Opting for the scenic route is a surefire indicator that you’ve nobly and consciously made the choice to slow down and enjoy life just a little bit more. While driving the freeway isn’t always a negative experience, the overall scene of weaving in and out of high-speed traffic is usually less than enjoyable. The good news is no matter where you decide to take a Sunday drive or a road trip, a scenic route is never too far away.
A handful of distinguishable scenic drives standout as must-sees for the road trippers. The ones listed below provide a well-rounded taste of the spectrum of impressive and beautiful landscapes here in the United States. So, if you’re on the hunt, these are some of the best roads for driving here in America.
1. Blue Ridge Parkway
There are plenty of gorgeous views to be had. | iStock/Getty Images
- Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee
Spanning 469 miles between The Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the epitome of a scenic route. Since the Parkway meanders through so many charming towns, turning the drive into a multi-day trip is easy to do. And you’d be hard-pressed not to see wildlife along the scenic drive. Be sure to enjoy a brew at Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewery, take a hike through Grandfather Mountain State Park, and eventually rest your head at the Natural Bridge Hotel in Virginia.
Next: There may be no better way to see the Golden State than taking this drive.
2. Pacific Coast Highway
The coastal views are breathtaking. | AlizadaStudios/iStock/Getty Images
It’s true, the Pacific Coast Highway is 655 miles of California bliss. Spanning the distance between San Diego and San Francisco, the number of gems to be visited seems practically endless. Quick stops for lunches and dinners with a view are neverending, plus adorable Airbnb opportunities sprinkle the entire span of the highway.
Next: Would you drive next to exposed cliff walls?
3. The Million Dollar Highway
Take in the mountain views and prepare for the drops. | ShaunaE/iStock/Getty Images
- Southwest Colorado
The Million Dollar Highway is a 25-mile noteworthy portion of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway, and it’s exhilarating, to say the least. From Silverton to Ouray, Colorado, this section of highway may have you shaking in your boots with the road’s exposure to sheer drops. The scenic drive crosses numerous mountain passes and gives drivers a taste of the wild and pure Southwest Colorado beauty.
Next: This scenic route may be the best drive in New England.
4. Route 9W
This will take you all the way to scenic upstate New York. | ErimacGroup/iStock/Getty Images
- New York and New Jersey
For New Yorkers looking to leave the city behind for the weekend, cruising the 141 miles of Route 9W will allow you to shake away the hustle and fast pace of the city. The driving route parallels the Hudson River and leads all the way up to Albany. If you’re looking for a good place to stretch your legs, take a walk around the Tallman Mountain State Park.
Next: Could you handle the wheel while driving 318 turns in only 11 miles?
5. Tail of the Dragon
This route will definitely leave your palms a little sweaty. | Biitli/iStock/Getty Images
- Tennessee and North Carolina
The Tail of the Dragon drive is not for the faint of heart. In fact, this drive is for those looking to get their blood pumping a little more. The route is only 11 miles long and packs an outstanding 318 turns. It’s winding and sometimes dangerous curves slash through the Tennessee and North Carolina mountains. If you’re really looking for an even more impressive experience, drive the Tail of the Dragon during the fall season for the colors.
Next: The grandeur of this drive will leave you breathless.
6. Avenue of the Giants
You’ll be captivated by the nature surrounding you. | tristanbnz/iStock/Getty Images
- Northern California
There are few sights more awe-inspiring than laying eyes on a massive Redwood tree. Located on Highway 101, the Avenue of the Giants is only 31 miles in length, and rest assured that you’ll be mesmerized by the pristine and natural state of the Redwood groves. Picnics, hiking, swimming, and even camping can all be had along this incredibly scenic route.
Next: If you’re not one for mountains, you’ll love this tropical drive.
7. Seven Mile Bridge
The turquoise waters will make your drive a pleasure. | SEASTOCK/iStock/Getty Images
- The Florida Keys
The Seven Mile Bridge is clearly telling of its length, but the name of this route doesn’t begin to explain the tropical beauty you’ll see as you drive it. From Knight’s Key to Little Duck Key, cruising the bridge rewards you with endless views of the crystal blue-green ocean water, along with blue herons and pelicans swooping from their perches to grab a salty lunch. Enjoy the sights and be sure to pull off for a leg stretch and photo op.
Next: A taste of history and charm will leave you loving this Southern scenic drive.
8. Natchez Trace Parkway
The perfect road for next level pit stops. | JPaulMoore/iStock/Getty Images
Rich in culture and history, the Natchez Trace Parkway’s 444 miles of road is full of opportunity to slow down and enjoy the day. The Parkway provides access to 65 miles of scenic trails for exploring, along with a host of other recreational opportunities. Chances are you’ll be enthralled by the oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, the swamps, and the ponderosa landscapes.
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