4 Great EV Road Trips in the U.S. Chosen By Electric Car Experts

We asked some prominent EV enthusiasts for their favorite electric road trips across the U.S. From the shores of Connecticut to California’s historic Route 66, these excursions are expert approved.

An electric car driving over a bridge in Colorado

The Red Cliff Bridge on Colorado’s US-24 highway is best seen from an emissions-free EV.

Courtesy of Colorado Tourism Office

The great American road trip is evolving thanks to the rise of electric vehicles. Each year, more charging stations pop up—there were 20 percent more electric vehicle stations in the United States in 2023 than in 2022, and that number is projected to rise in 2024.

Beyond the clear benefits of gas savings and a lower footprint, EV road trips force you to stop and recharge (both your car and yourself) and see the full range of a destination, from its local grocery store parking lots to its iconic landmarks of yesterday and today.

“EVs offer limitless opportunity to go almost anywhere without leaving a carbon footprint,” says Bruce Redman Becker, architect and owner of Hotel Marcel, a 100 percent solar-powered and fully electric hotel in New Haven, Connecticut (with abundant EV charging, naturally). We asked several EV enthusiasts for their electric road trip recommendations across the nation.

Solar panels on the roof of Hotel Marcel at sunset

The solar-powered Hotel Marcel is an eco-friendly charging point from which to begin your EV adventure.

Courtesy of Hotel Marcel

Connecticut’s Coastline

Suggested by: Bruce Redman Becker, owner/architect of Hotel Marcel, the first all-electric hotel in the U.S.

Bruce Redman Becker’s love for all things electric goes beyond his zero-emissions Hotel Marcel; he’s also the chairman of the Electric Vehicle Owners Club in Connecticut and has been driving an EV since 2011. A graduate of the Yale School of Architecture, Becker says his favorite EV drives are along New England’s coast, including the Connecticut shoreline drive.

Departing fully charged from Hotel Marcel, take the scenic coastal drive from New Haven to the village of Mystic, stopping at the coastal town of Old Saybrook along the way. Stretch your legs while you recharge at Connecticut’s largest shoreline park, Hammonasset Beach State Park, which has charging stations on-site. Enjoy oysters on New Haven’s waterfront at Shell & Bones, and in the heart of Mystic, see what all the fanfare is about at Shipwright’s Daughter, with a menu from a 2024 James Beard Chef award finalist.

A blue car at EV charging station at Hammonasset State Park

Hammonasset State Park boasts two miles of sandy beach—and some EV charging stations.

Courtesy of Connecticut Office of Tourism

Other drives nearby

EV drivers can feel “range confident” in Connecticut with more than 360 public EV charging stations and at least 23 Tesla supercharging stations across the state. Becker also recommends taking your EV to the Appalachian Trail in the state’s northwest corner. “Hikers can go to fairly remote places with EVs,” he says. Connecticut is home to some 49 miles of the iconic trail.

Where to stay

Hotel Marcel New Haven, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, has 24 charging stations. Fill up at the sustainably minded BLDG restaurant while you wait. Saybrook Point Resort & Marina in Saybrook, one of Connecticut’s oldest towns (located where the Connecticut River meets Long Island), has four Tesla charging stations, and the Whaler’s Inn in Mystic has two Tesla charging stations.

Detroit to Michigan’s Lakes

Suggested by: Nick Fitzpatrick, cofounder & head of design at Grounded, an EV RV startup

You don’t need to own an RV to get a taste of vanlife. Instead you can use RVshare, the Airbnb of RV rentals, which has over 100,000 vehicles available for rent across the U.S. In partnership with Grounded, it now offers EV RVs to rent out of Detroit.

Nick Fitzpatrick, cofounder and head of design at Grounded, says his top road trip was their inaugural drive in their company’s newly built Grounded G2, driving a loop of Michigan all the way into the Upper Peninsula. “My favorite part of the journey was just after we had crossed the Mackinac Bridge,” says Fitzpatrick. “We cruised along a road that followed along the edge of Lake Michigan, and there was a gorgeous warm glow from the sunset spilling through the windscreen into the cabin.”

After their first charge at Meijer, a family-owned one-stop shop in Gaylord, in the middle of the night, they had their first match of “parking lot disc golf” there to pass the time. “A lot of our charging was done at Meijer [grocery] stores, and they should be commended for their commitment to installing EV chargers at their locations around Michigan and beyond,” says Fitzpatrick. They also charged at Northern Michigan University, which provided them with a key boost of charge overnight in Marquette, a port city on the southern shores of Lake Superior.

Other drives nearby

Only about 225 miles from Detroit, Indiana Dunes National Park offers a network of hiking and biking trails along Lake Michigan. For a longer road trip—more than 500 miles from Detroit—you’ll find Isle Royale National Park on an island in Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes.

Where to stay

Fitzpatrick parked the Grounded RV at Hipcamp locations through the trips.

California’s Route 66 from Pasadena to Santa Monica

Suggested by: Ariel Fan, CEO of GreenWealth Energy, an EV charging company

Santa Monica aims to be the most EV-friendly city in the country. It boasts more than 332 public charging stations, including 21 free stations, and has over 4,400 registered electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Ariel Fan, CEO of GreenWealth Energy, an EV charging company based in Pasadena, says one of her favorite EV drives is from her home in Pasadena (an artsy and walkable alternative to L.A. itself) to Santa Monica.

The Taiwanese American EV entrepreneur recommends charging in the supercharger hub Arroyo Electric Vehicle Charging Depot in Pasadena, which has 26 powerful public chargers. While you charge, check out ArtCenter College of Design’s galleries across the street. The college has a world-renowned Transportation Design program—where the future of EVs could be envisioned.

“Santa Monica is less than a 45-minute drive away,” Fan says. And from there, you can take a scenic drive up the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway to visit destinations like the Getty Villa or the sea caves at El Matador State Beach. “The Getty has also made an effort to cater to EV drivers by providing free EV chargers for visitors, ensuring that I never have to worry about running out of battery while exploring the coast,” says Fan.

Other drives nearby

To see more of Route 66 through California, head to the city of Needles, which is 275 miles away. Stop at Barstow, a San Bernardino County town, which is home to the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, housed in a 1911 hotel and the Calico Ghost Town, and Mojave National Preserve.

Where to stay

Fan recommends staying at the Santa Monica Proper Hotel, which offers EV charging for valet parked vehicles. Santa Monica has plenty of EVgo and ChargePoint chargers available in its parking lots, making it convenient to top off your vehicle’s charge while exploring the area.

Downtown Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs has over 200 EV charging stations.

Photo by Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

The Colorado Rockies through Glenwood Canyon

Suggested by: EV Explored, Patrick Anderson and Liv Leigh

Liv Leigh and Patrick Anderson document their multiple road trips of 1,000+ miles in their Ford Mustang Mach-E on their blog, EV Explored. They had no experience with driving electric cars before they got their first EV in 2021 but quickly learned by taking a road trip around Colorado and to San Diego.

One of their favorite routes is driving through the Colorado Rockies along I70, which Anderson says is easy because of the number of charging stations. “One of my favorite stretches of Interstate in the entire U.S. is through Glenwood Canyon in western Colorado,” he says. “It’s really scenic and also a marvel of highway engineering.”

Leigh has mobility issues, which can make driving an EV extra challenging. Many of the charging stations they come across are not designed for anyone in a wheelchair. “With gas stations, there is often a button you can push to request assistance and they have very accessible restrooms,” says Anderson. “We’ve talked about this a few times in our videos and we hope that eventually charging companies take notice and make sure stations are inclusive for everyone.”

While Aspen has long attracted travelers, Glenwood Springs is quickly becoming a destination for EV drivers to recharge with its hot springs and increasing number of charging stations.

Other drives nearby

Two of Colorado’s most sustainably focused towns—Glenwood Springs and Aspen—are powered by 100 percent renewable energy. And the state is in the process of electrifying all 26 of its scenic and historic byways. Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway is a fully electric 82-mile byway lined with chargers and features sky-high views of Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. From Aspen, travel across the Continental Divide and along the Arkansas River.

Where to stay

Aspen Meadows Resort has two electric vehicle charging stations. In Glenwood Springs, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort and Glenwood Springs Inn both have charging stations.

Kathleen Rellihan is a travel journalist and editor covering adventure, culture, climate, and sustainability. Formerly Newsweek‘s travel editor, she contributes to outlets such as Afar, Outside, Time, CNN Travel, and more.
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