Road Trip Guide: Seeing the Highlights on Interstate 70
There’s an interstate highway that runs through the entirety of Middle America, starting in Cove Fort, Utah, and pushes eastward to its terminus in Baltimore, Maryland. Interstate 70 covers 2,150 miles, and passes major attractions like the magnificent Rockies of Colorado and the iconic city of St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, there are lesser-known pit stops you'll find on an I-70 road trip, like the Dwight D. Eisenhower Library & Museum in Abilene, Kansas, that punctuate even the flattest stretches of plains and prairie.
Where To Stop
You may not have been on the road all that long, but you'll want to take your first stop in Moab, home to Arches National Park. Here you’ll find gravity-defying rock formations in various states of erosion dating back millions of years. Weather-hollowed fins and red rock arches are best at sunrise and sunset, when the light emphasizes the dramatic shapes.
The next state you’ll pass through is Colorado, which is a dream destination for outdoors enthusiasts. Budget plenty of time in your road trip to check out Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado National Monument, and Glenwood Canyon. Spend the night in Colorado's capital, Denver. Also known as “The Mile-High City,” Denver has enough breweries, hip restaurants, and diversions to keep you occupied for a long weekend. (If you want to keep moving, stick to the highlights: the River North Art District, Union Station, and — if you're lucky — a show at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre.)
Next, you'll encounter the seemingly endless Sunflower State, a heartland with rolling plains that seem to rush toward the horizon without an end. Pull over in Abilene to see the childhood home of Dwight "Ike" Eisenhower, and in Topeka for the Brown vs. Board of Education National Historic Site.
Where Kansas and Missouri meet, you'll find Kansas City, which is not to be driven through too quickly. It's been hailed by Travel + Leisure readers as the No. 1 city in the United States for barbecue. A distinctive blend of tomato and molasses adds an unmistakable sweet tang to the beef briskets and slow-smoked mutton the city is known for.
Soon, you'll see the impressive Gateway Arch — the tallest man-made monument in the United States — in the city of St. Louis. While visiting this historic metropolis, be sure to drop by the ever-popular Anheuser-Busch Brewery, or take a stroll through Forest Park. This 1,300-plus acre green space was home to the 1904 World’s Fair.
When you've arrived in Ohio state’s capital, Columbus, stop again for at least a full day. South of Columbus’ downtown scene is German Village, a neighborhood that prides itself on the heritage of German immigrants who held a third of the city’s population centuries ago. Today, it’s a privately funded preservation district that has kept the look and feel of a 19th-century town, with its distinct architecture, renovated cottages, and businesses that boast vintage-style storefronts.
After driving through West Virginia and Pennsylvania, travelers pushing on to the final leg of the journey (after no less than 32 hours behind the wheel) will finally find themselves in Baltimore, Maryland. This famously quirky East Coast city is a perfect place to unwind after your lengthy road trip. Peruse the totally unusual works at the American Visionary Art Museum, and grab a plate of bibimap from the Korean-fusion Koco Truck. Treat yourself to at least one night of pampering at The Ivy Hotel — a historic boutique property with 18 rooms and an impressive collection of vintage tomes.
Good to Know
Your elevation will rise and fall dramatically as you travel from mountainous states like Colorado into ultra-flat plains regions. Be sure to pack everything from sunblock to windbreakers and multiple layers.