Take one of these 10 scenic roads in America on your next road trip.
America is often underestimated for the beautiful countryside she has. Now is a great time to head out on a road trip and see it for yourself since gas prices are lower than they’ve been in a while. Roll the windows down, put on some George Strait, and let the breeze of America blow through your hair on these scenic roads.
10. Pacific Coast Highway
There’s nothing like driving 123 miles of cliff-hugging highway with the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing below. The Pacific Coast Highway takes you along central California’s coastline through gorgeous places like Big Sur and Morro Bay. Big Sur is where the mountains dive into the Pacific before heading into Hearst Castle where the roads mellow with oak-lined landscapes.
9. Kancamungus Highway
Leaf peepers love New Hampshire’s Route 112. September and October are when flood the scenic roads to gander at the colors that fall paints the foliage. The road got its name from the third and final Sagamore (paramount chief) of the Penacook Native American tribes who ruled what is now Southern New Hampshire. Whether or not he was a leaf peeper is unknown.
8. Route 100
Vermont’s Route 100 runs through some of the most rural parts of the state. It is a popular route during the Fall for the foliage and during the winter for the skiing. The north-south highway stretches nearly the entire length of Vermont at 216 miles long. It passes along the eastern edge of the Green Mountain National Forest.
7. Cades Cove Drive
The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee have seen the days of the Civil War and moonshiners. Cades Cove was familiar with both. The loop that runs through the cove is 11 miles and sees thousands of visitors a day during peak season. Those 11 miles translate to 4 hours on a one-way road through scenic parts of the isolated valley.
6. Columbia River Highway
Imagine sitting in a Model T, putting through Oregon’s landscapes. Well, that’s exactly what the Columbia River Highway was built for back in the early 1920s. The engineer Samuel C. Lancaster and lawyer Sam Hill wanted to model the scenic roads of Europe. They envisioned it to be more than just a means of traveling; they wanted it to encompass the natural beauty along the route.
5. Road to Hana
The scenic views of Hawaii are always awesome. There are mountains, palm trees and beaches to make you forget you’re on a tiny island. This is especially true on the Road to Hana. The larger majority of the highway winds through a lush, tropical rainforest. You’ll pass by waterfalls and over steel bridges that date back to 1910 along this scenic road.
4. Patchwork Parkway
The Patchwork Parkway is also known as Utah State Route 143. On it you’ll pass by White Cliffs and alpine meadows full of wildflowers. The road got its name from when the early pioneers used patchwork quilts to cross the snows on the plateau. They were going to Parowan to get supplies for the starving settlers back in Panguitch.
3. San Juan Skyway
This National Forest Scenic Byway begins in the preserved Old-West city of Durango, Colorado. It loops around for 236 miles passing through places like Telluride which are known for film, jazz, and bluegrass festivals. The stop in Mesa Verde National Park is possibly the most epic stretch on the route, as it has 5 million acres of undisturbed national forest and the densest collections of prehistoric finds.
2. Blue Ridge Parkway
The scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway is unparalleled as it runs through the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. It is an All-American Road and the longest linear park in the United States. Running 469 miles through twenty-nine counties in North Carolina and Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been the most visited unit of the National Park System since 1946.
1. Route 66
Nothing says ‘America’ quite like Route 66. It is one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System and has gained popularity ever since. Pop culture has publicized it since 1926 in books, films and songs. It covers some of the most scenic roads in 8 states through the heart of the country.