- Google Maps and Google Earth
- Paper Maps
- Ask the locals
Those are all fine ideas. Another service to use is MapQuest. They generally give you a choice of routes (frequently they are: quickest, shortest, or simplest). And if you aren't satisfied with any of those, you can generally pick a point in the middle of the route and move it over and MapQuest will snap to an alternate route. And once you have settled on a route, you can print out directions, including both route map and optional turn-by-turn maps, or you can send yourself a text.
But you know what I really like to do when I am traveling a route to a destination that I frequent (and I'm not in any hurry)? Turn my GPS off and deliberately make a wrong turn and then see if I can find my way back to my route, without making a U turn. (If at some point I decide I'm truly lost, I turn my GPS back on.) I see a lot of interesting things that way.