This Is The Best Road Trip You Can Take In America, According To Science

May 16, 2016

Randy Olson is a postdoctoral researcher developing state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms to solve biomedical problems. But occassionally he does projects for fun, like creating a sophisticated algorithm to map out the perfect road trip across the United States.

His three requirements were:

  1. The trip must make at least one stop in all 48 states in the contiguous U.S.
  2. The trip would only make stops at National Natural Landmarks, National Historic Sites, National Parks, or National Monuments.
  3. The trip must be taken by car and never leave the U.S.

The result was an epic itinerary with a mix of inner city exploration, must-see historical sites, and beautiful natural landscapes.

Assuming no traffic, this road trip will take about 224 hours (9.33 days) of driving in total, so it's truly an epic undertaking that will take at least 2-3 months to complete. The best part is that this road trip is designed so that you can start anywhere on the route as long as you follow it from then on. You’ll hit every major area in the U.S. on this trip, and as an added bonus, you won't spend too long driving through the endless corn fields of Nebraska.

The route in all its glory:

best road trip covers all states in America

1. Grand Canyon, AZ

2. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

3. Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID

best road trip covers all states in America

4. Yellowstone National Park, WY

5. Pikes Peak, CO

6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM

7. The Alamo, TX

8. The Platt Historic District, OK

best road trip covers all states in America

9. Toltec Mounds, AR

10. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, TN

best road trip covers all states in America

11. Vicksburg National Military Park, MS

12. French Quarter, New Orleans, LA

13. USS Alabama, AL

14. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL

best road trip covers all states in America

15. Okefenokee Swamp Park, GA

16. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC

17. Lost World Caverns, WV

best road trip covers all states in America

18. Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, NC

19. Mount Vernon, VA

20. White House, Washington, DC

21. Colonial Annapolis Historic District, MD

22. New Castle Historic District, Delaware

23. Cape May Historic District, NJ

24. Liberty Bell, PA

best road trip covers all states in America

25. Statue of Liberty, NY

26. The Mark Twain House & Museum, CT

27. The Breakers, RI

28. USS Constitution, MA

29. Acadia National Park, ME

30. Mount Washington Hotel, NH

31. Shelburne Farms, VT

32. Fox Theater, Detroit, MI

33. Spring Grove Cemetery, OH

best road trip covers all states in America

34. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY

35. West Baden Springs Hotel, IN

36. Abraham Lincoln’s Home, IL

37. Gateway Arch, MO

38. C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, KS

best road trip covers all states in America

39. Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, IA

40. Taliesin, WI

41. Fort Snelling, MN

42. Ashfall Fossil Bed, NE

best road trip covers all states in America

43. Mount Rushmore, SD

44. Fort Union Trading Post, ND

best road trip covers all states in America

45. Glacier National Park, MT

46. Hanford Site, WA

47. Columbia River Highway, OR

48. San Francisco Cable Cars, CA

49. San Andreas Fault, CA

50. Hoover Dam, NV

best road trip covers all states in America

Credit: Randy Olson

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