This big loop is all about national parks, national forests, and some of the most unique terrain and wildlife anywhere in the world. Taking anywhere from 2 to 4 + weeks, you can go from the coastal rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula all the way to the alpine montane, geysers, and hot springs of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Notes: Additionally, Jackson, Wyoming (known by non-locals as “Jackson Hole”) — is less than an hour south of Teton National Park, and totally worth the detour. Jackson is one of the most unique towns in America, and has some of the strongest communities of adventure athletes in the world. Check the local terrain and you’ll know why.
This road trip is one of the hottest on the map, but visitors will be surprised how much the temperatures cool off in the desert southwest, especially at high elevation. Bring layers.
More than any other loop, the Best of the Southwest has a high concentration of National Parks. Give yourself several extra days for camping / local options around Grand Canyon. This loop could easily be extended for an entire month or more.
A fantastic mix of amusement parks and outdoor awesomeness.
Starting/ending point: Chicago, Illinois
Drive up through Wisconsin Dells for water parks, roller coasters, and boating.
Move north to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where there’s so much to do and see it’s impossible for us to tell you where to start: the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, the Lake of the Clouds, and the Great Sand Bay are awesome, though.
From there, cross the Mackinac Bridge to the Lower Peninsula (possibly stopping for a day or two on Mackinac Island) and drive down to the Traverse City area for a visit to the Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Head south through the state to Ohio, where you can spend a day at the Roller Coaster Capital of the World: Cedar Point. Then loop back to Chicago!