Top10 Scenic Drives in USA The best routes to discover

Top 10 scenic drives in USA include the Pacific Coast Highway, Blue Ridge Parkway, and Going-to-the-Sun Road. Other notable routes are Route 66, the Overseas Highway, and the Million Dollar Highway.

Embark on a journey through America’s vast landscapes with its top scenic drives, a beckoning adventure for travelers and photography enthusiasts alike. Discover the diverse beauty spanning coastlines, mountains, forests, and deserts as you cruise along some of the country’s most awe-inspiring routes.

Each drive offers a unique experience, from the winding turns of the Pacific Coast Highway showcasing the majestic California coastline to the historic stretches of Route 66 echoing the golden age of road trips. The Blue Ridge Parkway captivates with its Appalachian splendor, while Montana’s Going-to-the-Sun Road astonishes with its mountain vistas. These routes are not just paths but destinations in themselves, providing irreplaceable memories and picturesque moments. Join countless others in experiencing the freedom and wonder that these top scenic drives in the USA have to offer.

Top10 Scenic Drives in USA

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Top 10 Scenic Drives in USA

The United States is home to some of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the world, offering travelers a chance to soak in stunning landscapes and natural wonders. Here are the top 10 scenic drives that showcase the beauty of America:

Blue Ridge Parkway (Virginia and North Carolina): This iconic drive winds through the Appalachian Mountains, offering spectacular views of rolling hills, lush forests, and vibrant wildflowers.

Pacific Coast Highway (California): Known for its dramatic ocean views, this coastal drive stretches along California’s rugged coastline, passing through charming seaside towns and iconic landmarks like Big Sur.

Going-to-the-Sun Road (Montana): Cutting through Glacier National Park, this road offers jaw-dropping vistas of snow-capped peaks, pristine lakes, and lush valleys.

Beartooth Highway (Montana and Wyoming): Rising to over 10,000 feet, this high-elevation drive takes you through the breathtaking Beartooth Pass with panoramic views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains.

The Overseas Highway (Florida): Connecting the Florida Keys, this drive is famous for its turquoise waters, coral reefs, and stunning sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico.

Route 66 (Multiple States): This historic highway stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through diverse landscapes, quirky roadside attractions, and charming small towns.

Trail Ridge Road (Colorado): Climbing to over 12,000 feet, this scenic drive in Rocky Mountain National Park offers sweeping views of alpine meadows, rugged peaks, and wildlife sightings.

Hana Highway (Hawaii): Winding along Maui’s lush coastline, this drive features cascading waterfalls, tropical rainforests, and panoramic ocean views around every bend.

Grand Canyon South Rim (Arizona): Offering some of the most awe-inspiring views of the Grand Canyon, this drive along the South Rim showcases the canyon’s vastness and colorful rock formations.

Columbia River Gorge (Oregon and Washington): Following the Columbia River, this drive treats travelers to dramatic waterfalls, towering cliffs, and scenic vistas of the Pacific Northwest.

Embark on these unforgettable journeys to experience the natural beauty and diversity of the American landscape firsthand.

Introduction To America’s Majestic Roadways

America’s vast expanse offers a rich tapestry of landscapes. Each scenic drive stitches unique beauty into a nation’s quilt. Drivers experience stunning coastlines, mountain vistas, and sprawling plains. We embark on an adventure through America’s most breathtaking roadways.

Top 10 Scenic Drives In USA- Embarking On A Visual Journey

Prepare to witness nature’s unspoiled splendors. From the winding roads of New England to the coastal views of the Pacific, each route offers its visual feast. Let’s discover the country’s top ten scenic drives that transform every trip into a cherished memory.

Top 10 Scenic Drives In USA- The Allure Of The Open Road

The call of the open road beckons the spirit of adventure. There’s freedom in exploring at your own pace, with each turn revealing a new marvel. Dramatic landscapes await as these iconic drives inspire awe and bring you closer to the heart of the USA.

Top 10 Scenic Drives in USA

Pacific Coast Highway- California’s Coastal Gem

The Pacific Coast Highway, a stretch of California State Route 1, stands as a symbol of coastal beauty. This famed route offers drivers an unparalleled journey past cliff-hugged beaches and through quaint seaside towns. Renowned for its stunning views, every turn presents a picture-perfect moment on this iconic road.

Iconic Seascapes And Sunsets

The Pacific Coast Highway serves up breathtaking seascapes. Bold waves crash against rugged cliffs. The Pacific Ocean unfurls its vastness to the horizon. Each mile of this drive reveals sights that beckon travelers to pull over and marvel. As the sun dips low, the sky erupts in vibrant hues. Nature’s artistry invites all to pause and bask in the serene close of the day.

Must-visit Stops Along Route 1

Interspersed along the highway are must-visit stops – each unique, each memorable. From the grandeur of Big Sur to the charm of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Route 1 offers a treasure trove of experiences. See towering redwoods, explore tide pools, or savor fresh seafood at a cliffside restaurant.

  • Bixby Creek Bridge: A marvel of engineering, perfect for photos.
  • Pfeiffer Beach: Unique purple sand and rock formations.
  • Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Home to the breathtaking McWay Falls.

Travelers will find no shortage of places to explore, each offering its slice of California’s coastal splendor.

Going-to-the-sun Road- Glacier National Park

The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is not just a way to get from one side of the park to another. It’s a destination in its own right. Famous for its staggering views and engineering marvels, this road invites you on a journey through the heart of Montana’s rugged wilderness. Let’s explore what makes this scenic byway a top contender on our list of must-drive routes in the USA.

Mountain Majesty And Alpine Wonders

As you ascend the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a spectacle of snow-capped peaks and pristine alpine meadows opens up before you. Hidden waterfalls and glacial lakes dot the landscape, each turn offering a new, breathtaking view. This road is a masterpiece that allows you to experience the following:

  • Sweeping mountain vistas that leave you spellbound.
  • Close encounters with Glacier National Park’s diverse wildlife.
  • Wildflower-filled valleys paint the terrain with vibrant colors.

Navigating Montana’s Dramatic Terrain

Driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road is as thrilling as it is picturesque. The road itself is an astonishing feat, cut into the side of sheer cliffs and weaving through the Rockies. Here’s what to expect:

  1. The route spans 50 miles and crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.
  2. Expect sharp turns and narrow roads that test your driving skills as they reveal unmatched views.
  3. Don’t rush; there are numerous pullouts and viewing points for safely enjoying the scenery.

Remember that the road opens seasonally, usually from late June through October. Always check the conditions before your visit.

Blue Ridge Parkway Appalachia’s Panoramic Route

Winding through the majestic Appalachian Highlands, the Blue Ridge Parkway stretches from Virginia to North Carolina. This route boasts unrivaled vistas of blooming wildflowers, cascading waterfalls, and autumnal foliage.

Often referred to as “America’s Favorite Drive,” it offers a slow-paced and relaxing journey unlike any other, connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

A Drive Through Colorful Seasons

  • Spring: Witness flowers bloom and forests awaken.
  • Summer: Enjoy lush, green canopies and clear blue skies.
  • Fall: Observe a stunning palette of autumn colors.
  • Winter: See the serene beauty of snow-dusted trees (check road closures).

The parkway’s elevation change means each season offers a unique experience. From the freshness of spring’s first blossoms to the vibrant oranges and reds of fall, every curve and crest along the route presents a new natural masterpiece.

Exploring The Rich History And Culture

Historical and Cultural Highlights
Mabry Mill: A step back in time to a bygone era.
Folk Art Center: Home to Appalachian craftsmanship.
Mountain Music: Experience live traditional tunes.
Historic Structures: Explore cabins, farms, and mills.

Driving the parkway is more than a visual treat; it’s a journey through the heart of Appalachian culture and history. The route is dotted with historical sites where travelers can learn about the local heritage. From the iconic Mabry Mill to the Folk Art Center and live mountain music, each stop tells the story of the people who shaped this landscape.

Top 10 Scenic Drives in USA

Route 66 The Main Street Of America

Rediscover the charm of the open road with a classic American journey along Route 66. Also known as the Main Street of America, this legendary path cuts through the heartland, showcasing the country’s captivating blend of landscapes and cultures. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a curious adventurer, Route 66 offers an unforgettable experience filled with nostalgia and beauty that beckons you to explore it mile by mile.

Cruising Through America’s Heartland

Cruising Through America’s Heartland

Imagine rolling down the windows and feeling the breeze as you cruise through small towns, expansive deserts, and lush green farmlands.

  • Drive from Chicago to Santa Monica, across eight states.
  • Witness the sweeping views of the Great Plains.
  • Experience the heartbeat of America’s diverse communities and cultures.

Retro Attractions and Historic Landmarks

Retro Attractions And Historic Landmarks

Route 66 is lined with iconic attractions that tell a story of a bygone era.

Attraction Location Description
The Gemini Giant Wilmington, IL A towering fiberglass mascot.
Cadillac Ranch Amarillo, TX A colorful display of half-buried cars.
Blue Whale of Catoosa Catoosa, OK A famous roadside water park landmark.

These attractions, along with countless diners, gas stations, and motels, create a vivid patchwork of history.

Overseas Highway Florida Keys Island Chain

The Overseas Highway, a segment of U.S. Highway 1, stretches across the breathtaking Florida Keys island chain. This iconic roadway offers a unique journey from Miami to Key West. It’s 113 miles of highway surrounded by the clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, boasting some of the most stunning views in the USA.

Water Wonders And Sky-high Bridges

A drive along the Overseas Highway reveals endless ocean vistas. Each of the 42 bridges along this route, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge, provides a sense of soaring above the sea. The longest, stretching out into the azure expanse, connects travelers to the next picturesque island, against the backdrop of either sunrise or sunset.

Island Hopping By Car

The joy of island hopping from the comfort of your car is unrivaled. Each key offers a unique vibe, from the lively streets of Key West to the mellow tranquility of Islamorada. This drive turns the quintessential road trip into a tropical adventure. Stop by the roadside to enjoy fresh seafood, visit historic lighthouses, or take a quick dip in the inviting waters.

Million Dollar Highway Colorado’s Rocky Road

Embark on a journey along Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway, a road where every turn offers a postcard-worthy view. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, this legendary stretch forms part of the San Juan Skyway. It captures the heart of all who travel its winding path, presenting an unforgettable experience with its stunning panoramas and rich historical tapestry.

Elevated Adventures And Mining Towns

Travelers find themselves elevated above the ordinary on this high-altitude excursion. Ascend through the San Juan Mountains, reaching dizzying heights near 11,000 feet. Along the way, historic mining towns punctuate the route, hinting at the area’s bustling past. Silverton and Ouray, known as the ‘Switzerland of America’, serve as bookends to this segment of highway.

  • Feel the history in Silverton’s preserved Victorian buildings
  • Explore Ouray’s hot springs and waterfalls
  • Capture photographs of Red Mountain and Bear Creek Falls

Adventurous Driving With Million-dollar Views

The Million Dollar Highway offers an adventure for the brave. With steep inclines, hairpin curves, and no guardrails, drivers encounter a thrilling challenge. This section of US Route 550 climbs three mountain passes: Coal Bank, Molas, and Red Mountain. Each pass presents majestic views over jagged peaks and alpine meadows.

  1. Prepare for rapid elevation changes and sharp twists
  2. Stop at scenic overlooks for breath-taking panoramas
  3. Experience the thrill of the open road among the Rockies
Top 10 Scenic Drives in USA

Hana Highway- Hawaii’s Tropical Paradise

Hana Highway: Hawaii’s Tropical Paradise spirals through Maui’s luscious landscapes, offering a journey as breathtaking as the destination. This drive presents an exceptional experience with every curve, unveiling the heart of Hawaii’s natural splendor. Discover waterfalls tucked into emerald rainforests and navigate thrilling turns along this coastal route. Prepare for a captivating adventure on one of the most picturesque drives in the USA.

Waterfalls And Rainforests Of Maui

Embrace the enchantment of Maui’s wilderness as you traverse Hana Highway. This path is a treasure trove of natural wonders:

  • Stunning Waterfalls: Witness the cascading beauty of countless waterfalls, some hidden within the foliage, others majestically on display.
  • Lush Rainforests: Journey through verdant landscapes, home to diverse flora and fauna, and breathe in the fresh, tropical air.
  • Panoramic Vistas: Stop at lookout points offering breathtaking views that stretch across the horizon.

Explorers are rewarded with a visual feast of nature’s most brilliant masterpieces.

The Thrill Of Hairpin Turns And One-lane Bridges

The rugged cliffs of Maui’s north shore challenge drivers with hairpin turns and one-lane bridges. This drive teases with elements of suspense and excitement:

  1. Hairpin Turns: Maneuver through over 600 turns, each presenting a new view and an adrenaline rush.
  2. One-lane Bridges: Navigate more than 50 one-lane bridges, requiring careful timing and consideration of fellow travelers.
  3. Sheer Cliffs: Peer down imposing cliffsides to the ocean’s depths below for an exhilarating sense of height.

This roadway is not just a drive but a journey for the senses and the spirit.

Great River Road Following The Mighty Mississippi

The Great River Road invites you on an unforgettable journey. Stretching alongside the Mighty Mississippi, this scenic drive offers a window into America’s heartland.

Historic Landmarks Along The River’s Journey

The Great River Road is punctuated with historic landmarks. They tell stories of the river’s pivotal role in shaping the nation. Notable sites include:

  • Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home: The childhood residence of the famous author, located in Hannibal, Missouri.
  • Vicksburg National Military Park: A key Civil War site in Vicksburg, Mississippi, preserving a historic battlefield.
  • Old Mississippi State Capitol: A Greek Revival masterpiece in Jackson, Mississippi, offering a glimpse into the state’s history.

A Cultural Tapestry Of The American Midwest

Spanning ten states, the Great River Road is a living tapestry of culture. Each stretch reflects the diversity within the American Midwest. Discover unique experiences such as:

  1. Local cuisine: Savor dishes like Memphis barbecue or Wisconsin cheese curds.
  2. Music scenes: Immerse in the sounds of jazz, blues, and country music.
  3. Folk traditions: Witness local customs that have been passed down through generations.

Celebrate the Midwestern spirit that resonates along the riverbanks. The drive is more than a journey — it’s an exploration of the nation’s soul.

Top 10 Scenic Drives in USA

Big Sur Coast Highway California’s Rugged Coast

Embark on an unforgettable journey along the Big Sur Coast Highway, a stretch renowned for its stunning views of California’s rugged coast. With each bend in the road, the path unveils a new panorama of the Pacific Ocean’s mighty waves crashing onto craggy cliffs. This iconic route offers a magical adventure for travelers seeking natural beauty.

Wilderness And Wildlife Views

The Big Sur Coast Highway is not just a drive; it’s a front-row seat to Mother Nature’s splendor. Keep your eyes peeled for the following:

  • Sea otters frolicking in kelp forests
  • Condors soaring above coastal canyons
  • Grey whales during their migration seasons

A Merging Of Ocean Cliffs And Redwoods

The Big Sur journey is a marvel as the sea meets the trees. Here are the highlights:

Ocean Cliffs Redwoods
Ragged, windswept, and utterly dramatic Towering giants, whispering ancient tales

Each twist in the road brings a delightful mix of marine vistas and forested canopies, with spots like Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park where these two worlds collide beautifully.

Utah’s Scenic Byway 12 A Grand Staircase

Embark on a visual adventure along Utah’s Scenic Byway 12, famously known as A Grand Staircase. This picturesque route carves through the heart of Utah’s red rock country, offering a panorama of majestic landscapes and geological wonders. Drivers witness the beauty of staggering cliffs, deep canyons, and towering spires.

Red Rock Formations And National Parks

The drive on Scenic Byway 12 is a journey not just through roads but through millions of years of natural history. The byway winds past a spectrum of labyrinthine slot canyons, plateaus, and serene deserts. Each turn reveals new marvels of Mother Nature’s artistry, spotlighting the pristine beauty of the Southwest.

  • Red Canyon’s stunning red spires
  • Natural arches framing the blue sky
  • Escalante’s petrified forests and rugged landscape

Bryce Canyon To Capitol Reef

Linking two of Utah’s majestic national parks, this stretch of Scenic Byway 12 offers diverse landscapes. From the unique hoodoos of Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef’s sprawling vistas, journeyers experience elevation changes that transition from alpine forests to desert oases. The stretch between the parks encapsulates the transformative power of nature.

  1. Witness the ethereal glow of the sunrise over Bryce Canyon.
  2. Drive amidst the towering cliffs of Grand Staircase-Escalante.
  3. Savor the tranquility as the road reaches Capitol Reef.

Antelope Valley And Death Valley National Park

Embarking on a drive through Antelope Valley and Death Valley National Park rewards you with sights that defy expectations. The vast, arid landscapes of Southern California hold two contrasting wonders that offer drivers an experience like no other. Prepare for a journey through the beautiful extremes of one of America’s most captivating regions.

Desert Landscapes Transformed By Wildflowers

Spring breathes life into the desert terrains of Antelope Valley. The once-barren ground erupts in color as wildflowers bloom. The famous California poppies lead this vibrant transformation. Fields of orange stretch as far as the eye can see. Visitors during peak season witness a natural mosaic crafted by nature itself.

  • Best viewed from late February to early May.
  • The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve offers the best vistas.
  • Guided tours are available to learn about the flora.

Extreme Beauty In Extremes Of Climate

Death Valley National Park exhibits an intriguing paradox. It is one of the hottest places on Earth, yet it boasts incredible beauty. The park’s dramatic landscapes include salt flats, dunes, and rugged canyons. The valley is a canvas of natural extremes, showcasing the resilience of the ecosystem.

Death Valley Temperature Overview
Season Average High (°F) Average Low (°F)
Summer 116 86
Winter 67 39

Although extreme, winter brings milder temperatures ideal for exploration. Visitors experience the park’s beauty under more tolerable conditions. Remember, these desert jewels need respect. Come prepared with plenty of water, sun protection, and an adventurous spirit!

The Endless Beauty Of America’s Highways

The open road in the USA unveils a vast canvas of splendor. From coastal routes to mountain passes, these top scenic drives capture the heart of the American spirit. Each journey promises breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.

Summing Up The Scenic Marvels

Our voyage across the country’s most picturesque highways reaches its peak. We embraced the grandeur of the Pacific Coast Highway and the rugged charm of the Million Dollar Highway. The memories made on these routes will last a lifetime.

Planning Your Next Road Trip Adventure

Ready to explore? It’s never too early to plan. Consider the best travel times for each scenic drive. Pack smart, and remember your camera. Use this guide to chart a course through America’s natural wonders.

  • Seasons matter. Check the best times to visit.
  • Map your route. Pick the drives that call to you.
  • Stay safe. Prepare for the road conditions.
  • Enjoy the ride. Stop and take in the views.
Top 10 Scenic Drives in USA

What Is The Best Road Trip In USA?

Determining the absolute “best” road trip in the USA is subjective and depends on personal preferences. However, one of the most iconic and beloved road trips is along the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as Highway

Stretching along California’s stunning coastline from Dana Point in Southern California to Leggett in Northern California, this scenic drive offers unparalleled views of the Pacific Ocean, rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and charming coastal towns.

Starting in Southern California, travelers can explore the vibrant city of Los Angeles before heading towards the picturesque coastal towns of Malibu and Santa Barbara. As you continue north, you’ll encounter the rugged beauty of Big Sur, with its dramatic cliffs and towering redwoods. Stop at iconic landmarks like Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls for breathtaking photo opportunities.

Further along the route, you’ll pass through charming towns like Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey, where you can visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. As you approach Northern California, don’t miss the chance to explore the quaint villages of Mendocino and Fort Bragg, known for their rugged coastline and artistic communities.

The Pacific Coast Highway offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and culinary delights, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, whale watching, and wine tasting along the way. Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, this iconic road trip promises unforgettable experiences and stunning vistas at every turn, making it a top choice for travelers looking to explore the best of what the USA has to offer.

What Is The Longest Scenic Drive In The US?

The longest scenic drive in the United States is the Alaska Highway, also known as the Alcan Highway. It spans approximately 1,390 miles (2,237 kilometers) and offers travelers an unforgettable journey through the pristine wilderness of Canada and Alaska. Here’s a breakdown of the key points along this epic road trip:

Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada: The Alaska Highway officially begins in Dawson Creek, a small town in northeastern British Columbia.

British Columbia Wilderness: As you travel north from Dawson Creek, you’ll encounter rugged terrain, dense forests, and stunning mountain vistas typical of British Columbia’s wilderness.

Liard River Hot Springs: About midway along the Alaska Highway lies the Liard River Hot Springs, a natural oasis where travelers can soak in warm mineral waters surrounded by lush greenery.

Yukon Territory: The highway passes through the Yukon Territory, known for its vast wilderness, pristine lakes, and historic Gold Rush sites.

Kluane National Park: Situated in southwestern Yukon, Kluane National Park is home to towering mountains, glaciers, and abundant wildlife, offering unparalleled opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration.

Whitehorse: Yukon’s capital city, Whitehorse, serves as a major hub along the Alaska Highway, offering amenities such as accommodations, dining, and cultural attractions.

Fairbanks, Alaska: The Alaska Highway concludes in Fairbanks, Alaska, a vibrant city is known for its rich history, northern light sightings, and access to the wilderness of Interior Alaska.

Wildlife and Natural Wonders: Throughout the journey, travelers can expect to encounter a variety of wildlife, including bears, moose, caribou, and eagles, as well as breathtaking natural wonders such as glacial lakes, rivers, and mountain ranges.

Embarking on the Alaska Highway road trip promises an adventure of a lifetime, with unparalleled opportunities to experience the rugged beauty and untamed wilderness of the North.

Top 10 Scenic Drives in USA

Frequently Asked Questions For Top 10 Scenic Drives In Usa

What Is The Most Beautiful Drive In America?

One of the most beautiful drives in America is the Pacific Coast Highway in California, offering stunning ocean views and scenic landscapes.

What Is The Best Road Trip In USA?

The Pacific Coast Highway, stretching from California to Washington, is often rated the best road trip in the USA. Offering breathtaking coastal views, it combines natural beauty with quintessential American towns.

What Is The Longest Scenic Drive In The US?

The longest scenic drive in the US is Route 20, stretching over 3,365 miles from Boston, Massachusetts to Newport, Oregon.

What Is The Most Scenic Interstate In America?

Interstate 70 through Colorado offers some of the most stunning views, with its passage through the Rocky Mountains and picturesque Glenwood Canyon.

Conclusion of Top 10 Scenic Drives In Usa

Embarking on a scenic drive offers an unparalleled escape into America’s natural grandeur. Each route, rich with diverse landscapes and breathtaking vistas, promises unforgettable memories. So, rev up your engine, hit the open road, and let the spirit of adventure guide you through the USA’s top scenic drives.

Your next journey awaits!

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