It takes 4 to 6 days for a road trip across America driving 8 or more hours per day. You will drive approximately 2,500 to 3,500 miles. So with several days to spare, you can see the country from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific.
It all depends on which part of the country you'd like to see and how many days you're able to stay on the road during . You can drive longer days to speed up your cross-country road trip or draw out the trip to enjoy copious Americana along the way.
Whatever route and time-frame you opt for, driving cross country promises to be an unforgettable adventure on the road.
Depending on your route, the coast-to-coast drive across America ranges in distance from approximately 2,500 to 3,500 miles. If you're prepared to clock eight-plus hours behind the wheel per day, the shortest route should takes four days and the longest six.
1. The Northern Route
Hugging the northern end of the United States takes the longest of any of the cross-country routes. Not only is this is the widest point of the country, but your driving route must steer under the Great Lakes.
If you start at Houlton, Maine, at the border with New Brunswick, Canada, with Pacific Beach State Park in Washington state as your final destination, the trip is just over 3,500 miles and clocks in at 51 hours.
Breaking it down into six driving days of a little over eight hours each, you should plan for five nightly stops before reaching the Pacific.
With few large cities along the middle portion of this route, traffic congestion is rarely a concern. Places where you might want to spend more time at along the way include Lake Erie and Chicago, home of world-class museums and gleaming skyscrapers.
Continue to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, a stunning place where the landscape shifts from the Great Plains to the Badlands.
Another great geographical shift comes when you reach the northern Rockies in western Montana, and even later you'll sense the transition to the Pacific Northwest at Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park in Washington.
2. The Middle-America Route
Taking you from an East Coast landmark to a West Coast icon, the Washington, D.C., to San Francisco route cuts through America's heartland with unforgettable stops along the way.
At slightly over 2,800 miles, you could break down this 40-hour trip into five eight-hour driving days with four overnight stops.
Beware of accelerating this timeline too much through open stretches in Nebraska, Wyoming and Nevada, where you can feel the effects of fatigue behind the wheel.
This route has been dubbed "the loneliest road" for its long stretches across sparsely populated farmlands and deserts. Departing the District and heading up toward Chicago, Interstate 80 gives you options to stop over in cities such as Des Moines, Iowa, Omaha, Nebraska, and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Be sure to catch a magnificent Wyoming sunrise or sunset over the plains before heading toward Utah, where you can stretch your legs on nearby ski slopes or explore the Great Salt Lake.
Stop in Reno for slots, buffet and budget luxury before heading toward the City by the Bay.
3. The Panhandle Crossing
If you're angling to take in some of the southern sights or you don't want to risk a northern journey that could be jolted by unpredictable winter storms, try starting along the Atlantic coast in Charleston, South Carolina, and hooking up with Interstate 40 toward Los Angeles.
At just under 2,500 miles, the trip clocks in at 36 hours.
Figure four driving days of nine hours and three overnight stops before reaching the City of Angels, but consider stretching out this trip because of all the tourist draws along the route.
The route sweeps through Augusta and Atlanta in Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama, before bending up toward Memphis, Tennessee, and passing through Little Rock, Arkansas.
From Oklahoma City, you'll find the shortest way to cut across Texas: the Panhandle.
Pull off in Albuquerque to experience rich New Mexican culture and find yourself itching for a Grand Canyon detour from Flagstaff, Arizona. Cool off at Lake Havasu before finding the Pacific Ocean past the Mojave Desert.
From New Mexico to California you can follow the historic Route 66, ending your drive across America in style at the storied route's western terminus at the Santa Monica Pier.
Expect notoriously congested L.A. traffic to slow down the final hours of your journey.
4. The Southern Route
Start at the southern tip of Florida and head toward the bottom corner of California while busting through bayou country with a Miami-to-San Diego trip.
Interstate 10 is your friend on this journey, which will put about 2,650 miles on your odometer and take about 37 hours.
Count on four to five days for the trip, depending on whether you want to drive more than nine hours or more than seven hours each day, respectively.
Be sure to get your car's a/c tuned up before setting off along this sun-drenched southern route.
Come up through Florida and hug the Gulf Coast with a slight detour into New Orleans for some French Quarter vivre before heading toward Houston.
Mind your fatigue behind the wheel on the drive through Texas, especially the lonely West Texas stretch after San Antonio. Indulge in Mexican culture at the border stop Ciudad Juarez on your way into New Mexico and across the stunning deserts of the American Southwest.
Parallel the border on Interstate 8 to hit your seaside destination.