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. 

The Christmas market in Frankfurt, Germany, transforms Römer square into a festive haven with twinkling lights and charming stalls. Aromas of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine fill the air as visitors explore handcrafted gifts and traditional treats. The iconic Christmas tree and live performances create a magical atmosphere, making this market a cherished holiday tradition.

Reel: @pillter_

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It`s cabin season where crackling fireplaces and peaceful solitude creates a magical and cozy atmosphere in the winter time.

Reel: @dirtandglass 📍 @evergreen_cabins

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We love a pre-winter adventure just before the water freezes into ice. @jaspernationalpark

Reel: @ninadefilla

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Throughout November, the mountains surrounding the well-known abodes of Shirakawa-gō begin to adopt the colors of autumn. 🍂 ...

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"The wait is over... it`s that time of year again! Every year from November to early March, millions of butterflies blanket the high altitude forest in central Mexico in a mesmerizing display. It`s truly spectacular to witness." - 🎥 @jess.wandering @everchanginghorizon ...

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In the latest episode of our podcast, an award winning editor, writer and producer and the host of the podcast, Travel That Matters, @brucewallintravel travels through Central America with his then fiancee to enjoy what they imagined to be their last big adventure before settling down. It was a trip that gave Bruce a new travel ethos, that travel gets better the more effort you put into it. 🎧 Link in bio to listen! ...

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When fall meets winter in Utah.

Reel: @ashleylporter

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Ethereal moments from a sunset in Scoresby Sound, Greenland.

Reel: @kylekotajarvi

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Autumn in Lago di Saoseo, a stunning alpine lake in the Poschiavo Valley of Switzerland, is a magical experience. The season transforms the surrounding landscape into a picturesque tapestry of vibrant colors. The dense forests that encircle the lake burst into a riot of reds, yellows, and oranges as the leaves change, creating a breathtaking contrast against the crystal-clear, emerald waters of the lake. The cool, crisp air of autumn adds to the tranquility of the scene, making it an ideal time for peaceful hikes and nature appreciation. It`s a time when the natural beauty of Lago di Saoseo truly shines, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Reel: @jakeguzman

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6 Spooky Fall Adventures (An Hour from NYC)

Follow this guide from @steffy where everything is Halloween themed
including the street signs!

- @pumpkinblaze
- @harvestmoonorchard
- @lyndhurst_mansion
- @ Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
- @sleepyhollowbookshop
- @horsefeathers for a spooky drink
- @castlehotelandspa to stay!

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Zhangjiajie, located in China`s Hunan province, is a stunning national park known for its towering sandstone pillars, deep ravines, and lush forests. It gained international fame as the inspiration for James Cameron`s "Avatar." The park`s surreal and otherworldly landscape, particularly the "Southern Sky Column" (renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain"), served as the muse for the film`s floating mountains and lush forests. Zhangjiajie remains a popular destination for travelers seeking to witness the real-world beauty that inspired the cinematic masterpiece.

Reel: @cyn_cynti

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The scent of crisp, autumn air fills the atmosphere of this picturesque region in southern Germany. Allgäu turns into a patchwork of fiery reds, golden yellows, and rustic browns as the leaves change color.

Reel: @_marcelsiebert

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Host of our very own podcast, The Trip That Changed Me, and this week’s Travel That Matters guest, Esme Benjamin (@esmebenjamin), tells us about her year-in-the-making five-month-long road trip across the United States.

On the podcast, Esme starts by telling us the things that happened in her life that led her to take this life-altering adventure. Then, we hear about her path through the following incredible places: Black Hills & Badlands (South Dakota), Glacier National Park and Bozeman (Montana), Cody (Wyoming), Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Gateway Canyons Resort and Spa (Colorado), Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, and the Grand Canyon (Arizona), Indiana Dunes National Park (Indiana), San Francisco and Los Angeles (California), and more!

🎧 Link in bio to listen and to explore the transformative power of travel.

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