How to Avoid Highways on Google Maps

Take the scenic route and avoid high traffic roadways

What to Know

  • Website: Click Directions and enter your starting and ending locations. Hit the Options button and check the box for Highways under Avoid.
  • App: Tap Directions and input your destination. Tap the three dots on the top right and select Route options. Toggle on Avoid Highways.
  • To always avoid highways, tap your profile icon > Settings. Go to Navigation > Route options and toggle on Avoid highways.

This article explains how to avoid highways when getting directions using Google Maps. You can enable this feature on the Google Maps website and the Android and iPhone mobile apps.

Avoid Highways on the Google Maps Website

When you’re planning your route on the Google Maps website, it takes just a simple checkmark to avoid major highways. By doing so, your route may incur a longer travel time. But if you’re just as excited about the journey as reaching the destination, it’s a great way to go.

  1. Visit Google Maps on the web and click the Directions icon on the top left next to the Search box.

    Google Maps with Directions icon highlighted
  2. Enter your starting and ending locations.

    Google Maps with starting and ending locations highlighted
  3. Click Options right below the destination section.

    Google Maps destination box with Options highlighted
  4. Under Avoid, check the box for Highways. Optionally, you can check the boxes to avoid Tolls and Ferries as well. 

    Google Maps options with Avoid Highways highlighted

You’ll see your route update on the map and in the directions area on the left.

Avoid Highways in the Google Maps Mobile App

If you’re using the Google Maps app on your Android device or iPhone, you can easily avoid highways for the current route you’re planning.

  1. Open Google Maps on your mobile device and tap the Directions icon in blue on the lower right.

  2. Enter your starting and ending locations.

    Google Maps mobile app with Directions icon and directions box highlighted
  3. Tap the three dots on the top right and then select Route options.

  4. Turn on the toggle for Avoid highways. Optionally, you can avoid tolls and ferries as well. And to retain the setting(s) for future directions you obtain, also enable the toggle for Remember settings.

    Google Maps with More (three dots) and Route Options highlighted, then Avoid Highways option highlighted

Tap the back arrow to return to the route. You’ll see updated directions that take you away from highways.

Always Avoid Highways in the Mobile App

If you prefer to stay away from highways for every trip you plan in the Google Maps mobile app, you can change a simple setting.

  1. Open Google Maps and tap your profile icon on the top right. Select Settings.

  2. Under Getting Around, tap Navigation.

  3. Go to Route Options and turn on the toggle for Avoid highways.

    Google Maps app with Settings, Navigation, and Avoid Highways highlighted

    You can tap the arrow on the top left to exit the settings and return to the main Google Maps screen. With this setting enabled, you’ll avoid those high traffic roadways for all directions you obtain.

    Whether you want an alternate route that’s more scenic or wish to stay away from traffic-filled roads, it’s easy to avoid highways when getting directions in Google Maps.

FAQ
  • How do I avoid tolls on Google Maps?

    To avoid tolls on Google Maps on the desktop, log in to Google Maps in a browser, plug in a starting point and destination, and select Options. Under Avoid, place a check next to Tolls.

  • How do I avoid tolls on Google Maps on an iPhone?

    To avoid tolls using the Google Maps mobile app on an iPhone, enter a starting point and destination, tap Options, then tap Avoid tolls. To avoid tolls for every trip, tap your profile picture, tap Settings > Navigation, and then toggle on Avoid tolls.

  • How do I avoid tolls on Google Maps on an Android phone?

    To avoid tolls using the Google Maps mobile app on an Android device, enter a starting point and destination, tap Options, then tap Avoid tolls. To avoid tolls for every trip, tap your profile picture, tap Settings > Navigation, and then toggle on Avoid tolls.

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