Have you ever wondered what the most romantic road trips in the U.S. were? We’ve put together a roundup of some of our favorite routes for couples to take all over the country. With airfares on the rise – and worries that it will be a while before the jaw-dropping deals of the past make a comeback – why not skip the airport altogether this summer? Grab yourselves a rental car and take to the open road. Whether you’re still in the honeymoon phase or keeping the flame alive after decades, these romantic road trips are guaranteed to create lasting memories.
The Most Romantic Road Trips in the U.S.
1. New England: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont
Rev up your engine first in Acadia National Park, the epicenter of Maine’s wildlife and outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Meander down toward picture-perfect Camden to eat, shop, and sightsee in one of New England’s most charming towns. Move on to Portland, full of funky culture, a cool culinary scene, and artsy architecture. Cross over into New Hampshire and spend a night nestled away in the White Mountains. In summertime it’s beautiful, but if you’re avid skiers, a visit in winter will let you get some powder action in as well. Wind things down sweetly in Vermont, where you can tour the famous Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory.
2. National Parks of the American West
Looking for some beautifully rugged landscapes to add some drama to your romantic road trip? Start in Yellowstone National Park, where you can visit the superlative Old Faithful geyser as well as thousands of other hot springs. Pop through Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where you’ll be in awe of the vast grasslands, otherworldly mountain backdrops, and unreal alpine lakes. Next up on your romantic itinerary is a visit to Arches National Park; you’ll enjoy 18 miles of scenic roads to keep the love flowing. Your trip comes to a close at Canyonlands National Park, which has three areas suited to anyone’s activity level and sense for adventure. No matter what, you’ll return home with a renewed outlook and plenty of special, romantic memories.
You might not immediately think of romance when Oregon is mentioned, but this road trip will change your mind in a snap. Drive up the coast along Route 101 and soak in the scenic Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Lush, verdant forests meet pristine beaches, dramatic rocky coastlines, and crystal-blue waters. What’s not to love? Keep driving along to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and spend the night to maximize romantic time along the beach. Next, you can visit the Three Capes Scenic Loop, and don’t miss Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach. Your romantic road trip comes to a close in Seaside, where you can step back in time and visit its historic arcade and games before indulging in some sweet saltwater taffy.
4. Utah’s Scenic Byway 12
This is the ultimate romantic road trip in the U.S., as Scenic Byway 12 is dubbed the “All-American Road.” From its summit – 9,000 feet! – take in the dramatic, sweeping vistas of the Henry Mountains, Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, and the glimmering red rocks of Capitol Reef National Park. Kick off your drive in Panguitch to explore Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park. Enjoy the off-the-grid magic and keep going on toward Kodachrome Basin State Park. You’ll be in awe at Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, something you certainly cannot miss. End your romantic road trip by exploring Capitol Reef National Park. You won’t regret it!
5. Pacific Coast Highway: San Luis Obispo to San Francisco
We obviously saved the best for last, because few things are as romantic as driving down the California coast. On the route between San Luis Obispo to San Francisco, one of the most spectacular spots is Big Sur, full of stunning landscapes and luxe tranquility. Head up Highway 1 and meander through Morro Bay, a charming seaside town full of eateries and sights. Keep going toward Cambria for a quick pit stop and get back on the road until you reach Ragged Point. You’ll enjoy incredible views of the ocean and jagged coastline from Ragged Point Trail. Stop through McWay Falls and Pfeiffer Beach before moving on toward Monterey County. Carmel is a favorite for historic charm and romance. Keep the magic going with a 17-mile scenic drive through Pebble Beach; we can’t recommend Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay enough, either. Treat yourselves to an epic end to the journey in San Francisco, moving beyond the Golden Gate and up through toward the stunning Marin Headlands.