The Best Road Trips to Take with an Electric Car

Traveling long distances in an electric vehicle is only a recipe for range anxiety if you don’t know where to go.


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Whether you're a longtime electric-car owner or a newbie, road trips may seem a bit daunting. Hills and weather can affect your range, and with charging infrastructure still in its infancy, planning a route around fast-charging stations could deter anyone from taking an EV vacation. But an electric car road trip doesn’t have to be a slog. If you stop at charging stations with things to do nearby, you might not feel as though you're wasting precious traveling time waiting for the battery to charge. You may even enjoy taking regular stops and exploring more areas, rather than plowing straight through to your final destination.

The majority of EV fast-charging stations are located near interstates and major cities, and if you follow the path of least charging resistance, you’ll have a lousy road trip. The three itineraries below attempt to make the journey fun, taking you to fabulous places with interesting stops along the way. Not every detour has a charging station right at its destination, but we’ve created trip routes that should be manageable for any EV with a range of 200 miles or more. Before you go, you’ll want to plan your trip with your EV’s range in mind using a tool such as PlugShare or A Better Routeplanner.


Pacific Northwest: Seattle, Washington, to Portland, Oregon

In EV-friendly Washington and Oregon, you can leave the crowds and hustle of the city far behind and explore the rugged beauty of the coastline without worrying about where you’ll charge.

Start your journey at Seattle’s Thompson hotel, which has huge windows overlooking the famed Pike Place Market—home to nine EV charging stations—and Puget Sound. Hit up The Joe Chocolate Co. Mocha Bar in the morning and Flint Creek Cattle Co. in the evening. Drive 140 miles southwest to The Sand Dollar Inn and Cottages, where you’ll stay the night. Explore the Pacific Beach State Park just a few short blocks away.

Travel 165 miles down the gorgeous Pacific coastline to Tillamook, Oregon. The town’s internationally acclaimed creamery is the place to go for fancy cheese and EV charging, with six units at the visitor's center. Stay at the Ashley Inn. It’s a cozy, no-frills hotel located inside a fork of the Wilson River right off the 101.

The next morning, take the 101 south and then cut east to Salem, Oregon. It’s a quick trip—just under 80 miles—but it's worth it to stop at Shari’s Cafe and Pies, which has has two charging stations on location. Who says you can’t have a slice of marionberry pie and coffee for breakfast?

From there, head north to Portland. Explore Pine Street Market, a gourmet food hall that’s just three blocks away from a parking garage with charging. To head back to your starting point in Seattle, jump on I-5 N. It's 180 miles between the two cities, and even on the interstate, the scenery is beautiful.


Midwest: Door County, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois

The Midwest isn’t exactly a charging utopia, but with a little planning, it’s possible to navigate the country’s wide-open spaces in an EV while chasing natural beauty, amusement-park thrills, and big-city energy.

Start in scenic Door County, Wisconsin, located on the breathtakingly beautiful peninsula between Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Explore the area’s many nature trails, shoreline adventures, and fish boils while charging your EV at one of several stations adjacent to Pebble Beach, a largely secluded stretch covered in smooth limestone rocks. If you can swing it, time your arrival for sunrise or sunset.

From there, travel 178 miles southwest to the Wisconsin Dells, a city packed with family-friendly theme parks and tourist attractions. Several hotels and resorts in town have charging stations. Mirror Lake State Park also has one right at the entrance and 240-volt outlets at many of its 151 campsites.

From the Dells, it’s 121 miles to Milwaukee. If you’re a motorcycle fan, take a stroll through the Harley Davidson Museum, which has four charging stations on location. Lastly, take a 90-mile drive down scenic U.S. Route 45 (via I-94), which will weave you through the Northern Chicago suburbs at speeds between 30 and 45 mph. Chicago has more than 600 charging stations throughout the city, but consider ending your trip in trendy Andersonville. The historically Swedish neighborhood is home to the famed Women & Children First bookstore and a kooky oddities shop called the Wooly Mammoth. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee at Kopi Cafe–the Mexican latte is to die for.


Northeast: New York City, New York to Kent Falls, Connecticut

No matter what you’re driving, the essence of an East Coast road trip includes ocean air, history, and culture. This route has all that plus ample opportunities for charging, making it ideal for a road trip with an electric car.

The first leg of this road trip is long, so you may need to make use of the abundant fast-charging stations along I-95. But before you leave the city, grab a beef shish kabob pita for the road from Mamoun's Falafel in East Village.

Drive about 180 miles up the coastline to Benefit Street in Providence, Rhode Island. History buffs may enjoy taking a walking tour on the cobblestone streets, where they’ll learn about the town’s 18th- and 19th-century architecture. There is a pay lot on the nearby Brown University campus where you can charge your vehicle without a permit after 6 p.m. If that doesn’t work with your schedule, check out the city’s 477 other public charging stations.

From Providence, travel 70 miles up MA-3 N to Boston, a city with almost 300 EV charging stations. True-crime junkies will want to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which was the location of the single largest art heist in modern history. Turn in for the night at the Royal Sonesta, a striking modern-art-decor hotel with a massive pool and EV charging in the attached garage.

The next morning, head west on I-90 about 105 miles to Northampton, Massachusetts, an incredibly artistic enclave that’s long been recognized as a countercultural hub. Take a tour of the Smith College Museum of Art; come for the Picasso but don’t miss the intricately painted bathrooms, either. Snag a snack and wander the Grow Food Northampton's Tuesday Market while your EV charges at one of the four stations in E.J. Gare Parking Garage. Then take in the natural wonder at the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory, an 8,000-square-foot indoor facility that is home to over 4,000 butterflies.

From Northampton, travel about 90 miles north to Kent Falls, Connecticut. Take a load off at Swyft, a pub that serves local beers and wood-fired pizzas. Charge your EV’s battery at the Kent Town Green station, then head three miles up the road to charge your own at the Cooper Creek Bed and Breakfast. Located in a Greek Revival farmhouse, the inn pampers guests with luxe towels and fresh-cut flowers.

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Chaya Milchtein
Chaya Milchtein is an internationally published and featured automotive educator, journalist, and influencer. Milchtein has worked in the automotive industry since she was 18 years old, and is passionate about helping the average car owner better understand their second largest investment. When not writing about cars, you can find Milchtein teaching car classes at libraries, universities, and businesses, or making car videos for social media.