To me, nothing says “American summer” like long car trips through our beautiful country. With my classes starting today and summer drawing to a close, I thought I would put together my favorite photos from my road trips over the last few months.

When I was in Europe last year, I had so many amazing chances to travel. Between trains and buses, you can really get by without a car. The public transportation system in Europe keeps everything well-connected, and that made it very easy for me to get where I wanted to go.

Eventually, though, I started missing the luxury of having not just a car, but vast, open roads. My wanderlust started to point back toward the US as I dreamed about the ever-romanticized Great American Road Trip. Luckily, my summer was full of memorable car rides, and I managed to document most of my favorite stretches on the road.

Ohio is my favorite state in almost every respect. Driving through it is no exception. Though its flat terrain and straight roads are arguably boring, I think the blue skies, green fields, and historic farms make it an absolutely beautiful state to drive through.

And driving down Ohio’s country roads at sunset is always a rewarding experience.

The Midwest is full of stunning sunsets, and I caught this one in Illinois on my way to Chicago.

In my opinion, the only thing better than driving all day and watching the sunset is driving all night and watching the sunrise. That’s exactly what happened on my trip to Washington, D.C. Pulling an all-nighter was definitely worth it to see this.

A summer requirement for me has always been to visit my grandparents in northeast Indiana. The drive to their house on a lake will always be one of my favorite.

When I wasn’t driving in the Midwest this summer, I was exploring the curvy roads in the mountainous green land of Alabama.

The drive to Cheaha State Park in Alabama (where the highest point in the state can be found) takes you on a winding path through Talladega National Forest. The scenery is so breathtaking that there are scenic overlooks every few miles along this route, where you can always find someone who has pulled over to stare at the green expanse in awe.

There is a very good reason this state is called Alabama the Beautiful. Whether you’re driving on a dirt trail through a forest, a gravel path by a lake, or just along a winding road with a view of the mountains in the distance, you will be stunned by the views Alabama has to offer.

After all of the green scenery of the East, Midwest, and South, nothing could prepare me for the intense stretches of desert in the West.

In the final part of my summer, I had a chance to explore the rugged terrain of Nevada and Southern California. Some views were exactly how I would have expected a desert to look.

At other times, I was surprised by excessive amounts of water or unexpected greenery.

While I’m certainly excited about starting my last year of college, I wish I could have crammed even more road trip fun into my summer. For the time being, I’ll have to content myself with looking at all of these photos from my car rides . . . and planning my trips for next summer!

Love, Elizabeth

What are your favorite road trip routes?