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How Long Does It Take To Drive Lonely Planet’s Great American Road Trip?

Low gas prices got you itching for a road trip this summer? Well, now there are two reasons to fill the tank and go — because Lonely Planet just released their annual Best in the U.S. list for 2016. Here are this year’s winners, in order:

  1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  2. Natchez, Mississippi
  3. Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho)
  4. Birmingham, Alabama
  5. Alaska (like… the whole thing?)
  6. Somerville, Massachusetts
  7. Northwest Arkansas (Fayetteville)
  8. San Antonio, Texas
  9. Southern New Mexico (White Sands National Monument)
  10. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

So of course the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this list was: how long will it take me to drive it? 103 freaking hours.

There’s one wrench in the works. As cool as a road trip to Alaska would be, it’s not exactly feasible from the continental U.S. — even for the most avid road trippers. If you go to the other nine destinations and still aren’t satisfied, hop on the next Anchorage flight to go wild! (Completing the circuit uses up the maximum number of destinations Google Maps will allow.)

If you’re looking for a tenth destination and Alaska’s too far, I recommend hitting the Badlands. It’s on the way from Yellowstone to Milwaukee! Just detour through South Dakota. 

But, here are some rough stats on what the actual road trip would look like (minus the Alaska thing). My origin is Somerville, Mass. since that’s closest town to where I live. Different starting points will (obviously) generate different stats. For all the state counters out there, I tallied up the total number of U.S. states passed through as well.

Road Trip Stats


Total Distance: 6,837 miles
Time: 103 hours1
Gas used: 268 gallons2Cost of gas: $4823
Minimum number of songs for a playlist: 361
State count: 27

Looks like a pretty solid road trip if I do say so myself.

3 footnotes

  1. no stops, no traffic based on Google’s estimation
  2. assuming an average of 25.5 mpg
  3. assuming average price of $1.71 per gallon (as of February 10, 2016)
How Long Does It Take To Drive Lonely Planet’s Great American Road Trip? via @maphappy
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