Does this map reveal the ultimate U.S. road trip?

Amazing! One continuous line hitting a major landmark in each of 48 states

What if you could have a computer algorithm to determine a road trip that hits at least one major national site in every state using the shortest distance between each one, little or no backtracking, and that you could join in from any point?

It would be difficult to plan such a trip with an atlas, but a doctoral student from MSU claims to have designed such a trip.  It looks good on the map.  See his criteria for making the map, and the exact cities below near the landmarks.

This would take a few months to drive and quite a bit of money, but it’s designed in such a way that you can join in the route at any point.  So you could fly to one city, begin there, go home and continue from another spot later.   (That’s what I would have to do).

The route doesn’t included Alaska or Hawaii – but those deserver their own road trips.

13,699-mile journey stops at 50 landmarks — but you’ll need some serious time off to complete it. ….

When a producer at Discovery News challenged Michigan State University doctoral student Randy Olson to plot the optimum route across the continental U.S., Olson got to work charting a course within these parameters:

  • There would be one stop in all 48 contiguous U.S. states, as well as Washington D.C. and two stops in California for an even 50 stops.
  • Each stop would be at a national natural landmark, national historic site, national park or national monument.
  • The vehicle would never leave U.S. soil.

….If you were to follow this 13,699-mile route and had the road entirely to yourself, it would take 9.33 days of nonstop driving, according to Olson’s calculations.

However, in reality you’d have to commit two to three months to complete the ultimate road trip.

Considering embarking on such an epic trip? Olson’s course is designed so you can start anywhere on the route, and many of the destinations are also near other tourist sites.

“You’ll hit every major area in the U.S. on this trip, and as an added bonus, you won’t spend too long driving through the endless cornfields of Nebraska,” he wrote on his blog.

If you’re looking to optimize your time in urban settings, Olson also created a second U.S. road trip map that makes stops at the top-ranked TripAdvisor cities….

Below is a list of the destinations you’ll see if you follow his ultimate road trip route:

  1. Grand Canyon, AZ
  2. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
  3. Craters of the Moon, ID
  4. Yellowstone National Park, WY
  5. Pikes Peak, CO
  6. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM
  7. The Alamo, TX
  8. The Platt Historic District, OK
  9. Toltec Mounds, AR
  10. Elvis Presley’s Graceland, TN
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park, MS
  12. French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
  13. USS Alabama, AL
  14. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, FL
  15. Okefenokee Swamp Park, GA
  16. Fort Sumter National Monument, SC
  17. Lost World Caverns, WV
  18. Wright Brothers National Memorial Visitor Center, NC
  19. Mount Vernon, VA
  20. White House, Washington, D.C.
  21. Colonial Annapolis Historic District, MD
  22. New Castle Historic District, DE
  23. Cape May Historic District, NJ
  24. Liberty Bell, PA
  25. Statue of Liberty, NY
  26. The Mark Twain House & Museum, CT
  27. The Breakers, RI
  28. USS Constitution, MA
  29. Acadia National Park, ME
  30. Mount Washington Hotel, NH
  31. Shelburne Farms, VT
  32. Fox Theater, Detroit, MI
  33. Spring Grove Cemetery, OH
  34. Mammoth Cave National Park, KY
  35. West Baden Springs Hotel, IN
  36. Abraham Lincoln’s Home, IL
  37. Gateway Arch, MO
  38. C. W. Parker Carousel Museum, KS
  39. Terrace Hill Governor’s Mansion, IA
  40. Taliesin, WI
  41. Fort Snelling, MN
  42. Ashfall Fossil Bed, NE
  43. Mount Rushmore, SD
  44. Fort Union Trading Post, ND
  45. Glacier National Park, MT
  46. Hanford Site, WA
  47. Columbia River Highway, OR
  48. San Francisco Cable Cars, CA
  49. San Andreas Fault, CA
  50. Hoover Dam, NV

See the whole story here