Ten Weeks in Wonderland: All U.S National Parks Road Trip
By Kimberly Graf. Published on March 12, 2023
Seeing all 47 National Parks in the lower 48 is a road tripper's dream. We've put together this intensive itinerary so that you might be able to see every single one in a total of ten weeks; you can do them sooner, but that pace is unrealistic for actually enjoying each park.
There are a couple of things we took into consideration here: You will have one day to enjoy the unique features of each park. If the time from one park to another is more than five hours of driving time, we've put an additional travel day between those parks to allow you time to get there without a rush. Otherwise, we just assume that you're going to wake up early and go to the next park, and have most of the day to explore it.
We're going to start at the tip of Florida and work our way around the country clockwise until we reach Shenandoah National Park, which will be the last stop. So without further ado, our intensive ten-week itinerary!
- Dry Tortugas
- Biscayne National Park
- Drive to Congaree
- Congaree National Park
- Great Smokey Mountains
- Drive to Mammoth Cave
We'll start on Day One of Week One in the Dry Tortugas. You can reach it by ferry, so you can't technically drive there. Day Two will take you to the Everglades, which isn't that far away. When you're done there, Day Three will take you to Biscayne National Park, also close by.
On Day Four, get up early and undertake the nearly 10-hour drive to Congaree National Park in South Carolina. Day Five should be spent exploring the park there, and Day Six will take you to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and the gorgeous views there.
The final day of week one will have you driving towards Mammoth Cave National Park in South Carolina, which is just under five hours away. So we end Week One on the road in the Carolinas.
- Mammoth Cave National Park
- Drive to Hot Springs
- Hot Springs National Park
- Drive to Big Bend
- Big Bend National Park
- Carlsbad Caverns
- Guadalupe Mountains
Day One of Week Two starts at Mammoth Cave National Park. Day Two will see you driving to Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, which is about a seven hour drive. Day Three will, of course, be spent relaxing in Hot Springs.
On Day Four, drive 12 hours to Big Bend, Texas. It's a long drive, but it's totally worth it for Big Bend National Park, which you can explore on Day Five. Day Six can be spent in Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The final day of Week Two will see you in the Guadalupe Mountains just over the Texas Border.
Our next stop: Arizona!
- Drive to Saguaro National Park
- Petrified Forest
- Grand Canyon
- Drive to Death Valley
- Death Valley National Park
- Joshua Tree
Week Three starts you off driving to Saguaro National Park in Tucson, Arizona. It's about six and a half hours there, but it's a drive through gorgeous desert landscapes. Day Two is all about Saguaro National Park. Day Three, you can go up to the Petrified Forest and spend the day there.
On Day Four, you'll encounter one of the most famous National Parks in the country: Grand Canyon National Park. It needs no introduction! Day Five will have you driving seven hours to Death Valley National Park, and on Day Six you can explore all that Death Valley has to offer!
Day Seven can be spent in Joshua Tree National Park, taking part in some recreation there. Week Four will be spent entirely in the state of California!
- Drive to Ventura, CA
- Channel Islands
- Pinnacles National Park
- Sequoia National Park
- Kings Canyon
- Yosemite National Park
- Drive to Lassen Volcanic Park
Day One of this week has you driving just over five hours to Ventura, California. You can't reach the Channel Islands by car, but this is the point from which you can take a ferry. On Day Two, you can take that ferry out to the Channel Islands. Day Three has you at the Pinnacles National Park, and Day Four is at Sequoia National Park.
On Day Five you can see all that King's Canyon has to offer, and Day Six brings you to one of the most anticipated stop on this trip: Yosemite National Park! When you've recovered, you can spend Day Seven driving almost 6 hours north to Lassen Volcanic Park.
- Lassen Volcanic Park
- Redwood National Park
- Crater Lake
- Drive to Olympic
- Olympic National Park
- Mount Rainier
- North Cascades
We start Week Five at Lassen Volcanic Park, before moving to the Redwoods National Park on Day Two. Day Three will see you on a short drive to Crater Lake in Oregon, and spending the day looking over the crystal clear waters.
On Day Four, you're on the road again for nearly 7 hours, on your way to Olympic National Park in Washington. Day Five is a day to explore Olympic, before heading to Mount Rainier on Day Six. At the end of Week Five, you should be enjoying the North Cascades National Park.
- Drive to Glacier
- Glacier National Park
- Drive to Yellowstone
- Yellowstone National Park
- Grand Teton National Park
- Drive to Great Basin
- Great Basin National Park
Week Six open with you on the road again, on a relaxing 9-hour drive towards Glacier National Park. On Day two, you're exploring Glacier and taking in that Montana Air. Day Three is a day you've been anticipating – a seven-hour drive to Yellowstone National Park.
Which means that on Day Four, you can see the most famous National Park in America. Yellowstone awaits for this whole day. Day Five has you exploring the Grand Teton National Park, which is so close you could walk there!
On Day Six, you're on the road again, driving just over 8 hours towards the Great Basin National Park. Week Six closes in the Great Basin National Park in Nevada!
- Zion National Park
- Bryce Canyon
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Mesa Verde
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison
You goal is in sight! Week Seven is spent mostly in Utah, starting on Day One with Zion National Park. On Day Two you can explore Bryce Canyon, which isn't far away – and Day Three has you in the Capitol Reef National Park. Arches National Park takes the spotlight on Day Four.
Day Five finishes out your trip in Utah with Canyonlands, and when you're finished there, head over the border into Colorado and take some time to explore the ruins at Mesa Verde on Day Six. You won't regret it! Finish out the week at Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado.
- Great Sand Dunes
- Drive to Rocky Mountains
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Drive to Wind Cave
- Wind Cave National Park
- Badlands National Park
- Drive to Theodore Roosevelt National Park
From here on out, the trip has a lot of driving. The National Parks in this last two weeks are very much spread out. We'll start still in Colorado with the Great Sand Dunes. Day Two is the drive towards the Rocky Mountains to the North. It's about a 5-hour drive, and it's a beautiful drive through the center of Colorado.
Day Three is your day to enjoy the Rocky Mountain National Park. On Day Four, you're heading to Wind Cave, which will take you almost six hours to reach in South Dakota. Wind Cave is the star of Day Five.
On Day Six this week, you're exploring the Badlands National Park, and on Day Seven you're again on the road, taking the 5-hour drive to Theodor e Roosevelt National Park.
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Drive to Voyageurs
- Voyageurs National Park
- Drive to Isle Royale
- Isle Royale
- Drive to Cuyahoga
Week Nine opens at the Theodor Roosevelt National Park. When you're finished there, you're going to drive 9 hours to Minnesota – and on Day Three, you'll enjoy a trip to Voyageurs National Park. Day Four has you on the road again, to Isle Royale – or, at least, 8 hours to the point where you can board a ferry to the island.
You'll take that ferry on Day Five, explore Isle Royale, and on Day Six you're on another 12-hour drive towards Ohio. In Ohio, you can explore Cuyahoga National Park on Day Seven, wrapping up this week. Next week features two of the longest drives yet, but you're in the home stretch!
- Week Ten
- Drive to Acadia
- Acadia National Park
- Drive to Shenandoah
- Shenandoah National Park
This is a long journey, but considering how far you've come, you can't turn back now! Week Ten opens with a 14-hour drive to Acadia, Maine. Take the time to enjoy some of the landscape of New England. Acadia is open for exploration on Day Two, before you're back on the road for the last leg of the journey.
Shenandoah is 12 hours away in Virginia. Enjoy the fact that you've seen nearly every National Park in America! On the last day of this epic road trip, explore Shenandoah National Park.
That's it, you've done it! It's taken you about 13 thousand miles and ten weeks to do it, but you've seen all 47 National Parks that you can get to by car, and without a passport. You've seen a variety of natural wonders, and the best that the United States has to offer!
Now, take a week off for a vacation before planning your next big adventure!