on a 52 day Ultimate US Road Trip all over the US and we can’t wait to share the entire itinerary with you!

The Ultimate US Road Trip Itinerary, courtesy of Google Maps

Also, shout out to Google Maps for helping me map out this whole thing!

What’s great about this itinerary is that it’s a complete loop, so you can start and end your trip anywhere you’d like.

Since we live in Southern California, that’s where we started.

Los Angeles, California

There are so many great activities when starting the ultimate US road trip in LA.

You can spend a day at one of our local theme parks like Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Disneyland.

There’s also a ton of sightseeing opportunities like Hollywood bus tours, Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica Pier, tons of museums, and more.

The best way to see and do it all is with an LA GoCity Pass.

You can pick as many days or activities as you want and everything you want to do will be included.

?? Click Here To Book Your Los Angeles GoCity Pass Today!

Universal Studios Hollywood Main Entrance Gate

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson is our favorite place to visit in Arizona and is the next stop on our ultimate US road trip.

We always stop here when we’re road tripping back East.

We’ve compiled a list of all the best attractions in and around Tucson that we recommend adding to your itinerary.

Tumacacori National Historical Park in Arizona

Some of the best restaurants in Tucson are actually UNESCO certified as part of Tucson’s “City of Gastronomy” designation because food has been grown there continuously for thousands of years.

Ensenada Street Tacos in Tucson, Arizona

The nearby historic Old Western town of Tombstone is also a must visit when you’re in Tucson.

OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona

If you love wine tasting, the Elgin and Sonoita Wine Region is an up and coming area that we actually enjoy more than Napa and Sonoma.

Rune Winery in Arizona

Where To Stay In Tucson: Varsity Clubs Of America Tucson

Our favorite place to stay when we visit Tucson is always Varsity Clubs of America.

We get a one bedroom condo that comes with a full kitchen and it doesn’t cost any more than a regular hotel room.

In the Summer it’s also nice for a late night swim since it stays warm late into the evening.

Click Here To Book Your Varsity Clubs Of America Stay Today!

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio has a ton of historic sites all close together.

It’s also roughly the half way point from the west coast to the east coast on our ultimate US road trip.

You can visit the San Antonio Riverwalk, The Alamo, and go to the top of the Tower of the Americas all downtown.

Near the zoo, the Japanese Tea Garden is a free park that is also a must visit, with a great BBQ place right outside.

Japanese Tea Garden in San Antonio, Texas

If you venture outside the area as you continue onto your road trip, the towns of New Braunfels and Greune have great activities.

You can enjoy wine tasting, Schlitterbahn Water Park (number one waterpark in America), and some antique shopping in the historic downtown area.

Schlitterbahn Water Park in New Braunfels, Texas

Where To Stay In San Antonio: Club Wyndham La Cascada

Club Wyndham La Cascada is right along the San Antonio Riverwalk, so it’s centrally located to all the best activities in town.

Their one bedroom condos have full kitchens, balconies overlooking the city, and jacuzzi tubs.

Click Here To Book Your Club Wyndham La Cascada Stay Today!

Houston, Texas

Houston has a variety of activities for all interests, and it’s close enough to Galveston that you can take advantage of all the coastal activities too.

One place I highly recommend visiting when you stop in Houston is the Houston Space Center.

?? Click Here To Book Your Houston Space Center Admission Ticket Today!

Where To Stay In Houston: Homewood Suites By Hilton Houston Intercontinental Airport Beltway 8

We love staying at Homewood Suites when we’re on the road because the rooms always have more amenities than a standard hotel room.

The partial kitchen and the separate bedroom are nice to have for the price of a regular hotel room.

?? Click Here To Book Your Homewood Suites By Hilton Houston Intercontinental Airport Beltway 8 Stay Today!

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a bucket list destination everyone should visit at least once.

There are so many great attractions here that the New Orleans GoCity Pass is the perfect way to see and do it all.

This way your admission tickets are all bundled into one ticket for anywhere from 20%-50% off if you had purchased admission at each place individually.

We recommend places like The National World War II Museum, Mardi Gras World, a riverboat cruise, swamp tours, and historic plantation homes.

?? Click Here To Book Your New Orleans GoCity Pass Today!

Mardi Gras World in New Orleans, Louisiana

There are plenty of things to do outside the city too if you have more time.

We spent one full day in the city and one full day outside the city.

Our favorite place outside the city was Oak Alley Plantation.

Oak Alley Plantation in New Orleans, Louisiana

Click Here To Book Your Admission With Transportation To Oak Alley Plantation Today!

Where To Stay In New Orleans: Club Wyndham Avenue Plaza

Located in the Garden District, right along the Mardi Gras parade route is Club Wyndham Avenue Plaza.

The rooms here have full kitchens, a full dining room table, and separate bedroom.

It’s also right along the streetcar line, so you can take it into the French Quarter in about 10-15 minutes without having to drive anywhere while you’re in New Orleans.

Click Here To Book Your Club Wyndham Avenue Plaza Stay Today!

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia has a lot of history and is a beautiful city.

The best way to see the city is the Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tour.

You can see the entire city without having to drive anywhere and you can take your time at each stop.

?? Click Here To Book Your Savannah Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tour Today!

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia

If you have time to explore areas outside the city, I recommend the Wormsloe Historic Site.

You can book a guided tour that will take you here and to the famous Bonaventure Cemetery with transportation included.

?? Click Here To Book Your Wormsloe Historic Site And Bonaventure Cemetery Tour With Transportation Today!

Wormsloe Historic Site in Savannah, Georgia

From here, much of our ultimate US road trip will take you all the way up the east coast.

Where To Stay In Savannah: Staybridge Suites Savannah Airport Pooler

Staybridge Suites is centrally located to be able to do the activities and sightseeing in the city and the places on the outskirts.

This is also another hotel where you have the perk of having a separate bedroom and a partial kitchen for the same price as a regular hotel room.

?? Click Here To Book Your Staybridge Suites Savannah Airport Pooler Stay Today!

Charleston, South Carolina

The best way to see Charleston is a historic carriage tour.

They’ll take you through the popular neighborhoods while telling the story of the city.

It’s really a great way to get acquainted with the city and figure out the layout so you can explore on your own after.

?? Click Here To Book Your Charleston Carriage Tour Today!

Charleston, South Carolina

The one other activity I highly recommend while in Charleston is to visit Fort Sumter.

This is the site where the Civil War started.

You’ll take a cruise out to the Fort, take a self guided tour around the Fort, then cruise back into town.

?? Click Here To Book Your Fort Sumter Transportation And Admission Today!

Where To Stay In Charleston: Doubletree By Hilton Hotel & Suites Charleston Airport

This Doubletree in particular is my favorite that we’ve ever stayed in.

The room was so different and so nice.

I was shocked that it was just a regular room and not some sort of presidential suite.

?? Click Here To Book Your Doubletree By Hilton Hotel & Suites Charleston Airport Stay Today!

Williamsburg, Virginia + America’s Historic Triangle

America’s Historic Triangle is made up of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown.

This portion of our ultimate US road trip was one of our favorites.

Colonial Williamsburg is a must visit when you’re here.

Colonial Williamsburg old capitol building

?? Click Here To Book Your Colonial Williamsburg Admission Today!

If you’re able to get a reservation, you should also have dinner at one of the historic taverns.

They serve classic colonial era dishes, but with updated recipes to be appealing to our palettes today.

Kings Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg

Jamestown is another place to visit.

This is the first permanent English settlement in the US.

There are two different places you can visit here.

There’s Historic Jamestowne which is the actual historic site where Jamestown was located.

Though technically, most of that is underwater now, but structures have been moved and replicated.

Historic Jamestowne

You can also visit Jamestown Settlement which is more of a replication of what life would have been like at the time.

They’ve re-created the English settlement, the ships, and the way the Natives lived at the time.

Jamestown Settlement

?? Click Here To Book Your America’s Historic Triangle All Access Pass To Williamsburg, Jamestown, And Yorktown Today!

Lastly, Yorktown is the site of the last major battle in the Revolutionary War.

There’s a great museum here and a self guided audio driving tour through the battlefield.

The museum also has an outdoor living history village representative of colonial life.

Yorktown Battlefield

Where To Stay In Williamsburg: Historic Powhatan Resort

This resort is very popular in the Williamsburg area.

The rooms here are really nice.

They’re more like townhouses than anything else.

Click Here To Book Your Historic Powhatan Resort Stay Today!

Washington, DC

As you continue making your way up the east coast, you have to stop in our nation’s capital.

What’s great about visiting DC is that so many things are free to visit!

You’ll definitely want to visit the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, White House, Capitol Building, and all the Smithsonian museums.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC

A fun tour that you should do at least once is a guided walking tour through the Capitol Building.

I used to take these tours when my high school would visit DC each year, so I highly recommend it.

?? Click Here To Book Your Capitol Building Guided Walking Tour Today!

A really neat place to visit just outside of town is the National Arboretum where you can see the old Capitol Building columns.

Where To Stay In Washington, DC: Club Wyndham National Harbor

Just a few minutes outside of town is Club Wyndham National Harbor.

National Harbor is a downtown shopping and dining district, so it’s very centrally located to plenty of things to do.

We enjoyed having drinks in the evening at the Irish Pub across the street.

Click Here To Book Your Club Wyndham National Harbor Stay Today!

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The best way to see all of Philadelphia is the GoCity Pass.

You’ll get all inclusive admission to a ton of museums including the Betsy Ross House, Museum of the American Revolution, the zoo, the aquarium, art museums, and more.

Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia

?? Click Here To Book Your Philadelphia GoCity Pass Today!

Of course you’ll definitely also want to visit Independence Hall while you’re here.

Independence Hall in Philadelphia

There is some debate to who sells the best Cheesesteak in Philadelphia, so I recommend visiting the 2 main contenders to compare for yourself.

Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King Of Steaks are right by each other, so it’s easy to visit both.

We personally felt that if you take the meat and onions from Pat’s and the bread and cheese from Geno’s, you’d have the perfect Philly Cheesesteak.

Be sure to take some time to venture outside the city to take the self guided driving tour through Valley Forge.

Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania

Where To Stay In Philadelphia: Home2 Suites By Hilton King Of Prussia/Valley Forge

Home2 Suites is a great part of the Hilton brand of hotels.

They’re new, trendy, and have just a tad more space than a traditional hotel room.

This one in particular is out near Valley Forge, which is much cheaper than staying in the city.

?? Click Here To Book Your Home2 Suites King Of Prussia/Valley Forge Stay Today!

New York, New York

This day was one of our favorite days of our entire ultimate US road trip.

We spent a full day in Manhattan and even got to meet up with some friends that live in the area.

The best way to see the city is with the New York GoCity Pass.

You’ll get admission for the Hop On Hop Off Bus, the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock Observation Deck, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Statue of Liberty, the Natural History Museum, art museums, and more.

?? Click Here To Book Your New York GoCity Pass Today!

New York City skyline

Newport, Rhode Island

Newport, Rhode Island is a cute seaside town with beautiful historic mansions.

The best way to see the town is a self guided audio driving tour.

What’s great about these is that they sync up with your GPS and you can stop and go whenever you please.

?? Click Here To Book Your Newport Self Guided Audio Driving Tour Today!

Newport, Rhode Island Ocean Drive

Salem, Boston, and Plymouth Massachusetts

Once again, the best way to see Salem, Boston, and Plymouth are with the Boston GoCity Pass.

You’ll get admission to a variety of museums in Salem and Plymouth.

Then in Boston you’ll get access to pretty much every attraction along the Boston Freedom Trail among many other things.

?? Click Here To Book Your Boston GoCity Pass Today!

In Salem, you’ll want to visit the Salem Witch Dungeon Museum and the House of Seven Gables.

Salem With Dungeon Museum

In Plymouth, you’ll want to visit Plimoth Patuxet Museum and Plymouth Rock.

The Plimoth Patuxet Museum is also a living history museum representing Pilgrim life in the early days.

There is also a replica of the Mayflower in Plymouth.

Plimoth Patuxet Museum

When you go to Boston, a great guide is to just follow the Boston Freedom Trail.

It’ll take you everywhere you need to go.

Be sure to try some Italian food in the North End or dine in the historic Warren Tavern in Charlestown that was known for hosting George Washington.

Boston Common park

Cape Cod/Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

This area was really fun for us.

Each day we took a ferry out to the surrounding islands like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard and spent the day exploring each one.

The best way to see the Cape Cod National Seashore is a self guided audio driving tour since you can stop and go as you please.

?? Click Here To Book Your Cape Cod Self Guided Audio Driving Tour Today!

Nantucket Ferry

Where To Stay In Cape Cod: InnSeason Resorts Captain’s Quarters

This resort was right on the beach and we loved it.

We had a partial kitchen and a huge jacuzzi in our room.

?? Click Here To Book Your InnSeason Resorts Captain’s Quarters Stay Today!

Poconos, Pennsylvania

The Poconos were quite a change from the rest of our trip, but it was a great mountain getaway.

We stayed in our own cabin, rode a mountain coaster, visited the local casino, tried some wine tastings, and just enjoyed the outdoors.

mountain coaster in the Poconos Mountains

Where To Stay In The Poconos: Club Wyndham Shawnee Village

Here you’ll get your own cabin with a separate bedroom, in unit laundry, full kitchen, dining room, patio and more.

Ohio

Depending on your interests, there’s a few different places you can go when passing through Ohio.

You have Cleveland and Cedar Point which are both great tourist destinations.

There are more rural options like Hocking Hills State Park or you can visit cities like Columbus, Dayton, or Cincinnati.

Check out our ultimate Ohio bucket list for some ideas.

If you’re interested in visiting Columbus, check out our one day itinerary.

If you’re interested in visiting Cincinnati, we also have a great one day itinerary there too.

Lastly, for Dayton, we have a great list of things to do for each season: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring.

We also have an ultimate foodie guide for the area, so be sure to check that out too.

Branson, Missouri

Branson was a very pleasant surprise for us on this road trip.

We spent 2 days at their Silver Dollar City theme park because we just enjoyed it so much.

We also enjoyed trying the local restaurants, playing mini golf, and just exploring the vast amount of tourist attractions throughout the area.

Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri

Where To Stay In Branson: The Suites At Fall Creek

This resort is along a river, making it peaceful, quiet, and secluded.

We even had a screened in patio to enjoy the fresh air in the evenings like playing games or eating dinner outside.

This room had a full kitchen, dining room, and separate bedroom.

✅ Route 66 To Los Angeles, California

We’ve personally driven this route many times because my family lives in Ohio, so over the years we’ve stopped at a variety of places in-between.

Some of our favorite places are Albuquerque, Petrified Forest National Park, the Grand Canyon, and Palm Springs.

Sometimes we’ll go a little bit out of the way to pass through Las Vegas on the way back to Los Angeles or we’ll go down through the Phoenix and Scottsdale area too.

Where To Stay Along Route 66: Hampton Inn University-Midtown

When driving between Branson, Missouri and Los Angeles, California, Albuquerque, New Mexico is a great stopping point.

The Hampton Inn in town is great for a quick stopover.

How Much Does an Ultimate US Road Trip Like This Cost?

We didn’t exactly make a budget for this, but we did try to save money where we could.

So let’s break down the spending from this trip:

✓ Lodging

The vast majority of our stays were either free vouchers we had, timeshare stays that are pre-paid, staying with family, and using the Hilton Friends and Family discount on our 1-2 night stays on the road.

So we never paid full price for any of it.

If we had to pay $150 a night for 52 nights we would have never done this trip! Lol

Our grand total for 52 nights of lodging was $1,039.10 (an average of $20 a night).

Club Wyndham Avenue Plaza in New Orleans, Louisiana

✓ Gas

We had a rough idea of what we would spend on gas throughout our trip since we knew how many miles it would be and how far my car can go.

I have a 2010 Ford Escape and when I drive it around town I get about 330 miles out of each fill up.

But on road trips it’s much closer to 400 miles.

What used to be $1.89 a gallon was almost $4 a gallon for each fill up when we did this trip.

So we had originally guessed we’d spend about $1,000 on gas and we weren’t far off!

Our grand total for gas was $991.03 (an average of $19 a day).

Some ways we saved was using Gas Buddy to make sure we were getting some of the cheaper gas options in each area.

Several times we were able to fill up at Costco which is generally cheaper.

Massachusetts State Welcome Sign

✓ Parking and Transportation

While we’re talking about the cost of getting around, we separated out the other transportation related expenses like parking, taxis, toll roads, etc.

We spent a grand total of $300.12 in these areas (an average of $5.77 per day).

hop on hop off trolley in Savannah, Georgia

✓ Souvenirs

Since we know these costs can add up quickly, we typically stick to buying 1 Christmas ornament each place we visit.

We try to keep that broad – for example, in San Antonio we did not get an ornament for EVERY. SINGLE. thing we did in San Antonio.

We bought 1 ornament that most represented what we did in San Antonio.

On top of those ornaments, JP bought some souvenirs for his kids and we each bought souvenirs for our moms for Mother’s Day.

We ended buying a couple other things for ourselves but typically stuck to clearance sections with $10 t-shirts.

So for souvenirs our grand total was $452.98 (an average of $8.71 per day).

We travel not to escape life but to ensure life does not escape us

✓ Activities and Entertainment

This was another category we didn’t really budget for.

We didn’t really hold back from anything we wanted to do, even if it was a splurge.

While we were in San Antonio and Ohio we were visiting with family so that was roughly 10 days or so of the trip where we weren’t really out spending money.

We also had a Media Pass while we were in New Orleans, so there were very few things we had to pay for while we were there.

While visiting with my grandparents in Savannah, some things we paid for and some things they paid for.

So who knows what the true cost of everything was, but our total spend was $1,649.77 (an average of $31.72 per day).

Some of the larger expenses in that price were about $200 for a 2 Day Pass for Silver Dollar City in Branson, a 24 Hour Sightseeing Bus pass and ferry to the Statue of Liberty in New York, and the Old Town Trolley in Savannah for us and my grandparents.

Those alone were probably close to half of our total spending.

We also had to renew our National Park Pass during this trip, but that’s only $80.

Jackson Square in New Orleans, Louisiana

✓ Food

Okay, brace yourselves for this one!

We bought some groceries before we left so that we would have meals to eat in our room during the day when JP was working, which was roughly 35 days of our 52 day trip.

All of those groceries cost us less than $100.

We bought things like Ramen, Knorr Pasta Sides, Tuna and Noodles, Velveeta Shells and Cheese, Spaghetti with Parmesan Romano Sauce, and a couple cases of water.

We went out to eat twice a day on 17 of the 52 days, and maybe once on the other 35 days.

On the road we had cheap drive thru meals like Zaxby’s, Culver’s, and whatever other regional chains we came across.

But while we were out sightseeing, we usually sat down for our meals.

We also usually shared an appetizer, entree, and dessert.

Very rarely did we order any more than that.

We also always left roughly a 20%-25% tip everywhere we went (which apparently adds up!).

Are you ready to see our grand total just for food for 52 days?

$3,417.92 YIKES!

When we spend an entire month at home we only spend about $350 on groceries and go out to eat once or twice a week.

So I saw this number and tried to rationalize it – we averaged about $65.72 per day for food while traveling.

That’s only $32.86 per person per day to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, drinks, etc.

So if you look at it that way, it’s not THAT bad. Lol

Mike's Pastry in Boston, Massachusetts

✓ Other

Last but not least, the “other category”.

$300 of this was cash I took out at an ATM and didn’t keep track of exactly how I spent it.

I know some was at a casino in the Poconos, some was toll roads, some might have been tips, and I really don’t know where the rest went.

On top of that, we also got an oil change on the road, and we vacuumed and washed the car once.

So for our other category, we spent a grand total of $509.08 (or an average of $9.79 per day).

✓ Total Spending

So if you add up all of these categories, we spent a grand total of $8,360 to take a road trip around the US for 52 days!

This is by far the most we have ever spent on a trip, but it is also BY FAR the longest trip we have ever taken.

So let’s break this down again:

$8,360 for 52 days of traveling = $160.76 per day = $80.38 per person per day

See, now it’s not so bad!

Conclusion: The Ultimate US Road Trip Itinerary

This ultimate US road trip itinerary takes you to some of America’s most iconic and historic destinations and it can all be done in as little as 52 days!

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The Ultimate US Road Trip - Discovering Hidden Gems