The Most Scenic Roads in the United States

There are dozens of travel quotes we could use to preface this list, but we’re going to assume that you already know that traveling isn’t always about where you end up – it is just as much about how you get there. Nowadays with travel being restricted due to COVID-19, there has never been a better time to  take a scenic drive just for the experience.

There is something magical about the open road as you watch the world pass by through the window of your vehicle. Sometimes the journey from point A to point B is a dreaded chore, but if you’re lucky enough to be traveling along any of these scenic roads, you’ll want to soak up every second of the drive. Just make sure to take your eyes off the landscape and watch the road every now and then! 

As states slowly begin to reopen in the future, consider planning an entire trip around one of these routes, making stops along the way and helping contribute to the local economies of each small town.

Pacific Coast Highway (California)

Pacific Coast Highway
For most of the drive, you’ll have the Pacific Ocean on one side of you, and the rest of the United States on the other side!

This famous stretch of road spans almost the entire coast of California, following the Pacific Ocean as it passes through cities, mountains, and beaches. Explore the vibrant California culture at places like Santa Monica and Laguna Beach, or experience the serene beauty of nature at places such as Half Moon Bay or Big Sur. 

Blue Ridge Parkway (North Carolina and Virginia)

Blue Ridge Parkway
Take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway during autumn to witness the mountains transform into a beautiful canvas of colorful trees.

This stretch of road has been named “America’s Favorite Drive” for obvious reasons. The 469 miles of highway snake through some of the most beautiful scenery in the eastern half of the United States. Spanning the distance between Shenandoah National Park and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this famous road provides picturesque views year-round.  Driving at least a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is an absolute must for anybody visiting the Appalachian Mountains. 

Scenic Byway 12 (Utah)

Scenic Byway 12
The famous “Hogsback” section of Scenic Byway 12 features hairpin turns with steep cliffs on either side of the road. While it may be a bit scary, the views are breathtaking!

Utah is a place unlike anywhere else in the world! With so many sights to see, Scenic Byway 12 is the perfect road to take you right through the heart of it all. It passes through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Bryce Canyon National Park and Boulder Mountain with gorgeous views at every turn in between. This highway cuts right through the center of the state, making it the ideal route to take when you’re on an RV trip visiting Utah’s “Mighty Five” National Parks – Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, and Capitol Reef. 

Highway 101 (Oregon)

Highway 101
Steep cliffs and rocky coastlines are spread across the entire western edge of Oregon, dispersed throughout pine forests and quiet beach towns. Highway 101 allows you the opportunity to see it all!

This highway runs north and south along the Oregon coast, spanning from the northern redwoods of California’s border to the gorgeous town of Astoria, where it crosses the Columbia River into Washington. It is essentially a continuation of California’s Pacific Coast Highway but provides Oregon’s unique brand of Pacific Northwest landscape that is quite different than California’s mountainous terrain. There are countless campgrounds, some of which allow you to camp within view of the ocean! 

Overseas Highway (Florida)

Overseas Highway
Parts of the road are built on the old Overseas Railroad, which operated from 1912 to 1935 until being hit by a terrible hurricane.

The Overseas Highway is a 123-mile highway that connects Miami to Key West. It is a remarkable stretch of road that crosses over coral reefs, islands, and gorgeous ocean views. The most iconic part of the road is a seven-mile bridge that allows you to cruise just above sea level as you seem to glide right across the top of the water. This road is not just a scenic drive, but an impressive feat of modern engineering! 

Beartooth Highway (Montana and Wyoming)

Beartooth Highway
The twists and turns of Beartooth Highway allow you to take it slow and see all the views that it has to offer.

Beartooth Highway is one of many ways to enter Yellowstone National Park, and in our opinion, it’s the best way! The 68-mile byway gives travelers some of the most breathtaking American landscapes. Passing through several mountain peaks in both Montana and Wyoming, this road closes during the winters as the snow-covered landscape is too dangerous to traverse, even by automobile. In fact, it can even snow in the middle of summer at these altitudes. Make sure you check the weather before embarking on this one-of-a-kind drive! 

 

 

Have you driven on any of these scenic roads? What did you think? Are there any that didn’t make our list that you think should have? Comment below!

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