We put together 5 routes, complete with exhilarating scenery and the sites, restaurants, bars, and hotels you need to brake for. Day 1: Seattle, WA, to Bozeman, MT (10.5 hours): Interstate 90 starts right in downtown Seattle, and a few miles south lies Geraldine’s Counter, famous for its French toast.
Grab a coffee & pastry across the street at Columbia City Bakery (a double breakfast never hurt anyone) and hit I-90 East, passing through the Mount Baker Tunnel as you leave town.
Hop back on I-94 to hug the shoreline, passing by Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Warren Dunes State Park, and Grand Mere State Park, which Larry Johnson has unsuccessfully tried to rename Grandmama State Park.
Heading east into Kalamazoo, MI, take a slight detour to Saffron Indian Cuisine, which features a fantastic lunch buffet.
But the best view lies ahead in Albany, where you can grab an afternoon pick-me-up at Hudson River Coffee House and then take in the waterway that built the Northeast from Corning City Preserve. ) and the rolling Berkshires of western Mass -- once you hit Springfield, it’s pretty much all beautiful, historic, outlying suburbs until you enter Boston via the Back Bay, with the James River and Cambridge to your left.You can also take in Minnesota’s famous lakes around Albert Lea, but the most beautiful landscape today comes as you drive along Lake Onalaska and the mighty Mississippi, eventually crossing into La Crosse (get it? Skip over the theme-parky Wisconsin Dells and head into Madison, which will actually be quiet, with the University of Wisconsin in sleepy summer mode.Drool over the creative menu at “glorious shrine to swine” A Pig in a Fur Coat, sip martinis at Genna’s Lounge near the state Capitol, and then walk a few blocks to the chic Hotel Ruby Marie, situated in a brick beauty built in the city’s 1870s railroad heyday.Crossing the Colorado River just north of Lake Havasu unlocks one of the most stunning vistas in America, and grabbing a sandwich at Sirens’ Café in Kingman, AZ, is like feasting on the spirit of Route 66, which parallels I-40 for the next few days.Detour north on Highway 180 for a Grand Canyon glimpse, then double back for the six-course tasting menu at The Cottage Place Restaurant.Day 4: Madison, WI to Erie, PA (10 hours): Squeeze into tiny Sophia’s Bakery & Café for a quick breakfast before heading east on I-94 through Milwaukee and down the Lake Michigan shoreline.