Looking for a USA road trip? Drive along the loneliest road in America with this guide for a coast to coast road trip.
What is the Loneliest Road?
The Loneliest Road is a 3,200 mile trip across the United States. In 1986, this road, also known as U.S. Highway 50, was declared “The Loneliest Road” because there were no points of interest; just a vast land with nothing more than the farmlands of the Great Plains region of the U.S. Obviously, that is not true as this long-stretching highway passes through 11 states and even a few major cities, including the nation’s capital. There’s a lot to see and experience, so make sure to pack your road trip essentials when traveling this route.
Places to visit on your Coast to Coast road trip
San Francisco, California
This road trip is typically taken from a West-to-East direction, starting in San Francisco, though the route can be reversed. When thinking of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge immediately comes to mind. This is easily one of the most popular tourist spots in the city. You can also find some great restaurants, museums, and parks throughout the city.
Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada
A lake situated along the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe has it all. There’s swimming at the lake, skiing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, dining, shopping, and a vibrant nightlife similar to that of Las Vegas.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
This is the deepest gorge in the entire state of Colorado, meaning that it contains some of the steepest cliffs in the country. This also means that there aren’t any trails along the bottom, so tourists will have to settle for looking down into the gorge. Fortunately, there are places in the park where you can fish, hike, and take long scenic drives. If you have the time, make sure to visit Denver (where you take advantage of the car sharing Denver options or drive yourself) then head to the Rocky Mountains.
Kansas City, Missouri
Not to be confused with Kansas City, Kansas— though both are a part of the Kansas City Metropolitan area and are only about a 10-minute drive apart— KCMO (Kansas City, Missouri) is likely most famous for its barbeque and its art. There are several restaurants that serve KCMO’s famous barbeque, and there are also the Kansas City Murals that showcase the city’s history. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art are definitely for the art lovers.
Though it is a major city, Cincinnati doesn’t have a particularly overwhelming population, making it a pretty easy city to navigate through. Here you can explore the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati Music Hall, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Great American Ball Park, and Eden Park.
As the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. is famous for its historic landmarks. There’s the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Library of Congress. It’s worth it to take some time to explore the city, and a DC bus rental can help make that easier for you and your family/friends to navigate the city.
Other must-see attractions include the Smithsonian Museum, the National Archives Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The Loneliest Road ends (or begins) in the state of Maryland. Annapolis, the state capital, is another city full of history. You can visit what is known as “Historic Annapolis”, located on the city’s Main Street where you’ll find restaurants, shops, and art galleries. You can also visit the United States Naval Academy and take a tour of the Navy’s history.
Green River (pop. 934) is a convenient location for visiting southern Utah since it sits on the banks of the titular river on the north side of I-70. The town has a number of 24-hour gas stations, a few motels, and a few nice restaurants, including the Tamarisk Restaurant (1710 E. Main St., 435/564-8109), which has a great view of the Green River. Despite the fact that the renowned explorers began their epic journey at Green River, Wyoming, rather than here in Utah, the vast contemporary museum on old US-50 along the Green River’s east bank is the best single collection of items pertaining to their achievement. The collection focuses on Powell in particular and aquatic transportation in general, although there are other exhibits detailing the exploits of other people.
The Eastern Getaway
The “Eastern Gateway” is a peculiarly shaped arm of eastern West Virginia that comes between Maryland and Virginia at the Potomac River’s headwaters. It allows you access to mountainous wilderness of Monongahela National Forest, which stretches south of US-50, as well as the raging white water of the Cheat and Gauley Rivers. In four years of combat, the main town in the Eastern Gateway changed hands more than 50 times. The Davis History House (304/822-3185, hours vary) is a very well log home filled with pioneer and Civil War antiques in the heart of Romney, on the junction of Main Street and Bolton.
This is a very unique road trip, as it’s like taking a trip back in time when traveled from west to east. You’re immediately taken from the fast-paced city life to the great outdoors, through the Great Plains, and finally into the history of the nation.