The Ultimate Instagram Road Trip Across the USA
ast month Lindsay and I spent a few weeks in California visiting family. While we were there we were spending a ton of time road tripping around to different relatives in our 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE and really living the Southern California dream via the highway. Which lead us to chatting about all the fabulous roadtrips we wanted to take around the country. I spent most of my childhood roadtripping but Linds hasn’t seen as much of the USA as she’d like. In fact, she’s seen just about as many states as she’s seen countries. The great American road trip is a rite of passage in the States.
Which began our long and convoluted conversation about the perfect hypothetical road trip. The more we talked about it, the more invested we got. We even discussed the best road trip snacks, red vines for me and goldfish for Linds – in case you were curious.
Road trips are great because they’re a lower cost way to see a lot of the country. When you combine roadtripping with budget travel perks like city tourism passes, free museums, and a National Parks pass- this type of travel is totally doable. Nomadic Matt even did it on $50 a day. He didn’t set out to find the most instagrammable [RIP English] spots but he definitely found some along the way.
BTW feel free to follow our travel adventures around the world.
Let’s talk about our fun roadtrip mobile for a minute. My job as a travel writer brings me to different locations all around the world and I’ve been lucky enough to have driven a lot of different rental cars, some wonderful and some I would never drive again. The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE is one of my favorite vehicles to date! Personally, I want a road trip vehicle that is comfortable, fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly. The Camry Hybrid is the perfect solutions to some of the modern road trip’s inconveniences. Plus, there is just something fun about opening the sunroof on a beautiful sunny day.
If you’d like to recreate this trip, use our Google Map to help you navigate to all our favorite spots.
The Summit in Birmingham is so pretty you won’t be able to resist pulling out your camera. Think neon signs, perfectly tiled floors, sweet treats, and ice cream cones. Plus, Foodstagramming is a perfectly acceptable reason to try new flavors.
There is something about Alaska that has been luring us in for years. There is no doubt in mind there will be making a trip there in the near future with cameras in tow. The whole state just blows my mind. Denali National Park will definitely be on the itinerary.
The slot canyons in Arizona’s Antelope Canyon makes my heart flutter. Although upper and lower Antelope Canyon are the most famous wever heard there are other throughout Arizona. It’s totally possible to get a map or tips from locals to find less touristy caves.
I never met a carb I didn’t like and Mugs Cafe speaks my love language. You’ll find great baked good, strong coffee and a bright aesthetic to fuel your creativity.
I pretty much can’t win on this one. No matter what I list I’ll be leaving out a few obviously awesome spots. The beautiful coastline, Golden Gate Bridge, Salvation Mountain and LACMA but Joshua Tree is still my favorite. Get yourself ready to catch the sunrise of sunset light.
Colorado is filled with beautiful spots to check out. All you really need to do is pick a trail, hike it and take a ton of pictures along the way. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet a dog on the trail and it will pose with you. I love the views in Nederland but we had to pick the red rocks of the Garden of the Gods for the top spot.
The sprawling property, vibrant murals, and great brews are enough to get me over the “no dogs” sign. Kent Falls Brewing is just adorable and makes you want to spend a whole afternoon there.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is a super LGBT Friendly beach town. When we first started dating we had a beach weekend with a bunch of my friends. It holds a special place in our hearts. Don’t forget to check out the Purple Parrot while you’re there.
Wynwood, Miami is one of our favorite neighborhoods in the world. It checks all the boxes for us, great coffee shops, restaurants, boutique shops and neverending amounts of street art. It’s almost a guarantee you’ll see some photo shoots going on while you’re there.
Savannah is breathtakingly gorgeous with so many gorgeous spots to take incredible photos all the vast, oak-shaded and quintessentially Southern imagery at every turn. Literally, even the Spanish moss-draped trees look like they’re ready for an Instagram photoshoot.
OKAY OKAY – technically you can’t drive to Hawaii – but we didn’t want them to feel left out. AND the Kilauea Lava Flow on the Big Island is one of the most amazing natural wonders in the whole world. The best spot to view the molten lava is always changing – cause mother nature does what she wants – but every year tourism officials do what they can to make sure the viewing is safe.
Idaho is filled with gorgeous wide open spaces. All the rooms have a view in these local haunts. But don’t be fooled, Boise is surprisingly hip if you’re in town make sure to check out JUMP for the latest art exhibits and shows.
The Hampton Social in Wicker Park is full of fun photogenic backdrops like this neon sign, fun wallpapers, and beautiful shiplap tables.
Feast Bakery Cafe in Bloomington has the most delicious looking & tasting menu in Indiana.
The Lover’s Leap Swinging Bridge in Columbus Junction is a narrow rope bridge swinging eight stories above the ground.
Check out all the murals popping up on the streets of Witchita. Or check out the Chihuly glass floor at Witchita’s Art Museum for what could be Kanas’ most popular #IHaveThisThingForFloors shots.
Garage Bar in Louisville is an awesome indoor-outdoor bar with yard games, great drink specials, and an even better brunch. BUT we couldn’t do a post about Instagram worthy shots without mentioning Churchill Downs home to the Kentucky Derby. We loved Louisville so much we put together a whole guide for your next trip.
The Bywater area in New Orleans is quickly becoming a hotspot. The streets are lined with brightly colored houses and artist studios.
There is something about Lighthouses to me that feels sweet and romantic, almost like they all belong in a Nicholas Sparks book. The Bug Light LightHouse is no different. You’ll be able to nail the #couplesgoals shot
Graffiti Alley in Baltimore is the only legal spot in the city for street artists to showcase their talent. Beside the ally you’ll find an indoor version, Graffiti Warehouse.
Harvard Square is filled with quirky restaurants, bookstores, and cafes. It also has some of the most beautiful facades. Get your camera ready and practice your street photography.
We all need a gorgeous pink wall to strike a pose in front of Eastern Market comes through. Snag some produce, check out some handmade goods and get some flicks for the gram.
Minneapolis is filled with quirky and fun murals which always provide a great IG backdrop but Glam Doll Donuts takes the top spot. They have some of the most colorful and unique donuts I’ve ever seen.
Taylor Grocery & Restaurant is all things stereotypical southern. The worn porch and exterior are proof of how many feet have passed through the front doors.
Suck up the chilly water and get the Instagram photo you’ll love forever. Glacier National Park is not only beautiful but it’s packed with fond childhood memories.
It is no secret that will travel for food! Omaha might not pop to mind immediately but it should. The food at Block 16 tastes as good as it looks.
Las Vegas has no shortage of fun and funky photo opts. From the exciting lights of the strip to the kitschy vintage vibes in old Vegas your camera will get some use. Just outside the city, you’ll find the brightly colored Seven Magic Mountains in the middle of the desert.
Flume Gorge at Franconia Notch State Park is incredible year round. Head out that way during the spring and summer for gorgeous waterfall shots, the fall foliage adds another layer, or check out the climbers ice rappelling in the winter months.
The boardwalk in Asbury Park is filled with cool murals, food vendors, and ocean views. So many options packed into one small city.
Santa Fe is one of those cities that just makes my heart flutter. I’m living for this Insta Guide to Santa Fe from Haley at Ready Set Jet Set and really have to second her recommendation to check out the shopping in Santa Fe Plaza.
Your neighborhood bodega cat, the rare books room at The Strand, all the murals from the Bushwick Collective and the french onion soup dumplings at Beauty and Essex are all things New Yorkers would be putting on their Instagrams but if you’re a visitor you’re probably going with Times Square or the view from Top of the Rock. Check out our NYC Guides for some of my best tips.
The River Arts District in Asheville is filled with vintage shops, galleries, street art and Tumblr worthy coffee bars.
20 Below Coffee in Fargo has latte art, urban industrial design aesthetics and their delicious waffles. Go for the coffee but stay for all the cool creative events like live music performances and the @ungluedmarket Craft Fest!
The German Village in Columbus is too cute. Throw in a classic bookstore like the Book Loft and I’m completely sold. Check out our Guide to Columbus for some of our favorites.
The Jones Assembly in OKC is one part trendy AF brunch spot, one party curated mixology lab, and one part concert venue. What’s not to love??
Oregon is awesome. From the breathtaking natural beauty of Cannon Beach and Multnomah Falls to the impeccably designed urban spaces in Portland – Oregon is just 100% rad. In fact, it’s on my very short list of places I’d love to live one day. Our number one pick was a toss-up between the street art of Portland and Mount Hood views.
Philly Magic Gardens is a mosaic indoor and outdoor gallery. It’s the largest work created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. The Magic Gardens spans three city lots and includes indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth.
The Dean Hotel in Providence has the most beautifully curated Instagram feed of any hotel I’ve ever seen. I’ve been travel blogging for five years, so I’ve seen a lot of hotels. They’ve kept all the hallmarks of a beautiful hotel but added in some attention-grabbing social media friendly moments like the neon signs, giant murals, witty quotes on the walls, and spot on pop culture commentary.
Sugar’s bakeshop in Charleston is an Instagram dream. The outside with the cascading ivy, cement facade, adorable signage and cupcakes mural is enough but once you’ve opened the doors it’s a whole other ballgame. Make sure you try one of their delicious lemon tarts – you know – for research.
No Midwestern road trip is complete without a stop at the kitschy-cool Wall Drug. It’s filled with oddities and roadside attractions that are so out of this world they’re a tad unbelievable. Take a photo on the giant jackalope or visit the traveler’s chapel before enjoying their famous free cups of water.
Nashville just oozes cool. There are so many incredible places to photograph. We absolutely loved this list from The Every Girl but ended up choosing Biscuit Love as our number one spot because of its gorgeous interior design and even more deliciously photogenic entrees.
Arches National Park makes the list with its 2,000+ natural sandstone arches, such as this massive, red-hued Delicate Arch in the east.
The Rock of Ages Quarry in Barre is home to the world’s largest granite quarry. After you take in the views go on the tour of the plant where gravestones are made from the rock and check out all the hidden artistry around the site.
Richmond is low key – one of the coolest cities in the US. The streets are practically a living canvas with murals on every corner. Each year, the Richmond Mural Project brings in artists from all over the world to paint walls in Richmond. Which naturally, creates a dream playground for Instagram enthusiasts.
Washington State has been named the “most Instagrammable state in the US” by many news outlets so it was really tough to narrow this one down. After some contentious debates between the two of us, we settled on Olympic State Park.
This is the Electronic Superhighway at the National Portrait Gallery. DC has so many amazing museums but this piece is one of my favorite works of art. We lived in Washington DC for almost two years and couldn’t get enough of all the surprisingly cute and quirky details. Check out our Guide to Washington DC for all our favorite haunts.
The Greenbrier is a luxury resort in the Allegheny Mountains near White Sulphur Springs. It’s been servicing the bougiest of travelers since 1778. It’s basically a palace on 11,000 acres of incredibly photogenic lands.
Boynton Chapel in Baileys Harbor Wisconsin looks like you’re stepping into a fairytale. The inside is covered in beautiful paintings and detailed wood carvings.
Wyoming has so many gorgeous national parks that it’s tough to choose which one to recommend at the end of the day Grand Teton National Park stole our hearts with these gorgeous mountain views.
Thank you to Toyota for letting us test drive the Camry Hybrid XLE mentioned in this post.
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