The Ultimate Road Trip Across U.S.

The Ultimate Road Trip of U.S.

Randy Olson, a researcher at University of Pennsylvania, was recently challenged by Discovery News contributor Tracy Staedter to compute the optimal road trip across every state in U.S. Conditions:

  1. The trip must make at least one stop in all 48 states in the contiguous U.S.
  2. The trip would only make stops at National Natural Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Parks, or National Monuments.
  3. The trip must be taken by car and never leave the U.S.

The Result: An epic itinerary with a mix of inner city exploration, must-see historical sites, and beautiful natural landscapes, as shown in the map diagram above.

Click here for the interactive version of the map.


  1. Grand Canyon, AZ
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  3. Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID
  4. Yellowstone National Park, WY
  5. Pikes Peak, CO
  6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
  7. The Alamo, TX
  8. The Platt Historic District, OK
  9. Toltec Mounds, AR
  10. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, TN
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park, MS
  12. French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
  13. USS Alabama, AL
  14. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
  15. Okefenokee Swamp Park, GA
  16. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC
  17. Lost World Caverns, WV
  18. Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, NC
  19. Mount Vernon, VA
  20. White House, Washington, DC
  21. Colonial Annapolis Historic District, MD
  22. New Castle Historic District, Delaware
  23. Cape May Historic District, NJ
  24. Liberty Bell, PA
  25. Statue of Liberty, NY
  26. The Mark Twain House & Museum, CT
  27. The Breakers, RI
  28. USS Constitution, MA
  29. Acadia National Park, ME
  30. Mount Washington Hotel, NH
  31. Shelburne Farms, VT
  32. Fox Theater, Detroit, MI
  33. Spring Grove Cemetery, OH
  34. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
  35. West Baden Springs Hotel, IN
  36. Abraham Lincoln’s Home, IL
  37. Gateway Arch, MO
  38. C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, KS
  39. Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, IA
  40. Taliesin, WI
  41. Fort Snelling, MN
  42. Ashfall Fossil Bed, NE
  43. Mount Rushmore, SD
  44. Fort Union Trading Post, ND
  45. Glacier National Park, MT
  46. Hanford Site, WA
  47. Columbia River Highway, OR
  48. San Francisco Cable Cars, CA
  49. San Andreas Fault, CA
  50. Hoover Dam, NV

Why was Randy selected for the challenge? Well, he’s the dude who developed the algorithm for most efficiently finding Waldo in the Where’s Waldo series. Yep, you heard me.

Read more about your optimal trip across U.S. here.

via The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe

If you are a road traveler, you many also want to consider investing in National Geographic’s gigantic Travel Guide Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips. This book sits on my center table as we speak. Not just for decor. This book successfully made 6 of my road trips possible in the last two years. No kidding! Good investment!


Conde Nast Traveler recently published The 5 Most Spectacular National Park Road Trips, which include:

Glacier National Park, Montana

Glacier National Park, Montana

Blue Ridge Parkway to Shenandoah National Park, North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway to Shenandoah National Park, North Carolina

Badlands National Park, SD

Badlands National Park, SD

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia National Park, Maine

…and more…

Get more information here.

Have I convinced you enough to pack your bags and set yourself off on a road journey?!!

If so, well, make sure to Travel with Style… 😉


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