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The Great Northern

Road trip America's upper half!

  • 56
  • 66:21
  • $383
  • 3,598 mi.

Created by Roadtrippers - May 23rd 2016

The Great Northern is a route that features nearly 3,600 miles of mountains, lakes, badlands and valleys. This epic cross-country road trip closely parallels US-2. U.S. Route 2 (also known as U.S. Highway 2) was nicknamed "The Great Northern" in commemoration of the the historic transcontinental railroad that helped pioneer the settlement of the West. Highway 2 is the Northernmost east-west route in the country, and driving it continuously will even take you into Canada! Plus, as one of America's longest transcontinental road trips, you'll enjoy unsurpassed scenery as you journey from coast to coast, bisecting the North American continent, just like Lewis and Clark over a century ago.

Olympic National Park
4.7

600 E Park Ave, Port Angeles, WA, US

Olympic National Park

Start at the Pacific Ocean to make your Great Northern trip truly cross-country. Besides, the beaches here are utterly breathtaking. The misty waves, the jagged cliffs, and the tidepools filled with enchanting sealife all add to the experience. Plus, Olympic National Park boasts a stunning temperate rainforest that's worth exploring as well.

1
167mi 03h 36m
Treehouse Point
3.6

6922 Preston Fall City Rd SE, Issaquah, WA, US

Treehouse Point

1

Seattle has tons of great hotels, but come on, you can't pass up the chance to stay in one of the country's most beautiful treehouse resorts! Treehouse Point in Issaquah, WA is more like camping, since not all of the treehouses are equipped with running water, but it's worth it to sleep in among the branches of one of the Pacific Northwest's many gorgeous forests.

2
11mi 00h 13m
Double R Diner (& Twin Peaks Filming Location)
3.7

137 W North Bend Way, North Bend, WA, US

Double R Diner (& Twin Peaks Filming Location)

2

Even if you've never seen Twin Peaks, you'll still fall in love with Twede's Cafe's "damn fine cup of coffee" and incredible cherry pie the way David Lynch (and, of course, Dale Cooper) did from the cult TV show. In fact, the town of North Bend is rustic Pacific Northwest charm at its finest. Plan on spending the day exploring, and visit nearby Snoqualmie Falls.

3
23mi 00h 25m
Red Mountain Coffee
4.3

773 State Route 906, Snoqualmie Pass, WA, US

Red Mountain Coffee

3

Red Mountain Coffee in Snoqualmie Pass is a quaint little coffee shop (Washington is known for their awesome coffee, of course) attached to a historic travelers' stop, so it makes for a nice place to grab a slice of pizza or even just a drink and a snack, and get off the road for a bit.

4
58mi 00h 59m
Dick and Janes Art Spot
3.7

101 North Pearl Street, Ellensburg, WA, US

Dick and Janes Art Spot

4

The Pacific Northwest is also known for their funky arts scene, and Dick and Janes Art Spot is a great example of everyday folk art. The couple has adorned their fences, yard and the exterior of their home with bottle caps, reflectors, and other found objects, turning their house into a work of art! Since it's a private home, be respectful when taking pictures from the side of the road.

5
42mi 00h 46m
Cave B Estate Winery
4.3

344 Silica Rd NW, Quincy, WA, US

Cave B Estate Winery

5

Cave B Estate Winery in Quincy is a great roadside stop to enjoy beautiful scenery and delicious wines, and you can even stay the night. They offer a variety of accommodations, including an inn and yurts, plus a spa and an incredible cliffside swimming pool.

6
136mi 02h 15m
Frank's Diner
4.5

1516 W 2nd Ave, Spokane, WA, US

Frank's Diner

6

Frank's Diner in Spokane is located in a train car and is a classic road food stop. Frank's serves up all the staples (burgers, hashbrowns, biscuits), as well as tasty takes on old favorites (hello, Creole seafood omelette!)

7
1mi 00h 03m
Red Wagon - Riverfront Park
4.3

462 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA, US

Red Wagon - Riverfront Park

7

Riverfront Park is a central feature of Spokane and features tons to see and do. It's got the pavilion, a carousel, an IMAX theater, a small theme park for kids, a skyride over the waterfall, and a massive red wagon, just like the one you probably had as a kid. Great photo op!

8
23mi 00h 29m

16310 W Riverview Dr, Post Falls, ID, US

Ida-Home B&B

8

Once you've hopped the border from Washington to Idaho, You'll feel right at Ida-Home at the Ida-Home B&B! It's got everything you could want in a bed and breakfast, from hot tubs and campfires to stunning sunsets and spacious, elegant rooms with private bathrooms. Oh, and the gourmet, locally-sourced, organic breakfast you can enjoy on the porch as you wake up in the morning is pretty great, too.

9
33mi 00h 48m
Silverwood Theme Park
3.9

27843 US 96, Athol, ID, US

Silverwood Theme Park

9

From twisting roller coasters and gut-wrenching drop rides to bumper cars and train rides, Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, ID is an old-school theme park that definitely brings fun for all ages. Also, they have a waterpark with a lazy river that has a bar right in it!

10
199mi 03h 27m
Moose's Saloon
4.6

173 N Main St, Kalispell, MT, US

Moose's Saloon

10

Don't be fooled by the *very* rustic exterior and sawdust-covered floor of Kalispell's Moose's Saloon. They serve up hot and delicious pizzas, sandwiches, and have tons of craft beer on tap. Plus, if you're traveling with kids, they'll love their talking moose.

11
18mi 00h 25m
Swan River Inn
2.8

360 Grand Avenue, Bigfork, MT, US

Swan River Inn

FastBook
$$$

Click to find a
great deal for this hotel

11

The Swan River Inn in Bigfork, MT is a little hotel with a room for every taste, literally. It features themes like "leather and lace", "exotic Arabian nights", "Tuscan", "French Country", "Geisha", "Art Deco", and "Log Cabin", just to name a few. When you're not basking in the quirky decor of your accommodations, you can enjoy the rooftop garden or walk into the rad town of Bigfork.

12
25mi 00h 31m
Montana Vortex & House of Mystery
4.0

7800 U.S. 2, Columbia Falls, MT, US

Montana Vortex & House of Mystery

12

Mystery Houses are a classic roadside stop, and the Montana Vortex and House of Mystery in Columbia Falls has been bending brains since the 1970's. Once you step inside, forget everything you learned in high school physics, because gravity will appear to stop working, you'll be able to see your aura, and you can soak up the healing energy from the labyrinth.

13
23mi 00h 32m
Glacier National Park
4.8

, West Glacier, MT, US

Glacier National Park

13

Definitely plan on spending at least a day exploring Glacier National Park. You'll want to drive along the Going-To-The-Sun Road, and take a boat tour on one of the park's stunningly clear glacial lakes at the very least. Plus, be on the lookout for the adorable mountain goats and huckleberries along the way (you can pick up to a quart to carry out for road snacks!)

14
78mi 01h 25m
Big Lodge Espresso Tipi
3.2

120 SE Boundary St, Browning, MT, US

Big Lodge Espresso Tipi

14

Over in Browning, get ready for another roadside icon. The Big Lodge Espresso Tipi is a coffee shop that doesn't rest on its distinctive digs to bring in customers: it actually makes a mean latte, and is the perfect place to fuel up while spending lots of time on the road.

15
129mi 02h 10m
Lewis and Clark National Interpretive Center
5.0

4201 Giant Springs Rd, Great Falls, MT, US

Lewis and Clark National Interpretive Center

15

Lewis and Clark made a journey that was just as rad as the Great Northern, so stop at the Lewis and Clark National Interpretive Center in Great Falls. This super comprehensive museum will teach you everything about their cross-country excursion. As you travel across the country, learn about what Westward expansion meant to the country, and the struggles of Lewis and Clark's adventure.

16
1mi 00h 04m
Eddie's Supper Club & Coffee
4.0

3725 2nd Avenue North, Great Falls, MT, US

Eddie's Supper Club & Coffee

16

When you're hungry, head to Great Falls for some cold drinks, great campfire-style steaks and chops, homemade mint ice cream and other steakhouse classics. Eddie's Supper Club and Coffee serves old-school cuisine in an authentic 1960's atmosphere, which makes this a fun place to stop for dinner or coffee on the road. You might need a nap after digging into their prime rib and shrimp scampi, though.

17
108mi 01h 54m

1511 Timberline Road, Lewistown, MT, US

Pheasant Tales Bed & Bistro

17

Pheasant Tales Bed and Bistro is a casual B&B that mostly caters to those looking for hunting and hiking in Montana, which is a really fun way to experience that side of the state. It's a very relaxed (but still super accommodating) place, and the views from the sun room are just as good as their dinners.

18
48mi 00h 53m
War Horse National Wildlife Refuge
3.0

Airport Road, Lewistown, MT, US

War Horse National Wildlife Refuge

18

If you are looking to do some hunting and fishing (and to maybe have your B&B hosts cook your catches) then War Horse National Wildlife Refuge is the place to do it. It's also an incredible place to enjoy the rugged landscapes of Montana's untouched wild beauty.

19
201mi 03h 09m
CC's Family Cafe
4.0

1902 N Merrill Ave, Glendive, MT, US

CC's Family Cafe

19

Thick, rich milkshakes, triple-decker sandwiches, and awesome classic roadside vibes make CC's Family Cafe the perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

20
61mi 00h 60m
Theodore Roosevelt National Park
4.5

315 2nd Avenue, Medora, ND, US

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

20

Teddy Roosevelt was famously into conservation and creating National Parks, so stop by Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which preserves some of North Dakota's most gorgeous badlands and pay tribute to him. Prairie dogs, Teddy's old cabin, and great stargazing can also be found here.

21
0mi 00h 01m

301 3rd Avenue, Medora, ND, US

Rough Riders Hotel

21

Keep the Theodore Roosevelt theme going with a stay at Medora, North Dakota's Rough Riders Hotel. The 19th-century building and Western decor add an authentic charm, but it's still got TVs and wifi. Plus, the price is super reasonable.

22
133mi 02h 03m
Former Governors' Mansion
4.0

320 East Avenue B, Bismarck, ND, US

Former Governors' Mansion

22

State governors lived in the Former Governors' Mansion in Bismarck, ND, from 1893 until the 1960's, but it's been painstakingly restored to look as it did during the 19th century. Not only does the mansion give you a cool look into the past, but it also shows you how they went about bringing it back to its opulent 1800's roots.

23
2mi 00h 06m
Space Aliens Grill & Bar
3.4

1304 E Century Ave, Bismarck, ND, US

Space Aliens Grill & Bar

23

For an offbeat place to fill up on food, head to the Space Aliens Grill and Bar. This quirky regional chain makes some out-of-this-world grub in a spectacularly kooky environment. Definitely a fun place for kids and adults alike.

24
100mi 01h 34m
Frontier Village & National Buffalo Museum
3.8

500 17th St SW, Jamestown, ND, US

Frontier Village & National Buffalo Museum

24

It's hard to believe that the prairies along the Great Northern route used to be filled with roaming bison. Learn about these endangered beasts and about the Plains Indians, who relied on them for so much, at the Frontier Village and National Buffalo Museum's interpretive center.

25
92mi 01h 27m
Fargo Movie Woodchipper
4.5

2001 44th St S, Fargo, ND, US

Fargo Movie Woodchipper

25

If you've ever seen the movie "Fargo," then you'll want to stop by the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor Center to see the film's most notorious prop...the woodchipper. They also have copies of the script inside, and there's even a replica of the woodchipper outside in case you stop by when they're closed.

26
5mi 00h 12m
Hotel Donaldson
4.5

101 Broadway N, Fargo, ND, US

Hotel Donaldson

FastBook
$$$

Click to find a
great deal for this hotel

26

While in Fargo, rest your weary head at Hotel Donaldson. This place is so cool, you'll forget that you're not in New York or Chicago. Each suite was decorated by a different local artist, there's a rooftop bar, and complimentary artisan pastries are included with your room.

27
1mi 00h 04m
Bison Turf
3.0

1211 University Dr N, Fargo, ND, US

Bison Turf

27

Bison Turf is a college bar that's a super popular hangout for NDSU students, and it's not hard to see why. Solid, cheap drinks and a menu of great pub food, plus darts and pool, make this a fun place to enjoy an evening.

28
147mi 02h 41m

17553 State Highway 18, Brainerd, MN, US

Paul Bunyan Land

28

Next up, Minnesota! People can't really agree on where America's most famous tall tale character was born, but some claim he hails from the small town of Brainerd. Hit up Paul Bunyan Land off State Highway 18, where, you'll find rides, a petting zoo, a pioneer village of sorts, and more. It's definitely got that nostalgic atmosphere, so stop by and poke around.

29
17mi 00h 25m
Nordic Inn Medieval B&B
4.0

210 1st Ave NW, Crosby, MN, US

Nordic Inn Medieval B&B

29

Minnesota has a strong Nordic heritage, but only one B&B lets you literally become a viking for a night. No, I'm not kidding: when you stay the night at the Nordic Inn Medieval B&B in Crosby, you get a Viking costume and must create a character to role-play as during the dinner feast. And if history isn't quite your thing, don't worry: they have a Minnesota Vikings themed room, too.

30
99mi 01h 48m
Great Lakes Aquarium
3.2

353 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN, US

Great Lakes Aquarium

30

You're on the Great Lakes, so why not check out some of the unique marine life of the region? Learn about shipwrecks, otters, birds, and tons more at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth. You can easily spend several hours exploring here.

31
1mi 00h 03m
Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center
4.4

600 S Lake Avenue, Duluth, MN, US

Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center

31

Equally as important as the creatures that live in the lakes is the maritime history of humans exploring them, and you can learn all about that at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center. From model ships and rooms created to feel like the interior of a boat to views of the lake, perfect for watching ships, it's educational and entertaining. And the best part? It's free to visit!

32
3mi 00h 08m

1902 E 8th St, Duluth, MN, US

At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe

32

Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe is a little farm-to-table eatery that takes fresh, local ingredients and gives them an international flair. Veggie and vegan-friendly options, a full-service bar, and breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner menus mean you can enjoy the flavor whenever.

33
56mi 01h 09m

4170 County Hwy N, Solon Springs, WI, US

Barnes Trading Post Wilderness Inn

33

The rustic, woodsy-themed Barnes Trading Post Wilderness Inn is simple, but super cozy. Log furniture, a secluded location, good amenities, and an on-site restaurant make this a peaceful place to rest for the night.

34
156mi 02h 55m
Sidnaw Eats
4.4

13603 E Highway M28, Sidnaw, MI, US

Sidnaw Eats

34

Sidnaw Eats prides itself on its casual and tasty food served to you by incredibly friendly locals! Grab some coffee and pie here for the road.

35
15mi 00h 17m
Canyon Falls Roadside Park
4.7

Old US Highway 41, L'Anse, MI, US

Canyon Falls Roadside Park

35

If you need to stretch your legs, Canyon Falls Roadside Park in L'Anse, MI is an easy, 20-minute-or-so hike. The trail takes you through mossy canyons to a lovely waterfall, which makes it a super rejuvenating way to take a break from driving.

36
42mi 00h 45m
Da Yoopers Tourist Trap
4.5

Da Yoopers Tourist Trap 490 N Steel St (US Hwy 41), Ishpeming, MI, US

Da Yoopers Tourist Trap

36

We love roadside kitsch, and the self-proclaimed Da Yoopers Tourist Trap off Highway 41 definitely fits the bill. Cheesy and tacky but still amusing, it's free to walk around this joint dedicated to Michigan's U.P. (Upper Peninsula), and browse their silly gift shop.

37
18mi 00h 25m

193 Oakridge Dr, Marquette, MI, US

Blueberry Ridge B&B

37

You'll feel like family at the quaint Blueberry Ridge B&B. The hostesses are sweet and incredibly caring, and, if you're lucky, you'll get a fresh glass of rhubarb juice when you arrive, and some of their amazing blueberry buckle for the road.

38
15mi 00h 19m
Lakenenland Sculpture Park
5.0

2800 M-28, Marquette, MI, US

Lakenenland Sculpture Park

38

Lakenenland Sculpture Park in Marquette, MI is free and open 24 hours. This wonderland filled with whimsical sculptures by a local welder is absolutely enchanting. You can fish in the pond, cook s'mores over the fire, or enjoy the live music they have on occasion.

39
62mi 01h 15m
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
4.6
39

Next up is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Along this gorgeous lakeshore, you'll find sand dunes, caves, waterfalls, and more. Whether you're exploring on foot or on a kayak, you won't find a more memorable lake landscape.

40
89mi 01h 55m
Upper Tahquamenon Falls
5.0

Paradise, MI, US

Upper Tahquamenon Falls

40

Michigan boasts tons of awesome waterfalls, and the Upper Tahquamenon Falls are no exception. This park has inspired tons of people too, from poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to hipster singer Sufjan Stevens.

41
38mi 00h 45m
Roxane's Smokehouse Restaurant
4.8

29109 W M 28, Eckerman, MI, US

Roxane's Smokehouse Restaurant

41

When you're ready for a bite to eat hit up Roxane's Smokehouse Restaurant. Don't stress yourself out trying to decide which of the smoked meats to order off the menu: split the combo platter and enjoy it all. Or, if you're a breakfast-all-day kinda person, the smoked brisket omelette is a revelation. Top if off with a slice of classic banana cream pie!

42
37mi 00h 42m
Museum Ship Valley Camp
4.5

501 East Water Street, Sault Ste. Marie, MI, US

Museum Ship Valley Camp

42

The Museum Ship Valley Camp in Sault Ste. Marie is an old Great Lakes freighter that's been turned into a massive museum with over 100 exhibits! There's also an observation tower where you can take in the views of the bustling shipping channel. What better way to learn about the history of Sault Ste. Marie than here?

43

via Regional Road 15

66mi 01h 20m
Sturgeon River Inn
3.0

30 Bay Street, ON, CA

Sturgeon River Inn

43

The Sturgeon River inn is a comfortable and affordable place to spend the night. They have an on-site restaurant and bar, and the whole place overlooks the lovely Sturgeon River.

44
246mi 04h 16m
Mill Street Brew Pub
3.9

555 Wellington Street, ON, CA

Mill Street Brew Pub

44

Kick back and get a burger and a pint at the 140-year-old grist mill-turned-brewpub, Mill Street Brew Pub. Even though this is the second location for the Mill Street Brew Pub, you can find beers here on tap that you can't find anywhere else, and the setting is perfection.

45
1mi 00h 05m
Ottawa Jail Hostel
3.9

75 Nicholas Street, ON, CA

Ottawa Jail Hostel

45

Normally, you want to avoid spending the night in the slammer, but the Ottawa Jail Hostel is just too cool to pass up. Sleep in a bunk bed in a jail cell, enjoy the mug shot decor, grab a drink in the jail bar, and have fun!

46
4mi 00h 11m
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
4.5

11 Aviation Parkway, ON, CA

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

46

Canada has a fascinating history with space and aviation that doesn't often get the attention it deserves. A guided tour of the massive Canada Aviation and Space Museum is the perfect way to brush up on the coolest parts of Canadian aviation.

47
124mi 02h 04m
Montreal Botanical Garden
4.5

4101 Sherbrooke Est, QC, CA

Montreal Botanical Garden

47

The Montreal Botanical Garden is huge, and literally every square inch is gorgeous. From the Rose Garden to the Chinese and Japanese Gardens to the arboretum and the collection of rare orchids, you'll find yourself in pure, natural bliss. Plus, you can visit the always-interesting Insectarium, and the garden is close to the Olympic Stadium as well.

48
4mi 00h 14m
Fairmount Bagels
4.5

74 Fairmount West, QC, CA

Fairmount Bagels

48

Amazing bagels outside New York? It's true, they exist! Whether you want one plain, with a healthy schmear of cream cheese, or topped with lox, you'll want to grab a few for snacks later on from Fairmount Bagels.

49
2mi 00h 07m
Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal
4.5

110 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, QC, CA

Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal

49

The Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal is a replica of the Notre Dame in Paris, and is the perfect way to learn about Montreal's French history. Note that the stained glass windows on this basilica actually depict scenes from the religious history of Montreal instead of Biblical scenes!

50
129mi 02h 25m

30 Monadnock Street, Colebrook, NH, US

Monadnock Bed & Breakfast

50

There's nothing we love more than exploring quaint small towns, and staying at the Monadnock B&B is the perfect home base for checking out Colebrook, NH.

51
64mi 01h 21m
World Traveler Sign
1.0

ME-35, Lynchville, ME, US

World Traveler Sign

51

Stop by Lynchville, ME's World Traveler Sign! It's a quick little photo op to remind you of how far you've come...and how much of the world there is left to see!

52
78mi 01h 43m
A1 Diner
4.5

3 Bridge St, Gardiner, ME, US

A1 Diner

52

The Northeast is dotted with classic diners, each more delicious and friendly than the next. The A1 Diner in Gardiner, ME, is a chrome car that adds authentic 1940's vibes that you can enjoy while you eat your All-American food. Try the grilled blueberry muffin... you are in Maine, after all!

53
85mi 01h 21m
Stephen King's House
3.4

13th Street, Bangor, ME, US

Stephen King's House

53

Next up, Bangor, ME! This town is the setting for many Stephen King novels, and it's also where the horror writer lives. You can't go inside his house or anything (seriously, don't trespass), but driving past his gorgeous home will give you a pretty good idea of where he gets inspiration.

54
46mi 01h 07m
Asticou Inn
4.0

15 Peabody Drive, Northeast Harbor, ME, US

Asticou Inn

54

The vintage atmosphere and picture-perfect views of Asticou Inn really add to the experience of staying at this historic hotel; it's right by Acadia National Park, which was once a vacation destination for the rich and fabulous during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Definitely make sure to enjoy popovers and tea on the porch.

10mi 00h 16m
Acadia National Park
4.7

Mount Desert Island, Bar Harbor, ME, US

Acadia National Park

Finally! You've reached the Atlantic Ocean...so take in the very best views the East Coast has to offer at Acadia National Park. The misty cliffs, picturesque lighthouses, and breathtaking hikes are all worth checking out!

The best time of year for a Great Northern road trip is late spring, summer and early fall. Since you're traveling along the northern part of the states, weather definitely will play a role in your trip. Also, consider getting a National Park pass if you plan on hitting up several national parks along the way, because it will definitely save you money.

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