If you love cruising the open road with your car or motorcycle on adventurous road trips, you need to travel the longest roads in the United States. You don’t have to worry about exits, except to find some great places to eat, rest, and soak up local flare. The best part about traveling on one of the longest roads is you don’t have to worry about your navigation system kicking in and interrupting you while you rock out to your favorite music or listen to an inspiring podcast. Here are the four longest roads in the U.S., so you can plan your next exciting road trip:
U.S. Route 30, New Jersey to Oregon
The nation’s fourth longest road and third longest U.S. highway spans 3,072 miles starting in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and ending in Astoria, Oregon. In addition to Oregon and New Jersey, U.S. 30 runs through nine more states, giving you plenty of exciting rest stops. One of the most gorgeous stretches of U.S. 30 is the Thousand Springs Scenic Byway, which runs through Idaho from Bliss through Twin Falls. This part of U.S. 30 meanders through the Snake River Canyon where you will find thousands of waterfalls, hot springs, and charming Idaho towns.
For more small towns and some historic immersion, you will find several worthwhile stops on U.S. 30 through Nebraska, called the Lincoln Highway Historical Byway. As you travel this route you will drive along the Oregon, Mormon, and California trails, as well as the transcontinental Pony Express route and Union Pacific Railroad. The largest city along U.S. Route 30 is Philadelphia, where you can visit several historical sites like the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Congress Hall, The Betsy Ross House, and one of the oldest streets in the U.S., Elfreth’s Alley. If you spend some time in Philadelphia, don’t forget to enjoy a world-famous Philly cheesesteak.
Interstate 90, Massachusetts to Washington
The nation’s third longest road and longest interstate runs from Boston to Seattle and spans a little more than 3,100 miles. If you drive it from end to end, it would take you about 46 hours, but with so many must-sees and must-dos along the way, it will surely take you longer. Traveling along I-90 brings you through 13 states, including Massachusetts and Washington. If it’s an urban getaway you crave, stop off in Cleveland, Ohio, to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or head to Chicago to visit the Navy Pier, The Art Institute of Chicago, or the Museum of Science and Industry.
If you crave a smaller town feel, spend some time in Madison, Wisconsin. Located on an isthmus formed by two lakes, this capital city offers cute pubs and restaurants in the downtown area, which is also home to the University of Wisconsin. Outdoor enthusiasts won’t miss the chance to visit Yellowstone National Park when traveling farther west on I-90. Although the park is about an hour away from Livingston, Montana, I-90 is the best route to visit the geologic wonders on its north side. As you continue to drive along I-90 through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, the scenery of the Rocky Mountains and the Cascade Mountains is so breathtaking, you won’t want your trip to end.
U.S. Route 6, Massachusetts to California
In comparison to the other longest roads in the United States, U.S. Route 6 lies the furthest south, primarily because the highway runs diagonally. On the east coast, U.S. 6 begins at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and goes all the way to Bishop, California. If you were to drive Route 6 from start to finish, you would visit 14 states, and it would take approximately 61 hours to travel its 3,207 miles. U.S. 6 was once the longest road in the country, but after the Department of Transportation renumbered highways during the ’60s, it moved down the list. Route 6 is formally known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, dedicated to the Union troops who fought during the Civil War.
Unlike the other longest roads in the United States, U.S. 6 travels primarily through medium cities, small towns, and charming rural areas. The largest urban areas you can enjoy from U.S. 6 include Denver, Des Moines, and Omaha. This gives you the opportunity to explore middle America. If you are traveling with children, make sure to spend a night or two in Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie. Here you can enjoy the world-famous Cedar Point Amusement Park and ride some of the biggest rollercoasters in history.
U.S. Route 20
Stretching for 3,237 miles from Boston to Newport, Oregon, U.S. Route 20 is the longest road in the United States. This beautiful route is packed with panoramic views and exciting attractions for those who love an epic road trip. It takes you through some of the nation’s must stunning national parks, such as Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Yellowstone in Wyoming, and Craters of the Moon National Monument, as it parallels I-90 for most of its length. U.S. 20 has not been converted to a four-lane highway in many areas, making this two-lane adventure the perfect opportunity to slowly meander across the United States.
On the eastern part of the route, you will find quaint and charming towns, providing a real taste of Americana with main streets that have looked the same for decades. In fact, the Massachusetts portion of Route 20 follows the old Boston Post Road used to carry mail between New York City and Boston in the 1600s and 1700s. Route 20 in New York travels through the Finger Lakes Region of the state and winds through remote areas filled with antique shops and charming bed and breakfasts. Likewise on the west coast, you will find enchanting bed and breakfasts throughout the vineyards of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.