Looking for the most efficient American cross-country road trip that doesn't miss the best landmarks around the USA? This map may have your solution.
Discovery News blogger Tracy Staedter sought to put an end to tedious roads trip after discovering a road map that claimed to route all of the nation's major landmarks. Staedter realized the map wasn't just inaccurate (more than a few states were missing), it was also terribly inefficient.
"Wouldn't it be nice to have a map that hit landmarks in every state and not only that," she mused. "Wouldn't it be great if the map represented the optimal, most efficient route across the country?"
To create the perfect American road trip, Staedter contacted Randy Olson, a Michigan State University doctoral student. Olson used an algorithm to generate the map, factoring in logistics for traffic, turns, and alternate routes.
Even though the route isn't technically "perfect", it's about as close as the curious adventurer can get to the most efficient roadmap across America. [Click here to enlarge the map]
All of the stops are in the Continental United States, which is ideal for traveling by car. The route can be started from any state and would be 9.33 days worth of driving. Olson reassures that, in actuality, the round trip would take around 2-3 months including stops at gas stations. You'll hit New York City and New England, looping down along the southeast coast and through the South before looping up towards Canada to hit big cities on your way back. There are certain notable spots you'll miss along the trip like Atlanta or Chicago but you won't feel like you're missing out because of everything else included along the way.
Staedter handpicked the stops, which she thinks provide a "nice mix of history and natural wonder". Sounds like the perfect combination for the spirited traveler. It's time to save some money, pick some playlists, and hit the road on this must-see long-distance trip.
Here are the 50 landmark stops she picked along her road trip route
- Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
- Craters of the Moon, Idaho
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Pikes Peak, Colorado
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
- The Alamo, Texas
- The Platt Historic District, Oklahoma
- Toltec Mounds, Arkansas
- Elvis Presley's Graceland, Tennessee
- Vicksburg National Military Park, Mississippi
- French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana
- USS Alabama, Alabama
- Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida
- Okefenokee Swamp Park, Georgia
- Fort Sumter National Monument, South Carolina
- Lost World Caverns, West Virginia
- Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, North Carolina
- Mount Vernon, Virginia
- White House, Washington, DC
- Colonial Annapolis Historic District, Maryland
- New Castle Historic District, Delaware
- Cape May Historic District, New Jersey
- Liberty Bell, Pennsylvania
- Statue of Liberty, New York
- The Mark Twain House & Museum, Connecticut
- The Breakers, Rhode Island
- USS Constitution, Massachusetts
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Mount Washington Hotel, New Hampshire
- Shelburne Farms, Vermont
- Fox Theater in Detroit, Michigan
- Spring Grove Cemetery, Ohio
- Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
- West Baden Springs Hotel, Indiana
- Abraham Lincoln's Home, Illinois
- Gateway Arch in St. Louis Missouri
- C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, Kansas
- Terrace Hill Governor's Mansion, Iowa
- Taliesin, Wisconsin
- Fort Snelling, Minnesota
- Ashfall Fossil Bed, Nebraska
- Mount Rushmore, South Dakota
- Fort Union Trading Post, North Dakota
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Hanford Site, Washington
- Columbia River Highway, Oregon
- San Francisco Cable Cars, California
- San Andreas Fault, California
- Hoover Dam, Nevada
Olson also created a bonus map that hits all of the major U.S. cities, for those craving even more travel.
This post was originally published on July 24, 2017.