The Most Scenic Highways In America

You don't understand what big and diverse means until you've driven across the U.S.A. Ohio, which is only America's 34th largest state, could swallow Ireland whole and still have room for more. Texas is almost like its own country, as it takes 12 hours to drive from Texarkana to El Paso. There is a certain beauty in changing things, which makes long road trips so enjoyable. Nevada's Valley of Fire, for example, looks like it was created with special effects. If you continue West, you will reach Venice Beach and its beautiful sunset bleeding through the sequoias. Just go out and explore and enjoy these great spots in the beautiful, diverse states of the U.S.A. 

Alabama: Highway 78

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Highway 78 goes all the way across Alabama, and it provides some of the most beautiful views in the country. This highway takes you through the Alabama part of the Appalachian Mountains before transitioning into the Talladega national forest, all on a two-lane road that flows smoothly around nature. The Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway traverses through the most iconic areas of the state of Alabama, with the towering Appalachian mountains in the background, along with lush vegetation, unique geologic formations, and ancient, charming historical communities. 

Alaska: Haines Highway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Haines Highway, located on the beautiful Alaskan backdrop, is not just at the top of the list for its natural beauty, which Alaska has in abundance, but also due to its wildlife-watching opportunities. The highway is the connection between the Inside passage community of Haines and the Haines Junction in the Yukon territory. The road was initially used by the Chilkat Indians, and in the 1880s, it became a trail to the Klondike goldfields. During WWII, the U.S. army used this highway as a military access road. Also, the Haines Highway is home to the Tlingit people, an indigenous tribe that lives in Klukwan village, half a mile off the highway. Also known as the Valley of the Eagles, it contains the largest winter gathering of bald eagles on earth. The area comprises of six spectacular wildlife habitats including ocean, estuary, river, lake, muskeg, and rain forest. In the area, tours are organized for tourists, where you can see the most reclusive animals. 

Arizona: Highway 179

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Route 66 is an extremely popular highway along the U.S., and Arizona is home to some of its most iconic spots. Relish in the beauty of its fascinating geological structures, like hoodoos, natural bridges, canyons, and the stunning iron-infused red rocks. Chapel Road is home to a magnificent man-made structure; the Chapel of the Holy Cross, built into the red rock. The chapel can be visited by people of all religions, and it offers a magnificent view. In fact, it is one of the most photographed landscapes in Arizona. Back on Highway 179 is the Little Horse Trail, which allows you to explore the rock formations in the area, as well as a broad diversity of plant life. The area is popular among mountain bikers, and bikes are available to rent. If you continue south, make sure you have your camera ready, as the sun hitting against the red rock and blue skies is an image you will want to cherish forever.

Arkansas: Talimena Scenic Drive

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Built in the late 1960s, Talimena Scenic Drive ripples over the gentle Ouachita Mountains along the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas. The Talimena Scenic Drive, which takes you over the gentle Ouachita Mountains on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas, was built purposely for its grand views. Although the Talimena Scenic Drive is only around 54 miles, its entirety is filled with brilliantly colored vistas and roads that are so beautiful and fun that people drive hundreds of miles just to drive there. Aside from the mountain vistas, you will drive along forested peaks and valleys, lakes, and streams. Evergreen and broad-leaved trees border the road, and in autumn, their colors are exceptionally beautiful. The drive is particularly scenic when it sits above cloud and fog from the lower valleys. Along the journey, explore the golden valleys and discover historic towns. Also, around the Talimena Scenic Drive are gateway towns where great events are always happening.

California: Pacific Coast Highway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The Legendary 900 kilometers (600 miles) Pacific Coast Highway (PCH)  is one of the most astoundingly beautiful roads in the world, and if you ever have the chance to go there, you will want to drive slowly along the marvelous mountains, towering trees, vast beaches, and never-ending sky. The PCH gives travelers an opportunity to get a feel of California's character, with surfing villages, farm-fresh foods, local wine, Hollywood glitz, and bohemia. To drive the entirety of the highway, it takes a total of ten hours without stopping. It is advised to stay the night and see the other sights that California has to offer, and thanks to California's moderate weather, you can drive the highway any time of the year. However, the best weather is from late spring through fall. Along the way, some iconic spots include San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Malibu, Long Beach, and of course, Los Angeles.

Colorado: Pikes Peak

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

In 1983, Katharine Lee Bates, who was a university professor at the time, traveled to Colorado Springs, and she took the opportunity to visit Pikes Peak, inspiring her to write the famous song "America the Beautiful." That is undoubtedly a testament to its beautiful purple mountains and majestic mountain views. If they dare, visitors may visit the 14,115 feet summit, and there is also a 13-mile trail for walks and hikes. It's one of the most visited mountains in the world, in part because there are not many places in the world that are so grand yet still accessible first-hand by all people. Along the road, take in the breathtaking views, unique animal sightings, and you might even see Big Foot! Well, he was reportedly spotted there, so you never know. If you want to go one step further in your visit of one of Colorado's top attractions, you may want to check out the "Meet the Ranger" program, where you will learn about Pike Peak's history, geology, nature, and wildlife. 

Connecticut: State Route 197

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

State Route 197 is a 29-mile long rural highway that offers sensational views of wooded hills, and as you drive along, you will pass little towns, which is common in New England. It is a 14-mile long road that goes from Union, Connecticut to Dudley, Massachusetts. Initially, 197 passes through rolling hills and open farmland, with live cattle and scenic vistas. Habersham County, which is off the highway, is known for its apples, and its livestock has tripled in the last two decades. Moccasin Creek State Park is a great stop for travelers; the camp has camping and fishing spots, and you can go boating on beautiful Lake Burton, a scenic wide lake. The lake reaches deep into the valleys of North Georgia, giving you the opportunity to canoe down the lake.

Delaware: Kennett Pike

Image Credits: Moon Loop Photography

Image Credits: Moon Loop Photography

The Delaware Kennet Pike A.K.A Route 52 was built between 1811 and 1813, and it is part of the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway and Delaware Byway. A road trip along this highway gives travelers a taste of American aristocracy. One of the wealthiest families in the U.S., the Duponts, built estates there, with lovely gardens and world-class art. Route 52 loops through spectacular château country where the people who live there today resolutely protect their scenic views. The thin, curving roads that go along the river force you to drive slowly along a road shaded by tulip trees and oaks. Rather than billboards on the roadside, there are wildflowers. The views are beautiful all year long, but it is recommended to visit the gardens at Longwood and Winterthur in the summer months. The views of the Brandywine Valley are picturesque year-round, but the gardens at Longwood and Winterthur are most enjoyable in the warmer months. The Brandywine Valley is around 12.25 miles of the entire Kennett Pike, covering the rural countryside, with 300 years of history along the way.

Florida: Seven Mile Bridge

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The Seven Mile Bridge is one of the longest bridges in the world, spreading a total of 10.9 kilometers (6.8 miles) above Florida Keys and its beautiful coral archipelago. It was built between 1978 and 1982, but older bridges already existed, so it was built over their foundations. The old bridge, which was completed in 1912, used to be known as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" because trying to build something this ambitious was seen as insane at the time. However, it didn't allow the opportunity to take in the surroundings, as the road was less friendly and required much concentration. The new one is much less narrow, even giving you the space to change a tire comfortably while enjoying the scenic views. As you drive on the modern bridge, you can see the old bridge closeby, where pelicans and herons congregate. 

Georgia: State Route 197

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

On the scenic Highway 197, you will forget about all the city blues and stress as you wander into the mountains and lakes of northeast Georgia. Along the highway, you can stop for various activities such as fly fishing, go for a morning coffee, or shop for handmade crafts. If you're the adventurous type, you may choose to camp at Moccasin Creek State Park. At the park, you can camp, fish, and boat on the shores of Lake Burton, a wide, watershed lake. To really take in the views, you can eat lunch on the shores of Lake Burton, or just hang around with deer on the beautiful Soque River. The gorgeous Highway 197 passes through rolling hills and open farmlands, where cattle are fed opposite scenic vistas. 

Hawaii: Hana Highway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Although The Hana Highway, A.K.A. the "Road to Hana" is only 52 miles long, it takes on average around two and a half hours to complete without traffic or any other diversions. Appropriately named "The Divorce Highway", the Road to Hana is incredibly unforgiving, with 59 one-lane bridges and 617 hairpin curves. And let's not forget all the blind spots along the way. The speed limit is only 25 miles per hour the entire way. This allows travelers to take in all the incredibly beautiful waterfalls, the local handmade jewelry, as well as a bunch of other Hawaiian culinary delights on the side of the road. Also, along the Hana Highway, you will witness stunning waterfalls and lush tropical rainforest - don't forget your camera! The rainforest in Hana is unique, even compared to all the other Hawaiian islands, due to its wide variety of species and natural resources. Due to its extraordinary beauty and floral diversity, the island was considered a great place to live in the past, and it is still is today.

Idaho: Swan Falls Road, Western Heritage Historic Byway

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

The Western Heritage Historic Byway passes through the town of Kuna, past the Pioneer Cemetery, before reaching the gate to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area. Down in the canyon, you will find the Swan Falls Dam, which was built because the nearby ghost mining camp decided they wanted electricity. In 1978, the dam was put on the National Register of Historic Places. The first half of the Western Heritage Historic Byway goes along old Indian trails that were used to transport gold and silver after they were discovered in the Owyhee Mountains back way back in 1863. For years, the road was known as the Silver Trail. South of Kuna, the countryside transforms into a rugged desertic landscape that has been around for thousands of years.

Illinois: Grandview Drive

Image Credits: Illinois Tourism

Image Credits: Illinois Tourism

Built in 1903, Grandview Drive is a drive and park with picturesque views of the Illinois River that can be enjoyed by either walking, biking, or hiking on one of its many gorgeous trails. In a visit to Peoria in 1910, President Theodore Roosevelt referred to it as the "world's most beautiful drive". With its panoramic scenic views of the Illinois River Valley and its historic homes,  it is a place that is truly worth a visit, especially in autumn with its beautiful colors. On many parts of the road, you will have a view of the Illinois River and its valley, as well as the historic homes mentioned earlier. A large part of Grandview Drive is owned by the Peoria Park District, but it remains undeveloped, aside from park benches. In 1996, it was placed on the Register of Historic Places. 

Indiana: Ohio River Scenic Byway

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

The 967-mile Ohio River Scenic Byway traverses three states, with 303 miles in Indiana. It is a hilly route along the Ohio River that is an excellent escape from the city as it passes by villages, well-kept barns, vineyard, and orchards. The area is abundant with wildlife; it is home to swamps filled with water lilies and rare birds, and forested hills, caves, and scenic waterways. If you are interested in a historic tour, an exciting adventure, or something in between, you may want to give this highway a visit. There are three historic towns along the Byway: Vevay, Madison, and Newburgh. In each of these picturesque towns, you will find antiques, artisans, relaxing B&Bs, charming restaurants, and scenic views of the river.

Iowa: Loess Hills Trail

Image Credits: Loess Hills National Scenic Byway

Image Credits: Loess Hills National Scenic Byway

The Loess Hills Trail is a fantastic escape from the stress of the city, with its breathtaking scenery, great attractions, and its peace and quiet. Located in Iowa's western border, the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway traverses a unique massive 15-mile wide land formation that is up to 200 miles long. Loess Hills are made from windblown soils; in the past, the wind picked up soils that had become fine, forming dunes along the ancient waterway which has now become the Missouri River. This process continued for thousands of years, making the dunes increasingly larger. These are the second largest deposits of loess in the world. Eventually, the habitat evolved, and a unique natural community developed. In the past, it was home to ice age animals such as wooly mammoths, camels, giant beavers, and giant sloths. The discovery of stone tools and spear points is evidence that humans have lived in this area for 6,000 years.

Kansas: Route 66

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The Kansas section of route 66 is only 14 miles long, but it is definitely worth a visit. Along the highway, there are snacks and sandwiches, as well as Route 66 memorabilia. The historical Brush Creek Bridge in Baxter Springs is the last remaining bridge of its kind on the entire length of Route 66. It was built in 1923 and has recently been repainted white. To ensure its preservation, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. As the bridge is quite narrow, a replacement bridge was constructed closeby. One of its main attractions is the Galena Mining and Historical Museum, where you can learn about Kansas' rich mining history. If you are a car fan, you won't want to miss the exhibition of military cars, model Ts, and model As at the museum's back garage. Also, there is a restored Kan-O-Tex service station in Galena which is now known as "Cars on the Route" that is home to "Tow Mater', which is the inspiration for the character Tow Mater in the Hollywood animated movie "Cars".

Kentucky: Route 77

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Route 77 is beautiful during the whole year, but it is especially delightful when the fog is settling or when the leaves are thick. When you're heading toward River George, you will see some fascinating rock formations. During the drive, you may notice that it is almost like the forest is trying to reclaim what it once covered. In this drive, the most mysterious place is undoubtedly the Nada Tunnel, which used to be a railway tunnel. Although it is just 900 feet long, it is only one lane, and driving inside it it is quite the exhilarating experience. Also, the road follows the Red River, with rocks and small pools that you can take a dip in. If you drive through the forest, from route 77 to route 11, you will reach the amazing Natural Bridge State Resort Park.

Louisiana: US 90

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Route 90 starts its Louisiana stretch at the border of Texas, then crosses over Sabine River in the southern part of the state. The 297.6-mile highway traverses historic towns like Lake Charles, Morgan City, and New Orleans. Along the way, you can get a taste of Louisiana's swampy lands, long prairies, and great Creole food. Although it is one of America's scenic highways, in 2017, US 90 has been ranked the most dangerous highway in the state, and the thirteenth most dangerous in America by Geotab. 

Maine: Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The main road to go through Acadia National Park is the Park Loop Road. The 27-mile highway starts at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center and connects the park's lakes, forests, mountains, and rocky coast. The Park Loop Road is mainly one way, all the way to the Wildwood Stables. There are special observation points where you can pull over to admire the sights, as well as special parking areas like at Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, and Otter Cliffs. On this road, there are so many things to discover and appreciate. If you are ever visiting, make sure to drive slow as there is an abundance of wildlife that you won't want to miss. Also, enjoy the magnificent forests and plant life; a good place to start is the Nature Center at Sieur de Monts Spring, a true national treasure.

Maryland: Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway

Image Credits: Maryland Office of Tourism

Image Credits: Maryland Office of Tourism

With its pastoral countryside and historic churches, bays, beaches, and stylish 18th century main streets, the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway is truly worth a drive. Along the byway, you will drive along farmland, with a break every now and then to give way to a panoramic view of the Chesapeake Bay. The Byway boasts a mix of pastoral scenery and rural bustle, and you may be tempted to stop and take a tour of the small villages, browse the shops, and enjoy some fresh crabs harvested from the bay. 

Massachusetts: Mohawk Trail

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

 The Mohawk Trail is the United State's first scenic "auto route". It goes through the Berkshire Hills in northwestern Massachusetts, and it is a beautiful drive. The 69-mile
scenic byway drifts through deep forest and historic towns, where you will pass by world-class art museums, scenic hikes, and picturesque vistas. It begins in the small city of North Adams and zigzags all the way to the western summit of Hoosac Mountain. On the Deerfield River, you will see white-water rafters on the side of the road, as well as B&Bs that will draw you into the neighboring hills.The village of Shelburne Falls is famous for its Bridge of Flowers, which is a showcase for the craftspeople and chefs of the area. On the trail, you may slow down and enjoy the view, or you may choose to spend a couple of days to take in its side roads and villages and hike its open lands. 

Michigan: Woodward Avenue

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Traveling through Detroit, Woodward Avenue is lined with history, cultural institutions, and gorgeous architecture. Almost every mile of this byway has historical sites that have shaped the industrial life of the United States. Among them is one of the largest public libraries in the country and one of the five biggest art museums. The impact of the automobile is evident, and you will see it in all parts of the city, whether you are visiting museums such as the Detroit Historical Museum or the Detroit Institute of Arts. Also, Woodward Avenue is home to many cultural institutions, such as the Cranbrook Educational Community, Orchestra Hall, and the Detroit Public Library. Driving from Detroit to Pontiac, there are over 50 churches, and many of them are on national or state historic registers. In addition, the area is the birthplace of the assembly line, as Ford's 1913 Model T Plant was located in Woodward.

Minnesota: Highway 61

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

In a list of the most scenic drives by Country Living, Highway 61 ranked at number two. It is easily Minnesota's most storied and scenic highway. In this 150-mile long drive, gorgeous hills and beautiful cliffs overlooking the Mississipi River are only part of the allure. The road follows the river closely, so you are never too far from the edge. You may want to drive and never stop, but after two hours, you will have no choice as you will hit the Canadian border. This historic route goes through the dramatic bluffs of southeastern Minnesota, traverses through the old pine logging region of east-central Minnesota, and journeys along the magnificent north shore of Lake Superior.

Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

 The Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississipi is a 444-mile scenic drive which goes across three states. It is called that way as it follows the "Old Natchez Trace", a historic travel corridor used by native Americans, European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. Aside from being a scenic drive, it also offers the opportunity to go hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping. Spending just an hour on the
Natchez Trace Parkway is enough to understand why it is often called one of the most scenic drives in the U.S.A. The two-lane road goes through almost 450 miles of protected land, from Nashville, Tennessee, through Alabama, and finally on to Natchez, Mississippi. On the way, you will see abundant wildlife, gorgeous waterfalls, unforgettable hiking spots, and historic sites. It is advised to visit the Trace in the fall, as the roadway is full of color. 

Missouri: Highway 19

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The Scenic Highway 19, which was first designated by the Missouri Legislature goes all the way through the middle of the Ozark Heritage Region, a divine area with clear, spring-fed streams. One of Missouri's original 1922 highways, Missouri 19 starts next to the Arkansas border, goes through the town of Eminence and ends close to Hannibal. It takes you through a beautiful journey with striking views of Hermann, the Ozarks, and many more scenic spots along the way. The scenic highway is a total of 197 miles, and it takes nearly a day to drive. 

Montana: Beartooth Highway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Beartooth Highway gives travelers the ultimate high country experience. The highway passes through the Custer, Shoshone, and Gallatin National Forests, before eventually ending at Yellowstone National Park. Since its completion in the late 30s, the highway gives you a rare opportunity to see the adjustment from a lush forest ecosystem to alpine tundra. The Beartooths are some of the highest and most rugged mountains in the lower 48 states, with 20 peaks over 12,000 feet. The highway gives the chance to appreciate activities that flourish in natural environments. Many of the locals' occupations are lumberjacks, ranchers, and anglers, with a tradition for people of the area to use the natural resources of their public lands. 

Nebraska: US Route 83

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The 222-mile long Route 83 in Nebraska offers striking river valleys of the beautiful Sand Hills, North Platte, and Nebraska. The highway is also called the Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Highway in Nebraska. In addition, Highway 83 has been nicknamed "The road to nowhere"; however, it is an important route that takes you from Canada to Mexico. Many parts of it are just empty road, with nothing but cows and fields all around you, but Route 83 goes through many attractive and scenic towns, such as McCook, North Platte, Thedford, and Valentine, as well as a couple of smaller towns. For most of it, though, you will enjoy the gorgeous natural scenery, passing through the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, over numerous scenic rivers, and through beautiful sandhills. Admittedly, some parts of it may be a little boring, but it is worth it to see the Dismal River running through the sandhills, which is an image you will never forget.

Nevada: Winding Road in Valley of the Fire

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Valley of Fire State Park is only one hour away from Las Vegas by car. Established in 1935, it is Nevada's first-ever state park, and its beauty is absolutely astonishing. Whether you are a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or landscape photographer, you will be sure to love this park. Even if you decide to do nothing but just drive through it, it is absolutely worth it! Valley of Fire State Park got its name as it is filled with bright red Aztec sandstone formations. With the sunlight hitting against the rocks, it looks like they're on fire! These formations were created a century and a half ago. While most rocks are red in color, you will also see shades of pink, rust, and yellow. The road is less than 25 miles long, and only 10 miles of it is actually inside the park. In the park, the road goes through some beautiful rock formations, zig-zagging through the landscape. 

New Hampshire: Kancamagus Highway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire's National Scenic Byway with a difficult name to pronounce, is easily New England's most superb scenic drive, especially during the fall foliage season, with different-colored leaves all around. "The Kanc", as the locals nickname it, is visited by thousands of visitors each year who enjoy driving through this thickly treed mountain gap. On a busy day, more than 4,000 vehicles go through this portion of the road. If you are ever visiting, give yourself plenty of time as traffic can build up, and there are many things to do, such as hiking or taking photos of the spectacular environment around you. Also known as State Route 112, The Kanc has everything you would ever want from a road; great views, plenty of tall trees, lakes, mountains, and even historic sites.

New Jersey: State Route 49

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Situated in the southern section of the State, New Jersey Route 59 is 55 miles of scenic drive from Deepwater to Tuckahoe. The 2-lane road gives visitors the chance to take in New Jersey's rural side. It is the type of drive that will never have you cursing in your seat like you probably so often do if you live in the city. Along the way, your eyes will be fixated on the rustic sights and vegetation. As you drive along and pass by country churches and crab shacks, you may wonder if you are still in New Jersey. If you are interested in taking photos, the best spot is the Elsinboro point, as it offers the best view of the landscape below. Also, another tourist favorite is the Cape May National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to seabirds and coastal wildlife.

New Mexico: El Camino Real

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

El Camino Real transcends time and place, with Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American influences as historical, ethnic, and cultural traditions were spread through it. Today, an important Hispanic culture is still alive in the area, in terms of music, folktales, architecture, Spanish laws, Catholic religion, names, language, etc. "The Royal Road" starts north of Las Cruces in Fort Selden, before traversing 90 miles of flat but waterless and dangerous desert, the Jornada del Muerto ("Journey of the Dead Man"), which is the most dangerous section of the road, before arriving at Socorro. In the late 16th century, it was used by Spanish explorers, and today, it is visited by many people for its interesting rock formations. 

New York: Hawk's Nest

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Hawk's Nest offers a twisting, rolling, and breathtaking ride; it is frequently visited by drivers and motorcyclists and has often been the location used in ads for Porsche, BMW, Saab, Cadillac, and Honda. Hawk's Nest gets its name after the birds of prey that call this place home.  Hawk's Nest, to be precise, is a short set of turns; nine to be exact, along New York Route 97. For most the second half of the 1800s, the road was a one-lane dirt path used by loggers and coal miners that worked in the area. It was only in the 1930s that the road's width doubled, making way for cars. The two-lane highway traverses the hills of the Catskills on one side, and it overlooks the beautiful blue Delaware river on the other. Although it has the reputation of being a dangerous road, if you are careful and drive the suggest speed limits, you will enjoy the ride.

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a drive that everybody should experience. It goes from Virginia and runs all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina, with beautiful scenery along the whole way. The speed limit is only 45 miles an hour, which allows you to take in the amazing sights it has to offer. There are exits on the way, should you want to take in the art, culture, and crafts of the Appalachian and Smokey Mountains. Part of the U.S. National Park Service, The Blue Ridge Parkway offers plenty of spots for roadside picnics, extraordinary vistas, hiking trails of various difficulties, and an escape from the city and consumerism. The 469-mile road goes along the Blue Ridge Mountains, connecting Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It is known to be one of the most scenic routes in America.

North Dakota: Sakakawea Scenic Byway

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

This byway showcases beautiful views of the Missouri River Valley, and on the course of this great journey, you will learn about the history and culture of those who lived in the rolling hills and wooded valleys of Missouri. There are five absolute must see-spots along the byway: Fort Mandan Historic Site, Cross Ranch State Park, the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, and Fort Clark State Historic Site. Located adjacent to the Missouri River, Cross Ranch State Park is purposely left primitive to conserve the land's natural beauty. If you are into the history of Native Americans, you may want to visit the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, a state of the art museum that preserves the culture of Hidatsa, Mandan, and Arikara tribes.

Ohio: Highway 52

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Ohio Highway 52 is filled with history, nature, and grapes. On this route, you traverse historic towns like Madison, and you can enjoy shopping for antique and art on the streets. Also, the limestone gorges at Clifty Falls State Park is an extremely popular spot, as well as the winery. Remember to sober up before getting behind the wheel again! Considered one of the most beautiful drives in America, the Ohio River Scenic byway is 450 miles of Ohio River shoreline and 14 counties of beautiful countryside. The road is mostly two-laned, and it gently traverses through forests and small towns. Of course, the byway is best enjoyed during the summer months, but the river changes with the weather, so you can have a different experience every season.

Oklahoma: Talimena Scenic Drive

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The Talimena National Scenic Byway, a stunning 54-mile route in southern Oklahoma is famous for its sensational views. Selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation as an official National Scenic Byway, Talimena Drive was built to show the area's beautiful foliage. Also, it crosses one of the highest mountain ranges between the Appalachians and the Rockies. On this drive, you will see one stunning panoramic view after the other as you travel along forested peaks between Talihina, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. During the fall season, you can see amazing fall foliage stretching as far as your eyes can see. Full of strong shades like red and gold, the forested slopes around Talimena drive make it a hot spot, especially in Autumn, and a regional crown jewel. There are various turnoffs along the route where you can see the spectacular views and witness the fall color change. Also, it is a pleasant drive in spring as the surrounding forest turns green again after winter. Some of the most popular destinations along the byway include Talimena State Park, the Ouachita National Forest, and the Cedar Lake Recreation Area. You can enjoy great outdoor activities such as hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more.

Oregon: Pacific Coast Highway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Every inch of the 363 mile Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon, AKA the People's Coast, is open to the public, and you won't want to miss its craggy headlands, crashing waves, sandy beaches, and rocky tide pools. Some of the coastal communities cater to tourists, with galleries and resorts, while others are merely fishing villages. Whether you prefer to do the entire drive or only do a part of it, you will want to make sure to take your time and make frequent stops to take in the surroundings. The byway starts in the northwestern corner of Oregon in Astoria, which used to be a fur-trading post in 1811. Along the Columbia River Maritime Museum, you will find seafood restaurants and walking paths along the old wharves. With its 1920s era promenade and boardwalk games, Seaside is quite a fun town. Cannon Beach is more on the artsy side, with galleries, boutiques, and views of the Haystack rock. In between the two, you will find Ecola State Park, filled with sandy coves and forested trails.

Pennsylvania: Martin Luther King Drive

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Kelly Drive may have all the street cred, but Martin Luther King Drive definitely has nicer views, such as the famous 19th-century boathouses on the Schuylkill River. It is one of the fastest routes to Philadelphia, and it has many great spots to shop, as well as an art museum surrounding the park. Some have said that taking a stroll there during sunset will make you feel like you're on the set of a movie. The road goes around the Schuylkill River in Philly, with sensational views of greenery and the river. Unfortunately, this road is not great for drivers, and it is advised to walk there. In the warmer months, the Martin Luther King Drive is closed to vehicles on the weekends so that pedestrians can enjoy the road without worrying about getting run over.

Rhode Island: Ocean Drive

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Ocean Drive in Newport, Rhode Island, has a little bit of everything, so make sure you have your camera ready as you will pass by beautiful coastal scenery, stunning homes, and expansive water views. It is by far the most scenic drive in Rhode Island, and perhaps the most beautiful in the whole of New England. Even during the warmer summer months, cool ocean breezes cool the area down considerably. In the area, there is a lot to take in, such as the sparkling blue seas, rocky shorelines, stunning green lawns, and "summer cottages". It is a great drive, and it is equally enjoyable on a bike or on foot. From Bellevue Avenue to Castle Hill, each turn of this incredible roadway reveals another stunning oceanside vista. The natural beauty here is simply out of this world!

South Carolina: Botany Bay Road

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

This Wildlife Management Area has many of the same characteristics as sea islands on the southeast coast, such as pine-hardwood forests, coastal wetlands, agricultural fields, and a barrier island with a beachfront. It is the coastal habitat of a variety of wildlife species, such as loggerhead sea turtles and neo-tropical songbirds like the summer tanager and the painted bunting. Botany Bay is easily accessible, and you can visit most of the property in about half a day. The 6.5-mile road starts on a beautiful avenue of oaks and cabbage palmetto, the official state tree. After it rains, the leaves of the ferns become a beautiful flashing green color. If you prefer, you may visit the trail by bike or horseback, which will give you the opportunity to spot wildlife more easily. 

South Dakota: Highway 16A

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Highway 16A, AKA Iron Mountain Road is an unbelievable journey and an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life. This road is a historical work of art that is sure to make you slow down to feel things you can't experience at home. With the alluring mountains in the background, this road was purposely designed with a ton of curves, including switchbacks to ensure travelers do not go over the 35 miles per hour speed limit and take in the beauty of the Black Hills. This road is unique not just for its amount of curves and overall beauty, but also for its architectural features, which include wooden structures (AKA pigtail bridges), and one-lane tunnels built to showcase the famous Mt Rushmore. These tunnels allow you to see Mt.Rushmore from a spectacular angle, and it is an excellent spot for photos. 

Tennessee: Tail of the Dragon

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The Tail of the Dragon, as the name suggests, is full of twists, turns, and thick woods. In fact, it has a total of 318 turns, so you need to be really careful, as this road is not exactly one to sightsee on. When the curves are coming at you fast, it is difficult to look at the wooded roadside. The Tail of the Dragon is a unique highway as there are no intersecting roads at all. In addition, there are no houses with driveways, and no businesses either. Each and every curve is unique, and the road is pretty much flat. Also, many of the curves are reminiscent of those on a race track, so watch out for some twists with tight angles. 

Texas: Capital of Texas Highway Loop 360

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

The Capital of Texas Highway goes along the edge of beautiful Texas Hill County on the western edge of Austin, with views of the state Capitol, the University of Texas, and an iconic crossing over the Pennybacker Bridge. One of the highlights of the highway is definitely the iconic crossing over the Colorado River, but it is not the only one. The highway also passes through environmentally sensitive areas like the Bull Creek Watershed. The road cuts through many limestone hills, and the central part of Loop 360 has some expensive neighborhoods.  

Utah: US Highway 89

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Highway 89 is easily the most scenic road in Utah.  It traverses Bryce Canyon Country from north to south and connects to Zion National Park, as well as the north rim of the famous Grand Canyon. This scenic drive is an adventure through beauty and living history. Stretching 500 miles from Idaho to Arizona, Highway 89 takes you to the heart of culture, architecture, scenery, and history. At the junction of Highway 89 and Scenic Byway 12, there are great places to buy gifts, such as the Red Canyon Indian Store and Rock shop with unique souvenirs, rugs, pottery, and other gifts. Also, there are areas reserved for lodging and camping. Another great attraction in the area is the Dixie National Forest.

Vermont: Connecticut River Byway

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Carved in the middle of the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the 410-mile long Connecticut River Byway is Vermont's only officially designated byway. As the rivers used to be the predominant corridors of settlement, industry, and commerce, it is no surprise that the byway has museums as well as historic architecture and sites. River towns are still thriving centers today, where you can dine and shop in renovated historic buildings. In addition, there are crafts and antique shops, a theater, shops, and galleries. Also, the river is an excellent spot for boating, fishing, hiking, biking, and a lot more. If you like bridges, this may be your favorite drive ever. After every few miles of this twisty path, you will find different, old bridges that you don't see everywhere. You will cross twenty of them, so keep your camera ready.

Virginia: Skyline Drive

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

Skyline Drive has almost 70 overlooks that offer amazing views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west, with the rolling Piedmont to the east. Skyline Drive, which is part of the same road as the Blue Ridge Parkway, gets its name for obvious reasons (I mean, just look at the photo!). The speed limit is only 35 miles per hour, giving you the opportunity just to put your windows down, feel the breeze, and enjoy every curve of this scenic drive. Fall is the most popular time for visits due to its colorful foliage from late September to mid-November. Spring is also a good time to visit, as you will get to enjoy spectacular views of wildflowers and mountain laurel. You may want to watch out for animals that can get in your way without warning, as the region is home to the white-tailed deer, black bears, raccoons, opossums, skunks, foxes, beavers, minks, river otters, weasels, woodchucks, rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. Needless to say, the area is extremely rich in wildlife.

Washington: Chuckanut Drive

Image Credits: Flickr

Image Credits: Flickr

Sometimes referred to as Washington's Big Sur, this 24-mile tight and twisty road hugs the sandstone cliffs of the Chuckanut Mountains. It is the only spot where the Cascade Mountains meet the sea, with beautiful views of the San Juan Islands and Chuckanut Bay. You may choose to walk around tulip fields or sit in one of the charming restaurants to indulge in some fresh shellfish. Also, you can do some shopping or take a hike along the white-sand beach. Chuckanut Drive is one of those places that will make you want to stay just a little bit longer. It has been around since 1985, but of course, the natural beauty of the forest and the steep cliffs have been around for much longer than that. 

West Virginia: State Route 16

Image Credits: Reddit

Image Credits: Reddit

The scenic Highway 16, Virginia's lovely, and lonely route traverses the southwestern portion of the state. Avoiding the traffic in the city, this road goes from the borders of North Carolina to West Virginia all through scenic small towns. As you drive along, you will be surrounded by gorgeous views and even a state park. Despite being a primary highway, Virginia State Route 16 is without much of the big city traffic you might find around other parts of the state. The road passes through the charming small towns of Troutdale, Marion, and Tazewell before reaching the West Virginia Border. In total, the drive is a total of 80 miles, so it takes around two hours to complete. The route includes a mix of rural beauty, small-town charm, and stunning scenery that is hard to compete with.

Wisconsin: Marinette County Waterfalls Tour

Image Credits: Marinette County

Image Credits: Marinette County