Vanlife is all about exploring new places and having adventures on the open road. From the rugged mountains of Colorado to the serene beaches of California, there are countless destinations to visit in your campervan. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best road trips and adventure destinations for vanlifers to add to their travel bucket list.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as California State Route 1, is one of the most scenic drives in the country. The route runs along the California coast from San Francisco to San Diego, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and coastline. Along the way, you can stop at charming beach towns like Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Malibu, and take in the stunning Big Sur coastline.
Rocky Mountains, Colorado
The Rocky Mountains offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. From the jagged peaks of the Tetons to the rugged landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife watching. The Million Dollar Highway in southwestern Colorado is a must-see for vanlifers, with its steep cliffs and hairpin turns through the mountains.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile scenic drive through the Appalachian Mountains, stretching from Virginia to North Carolina. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning mountain vistas, cascading waterfalls, and charming small towns. The parkway is particularly beautiful in the fall when the leaves turn vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
The Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, and North Carolina
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular national parks in the country, and for good reason. The park offers stunning mountain views, hiking trails, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The park is also home to Cades Cove, a historic settlement that offers a glimpse into the area’s past.
Moab, Utah is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, with its stunning red rock formations and world-class hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing opportunities. The area is home to two national parks, Arches and Canyonlands, as well as a number of state parks and recreation areas.
Florida Keys, Florida
The Florida Keys are a string of islands off the southern coast of Florida, connected by a series of bridges and causeways. The islands offer a tropical paradise with crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, and plenty of opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, and diving. Key West, the southernmost island, is a popular destination for vanlifers, with its vibrant nightlife and laid-back island vibe.
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most iconic national parks in the United States, and for good reason. The park is home to geysers, hot springs, and other geothermal wonders, as well as an abundance of wildlife. The park is also home to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, a breathtaking canyon that stretches for 20 miles.
Acadia National Park, Maine
Acadia National Park is located on the coast of Maine, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and rugged coastline. The park is home to Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak on the east coast, as well as miles of hiking trails and carriage roads. The nearby town of Bar Harbor offers charming shops, restaurants, and galleries.
Grand Canyon National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and more If you’re looking for stunning natural beauty and unique desert landscapes, the Southwest is the perfect road trip destination. The Grand Canyon is a must-see for any van lifer, with its incredible size and stunning vistas. Other nearby national parks like Zion and Bryce Canyon are also worth a visit, offering stunning hikes and breathtaking scenery.
Joshua Tree National Park is another must-visit destination in the Southwest. With its unique rock formations, stunning sunsets, and miles of hiking trails, it’s a perfect spot for vanlifers looking for adventure. Plus, the park’s proximity to cities like Palm Springs and Los Angeles makes it a great starting or ending point for a long road trip.
The Pacific Northwest
Oregon and Washington The Pacific Northwest is another region that’s perfect for vanlifers looking for stunning natural scenery. Oregon and Washington are home to numerous state and national parks, each with their own unique features and attractions.
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is a must-visit destination for vanlifers. The park’s namesake lake is the deepest in the United States and offers stunning views and great hiking trails. Other nearby spots like Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge are also worth a visit.
In Washington, Olympic National Park is a can’t-miss destination for vanlifers. The park is home to stunning coastal views, lush forests, and incredible mountain landscapes. Plus, the nearby city of Seattle is a great spot to stock up on supplies and take a break from life on the road.
Acadia National Park, the Adirondacks, and more The Northeast may not be the first region that comes to mind for vanlife adventures, but it’s home to some incredible road trip destinations. Acadia National Park in Maine is a perfect spot for vanlifers, with its stunning coastal views, rugged hiking trails, and charming nearby towns.
The Adirondacks in upstate New York is another great destination for vanlifers looking for a mix of outdoor adventure and city attractions. The area is home to numerous hiking trails, picturesque lakes, and charming small towns. Plus, the nearby cities of Albany and Saratoga Springs are great spots to resupply and rest up.
The Great Smoky Mountains, the Florida Keys, and more The Southeast is home to a diverse range of road trip destinations, from mountain ranges to tropical beaches. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination for vanlifers, with its stunning views and diverse range of wildlife. Plus, nearby cities like Asheville, North Carolina offer plenty of amenities and attractions.
For vanlifers looking for a tropical escape, the Florida Keys are a perfect destination. The Overseas Highway is one of the most scenic drives in the country, and the Keys are home to stunning beaches, clear blue waters, and great snorkeling spots. Plus, the nearby Everglades National Park is a must-visit for nature lovers.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of amazing road trip destinations for vanlifers in the United States. Whether you’re looking for stunning natural beauty, city attractions, or a mix of both, there’s a road trip out there for everyone. So pack up your van, hit the open road, and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget!
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