One-way RV trips are ideal for travelers looking to maximize flexibility and save time with no need to plan a complicated loop or waste valuable time and money returning the RV to its original city.
However, not all rental companies allow for one-way RV trips though; they simply don’t have a large enough network to deal with the logistics of it. Cruise America can always accommodate one-way rentals with over 100 locations across the U.S. and Canada, so your trips' only limitations are your imagination.
With so many incredible RV trips available though, it can be hard to nail down a single itinerary. Start by deciding how long of a road trip you’re willing and able to take. How many miles do you want to go each day? What kind of activities are you interested, in big city attractions, national parks, or the simple joy of seeing a totally new place?
We’ve put together a list of nine of the most interesting one-way RV trips in the U.S. and Canada. No matter your preferences, one of these road trips is sure to appeal to your unique sense of adventure.
The Best One-Way RV Trips for Adventurers
Here are nine options for one-way RV trips that will keep you entertained and cure your wanderlust.
Chicago to LA
Being the subject of countless songs, road movies, and TV episodes, there is no road trip more iconic than Route 66. Nicknamed the Main Street of America, it runs for 2,500 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, traversing eight states while passing near four national parks and several national monuments and recreation areas. In just a single trip, a person can experience the grandeur of the Great Lakes, the expansive prairie of the Midwest, the iconic desert landscapes of the Southwest, and the beautiful southern California coast.
However, the best part of taking a one-way RV trip on Route 66 is that it’s a journey through America’s history. Interstate highways have bypassed most of the towns on Route 66, leaving them as a time capsule of a bygone era. Each of the small towns along the way greets travelers with ‘50s-era gas stations and diners rather than chain restaurants and big box stores.
Pacific Coast Highway
San Diego to Seattle
No road is more centrally-tied to West coast identity than the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). While California State Route 1 is frequently cited as the most beautiful highway in America and the heart of the PCH, winding its way along the rugged Pacific Coast between Orange County and the craggy headlands north of San Francisco, intrepid RV travelers can easily extend the route from the Mexican to Canadian borders.
The route offers a range of possible adventures, from urban amenities like shopping and fine dining in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, to rugged outdoor experiences at Pinnacles and Olympic National Park. Along the way are countless unique attractions like Hearst Castle, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, Golden Gate Bridge, and Redwoods National Forest.
Seattle to Anchorage
Driving the Alaska Highway, or as it’s sometimes called ALCAN Highway, is a bucket list trip for many RV travelers. However, it’s not a journey to be taken lightly, with very few services north of the city of Edmonton in Alberta. Drivers must come prepared for flat tires, infrequent dump stations, and enough supplies should something go awry in the remote backcountry.
However, those who brave the Alaska Highway are rewarded with an abundance of wildlife viewing opportunities, with caribou, bears, and moose sightings being quite common. It’s also a chance to truly get away from the trappings of modern civilization and experience nature at its purest.
The Alaska Highway doesn’t truly begin until the town of Dawson Creek in northern British Columbia, but most travelers begin in larger cities like Seattle or Calgary, Alberta where amenities and, more importantly, RV rentals are available. From Dawson Creek, the highway runs through a short section of the Yukon Territory and the city of Whitehorse before entering eastern Alaska near Delta Junction.
The Alaska Highway designation technically ends here, but to make this a one-way RV trip, you’ll need to make your way down to Anchorage where there’s a major airport. Denali, Wrangell St. Elias, and Kenai Fjords National Parks are relatively close to the Alaska Highway and make excellent side trips for travelers with enough time to appreciate them.
Boston to Newport (near Portland)
If you’ve ever wanted to experience all that America has to offer in one go, there’s no better road than Route 20. Designated as America’s longest highway, it runs from Boston through upstate New York and the Finger Lakes region, dipping below Lake Erie and Lake Michigan to visit Cleveland and Chicago, passing through Sioux City in South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming before ending near Portland on the Oregon Coast.
To keep this journey comfortable, most travelers will block out at least two weeks. The side trips are nearly endless, with Craters of the Moon and Devils Tower National Monument, along with Cuyahoga National Park being just a short distance from the Route. Outside of the major cities mentioned, the route is largely open countryside, and RV parks are plentiful.
Halifax to Vancouver
Similar to Route 20, the TransCanada Highway is the longest roadway traversing the Great White North. From Halifax, Nova Scotia, on its eastern shore to Vancouver, British Columbia, it passes through nine provinces, several national parks, and almost every ecosystem in Canada outside of the arctic tundra. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime journey, to say the least.
One of the more interesting aspects of a Trans Canada road trip is experiencing the cultural differences as you drive from coast to coast. The Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island is an isolated region with a dialect and traditions that can feel quite foreign to Canadians living in urban areas like Toronto and Vancouver. The French-speaking province of Quebec has an almost European feel to it, especially in the stately cities of Montreal and Quebec City. Then there’s Ontario, home to Canada’s largest city of Toronto, and its capital Ottawa.
The prairie provinces to the west of Manitoba and Saskatchewan bring to mind the farmlands of the Dakotas and Iowa, while the mountains of Alberta are more similar to Colorado or Montana. In the west, Vancouver and the rugged peaks of British Columbia invite hikers and skiers to enjoy the stately slopes while offering the big city amenities and culture consistent with the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest metropolises of Seattle and Portland.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Knoxville to Manassas (D.C.)
The Blue Ridge Parkway should be on everyone’s list of road trips in the southern U.S. Not only is it stunningly beautiful, with expansive views of the hazy Appalachian Mountains, the route is also dotted with important historical sites like Oconaluftee Indian Village, the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, and the Mabry Mill Historic District.
The parkway is also one of the easier one-way RV trips; at less than 500 miles, the journey can be made in a long weekend. Starting in Knoxville, TN — the closest large city to the beginning of the parkway, the route actually begins just west of Asheville (which is worthy of a visit in its own right) and travels northeast through Shenandoah National Park toward the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. The long, winding curves of the parkway invite a slower form of travel, where visitors can get out and stretch their legs on a hike every couple of hours.
Southwest National Parks Tour
Tucson to Las Vegas
The southwestern United States is chocked full of amazing national parks, with southern Utah boasting five of them, and another three can be visited in Arizona. This tour of the parklands starts in Tucson, home to delicious Mexican food, fascinating architecture, and Saguaro National Park — home to vast expanses of the iconic, tree-like cactus. From there, the route turns northeasterly, towards Petrified Forest National Park. The park's colorful badlands are ideal for RV travel as most of the sights are visible from the single road running through the park.
No Arizona road trip would be complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon, just a few hour’s drive from Petrified Forest. While views from the rim are spectacular, the best way to see the park in all its grandeur is by joining a helicopter tour. Experienced can get a more intimate view of the park by rambling down the trails to the canyon floor on the Bright Angel Trail.
From here, the route goes north to Utah, where you can find three national parks and a national monument — Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Grand Staircase-Escalante all within a short drive of each other. Each of them is home to geological features, and wildlife found almost nowhere else, and you could easily spend several weeks exploring them all.
This dramatic tour of the Southwest’s natural landscapes ends in one of America’s most artificial cities — Las Vegas. Though if bright lights and dinging slot machines aren’t your cup of tea, there’s plenty of wilderness to explore just outside the city limits: Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, and Gunlock State Park.
Rocky Mountains Tour
Albuquerque to Denver
The Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico are some of the most extreme terrain you’ll find in the United States, with the highest point on the Interstate system at 11,155 in the Eisenhower Tunnel west of Denver. This tour of the Rockies starts in New Mexico’s largest city Albuquerque at an elevation of nearly a mile above sea level. From there, it turns northward and gains a couple of thousand feet before reaching the artsy capital of Santa Fe. Climbing even further, the route passes by the ski resort towns of Taos and Angel Fire.
Crossing into Colorado, the road goes north to Great Sand Dunes National Park — the tallest sand dunes in North America at almost 800 feet. In the cooler month, you can rent a sandboard and sled down these spectacular shifting sand hills. After the park is when you really get into the meat of the Rocky Mountains, with Highway 285 taking travelers past iconic ski towns like Keystone and Breckenridge.
Rocky Mountain National Park lies near the end of this route and features one of the highest roads in the U.S. — Trail Ridge Road and limitless opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. The route ends not far from the park in the quirky college town of Boulder, known for its extensive craft beer scene and lively arts community.
Green and White Mountains
Boston to Montreal
New England offers an abundance of road trip opportunities, and because the distances between major cities are much shorter, they can be completed in just a few days rather than weeks. This meandering route from Boston to Montreal is a spectacular journey through the region's most mountainous terrain in the White and Green Mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont. To see New England at its best, save this one-way RV trip for the fall season, when the temperatures are cooler, the humidity is lower, and the colorful autumn foliage is on full display.
Starting in the historic city of Boston, the route makes its way up the New Hampshire coastline to the maritime-centric town of Portsmouth. From here, it curves inward towards the high peaks of the White Mountains and the town of Conway. Be sure to make a short side trip to the base of Mount Washington while you’re there. Here you can hike or ride the famous cog railway to the top of New England’s highest peak.
From the New Hampshire border at Littleton cross over to the scenic hamlet of St. Johnsbury in Vermont and follows Route 2 to the capital of Montpelier. The scenery is a pastoral dreamscape with dozens of little farms selling fresh produce and specialty products. From Montpelier, head up to Vermont’s largest city at Burlington, with its dramatic views overlooking Lake Champlain. The last section of the journey hugs its eastern shore before entering Canada and arriving at Canada’s second-largest and most European city, Montreal.
Take a One-Way RV Trip with Cruise America
Cruise America is your travel partner for any of these one-way road trips. Give us a call to reserve an RV rental for your trip and hit the road. We have comfortable models with convenient and modern amenities.