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Meet "Big Daddy": Roadtripping US-20, the Longest Road

12 states and 3,365 miles of transcontinental amazement

  • 23
  • 60:25
  • 3,576 mi
  • $377

Created by Roadtrippers - June 15th 2016

Route 66 might be known as America's Mother Road, but U.S. Route 20 is called "Big Daddy" for good reason. It's the longest road in the U.S., stretching from Boston, Massachusetts, to Newport, Oregon. A mega road trip along this epic route will take you through 12 states and across 3,365 miles.

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Yaquina Bay State Recreation Site

Start off by admiring the singular beauty of the Pacific Coast at Newport's Yaquina Bay. Oregon's wild beaches, with their seastacks and tidepools, are unlike anything anywhere else in the country. Then, bid adieu to the shore—for now—and prepare yourself to drive right through the beating heart of the U.S.

4.8

Oakridge, OR

Looking to enjoy one of Oregon's tallest waterfalls? Since the location is about 75 miles off the highway once you exit US-20, it is a bit of a drive. However, Salt Creek Falls is worth the trek to gaze at the awe-inspiring beauty.

1
Deschutes Brewery and Public House

After hours of driving, a pint at Deschutes Brewery and Public House will be well deserved. This brewpub in Bend also serves mouthwatering, sophisticated grub. On tap you'll find Deschutes staples like the Black Butte Porter and the Nitro Obsidian Stout, alongside limited releases brewed in house.

2
Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument

As you make your way through Idaho, Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument is one great place to see how the rocky landscape hides ancient remains. The fossil bed has been an important archaeological site since the 1920s, and it still produces thousands of fossils and shards a year. Learn about intriguing animals like massive ground sloths, saber-tooth cats, and mastodons, which are now extinct but once called Idaho home. The visitor center has great information on the site's history and finds.

3
Idaho Potato Museum & Gifts

You can't drive through Idaho without paying tribute to the state's most famous product. At the Idaho Potato Museum, you'll learn everything you never knew about the root veggie, including its history and various potato-related anecdotes. See a collection of potato peelers and antique farming equipment, as you learn about the potato's role in Idaho's culture. Don't miss a photo with the giant potato statue out front. Grab some fries and the "free taters for out-of-staters" before you head back to the highway.

4
Yellowstone National Park

US-20 passes through West Yellowstone in Montana. You can't miss the chance to stop by the U.S.'s first—and, arguably, most fascinating—national park. Yellowstone is a hotbed of geothermal activity, with geysers, colorful hot springs, bubbling mudpots, and more. If you don't have time to wait for Old Faithful to blow or to hike around the Grand Prismatic Spring, take a scenic drive to spot bison and make a stop at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which features a massive waterfall.

5
National Historic Trails Interpretive Center

Wyoming is also known for its pioneer past. The National Historic Trails Interpretive Center is a fascinating look back at life on the prairie in the late 1800s. Hands-on, interactive exhibits keep kids engaged while adults browse the collection of artifacts. The story of Western Expansion is also told through performance and videos. You won't just learn about what life was like in a wagon or on a homestead, you'll get insight into wildlife, native cultures, and natural history, as well.

6
Carhenge

Stop to appreciate the unique roadside kitsch known as Carhenge. In addition to the collection of weird car art —think graffiti cars and a station wagon made to look like a Conestoga wagon—the crown jewel of the place is the Stonehenge homage made entirely of cars. Set in the rough Badlands scenery, there's actually a lot to see here, making it well worth the stop.

7
Ashfall State Historical Park

Imagine what the landscape of what is now Nebraska looked like millions of years ago—12 million years, to be precise. Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historic Park features a fascinating array of ancient remains. The bones of various prehistoric creatures can be seen here. Walk through the fossil beds, learn about paleontology, and see a dig in action. The site is quite scenic as well, so you may spend an hour or two exploring here.

8
Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Sioux City provides a free, in-depth look at the story of Lewis and Clark, following their trials and tribulations as they became the first Westerners to cross the continent. After your tour, you'll be thankful that your cross-country road trip is a bit easier than theirs.

9
Field of Dreams Movie Site

Once you reach Iowa, you'll see a lot of cornfields, but there's one in particular to visit: The one with the baseball diamond from the 1989 film Field of Dreams. Tour the farmhouse, or watch a game.

10
Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio

As you make your way through the ever-changing landscapes, pay tribute to the man who was so inspired by them that he changed architecture forever: Frank Lloyd Wright. His Oak Park Home and Studio is a great way to learn about his formative years and to get a peek into how he worked. This "architectural laboratory" is where he and his team designed over 100 buildings, including some of his most famous works, like the Robie House and the Unity Temple.

11
Michael Jackson's House

The home of another American icon is not too far away. The house where pop star Michael Jackson and his siblings were raised is in the tiny town of Gary, Indiana. The house is fenced off, but you can admire the tributes and memorials placed around it from afar.

12
RV & Motorhome Hall of Fame

Continuing through Indiana, you can make a stop at the RV and Motorhome Hall of Fame in Elkhart. Even if you've never stepped foot in an RV before, the retro vehicles are absolutely fascinating.

13
Cedar Point Amusement Park

Spare a day of travel to spend some time at Cedar Point Amusement Park, which is considered one of the best parks in the U.S. for roller coaster fans. The sheer number of rides and attractions here will keep kids and adults of all ages enthralled for hours. It can be somewhat pricey, between the tickets and the cost of food, but you can save money by packing a picnic and buying tickets online in advance.

14
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

US-20 makes its way through Cleveland, where you can jam out at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. The collection of artifacts is absolutely legendary, including items like Lady Gaga's meat dress, Elvis's car, Michael Jackson's famous glove, and Joey Ramone's leather jacket. The list of iconic objects on display is almost endless. Even if you're not a rock fan, the amount of history here is venerable and well displayed.

15
Johnson Estate Winery

As you make your way into western New York, you'll be in prime wine country. Johnson Estate Winery is a quiet slice of heaven, with rolling green hills and a cozy tasting room, where six samples of wine will only set you back a few dollars. The winery offers a huge variety, from pinot noirs and merlots to rieslings and chardonnays to ice wines, ports, and sherries. For a real taste of the region, try one of the light blush wines.

16
Jell-O Gallery Museum

If you're into attractions that are as interesting as they are quirky, the Jell-O Gallery Museum is a must-visit. Old recipes, Jell-O molds, ads, and more tell the surprising history of this retro snack. Don't forget to grab a box of Jell-O in the gift shop.

17
Harriet Tubman Home

Learn about the incredible history of the abolition movement and the Underground Railroad with a visit to Harriet Tubman's home. Pay tribute to Tubman, who, as an escaped slave, risked her life going back to rescue other slaves. The site has four buildings across 25 bucolic acres.

18
Baseball Hall of Fame

Celebrate a favorite U.S. past time at the Baseball Hall of Fame. Exhibits detailing the long and storied history of the distinctly American sport, from the anything-goes early days to the Negro Leagues to today's greats. You'll leave with a new appreciation for the sport.

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Summer is a great time for a trip along US-20. The weather might get hot, and some spots—like Yellowstone—might get crowded, but many roads and attractions close during the winter due to the northern nature of this route. Spring and fall provide mild weather, which is always nice, but plan for variable conditions, including rain. It will take you at least a few weeks to fully appreciate everything offered along US-20, so leave yourself plenty of time—and just enjoy the ride.

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