Vintage Photos of the Great American Road Trip

Since cars could go the distance (and we had a radio to jam to, circa 1930), road trips have been an integral part of Americana. The Interstate Highway Act of 1956 took things a step further, connecting all major cities in the U.S. through a series of easy-to-drive, wide roads. Today, there are plenty of other (read: faster) ways to get from Point A to Point B, but the spirit of the road trip—of packing up the camper, stopping to see the world’s largest ball of twine, grabbing a snack at a rural gas station, and driving with the windows down—lives on today. Here, a nostalgic look at the road trip through the decades.

Glacier National Park, 1927 (© Getty)
Chandelier Tree in Leggett, California, 1930s (© Getty)
A gas station in Florida, 1936 (© Getty)
Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, on Lake Bemidji, Minnesota, 1945 (© Getty)
A Signal gas station, 1950s (© Getty)
Packing up for a road trip, 1960s (© Getty)
A Volkswagen bus, 1960 (© Getty)
Volkswagen Bug with a Kangaroo Camper, 1972 (© Getty)
Cadillac Ranch before the graffiti, near Amarillo, Texas, 1980 (© Getty)
A stop at a scenic overlook on U.S. Route 36, near Boulder, Colorado, 1981 (© Getty)