There's nothing like the thrill of crossing an entire U.S. state. We just know it's what our forefathers intended. With a little help from our readers we've put together this list of ten states to criss-cross on a driving adventure.
Click next to start your tour across these grand states. This land is your land, now go and drive across it.
Photo Credit: Wolfgang Staudt
SState: West Virginia
Route: U.S. 50
Suggested By: Scroggs
Reason: "West Virginia. Pick up US 50, south of Cumberland MD, and drive west until you hit the Ohio River. The scenery is rustic, the road twisty, and the state troopers infrequent."
Photo Credit: Mike Quick
Suggested By: Atomic
Reason: "You go from perfectly flat, perfectly white salt, to brown mountains, that you literally drive through like a gate. It's amazing. Oh, and also, you can read all the messages left in rocks on the salt if you're not driving, which is pretty fun."
Photo Credit: WisDoc
Suggested By: GIC
Reason: "The roads are what keep me here in Kentucky - you're really not far from anything you could want:
-Want to stage your own Top Gear videography? The rolling lanes bordered by civil-war era stone fences, verdant hills, ramshackle estates of the bluehair monied gentry and the compounds of their noveau cousins will fit the bill. The Irish and British have nothing on Springtime in the Bluegrass.
-Fancy yourself a WRC wanna-be... do ya punk? Well, pick a back road: any back road. Preferably any of the ones that border the KY river, or the eastern end of the state. Just watch out for that low diesel rumble - because if the switchbacks and sheer cliffs and one-lane bridges and tunnels don't keep you honest - the coal trucks will.
-A lonely slog balls-out through the desert? The Western Kentucky Parkway would otherwise bore you to tears. But it's great for unofficial trap runs, heh heh.
-Urban post-apocalyptic wasteland? Well, not so much urban - but try some of KY's more depressed areas like McCreary and Pike counties. You'll be as enthralled as fascinated by the serenity of decay in a places that never had a chance, as you may be scared for your life. There are lessons in the land.
-Country-corny Americana? Please, you can't drive 10 miles in any direction without tripping over yet another sign about yet another "Historic Downtown Bufu" just ahead. Thing is though, they speak the truth. So many of these small towns are time capsules, each in its own unique state of being, its own way to belie the past and in some cases, a present representing a future that never came.
But if none of that is your fancy and you just want to just get the heck along on your merry consumer way, the I-65 and I-75 corridors are well maintained speedways. Plus you can see the Corvette and Camry plants respectively - so choose your flavor. I-64 connects the two, transitioning from rolling Appalachia on the east end to urban congestion on the west - and you'll be a stone's throw from Ford Truck (soon to be Ford Car) central when you reach Louisville.
The Bigwigs of the Bluegrass (horse money is big out here) can often be seen sporting all manner of Exotics. Sure, it's no LA. But there's something more authentic about seeing a Ferrari or Lotus or A8 or Detomaso on a two-lane county road - a predator in its natural element if you will. They'll even respect you if you show it in kind.
And if you're the rare soul who appreciates your metal in more pedestrian tones - trust me, Beaters still live in KY. You might have to get out of Lexington to see them, but… they're out there. And your classics and your WTFs and your survivors. You can't ever drive across this state for an hour without seeing SOMETHING Jalop-worthy. And oftentimes the driver may be none the wiser.
Plus we got some funny place names. In addition to both a "Springfield" AND a "Shelbyville", we've got "Black Gnat", "Nonesuch", "Big Bone Lick", "Gratz", "Rain" and many many more of all flavors, always worth a chuckle.
Yeah. The Paradox State is a great place to be"
Photo Credit: VistaVision</em.
SState: North Carolina
Route: Wilmington Highway/I-40
Suggested By: Deadmoon
Reason: "Beaches at one end, mountains at the other, and a whole lot of good pavement and dirt roads in between. The State Troopers are formidable "opponents," though very professional and polite. ( Frankly after driving there for many years, everywhere else has been a cakewalk... ) The interstates are nice, but if you like taking the long way home, NC's got my vote."
Photo Credit: Dr_Television
Route: Highway 74/Highway 129 (Tail Of The Dragon)
Suggested By: Pop Snicker
Reason: "Tennessee is great. You have the Dragon in the east with the Smokey Mountains, the Natchez Trace heading south from Nashville, and any road that is not I-40, 65, or 24, is a twisty, curvey, joy of Americana.
Small 1 gas pump mom and pop shops, real roadside diners, and the nicest people you could meet anywhere"
Route: Highway 101/I-84
Suggested By: TimTim
Reason: "Timing is critical. There's a one week window, at best, when the kids are in school, the tourists have dispersed, and it has not yet begun to rain... I'm talking about Hwy 101 through Oregon. The views are like no other, the roads are twisty, and there's 300 miles of it. But don't stop at the border, 101 continues up and around the Olympic Peninsula in Washington with more of the same. Only detractor is the small towns every 30-40 miles and the occasional State Trooper. But that's why you wait 'till after Labor Day, when the po-po and the Winnebago all take a break" Also, I-84 through the center of the state.
Photo Credit: SaraMcD
Route: Highway 1/101
Suggested By: Scandinavian Flick
Reason: "The entire Pacific coast. Start in Southern California and take Highway 1. Then follow Highway 101 all the way up to Washington and trace the Puget Sound. You will never see such sights anywhere in the U.S. It will take a while, but it will be worth it for the sheer beauty and pure driving enjoyment on some of the best windy roads I know."
Photo Credit: Extra_Medium
Route: I-90 / Hwy 26
Suggested By: Joshman
Reason: "I'm partial to my native Washington. Head east from Seattle over the mountains. From the forests of the western slopes of the Cascades you transition to pine trees and scrub brush on the eastern slope. Choose between wine country near Walla Walla, apple orchards near Wenatchee, or just stay on I-90 before driving highway 26 through the Palouse"
Photo Credit: Aribix
Suggested By: Stinky Catfish
Reason: The wife and I just drove through there this summer. Low traffic, good scenery, high speed limits, and no patrols. I also appreciated that the speed limits appeared to be set high. Here in California the limits seem to be set such that no matter how bald you tires and wet the roads, your car will make it around any corner with no issue. The limits in Montana appear to be set such that you might not make it around the corner if you mis-judge your cars abilities. I appreciated that.
Photo Credit: gmark1
Route: All of them
Suggested By: Ash78
Reason: In a tiny state, you have LOTS of old, winding roads and Revolution-era towns to see. You have a mountainous west, a hilly center, and a marshy east, each with a distinctly different character. Whether you're looking for the natural beauty near Hagerstown or the WV border area, or the amazing history and maritime scenery of Annapolis or the Eastern Shore, it really has a lot to offer in a small package