Take This Popular Road Trip Route And Experience The Best Of The Northern US

Over the past near century, road-tripping has become a staple of American culture. Not only does the United States offer significantly varied landscapes from beaches to mountains to deserts, but road-tripping and the great outdoors are also embedded in pop culture. While no one wants to emulate the trips from memorable comedies such as "National Lampoon's Vacation" or "We're the Millers," highways and interstates all over the country can bring you to multiple iconic locations with ease.

The northernmost highway in the U.S. is US Highway 2 or US-2. Constructed in 1926, it runs along the border between the U.S. and Canada — the longest border between two countries in the world. It starts near Acadia National Park on the coast of Maine and ends in Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle. This means that US-2 hits 11 states and even dips into Canada between Michigan and New York. Following US-2 can take you to major cities and some lesser-visited natural gems.

Experience nature in the American Northwest

Everett, Washington, borders the Pacific Ocean inlet of Puget Sound. This area is home to orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, harbor seals, bald eagles, and gray whales. Boat trips around the Puget Sound are popular ways to go whale watching. Boat tour companies like Puget Sound Express leave from nearby towns such as Edmonds and Port Townsend.

When heading east along US-2 through the beautiful countryside of Washington and Idaho, you'll eventually hit Glacier National Park in Montana. You can drive your own car through this park, which features the brightly colored Grinnell Lake (pictured above). Hike to Grinnell Glacier for views of the lake and wildlife including mountain goats along the way. Definitely take your time exploring the park's many trails and hikes that vary in length.

History buffs and aspiring explorers alike enjoy the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, North Dakota. This museum is easily accessible from US-2 via the intersecting US-83 highway. The museum includes historical artifacts from the early 1800s and art as it takes visitors back to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark's famous expedition across the expansive land that would eventually become part of the United States. As the museum displays, Lewis and Clark were just two of many travelers through the northern plains.

Check out lighthouses at Lake Superior

History continues along Minnesota's stretch of US-2. Minnesota and its surrounding states saw significant amounts of Scandinavian immigrants throughout most of the 1800s. This heritage is reflected in everything from the Minnesota Vikings football team to the statue of famous Viking Leif Erikson in Duluth. Fast-forward quite a few decades and Duluth, Minnesota, becomes a part of music history as well. Robert Zimmerman — better known as Bob Dylan — was born here in 1941. The city celebrates this with the Duluth Dylan Fest in May each year. His childhood home in Duluth still stands. The nearby city of Hibbing offers more sites for Dylan fans, as he spent much of his childhood there, too.

Duluth and Superior, Wisconsin, are located on the shores of Late Superior, the world's largest lake. A visit to these shores includes Park Point Beach and lighthouses. Superior North Entry Lighthouse is in Minnesota, but within eyesight is the Superior Entry Breakwater Lighthouse (pictured above) at Wisconsin Point. Both date back more than a century.

Finish your bi-coastal road trip at Acadia National Park

Michigan's upper peninsula is filled with state forests and surrounded by three of the five Great Lakes. Pictured, Rocks National Lakeshore is a long stretch of land with tall sandstone cliffs topped with thick trees. While you may find beavers and chipmunks, animals including deer, black bears, and moose are becoming more rare. To help preserve their populations, keep your distance from animals, and keep human food away from them.

US-2 reappears at the border between New York and Vermont, but between this border and Michigan's upper peninsula, let your road trip take you to Canada. Just north of the New York-Vermont border is Montreal, Canada. This is the capital of Quebec, the only Canadian province with French as its official language. While there, get a small taste of European castles at Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal or Château Viger.

Veer off of US-2 in Bangor, Maine, and head southeast to finish off this 3,000+ mile, epic road trip at Acadia National Park, one of the country's most popular national parks. Paved roads, such as the Park Loop Road (pictured above), and hiking trails offer wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean and the park's cliffs.