Road Trip Ideas: The Nation's Loneliest and Straightest Highways
Hawaii’s Hana Highway is paradise for a road-trip lover: 52 miles of dramatically curving road clinging to Maui’s jungled cliffs, with sweeping views of the ocean at every turn.
But what if you just don’t like white-knuckle driving? What if you prefer turning on the cruise control, rolling back the sunroof and enjoying the ride? Here are some road trip ideas for you. We combed the country to find some of the straightest and least traveled highways. These may not be super-scenic drives, but you won’t have white knuckles. We promise.
Road Trip Ideas: Route 50 and Other Lonely Roads
If traffic jams give you hives, you need to head out on one of the nation’s least-traveled highways. Let’s call these “road trip ideas for introverts.”
Number one is Route 50 in Nevada, a route that “plunges the intrepid driver into an exhilarating expanse of nothingness,” Newsweek says. We’re not sure how exhilarating nothingness can be, but why not go find out? Running for 287 miles between the towns of Fernley and Ely, Highway 50 is famous as “The Loneliest Road in America.” It has that name for a reason: Bring plenty of water and supplies, because towns are few and far between.
If you prefer your loneliness to be a little cooler and greener, drive another of the nation’s least traveled highways: the Dalton Highway in Alaska. This 414-mile stretch of mostly gravel road is used mainly by truckers, but offers sightseers stunning views of mountains and tundra. Stop along the way to hike the Brooks Range or pan for gold on public land. The best time to drive this route is June or July; don’t even think about trying it in the winter, unless you’re an ice-road trucker.
Another of the least traveled highways is Interstate 70 in Utah between Salina and Green River. It’s the longest stretch of interstate — 106 miles — with no services, no towns and no exits. Dozens of travelers run out of gas each week, the Deseret News reports.
Don’t get careless just because you’re the only one on the road. In the United States, more than half of motor vehicle crash deaths occurred in single-vehicle crashes in 2014, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Road Trip Ideas: The Longest Straight Roads
Just south of Fargo, North Dakota, you can pick up Highway 46 and drive west in a straight line across 123 miles of flat prairie. 46 is supposed to be the longest straight road in America, although experts differ on exactly how straight it is. Its longest “straight-as-an-arrow, lock your steering wheel and take a nap stretch” is 31 miles, according to Roadside America.
Another super-straight drive is Interstate 80 across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, which runs for 35 miles through an arid, empty landscape. If you’re running low on gas, don’t wait to stop! Once you begin, it’s 37 miles till the next exit. And if you get a wild hair, turn off at exit 4 onto the salt flats themselves. Driving on the salt flats is permitted, but be careful not to get stuck in mud or drive through puddles: standing water is so salty that it can short out your car’s electrical system.
Want more uneventful road trip ideas? Jalopnik gathered a few of the straightest roads in America and around the world, from Saudi Arabia to Australia. Safe driving — and don’t forget to tune up your car insurance before you leave with a quote from compare.com and get yourself ready with these road trip tips.