Road trips are a mainstay of the summer vacation circuit. The great part about living in the Milwaukee area is that you’re within driving distance of tons of favorite locations across the Midwest. In Wisconsin alone you have “Up North,” Door County, Madison and, of course, Wisconsin Dells. But you’re also within an easy drive of other happening cities like Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, St. Louis, Nashville, Mackinac Island, Niagara Falls and many more.
But, if you’re looking to leave the Midwest in your rear-view mirror, you’re in luck. There are plenty of road trips across the country that make for an excellent adventure.
- Route 66: The original route spanned 2,448 miles from Chicago, going through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California. These days, you don’t have to drive the full stretch, but there are plenty of things to see and do along the way, wherever you choose to begin and end.
- Kentucky Bourbon Trail: With 37 distilleries to choose from, this is a great road trip for bourbon connoisseurs. Each distillery tour takes about 90 minutes, so unless you’re determined to visit them all, it’s probably best to pick a few. Pace yourself!
- The Lincoln Highway: The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental road for cars in the U.S. It crosses 13 states, beginning in New York City and ending in San Francisco. The route isn't what it was 100 years ago (many roads don’t exist anymore), but it’s easy enough to follow. Highlights include Times Square (New York), the Ten Millionth Model T (Ohio), Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin (Indiana), Lincoln monument (Wyoming), “the loneliest road in America” (Nevada) and the original Donner Pass—yes, those Donners (California).
- Columbia River Highway: About 75 miles long, this scenic highway runs from Oregon’s Troutdale to The Dalles. A highlight is Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.
- Blue Ridge Parkway: A great budget road trip, this route spans 469 miles and passes through Virginia and North Carolina along the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Great River Road: This collection of roads span 10 states (Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi) and ends in Louisiana. Stops along the way include St. Louis, MO; Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland (Memphis, TN); and New Orleans, LA.
- Pacific Coast Highway (PCH): OK, this one might be on the more expensive side, but what it lacks in budget-friendliness, it makes up for in spectacular views. The 1,650-mile PCH, also known as Highway 1, begins in San Francisco and winds along the California coast before reaching its final stop of San Diego. Must-see cities along the way include Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, Solvang and Los Angeles.
Whether your travels take you near or far, your WaterStone Bank account is just a click away with Digital Banking. Wherever you’re headed this summer, we wish you safe travels!
Sources: The Travel, Lincoln Highway Association,