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How to drive through all 48 of the contiguous United States in 113 hours

Feb 25, 2013 By Abraham 80

Stephen Von Worley at Data Pointed mapped out the most efficient drive that would take a person through every state in the lower 48 and D.C. The route begins in South Berwick, Maine and ends 6,872 miles later in Taft, Montana.

Drive Across the Country

Here’s the Google Maps link, so you can inspect your next trip more thoroughly.

80 Comments

        1. Jeff says:

          You would take 50 hours worth of breaks in a trip just over 100 hours? Remind me to never go anywhere with you, it would take way longer than necessary.

          1. db says:

            58 hours of breaks added to 116 hours would be driving 16 hours a day for over a week straight. I think that’s a little on the low side for breaks, personally.

          2. mike says:

            113 hours of driving. driving 16 hours a day = 7 days sleeping, eating, and gas stops during those 7 days would equal 50 hours. Yes I have driven 1100 miles in a day with out sleeping, but you cant do that more than 2 days in a row. I guess if you had the right vehicle and two (three would be better) dedicated drivers you could do it nonstop except for gas and bathroom breaks.

          3. Ken says:

            I’d probably take 200 hours of breaks to actually enjoy the trip and not just burn gas for the sake of saying I’ve driven through every state. I’d want to experience it some how.

  1. JZ says:

    Very cool — although it looks like, unless you get out of the car and put your foot over the line at the Four Corners, you don’t actually go into Arizona at all. Also, some restricted streets in the DC area — that might mean you can’t actually drive all of this. It’d be a damn interesting road trip, though…

    1. Felicia says:

      When you go to Four Corners, you actually do get to drive in all four states. Been there. Done that.

      1. Erica says:

        There is no way you have done this or you would know that you walk up to the statue that is the four corners… you can’t drive over it. It is up steps and there is a flagpole for each state in their corner.

        1. Tom says:

          Erica, zoom into the four corners on the map and you will see Four Corners Drive which circles the monument and hits all four states,

        2. Glen Littell says:

          Tom is correct. I live in Arizona and was at the 4 Corners Monument just a few months ago. Easy to put around a very short difference and be in each of the 4 states. It is a cheesy little place bent solely on tourism on a dirt road.

          1. CBreaze says:

            Technically, the intersection of the 4 states is further north (further into the Indian land). They actually DO NOT want to have to build the road further, you can SEE it from the highway (more tempting within reach since you’ve driven way out there), and the REAL 4 corners is THEIR sacred spot. Silly Pale Faces…… give me your money. NO, I said, but thanks for the boondocking spot right outside your big gate! CBreaze Ontheroad

    2. Glen Saunders says:

      Check your maps and you’ll find you cross through a portion of Arizona right outside of Las Vegas, Nevada on I-15.

    3. dbljinbkk says:

      you can only guess what a girlfriend and I did sneaking into the 4 corners monument in the middle of the night in the early 70′s… Now THAT was quite a road trip!

    4. Ben Schumin says:

      I don’t see any problem with the routing through the DC area. This route doesn’t send you along anything that you can’t drive on a normal day, and I have, in fact, driven all of the listed roads in the DC area over the course of living there.

      1. Gene says:

        What they ought to do is include a route through DC that makes you drive on every road named for a state in the city … just for cosmic completeness.

  2. eydie says:

    i live in springfield missouri, and it looks like you’d pass right through southwest missouri, where we are. i would love to do this.

    1. Darin Hitchings says:

      I agree with Matthew Weathers, may be good but probably not close to perfect… this is a TSP, and of course the notion of “optimal” is relative to the assumed roads available, perhaps the capabilities of the vehicle, whether it’s supposed to be minimizing distance or time, whether or not all the laws are being followed… etc ;) If minimizing distance, it might make sense to e.g. hike over a ridge / mountain range in places… If minimizing time, I reckon a motorcycle and a good radar detector would help… driving at night ;) But yeah, proving optimality on this is NP Hard I believe. I expected this would be impossible, but according to wikipedia they’re actually solving these problems with up to 10k cities ~optimally now. Slight difference though, cause this problem is not a closed tour / loop…

    2. Mj says:

      Yeah, it can’t really be most efficient. Especially if you don’t live in Maine to begin from that starting point!

      1. Dwayne says:

        Even if you lived in Maine, you would still gave to drive from Montana or whatever the end is back to Maine

    3. Thomas Williams says:

      Motorcyclists do an Ironbutt ride, all the states in the least amount of time. I’d say at least one of them has a more efficient route than this. and they start from where they live.

    4. Daniel says:

      Matthew – much like what Thomas mentioned, there are groups of motorcyclists who spend a lot of time finding the most efficient routes to accomplish X, Y, Z. Looking through the MTF forum, most of their 48+ rides are coming in around 8,000+ miles (including 900 and change in British Columbia.) Factor out the BC/AK leg and all the sanctioned rides are approximately 7200 miles. If this one is 6800, that’s a significant trim.
      http://www.mctourer.com/rides

  3. Pspaughtamus says:

    If they were going for the *continental* United States, they missed Alaska. The word for the states north of Mexico and south of Canada, including DC is “contiguous”.

    1. Ellie says:

      They didn’t miss Alaska. They said the ’48 of the contiguous United States’. Contiguous means… sharing a common border; touching. Alaska does not share a border or touch another state.

      1. Brian says:

        Actually they didn’t say “48 of the contiguous United States.” Contiguous means sharing a common border as you said. If you’re being technical, they would have just said “The contiguous United States” to say the 48 states North of Mexico and South of Canada. But, they did in fact, as Pspaughtamus said, say “All 48 of the continental United States.” If the word “all” had not been included, it would be correct, but since it WAS included, this article is technically wrong.

        1. Timothy says:

          I dont know if the title was changed but brian it clearly says contiguous, not continental, so with that said, the word all when refering to the 48 is actually correct. because it is talking about all 48 contiguous states.

  4. Mary says:

    I know someone who one summer, with his family, went to every state capital in the lower 48. He had business cards made up with his route on it. Interesting guy.

  5. Dave K says:

    Very good route. Optimizing the shortest route is well beyond my paygrade but this looks to be a good option. I could only find two tweaks that would save time, and even then just one hour total. First, start at White River Junction, Vt instead of in Maine. From Vt, travel to Portsmouth, NH, go across the border into Maine and turn around, and then continue on into RI and Conn. This cuts off 45 minutes. Second, go to Marietta Ohio rather than Chesapeake. From there, make sure to route through Johnston City, TN, and then continue on to Greenville, SC. This cuts off about 15 minutes.

  6. Walter Olson says:

    The maneuvers around Washington, D.C. could be improved as well. It is not necessary to visit Virginia at that point since it is hit later before entering Tennessee. If it is also not necessary to visit D.C. (since it isn’t a state) then a fair bit of time can be saved by heading directly over from Baltimore to Frederick, Md. on I-70. Even if one wants the boasting rights of having hit D.C., you’d save time and mileage by avoiding downtown and using the part of the Capital Beltway around Silver Spring, dipping down to the District via local streets like Colesville Road and Georgia Ave.

  7. justin says:

    did they actually do it?
    or is this just a stupid map?

    or is this just a really lame plan to get more web page hits?

    didnt four college students set the record for hitting all 48 states a couple of years ago??

  8. Rob Nye says:

    It’s been done.

    In *SIX DAYS* by a guy on a motorcycle.

    On the seventh day he went to Alaska.

    Google Ron Ayres 48 states.

  9. SaraAnt says:

    It’s a cool idea but you miss an awful lot!
    We spent 8 months traveling the States (we only stayed 2 nights in the same place a couple of times), we only hit 35 states – but it seems like every time we watch a movie we say “hey, we’ve been there!”
    I don’t think the goal should be to say “I have been to every state” the goal should be to see things we all have grown to know as America – the National Parks, the 9th ward of New Orleans, etc. Driving every state in the US is cool but waking up in Yellowstone or walking the rim of the Grand Canyon, or watching a sunset over a vortex in Sedona beats it any day – especially in a conversation later about your trip! And the Florida Keys are more interesting than the Western most tip of the panhandle (although the panhandle is pretty awesome in itself), you also miss the whole gulf coast from TX to FL, if you’re at the tip of FL/AL/LA the last thing you want to do is cut North before you get through LA….all IMHO of course :) Also, if you start in ME you are most likely a NE’er and have not been down the West coast of WA,OR,CA – so you drove all the way cross-country and didn’t do that??
    All I’m saying is that when you get home from this trip you are probably going to feel more regret once you start talking about it, I feel every conversation would go something like this:
    “Oh, what an awesome idea, I’d love to do that!! So did you see _____?”
    “No, we drove around that.”
    “Oh, what about ______?”
    “Nope, missed that too.”

    1. MariahQ says:

      SO in agreement with you! We put 20,000 miles on our RV driving from California to Maine and back. It was an experience we wouldn’t trade for anything and the things we saw and did come up in conversation all the time. Now we want to do the same thing through Canada. What is the point of this article? I cannot imagine admiring someone who would say, “Yeah, I hit all 48 states, spent no time anywhere, and saw nothing but asphalt!” I would just think, how boring, you just wasted a whole lot of gasoline and still have nothing to talk about.

  10. byaw says:

    No way this is possible … you can’t drive 95 from ma to md without getting stuck in hours if traffic!

  11. someone says:

    On top of all the comments about what you miss and such, the worst part of it is that this is only good if you live at one of the endpoints. What if you live in Texas, or Florida, or even Kentucky? All the driving just to get to one of the endpoints.

  12. Qwerty says:

    WTF do you do in Taft, Montana when you finally get there? The place burned to the ground over 100 years ago. Now it’s just an exit on I-90.

    Maybe you turn around and head for the thrills of South Berwick, Maine?

  13. Nick says:

    “Your Destination is on the left. You have arrived.”

    AWESOME!!!!

    now what. we’re in the least populated state in the country, and just blew all our money to get there.

  14. Marcus says:

    this is lame… its like running through an art museum and claiming its the most efficient way to see all the art the fastest…. whats the point? you barely cross through several states… the top corner of California does not give you a taste of what California has, the giant redwoods the golden gate bridge etc… its hardly a taste

    I think this is silly. The only thing this can get you is a picture by each of the “Welcome to X” signs as you cross the borders.

    To say “Ive been to every state of the continental US” after this trip is the same as stating you have had every doughnut offered at Krispy Kreme after merely licking your tongue across the bottoms of all of them… (In light of National Doughnut Day today)

  15. Chrystal says:

    My goal is to take my kids to all 50 states before they graduate. In doing this, I hope to show them that they can truly go anywhere and do anything. (Being from south GA, that’s pretty important!) I didn’t really want to get caught up in doing the touristy things. I hope they think it is cool enough just to say they have been to them all and don’t focus on what they didn’t see in each state. I secretly hope to lure them back after graduation with Canada and Mexico!

    1. SFChris says:

      This trip is almost 7000 miles of dull interstate and freeway. Unless you’re preparing them for a future life as interstate truckers this is a pretty poor vacation / educational idea.

      Less is more. Find things they would enjoy in a few states far and near and focus on that. You’ll find much more diversity that way than visiting 101 Flying J truckstop locations. Museums / urban life in NYC. Snowboarding in Vale. Riding horses in Cheyenne. Cherry picking in California’s central valley. Vegas lurid degeneracy. Big tree hiking / zipline adventures in the pacific northwest. Snorkeling on coral reefs in Hawaii.

  16. Emily Ginder says:

    You aren’t actually going THROUGH many states unless the meaning of through has changed over the years. Touching a small segment of a state doesn’t meet the definition.

  17. oldfoxbob says:

    It looks like they avoided Texas….I would too…nothing there but dust, dirt, stupid politicians, and bigots. So …. no great loss.

    1. Another Masshole says:

      And awesome theaters where you can eat a great meal, drink and watch a movie, all while your fellow movie-goers *know* that they *will* be forcibly removed if they are not quiet! Can’t even get that in NYC anymore.

  18. martha brady says:

    if you want to say to touched the corner of all the contiguous states, then this is a great drive, but it you want to say you saw at least one interesting part of each state, this totally missed the boat for most of the states. personally, i would choose to take a little more time and at least visit one intersting part of at east one state!

    for example, you don’t get to any of the FL beaches, you don’t get to one interesting TX city to actually get a flavor for TX. the same goes for OK and WA. seattle is a very interesting and beautiful place but you won’t come anywhere near it. no, i would be very disappointed in that trip. i’m not so much interested in bragging rights to say i got to every state if all i saw was the corner of the state:(

  19. Daniel says:

    Of course, at that point, you could just add in another 900 miles and end up in Hyder, Alaska.

  20. Beth Anne says:

    I want to do this! There are three detours I must take though. One would be in Seattle and take an alaskan cruise. Another would be to mall of America because when else will you be that close to it? And a third would be to Cedar Point in Ohio..I’ve always wanted to go there!

    The only issue with this is unless you can afford to rent a car for a month you would end up going way more because you would need to get back to where you started….

  21. Lola Keith says:

    I would love to visit all 50 states in the USA but would take a whole year, that way I would have time to visit something interesting in every state. If I had the money I would do this and stay at least 3 days to even a week in every state in America.

  22. mapcat says:

    Those of you who make comments that highlight how the trip misses some must-see attraction in a state or follows dull, uninteresting roads are missing the point. The point of taking such a journey is not to see 48 states in 113 hours. The point is being able to say, upon completion, “I drove in 48 states in 113 hours”. It’s a personal challenge, not a vacation-of-a-lifetime. It’s to be expected that anyone who would do a trip like this would take plenty of other trips to see real attractions.

    And yes, you can drive at or above the speed limit on expressways through the urban northeast if you do it in the early morning hours.

  23. Dirk DeYoung says:

    First of all, as some have suggested, this isn’t a method to “see” the USA. It is a challenge to see if it can be done. This may be the “shortest” route, but as suggested by some in these comments, it could probably be made shorter.

    I mapped my own route out about 2 years ago and mine is at 7261 miles. But averaging 65 mph, I estimate 111 hours versus their 113 hours – simply due to the fact that they use a lot of back roads. Take for example, driving through Colorado from the Southwest to the Northeast? That’s all mountain back roads. That is a time drain! My map bypasses all of Colorado except for 4 Corners area.

    You also have to take into consideration traffic, as some have mentioned. You’d have to determine the best time to start your journey so that you can hit some of the major congestion areas at 2 or 3 in the morning.

    My trip actually starts in Idaho and ends in Vermont.

  24. Dianne says:

    What happened to Florida, Tennessee, Kansas, and I forget what other states you missed. So you really are not driving through all 48 states. But it looks a pretty good road trip. Love to do it.

  25. sara says:

    Okkk, but when you finish, look how far you are from where you started.
    Should have made it a loop.

  26. Tres says:

    I’d just go from “L” to “H” and spend that time driving through the Great State of Texas. Matter of fact, you’ll probably just want to cancel the rest of the trip & stay there.

  27. Debra says:

    I think just going through 48 states would be good but I would love to see and spend more time doing things in each State.

  28. Jon Crane says:

    It seems that everyone is missing the point about travel. This route misses almost everything worth seeing in the US. We like to take our time, take the less traveled highways and back roads. Travel slow, stop often, and really enjoy what is worth seeing in this beautiful country.

  29. Logan says:

    Our adventure company has been working on this same route (most efficient to all 48) for over a year and we are planning on attempting this drive next Spring, and breaking the world record by doing it in under 97 hours (without speeding). We have a route that is nothing like this and drops the mileage and time significantly (that’s why it has taken us a year to develop). When we came upon this post for the first time just recently we were surprised someone was promoting it, but then we realized they were way off and we weren’t worried about it. As our plans come together in the next few months I will post our adventure company website and the blog that will track our progress during the trip. We are in talks with Guiness so I don’t want to make anything public until I can be sure our trip (and an official record attempt) will happen.

  30. Balrog says:

    I remember hearing about a guy who drove his car in every county of the lower 48 about 5-6 years ago. It’s been done.

  31. Julie says:

    How about the most efficient circuitous route since once I’m in Montana I gotta still get home. If it were circuitous then you could jump on at any point and make the drive…probably more efficient than this one.

  32. Michael says:

    I think this is pretty cool. My son and I have hitchhiked the US for 16 days the past two years. 2013 we hitchhiked from Ohio – California and back to a Ohio. 2014 we hitchhiked from Ohio to Florida to Maine and back to Ohio. Both trips we uploaded chronological order on YouTube. 2013 Hitchhiking USA (1) -(188) and 2014 Hitchhiking Again Michael and Scott (1) – (349). Both trips were made in 16 days, documenting the people we met along the way, mayors of towns, clergy, deacons, priests, nuns, homeless, actors and those trying to break out. Everyone has a story. In 2015 we are using this map to help us route our next journey and documentary. Thanks for the info and help.

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