Lonely Planet Writer

This is the ultimate American road trip, according to scientific research

A data scientist has put together a series of the ultimate road trips of the United States so that travellers can see as many sights as possible while clocking up the least amount of mileage.

Get in a good road trip. Image by ©Hero Images/Getty Images

Randy Olson created six separate routes for car manufacturer Chevrolet designed to maximise sight-seeing while cutting down on gas bills. One of his maps takes road trippers through all 48 of the contiguous states, with a specific monument, landmark, or theme park in each.

This perfect road trip can begin in any state, whether east or west coast, or somewhere in between. Were somebody to complete it in its entirety, it would take 214.56 driving hours (around nine days) and would clock up 13,389 miles on the odometer. Randy Olson told Lonely Planet: “Every major journey begins with a plan: where you’re going, where you’re stopping along the way, and how you’re getting there. “When planning a road trip and creating a map, I always start with deciding where to stop along the way. Then, the next step is to find the ‘true’ distance between all of the chosen destinations by car. Lastly, I input the routes into a genetic algorithm to reach a near-perfect solution for the best possible road trip.”

The road to Monument Valley in the US. Image by ©Putt Sakdhnagool/500px

Mr Olson has also created five other mini road trips, designed around specific regions or states. There’s one for the Midwest that takes in stops in the region’s biggest attractions, including Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Museum, and perhaps fittingly the Indianapolis Speedway and Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson Museum. He’s also mapped the perfect road trip for the Northeast with stop-offs at the famous mansions of Newport in Rhode Island, and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. There’s a West Coast trip that takes travellers along the coast – taking in the Big Sur highway – on a route stretching from Pike Place Market in Seattle to Balboa Park in San Diego.

Two separate road trips are also available for Texas and Florida to take in all that the Lone Star and Sunshine States have to offer.