As you dream up your first great American road trip as a couple, the possibilities seem endless. You have to determine the duration of your journey, where you’ll stay, and which exciting destinations you’ll visit along the way. Perhaps you’re conscious of your budget and searching for economical options. You may even be wondering which route to take – after all, the United States is crisscrossed with countless highways and byways, but there are plenty of road trip ideas for couples that you’ll love.
One aspect you might overlook is a crucial one: how to create a romantic and memorable experience at each stop. Some couples might opt for a classic coastal drive, while others might venture off the beaten path for an alternative adventure – but since it’s your first couples’ road trip, you’re bound to have questions.
If you’re putting the finishing touches on your road trip itinerary and seeking inspiration for remarkable experiences to share with your partner, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll present eight fun road trips for couples in the United States, covering a diverse mix of attractions and regions. Additionally, we’ll provide tips and insights to make each stop a highlight of your journey together. So buckle up and get ready to hit the open road – romance and adventure await!
1. Miami to the Florida Keys
Total miles: 113 miles
Starting point: Miami, Florida
Ending point: Key West, Florida
Best time to go: March, April, and May
The scenic route along this road trip is incredibly underrated. The views of the blue ocean are already enough to impress, but combine that with the nickname ‘Overseas Highway,’ and you’re golden. This trip is ideally suited for nature-loving couples, so buckle in.
The journey from Miami to the Florida Keys can be exciting if you know what to look for. You can spend time together at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Here, you and your partner can go on adventures on a glass-bottom boat tour or even explore the ocean floor while snorkeling.
You could stop at the Rain Barrel Artisan Village for something unique. This popular location in the Florida Keys is home to stunning greenery, tropical gardens, shops, and boutiques that sell lovely hand-crafted items. Let’s not forget the specialty eating spots that are to die for.
Nature lovers on this road trip should also stop at Everglades National Park. You can explore the wonders of the stunning scenery and marvel at nature here. Whether you want to go bird-watching or on guided tours along the river, this location has plenty to offer.
One thing is for sure; this road trip idea for couples is full of great natural wonders, beautiful scenery, tasty food, and memorable moments with your loved one.
Where to stay: Towards the end of your trip, you’ll find some lovely hotels in Key West, Florida. The Palms Hotel offers a pool and cozy rooms for around $222 per night. You can also enjoy a classic Florida palm tree experience at the Gates Hotel, which has an outdoor pool and plenty of entertainment areas, for $204 per night.
Make sure to reserve your rental car ahead of time! I love using Discover Cars for my trips.
2. North Shore Drive, Minnesota
Total miles: 150 miles
Starting point: Duluth, Minnesota
Ending point: Grand Portage, Minnesota
Best time to go: June, July, and August
You don’t need fancy candlelit dinners and roses to feel the romance. Sometimes all you need is a drive through lush green forests alongside crystal clear lakes with your loved one by your side. That is precisely what a road trip along North Shore Drive gives you.
Along the way, you can visit one (or more) of the eight different state parks along the route, including Gooseberry Falls, Temperance River, and Tettegouche State Park. These all give you that sense of adventure while venturing into Minnesota’s gorgeous natural environment.
After that, stop in Two Harbors for tasty food and drinks at a local brewery. Let’s not forget the delectable pies that are to die for. Whatever you fancy, North Shore Drive has plenty of locations to stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Visiting the famous black sand beaches, like Black Beach and Granite Falls, is a must for those who find romance in casual strolls along the beach. Northern Minnesota is filled with these unique and beautiful locations along the coast and will make you feel like you just stepped out of the movie “Twilight.”
Finally, what better way to end your couple’s road trip than by embracing your loved one beside a majestic waterfall in Grand Portage? Following a walk or hike along the rivers and lush surroundings, you can appreciate the High Falls in Grand Portage State Park. You won’t regret it.
Where to stay: In Duluth, Minnesota, lies the Sheraton Duluth Hotel, which has a beautiful contemporary feel and stunning views alongside Lake Superior. Couples can stay here for around $187 per night. Moving to Two Harbors, you’ll find Larsmont Cottages for $157 per night.
3. Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo
Total miles: 205 miles
Starting point: Los Angeles, California
Ending point: San Luis Obispo, California
Best time to go: April, September, and October
Nothing is better than taking a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoying the incredible views of the surrounding coastal and mountainous areas when you’re looking for road trip ideas for couples.
Along the way, there are many fantastic stops that you can enjoy with your loved one that foster romance. For starters, stopping in Santa Monica is a must. The famous Santa Monica Pier is a great way to start your journey. Enjoy the fun and excitement of the amusement park, or even visit the aquarium.
If you and your partner are in the mood for some artsy aesthetics and fantastic food, you must visit the Funk Zone. This waterfront area in Santa Barbara is known for its contemporary art galleries, excellent restaurants, wineries, and bakeries.
Santa Maria Valley is another breathtaking location for couples on this road trip. What’s more romantic than sharing a wine-tasting experience with your partner? Santa Maria Valley is well known for its famous wines, breweries, and restaurants that are nothing short of amazing.
This road trip from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo is certainly one that offers tons of romance-filled opportunities and fun, exciting things to do along the way.
Where to stay: Before beginning your trip, consider staying at the CitizenM Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles for some good vibes and colorful decor for around $167 per night. To top things off, you can book at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo for around $216 per night. Here, you’ll enjoy adorable local coffee shops and bakeries with rustic charm.
I’ve been using Roadtrippers for years to help me plan out my trips and find fun stops along the way. Use my code “BTR5QTP” for $5 off when you sign up!
4. San Luis Obispo to San Francisco
Total miles: 232 miles
Starting point: San Luis Obispo, California
Ending point: San Francisco, California
Best time to go: April or May
When planning a romantic escapade, there is rarely anything as inviting as the beautiful ocean views of the Pacific Coast Highway. If you’ve ever been on a San Francisco to San Diego road trip, you’ve undoubtedly passed through San Luis Obispo. Well, this is where your journey begins on this trip.
Before starting your journey, you’ll want to explore all that San Luis Obispo has. The downtown area has some fantastic local breweries and restaurants, like Antigua Brewing Company, where you can kick off your trip with a romantic meal.
Along your journey, you will come across the renowned Big Sur, which has views that are out of this world. Big Sur has everything from redwood forests to hidden beaches and lush mountains, and you’ll love going on a San Francisco to Big Sur drive. The location will impress you and your partner, but that’s not even half of it. Be prepared to explore stunning hiking trails, camping sites, and magnificent state parks.
How could one go on a road trip to San Francisco and not see the Golden Gate Bridge? The answer is you can’t. After a long drive, there is no better way to take in the views around you than to witness this architectural wonder up close.
Romance reaches new heights when walking up to popular viewpoints and enjoying a well-earned picnic overlooking this wonderful place.
Where to stay: A short distance from San Luis Obispo in San Jose, you can find the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, with prices starting at around $180 per night. For a modern and entertainment-filled hotel experience, you can book at the Hilton San Francisco in the SF Financial District. Prices start at around $230 per night.
Need another scenic trip nearby? You’ll love a Portland to San Francisco drive.
5. Oregon Coast Highway
Total miles: 340 miles
Starting point: Astoria, Oregon
Ending point: Brookings, Oregon
Best time to go: May or June
Romance is on another level when traveling along the scenic and stunning Oregon Coast Highway. Whether on this road trip or a Seattle to Crater Lake road trip, this highway is common among travelers.
The views of the shorelines, marvelous cliffs, and small coastal towns are extraordinary for couples looking to spend quality time together.
Before departing from Astoria, you and your partner can share a drink or two during one of the local brewery tours. You’ll be able to visit local restaurants and breweries like Buoy Beer Company or Astoria Brewing Company, starting your journey with some fun. Fort George Brewery is also one of my favorite places to get delicious pizza with your beer.
Another great location along this route is the Seaside Aquarium, one of the West Coast’s oldest aquariums. It is truly a fun and exciting experience to be able to feed seals and look at fantastic marine life, especially as a couple.
Some say that you should save the best for last. Perhaps that is why this road trip ends in Brookings, Oregon, where you’ll find the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor.
This 12-mile stretch of natural beauty is one of the best locations on this trip. The combination of greenery, natural rock arches, and deep blue waters is enough to impress anyone – this is one of the best road trip ideas for couples when you want scenery.
Where to stay: You will find many great hotel locations along the Oregon coast. The Landmark Inn is in Florence, near local restaurants and galleries. Prices start at around $100 per night. Near Tillamook Bay, you can book a stay at the Hotel Garibaldi, which offers a pool and entertainment areas, for about $145 per night.
6. New Hampshire and Vermont
Total miles: 460 miles
Starting point: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Ending point: Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Best time to go: October
This incredible couple’s road trip begins and ends in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The round trip will take you on a journey through the mountains and forested areas of Vermont that showcase an incomparable beauty.
Along the way, you can experience anything from natural excursions to having food and drinks in unique and delectable breweries and restaurants. The Kancamagus Highway connects Conway and Lincoln and offers immaculate scenery, waterfalls, quaint picnic locations, and hiking trails.
Several small towns along the trip offer cute locations for dinner or drinks or sites for hikes and boat rides. For instance, you could spend some time with your partner in Stowe, where you can enjoy time at the Stowe Mountain Resort. You’ll also find some fabulous breweries and boutiques.
Any thrill-seeking couple should consider this road trip because it includes one of the most popular hiking mountains in the world, Mount Monadnock. The mountain’s peak is a staggering 3,165 feet high, giving you unimaginable views of the surrounding area.
What better reason to trek to the top of a mountain than to embrace your partner while overlooking mind-blowing views like those?
Even if athletic adventures aren’t your style, there is no doubt that this New Hampshire road trip will leave you feeling elated. This trip has everything from cute little stores and restaurants to natural wonders and stunning hiking trails that you’ll love seeing on this road trip for couples.
Where to stay: In Gorham, New Hampshire, the Top Notch Inn provides comfort and natural beauty in the White Mountains area. Prices here start at around $72 per night. Then, in the Portsmouth area, Hotel Portsmouth lets you spend your stay in a Victorian manor house just a short walk from the waterfront. Prices start at around $171 per night.
7. California to Nevada
Total miles: 1,200 miles
Starting point: Yosemite National Park, California
Ending point: Reno, Nevada
Best time to go: September or October
Similar to a California to Arizona drive, this road trip is certainly not for the faint of heart, as it will take a few days to complete, especially if you make the most of your stops and locations. Before heading off from Yosemite National Park, you should ensure you’re fully prepared for the long journey ahead on one of the most scenic couple road trip ideas.
You will find many unique places and things to do along the way, like exploring the stunning Yosemite Valley. Here, you’ll find a plethora of romantic waterfalls and breathtaking views along hiking trails that you won’t find anywhere else.
On your fifth day on the road, you can expect to be around the Gull Lake Marina. Couples can rent kayaks and enjoy the scenery along the lake. You should also consider visiting Wild Willy’s or Hilltop Hot Springs from there. These warm-water hot spots will give you and your loved one some well-deserved rest and bonding time.
Once you near the end of your journey, you’ll want to ride along to the Great Basin National Park if you’re a couple that loves nature and camping. From scenic drives to guided tours and camping grounds, this national park offers sweet serenity for you and your loved ones.
While being one of the longer road trips on this list, the road trip from California to Nevada is filled with unique experiences and natural wonders you won’t find anywhere else.
Where to stay: Starting your journey, you can book at the Herbert Hotel at Union Square in San Francisco, near Yosemite, for around $125 per night. Then, once you reach the end of your road trip, you’ll find plenty of hotel options in Reno, Nevada. The Circus Circus Reno Hotel, for $125 per night, is a great option.
8. Chicago to Los Angeles
Total miles: 2,400 miles
Starting point: Chicago
Ending point: Santa Monica, Los Angeles
Best time to go: May, September, and October
Let’s set the record straight. Historic Route 66 is definitely a bucket list location. This road trip will take you on a long journey through incredible scenery, phenomenal breweries and restaurants, and the best Insta-worthy photo spots. You should make sure you prepare some fun road trip trivia questions; it’ll be a long drive.
You’ll also want to ensure you organize your car for a road trip so it makes for an easier trip when you’re able to find what you need on such a long drive.
Route 66, or “the Mother Road,” as it is called, is filled with plenty of opportunities for you and your partner to enjoy. You can begin your journey in Chicago and try some famous, all-American deep-dish pizza.
Further along, you’ll pass through eight states with unique attractions and things to do. One such place is in Springfield, where you can see the Lauterbach Muffler Man for a fun and quirky photo opportunity.
If that isn’t your style, you could tackle any number of artsy locations, like the Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo. I mean, who wouldn’t find it entertaining to see a couple of classic cars buried in Texas? Throughout your road trip, you’ll find plenty more unique, vintage locations like this one.
Toward the end of your trip, you’ll find yourself in Los Angeles, one of the best places for nightlife, dining, museums, movie stars, and so much more. You can do anything from walking hand-in-hand along the Hollywood Walk of Fame to lounging at Venice Beach. The possibilities are endless.
From fantastic diners to vintage art installations and natural scenery, the historic Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles is a must for any couple looking for the adventure of a lifetime.
Where to stay: Starting in the Chicago Loop, the Hyatt Place Hotel offers contemporary comfort for around $184 per night. Further along your journey, in Amarillo, Texas, you’ll find the Ashmore Inn and Suites, with pools and plenty of entertainment areas, for $57 per night. Finally, toward the end of your road trip, you will come across the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, which costs around $213 per night.
In summary, the United States offers a plethora of unforgettable road trip experiences for couples seeking adventure and romance. With these eight fun road trip ideas for couples as your guide, you and your partner are sure to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime. Happy travels!