The Best Road Trips in the USA (and Why You Should Travel Them by Bus!)

The Best Road Trips in the USA (and Why You Should Travel Them by Bus!)

For those of you that don’t know me, I have an extreme penchant for buses. In fact, I once took a bus trip clear across the United States! Now, I’m not recommending that you spend 2+ days on a bus like I did, but there’s no denying that bus travel is a special way to go.

One of the main advantages to bus travel is that you don’t have to own or rent a car, have your license, pay for insurance, or any of the other pesky details that you might otherwise have to consider if you wanted to do a road trip. It’s also frequently more affordable (because even if the ticket price is about the same as the cost of gas, you don’t have to worry about being charged through the nose for baggage). Beyond that, you can actually look at the scenery around you, rather than having to focus on the road! Buses these days are adding more and more amenities like WiFi and comfortable seats, so really, there’s no reason not to hop onboard.

The Heartland

I think a tour through central USA is a must-do during your lifetime. Not only is the region very distinct from other regions of the US, but it also is home to some lovely scenery. You’ll start in the south and travel up through all different types of landscapes no matter what you pick as your origin and destination. But my preferred route for escaping the tourists and getting a more authentic look at the south (plus some pretty scenery!) is from Orlando to Columbus. You’ll start along the coast in Florida, pass through serene Savannah, cultural Charlotte, cross the amazing Appalachian Mountains, and end up in Ohio. There’s plenty to do in each city that this makes for the perfect weeklong trip.

Savannah, Georgia, USA

Savannah, Georgia, USA © Shutterstock, Inc.

Appalachian Mountains

Appalachian Mountains © Shutterstock, Inc.

Skyline of downtown Charlotte in North Carolina, USA

Skyline of downtown Charlotte in North Carolina, USA © Shutterstock, Inc.

Route 66

A drive along Route 66, sometimes called the Mother Road of the USA, is the classic American road trip, but it’s just as much fun done by bus as it is by car. Start in glitzy Chicago, Illinois and head south and west towards the paradisiacal Santa Monica, California, passing through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona along the way. It’s the best way to see a big swath of the US during your trip, from rolling cornfields to cities. It’s a pretty long bus journey to do all in one go; what I’d recommend is picking a few places to stop in between the two cities and booking a multi-city ticket. For a slice of Americana, you at least will want to visit the timeless Las Vegas strip!

Route 66, USA

Route 66, USA © Shutterstock, Inc.

Route 66, USA

Route 66, USA © Shutterstock, Inc.

Route 66, USA

Route 66, USA © Shutterstock, Inc.

The Pacific Coast

What could make for a more perfect summer than a trip up the coast of California? The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most scenic drives in all the United States, and it’ll take you from Los Angeles up through San Francisco. If you haven’t had enough of the seafood and sunshine, keep heading north towards Portland and Seattle and you can visit these two quirky cities. Or check out the national parks along the way in California, such as Big Sur or Redwoods. Again, I’d plan on booking a multi-city ticket—but this time, more because there’s just so much to get out and see along the way!

The Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway © Shutterstock, Inc.

The Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway © Shutterstock, Inc.

The Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway © Shutterstock, Inc.

The Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway © Shutterstock, Inc.

New England’s Foliage

I love New England at any time of year, whether it’s hopping down the coast of Maine or hiking through upstate New York. But having grown up visiting my grandparents in Vermont, New England during the fall foliage season will always hold a special place in my heart. The best places to view the foliage will vary from year to year, but a safe bet is to start your trip in Boston, head up to Portland, ME, pass through the White Mountains as you head over to Burlington, and then head back south through the Green Mountains. In fact, a fall foliage bus tour is such a popular idea that many tour companies offer guided tours so that you don’t need to book that multi-city ticket or accommodation on your own, making it easy for you to relax in the splendors of nature.

New England's Foliage

New England’s Foliage © Shutterstock, Inc.

New England's Foliage

New England’s Foliage © Shutterstock, Inc.

New England's Foliage

New England’s Foliage © Shutterstock, Inc.

The Powder Route

I’m an avid skier, but skiing trips can get expensive, especially when you have to factor in airline baggage fees and other assorted charges. But many bus companies will allow you a certain number of free checked bags, making it easy to bring all your gear with you. Hop from Steamboat Springs to Salt Lake City to Tahoe—or just head from wherever you normally live to your favorite resort. And when you’ve exhausted yourself skiing for too many days in a row, hop back on the bus and head home—and enjoy the fact that instead of having to pay attention during that rush hour traffic, you can put your seat back and take a nap!

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA © Shutterstock, Inc.

Southern point of Lake Tahoe

Southern point of Lake Tahoe © Shutterstock, Inc.

Skiing down to Whistler village from Blackcomb Mountain

Skiing down to Whistler village from Blackcomb Mountain © Shutterstock, Inc.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect pictures, an awesome experience, or just a great way to unwind, these five road trips are an excellent choice. And there’s no better way to experience the US than by bus! What’s the best road trip you’ve ever taken? Share your stories below!

About the author
Kylie Dingman is an avid traveler, writer, and skier who has been on the road for about four years now, exploring various parts of Latin America, Europe, and Asia. At the moment, she’s spending a winter in Colorado, USA; after that, who knows! There’s much left to explore…