With a stunningly diverse range of landscapes and climates, the U.S. is filled with countless scenic roads from coast to coast. Mountains, valleys, forests, canyons, coastlines—you can see all of them and more when you embark on the best drives in the country. Get ready to travel through America’s top 10 scenic roads:
Hana Highway, Maui: – The Hana Highway is a 64.4-mile long stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului to the town of Hana in east Maui. It takes more than four hours to travel the 52 miles from Kahului to Hana, as you snake past steep sea-cliffs lush with blooming mango trees, buy banana bread from roadside stalls, and pull over for Jurassic vistas.
U.S. 1, Florida Keys: – The U.S. 1 route in Florida runs 545 miles along the state’s east coast from Key West to crossing of the St. Mary’s River into Georgia. Leaving the mainland for the 120-mile-long island chain of Florida’s Keys, travelers enter a paradise of beach bars, water sports, and Parrot Heads. The overseas highway strings the islands together like beads, running past lighthouses, underwater coral-reef parks etc.
17-Mile Drive, California: – The 17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through pebble beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California. On a privately owned strip off Highway 1, stretching from the towns of Pacific Grove to Carmel, the road runs through the Del Monte forests belonging to the exclusive Pebble Beach golf community. Cypress Point, Bird Rock, Point Joe, etc. are the major attractions of this route.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Carolinas and Virginia:- The nearly 500 miles of blacktop twisting through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks was built for travelers seeking Appalachian overlooks. It’s a panoramic drive for all seasons, with undulating slopes of color in autumn, a bounty of forest canopy in summer, and hot-cider ski resorts in winter. The parkway is a paradise for birders and boasts more diversity than the entire continent of Europe.
Lake Shore Drive, Chicago: – Lake Shore Drive is a mostly freeway-standard expressway running parallel with and alongside the shoreline of Lake Michigan through Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is the most beautiful extended stretch of urban parkway in America. Lake Michigan, beaches, sky scrapers and luxury apartments make the drive a wonderful experience. The best way to experience Lake Shore Drive is by driving south to north.
Route 12, Utah: – State Route 12 or Scenic Byway 12 (SR-12), also known as “Highway 12 — A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway”, is a state highway designated an All-American Road located in Garfield County and Wayne County, Utah, USA. The 124-mile strip has funky small towns and very few entry points, that makes witness the steep sandstone canyons and bluffs of purple sage, the narrow cliff-hanging ridgeline road called The Hogback.
Bluebonnet Trail, Texas: – Between Austin and Houston lies the Lone Star State’s most beautiful scenery, especially from March to May when the wild bluebonnets are out in force. From Austin, you’ll pass a chain of seven interconnected lakes on the Colorado River, including Lake Buchanan, a wilderness resort area popular with fishermen and artists. Spectacular displays of wild flowers are abundant throughout the Lakes and Hills region.
North Shore Drive, Minnesota: – The spectacular scenery of the North Shore of Superior, including seven state parks, has earned this scenic route a national designation as an “All-American Road.” Lake Superior’s Minnesota shoreline is a thing of glacial beauty. As you drive from Duluth toward Two Harbors, Gitche Gumee’s “shining big sea waters” stretch out to the right and birch and maple north woods climb high on the left.
Trail Ridge Road, Colorado: – Trail Ridge Road is the name for a stretch of U.S. Highway 34 and is the highest continuous paved road in the United States. Following a route traced over the Continental Divide by Native Americans, visitors can see elk, deer, and bighorn sheep above the tree line in the dramatic tundra. It also traverses Mountain National Park from Estes Park, Colorado in the east to Grand Lake, Colorado in the west.
Going to the Sun Road, Montana: - One of America’s most inspiring public-works projects winds through Glacier National Park’s snow-covered peaks, sub-alpine meadows, and lakes across the Continental Divide on the spine of the Rockies. It is the only road that crosses the park, going over the Continental Drive at Logan Pass. Snowdrifts threaten to top 100 feet in winter, so the road is open only from May to October.
It’s time to take a road trip to all these highways and explore the hidden vistas of these natural wonders. Call your travel buddy and delve into the roads that might take you to heaven.