The Best US Road Trips, According to RV Nomads - Full-Time Travel

The Best US Road Trips, According to RV Nomads

The Best US Road Trips, According to RV Nomads  

The most memorable road trips are a combination of meticulous planning and serendipitous discoveries. You plot a route, then take a detour. You make a reservation, then cancel it in favor of a local person’s recommendation. You explore, you absorb, and you savor unexpected adventures between stops. There’s nothing quite like a road trip, and with national parks, entertainment venues and restaurants all open once more, now is the perfect time to take one. 

Itching to hit the road but not sure where to begin planning? FTT spoke to four seasoned road trippers/van life aficionados, so you can take inspiration from their favorite destinations and top tips. 

Sam and Dan Mathews (@wearedanandsam) are a couple from Missouri who specialize in beautiful RV renovations (find out more on their website). They are parents to two young kids and frequently take the family on road tripping adventures. 

What's your favorite state/region to road trip in and why? 

Anna Maria Island, Florida has been our go-to for family vacations lately. It is island life at its finest. Driving along the coast you see locals and tourists riding bikes, walking dogs and heading to the beach. There are so many fun spots to enjoy a nice treat! 

Most scenic drive you've ever taken?

Trail Ridge Road through Estes Park, Colorado. Every corner you turn is beautiful.

Best roadside attraction you've ever encountered?

A baby fawn being delivered! On the drive through Estes Park you see several animals in their natural habitat. This was one of those times where we got really lucky. 

Bear Lake Trail Head | Estes Park

Your number top tip to prepare for a road trip?

Ask around and get a local’s advice on what to experience. They always know the must-see places and cool things to do.

What's the one thing you never leave home without?

A tripod. It’s a must for getting those posed pictures where everyone is included.

What's the next destination on your road trip bucket list?

Glacier and Yellowstone! Oh, and possibly Zion. To be honest, there are so many national parks we still want to visit.

Tucker and Janae McCormick

Tucker and Janae McCormick (@adventureswithtucknae) travel full-time in an RV with their two dogs, Marvel and Cap. They love boondocking and are working on checking off every U.S. national park from their travel hit list. Find more helpful tips on their blog

What's your favorite state/region to road trip in and why?

We love road-tripping in the western states – specifically Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico! There’s something about the west that calls to us; we love all of the amazing destinations it offers and the hikes are incredible! 

Most scenic drive you've ever taken?

Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park was breathtaking. The mountains are covered in trees and sometimes snow, depending on what time of year you visit. We saw a lot of wildlife, including mountain goats and moose. The views are really incredible. 

Best roadside attraction you've ever encountered? 

Old Town in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It’s a historic district with lots of fun shops and restaurants. You can also buy handmade jewelry and other items from locals who set up stalls on the edge of the streets. 

Lake Powell | By Gavin Van Wagoner

Your number one top tip to prepare for a road trip?

This might sound crazy, but don’t pack too early. We like to pack one or two days in advance. This keeps you from packing too much and doesn’t make it drag out. 

What's the one thing you never leave home without?

Our dogs – two Miniature Australian Shepherds named Marvel and Cap. They absolutely love traveling with us and exploring new places. The only time that it’s difficult is when we are somewhere that isn’t pet friendly. A lot of the national parks for example do not allow dogs on the hiking trails, so you have to plan ahead. 

What's the next destination on your road trip bucket list? 

Utah! We will be ATVing near Lake Powell.

Digital nomads Gabe and Rocio (@ourmixedjourney) have been living the full-time RV life since 2018. To date, they’ve been through two trucks, two 5th wheels, and are currently traversing the lower 48 states with their dogs Wilson and Journey in a Class B van. 

What's your favorite state/region to road trip in and why?

Surprisingly to us, as former beach babies from the Caribbean and South Florida respectively, we have become uber mountaineers over the last few years. The Sierras and Rockies battle it out for top region in the lower 48, but the majesty of the Rockies likely wins. From Utah north through Montana, the region’s beauty and grandeur will undoubtedly drop your jaw on a regular basis.

Most scenic drive you've ever taken?

The Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park and The Million Dollar Highway in Colorado would take the top two spots. 

Best roadside attraction you've ever encountered? 

One of our most memorable roadside experiences was at a place called Runyan Ranches near a gorgeous mountain town in New Mexico called Cloudcroft. As you descend the mountain, seemingly into empty desert, you’ll find a family-owned fruit and artisan snack stand with an incredible assortment of animals and a spring fed pond. The owners, Tom and Pam, took the time to tell us about the history of the Ranch, the evolution of the petting zoo, and life in that area of the country.

Mt Rainier National Park, Washington

Your number one tip to prepare for a road trip?

We have found through our years of travel and RV life that many of the most memorable things happen unexpectedly. For that reason, we always try to go with the flow and not prepare too much. Sometimes things are sold out, weather happens, or an amazing roadside attraction pops up. If you are flexible, you can always make the experience fun. 

What's the one thing you never leave home without?

A smartphone. From allowing us to photograph cherished moments along the road, to helping us navigate and find amazing food and coffee stops along the way (we’re absolutely foodies and coffeeholics), our phones are our most essential items.

What's the next destination on your road trip bucket list?

After traversing and further documenting our favorite road tripping destination, the Rockies, we are currently headed to the beautiful landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. We’ve never been to Washington together, and we’re looking forward to adding the Evergreen State’s national parks to our growing list of 30+. 

Blake and Sammie (@thetravelingtitans) are RV nomads who travel North America with their two children, inspiring others with their lifestyle of minimalism and adventure. 

What's your favorite state/region to road trip in and why?

Utah is our favorite state so far. We loved Montana and Glacier National Park, but Utah has so much to offer. There are five national parks in the state and so many incredible places to see outside of the parks. Every road you drive down has incredible views and hikes. 

Most scenic drive you've ever taken?

Going to the Sun in Glacier National Park, for sure. But Route 1 in southern Baja, Mexico is absolutely breathtaking, with incredible views of the Sea of Cortez. 

Best roadside attraction you've ever encountered?

As we travel with toddlers, we tend to lean towards anything with ice cream. 

Glacier National Park

 Your number top tip to prepare for a road trip?

Be flexible. Living on the road, we’ve learned that many things can impact your plan: traffic, forest fires and even just beautiful pull offs to take pictures or hidden gems that change our route. Living in an RV is perfect – it always allows us to change our plans and detour if we find something we want to see! 

What's the one thing you never leave home without? 

Water and snacks, and our hiking pack (carrier for our youngest). 

What's the next destination on your road trip bucket list?  

We are exploring northern Michigan these next couple of weeks. Michigan has so much to offer but falls a bit off the beaten path for many road warriors. 

"This sculpture is called "Transmission" by artist Daniel Popper. Its a reminder that we are all rooted in love, unity and the divine. She stands a towering 28 feet tall and is located on Mojave Moon Ranch in Joshua Tree. The land is private property, so you can see it from the viewing platform off of Sunfair Road. And take it from me, it's best viewed at sunset."

Reel: @johnofah

There's more to Greece than the white and blue buildings and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea. If you're planning a visit, check out these places below!

📍Kokkinopilos. Preveza
📍Verliga Dragon lake, Thessaly
📍Ithaca island, lonian Sea
📍Aoos springs lake, Epirus
📍Lake Prespes, Macedonia
📍Balda di Stringa waterfalls, Epirus
📍Meteora, Thessaly
📍Pelion, Thessaly
📍Lake Zorika, Epirus
📍Mt Lakmos
📍Crete island, Aegean Sea
📍Gistova Dragon lake, Macedonia

Reel: @farawayfarers

Swim or kayak through the limestone cliffs of the Twin Lagoon, a must-visit destination for those traveling to Coron, Palawan, Philippines. It is called "twin" lagoon because it consists of two lagoons separated by a limestone cliff, with one lagoon on top of the other. The water in the inner lagoon is warm and clear, with a stunning turquoise color that makes it popular for swimming and snorkeling.

Reel: @travelifejournal

Take a dip in a series of seven saltwater lagoons located in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile. The Lagoons of Baltinache are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and unique geological formations. The high concentration of minerals in the water gives it a unique buoyancy that makes swimming in the lagoons a unique experience.

Reel: @everchanginghorizon

Watching the sun rise above the clouds at Haleakalā National Park is one of the most memorable experiences you could have. Haleakalā is a Hawaiian name that means “House of the Sun” and is an awesome place to watch the clear night sky and stars fade away as the sun lights up the sky and the earth.

Reel: @girlchill_sunset

Just 1 hour from Shanghai by train, Cherry Blossom Valley is a popular tourist destination, particularly in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The valley is named after the thousands of cherry blossom trees that cover the area and create a stunning display of pink and white flowers. The trees were originally planted in the 1980s by a group of Japanese experts who were invited to China to help with reforestation efforts. The best time to visit is typically in late March or early April. Get there early to beat the crowds!

Reel: @cyncynti

New Zealand is unbelievable. See it for yourself:

1. Fiordland National Park
2. A classic backcountry hut trip
3. Blue Pools walk
4. Hooker Lake
5. Milford Sound
6. Lake Pukaki

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

Surrounded by lush greenery, towering karst mountains, and the river flowing through, the Detian Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the close relationship between China and Vietnam. It is the largest waterfall in Asia and the fourth largest cross-border waterfall in the world.

Reel: @sophoebelous

Escape to a serene and peaceful oasis away from the bustling city of Marrakech at Le Jardin Secret—a beautiful and historic garden where visitors can escape the noise and chaos and enjoy the beauty of nature. The garden was originally built in the 16th century and is home to many different species of plants, including exotic flowers, citrus trees, and palm trees.

Reel: @hypermiggzz

For a magical moment and bucket list travel experience, visit the end point of the annual monarch butterfly migration. Starting in August, the monarchs travel 2,800 miles south from Canada, making a temporary home amid the towering trees of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, where the two most popular sanctuaries to view them are el Rosario in the state of Michoacan and Piedra Herrada in Estado de México. Standing in silence while thousands of delicate wings beat in unison is something you'll never forget.

Reel: @juliiathompson

There's just something beautiful about snow covered landscapes like this popular attraction in southwestern Utah. Known for its unique geology, @brycecanyonnps_gov consists of a series of natural amphitheaters, called "hoodoos," formed by erosion of the rock layers.

Photo: @nathanleeallen

As we experience a couple more weeks of winter, we can't help but dream of tropical destinations like Hawaii. The warm water, sunny skies, and consistent waves make it an ideal destination for surfers. Hawaii has a vibrant surf culture and community and is also a beautiful place to explore outside of the water, with lush green mountains, stunning beaches, and unique cultural experiences.

Reel: @christopherballadarez

1. @sequoiakingsnps, California
2. @canyonlandsnps, Utah
3. @olympic_nps, Washington
4. @whitesandsnps, New Mexico
5. Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, Arizona
6. Knik Glacier, Alaska

Reel: @nathanleeallen