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A road trip is as American as a barbecue on the Fourth of July. The open highway. Sing-along playlists. A cooler full of sodas and snacks. Unforgettable conversations about nothing and everything.

The United States has a grand variety of road trip-suitable routes, from straight shots across deserts to stomach-churning switchbacks through the mountains. Whatever type of adventure you seek, however much time you have and whatever you want to see, there’s a road out there for everyone.

Best romantic road trip: Pacific Coast Highway, California

Route: Route 1, from Monterey to Morro Bay (123 miles)

Let’s hope your partner makes your heart soar; if not, the unimaginably gorgeous views from the Pacific Coast Highway will. The highway jogs alongside California farms and cliff-edged beaches, across high bridges and near groves of towering redwood trees. Tour the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, enjoy lunch at a posh Carmel-by-the-Sea cafe, see the famous waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (check the updated status of the park), and take a sunset stroll at Big Sur. There are plenty of romantic Victorian bed-and-breakfasts where you can spend the night.

Where to stay to start your journey: Munras Inn, Monterey

Runner-up road trip: Charleston to Savannah, South Carolina

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Best road trip in the middle of nowhere: Marathon to Presidio, Texas

Route: U.S. Highway 385, FM-170 (160 miles)

The only companions you’ll have during long stretches of this paved, two-lane road through Big Bend National Park are cacti and migratory birds. This is one of the most isolated of all U.S. national parks, but it’s also one of the most dramatic, with desert, canyon and mountain landscapes. Santa Elena Canyon is worth the detour from the main park road to see its 1,500-foot drop-offs. Stop for lunch at the 1930s-era Starlight Theatre in the historic Terlingua Ghost Town. Movie buffs will marvel at the abandoned Western film sets at Contrabando.

Where to stay to start your journey: Gage Hotel, Marathon

Runner-up road trip: Great Basin Scenic Highway, Nevada

Best thrill-seeking road trip: The Road to Hana, Hawaii

Route: Routes 36 and 360, from the town of Kahului to Hana and a little beyond (68 miles)

Brace yourself – literally – for the ride of your life. Maui’s Hana Highway may sound tropically dreamy, with its lush rainforests, multi-tiered waterfalls and scenic turnouts, but it’s not for the faint of heart – or weak of stomach. The winding, narrow road encompasses hundreds of curves and dozens of bridges (many of which are one lane), and the first time a fearless local in an SUV zooms by you, you’ll wonder where your breath went. Good places to stop and find it? The Keanae Arboretum (just past mile marker 16), Upper Waikani Falls (mile marker 19), and Kaeleku Caverns (mile marker 31).

Where to stay to start your journey: Maui Seaside Hotel, Kahului

Runner-up road trip: La Ruta Panoramica, Puerto Rico

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Best wildlife road trip: Jackson to Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Route: U.S. 191 (82 miles plus mileage within the park)

Bison, elk, wolves, moose, bears and dozens of bird species live in America’s first national park, making it one of the best places in the United States to view wildlife. While animals are abundant inside the park, you’ll likely see some species on the short drive from Jackson to the park’s south entrance, and at Grand Teton and Jackson Lake along the way.

Where to stay to start your journey: Mountain Modern Motel, Jackson

Runner-up road trip: Seward Highway, Alaska

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Best foodie road trip: Stowe to Rochester, Vermont

Route: Route 100 (49 miles)

Farms, breweries, wineries, creameries, gourmet shops and restaurants are nestled along the rolling pastures of Route 100, which bisects the prettiest state in New England. Take a leisurely drive along the north-south artery and its side roads, stopping to nibble artisanal cheeses at various farm shops and creameries. Sip apple cider and buy maple syrup at Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center, and taste robust red wines at Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge. Browse Weston’s Vermont Country Store – its retro candies alone are worth the stop. And the grand finale? A tour of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream factory in Waterbury.

Where to stay to start your journey: Town & Country Resort Motor Inn, Stowe

Runner-up road trip: North Carolina Barbecue Society Historic Trail

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Best motorcycle road trip: Los Angeles to Taos, New Mexico

Route: Interstate 40 (916 miles)

Aching to be your very own counterculture hippie on a soul-searching odyssey? Billy and Wyatt (aka Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda) covered this course and then some in the 1969 film “Easy Rider.” They were headed to New Orleans for Mardi Gras; if you don’t have it in you to make such a lengthy trip, we suggest just covering the section from California to New Mexico (or at least Flagstaff, Arizona), with a detour to the Grand Canyon.

Where to stay to start your journey: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel

Runner-up road trip: Trail of Tears, Tennessee to Alabama

Best fall foliage road trip: Lead Hill to Hot Springs, Arkansas

Route: Arkansas State Highway 7 (179 miles)

I’d normally select New England for autumn’s most kaleidoscopic colors, but even its most out-of-the-way back roads can be congested during peak periods. Instead, drive along Arkansas’ first state-designated scenic byway to Ozark National Forest, which has 42 different species of oak trees, plus hickories, maples, beech and ash, among others. Such a vast variety of trees results in unimaginable colors painting the region’s low river valleys and hillsides. If you get an early enough start, have breakfast or lunch at Cliff House Inn and Restaurant overlooking Arkansas’ version of the Grand Canyon, in the town of Jasper.

Where to stay to start your journey: Cliff House Inn, Jasper (open from early March through the first or second weekend in November)

Runner-up road trip: Anywhere in New England

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Best classic America road trip: Beartooth Highway, Montana

Route: U.S. Highway 212, from Red Lodge to Cook City, Montana (68 miles)

A zigzagging road with countless switchbacks, endless views and steep climbs, the Beartooth Highway seems to have changed little since Civil War General Philip Sheridan led 120 men along the route. Certainly, the views are the same: snow-topped rocky mountains, the bluest of blue skies and bypasses through Custer National Forest, Shoshone National Forest and Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness. No wonder longtime road tripper Charles Kuralt, the late CBS correspondent, called it “the most beautiful drive in America.” Note that the road is only open mid-May through mid-October.

Where to stay to start your journey: The Pollard Hotel, Red Lodge

Runner-up road trip: Pierre to Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Best out-of-this-world road trip: Dark Sky Parks, Panguitch to Torrey, Utah

Route: Scenic Byway 12 (270 miles)

Utah has 11 certified International Dark Sky Parks, so why not create a road trip to all of them? In addition to the well-known Bryce Canyon, other parks with an IDA-certified designation include Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley, Cedar Breaks and Kodachrome Basin. Along the way, you can glamp in a Conestoga wagon and yurt. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can start at Zion and make your way through the state’s five national parks, ending at Arches in Moab.

Where to stay to start your journey: Cottonwood Meadow Lodge, Panguitch

Runner-up road trip: Phoenix to Sedona, Arizona

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Best mountain road trip: Beaver Creek to Keystone, Colorado

Route: Interstate 70 (70 miles)

Whether you’re planning an epic ski vacation or an outdoor adventure trip during the off-season, the Rocky Mountains are your best bet for a mountain road trip. Start in Beaver Creek and then head to Vail. During summer Vail is home to “Epic Discovery,” where you can zip line, alpine coaster, summer tube and more. Make stops at Cooper Mountain, Frisco and Breckenridge, then end in Keystone. Just don’t leave without having dinner at the Ski Tip Lodge.

Where to stay to start your journey: The Osprey at Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek

Runner-up road trip: Asheville, North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Ashley Rossi contributed to this article.

This story originally appeared on SmarterTravel.com.

More from SmarterTravel:

10 (and a half) tips for road trips
10 road trip essentials: How to stay safe, sane and on track on the road
10 road trip accessories to turn a rental car into the ultimate vacation vehicle

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