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Sunset in Clearwater Beach, FL

Dying to spend some time with your significant other but not sure where to go? There’s no better way to bond than hitting the open road. In this guide, you’ll find the best road trip destinations for couples complete with romantic hotels and activities in each location.

There are so many charming destinations across the U.S. but I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite 13 most romantic road trip routes for couples. And, to give you an idea as to where each is located, this guide also includes an interactive map.

And don’t worry, you don’t have to use up all your PTO days to escape! The itineraries below are anywhere from 2 to 10 days, so even a long weekend will have you swooning again.

Fairhope, Al Welcome Center

Key Takeaways

  • Choose destinations with romantic settings like scenic views, cozy accommodations, and charming local attractions.
  • Plan a flexible itinerary to allow for spontaneity and romantic detours along the way.
  • Pack for comfort and fun, including snacks, music playlists, and travel games.
  • Research and book accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability and get the best deals.
  • Consider activities that both partners will enjoy, such as hiking, wine tasting, exploring historical sites, or relaxing on the beach.
  • Communicate openly and compromise on travel preferences to make the road trip enjoyable for both partners.
  • Capture memories with photos and keepsakes to cherish the moments spent together during the road trip.
  • Stay safe on the road by taking breaks to rest, and having emergency supplies in the car.
  • Embrace the journey, laugh, and enjoy the quality time together.

Related: Need a quick checklist of road trip essentials? Check out this blog post to make your next road trip safe and successful!

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hands in the shape of a heart- Best Road Trip Destinations For Couples (2024)

Why Are Road Trips Good For Couples?

It’s so important to make time for each other! Especially these days when devices and daily distractions can get in the way of spending quality time together. You NEED a digital detox and a way to bond. What’s better than hitting the open highway?!

Everything and everyone will always get in the way unless you specifically carve out time. From schedules to laundry to kids to the daily work grind, something will inevitably come up.

How nice would it be just to sit back and have an uninterrupted conversation? How about just being able to take in the quiet time, enjoy the views and the random pitstops, and even laugh at all the mishaps along the way?

Sunset in Clearwater Beach, FL

That’s what makes lasting memories. It’s those little in-between moments—the journey, not the destination, as they say.

From coastal drives along the Pacific Northwest to routes through the American Southwest, these road trip tips for couples are sure to bring you closer together.

Get ready for romantic road trips, amazing views, quirky roadside attractions, tasty food, cozy places to stay, and exciting activities – this is the ultimate road trip guide for couples!

Donte & Sheri- road trip in a cabana van

Quick List: 13 Road Trip Destinations for Couples

  1. Pacific Coast Highway: Epic ocean views around every bend, along with quaint coastal towns and beaches.
  2. Blue Ridge Parkway: Spans the Appalachian Mountains and charming mountain towns perfect for leaf-peeping and stargazing.
  3. Great River Road: Follow the Mississippi River for miles on the diverse and culturally rich road trip.
  4. Route 66: Get your Americana kicks on, passing retro attractions and mid-century motels.
  5. Columbia River Gorge: Waterfalls, windsurfing and kiteboarding spots, and local wine-tasting.
  6. Key West: Florida’s Overseas Highway island hops all the way to paradise-worthy beaches, watersports, and sunsets along the way.
  7. Maui’s Hana Highway: Winds through the Hawaiian rainforest, past swimming holes and gorgeous coastlines.
  8. Mohawk Trail: Catch the fall foliage in New England along the Berkshires on Massachusetts’ scenic drives.
  9. Natchez Trace Parkway: Tour elegant antebellum mansions and get lost among hardwood forests.
  10. Byway 12: Discover towering hoodoos, arches, and slot canyons along Utah’s incredibly scenic drives.
  11. New Mexico’s Turquoise Trail: Offers a peek into charming Spanish-influenced villages full of art galleries, trading posts, and wineries with views of the Sandia Mountains.
  12. Steens Mountain Loop: Oregon’s remote scenic road trip showcases massive wildlife refuges, high mountain lakes, and some of the West’s darkest night skies, perfect for stargazing.
  13. Monterey to Big Sur: A short drive along the northern California coast dazzles with epic Pacific Ocean views, towering redwood forests, and plenty of whales.
Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway- view of ocean

What Are The Best Road Trip Destinations for Couples?

From sunny beach drives to routes through mountains, few things will bring a couple together quite like a road trip. I mean, don’t get me wrong, you WILL end up arguing about something. And it’ll probably be something totally stupid and pointless, but yes, you will definitely get on each other’s nerves at some point.

In the end, you’ll end up laughing about it (eventually), and it will all just become part of the story in your epic American road trip.

Pack up the car and hit up these romantic destinations, crossing landscapes from coast to coast to make priceless memories and reignite your relationship’s spark.

Need Help Planning?

If you’re interested in our exact itinerary, contact me, and I’ll be happy to share all the details or help you plan your next memorable road trip!

1. Pacific Coast Highway, California

Couple standing in front of Bixby Bridge

Duration: 5- 7 days

The PCH is perhaps the USA’s most iconic road trip route, and it’s also my favorite couple’s road trip because it’s so romantic. You’ll be “California Dreamin” as you take in the beautiful scenery.

The PCH was our honeymoon destination. We spent seven days on the road, traveling from San Francisco to San Diego, which was incredible!

There’s something so romantic about driving the Pacific Coast Highway, how the road curves in, out, and around every nook, and how it hugs the California coastline for 655 miles.

There are literally stunning views around every corner, and you’ll have to force yourself not to stop at each one to take a selfie.

This is meant to be a leisurely drive, so make sure to allow at least 3-5 days to soak up all the romantic sights. Don’t miss stopping at some of the small towns and the delicious wineries and farms along the way.

Our favorite town was Carmel, and we even saw Clint Eastwood when we dined at this incredible restaurant called the Mission Ranch.

Highlights:

  • Beaches and piers of Santa Monica
  • Surf town Santa Barbara
  • Hearst Castle’s incredible architecture
  • Sea otters and elephant seals at untouched beaches like Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
  • Magical sunsets at Big Sur

Hotels:

Activities:

  • McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (look for the waterfall that leads to the ocean!)
  • Hiking mountain trails in Big Sur
  • Sipping local wine at coastal vineyards

2. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina & Virginia

Blue Ridge Parkway

Duration: 5- 6 days

Depending on the final destination and which part of the Blue Ridge Parkway you want to focus on will determine how long of a trip you need to plan.

In the past, we have spent anywhere from 1 full day exploring the Asheville area to a full week driving along the entire parkway and stopping at random spots along the way.

The key is to make it your own and to take your time. Do what allows for your schedule, and don’t stress out about seeing everything all at once.

On this romantic getaway, you’ll wind your way through the Appalachian peaks on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It’s loaded with historic small towns, hiking trails, and old-fashioned diners and motels. The Parkway stretches 469 miles through secluded areas and tree-lined valleys.

This is a beautiful route in the fall when the leaves are changing. Be sure to stop at places like Grandfather Mountain and Linville Falls. Rent a log cabin and spend nights in the cool mountain air cuddled up together.

Highlights:

  • Biltmore Estate hiking and biking trails
  • North Carolina Arboretum
  • Looking Glass Rock

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Stargazing on clear nights
  • Hiking to waterfalls like Linville Falls and Sliding Rock
  • Exploring the galleries and shops of Asheville
  • Country line dancing at a local bar

3. Great River Road, Multiple States

Gateway Arch National Park

Duration: 7- 10 days

The Great River Road runs alongside the Mississippi River for over 3,000 miles from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. There are little secluded riverside beaches along the way and you can check out riverboat museums too. Of course, you can eat your heart out on some catfish and hushpuppies from riverside seafood shacks.

Spend nights on antebellum plantations, quirky riverboat hotels, or in intimate B&Bs in historic river towns like Dubuque, Memphis, and Natchez. Music lovers will love the scene in New Orleans. This epic road trip lets you immerse yourself in the culture of America’s heartland.

Highlights:

  • Outdoor adventures in Lake Itasca State Park, MN
  • Longest main street in the US in Maiden Rock, WI
  • Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, MO
  • French Quarter in New Orleans, LA

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Live music and dancing in New Orleans
  • Roadside BBQ shacks and diners
  • River cruises and museums

4. Route 66, Multiple States

couple standing in front of diner off route 66

Duration: 5- 6 days

If you want to drive the entire length, you’ll need at least three weeks. But you can always experience chunks of it in just under a week. You decide what’s best for your schedule.

No list of the best American side road trips for couples would be complete without the “Mother Road.” Historic Route 66 stretches over 2,000 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica.

Along the way, it passes through eight states and three time zones! With its funky retro motels, classic neon signs, and good old-fashioned Americana, this scenic route is perfect for you and your honey to turn back time.

Stop for milkshakes and diner food, pick up vintage clothes, and stay at historic hotels. Soak in stunning desert and canyon landscapes. Highlights on this great American road trip include the Grand Canyon, the Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, and the wild open plains of western Texas.

Highlights:

  • Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX
  • Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum
  • The Painted Desert in Indian Wells, AZ

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Instagram-worthy signs and roadside attractions
  • Trying old-fashioned diner food like milkshakes
  • Souvenir shopping at trading posts

5. Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway, Oregon/Washington

Columbia River Gorge

Duration: 4- 5 days

This road trip is short and sweet. You’ll drive along the Columbia River through the pine-covered Cascade Mountains. Get lost among towering waterfalls like 620-foot Multnomah Falls and hike through landscapes that look like paintings.

Catch the river vibes with world-class windsurfing and kiteboarding, or settle in for some superb local wine tasting. Cap it all off by watching the salmon run at Bonneville Dam. Spend the night in vintage Airstream trailers with amazing views or cozy, romantic treehouse rentals.

Highlights:

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Hiking to waterfalls like Multnomah Falls
  • Windsurfing or kiteboarding on the Columbia
  • Spend quality time at local wine tastings with river views

6. Overseas Highway, Florida Keys

Florida Keys Highway

Duration: 5- 7 days

Florida’s Overseas Highway connects the southern tip of mainland Florida to Key West across a 126-mile chain of small islands linked by narrow bridges.

This drive doesn’t seem like it would take very long, but I’ve done it a few times, and for some reason, it seems like it takes FOREVER to get to Key West! It’s wild!

But at least you get unbelievably good views from the road as you drive from Key Largo down to Key West. I swear the water always looks fake to me!

Relax on sugar-sand beaches and wander through beachy island towns. Must-see attractions include dolphin research center Dolphin Connection and the former home of Earnest Hemingway. Chow down on freshly caught seafood by the water at laid-back restaurants and beach shacks. Spend the nights aboard yachts or in colorful Conch-style cottages.

Highlights:

  • Everglades National Park
  • John Pennekamp Park in Key Largo, FL
  • Seven Mile Bridge
  • Turtle Hospital in Marathon, FL

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Snorkeling or scuba diving colorful coral reefs
  • Watching the Key West sunset celebration
  • Dolphin and wildlife encounters

7. Road to Hana, Hawaii

Road to Hana, Hawaii

Duration: 3- 4 days

Your Maui itinerary should absolutely include this legendary drive. It winds along cliffs, past waterfalls that feed into swimming holes, and through lush rainforest.

It’s only 64 miles, but this curvy road is filled with one-lane bridges that take at least three hours to traverse. Take your time, go for a hike to check out ancient lava flows, and cool off under a waterfall.

Spend a few nights camping under the stars in cozy lodges, boutique hotels, and eco-resorts, many of which offer ocean views from their lanai porches. Oh, and go ahead and leave your diet behind for a night so you can indulge in delicacies like kalua pork and macadamia nut pie.

Highlights:

  • Garden of Eden Arboretum
  • Halfway to Hana Stand
  • Hana Lava Tube

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Swimming in waterfall pools like Twin Falls
  • Beach relaxation, snorkeling, and surfing
  • Hiking trails through thick rainforest

8. Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts

Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts

Duration: 5- 6 days

Fall is the best time to explore the forest-lined roads of the 69-mile Mohawk Trail. You’ll feel like a fancy east coaster when you travel through parts like the northern Berkshires. This is a great place to plan a leaf-peeping trip.

The vibrant autumn foliage in red, yellow, and orange are to die for. Start your trip with breakfast at the historic Red Lion Inn, then stop at farm stands selling freshly harvested apples and pumpkins. Or, take a fall tour to Acadia National Park.

Look for wildlife like bears and moose as you pass rivers and streams on this less-traveled route. Spend the night at cozy country inns and B&Bs near hiking trails and waterfalls of the Mohawk State Forest. Be sure to save time for antiquing and visiting galleries in artsy towns like Shelburne Falls and Williamstown.

Highlights:

  • Wigwam Western Summit
  • Whitcomb Summit
  • Bissell Covered Bridge
  • Bridge of Flowers
  • Salmon Falls

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Attend the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival
  • Find hidden gems to relax and unwind by the rocks and rivers
  • Hiking through bright Western MA forests

9. Natchez Trace Parkway

Natchez Trace Parkway

Duration: 3- 5 days

Take it easy on this peaceful 444-mile parkway that follows an ancient Native American trade route through Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

With no commercial vehicles allowed, it features gentle speeds, making it the perfect road trip for quality conversation.

Stop to see Native American Pharr Mounds built 2,000 years ago or wander through exhibits detailing the parkway’s past as a Choctaw Indian trail. Don’t miss views over the Tennessee Valley and hike among thousand-year-old hardwood trees in the dense forests.

Highlights:

  • Cypress Swamp
  • The Sunken Trace
  • Mount Locust

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Touring elegant antebellum mansions
  • Roadside picnics under shady oaks
  • Hiking and biking the scenic trail

10. Scenic Byway 12, Utah

Scenic Byway 12, Utah

Duration: 3- 4 days

This is my favorite All-American Road. I think I’m just partial to Utah, though, and all of the awesome national parks located here. My favorite thing to do is to pack up my hiking essentials and stop at any one of these incredible natural wonders or viewpoints along the way.

This road climbs high along on the edge of Grand Staircase National Monument before descending along red rock slots carved by the Escalante River.

You’ll be able to see famous viewpoints and historic landmarks like Devil’s Garden, not to mention waterfalls, arches, and hoodoos! What more could you ask for on a road trip out west?

For nature lovers, hikes through Capitol Reef National Park and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument are the perfect way to enjoy each other. Spend nights under the stars at campsites or bed down in a pioneer-themed lodge, ranch house, or quiet B&B with spectacular canyon views.

Highlights:

  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
  • Calf Creek Falls

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Photographing the parks’ hoodoos, arches, and slot canyons
  • Star gazing in Dark Sky-designated areas
  • Easy and moderate canyonland hikes

11. Turquoise Trail, New Mexico

turquoise trail new mexico

Duration: 4- 5 days

Named for the blue-green stones found here, the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway connects Santa Fe to Albuquerque. Along this 60-mile highway, couples can try their hand at gem panning, buy directly from artists in Madrid and Cerrillos, or taste wine at charming wineries.

Admire views of the Sandia Mountains from funky trading posts where staff roast chilies for smothered enchiladas and huevos rancheros. Spend nights at a cozy bed and breakfast gazing up at uncrowded night skies that show off thousands of stars.

Highlights:

  • Cerrillos Hills State Park
  • Turquoise Trail Sculpture Garden
  • Connie’s Photo Park
  • Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Visiting local artists’ galleries and studios
  • Wine tasting at charming vineyards
  • Panning for turquoise and semi-precious stones

12. Steens Mountain Loop, Oregon

Steens Mountain Loop, Oregon

Duration: 2- 3 days

Looking for road trip ideas that are off-the-beaten path? Be prepared for a 59-mile loop that is an all-gravel road. Everyone says it’s totally worth it, though.

Begin this trek at the tiny 19th-century town of Frenchglen, bordering the 1.2 million-acre Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, where hundreds of migratory bird species stop over in summer.

Then, steadily climb over 5,500 feet, passing aspen groves and meadows where you’ll likely see elk herds. At the top, take in views of Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon. As you loop back down, stop for hikes to see glacial lakes and waterfalls.

Highlights:

  • Big Indian Gorge
  • Kiger Gorge overlook
  • Wild horses

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Wildlife viewing – birds and migrating elk
  • Hiking to mountain lakes and high-elevation meadows
  • Astrophotography under the monument’s dark night skies

13. Monterey to Big Sur, California

The Lone Cypress Pebble Beach

Duration: 3- 4 days

This short road trip delivers non-stop romance as it winds along headlands and beaches south of San Francisco.

Start by exploring Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the Monterey Bay Aquarium before driving down the coast. Stop frequently for picnic lunches overlooking the rocky Pacific coastline and wander through quaint villages.

Highlights:

  • Bixby Bridge
  • The Lone Cypress at Pebble Beach
  • Point Lobos State Park

Hotels:

Activities:

  • Picnicking and hiking among towering redwood trees
  • Stopping frequently for ocean vista views
  • Wine tasting
  • Whale watching or golfing along the coast

Final Thoughts: Romantic Road Trip Destinations For Couples

Bixby Bridge

I know the idea of a road trip can seem overwhelming. I’m gonna be honest; there are lots of things to consider when planning a trip, and it takes some preparation and patience, too.

But if you’re looking to ignite some romance in your relationship or perhaps just get to know each other again, then a road trip might be just want you both need. And it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than going to therapy!

The thing about a road trip with your other half is that you have to work together to experience it. You have to route it out and talk about ideas of where you’d like to go and what you’d like to see.

Ask each other questions like, “What are you looking forward to most?” or “What’s on your bucket list that you’d like to see?” Be genuinely interested in what the other person would like to experience on their vacation too.

Be selfless. Ask questions. That alone will kick off the trip on a good note! It really can be a ton of fun as long as each person gives in a little.

You’ll be amazed at how much closer you can become. Even if it’s just a weekend road trip to someplace nearby, take the chance. And hell, get lost along the way!

Material things come and go, break and disintegrate. But road trips, the memories, and the laughter you share along the way will last a lifetime.

Road trip romance leads to lifelong memories, so pack your bags, fill up the tank, and hit the highway toward adventure.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can we add a touch of romance to our road trip accommodation?

  • A: Consider booking a cozy cabin, a romantic bed and breakfast, or a boutique hotel with scenic views or private balconies.

Q: What are some unique activities we can do as a couple during our road trip?

  • A: Try a sunset picnic, take a couples’ cooking class, go stargazing, or embark on a scenic hot air balloon ride together.

Q: Are there any road trip tips specifically tailored for couples?

  • A: Yes, prioritize open communication, plan surprises for each other, share driving responsibilities, and create a romantic playlist for the journey.

Q: How can we find lesser-known romantic spots along our road trip route?

  • A: Research local recommendations, use travel apps like Roadtrippers for hidden gems, ask locals for insider tips, and be open to exploring off-the-beaten-path locations.

Q: What should we pack to make our romantic road trip more memorable?

  • A: Pack essentials like a picnic blanket, cozy blankets or throws, a camera for capturing moments, a travel journal, and romantic games or activities for downtime. Tuck away lingerie to surprise your partner or add in their favorite perfume.

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