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The Ultimate Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide

The Pacific Coast Highway is hands-down one of the most legendary drives in the entire world. Check out some of the absolute must-visit spots along this famous road.

Pacific Coast Highway- Before You Leave

What Time Of The Year Is Best To Drive The PCH

The best time to do the Pacific Coast Highway drive is anywhere from early spring to late fall. Note that the highway is at its absolute busiest during the hottest summer months. Head here in either spring or fall to beat the crowds.

Which Direction To Drive The Pacific Coast Highway

We recommend driving along the PCH southbound. Primarily because that way you’ll always be closer to the coast. That way, you can enjoy the gorgeous views without being obstructed by oncoming traffic. Most of the overlooks and vista points are located by the coast, and making a right turn when heading southbound is simply more convenient.

What’s more, . However, this all boils down to personal preference. No matter whether you choose to start up north in San Francisco or down in LA, you can rent a car for a one-way rental and drop it off in the other city. Unless you choose to extend the trip and head inland to some of the glorious spots across California, Nevada, or Utah.

Must-Visit Places Along The Pacific Coast Highway

Click one of the links below to quickly jump to each section of the travel guide.

San Francisco

Colorful dragon mural in San Francisco's Chinatown seen at sunset. Transamerica Pyramid visible in the background.
Colorful murals in Chinatown with the famous Transamerica Pyramid visible in the distance.

Your Pacific Coast Highway road trip begins (or finishes?) in the charming city of San Francisco. If you have the time, it’s definitely worth exploring San Francisco for a few days before heading further. You can check out our California Road Trip Guide to see our favorite must-see attractions in town. Don’t miss the Transamerica Pyramid, Chinatown, and a boat tour to Alcatraz.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Smash-and-grab break-ins remain painfully popular in San Francisco. Remember to keep all valuables outside of your rental car. Leaving phones, bags, and electronics in plain sight encourages thieves to try their luck.

Devil’s Slide Trail

Devil's Slide is a former part of the Pacific Coast Highway. It has been turned into a paved path for cyclists and hikers. Aerial view of Devil's Slide.
Devil’s Slide. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

As you head southbound along Highway 1 out of San Francisco, stop at the Devil’s Slide. This gorgeous promontory is the first of many dramatic landscapes you’re about to see during your drive down the PCH.

The name of this spot is not accidental- there’s a paved pedestrian path here that used to be a part of the Pacific Coast Highway.

Quick history lesson: Devil’s Slide was famous for its frequent closures caused by landslides. The road was shut down for good in 2013, but major landslides caused disruptions as early as the 1930s. Today, pedestrians and bicyclists can enjoy a hike down the former part of Highway 1, while cars have to use the Tom Lantos Tunnels instead.

It’s the perfect spot to stretch your legs before driving further.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a must-visit spot along the Pacific Coast Highway near San Francisco.
Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

As you continue along the dramatic coastline, leaving Devil’s Slide behind, allocate plenty of time to stop at countless overlooks to admire the scenery. Don’t rush this drive- it’s best to leave San Francisco in the morning and prepare to spend the entire day driving down this Scenic Byway. Afterall, Pacific Coast Highway is considered one of the best roads in the world.

Don’t miss the Pigeon Point Lighthouse- a landmark roughly halfway between Devil’s Slide and Santa Cruz. The Pigeon Point Viewpoint parking lot is easy to miss- it’ll be on the right side if you’re driving from San Francisco, just a few hundred yards after a slight left bend. You can leave your car there and walk for better views of the lighthouse, too.

Santa Cruz

As you continue further south, the Pacific Coast Highway will lead you to the iconic town of Santa Cruz. A stop here is an absolute must, even if it’s only for a quick photo or two.

You’ll quickly notice that Santa Cruz has this classic Californian surf town vibe. Take it all in at the vibrant downtown, or head down to Cowell Beach and stroll down the famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. You can park your rental car directly on the Santa Cruz Wharf ($1 per hour).


Bixby Creek Bridge in a black and white photo on a clear day in Big Sur, California.
Bixby Creek Bridge at the Big Sur- roughly half an hour south of Monterey along the PCH

Monterey is a famous coastal town just a short drive south of Santa Cruz. You won’t miss it- the Pacific Coast Highway passes right through Monterey.

If you have the time, do consider driving down the scenic 17-Mile Drive. This scenic drive has 17 different overlooks that offer breathtaking coastal views. Note that it costs around $10 to enter this road unless you spend over $35 at local resorts at Pebble Beach.

You can also drop by the Monterey Harbor right in the heart of this cute town, although we do prefer the one in Santa Cruz. Cannery Row has some of the best local eateries.

Auto fans should definitely pop by the Monterey Car Week. This week-long car show takes place every summer, during which you can admire some of the world’s most elegant cars, both classic and modern, at various events in the area.

Big Sur

Bixby Creek Bridge surrounded by dramatic coastline of the Big Sur, California.

Big Sur is the main reason why so many tourists flock to the Pacific Coast Highway each year. This picturesque region of California is located roughly halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and Highway 1 will take you right across it. Photos really don’t do it justice. These landscapes are simply incredible.

The Big Sur is also why we recommend driving down the PCH southbound. You’ll be directly by the coast. That way, you can expect unobstructed views of all these scenic spots on your road trip.

Don’t miss a photo opportunity at the legendary Bixby Creek Bridge. Pull over at the overlook and admire one of the world’s most iconic coasts.

Cottages Grocery Restaurant- Food Stop At The Big Sur

The majority of the coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles remains untouched. In practice, this means that restaurants aren’t as easy to come by as you might expect, at least by American standards. The last time we drove down the Pacific Coast Highway in March 2022, we ended up stopping at Cottages Grocery Restaurant for lunch.

This cute eatery has an adorable local ambiance, as well as delicious food. It’s not a popular pick by any means. In fact, it’s a little hidden gem despite being situated right on the Pacific Coast Highway. Come by, you won’t regret it!

Piedras Blancas- Elephant Seal Vista Point

Elephant seals sunbathing on the beach somewhere along the Pacific Coast Highway, California.
Elephant seals clearly living their best life on a sandy beach in California.

You may have spotted elephant seals already, either chilling at one of the piers in San Francisco or sunbathing somewhere along the Big Sur. However, the Vista Point at Piedras Blancas is easily the best and most accessible spot to observe these glorious creatures.

Admire these playful animals from a viewing platform just meters above the sandy beach. There’s a large complimentary car park directly by the platform.

San Simeon & Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle is one of the top attractions during a road trip along the PCH.
Mike McBey

This next stop along the PCH is just a couple of minutes south of the Elephant Seal Vista Point.

You can turn left off the Pacific Coast Highway to reach Hearst Castle. This extravagant property was built back in the 20th century and can be explored on a guided tour.

Hearst Castle is expected to re-open in the first half of May 2022, following a closure caused by a storm that damaged the access road. We were there back in March when the castle was still closed. Nonetheless, it looks spectacular in pictures.


Cambria is another cute coastal village that you’ll drive through during your Pacific Coast Highway road trip. This tiny town makes for a great spot to stop and stretch your legs for a while. Walk the pretty boardwalk, dine at one of the local restaurants, or simply take in the views at Moonstone Beach.

Morro Bay State Park

The State Park at Morro Bay is perhaps the best spot along the Pacific Coast Highway to look for local wildlife. If you’re lucky, you may find cute animals such as sea otters or colorful monarch butterflies. Hike down one of the park’s numerous trails and try your luck. Keep your eyes wide open!

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a cute town that sits along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway.

This may be a bit of a controversial opinion. We found the stretch of Highway 1 from Morro Bay through to Santa Barbara to be the least exciting part of the journey. This could have been because the Pacific Coast Highway isn’t exactly on the coast between these two towns, or because we chose not to stop at one of the wineries near Los Olivos. Either way, this part of the PCH was a little underwhelming after the jaw-dropping landscapes of the Big Sur.

As you approach Santa Barbara, you’ll find yourself back on the Californian coast. There are a couple of overlooks and pretty beaches between Gaviota Beach and the town of Santa Barbara, take your pick.

Once you’re in Santa Barbara, consider popping by Stearns Wharf– a pier lined with restaurants, bars, and shops right by the heart of this coastal town. Afterward, you can stroll down the sandy East Beach and make your way over to the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Locals often hang out at Hendry’s Beach, also known as Arroyo Burro Beach. There, you’ll find anything from barbecues and picnic tables to restaurants and shops. Note that many people bring their dogs to enjoy the beach with them.


Let’s get one thing straight- everyone has heard of Malibu. This is the place to be. Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway through Malibu is an absolute must. At the very least, you’ll get proper bragging rights for seeing this lavish town.

There are a couple of public beaches where anyone is free to sunbathe, go for a dip in the Pacific Ocean, or just hang out for an hour or two. The famous Billionaire’s Beach, also known as Carbon Beach, is off-limits unless you own one of the outrageously expensive beachfront properties there. The houses, both on the coast and further up in the hills, are a cool sight to see, too.

As you come towards the end of your Pacific Coast Highway road trip, consider stopping at Cafe Habana for dinner. This trendy eatery offers a variety of Cuban and Mexican dishes. Dining here won’t break the bank, at least in comparison with some of the other restaurants in Malibu.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles skyline seen from Silver Lake Park during sunset.

Your Pacific Coast Highway road trip has come to an end! The final stretch of the PCH from Malibu to Los Angeles can get quite busy, especially during peak hours, so plan your trip accordingly. You could always extend the road trip and drive along Highway 1 further south until you reach San Diego.

Once you’re in Los Angeles, however, don’t miss the famous Santa Monica Pier. Stroll down the lengthy pier, check out the iconic theme park, get a photo at the end of Historic Route 66, or dine at one of the restaurants. Be sure to walk all the way until the end of the pier for the best views of the coast, too.

You can then continue south for a few miles until you reach Venice. Here, be sure to check out the boardwalk at Venice Beach, people-watch at one of the cafes, or play basketball at one of the courts. Don’t miss the nearby Venice Canals, as they’ve been featured in countless movies and TV shows. Californication, to name one of many.

Bonus- Rent A Car To Drive The Pacific Coast Highway

Unsurprisingly, a private car is the absolute best way to make the most of a trip along the legendary PCH. Our partners offer one-way rentals from multiple locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In fact, we serve over 15 000 different locations worldwide.

Get your car from Rentalmoose. We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Driving in California-A Tourist Guide

California is one of the best tourist destinations in all of the United States. A private car is unarguably the best way of getting around, especially if you’re planning to visit multiple cities.

Even if you’re planning to stick to one city, like Los Angeles, you’ll be better off with a rental car. This particular city extends for nearly 45 miles (70km) from north to south!

Driving in California for the first time can seem a little scary, at least at first. We’ve prepared a guide to help you navigate through California’s traffic laws and regulations. That way, you can make the most out of your California holiday.

To keep this guide as convenient as possible, it has been broken down into the following sections. You can click one of the links below to quickly jump to each section.

Without further ado, let’s jump into this post!

Before You Leave- California Car Rentals

Planning is key to a fun and stress-free holiday. Ensure you’re all set before leaving for California using the information below.

Rental Cars in California

You can find your rental car via Rentalmoose. Rentalmoose features only verified suppliers across over 15 000 locations worldwide. Browse through rental cars from Hertz, Europcar, National, Enterprise, Alamo, and more. We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Who Can Drive a Car in California?

Teens as young as 14 can be permitted to drive a car in California in special cases. Drivers between 16 and 18 can drive with a provisional license, and anyone over the age of 18 can apply for a regular driving license. However, you need to be older in order to rent a car in the same state.

In fact, most California rental companies will permit drivers who are at least 21 years old to rent a car, as long as they’ve had their driving license for at least a year. Note that young drivers may not have access to the entire fleet though. Luxury cars or powerful drop-tops are usually reserved for drivers with more experience.

Big Sur, Pacific Coast Highway

Renters aged between 21 and 25 should prepare to pay an additional young driver fee. This daily fee will be added on top of your rental bill for anyone under 25, as well as seniors (usually over 65 years old).

Did you know that renters can face up to 20 additional fees when renting a car? You can learn how to avoid them in this blog post.

International Driving Permits- Are They Required in California?

An International Driving Permit is not required by tourists driving in California. You can simply use your foreign driving license. Note that some rental companies may ask for an IDP, even when it is not legally required by the state or country you’re in. It’s always best to double-check directly with the supplier before setting off.

You can check out this blog post for more information on renting a car in California. You’ll find out all about the standard insurance, how to avoid young driver fees, and more practical information.

California Traffic Laws and Regulations

Seatbelts and Other Mandatory Safety Measures

Seatbelts are an absolute must for all occupants in a car.

In addition, motorcyclists are required to wear a helmet at all times. This applies to their passengers, too.

Speed Limits

Watch your speed at all times, as the limits are strictly enforced throughout the state.

These are the speed limits in California unless there are signs that state otherwise:

  • 15-25mph (25-40kmh)- school zones, railroad crossings with poor visibility- under 400ft in both directions
  • 25mph (40kmh)- urban areas, such as business and residential districts
  • 55mph (90kmh)- two-lane undivided highways
  • 65-70mph (105-110kmh)- multi-lane highways, such as freeways or interstates
  • 55mph (90kmh)- maximum speed for vehicles towing trailers

As mentioned above, speed limits are strictly enforced in the state of California, much like in the majority of the US. The police can even use aircraft to enforce speed limits. If you’re caught speeding, you can expect to pay up to $900 for serious offenses. Criminal charges are possible for reckless drivers, too.

Overtaking and Lane Changes

A general rule of thumb is to stick on the right lane on highways and use the ones on the left for overtaking.

Overtaking on the right side is allowed, as long as there are at least two clearly-marked lanes going in the same direction.

Lane Splitting

Lane-splitting is legally permitted for motorcycles in California. Be sure to look out for bikes when driving!

Carpool (HOV) Lanes

Carpool lanes are a clever way to reduce the number of vehicles on busy roads. You can spot them on some of the busiest freeways in the states, especially in big cities such as Los Angeles or San Francisco. They are marked by a distinctive diamond-shaped pattern on the surface.

You can use carpool lanes, as long as you have at least two (or three in some places) occupants in the vehicle, including the driver. Note that vehicles towing trailers are forbidden to use carpool lanes, no matter how many people are in the vehicle.

Turning Right at A Red Light

The ability to turn right at a red light continues to amaze many European tourists in many US states.

In California, it is legal to turn right at a red light, unless there are signs that prohibit it. Note that you must first come to a complete stop at the red light before turning right.

Pedestrians Have The Right of Way

Pedestrians have the right of way at any intersection. Crosswalks do not need to have lines painted on the road. What’s more, pedestrians are permitted to use unmarked intersections, unless there are signs that state otherwise.

busy hollywood boulevard lots of tourists in front of chinese theatre on a sunny day in hollywood california

Use of Mobile Phones, Texting and Driving

It is illegal to use a mobile phone when driving in California. This is a distraction that can have deadly consequences for you, as well as other road users. Keep your hands off your phone when driving.

Fully hands-free devices are the only exception.

Drinking and Driving

Much like the rest of the United States, California takes drinking and driving very seriously. Although the legal limit is 0.8%, you can still be charged for drunk driving if you’re impaired, even if the alcohol level is below the legal limit.

Drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be arrested on the spot. Never drink and drive.

Smoking in The Car

If you’re driving with children, it is illegal to smoke tobacco products in the vehicle. Not only is it against the law, but also incredibly bad for your health.

Opened Containers

Driving under the influence is a very serious crime in California. To help reduce the number of drunk drivers out on the roads, the officials have made it illegal to have any open alcohol containers within the passenger compartment of a vehicle- including the glovebox. If you have any open alcohol bottle, it has to be transported in the trunk.


10 Of The Best Day Trips From Boston

There are plenty of wonderful attractions just a few hours away from Boston. While the largest city in Massachusetts is an exceptional destination in its own right, we all need a getaway from the hustle and bustle of a city sometimes. We’ve hand-picked 10 of the best day trips from Boston.

Take a look at the map below for driving directions to each attraction.

Click one of the links below to jump to each section of the article.

  1. Cape Cod National Seashore
  2. Wompatuck State Park
  3. Myles Standish State Forest
  4. Halibut Point State Park
  5. Good Harbor Beach
  6. Rockport
  7. Glendale Falls
  8. Mount Tom State Reservation Area
  9. Salem
  10. White Mountain National Forest

Without further ado, let’s jump into each one of the best day trips from Boston!

Cape Cod National Seashore

Visiting Cape Cod is one of the best day trips from Boston, MA. Sandy beach on a clear, sunny day on the East Coast.

Distance from Boston: 100 miles (160km), 2 hours one way

Cape Cod is a well-known destination among beachgoers. After all, this region sees tens of millions of tourists from across the world every year. Most choose to come here during the summer, that’s when the weather is ideal for a day of sunbathing.

Best Beaches on Cape Cod

Cape Cod’s pristine sandy beaches are among the best on the East Coast. There are 18 different beaches to choose from, either run by one of the local towns or the National Park Service. You have to visit these three, at the very least:

  • Craigville Beach
  • Monument Beach
  • Nauset Beach

If you’ve seen Jaws, parts of Cape Cod may seem weirdly familiar. That’s because this famous blockbuster was actually filmed all over Cape Cod. Be sure to book a private tour to Martha’s Vineyard to visit some of the filming locations.

Consider going on a boat tour to experience the local marine life up close. There are plenty of operators that offer boat tours to spot whales, seals, and even sharks. Check out Bay Spirit Tours for a variety of daily boat trips.

Wompatuck State Park

rider mountain biking in Wompatuck State Park.

Distance from Boston: 25 miles (40km), 40 minutes one way

Wompatuck State Park is easily one of the favorite day trips from Boston. This park is merely a 40-minute drive away from downtown, ideal for a dramatic change of scenery. Travelers can make the most out of over 5000 acres of forests, hike down one of the numerous trails, or stay overnight at the large campsite.

This state park is a top pick among local bikers. There are plenty of trails, ranging from the paved Whitney Spur Rail Trail through to thrilling off-roading trails, ideal for mountain biking. Click here to check out an interactive map of Wompy’s biking trails.

Note that there aren’t any bike rentals available at the Wompatuck State Park. You can, however, rent a bicycle from SouthShoreCycles around 15 minutes north of the park. Alternatively, you could also pick a rental in Boston before driving over to the park.

Myles Standish State Forest

Distance from Boston: 45 miles (70km), 1 hour one way

A visit to Myles Standish State Forest makes for one of the best day trips from Boston. This quiet park is located just an hour away from the city. There are plenty of things to do here all year round.

Visitors to Myles Standish State Forest can hike deep into the forest, the hiking trails add up to 13 miles in total. There are also plenty of trails for bicycles, as well as a campground where you can spend the night.

Cool off at College Pond an adventurous day at the park. Go for a dip in the refreshing water, or sunbathe on the sandy beach. You could also rent a canoe, kayak, or a stand-up paddleboard from Nemasket Kayak.

You can drop your car off at the College Pond car park. It costs $8 for vehicles registered in MA and $30 for those registered in other states.

Halibut Point State Park

Alan Wolf

Distance from Boston: 45 miles (70km), 1 hour one way

Note that Good Harbor Beach, as well as the cute coastal town of Rockford, are both located virtually next to Halibut Point State Park. Therefore, you can easily combine visiting three of these destinations at once for a long day trip from Boston.

This state park offers breathtaking scenery, as well as a serene vibe that’s simply ideal for a quiet afternoon out of town. The waterfront rocks make for a perfect spot to have a picnic, so be sure to bring some snacks with you. There are also lots of scenic hiking trails all over the park.

Keep in mind that swimming is not permitted at Halibut Point State Park. If you wish to go for a refreshing dip, you should head to Myles Standish or Cape Cod instead.

Good Harbor Beach

Distance from Boston: 40 miles (65km), 45 minutes one way

Fancy a beach day? It doesn’t get much better than Good Harbor Beach. This beautiful sandy beach sits less than an hour away from the heart of Boston, making it ideal for a quick day trip from the city. Whether you want to spend the day swimming in crystal-clear waters, or soaking in the sun, Good Harbor Beach is the place for you.

Beachside parking is available at a daily fee. Note that cars with a resident beach sticker are exempt from paying the fee. You can also check the Gloucester Beaches Facebook page for live updates regarding beachside parking.

Rentalmoose insider tip: If Good Harbor Beach is too full, try to visit one of the other sandy beaches in the area. Stage Fort Park Beach and Wingaersheek Beach are always worth a shot.


Distance from Boston: 45 miles (70km), 50 minutes one way

Rockport is a cute coastal town located roughly halfway between Good Harbor Beach and Halibut Point State Park. It makes for a great stopover during your day trip from Boston to either one of these destinations. Here’s why.

A stroll through the main street of Rockport is a great starting point for your day trip. Admire the colorful houses and take in the quiet, peaceful vibe. You can unwind at one of the local eateries, too.

A visit to Front Beach is an absolute must, especially if you’re not planning to go to Good Harbor Beach afterward. This sandy beach is the go-to spot for both locals and tourists to unwind, hence it can get a bit busy during peak season and on sunny weekends.

Walk along the Rockport Harbor until you reach Bearskin Neck. Here, you can enjoy panoramic views of both the bay and the harbor.

Rockport- A Dry Town Since 1856

Did you know that Rockport remained dry for over 160 years? Back in 1856, a resident of this tiny village led a procession of over 200 women, destroying all alcohol products along the way. Alcohol has not been available ever since. That is until restaurants were allowed to serve beer and wine in 2006. Then, in 2019, local officials allowed the only grocery store in the village to sell alcoholic beverages, too.

Glendale Falls

Distance from Boston: 120 miles (200km), 2 hours 10 minutes one way

Glendale Falls is an absolute must-visit, and its proximity from Boston makes this destination ideal for a quick day trip from the city. In fact, these falls are among the longest in all of Massachusetts.

Go up to the falls to grab a photo like the one above (mind your step!), hike along one of the remote trails, or simply enjoy the 2-hour drive from Boston. You can learn more about the local attractions on the Glendale Falls website.

What’s more, the road leading to the falls is equally stunning as the destination. Scenic driving roads are the highlight of any great road trip, and they can also be a fun attraction on one of your day trips from Boston. Be sure to drive down Route 112, one of the state’s Scenic Byways.

Mount Tom State Reservation Area

Wilderness at the Mount Tom State Reservation Area. This beautiful getaway makes for one of the best day trips from Boston.
Doug Kerr

Distance from Boston: 100 miles (160km), 1 hour 40 minutes one way

A drive to Mount Tom State Reservation Area is one of the best day trips from Boston for any hiking aficionado. This spot is renowned for its vast forests, as well as seemingly endless hiking trails. Don’t take our word for it, just look at the trail map below.

black and white map of hiking trails in Mont Tom State Reservation Area, Massachusetts.
Courtesy of Mt Tom State Reservation

Once you’re at the top of Mount Tom, you can admire panoramic views of the Pioneer Valley. It’s also a favorite spot for birdwatching, as hawks can often be spotted in this part of the park.

Let’s not forget that Mount Tom State Reservation is a year-round destination, too. During the winter, you can come here to enjoy cross-country skiing along the snow-covered hiking trails. No matter what time of the year you visit Mount Tom, there’s always something to do here.


Famous Witch House in Salem, Massachusetts. Visiting this witch town is one of the most popular day trips from Boston.
Wikimedia Commons

Distance from Boston: 25 miles (40km), 40 minutes one way

If you’re in the mood for some local history, then a day trip from Boston to the town of Salem is an absolute must. This picturesque town sits less than 30 miles away from the city, making it the perfect destination for a quick afternoon trip out of the city.

This coastal town is famous for its historic significance, particularly the witch trials of the 1690s. You certainly have to visit the local Salem Witch Museum to find out more about these 1692 events. Admission costs $15 for adults, $13.5 for seniors over 65, and $12 for children under 14.

As Salem is known as the Witch Town, you should consider visiting one of the local psychic parlors while you’re here. Head down to Omen at 184 Essex Street, where you can find out about your future during a fortune-telling session. Omen specializes in anything from palmistry all the way to Tarot and Voodoo.

White Mountain National Forest


Distance from Boston: 160 miles (260km), 2 hours 30 minutes one way

At this point, you could argue that we’ve saved the best for last. While we won’t argue whether or not White Mountain National Forest is the greatest day trip from Boston, it is the furthest from the city. In fact, you’ll have to drive for roughly two and a half hours one way to reach this natural wonderland. Is it worth it? Continue reading to find out.

Scenic Drives in White Mountain National Forest

  • Kancamagus Scenic Byway
  • White Mountain Trail Byway
  • Southern Driving Loop

Scenic driving is one of the best activities in the White Mountains. Don’t miss the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, often considered to be one of the best roads in all of New Hampshire. Expect panoramic views, thrilling chicanes, and plenty of overlooks to safely pull over and take in the beauty. The loop stretches for 34 miles in total and connects with the White Mountain Trail Byway.

After you’re done with scenic driving, stretch your legs at one of the park’s numerous hiking trails. Pay a visit to Flume Gorge, the Elephant Head Trail, and the Basin-Cascades Trail.

You can also go on a tram ride to enjoy the best views, or go for a refreshing dip at Echo Lake Beach. The attractions here are nearly endless!

White Mountain National Forest is a great destination that can be enjoyed all year long. If you plan to visit this park in winter, put your skis on and enjoy the best runs at Cannon Mountain.

Rentalmoose insider tip: check out this blog post to properly prepare for a winter road tirp.

Bonus- The Best Way Of Getting Around Massachusetts

There you have it, those are the best day trips from Boston!

No matter which destination you pick, be sure to book a rental car. The comfort of being able to adjust your itinerary on the go can only be achieved when traveling by car. A private vehicle is also a safe way to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unsure about renting a car or taking your own vehicle? This blog post may help.

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform!

These Are The Best Things To Do In Lake Tahoe

There are thousands of amazing things to do in Lake Tahoe all year long. Afterall, there’s a great reason why this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in this part of California. The lake is renowned for its jaw-dropping natural beauty, crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and all kinds of activities for the entire family.

We have divided this blog post into the following categories:

Without further ado, let’s jump into each one!

Fun Things To Do In South Lake Tahoe

Emerald Bay State Park is a must-visit spot in Southern Lake Tahoe.
by Eric Simon

Visit Emerald Bay State Park

A visit to the Emerald Bay State Park should be on any traveler’s itinerary visiting Lake Tahoe. This bay is home to some of the most spectacular natural beauty in the area, and it’s bound to leave you breathless.

Don’t miss the Vikingsholm mansion, which looks like a monumental castle. Note that you’ll need to hike for around a mile from the car park to reach this attraction. If you ask me, it’s well worth it.

Consider packing some snacks when visiting Emerald Bay. After touring the Vikingsholm mansion, you can unwind at the picnic area nearby. You can also rent a kayak from Kayak Tahoe at their Emerald Bay location.

Don’t miss the Eagle Falls waterfalls right off the main road. You can drop your car off at the free car park and hike along the Eagle Falls trailhead that will eventually lead you all the way up to Eagle Lake.

If you’re a fan of NPs and State Parks, check out this list of the 7 best National Park road trips in the US.

Hike At D.L. Bliss State Park

The D.L. Bliss State Park is yet another must-visit point in the southern part of Lake Tahoe. This natural wonderland is located directly north of the Emerald Bay State Park, so you can easily visit one after the other.

Some of the best attractions at this wonderful State Park include hiking trails, pristine sandy beaches, landmarks, and remote campsites to spend the night.

by Andy Kasper

Hiking is one of the best ways to spend the day here. Don’t miss the Balancing Rock, Rubicon Point Lighthouse, or the sandy Lester Beach.

You can spend the night at the campsite for as low as $35 per night. Note that it costs extra to stay at the campsite located at the sandy beach, though it is well worth it for the killer views!

Gambling & The Resorts

While Lake Tahoe is all about the peaceful getaway to a natural wonderland, some travelers may want to take a break and spend the evening at a resort.

Gambling is only legal in Nevada, hence all of the best casinos are located in the southeast tip of the lake at Stateline Lake Tahoe. Some of the best resorts here include Harveys, Harrah’s, and the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino,

Best Things To Do In North Lake Tahoe

Unwind At Kings Beach

Once you visit Kings Beach in the north part of Lake Tahoe, you are bound to fall in love. This cute beach town has an amazing vibe that will just make you want to stay here forever. Drive along Highway 28 to admire some of the picturesque local hotels and restaurants.

Kings Beach (March 2022)

Naturally, the vibrant beach is the main reason most tourists visit this town. Feel the sand between your toes, sunbathe or go for a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the lake. Photographers should bring their cameras along, as the scenery is unforgettable.

You can drop your car off at the beachside car park, right off the main road. Click here for directions.

Go For Breakfast At Spindleshanks Tahoe

Getting hungry? Grab a bite at Spindleshanks Tahoe, a local eatery by the Old Brockway Golf Course. This is probably the best spot for breakfast in North Lake Tahoe. Choose from a variety of dishes, we recommend the breakfast burrito as well as the 3-egg omelet. Complimentary parking is available right in front of the restaurant. Open daily from 9AM to 8PM.

Discover Local History At Donner Memorial State Park

The Donner Memorial State Park is yet another place worth visiting in the Lake Tahoe area. This park is home to lengthy hiking trails, peaceful picnic areas, and a local museum that contains many artifacts from the 19th century.

Travelers who want to learn more about local history should definitely pay the Emigrant Trail Museum a visit. It’s located in the town of Truckee, a short 20-minute drive out of Kings Beach.

Don’t miss the nearby town of Truckee and its cute Historic Downtown.

Best Things To Do In Lake Tahoe In The Summer

Day trip to Yosemite National Park

Fancy a dramatic change of scenery? Consider going on a day trip to Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite is one of the most famous National Parks in the country, and for a very good reason. The scenery here is truly breathtaking. You won’t miss the monumental Half Dome, as this peak overlooks the picturesque valley. There are thousands of great things to do in Yosemite, anything from scenic driving to rafting.

Learn more about Yosemite in our Nevada road trip itinerary.

Go On A Road Trip

Yosemite National Park is far from the only amazing destination near Lake Tahoe. If you want to discover more of the local gems, it’s best to go on a road trip across California!

You could, for example, drive down along Highway 395 all the way until you end up in Los Angeles. There are lots of amazing spots to visit along the way, including Mammoth Lakes and Yosemite.

Afterward, you could continue further until you reach San Diego, or head back to Lake Tahoe via the Pacific Coast Highway, which is one of the best roads in the whole world!

If you’re planning to drive across California in a rental car, be sure to check out this blog post for insightful tips.

Beach Day

Take it slow, pack a towel and a pair of your favorite trunks, and head to one of the best beaches in Lake Tahoe.

There are tons of beautiful beaches dotted along the shore. Listing them all would take forever, these are our favorite picks:

  • Kiva Beach– a 200-yard long sandy beach in South Lake Tahoe, near Emerald Bay
  • Zephyr Cove Beach– this mile-long beach is one of the busiest in Lake Tahoe. Expect jet ski and canoe rentals, volleyball courts and a bunch of tourists especially during peak season
  • Conolley Beach– you can spend the day at the Tahoe Beach Retreat, a local beach club
  • Emerald Bay– Emerald Bay State Park is home to various pristine beaches, ideal for a refreshing dip after a hike
  • Kings Beach- one of the most popular beaches in North Lake Tahoe. Easily accessible and full of tourists
  • Sand Harbor Beach– easily one of the best beaches at Lake Tahoe, located at the east shore over in Nevada. Extremely busy during peak season

Don’t forget to take sunscreen!

Go On A Cruise or Rent A Kayak

What better way to make the most out of your time at Lake Tahoe than to spend the day on the surface of the lake (or beneath it).

Boat tours

Consider booking a scenic boat tour to see Lake Tahoe from a whole new perspective. Choose a trusted operator, such as Tahoe Cruises. The company offers an array of different tours to choose from, such as 2-hour long cruises around Emerald Bay, sunset cruises, or sightseeing tours around the southern shore of the lake. All cruises depart from the Ski Run Marina, located roughly halfway between South Lake Tahoe and Stateline.

Rent A Kayak, Canoe, or A Jet Ski

You can head over to one of the sandy beaches and rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or a bunch of other fun equipment. Sand Harbor Beach is home to a jet ski rental, while kayaks can be rented at various locations such as Emerald Bay.

During peak season, be sure to book your equipment ahead. Visit SUP Tahoe and their official website for information on pricing and availability.

Fun Things To Do In Lake Tahoe In Winter

Skiing and snowboarding is one of the main reasons tourists visit Lake Tahoe in winter. Snowboarders admiring the view at one of Lake Tahoe's ski resorts.
Photo by Nick Windsor

Squaw Valley & Alpine Meadows Ski Resorts

Skiing and snowboarding fans will feel right at home at Lake Tahoe.

You simply have to visit Squaw Valley during your winter trip to Lake Tahoe. This renowned alpine resort is one of the best places to go skiing in all of North America. It even used to host the Olympic games back in 1960!

Although Squaw Valley is a year-round destination, it’s unarguably best to come here during the winter season. Afterall, this is when you can make the most of the 4 000 acres of ski terrain.

This resort is ideal for all skiing fans, no matter their skill level. As much as a third of the runs are aimed at beginners and intermediate skiers, while the remaining slopes are perfect for experienced travelers.

Both resorts are located a short 10-minute drive west of Tahoe City.

Northstar California Resort

This is yet another world-class alpine resort located near Lake Tahoe. If you have the time, be sure to visit Northstar California during your winter trip to Lake Tahoe.

Just like Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, Northstar California is ideal for all skill levels. Similar to the other alpine resorts at Lake Tahoe, Northstar California is a year-round destination. During the summer, you can come here to try out mountain biking, play a game of golf or hike to take in the views.

This ski resort lays a short 10-minute drive northwest of Agate Bay at the Northern tip of Lake Tahoe.

Diamond Peak Ski Resort

Although not as big as Squaw Valley or Northstar, Diamond Peak is worth visiting too! It’s typically less crowded than the more popular resorts. The runs are ideal for beginners and families. Nearly half of the 30 runs here are suitable for intermediate skiers.

Diamon Peak Ski Resort is located off Crystal Bay at the Northeast tip of the lake.

Bonus: What is the best way of getting around Lake Tahoe?

A private car is an ideal way of getting around Lake Tahoe. That way, you can visit all of the attractions throughout the lake, as well as the surrounding area.

If you plan to rent a car for this trip, be sure to check out Rentalmoose for the best deals. We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform!

Unsure about renting a car or taking your own vehicle? This blog post may help.

Renting a Car in California Explained

California is truly one of the greatest destinations to rent a car, no matter if you want to get around San Francisco, drive along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, drive up Highway 395 to Lake Tahoe, or go for a road trip over to Nevada. Either way, California makes for an ideal starting point for your journey.

Check out our guide to ensure that booking your next rental car is a seamless, fun experience. Here’s all you need to know about renting a car in California.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Rent a Car in California?

You have to be at least 21 years old to rent a car in the state of California. However, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, virtually all rental companies required the renter to be at least 25 just a couple of decades back. Here’s why.

Back in the late 20th century, renters under the age of 25 weren’t exactly profitable for suppliers. Young drivers were, on average, more likely to have an accident or get caught driving under the influence. Renting cars to young people was a risk that most companies did not want to take. Instead of modifying the rental agreements to better suit young drivers, they chose not to permit them altogether.

Luckily, times have changed. Renting a car shouldn’t be an issue for most drivers aged between 21 and 25. Some local rental companies may even let drivers as young as 18 rent a vehicle, as long as they’ve had their license for at least a year. There is one major catch, though.

Extra Fees For Young Drivers

If you’ve ever rented a car in the past, you are probably well aware of this. Pretty much every single rental company will charge an additional young driver fee, also referred to as a young driver surcharge. The fee is calculated on a per-day basis and added on top of your rental bill.

You can expect the young driver fee to be anywhere between $20 and $90 per day. The fee can vary, depending on the location, the car type, and the rental period. In the end, it all boils down to the rental company and their policies. It’s best to double-check directly with the supplier before booking your vehicle.

You can also dive into the terms and conditions for more info on fees. Here is why we recommend thoroughly reading the T&Cs before booking your vehicle.

Once again, you may be surprised to hear that there are a handful of exceptions to this rule. Some 18-year olds may be exempt from paying a young driver surcharge. Keep reading to find out more.

How To Avoid Young Driver Fees

There are a couple of ways to make your way around the young driver surcharge. Some of them are quite sneaky!

AAA Members

One of the easiest would be to become a member of the AAA. Memberships start at just around $60 per year, and most rental companies waive young driver fees to AAA members. If you’re planning to rent a vehicle for more than a few days, it may be worth getting an AAA membership.

Military and Government Employees

Young government and military employees, aged anywhere between 18 and 25, can often benefit from no young driver fees. In addition, most companies will even let an 18-year old government/military employee rent a car! In the vast majority of cases, this only applies to official business trips though.

USAA Members

The majority of rental companies waive young driver fees to all members of the USAA. To become a member of the USAA, you have to be a member of the US military. This applies to both active as well as former members, as well as their spouses and children.

Do You Need An International Driving Permit in California?

No! California does not require foreign drivers to obtain an International Driving Permit. Tourists can legally drive on California’s roads using their local driving license.

As long as the driver is at least 18 years old, has a lawfully issued driving license from their home country, and the license covers the vehicle type that they are driving, you’re all good to go! In fact, the same applies for most states in the US.

Note that some rental companies may require renters to obtain an IDP. While this is uncommon, it’s not completely unheard of. Once again, it’s best to double-check with the supplier before finalizing your booking.

Renting A Car in California- Tips and Tricks

Now that you’re all ready to being your California adventure, don’t forget to take a look at our tips and tricks. They may just make your trip even better!

Consider Extra Coverage

Unlike Europe, rental cars in the United States do not come with CDW or Theft Protection as standard. Basic protection is extremely limited, and it is strongly recommended to purchase additional coverage. You can learn more about rental car insurance in this blog post.

Check with your credit card company, many US residents have rental car insurance included in their credit card plan! Note that in some cases, you may only be eligible for coverage if you’ve paid for the rental car using that particular card.

Keep in mind that if you choose to purchase additional coverage directly at the counter, you will be charged more! It’s always cheaper to purchase coverage online, prior to your trip.

Beware of the Fees

It’s crucial to be aware of all the extra fees that are right around the corner. We have a list of nearly 20 of the most common extra fees that can quickly add up to your rental bill. Take a look at them right here.

Airport Pick-up and Drop-off

It is unarguably the most convenient to pick up your rental car directly at the airport terminal, and drop it off right before heading on the plane. Note that virtually every rental company will charge you an extra “premium location surcharge” for airport pick-up and drop-off.

If you want your rental bill to stay low, it’s best to pick a different location.

High Fuel Prices

Last but not least, don’t forget that California has some of the most expensive gas in the entire country. While fuel prices in Cali are still lower than those in Europe, it is over a dollar higher than the national average. You should take the high prices into consideration, especially when planning a long cross-country road trip.

You can check the current gas prices by state right here.

Now that you know how old do you have to be to rent a car in California, the tips and tricks to California car rental, and lots of other useful info, it’s time to go ahead and book your adventure!

Don’t forget to use Rentalmoose to compare the best deals from our trusted suppliers.

LA to Lake Tahoe Road Trip Guide- Highway 395

The scenic Highway 395 makes for one of the best road trips you could take in SoCal. Afterall, who wouldn’t want to drive across diverse landscapes and endless natural beauty, with two of the area’s most spectacular National Parks just a small detour away? Check out our road trip guide from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe along Highway 395.

Must-See Spots When Driving From LA To Lake Tahoe

Some of the best attractions along this Highway 395 road trip include:

There are also optional detours to Death Valley National Park and Yosemite National Park!

Don’t forget to check out our guide to renting a car in California before setting off.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this LA to Lake Tahoe road trip guide!

Los Angeles

by David Mark

This Highway 395 road trip begins in the legendary City of Angels.

For your maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from LAX. Note that airport pickup is usually subject to an extra fee added on top of your rental bill. If you want to avoid a premium location surcharge, it’s best to pick up your rental car somewhere in the city.

Also, most rental companies have their LAX offices outside of the terminal itself. After you’ve collected your luggage, head over and take a complimentary shuttle bus to the rental company. It should be a 5-minute ride.

What are the best things to do in Los Angeles?

Despite what some first-timers may think, there is a lot more to Los Angeles than just Hollywood or the Walk of Fame. Mulholland Drive, for example, is easily one of the best driving roads in this part of California. You can spot hundreds of bikers and petrolheads enjoying this chicane-filled drive each day.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Don’t forget to stop at the Mulholland Scenic Overlook for those classic views of the skyline! Check the map for the exact location.

The two LA attractions listed below are simply ideal for fans of the outdoors. We all need a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city every now and again.

Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon Park is the perfect getaway located in the Hills above the city. You can enjoy an early morning jog, or simply hike up to admire unbeatable views of the Los Angeles skyline.

The North Entrance of the park can be accessed directly off Mulholland Drive. That way, you can stop for a hike while driving down LA’s favorite scenic drive. What a fun way to spend the day!

The park is open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week. Entrance is free of charge. Your vehicle can be parked at the North Entrance off Mulholland Drive.

Griffith Observatory & Griffith Park

Griffith Park isn’t exactly a hidden gem. In fact, you have probably already seen it plenty of times in various Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows. Nonetheless, the iconic Griffith Observatory is the place to admire those picture-perfect views overlooking the LA skyline.

You can find more great things to do in Los Angeles in this travel guide.

After a memorable night in one of the best hotels in Los Angeles (these are our favorite picks in town), it’s time to hit the road and begin your Highway 395 road trip to Lake Tahoe.

Red Rock Canyon State Park

by Matthew Dillon

To be completely honest, the Southernmost tip of Highway 395 is a little underwhelming. The route starts in the town of Victorville and the first stretch isn’t exactly picture-perfect. That’s why we recommend taking the chicane-filled Angeles Crest Highway via the Angeles National Forest. You will then reach Red Rock Canyon State Park via Lancaster instead. It is a much more exciting drive.

The scenic Red Rock Canyon State Park is located roughly 2 hours north of Los Angeles. Once you’re here, you can admire jaw-dropping natural beauty. The park borders the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada, it’s filled with scenic canyons and hiking trails that overlook it all.

You can access the hiking trails via the park’s dirt road network. It’s open to any street-legal car, so you can safely drive around in your rental car!

Camping at Red Rock Canyon State Park

Moreover, travelers who wish to spend the night here can set camp at one of the 50 campsites situated at the Ricardo Campground. Up to 8 friends can share one campsite at $25 per site, no campgrounds for larger groups are available.

Lone Pine & Mount Whitney

by Khun Hans Photography

After spending some time at the Red Rock Canyon SP, it’s time to head north into the beautiful landscapes of Sierra Nevada. A short 20-mile drive up will take you to the iconic Highway 395. Follow it for around an hour, until you reach the cute town of Lone Pine.

A slight detour to Death Valley National Park is an absolute must, especially if you haven’t been to this park before. You could even extend the trip further to see the Grand Canyon over in Arizona, too!

The village is a well-known spot for fishing. It’s also surrounded by some more spectacular natural beauty, complete with winding hiking trails to take it all in. These are some of the must-do attractions in Lone Pine.

Museum of Western Film History

Movie buffs have to drop by the Museum of Western Film History. The museum gallery is full of Western memorabilia that any enthusiast will love. Visitors can get an insightful look at how some of the most iconic Western movies were made.

You can watch a Western movie at what is perhaps the world’s best Western cinema, located within the premises. The cozy theatre can sit up to 85 guests.

The museum is open 10AM to 4PM Thursday to Monday.

Fishing in Lone Pine

Like we mentioned previously, the Lone Pine area is a popular spot among fishing fans who visit Sierra Nevada. There are plenty of fishing spots to choose from in and around Lone Pine, such as:

  • Independence Creek
  • George Creek
  • Diaz Lake

Check out this blog post by the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce for a guide on fishing in the Lone Pine area.

Hiking & Enjoying The Outdoors

Without a doubt, the best thing you can do in Lone Pine is simply enjoying the outdoors. There are lots of hiking trails, such as the Mobius Arch Loop Trailhead that will take you to the iconic Mobius Arch rock formation.

The Mt. Whitney Trailhead is worth paying a visit, too. From there, you could hike over to the Lone Pine Lake, which is around 6 miles (10km).

Whitney Portal Road Scenic Drive

Don’t let the short length of Whitney Portal Road fool you, this scenic drive is an absolute must-visit! The 13-mile (19km) scenic drive will take you through the heights of Alabama Hills. Movie buffs will instantly recognize this scenery from hundreds of Western films that were shot here. This area was also featured in High Sierra, an absolute classic from 1941 starring Humphrey Bogart.

Stay The Night

Before continuing further, Rentalmoose recommends spending the night in Lone Pine. Consider checking in at the cozy Dow Villa Motel. This family owned business has been welcoming guests ever since its opening in the 50s! Make the most out of the outdoor pool while you’re here.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

by Fred Moore

Technically, the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest does require a small detour off of Highway 395. However, much like the Death Valley NP, it is highly recommended to visit it during a drive from LA to Lake Tahoe. You will not regret adding merely an hour of driving, that’s for sure!

If, somehow, you’re still not convinced about adding Bristlecone Pine Forest to your road trip itinerary, you’ll definitely want to keep reading.

This precious spot is home to some of the oldest trees found on our planet.

Many of the trees found in the Bristlecone Pine Forest are more than 4000 years old!

You can get more information about the area at the visitor center located at Schulman Grove. It’s open throughout the summer between 10AM and 5PM Thursday to Sunday.

After a hike through the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, it’s time to continue along Highway 395 until you reach Bishop, another stop worth making during a road trip from LA to Lake Tahoe.


by Jay Huang

Bishop is yet another cute town that’s situated along Highway 395. It makes for one of the favorite local getaways from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. Its beautiful surrounding area makes for a great destination to visit on your drive up to Lake Tahoe.

Climbing the Buttermilks

Those who are into climbing are probably well aware of what Bishop has to offer. The nearby Buttermilks feature some of the region’s most accessible and diverse climbing areas. Every climber can have a great time enjoying these impressive boulders, no matter the skill level.

The climbs here range from beginner-friendly ones, all the way to some of the country’s most challenging routes. The Buttermilks are located only a short drive west out of Bishop. Simply follow the appropriately-named Buttermilk Road along the McGee Creek.

Nature in Bishop

As Bishop is famous for its scenic natural setting, it is an absolute must to visit at least a few of the best sites in the area. Hike up and down the challenging trailheads, go on a thrilling mountain biking adventure, or simply take in the views from the comfort of your vehicle.

Either way,you simply have to enjoy the outdoors when in Bishop.

The Four Lakes in the Bishop Creek Basin

The scenic Bishop Creek Basin is home to four spectacular lakes. Ideally, you’d want to visit all of them as each one offers a different landscape. If you only have the time to see one of them, we recommend going to the South Lake.

  • North Lake
  • Lake Sabrina
  • Intake II
  • South Lake

Mammoth Lakes

by Jeff Sullivan

A short 45-minute drive along Highway 395 will take you to the scenic town of Mammoth Lakes. Without a doubt, this may just be the most exciting stopover during this road trip. If you only had the time for one break between Lake Tahoe and Los Angeles, I’d strongly recommend to make it here.

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Lakes is full of attractions, no matter the time of the year. During the magical winter, you should definitely head up to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. This resort is often considered to be the best of its kind in all of California!

Mammoth Mountain is easily the best place to go skiing in California. First-timers, as well as experienced skiers and snowboarders are all bound to have a good time here. If you’re not particularly into skiing, you can simply take the scenic gondola ride up to the summit. The views from there are magnificent.

Mammoth Mountain is a year-long destination. During the summer, travelers can play a game of golf or try out mountain biking. You can find more details about Mammoth Mountain on its official website.

Detour to Yosemite National Park

Did you know that one of the US’ best National Parks is just a small detour away? If you haven’t been to Yosemite NP before, it is strongly recommended to add a few days to your itinerary and visit it. You will not regret it, that’s for sure.

You can check out a guide around Yosemite National Park right here. Note that reservations are no longer required to enter the park!

Play Golf High Above Sea Level

Golf enthusiasts will surely have a good time when in Mammoth Lakes, as the town is home to two spectacular alpine golf courses:

  • Snowcreek Golf Course
  • Sierra Star Golf Course

You cannot go wrong with the Snowcreek golf resort. It was the first golf course in Mammoth Lakes, and is often considered to be the best one around. However, its elevation isn’t as high above sea level as the Sierra Star course.

Travelers can enjoy a game of golf accompanied by dramatic backdrops at each of the resorts. In addition, the Sierra Star golf course is also the highest-elevation 18-hole course in the entire state. You can see a driving increase of up to 10% when playing at this altitude, according to some experts.

Lake Tahoe

by m01229

This is it, the longest driving segment of the drive from LA to Lake Tahoe. Follow the road up north for a little over 2 and a half hours, all the way until you reach the spectacular Lake Tahoe. The equally-amazing drive is perhaps the prettiest part of California’s stretch of Highway 395, too.

Welcome to one of the most beautiful lakes in the West part of the US! There are so many great attractions and fantastic things to do in this part of Lake Tahoe, it’d be impossible to list them all. Nonetheless, these are our top picks.

Vikingsholm Castle

Did you know that Lake Tahoe has its very own castle? The magical Vikingsholm is tucked away in the Emerald Bay, down at the southern tip of the lake.

Emerald Bay was the first destination where wealthy Californians would build their holiday homes in the late 1800s. The land where Vikingsholm is has seen summer cabins for over two centuries, though the beautiful castle erected in the late 1920s. It still remains here today, making for a truly magnificent spot.

by Mike McBey

You’ll probably quickly realize that Vikingsholm doesn’t exactly look like your typical North American building. The unique name is another giveaway of the property’s Scandinavian descent. In fact, Vikingsholm was commissioned by Mrs Lora Josephine Knight who had been in love with Scandinavian fjords. The natural setting of Lake Tahoe reminded her of Northern Europe.

Today, Vikingsholm welcomes tourists from across the planet. You can learn more about the property and all of its secrets during a guided tour.

Note that the property is 1-mile away from the car park, it is only accessible on foot or by boat.

Swimming & Sunbathing

Unwinding at a sandy beach does sound like the ideal way to spend the day. A well-deserved afternoon of relaxation isn’t exactly a road trip essential, though it certainly wouldn’t hurt. You should make the most out of the fact that swimming is permitted in Lake Tahoe. Enjoy the crystal-clear waters and impressive alpine backdrops!

These are some of the best beaches at South Lake Tahoe.

  • Kiva Beach
  • Zephyr Cove Beach
  • Conolley Beach
  • Emerald Bay
by Carandoom

South Lake Tahoe- Where To Stay

Travelers who wish to stay at a fun-packed resort should certainly consider booking a room or suite at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Resort. The 3-star property features spacious and modern rooms, though those who stay here will probably hang around the casino downstairs. Moreover, you can expect tons of live shows, cool bars to spend the evening at, and much more!

Alternatively, you could opt for the waterfront Beach Retreat & Lodge. The 3-star property boasts modern rooms that overlook the lake, three waterfront restaurants, and a marina with kayaks and boat rentals.


After you’re done with your Highway 395 road trip, you could drive over to San Francisco and drop your rental car off there. Alternatively, you could drive back from Lake Tahoe to Los Angeles via the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, one of the best driving roads on the planet.

Bonus- Rent A Car To Drive From LA To Lake Tahoe

Like any other road trip, the answer is largely subjective. If you’re a fan of sports cars, you’ll surely enjoy a lavish roadster or a classic American muscle car. No matter what car you’re after, Rentalmoose has got you covered. Browse through options from the industry leaders and ensure you get the best deal with Rentalmoose.

If you’re hesitant about renting a car for the Highway 395 road trip and would rather use your own vehicle, check out this blog post. It may just change your mind.

Don’t forget to use Rentalmoose to find the best rental car deal for this road trip!

Get your car from Rentalmoose, we plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

The Best Instagrammable Places in NYC- Local Guide

Looking for the best spots to step up your photo game? Check out our comprehensive guide around our favorite instagrammable places in NYC.

New York City is filled with great photo opportunities that are scattered all over the city. Our list consists of 30 of our favorite picks. These are both well-known landmarks, as well as the not-so-famous spots in The Big Apple.

Best Instagrammable Places in NYC- Manhattan

  1. Guggenheim Museum
  2. Central Park
  3. Radio City Music Hall
  4. Top of The Rock- Rockefeller Center
  5. Times Square
  6. Grand Central Terminal
  7. The Vessel at Hudson Yards
  8. Empire State Building
  9. High Line
  10. Flatiron Building
  11. Greenwich Village
  12. Washington Square Park
  13. L’Appartement Sézane
  14. Pietro Nolita
  15. NoMo Soho
  16. The Crown
  17. Doyers Street
  18. Staple Street Skybridge
  19. One World Observatory
  20. The Oculus

Manhattan is home to the vast majority of Instagrammable places in the Big Apple. Take a look at some of our favorite picks!

The Guggenheim Museum

Address: 1071 5th Ave, New York, NY 10128, United States

Hours: 11AM to 6PM Thursday-Monday

You cannot miss the iconic Guggenheim Museum! It is hard to find a museum that gets better than this. Travelers are in for a double-treat, as the building itself is just as spectacular as the art inside.

The stunning state-of-the-art architecture draws in thousands of visitors every day. The unique building, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is beloved among both tourists and locals alike.

It is no surprise that the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Central Park

Address: Heart of Manhattan. You can enter the park at 59th Street, for instance

Opening hours: 6AM-10PM, 365 days a year

Central Park is perhaps the most recognizable park in the entire world. We have all seen it, either in blockbuster movies or on social media. Now is the perfect chance to see Central Park in real life.

There are so many places to see within the park that it would require an entire blog post to cover them all. Wherever you go in Central Park, you’re bound to see amazing photo opportunities to step up your Instagram game.

Why not drop by the Sheep Meadow for a picnic while you’re at it, too?

Radio City Music Hall

by Fernando Gonzalez

Address: 1260 6th Ave, New York, NY 10020

Hours: Temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Best admired from across the street after sunset.

Once you’re in front of the iconic Radio City Music Hall, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled back in time. The exterior of this building is nothing short of spectacular. What’s more, you can always book tickets and step inside to catch a live gig.

The fascia of the Music Hall is best admired after dusk falls, as the neon lights create a spectacular backdrop for your photos.

Top of The Rock- Rockefeller Center

by Monika Hafliger

Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112

Opening hours (Top of the Rock): Sunday-Saturday 11AM-7PM

Remember the Christmas Tree scene from Home Alone 2? The enormous tree can be admired every year at the Rockefeller Center, yet another Instagrammable landmark in NYC.

The seasonal Christmas tree display is far from the only reason to visit the Rockefeller Center. The Top Of The Rock offers unforgettable views of the city’s legendary skyline. Not to be missed when in New York City!

Out of all the viewpoints in NYC, this could very well be our favorite one. Afterall, when you’re at the Top Of The Rock you can still admire the Empire State Building, as well as the One World Trade Center.

Times Square

Address: Manhattan, NY 10036

Best time to visit: After sunset

Times Square needs no introduction. It makes for one of the instantly-recognizable landmarks of NYC, along with the Statue of Liberty and perhaps Central Park, too.

If you post a photo taken here, there will be no doubt that you are indeed in The City That Never Sleeps.

Expect tons of tourists from all corners of the planet squeezing through this iconic intersection, all while being entertained by street performers. Love it or hate it, you have got to visit Times Square at least once during your NYC trip.

Grand Central Terminal

Photo by Pexels

Address: 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

Best time to visit: Midday for the crowds or late at night to avoid them.

The Grand Central Terminal is as iconic as a train station can possibly get. The history of it dates back to 1913 when Grand Central Terminal first opened its doors to the public.

Step inside the station’s Main Concourse, which you’ve definitely seen in at least one movie before. The station’s jaw-dropping interior makes for a perfect backdrop for portrait photography. Filmmakers can set up a timelapse capturing the as the crowds go by during the afternoon.

The Vessel

Address: 20 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001

Want to feel as if you are in a science-fiction movie? Be sure to drop by the Vessel at Hudson Yards, one of the most famous instagrammable places in NYC.

Some of your followers may even think that this futuristic structure is photoshopped.

Travelers can climb the stairs to the top of the tower and enjoy a whole different perspective of the Vessel. What’s best, free entry tickets are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Get there early to make the most out of this spectacular location!

Empire State Building

by Paulo Corceiro

Address: 20 W 34th St, New York, NY 10001

Opening hours: 12-9PM daily

Visiting the observation deck at the top of the Empire State Building is a must-do when in NYC, no doubt. From a photographer’s point of view, however, there are better spots to see the city.

The largest issue when you’re at the top of the Empire State Building is that the majestic tower is not a part of the skyline anymore.

While it’s worth visiting the top strictly for the bragging rights, you may want to head to the Top of The Rock for a better photo.

The High Line

by Brandon W.

Address: enter at Gansevoort Street, 23rd Street, or 30th Street

Opening hours: 7AM-7PM on weekdays, 10AM-6PM on weekends. Reservations are required to enter on the weekend.

Apart from being one of the best Instagrammable places in NYC, the High Line is also one of the best free attractions in town!

The High Line connects the Meatpacking District to Hudson Yards. Once a busy train line, the High Line hosts art exhibits and colorful plants today. Expect some of the best views of NYC stretched across this 1.45-mile long attraction.

The Flatiron Building

by Fernando Gonzalez

Address: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

The Flatiron Building is yet another iconic landmark in The Big Apple. Once again, if you post a photo of this building on your Instagram feed, your followers will instantly recognize that you are indeed in New York City.

Step across the street from the Flatiron Building, or grab a shot as you’re crossing the junction directly in front of it. Beware of oncoming traffic!

Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village is a quiet part of the Big Apple that sits north of Lower Manhattan. It is quite a contrast from the hustle and bustle of its neighboring districts, to say the least.

This cute part of the city is home to beautiful residential buildings made from iconic red brick. You’ve definitely seen Greenwich Village in some of your favorite films, perhaps without knowing where it was. Now’s the perfect chance to see them in person!

You can continue strolling over to West Village, which is arguably just as scenic yet nowhere near as popular among travelers. Treat it as somewhat of a hidden gem, if you will.

The next spot sits in the heart of Greenwich Village!

Washington Square Park

by Oltion Kola

Address: Washington Square, New York, NY 10012

Opening hours: 6AM-12AM

This is the spot to go if you want to fool your friends and followers that you’re in Paris. The Washington Square Arch overlooks Washington Square Park, right in the heart of Greenwich Village.

On a sunny day, you can get an awesome shot of the Empire State Building seen through the arch. Give it a try! Don’t forget to post your photos online using #Rentalmoose.

Great photos aside, this park is the ideal place to watch the daily life of New York City. If people-watching is your thing, you’ll love hanging out here.

Renwick Triangle

Address: 100-138 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

If you’re looking for a photo opportunity that’s a lot less common than the landmarks such as the Empire State Building or the Flatiron, the Renwick Triangle may be the ideal spot for you.

This cute Instagrammable spot in NYC lays on the corner of Stuyvesant & East 10th streets. The townhouse situated between the trees makes for a year-round backdrop, ideal for your photos.

L’Appartement Sézane

Address: 254 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

L’Appartement Sézane is a cute store located just a few blocks away from Greenwich Village. The facade of this shop has become a favorite among photographers and influencers from across the globe.

You can always pop inside and pick out some new clothes, too.

Oh, the fun Museum of Ice Cream is just a stone’s throw away! It is quite literally the Instagram haven of NYC.

Pietro Nolita


Opening hours: Thursday-Saturday 12pm–11pm Sunday 12PM–close

NoMo Soho

Address: 9 Crosby St, New York, NY 10013

Opening hours: until 9PM on weekdays, 10PM on weekends

Similar to Pietro Nolita, this is yet another trendy eatery that doubles as a famous Instagrammable place in NYC. NoMo Kitchen is a spectacular restaurant located within the NoMo Soho hotel.

The restaurant features vivid greenery that serves as a perfect photo backdrop. Guests can dine both inside and outdoors, though even the indoor area feels like a forest.

Don’t miss NoMo on your tour of New York City, especially if you enjoy taking photos in a beautiful setting.

The Crown Rooftop Bar

Address: 50 Bowery, New York, NY 10013

Opening hours: Wednesday-Sunday 4-11PM

There are tons of different rooftop bars in NYC that offer jaw-dropping views, though only a handful are as spectacular as The Crown. After all, what could be as Instagrammable as the skyline of New York City?

Enjoy an upscale night out with your friends, all while admiring the bustle of Manhattan from above. Indoor dining is available too, with an equally unbeatable view of the city.

Doyers Street

by David Yu

While Chinatown is home to many underrated Instagrammable places in NYC, Doyers Street remains the most iconic spot in this part of Manhattan.

Don’t let the photos fool you- Doyers Street is merely 200 feet (60 meters) long!

While the street is favored among photographers and influencers alike today, it certainly wasn’t the case in the early 20th century. Back then, Doyers Street was actually infamous as the “Bloody Angle” where countless killings among the Tong Gangs took place.

Despite a spooky past, there is no need to worry about the safety of Doyers Street in the 21st century. It’s just a stone’s throw away from The Crown over at Bowery.

Staple Street Skybridge

Address: 9 Jay St, New York, NY 10013

This is a real gem for photographers, which is surprisingly easy to miss when walking around the Tribeca. You have to know what you’re looking for, otherwise, you could end up missing this marvelous photo opportunity!

The charming cast-iron bridge connects two buildings over Staple Street. Back in the day, the bridge would connect two different buildings that made up the New York Hospital back at the beginning of the 20th century.

Today, the hospital is gone, yet the cute bridge remains. In fact, it was once listed for sale for a whopping $35 million around two years ago. Fancy a new place to stay in the heart of NYC?

One World Observatory

by KatiaKatia

Address: One World Trade Center 117 West Street New York, New York 10007

Opening hours: check the official website

This is the creme de la creme of all observation points in New York City. One World Observatory is in fact the highest of them all. Note that there is no outdoor deck here, though.

Just like the top of the Empire State Building, however, the biggest downside of the One World Observatory is that the iconic structure will not be in your photos taken here. If you want to capture NYC above the heart of it all, this is the place to go.

The Oculus

By Shire777

Address: 4-minute walk from the 9/11 Memorial. New York, NY 10007

If you’re already at the One World Observatory, don’t miss the Oculus. Much like the Grand Central Terminal, the Oculus is a busy transit hub. Its unique architecture makes the Oculus one of the best Instagrammable places in NYC.

The spectacular structure was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, and it is supposed to resemble a dove leaving a child’s hands.

The impressive train station cost $4 billion dollars to build, making it the most expensive one in the whole world. Yet another reason to pay it a visit!

Best Instagrammable Places in NYC- Brooklyn

  1. Brooklyn Bridge
  2. Jane’s Carousel
  3. DUMBO
  4. Brooklyn Bridge Park
  5. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge
  6. Domino Park
  7. Westlight Rooftop
  8. Luna Park in Coney Island
  9. TWA Hotel

After making the most out of the best photo opportunities in Manhattan, it’s time to cross the Brooklyn Bridge over to Brooklyn! Check out our favorite photo spots in Brooklyn below.

Brooklyn Bridge

by Foundry Co

Address: Brooklyn Bridge, New York, NY 10038

Virtually anybody who has been to New York City will have posted a photo of the famous Brooklyn Bridge. Afterall, this piece of architecture is easily just as much of a landmark as the Statue of Liberty. The bridge connects Manhattan and Brooklyn, and crossing it on foot is one of the must-do things in NYC.

Once you’re on the Brooklyn Bridge, you may seem overwhelmed with incredible photo opportunities to step up your Instagram game. Portraits of you and the bridge in the background, capturing the Manhattan skyline from the bridge, or grabbing shots of the Statue of Liberty. The possibilities here are simply endless, so get creative!

As this is one of the most famous places to visit in NYC, expect tons of like-minded tourists to be there too. Getting a shot with virtually no other people, like the photo above, is a difficult task. Especially when traveling during the peak season.

Address: DUMBO section of the Brooklyn Bridge Park

Jane’s Carousel is yet another spectacular Instagrammable place in Brooklyn, just a short walk away from the Brooklyn Bridge.

This vintage carousel dates back to 1922 when it was first opened, and its waterfront setting makes for a scenic backdrop for your pictures.

Make sure to stroll around the surrounding area to find even more photo opportunities! One of the most iconic spots, Dumbo, is just a short stroll away.


by Leonhard Niederwimmer

Address: 39-21 Washington St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Looking at the number of people who take pictures at Dumbo, you may think that it is a legal requirement to post a photo taken here. If there was an Instagram rulebook for New York City, a stop at Dumbo would likely land in its first section.

It is easy to see why so many aspiring Instagrammers choose this location. The symmetrical shot you can capture here is nothing short of legendary, even if it is slightly overdone by now. Nonetheless, Dumbo is another must-visit in Brooklyn.

Where is that iconic Manhattan Bridge photo spot?

All of these photos are taken on Washington Street. Here, the Manhattan Bridge is perfectly framed by NYC’s iconic red brick buildings.

If you’re an early bird and want to avoid the crowds while getting that sweet golden hour look, consider coming to Dumbo during sunrise.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

by Uwe Conrad

Address: 334 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Opening hours: 6AM-1AM, 365 days per year

After a visit to Jane’s Carousel and Dumbo, why not head to the waterfront Brooklyn Bridge Park? This location is full of wonderful photo opportunities, where you can capture the Manhattan skyline with the East River in the foreground.

Consider coming here after the sun sets, as the lights from Manhattan’s skyscrapers will illuminate the water. It’s truly magical!

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge

Address: 60 Furman St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Opening hours (Harriet’s Rooftop): Tuesday-Friday 5PM-2AM, Saturdays 12PM-2AM, Sundays 12PM-12AM

If you’re looking for a hotel in New York City that offers some of the best views in town, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge may be the perfect pick for you. This trendy property features rooms with tremendous views of the Manhattan Skyline. You can also head up to the rooftop pool to get your one-of-a-kind photo of Lower Manhattan.

Don’t want to splash out on a room here? Well, you can always head up to Harriet’s Rooftop that’s located within the hotel. This bar is known for its outdoor seating area that opens up to spectacular views of Manhattan. Indoor seating is available, too.

Domino Park

Address: 300 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Opening hours: 6AM-1AM all week long

Domino Park is one of those up-and-coming Instagrammable places in NYC. It is nowhere near as popular as the park near Brooklyn Bridge, hence it is also not as crowded.

Domino Park is the place to go for photos of the Manhattan skyline from a slightly different perspective. If you crave a lesser-known location, this is it!

The waterfront greenery is perfect for a picnic.


Address: 111 N 12th St 22nd floor, Brooklyn, NY 11249

Opening hours: 5-11PM weekdays, 1-11PM weekends

Westlight is a trendy rooftop bar in Brooklyn that is known for beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline.

This is the perfect spot to get your sunset photos of NYC, as the bar features 360-degree views from 22 floors above ground level.

A wide selection of refreshing drinks only makes the experience more worthwhile. Indoor seating is available, too.

Luna Park in Coney Island

by Bruce Emmerling

Address: 1000 Surf Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11224

Opening hours: Vary depending on the weather. Check the official website for details

Coney Island offers many unique photo opportunities, hence it lands on our list as one of the best Instagrammable places in NYC. The Luna Park here is simply iconic.

The 100-year-old Wonder Wheel makes for a great backdrop, especially when taking pictures from the sandy beach.

After you’re done taking in the atmosphere, feel free to step inside Luna Park and enjoy some of the thrilling rides! Don’t miss the legendary wooden coaster, one of the oldest in the country!

TWA Hotel

Address: John F. Kennedy International Airport, JFK Access Road, One Idlewild Drive, 11430

The TWA Hotel is the only on-airport hotel at the NYC JFK Airport. However, it is far from your regular airport hotel!

Once you step inside, you’ll be transported back to the 1960s. The interior design is one-of-a-kind, featuring a display of classic art exhibits, vintage cars, and more. You’re bound to be mesmerized by this incredible property. There’s even a restored TWA jet here!

You can book your room at the TWA Hotel and enjoy the best of what this unique property has to offer, including a rooftop pool or the airplane-turned-cocktail lounge.

Don’t skip this place, as it’s truly one of the most amazing Instagrammable places in NYC.

Best Instagrammable Place In Queens- Bonus

While many of the best Instagrammable places in NYC are scattered around Manhattan and Brooklyn, there are quite a few of them in Queens as well. We’ve picked Flushing Meadows as our go-to spot in this part of town.

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

by Robert Jones

Address (unisphere): Avenue of the Americas, Flushing, NY 11354

Opening hours: 6AM-9PM all week long

Though this park is far from the most famous in NYC, you’ve probably seen its highlight at least once in an American movie. The Unisphere is a 140-foot high globe that is a perfect photo oppportunity, and one of our favorites in this part of the city.

The spacious park is full of other, lesser-known Instagrammable places as well. Don’t miss them!

There you have it, these are the 30 best Instagrammable places in NYC! Are you going to see them all on your next trip to The Big Apple?

Don’t forget to tag your New York City photos on Instagram using #Rentalmoose. Some of our favorites may even make it on our list!

Check out other curated travel guides around the US.

20 Of The Best Driving Roads In The World

Scenic drives are the core of any great road trip. Check out 20 of the best driving roads ever. How many of them are on your travel bucket list already?

We’ve compiled a list of 20 of our favorite roads in Europe and the US. Some of them offer spectacular views along the way, while others are simply a joy to drive on.

Check out the map below to see exactly where each road is located. That way, you can easily plan your next road trip around these locations. Take a look at our travel guides for more travel inspiration around some of the best locations worldwide.

The list goes as follows:

10 Best Driving Roads In Europe

  1. Furka Pass
  2. Stelvio Pass
  3. The Ring Road
  4. Atlantic Ocean Road (Norway)
  5. Transfaragasan
  6. Gorges du Verdon
  7. Route Napoleon
  8. North Coast 500
  9. Schwarzwaldhochstrasse
  10. Nurburgring

10 Best Driving Roads In America

  1. Going To The Sun Road
  2. Pacific Coast Highway
  3. Million Dollar Highway
  4. Overseas Highway
  5. White Rim Road
  6. The Tail of The Dragon
  7. Mulholland Drive
  8. Pikes Peak
  9. Artists Drive
  10. Monument Valley

Without further ado, let’s jump into each one of the best driving roads in the world!

The 10 Best Driving Roads in Europe

Picking just one as our favorite driving road would be nearly impossible, let alone sorting them from best to worst. Instead, the roads below are listed in random order.

Furka Pass- The Best Mountain Pass in Europe

Furka Pass mountain pass seen from a nearby highway. Furka in Switzerland is one of the best mountain passes in the Alps.
by Jason Parker

Picking the best mountain pass in Europe is a difficult task, as there are so many jaw-dropping drives to choose from.

The Swiss Furka Pass, however, has got to be one of the best mountain passes in the entire world. The 35-kilometer road will take you along tens of chicanes, all while overlooking the Swiss Alps.

abandoned Belvedere Hotel in Furka Pass, Switzerland. The hotel located at a hairpin turn is an eerie photo opportunity for those who drive down Furka.
by Maartenpinj

One of the highlights of the Furka Pass is the abandoned Belvedere Hotel which sits at one of the hairpins. Over the last years, this eerie structure became favored among photographers. Don’t forget to stop and take a photo of this hotel!

Length: 35km/22miles

Location: South of Switzerland, near Andermatt

Stelvio Pass

Scenic mountain road in the Dolomites. Stelvio Pass is a famous driving road that you can see during our Italy road trip.

We consider the famous Stelvio Pass to be an absolute must-visit point on any road trip around the North of Italy.

This Italian mountain pass features a continuous 25-kilometer long climb. When driving here, you’ll see many cyclists who challenge themselves to make it all the way to the top.

Stelvio Pass is ideal for fans of tight hairpins, as there are 48 of them in total! Expect beautiful scenery along virtually the entire journey.

Length: 25km/15miles

Location: North of Italy, Eastern Alps

Iceland’s Ring Road

A road in iceland through the endless plains, snowy mountains in the distance. The Ring Road loops around the beautiful country of Iceland.

Iceland is a truly fascinating country. The landscapes found here are unlike any other in the world, hence Iceland should definitely land on the bucket list of any traveler.

The best way of getting around the country is by car, as it’s the most convenient way to access all parts of the island. Some of the must-visit natural beauty here is rather remote, and it is barely possible to get around without a private car.

The main road in Iceland, also known as the Ring Road, will conveniently take you around the best spots in the country. Expect absolutely jaw-dropping natural beauty. The landscapes will be spectacular nearly every single kilometer of the journey, and there are over 1300 of them in total.

Once you visit Iceland for the first time, you’ll definitely keep coming back for more. You have been warned.

Check out our curated Iceland road trip itinerary around the Ring Road.

Length: 1300km/800miles

Location: Iceland

Atlantic Ocean Road

Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Cars crossing a bridge over the ocean, with greenery in the distance and some tourists on the coast in the foreground.
by Hay Smits

The Atlantic Ocean Road in the northern tip of Norway is the shortest road on our list. In fact, it is merely 8 kilometers long. Don’t underestimate it based on its length, as it is nothing short of astonishing!

This scenic drive is a part of County Road 64, the rest of the route features great views of lush greenery and cute villages, while also opening up to the ocean practically the entire time. The Atlantic Ocean Tunnel is further down the road, too.

The surrounding area is worth a visit, too. Once you’re here, be sure to keep driving along the coast for some more unforgettable scenery.

Length: 8km/5miles

Location: North of Norway, near Elnesvagen


transfaragasan highway, one of the best driving roads in the world, seen from above. The hairpins and tight chicanes surrounded by beautiful mountain ranges are a favorite among travelers in Romania.
by Gavia26210

Until recently, the Transfagarasan was very underrated. Afterall, most travelers head to the Alps to drive down the most spectacular mountain passes. Believe it or not, one of the best driving roads in the world is actually located in Romania.

This mountain pass rose to fame after being featured in 2009 in BBC’s Top Gear. The hosts actually praised the highway and dubbed it the best driving road in the world.

Unsurprisingly, the Transfagarasan quickly became one of the most frequently visited destinations in the country.

The Transfagarasan is the ideal extension of a Balkan road trip. We happen to have a travel guide around the Balkan coast, curated for those who travel by car.

Length: 150km/95miles

Location: Central Romania, 3 hours away from Bucharest

Gorges du Verdon

Gorges du Verdon, often called the European Grand Canyon, is a beautiful national park in the south of france. Turquoise water in France, green trees and large mountains.
by Tom und Nicki Löschner

Gorges du Verdon is often referred to as the Grand Canyon of Europe. In reality, its landscape is very different from the one in Arizona.

This national park in the South of France is known for its turquoise-colored water and vibrant greenery, all situated between dramatic cliffs and mountains. These are not the views you’d expect in the South of France, that’s for sure!

You can expect jaw-dropping views of endless natural beauty, at some points 800 meters below the road you’re driving on. Not the best place to be if you fear heights!

What’s best, the next road is just a drive away from Gorges du Verdon. This means you can see 2 of the best driving roads in Europe in one day.

Length: 100km/60miles

Location: South of France, 2 hours 20 minutes from Nice

Route Napoleon

scenic driving road outside of nice, cote d'azur, france. Single-lane paved road with a right-chicane, surrounded by low trees and green bushes, cliffy mountain in the background. clear, sunny day in the french riviera.

The famous Route Napoleon is perhaps the most famous driving road in France. It has earned a spot on our list, as it is one of the best drives in Europe.

Back in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte took this exact route when returning from Elba. He had 1200 soldiers with him, ready to conquer Paris and to be ruled by Napoleon once again. 

This chicane-filled drive spans 315 kilometers in length, beginning right outside of Cannes. Continue driving uphill all the way until Grenoble. From there, you can either head back to the coast or continue deeper into France. You may also head East into the Swiss Alps for a total change of scenery.

Length: 315km/195miles

Location: South of France, begins outside of Cannes

North Coast 500

the NC500 is a famous driving road in Scotland. The 500-mile route loops around the Scottish Highlands.

It goes without saying that Scotland has to land on the bucket list of any traveler. The North Coast 500 is just another reason to visit this magical land. Oh, and this road happens to be one of the best driving roads in the world, too!

This scenic drive will take you on a 500-mile long journey around the Scottish highlands, accompanied by waterfront views for a large chunk of the journey.

It’s best to begin the trip in Inverness, as you can enter the road there. Go in either direction, and you will end up back in Inverness 500 miles later.

Length: 830km/500miles

Location: Northern tip of Scotland


motorcycles parked in front of wooden hexenlochmuhle building restaurant famous in black forest germany

Good luck typing in the name of this street into your GPS app. Surely, The Black Forest High Road is easier to remember than the lengthy Schwarzwaldhochstrasse.

This scenic drive, just like the entirety of The Black Forest, remains massively underrated. While the majority of the tourists flock to Bavaria, this beautiful forest is often overlooked.

The recommended way to drive down the B500 is by starting in the spa town of Baden-Baden. Then, make your way uphill and continue through the hairpin-filled High Road.

Check out this guide to find out the best places to visit in the Black Forest. You’ll also see some must-visit spots in Strasbourg and Northern Switzerland, too.

Length: 40km/25miles

Location: South-west Germany, near Strasbourg


race cars driving down the Nurburgring Green Hell race track on a cloudy rainy day. Porsche 991 GT3 in front, followed by a BMW M4 and a BMW Z4.
by Mibro

I know what you’re thinking- isn’t the Nurburgring a race track?

Well, it is theoretically classified as a one-way toll road. At least by insurance companies.

The Nurburgring may not have the panoramic views as the other roads on this list. However, it is one of the best driving roads on the planet. Given that you classify it as a road and not a race track, that is.

The Nurburgring hosts frequent Touristenfahrten, or public track days. On those days, virtually any driver can test their skills on this challenging track.

Many insurance companies don’t cover driving on the ring. Double-check before coming on the track, as crashes here happen rather frequently.


Location: 1 hour South of Cologne, Germany

Are you looking for more of the best driving roads in Europe? Check out our short guide on Instagram, where we showcase a different selection of our favorite drives in The Old Continent!

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The 10 Best Driving Roads in America

The USA is filled with scenic driving roads scattered essentially all over the country. Once again, the roads below are listed in random order. Decide which one is your favorite.

Going To The Sun Road

natural tunnel in a mountain road. Going to the sun road, in Glacier national Park in Montana, is considered to be one of the best driving roads in the world.
by Mcfisher

A drive-through National Park? This sounds like one of the best National Park road trip ideas, and it is just that!

This otherworldly scenic drive will take you right through the very heart of the Glacier National Park in Montana. The Going To The Sun Road is actually one of the best attractions in this park, and the main route that connects the must-see points in Glacier NP.

Expect wonderful scenery that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to the heart of the Alps, all while actually being in Montana.

Don’t miss the cute Red Jammers. This fleet of red buses from the 1930s continue to offer guided tours of the road. You’re bound to see them as you drive along.

You simply cannot miss the Going To The Sun Road, as it’s one of the best scenic drives in the US.


Location: Glacier National Park, Montana

Pacific Coast Highway

Bixby Creek Bridge is an iconic Big Sur bridge along the iconic Pacific Coast highway. This coastal drive in California is one of the best driving roads in the US.
Foundry Co

You will have definitely seen the Bixby Creek Bridge in at least one Hollywood movie. Afterall, this part of the Pacific Coast Highway in California was the shooting location for countless films, including Iron Man or the Fast & Furious.

No wonder this coastal highway is considered by many, including us, to be one of the best drives in the US. It should come as no surprise that we’ve included it on our Ultimate California Road Trip guide.

The entire Pacific Coast Highway is actually over 1000 kilometers (600 miles) long, making it the longest state route in all of sunny California.

Renting a convertible and driving off into the sunset as you watch the Pacific Ocean is surely a mesmerizing experience, no doubt.


Location: Coast of California

Million Dollar Highway

The Million Dollar Highway is a scenic route that takes you up to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in the heart of Colorado. It’s easily one of the most beautiful roads in America.

No wonder it is a must-visit point on any Colorado road trip.

When passing the town of Durango, turn into the US 550 and head north up towards Montrose. You’ll drive along the 25-mile Million Dollar Highway.

Once you’re in Colorado, don’t forget to drop by Mesa Verde and the Rockies. We consider this to be one of the best national park road trip itineraries in the country!


Location: Western Colorado

Overseas Highway

The road that connects the scenic Keys to the rest of Florida is simply breathtaking.

Take the US1 south from Homestead and continue down the Overseas Highway. You’ll see turquoise water, scenic Keys, and the iconic 7-Mile Bridge. Key West lays at the end of the road, which is the Southernmost point of the Continental US.

We believe this magical drive deserves a spot as one of the best roads in the US. Naturally, we’ve included it in our Florida road trip itinerary.


Location: South of Florida, 1 hour from Miami

White Rim Road

White rim road is an off-roading trail that spans 160 kilometers in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. It is one of the most scenic drives in the world.
by Mike Goad

Utah is quite a dramatic change of scenery from the coast of Florida, that’s for sure. If you haven’t seen these kind of landscapes before, you may feel as if you were on the surface of another planet.

The White Rim Road should land on the bucket list of any off-roading enthusiast. This 100-mile (160km) long trail will take you around the natural beauty of Canyonlands National Park. Expect to stop nearly all the time, as the photo opportunities are just endless.

Visitors who obtain permits can spend multiple days on the trail and camp at the designated campgrounds along the White Rim Road. Spend up to 3 days to explore this region to the fullest!

The unique natural beauty of Utah is unlike any other place in the world. There are tens of parks worth visiting scattered around the state. Check out this curated travel guide and plan your ideal Utah road trip, seeing the best of what the state has to offer along the way.


Location: Canyonlands NP, Utah

Tail of The Dragon

This road is an absolute treat for any petrolhead visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. This exciting driving road is only a short drive away from the Smokies!

The Tail of The Dragon (US129) is praised as America’s #1 driving road for sports cars and motorcycles. It packs a whopping 318 curves in total along the 11-mile route. Expect to see hundreds of fellow petrolheads roaming up and down the road, especially during peak season.

Length: 160km/100miles

Location: west of The Great Smoky Mountains NP, NC

Mulholland Drive

Iconic LA overlook at Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive is the ideal getaway for a scenic joyride away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood. One of the best driving roads in this part of California also doubles as a great tourist attraction, as there are plenty of overlooks that offer panoramic views of the Los Angeles skyline.

Mulholland Drive is only around 35 kilometers (21 miles) long and it is the perfect spot to spend an hour or two. Don’t forget to take your camera as you enjoy the views at one of the overlooks!

As far as the driving itself goes, expect a ton of chicanes and a couple of switchbacks. Perhaps it’s not as extreme as the White Rim Road in Utah, but it can still offer plenty of fun within the LA area.

Length: 34km/21miles

Location: Los Angeles, California

Pikes Peak

Chicane at pikes peak overlooking Colorado. Pikes Peak highway is an intesne uphill driving road in Colorado. The annual Hill Climb motor racing event is held right here.
by Mike Goad

Pikes Peak is a well-known name for any car freak. Every year, the world-class Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is organized on this road. Hundreds of racing drivers attempt to drive up to the peak as fast as possible, every year since 1916.

The route winds around over a hundred curves before making its way to the summit, some 31 kilometers (19miles) later. The majority of the Highway remains open-year round, depending on the amount of snow.

Driving up the Pikes Peak Highway is a must-do on any Colorado road trip.

Length: 31km/19miles

Location: Colorado, 2 hours south of Denver

Artists Drive

Artists Drive scenic drive in Death VAlley, California, considered to be one of the best driving roads in the world.

The Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park is yet another chance to witness absolutely otherworldly landscapes, somewhat similar to the ones you can find in Utah.

While Artists Drive is nothing short of an amazing attraction, it is certainly worth visiting for the panoramic views. It may not be as good of a driving road as The Tail of The Dragon, as it’s a one-way 10-mile long road with a low speed limit. The road lacks tight chicanes that are adored by motorcyclists and sports car owners alike.

Star Wars fans may recognize this area. Parts of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope were filmed within this National Park.

We recommend paying Artists Drive a visit during a road trip around Death Valley. No matter whether you choose to drive further into California or explore the beauty of Nevada, Death Valley is an absolute must.

Length: 16km/10miles

Location: Death Valley National Park, California

Monument Valley Scenic Drive

Monument Valley is an iconic road in the US. Straight road on a cloudy day, surrounded by the Arizona wilderness with large orange boulders in the background.
by Christoph Partsch

Highway 163 that cuts through Monument Valley could be the most iconic road in the country, perhaps except for the historic Route 66. The seemingly endless straight road is a far cry from the mountain passes of Europe or winding Colorado hill climbs. Instead, this road is all about the views.

Monument Valley is one of those places that you have to visit to really grasp their enormous scale. The desert-like landscape is nothing short of monumental, and the large boulders that dominate the skyline simply complete the experience.

Expect dramatic views and not many corners.

Monument Valley is a must when passing through Arizona and Utah.

Length: 100km/60miles

Location: Utah, Arizona

There you have it! Those are the 20 best driving roads in the world. Looking for more travel inspiration? Be sure to check out this blog post on 7 of the longest roads on the planet.

Be sure to add them to your travel bucket list!

Need a rental car to drive down these spectacular roads? No problem!

Head over to Rentalmoose and find the best rental car deal for your next journey. Our web platform serves over 15 000 locations worldwide, along with thousands of offers from the most trusted rental companies.

Rentalmoose plants a tree for every booking made with our platform. Click here to learn more about us.

El Capitan boulder in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park. You can see this park along one of our curated road trip itineraries around the best national parks in the United States.

The 7 Best National Park Road Trips You Need To Take

El Capitan boulder in Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park. You can see this park along one of our curated road trip itineraries around the best national parks in the United States.

In this blog post, we will cover 7 different road trip itineraries perfect to explore different National Parks around the US. Feel free to use this blog post as a National Park road trip planner for your next adventure!

These are the road trip ideas that will be covered in this blog post:

  1. Best of Utah’s National Parks- 5-day road trip itinerary
  2. Death Valley, Yosemite, Great Basin & more- Nevada road trip itinerary
  3. The Ultimate Colorado road trip itinerary for nature lovers
  4. The Great Smoky Mountains by car- Scenic Drives
  5. The Ultimate Grand Teton & Yellowstone Itinerary by car
  6. These are the best day trips from Seattle for nature lovers
  7. The Ultimate California Road Trip Itinerary

What are the must-see National Parks in the United States?

There are 62 National Parks in the United States, scattered all around the country. As much as we recommend experiencing each and every single one, these are the national parks that we find to be the best in the US.

  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Great Canyon
  • The Great Smoky Mountains
  • Yellowstone
  • Yosemite
  • Zion National Park

Before you go- America The Beautiful Pass

Before you set off on your National Park road trip, take a look at the America The Beautiful Pass.

This annual pass covers admission to over 2000 federal recreational sites, including entry passes to the majority of national parks in the country.

If you’re planning to visit multiple parks, it may be worth purchasing the America The Beautiful Pass.

For example, if you’re planning to go on a road trip around the parks in Utah (look below), you would have to spend nearly $200 on admission fees to National and State parks along the way. Instead, you could purchase the annual pass for just $80 per year (pricing as of November 2020).

What’s more, you can go to even more national parks within a year of purchasing the pass.

Do keep in mind, however, that most parks charge admission fees per vehicle. If you split the cost between you and your passengers, it may turn out cheaper (per person) than purchasing an annual pass.

Your America The Beautiful Pass can be purchased here.

Note that day use fees, plus fees for any activities, are charged separately.

1. Best of Utah’s National Parks- 5 Day Road Trip Itinerary

Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. The unique rock formations are famous around the world. Canyon seen on a hot summer day.
Bryce Canyon photographed by Oskaline

Starting point: Salt Lake City, Utah

Finishing point: Las Vegas, Nevada

Driving distance: 740 miles (1190km)

Highlights: Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon

Best time of the year to visit: Spring, Fall, Winter

Click here for the detailed travel guide.

Which parks will you see during this Utah road trip?

  • Arches National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Dead Horse Point State Park
  • Goblin Valley State Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
  • Grand Staircase National Monument
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Zion National Park

This 5-day road trip itinerary is an absolute must for any traveler who wants to see some of the best National Parks in the western United States. The trip begins in Salt Lake City, Utah. Then, you will head on a 740-mile road trip to Las Vegas via Zion, Bryce Canyon, and the scenic parks around Moab.

The road trip to these parks is perfect for travelers who want to enjoy hiking, drive down Scenic Byways and go off-roading!

What’s more, if you’re planning your ultimate road trip to see every National Park in the US, Utah can be a great place to set off!

From here, you can cross into Nevada to see Death Valley and Yosemite, or head east into Colorado to see the Great Sand Dunes and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Yellowstone and the Grand Teton are just a 5-hour drive

2. The Ultimate Nevada National Park Road Trip Itinerary

Death Valley National Park, wonderful rock formations and otherworldly scenery seen from an outlook at Artists Drive. Drive down the scenic drives in Death Valley on our Nevada road trip.
Death Valley

Starting point: Las Vegas, Nevada

Finishing point: Las Vegas, Nevada

Driving distance: 1400 miles (2300 km)

Highlights: Death Valley, Yosemite, Great Basin

Best time of the year to visit: Spring, Fall

Click here for the detailed travel guide around the best National Parks in and around Nevada.

What are the must-see parks in Nevada?

The following National and State parks are all included in our detailed road trip itinerary.

  • Death Valley National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Great Basin National Park
  • Cathedral Gorge State Park
  • Valley of Fire State Park
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area
  • Red Rock Canyon
  • Tule Springs Fossil Beds

This road trip itinerary forms a great loop around Nevada (and brushing up on California, specifically Yosemite National Park) and its most spectacular parks. It’s a great getaway for both locals as well as travelers who are crossing Nevada during a long road trip.

This itinerary can easily be extended to see Arizona and the Grand Canyon, Utah and the state’s spectacular parks, or even further into Colorado and the Rockies.

3. The Ultimate Colorado National Park road trip itinerary for nature lovers

the great Sand Dunes National Park on a cloudy day. Amazing scenery in Colorado, enjoy it during our national park road trip through the best parks in the US.
The Great Sand Dunes by Sid Litke

Starting point: Denver, Colorado

Finishing point: Denver, Colorado

Driving distance: 1200 miles (2000 km)

Highlights: The Great Sand Dunes, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde

Best time of the year to visit: Summer, Winter

Click here for the comprehensive travel guide.

What National Parks are in Colorado?

Colorado is home to four national parks, and all of them are included in this road trip itinerary!

  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • The Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park

During this road trip, you will also visit the following state parks and other POIs.

  • Garden of The Gods
  • Pikes Peak Scenic Drive
  • Roxborough State Park

This road trip itinerary is ideal for travelers who want to thoroughly explore the must-see natural beauty in Colorado. The trip departs in Denver, The Mile High City.

The 1200-mile long loop will take you through Garden of The Gods, Pikes Peak, The Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde, Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and the Rocky Mountain before heading back to Denver.

Some of the attractions along the way include the scenic drive up Pikes Peak, off-roading at the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and spectacular lookouts at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

The curated itinerary includes some of the best lodgings you can find in Colorado, along with some really quirky attractions. Have you ever heard of the UFO watchtower? Or a drive-in cinema with an attached motel? Check out the Rentalmoose travel guide and plan your ideal road trip!

Visit Colorado during the winter to see the scenery transform into a magical, snowy wonderland!

4. The Great Smoky Mountains by Car- Scenic Drives

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to many scenic drives. The scenery looks the most magical during Fall Foliage in Autumn.
The Smokies photographed by Airren Parsons

Starting point: Atlanta, Georgia

Finishing point: Atlanta, Georgia

Driving distance: 1000 miles (1600 km)

Highlights: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Best time of the year to visit: Summer, Fall

Click here for the detailed itinerary!

What is the best national park on the east coast?

The Great Smoky Mountains are an absolute must, it’s one of the best national parks in the east part of the US! Click here for our curated travel guide to visiting this national park by car.

Although this road trip starts in Georgia, the itinerary actually focuses just on the Smokies and the park’s countless attractions. However, if you are planning to visit the park via a rental car do consider flying to Atlanta, as the major international airport here has more rental cars to choose from. Use Rentalmoose to find your ideal rental car for this road trip.

This road trip is perfect for travelers who want to visit the Smokies by car. Apart from must-see attractions in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the guide focuses on scenic driving roads scattered around the park. A combination of chicane-filled scenic drives plus awesome attractions to stop by and stretch your legs will make this road trip a great adventure in the east part of the US!

Unarguably, the best part of the year to visit the Smokies is during the magical Fall Foliage (mid-October to November). The weather is pleasant during the summer, though it is also the peak of the tourist season. Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during winter and spring to avoid the crowds.

5. The Ultimate Grand Teton & Yellowstone Itinerary By Car

Grand Prismatic Thermal Spring in Yellowstone National Park. The geothermal activity can be seen during our itinerary for Yellowstone & Grand Teton.
Thermal Spring in Yellowstone by WikilImages.

Starting point: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Finishing point: Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Driving distance: 430 miles (700 km)

Highlights: Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park

Best time of the year to visit: Spring, Fall

Click here for our itinerary!

During this road trip, you will see the following National Parks.

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Grand Teton National Park

Where is Yellowstone National Park?

Yellowstone National Park is located in the north-west tip of Wyoming, directly north of the Grand Teton National Park. For this road trip, it’s best to fly to Jackson Hole Airport, which is the only airport located inside a National Park in the country, and continue by car from there.

Alternatively, you can drive from a major city. Salt Lake City in Utah is around 5 hours away from Yellowstone National Park.

This road trip is an absolute must! Yellowstone is the oldest National Park, the most popular, and perhaps the best one to visit, too. What’s more, Grand Teton National Park is just a stone’s throw away! During this road trip, you can see both of these stunning parks.

As for extending this trip itinerary, consider adding a trip south to Utah. From there, you can easily drive over to Colorado or Nevada.

6. The Best Day Trips From Seattle For Nature Lovers

Mount Shuksan and its reflection in a crystal clear alpine lake seen in North Cascades National Park. The beautiful park is driving distance from Seattle, making for a perfect day trip from the city.
North Cascades by WikilImages

Starting point: Seattle, Washington

Finishing point: 3 beautiful National Parks, 1 National Monument, and a coastal scenic drive

Driving distance: 1300 miles (2100 km)

Highlights: Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park

Best time of the year to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Click here for our itinerary!

These are the National Parks you can expect to see on this trip.

  • Olympic National Park
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park

This travel guide isn’t exactly a traditional road trip itinerary. Instead, we showcased some spectacular natural sites all within driving distance from Seattle, Washington. That way, you can pick one or two of these destinations for a quick getaway from Seattle. Alternatively, you can simply drive between each of the points we’ve listed and turn it into one long road trip instead!

Washington State is home to some amazing natural beauty, Olympic National Park simply cannot be missed. A drive along the scenic North Cascades Highway deserves a spot on your bucket list, and seeing the alpine landscapes in Mount Rainier National Park is joyful for the entire family.

You can extend this Washington road trip and head to Yellowstone National Park over in Wyoming. The drive is a little over 11 hours, and you can stop by the Glacier National Park (Montana) along the way.

7. The Ultimate California Road Trip Itinerary

Large boulders and rock formations in Yosemite national Park seen through fog.
Yosemite photographed by Pexels

Starting point: Los Angeles, California

Finishing point: Los Angeles, California

Driving distance: 1800 miles (2900 km)

Highlights: Grand Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park, Golden Gate National Recreational Area

Best time of the year to visit: Spring, Summer, Fall

Click here for the road trip itinerary.

These are the must-see parks in California.

  • Yosemite
  • Sequoia National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Kings Canyon National Park

A lengthy California road trip sounds like the plot of a mediocre movie, though in reality, it is an absolutely unforgettable experience! Our itinerary for this trip stretches for nearly 2000 miles and loops from Los Angeles, passing the scenic Pacific Coast Highway, Monterey, San Francisco, Yosemite, Death Valley, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and more!

During this trip, you can take a small detour to see other national parks in California, like the Joshua Tree National Park or Kings Canyon National Park.

For a dramatic change of scenery, consider extending the trip further into Nevada, Utah, or even Colorado and Washington.

Bonus: The Great National Park Road Trip

If you’re the ultimate road tripper, you can combine all of the itineraries above and plan your epic road trip! That way, you’ll see over 20 different parks in total, scattered around the entire United States!

Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your next road trip online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

These Are The Best Day Trips from Seattle For Nature Lovers

We all need a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of a city as busy as Seattle, Washington. This blog post will cover the best day trips from Seattle, perfect for both locals and tourists visiting the area.

The 5 Best Day Trips From Seattle

Seattle is one of the most frequently visited cities in the United States. Many visitors stay within the city, overlooking some of the great attractions that are accessible just a drive away from town. These are the best day trips from Seattle.

Without further ado, let’s jump into each day trip idea!

Olympic National Park– Just 2 And A Half Hours Outside of Seattle

Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, Washington, United States of America. Spectacular rock formations on a dark, sandy beach
Photo by Roger Mosley

The Olympic National Park is one of the best parks in the entire nation, and an absolute must on a day trip from Seattle. Take note that the drive to this National Park is around 2 and a half hours one-way, though you can easily add an overnight stay around the park.

Before visiting the park, check the official website for any closures and safety alerts. The entrance fee, as of October 2020, is $30 per vehicle.

Note: If you love National Parks, check out this blog post where we showcase the 7 best National Park road trips!

What To See In Olympic National Park, Washington


The first stop on your drive from Seattle to the Olympic National Park will be Kalaloch, one of the most popular destinations within this park. Kalaloch Beach is a perfect spot to catch the sun rising or setting. If you’re lucky, you might spot some of the park’s diverse wildlife.

If you wish to stretch your legs after the drive from Seattle, hike the mile-long Kalaloch Nature Trail through the vibrant forest.

Don’t miss the spectacular Tree of Life, located near the Kalaloch Campground. The tree is alive despite its roots being clearly visible, creating a truly impressive sight.

Kalaloch is home to a campground, as well as the waterfront Kalaloch Lodge, where you can spend the night.

Ruby Beach

Before you head back inland, make a stop at Ruby Beach. This spot is a beach like no other. Instead of sunbathing or swimming in the ocean, travelers come here to admire the spectacular rock formations, photograph wildlife, and hike the nature trails.

Ruby Beach is worth at least a short stop on your day trip from Seattle.

Hoh Rain Forest

After a drive along the coast, turn right into Upper Hoh Road and drive into the vibrant rainforest. The winding road will take you to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, where you can pick up a comprehensive map ideal for your self-guided tour of the Olympic Park.

Hike along one of the trailheads and explore this lush forest. There are two pleasant hiking trails that form 1-mile loops around the forest: The Hall of Mosses (0.8 miles/1.3km) and The Spruce Nature Trail (1.2 miles/1.9km). If you’re down for a longer stroll, hike The Hoh River Trail which is over 17 miles long (27.4km) in total.

Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is a perfect destination in the Olympic National Park, where you can observe the breathtaking force of the ocean. Waves crash against the coastal rocks, putting on a spectacular show to admire.

Don’t miss the Hole In The Wall, this location is perfect for exploring tide pools and makes a great photo opportunity. Beware of high tides, as the area may quickly become accessible. Click here for details.

Lake Crescent

This deep-blue lake, carved by a glacier, is another incredible spot at this National Park. It’s a perfect getaway, located just west of Seattle.

During the summer and autumn, travelers can rent a canoe and explore the lake on their own. There are different hiking trails that you can hike to take in the serene vibe of this part of the park.

Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge is yet another must-see during a day trip from Seattle. Drive down the Hurricane Ridge Road to get here. Leave your car and admire the panoramic views. Afterall, Hurricane Ridge is the most accessible mountain area in the park.

During the glorious winter season, you can enjoy snowshoeing or skiing. You can get more information about the winter activities and equipment rental right here.

Note that Hurricane Ridge Road is only open on weekends during the winter (if the weather permits it), and all-week during the summer season. Consult the park’s website for information on current closures.

Mount Rainier National Park– Under 2 Hours From Seattle

Reflection of snow-covered Mount Rainier seen in crystal-clear alpine lake surrounded by tall, green trees. Washington State
Photo by Skeeze

Mount Rainier National Park is another must-visit destination, ideal for day trips from Seattle. The park is located just south of Seattle. Mount Rainier is the tallest mountain in all of Washington State.

Check for any closures and safety alerts on the park’s official website. The admission fee costs $30 per vehicle.

What To See At Mount Rainier National Park


Take the scenic chicane-filled Paradise Valley Road until you reach Paradise. As the name suggests, this area looks straight out of a fairytale. Expect truly spectacular scenery, including tall waterfalls and wildflower meadows. Take in the view at Inspiration Point, this pullout offers amazing mountain views.

Rental Moose mascot sitting happily on a wooden bench overlooking the forest in Washington, United States. See Mount Rainier with the best Seattle day trips with Rentalmoose

You can pop by the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center and pick up a comprehensive pamphlet to learn more about the park.

This part of the park is home to exciting hiking trails, such as Nisqually Vista Trail, Alta Vista Trail, or Pinnacle Peak.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Drive up to the Reflection Lake and take the perfect photo, capturing the mountain’s reflection in the deep-blue water. Remember to post your photos online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car!

Grove of The Patriarchs Trail

This fascinating 1-mile (1.6 km) trailhead will take you to a fairytale-like island, via a fun swinging suspension bridge. Once on the island, travelers are surrounded by thousand-year-old Douglas fir trees.

The grove is easily accessible, perhaps the easiest hike in the entire national park. Don’t miss it on your day trip!

Silver Falls Trail

The Trail to Silver Falls is a moderate, 3-mile (4.8km) loop ideal for an afternoon stroll. The total duration to cover this loop is around 2 hours, the easy hike is child-friendly and perfect for a family adventure.

What’s more, you will also see natural hot springs when hiking along this trail. After the hike, feel free to pop by the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center to learn more about the area.

North Cascades National Park– One Of The Most Popular Day Trips in Washington

North Cascades National Park, beautiful autumn colors on green hills, alpine lakes and snow-covered mountains in the distance.
Photo by E. Thorsen

The North Cascades National Park is widely regarded as one of the best National Parks you can visit in this part of the United States. It is just 2 hours away from Seattle, making it the perfect destination for one of your day trips from Seattle.

You can easily spend one day crossing this scenic park by car, stopping at different overlooks, and completing a few hikes.

Before visiting the park, make sure to double-check the current safety alerts and closures on the official website. North Cascades can be visited free of charge!

Things To Do in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades Highway Scenic Drive

Enter the park via the scenic North Cascades Highway. Expect wonderful panoramic views during this 30-mile (50km) drive, scattered with pullouts and overlooks where you can stop by to take in this wonderland. Pretty much all of the park’s attractions are situated along this drive.

If you’re short on time, make sure to at least see Diablo Lake from the Diablo Lake Vista Point.

Sterling Munro Trail

This trailhead is the perfect chance to get an unobstructed view of the impressive mountains. Trust me, the views are simply unbeatable!

The 300-foot long (90 meters) boardwalk is worth at least a short visit. Its easy accessibility makes it perfect for the entire family.

What’s more, you can pop by the North Cascades Visitor Center which is right at the beginning of the trail.

Diablo Lake Vista Point

The Diablo Lake Vista Point is unarguably one of the prettiest sights in the entire park, you simply have to see it on your day trip from Seattle. The picturesque Diablo Lake is known for its unique, nearly turquoise shade of water. It makes for a perfect photo opportunity, with the enormous mountains as a backdrop.

Ross Lake Overlook

The point that overlooks Ross Lake may not be as impressive as the one overlooking Diablo Lake, though it is still worth at least a short peek. This overlook is located right on the North Cascades Highway, no detour required.

Rainy Lake

Continue further down the North Cascades Highway and stop at the Rainy Pass car park. Leave your car here and follow the 2-mile (3.2km) paved trailhead to enjoy a perfect view of the serene Rainy Lake.

Take note that you need to be a Northwest Forest Pass holder to hike down this trail. It is sold for $5 at the trailhead.

Washington Pass Observation Point

The final must-see in the North Cascades during your Washington day trip is the Washington Pass Overlook. You can admire the view as Highway 20 twirls around the monstrous Liberty Bell Mountain. It is the perfect sight to take in before heading back to Seattle.

Mount Saint Helens National Monument

Mount Saint Helens National Monument, erupted back in the 1980s causing enormous damage to the state of Washington. Snow covered mountain seen during sunset on a clear day
Source: Public Domain Pictures

Mount Saint Helens is a volcanic site, infamous for its eruption back in May 1980. This eruption, the most catastrophic in US history, claimed 57 lives and ruined hundreds of homes.

Things To Do At Mount St. Helens

Mount St. Helens Visitor Center

Before heading to see the Volcanic Monument itself, be sure to pay a visit to the Visitor Center located in Silver Lake. Inside, you can learn about the history of the mountain, and the terrible effects of its eruption.

You can check the opening hours and the admission fee on this website.

Coldwater Lake

Coldwater Lake is a fun recreational area at the foot of Mount St. Helens. During the summer season, visitors can enjoy canoeing on the waters, or go for a picnic at one of the tables near the parking area.

If you wish to stretch your legs after the 3-hour drive from Seattle, hike down the Birth of A Lake. The 0.6 miles (1km) trail is easily accessible and opens up to panoramic views of the lake.

Windy Ridge Viewpoint

Don’t miss the Windy Ridge Viewpoint during your day trip from Seattle. From here, visitors can get a true sense of the scale of the volcano’s eruption. This eerie sight, although beautiful, is a chilling reminder of what nature is capable of.

The access road to Windy Ridge Viewpoint is closed in winter.

Chuckanut Scenic Drive– A Byway An Hour Away From Seattle

View of the Pacific Ocean seen from Chuckanut in the northern part of Washington State. Chuckanut is famous for its scenic coastal drive
Photo by E. Thorsen

The Chuckanut Scenic Drive is a Scenic Byway less than 90 minutes north of Seattle, and it is the perfect destination for day trips from Seattle. It is the only spot where the Cascades meet the ocean, providing some spectacular natural beauty.

Oyster Dome Trailhead

One of the must-see stops on this coastal drive is the beginning of the Oyster Dome trail. This scenic hike will take you up to the Samish Overlook, where you can admire the perfect views from an elevated perspective. On a clear day, you should be able to see San Juan Island!

Larrabee State Park

Pass the town of Chuckanut and turn right into the Larrabee State Park, Washington’s first-ever State Park. This area is known among locals for its great hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and shellfish harvesting. Off the coast, the waters are a popular dive spot.


The scenic drive finishes in the cute town of Bellingham, which is another must-see during a day trip from Seattle. This small town is the northernmost city in the United States (excluding Alaska, of course). Pop by the town and peek inside its local museum, shops, or head for lunch to one of the cozy restaurants.

Bonus- Rent A Car In Seattle

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure. On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

The Ultimate Grand Teton & Yellowstone Itinerary by Car

This road trip itinerary will take you around Yellowstone as well as Grand Teton. Explore what could very well be North America’s most picturesque National Parks. Explore both parks with our insightful Yellowstone itinerary by car.

Before You Go

What is the best time to visit Yellowstone National Park?

This National Park is open all year long, and the best time to go to Yellowstone largely depends on what you would like to see in the park.

If you visit the park during the Summer (June-August), expect the hottest weather and hordes of tourists. You can catch a glimpse of the Summer’s weather when visiting during the shoulder season (right before June and directly after August).

The weather is milder during Spring and Fall, and there are fewer tourists around the park. Most of the seasonal attractions close down around the end of October.

Yellowstone is magical during the Winter. Do expect, however, that you will have to alter your itinerary as some of the attractions and roads will be inaccessible. What’s more, only the North and Northeast entrances operate during the winter.

On the other hand, you can enjoy seasonal activities such as snowshoeing or snowmobiling. Old Faithful Snow Lodge & Cabins, and the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel are the only two lodges open during winter.

What is the closest airport to Yellowstone National Park?

If you’re flying in from within the United States, arrive at the Jackson Hole Airport, located only around an hour away from Yellowstone. As this is a small airport, international visitors can try flying into Salt Lake City in Utah. The drive is around 5 hours one-way.

Road Trip Extension to Utah

If you’re a fan of Yellowstone and national park itineraries in general, consider extending your trip further into Utah. You can see more of the country’s best National Parks, such as Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Arches.

Click here for our itinerary.

Without further ado, let’s dive into our Grand Teton and Yellowstone itinerary by car!

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton national park seen from Snake River. Beautiful summer day, tall trees and deep blue river, teton is covered by clouds.
Photo by Klaus Stebani

Welcome to one of the most spectacular parts of the United States! Your Yellowstone road trip begins in Grand Teton. Spend at least a day here before continuing on to Yellowstone, and feel free to extend the itinerary to spend some more time in this park.

Getting to Grand Teton

For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from Jackson Hole Airport as you arrive. Jackson Hole Airport (JAC) is the nearest airport to Yellowstone, it is located within the Grand Teton National Park.

If you can’t find flights to Jackson Hole, try flying into Salt Lake City in Utah and driving over from there.  The drive from Salt Lake City to Grand Teton will take you below 5 hours.

Did you know that Jackson Hole Airport is the only airport located within a National Park?

Grand Teton National Park has an admission fee of $35 per vehicle. The entry is valid for 7 consecutive days. Consult the park’s website for information on current closures and safety alerts.

What are the best things to do in Grand Teton National Park?

The following attractions are the absolute must-see on your Yellowstone itinerary!

Jackson Hole Aerial Tram

Before diving into the heart of this National Park, drive over to the Teton Village right outside of the park. This resort is home to great eateries, lodging, and equipment rentals. During the winter season, grab a pair of skis and rush down the slopes.

No matter what time of the year you’re here, a trip up to Rendezvous Peak is an absolute must. Take the Jackson Hole Aerial Tram up to the peak, where you can admire panoramic views from what seems like the top of the world.  At the top, a portion of hot waffles served at Corbet’s Cabin is not to be missed, either.

Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center

Begin your tour of the Grand Teton National Park with a visit to the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Inside, you can pick up a pamphlet with the park’s trailheads, obtain a boating permit, or enjoy the screening of a video showcasing the park.

You can go on a program led by one of the park’s rangers, click here for details.

Note that the Center is closed between November and March.

Menor’s Ferry Historic District

Another must when in Grand Teton is a trip to Menor’s Ferry Historic District, just a few hundred yards north of Moose. Hike the .5 mile (800 meters) trailhead for an authentic look back at the early days of Jackson Hole, homesteading, and a replica of the ferry that crossed the Snake River back in the early 1900s.

Pay a visit to the Chapel of the Transfiguration, a wooden Chapel with the Grand Teton serving as its spectacular backdrop.

Check out more details on the Menor’s Ferry Historic District on the park’s official website.

Mormon Row Historic District

Before heading further north into the park, stop at the Mormon Row Historic District, just minutes away from Menor’s Ferry Historic District. This settlement dates back to the 1890s when Mormons established nearly 30 homesteads in the area.

Today,  the Moulton Barns, as well as the Chambers homestead, are adored by both tourists and photographers. Read more about their history here.

Wooden barn in Mormon Row Historic District, part of the attractions at Grand Teton national park. The barn is illuminated by the setting sun, grand tetons can be seen in the distance
Photo by Mike Goad

Taggart Lake Trailhead

The Taggart Lake Trailhead is a moderate, 3-mile (4.8km) hike to the shore of a crystal-clear alpine lake, with the Teton Range as a breathtaking backdrop.  The trail begins right by Teton Park Road. A convenient car park makes it hard to miss, too.

Hikers should dedicate between 1 and 2 hours to complete this trail.

This trailhead is open year-round.

Amphitheater Lake Trail

Anyone looking for a longer hike should definitely consider the 9-mile (14.5 kilometers) Amphitheater Lake Trail. At the end of the trail, you will be rewarded with the Amphitheater and Surprise Lakes.

If you still want to continue further, hike beyond the two lakes all the way up to Disappointment peak. Don’t be fooled by the name, the panoramic views from here are nothing short of amazing!

Jenny Lake

Continue along the Teton Park Road and turn left into the Jenny Lake complex.  Depending on the weather, guests can boat the lake’s crystal-clear waters, swim, and fish.

If you’re up for a long hike, consider the 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) Jenny Lake Trailhead that loops around the lake. That way, you’ll get unobstructed views of the Cascade Canyon, Storm Point, and Symmetry Spire. The hike is easy to complete, despite its length.

Hike up to Hidden Falls, the trailhead is around 2.5 miles round-trip (4 kilometers). Follow the Jenny Lake Trail and turn left into the Cascade Canyon Trailhead. Alternatively, you can use the seasonal boat shuttle. The departure dock is practically by the car park.

hiking trail next to Jenny Lake. Cloudy day in grand teton national park, the grand tetons can be seen in the distance behind a green hill.
Photo by Laserdad

Signal Mountain

If you’re a fan of scenic, chicane-filled driving roads, the road up to the peak of Signal Mountain is definitely the perfect pick for you. As you continue along Teton Park Road north of Jenny Lake, turn right into Signal Mountain Road. At the peak, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Tetons.

Signal Mountain Road remains closed during winter.

Where to stay at Grand Teton National Park?

Jackson Lake Lodge

If you want to stay in the heart of the Grand Teton National Park, consider booking a room or cabin at the upscale Jackson Lake Lodge. The property is located just 20 miles (32 kilometers) south of Yellowstone National Park. Some of the local activities include horseback tours, rafting, and a heated outdoor pool.

Colter Bay Tent Village

Traveling on a tighter budget? Consider spending the night at the Tent Village inside Colter Bay. This property features rustic tent cabins at an affordable price.

Camping in Grand Teton National Park in 2021

It is finally say goodbye to the first come, first serve rule in campgrounds around Grand Teton!

Starting on the 26th of January 2021, you will be able to book campgrounds online via the recreation.gov website.

That way, travelers will have a guaranteed spot at the campground when visiting Grand Teton National Park in the 2021 season.

Online reservations will be available between the 26th of January up to the 26th of July, 2021. Afterward, the time frame will be updated for the next six months of the year.

Travelers will be able to book the following campgrounds online:

  • Signal Mountain
  • Gros Ventre
  • Colter Bay
  • Lizard Creek
  • Jenny Lake
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After a visit to Grnad Teton, it’s time to explore Yellowstone.

Next on your Yellowstone itinerary by car: Yellowstone National Park, 10 minutes

Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Geothermal hot spring in magical blue, green, yellow and red colors. Sunny day in yellowstone national park in wyoming
Photo by Mike Goad

After spending at least a couple of days exploring the Tetons, it’s time to visit Yellowstone! This spectacular park is famous around the world, it is America’s first National Park and the most popular attraction in all of Wyoming.

You will drive into the park through the Yellowstone South Entrance.

The entry to Yellowstone, as of October 2020, is $35 per vehicle. The admission pass is valid for 7 consecutive days.

Click here to learn about current closures and safety alerts within Yellowstone.

What are the best things to do in Yellowstone?

Old Faithful

Old Faithful is undoubtedly the first thing many travelers have in mind when they think of Yellowstone. The spectacular geyser attracts countless tourists every year, and seeing its eruption is an absolute must on any Yellowstone trip.

How often does Old Faithful erupt?

Old Faithful Geyser erupting, spectators are observing on the wooden boardwalk. Trees in the background and overcast weather, cloudy day in yellowstone national park.
Photo by Mike Goad

This geyser erupts on a surprisingly predictable schedule. The Old Faithful erupts every 90 minutes, on average.  Each eruption typically lasts around 4 minutes. You can check when the next predicted eruption will take place right here.

To view the famous eruption, you can either sit down at the boardwalk near the geyser or hike up to the viewing area across the Firehole River. The elevated viewing area at the end of the Observation Point Trail tends to be less-visited by tourists than the accessible boardwalk, hike there if you wish to avoid the crowds.

Alternatively, you can walk inside Old Faithful Inn and wait for the eruption while enjoying a refreshing drink. You can spend the night at the cozy Old Faithful Inn if you wish. Click here for details on Old Faithful Lodge.

Upper Geyser Basin

Old Faithful may be the world’s most famous geyser, but the Upper Geyser Basin nearby deserves some credit, too! The area is made up of over 150 geothermal features, all of which can be seen from the wooden boardwalk. The stroll will take you up to two hours to complete. If you’re lucky, you might catch the Castle Geyser’s eruption. It only occurs up to two times per day!

Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

After a stroll around the Upper Geyser Basin, drive North until you see the Fairy Falls parking lot to your left. Follow the Fairy Falls Trail until you reach the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, and admire the unbeatable views of the hot springs. The round-trip hike will take you less than an hour to complete.

Fairy Falls

Once you’re at the Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, continue hiking the trail until you reach Fairy Falls, the largest waterfalls in Yellowstone. This moderate hike is around 5 and a half miles, or 8.9 kilometers, round trip.

Midway Geyser Basin

Leave Fairy Falls and turn into the Grand Prismatic Spring parking lot just a few hundred yards down the road. Drop your car off and continue on foot.

Explore the Midway Geyser Basin via the wooden boardwalk. Don’t miss the iconic Grand Prismatic Spring, this hot spring is an absolute highlight of Yellowstone. There are smaller hot springs worth taking a look at, too, such as the Opal Pool, the Turquoise Pool, and the Excelsior Geyser. The scenic hike will take you around an hour to complete.

Norris Geyser Basin

As you continue through Yellowstone National Park, be sure to stop by at the Norris Geyser Basin. This is yet another hotspot of geysers and hot springs. If you’re lucky, you might see the eruption of the unpredictable Steamboat Geyser. This is the world’s tallest active geyser, it can erupt over 300 feet (90 meters) in the air!

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs is another must-see during your Yellowstone road trip. The complex is located at the north tip of the park, in the town of Mammoth.

Stroll down the boardwalk and enjoy the viewpoints, or go for a longer hike along the Beaver Ponds Trail.

Mammoth hot springs, water dripping from the top and large mountains in the distance. beautiful spot in yellowstone national park in wyoming
Photo by Holtzter

Boiling River Hot Springs

The Boiling River Hot Springs is a popular swimming spot, located just north of Mammoth Hot Springs. The hot springs enter the river, giving the water a pleasant, enjoyable temperature. Go for a dip!

You can drop your car off at the roadside parking lot.

Lamar Valley

After a dip in the hot spring (if the weather allows it, that is), drive towards the northeast entrance. After roughly one hour behind the wheel, you will reach the large Lamar Valley. This seemingly endless valley is the best place to spot wildlife in the park, it simply has to make an appearance on your Yellowstone itinerary. The best time of day to visit Lamar Valley is directly after sunrise and right before sunset.

What kind of wildlife can you see in Lamar Valley? There are countless opportunities to see the following animals around the valley, get your camera ready!

  • bison
  • bear
  • coyotes
  • wolves
  • elk
  • pronghorn

If you have the time, drive down the valley all the way until the Northeast entrance to Yellowstone for the absolutely best views.

Dunraven Pass

As you make your way back towards Mammoth, turn right onto the scenic Dunraven Pass. This great driving road will open up to absolutely otherworldly views of Yellowstone. What’s more, there are lots of opportunities to stop and take in the view. Simply take a break at one of the many overlooks and admire the scenery.

Note that the Dunraven Pass remains closed during winter.

Grand Canyon of The Yellowstone

We’ve all heard of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, but did you know that you can find a spectacular canyon in this National Park? It’s another must when visiting Yellowstone.

First, drive along the one-way North Rim Drive. There are great viewing points along this part of the canyon, including:

  • Brink of The Lower Falls
  • Lower Lookout Point
  • Lookout Point
  • Grand View
  • Inspiration Point

If you have the extra time, consider dropping your car off at the car park and hiking between each viewing point. Alternatively, you can get around the North Rim Drive by car. If you’re short on time, prioritize seeing the Brink of The Lower Falls, as it’s arguably the best point.

Next, make your way to the South Rim of the canyon. These are the viewpoints along South Rim Drive:

  • Upper Falls View
  • Uncle Tom’s Trail
  • Artist Point

If you’re short on time, be sure to at least visit Artist Point to get a great perspective on the Grand Canyon. Spend some more time by the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and spend the night in one of the lodges in the Canyon Village.

beautiful dramatic landscape at Grand Canyon of the yellowstone. Yellowstone river in the bottom, and tall canyon surrounding it. Sunny day in Wyoming
Photo by Skeeze

Hayden Valley

As you head towards Lake Yellowstone, stop by at the picturesque Hayden Valley. Much like Lamar Valley, Hayden Valley is the perfect place to encounter wildlife. Do keep in mind that Hayden Valley tends to be more crowded than Lamar Valley, as it’s closer to the center of the park.

Don’t be surprised if you get stuck in a traffic jam, bison love crossing the road and jamming it!

West Thumb Geyser Basin

The final must-see spot in Yellowstone National Park is the West Thumb Geyser Basin, located at the foot of Yellowstone Lake.  This complex of geysers is famous for its gorgeous backdrop: Lake Yellowstone. Any trip to Yellowstone wouldn’t possibly be complete without a visit here!

Stroll along the wooden boardwalk and admire the geothermal activity right next to the large lake.

Where to stay in Yellowstone?

There are a total of 9 different lodges within Yellowstone National Park. Continue reading to find out the best places to stay in Yellowstone National Park.

Old Faithful Inn

If you are willing to splash out on the best accommodation in Yellowstone, check-in at the Old Faithful Inn. It’s located right by the Old Faithful area and offers cozy rooms with private bathrooms. Click here for more details on this property.

Once you get hungry, you can head to the famous Old Faithful Inn Dining Room.

Wooden interior of the Old Faithful Inn. The beautiful lodge is expensive and has rooms that offer a view of old faithful geyser, here in yellowstone national park in wyoming
Photo by Steppinstars

WorldMark West Yellowstone

If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, consider staying outside of Yellowstone National Park. The pricing for accommodation within the park can get crazy, especially during peak season, and it is not always worth the hefty price tags. WorldMark West Yellowstone is a cozy property that features well-equipped rooms, an indoor pool, and various activities.

A car park is available free of charge.

Don’t have a car you can take on a road trip? No problem!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next adventure.

On our platform, you can find the top rental companies at the best price, along with tens of curated travel guides around the globe. Get your car from Rentalmoose!

We plant a tree for every booking made with our platform.

Post your pictures from your Grand Teton & Yellowstone itinerary by car and tag #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

The Ultimate Nevada Road Trip Itinerary

This travel guide will take you on a journey across the best places to visit in Nevada, United States. The 1200-mile road trip will take you to Las Vegas, The Great Basin National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Yosemite National Park. You’ll also see some of the area’s less-popular, yet equally beautiful State Parks. Check out our ultimate Nevada road trip itinerary!

Before you go: What are the must-see National Parks in the west US?

The West of the US is home to nearly 30 different National Parks. You can find the most parks around California, Utah, and Nevada. Some of the best National Parks on the West side of the US include:

Are you a fan of National Parks?

National Park lovers should definitely take a look at this blog post, where we list out the 7 best National Park road trips you need to add to your bucket list next year!

Road Trip Extension to Utah’s National & State Parks

Why not extend your road trip to see even more spectacular National and State Parks? Utah is home to some otherworldly parks, such as Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Arches. Click here to check out our road trip itinerary around Utah’s best national parks and extend your road trip further!

Road Trip Extension to Arizona and The Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon National Park is an absolute must-see for any tourist visiting this part of the US. Click here to check out our curated travel guide to The Grand Canyon National Park and extend your road trip further!

Las Vegas

scenic driving road next to lake mead recreational area, on the outskirts of Las Vegas Nevada.
Lake Mead, right outside of the city. Photo by Esudroff

Your National Park Road Trip begins in Las Vegas, dubbed the Sin City. For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly from the McCarran International Airport. Find the perfect rental car for this road trip via our online platform.

What is Las Vegas known for?

The unarguable highlight of Las Vegas is the city’s countless casinos, extravagant resorts, and vivid entertainment venues. If you’re looking for the best nightlife in Vegas, take a look at this travel guide. As this road trip itinerary is made especially for nature lovers, we’ll skip out on the city’s craze and instead focus on the spectacular natural beauty around Las Vegas.

Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument

The Tule Springs Fossil Beds is a spectacular site just north of Las Vegas. The area, once home to mammoths, camels, and lions, is a fresh addition to the list of the American National Monuments. In fact, it was recognized as a National Monument in 2014.

As the park has only been open for a couple of years, there is no visitor center and the facilities are rather limited. You can leave your car by the side of the road and reach the monument on foot. On the other hand, admission is free of charge.

The Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument is open between sunrise and sunset from Monday through Sunday, 365 days a year.

You can find more details on the park at the official website.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area

Lake Mead is an artificial reservoir that was America’s first-ever National Recreation Area. It is only about 25 miles out of the center of Las Vegas, and is definitely worth the slight detour!

This National Park is packed with fun attractions to spend the day (and night!). You can hike around the massive slot canyons, swim in the clear waters, or get a different perspective during a boat tour of the lake. After dusk falls, the night skies are ideal for stargazing.

When in Lake Mead, you can’t skip the iconic Hoover Dam!

Consider spending the night at one of the local campgrounds. Keep in mind that there is no reservation system, spots are subject to a first-come, first-serve availability.

You can learn more about Lake Mead and its local attractions on the park’s official website.

An entrance pass to Lake Mead costs $25 per vehicle, it is valid from 7 days from the date of purchase.

Rentalmoose insider tip: be sure to see the Valley of Fire State Park, located pretty much right after the Lake Mead park. Alternatively, you can drive through both of these parks on your way back to Las Vegas from the Cathedral Gorge State Park.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon is perhaps the favorite local escape from the Las Vegas craze. On top of tens of various hiking trails, Red Rock Canyon is known for its spectacular 13-mile-long Scenic Drive. Scenic driving roads are the highlight of any proper road trip, and this is no exception.

The stunning Scenic Drive is open all year from 6 AM until the late afternoon. A 1-day entry pass costs $15 per vehicle.

Learn more about the Red Rock Canyon on the park’s website.

Where to stay in Las Vegas?

Within Las Vegas itself, the majority of the extravagant resorts, casinos, and restaurants have reopened since the COVID-19 outbreak. Room rates for the city’s iconic hotels are still lower than last year, this could be the perfect time to try out a 5-star resort that would usually be out of the budget.

The Venetian

Consider booking a room at the lavish 5-star Venetian Hotel, right on the famous Las Vegas Strip. The resort is full of attractions, including a casino, an outdoor pool, restaurants, as well as spacious rooms and suites.

Flamingo Las Vegas

Staying along the world-class Las Vegas strip does not have to break the bank, and the 3-star Flamingo Hotel proves it. The renovated hotel is situated between lavish resorts, yet the rooms here are available for a fraction of the price. Some of the amenities include a variety of restaurants, an outdoor pool, and a spa.

Next on your Nevada road trip: Death Valley, 2 hours

Death Valley

Death Valley National Park, wonderful rock formations and otherworldly scenery seen from an outlook at Artists Drive. Drive down the scenic drives in Death Valley on our Nevada road trip.
View from Artists Drive.

Head towards California, leaving behind the lively city of Las Vegas. After roughly 2 hours behind the wheel, you will arrive at the Death Valley National Park.

Admission to the Death Valley National Park will cost you $25 per vehicle (with unlimited re-entry). The pass is valid for 7 days from the date of purchase. Consult the park’s official website for details and local alerts.

What is there to do in Death Valley?

Badwater Basin

Once you’re inside the National Park, be sure to stop by the famous Badwater Basin. The giant salt flat spans across the horizon, it is also one of the hottest spots in all of the United States! Be sure to stay hydrated, it is not recommended to stay in the Basin for too long during the hottest months.

Artists Drive

Artists Drive is a spectacular one-way scenic driving road. The drive is around 9 miles long and takes below 30 minutes to complete. The panoramic views along the way make Artists Drive an absolute must-see when visiting Death Valley.

Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point is the most popular lookout in the park, be sure to drop by when driving around Death Valley. For the best views and absolutely magical experience, come here during sunrise or sunset.

Ubehebe Crater

Drive up to the Ubehebe crater located in the Northern part of Death Valley National Park. Admire the views from the car park, you can even walk around the rim of the crater during the winter months. The drive up to the crater itself is an attraction on its own, as well.

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

Drive up the scenic Emigrant Canyon Road. At the end of the road, at around 5000 feet (1500 meters) above sea level, you will find a complex of 10 charcoal kilns. These are believed to be the best-preserved examples of such kilns in this part of the country. Charcoal kilns aside, the drive up the mountain will provide unbeatable views, too.

Rainbow Canyon

As you drive across Death Valley National Park, be sure to stop at the Father Crowley Overlook. Leave your car at the car park and admire a panoramic view of the Rainbow Canyon. If you’re lucky, you might see low-flying fighter jets, as the area is frequently used for military training.

Next on your Nevada road trip: Yosemite National Park, 3 hours

Yosemite National Park

green pinetrees and small river with grand boulders in the background. The scenic beauty of Yosemite Valley in California attracts thousands of tourists every day.

Leave Death Valley behind and continue North towards Yosemite. Death Valley is around 3 hours away by car from Yosemite National Park, and it is the third stop on your road trip itinerary.

Is Yosemite open?

YES! From the 1st of March onwards, reservations are no longer required to enter Yosemite National Park! Find out more about visiting Yosemite during COVID-19 right here.

Can you drive within Yosemite?

Yosemite National Park can be accessed by private vehicles, making it the perfect park to see during a road trip. However, some of the roads can remain closed during winter. Consult the park’s website for current closures.

How much does it cost to go to Yosemite?

As of 2021, the admission cost to enter Yosemite National Park is $35 per vehicle. An admission ticket is valid for 7 days from purchase, with unlimited re-entries.

What to see at Yosemite National Park?

Although there are tens, if not hundreds, of beautiful spots worth visiting in Yosemite, we have listed the major must-see attractions below. Be sure not to miss these activities during your road trip to Yosemite National Park!

Tuolumne Meadows

Once you enter Yosemite National Park, make sure to pay a visit to the Tuolumne Meadows. This peaceful Highland is home to wonderful, moderate hiking trails.

You can learn about the local history at the Parsons Memorial Lodge, right by the Pacific Crest Trail.

Keep in mind that Tuolumne Meadows is only accessible between June and October.

El Capitan

Next, drive to the heart of the Yosemite Valley. Stop by the El Capitan Meadows and photograph El Capitan, the world’s largest granite monolith.

Take a pair of binoculars and try to spot rock climbers as they try to reach the top of El Capitan. Travelers can stretch their legs and enjoy a hike along the El Capitan trail. Afterward, you can enjoy a picnic at the El Capitan Picnic Area just off Northside Drive.

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls are divided into the Upper, Middle, and Lower waterfalls. The three waterfalls combined make up the highest waterfall in all of North America, spanning a whopping 2425 feet (739 meters).

If you’re a beginner hiker, be sure to stroll around the easily-accessible Lower Falls. Advanced hikers can take the advanced trailhead to reach the Upper Falls.

When visiting Yosemite Falls during Spring and early Summer, be sure to take rain gear and dress appropriately.

Half Dome

The Half Dome is perhaps the most famous landmark in Yosemite and an absolute must-see on any road trip to this National Park.

Travelers can admire the Half Dome during a hike down to Mirror Lake, the trailhead begins by the Yosemite Valley Stables by the Merced River.

If you’re an experienced hiker, you can hike along the hard Half Dome Trailhead. Note that a permit is required to access the trailhead, it is recommended only for highly-advanced hikers.

Glacier Point

Before leaving Yosemite National Park, be sure to drive up to Glacier Point. Drive down Wawona Road, leaving behind Yosemite Valley (don’t worry, you’ll pass it again on your way out of the park!). Then, turn left into Glacier Point Road. Drive until you reach the end of the road.

Glacier Point will provide you with unbeatable views of Yosemite Valley, more than 7000 feet above sea level. For the most magical experience, consider heading to the overlook during sunset.

Keep in mind that Glacier Point Road, the only way to access the overlook by car, remains closed during winter. What’s more, the drive will be closed to all traffic in 2021 and the only way to access the overlook will be via hard trailheads, such as the Four Mile Trail.

Consult the park’s official website for current closures.

Wawona Tunnel

As you return back from Glacier Point, enjoy the view as you pass the Wawona Tunnel. The scenic Wawona Tunnel opens up to panoramic views of Yosemite Valley. You can stop by the Wawona Tunnel View to enjoy the view, it’s located right by the exit of the tunnel.

The Ahwahnee Dining Room

A day of exploring Yosemite National Park will surely make you hungry. Don’t miss the grand Dining Room located in the famous Ahwahnee Lodge. Movie fans might find this lodge familiar, as the monumental interior of the Ahwahnee inspired Stanley Kubrick when creating The Shining’s Overlook Hotel.

The Dining Room is open all year long for breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. Despite suspending tableside service, guests can still enjoy their delicious meals while admiring panoramic views of the Valley.

Click here for details on the Dining Room.

The Ahwahnee

Before setting off back to Nevada, consider spending the night in Yosemite National Park. You can’t go wrong with the iconic Ahwahnee. Enjoy cozy rooms with unbeatable views, as well as luxurious facilities such as a heated pool and legendary dining at the Dining Room.

Next on your Nevada road trip: Lunar Crater, 5 hours 30 minutes

Lunar Crater

Nevada is famous for empty, deserted roads. Empty two-lane road in the middle of nowhere, red rocks in the distance. Nevada, USA
Photo by Esudroff

Leave Yosemite National Park and drive back to Nevada. Although the next National Park on this road trip is the Great Basin, around 7 hours from Yosemite, there are lots of cool spots around Nevada worth dropping by along the way.

Detour to Goldfield

You can make a small detour and head south from the town of Tonopah. Continue driving for around half an hour until you reach Goldfield. This small town is home to quirky attractions, such as the International Car Forest.

Enjoy a refreshment at the Santa Fe Saloon in Goldfield, the town’s oldest continuously-run business. It has been welcoming guests since 1905!

Nevada’s Lunar Crater

The Lunar Crater was first recognized as a National Natural Landmark back in 1973. Turn right off of the US-6 and follow the dirt road that will take you around the crater.

The crater is 430 feet (130 meters) deep and makes a cool sight to see. Perhaps it’s not as impressive as the Yosemite Valley, but it can make a great addition to your National Park road trip.

For the best views, stop at the elevated overlook along the east rim of the crater.

The drive to Great Basin National Park is around 3 hours. If you’re tired, consider spending the night at Lane’s Ranch Motel by Preston. There isn’t much of a choice, as the cozy 3-star motel is essentially the only hotel in the area. Click here for directions.

Next on your Nevada road trip: Great Basin National Park, 2 hours 50 minutes

Great Basin National Park

Skygazing at the clear skies in Great Basin National Park, Nevada. Milkyway can clearly be seen as the sky remains free of light pollution
Great Basin is a great destination for skygazing, photo by Skeeze

The last major stop before heading back to the south of Nevada is the spectacular Great Basin National Park, an absolute must during your Nevada road trip. The Great Basin provides a dramatic change of scenery compared to the rest of Nevada.

The entrance to the Great Basin National Park is free of charge. However, do note that some activities within the park may require a special permit. Admission to the Lehman Caves is not free of charge, either.

What to do in Great Basin National Park?

Lehman Cave Tours

Once you drive into the Great Basin National Park, be sure to stop at the Lehman Caves. Admire impressive rock formations while strolling around two natural caves within the complex.

You can enjoy a tour of the two caves guided by the park rangers. Check the park’s website for information on ticketing and the opening hours. The cave tours are available year-round.

Keep in mind that the temperature in the cave is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Dress appropriately. Admission to the Lehman Caves is not free of charge.

Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive

The route to Wheeler peak is yet another Scenic Drive during this road trip to national parks. This wonderful road stretches for 12 miles and will take you up to the majority of the attractions in this national park.

Drop by Mather Overlook, a viewpoint around halfway up the road, for a great photo opportunity. Don’t forget to post your photos online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car for your next trip!

Note that the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is closed during Winter. Consult the park’s official website for current closures and other safety alerts.

Once you reach the end of the drive, drop your car off at the Bristlecone Parking Lot and continue exploring on foot!

Alpine Lakes Trailhead

Drop off your car at the car park and follow the Alpine Lakes Trailhead. The trail forms a 2.7 mile (4.4km) loop, passing two pristine Alpine lakes: Stella Lake and Teresa Lake. What’s more, the trail offers panoramic views of Wheeler Peak for that perfect photo from your road trip.

Bristlecone Trailhead

Before heading back to your car, hike up the Bristlecone Trail. This trailhead is famous and an absolute must-see during your visit to the Great Basin National Park.

When following the Bristlecone Trail, you will stumble upon the oldest organisms on Earth. Bristlecone pines are significant trees that can be found in this part of the park, they date back to ancient times!

Stargazer Inn

Great Basin National Park has some of the darkest skies in all of the US. Why not take advantage of the dark skies and enjoy some stargazing before continuing on your road trip?

Book your room at the Stargazer Inn, located just minutes outside of the park itself. The small hotel features quiet rooms and a seasonal restaurant. Check their website for details.

Next on your Nevada road trip: Cathedral Gorge State Park, 2 hours

Cathedral Gorge State Park

unique rock formations are what makes Cathedral Gorge State Park in nevada famous. Unique landscapes in this part of the USA
Photo by Natalie Faulk

Your final stop on this road trip before making your way back to Las Vegas is the monumental Cathedral Gorge State Park. This State Park is only around a 2-hour drive away from the Great Basin National Park.

Cathedral Gorge State Park features otherworldly slot canyons that were formed over thousands of years. It is also one of the original State Parks in Nevada.

Find information regarding current pricing and closures on the state park’s official website. As of October 2020, the admission fee to the park is $5 per vehicle.

What to do in Cathedral Gorge State Park?

Cathedral Gorge State Park Visitor center

Be sure to drop by the visitor center during your road trip to the Cathedral Gorge State Park. Inside, you can gather insight about the park and its local history before setting off to explore it yourself.

Bullionville Cemetery Trailhead

After a short peek in the Visitor Center, it’s time to explore the park! Follow the Bullionville Cemetery Trail, it will lead you to an eerie cemetery that’s been around since the early 1900s.

Miller Point

Miller Point is perhaps the best trail and attraction within this state park. If you’re only dropping by for a short visit, be sure not to miss this beautiful trailhead. You’ll get to see the absolute best parts of the park, including breathtaking slot canyons. Not to mention that an elevated overlook will open up to spectacular, panoramic views, perfect for another photo opportunity in the Cathedral Gorge State Park.

Next: Las Vegas, 2 hours 30 minutes

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