12 Most Scenic Roads Trips
It’s the summer travel season again but this year skip the airline travel headaches and interstate highway boredom as your first choice. America the beautiful has so many things to do and see. Want to do something totally different this vacation, consider taking to the off the beaten paths of America for your next vacation. It’s time to go to your bucket list and explore America’s 12 most scenic road trips!
America is teemed with roads that offer breath-taking views… America’s colorful history… lovely charming towns… with twists and turns that makes driving fun and educational with a new adventure around every corner. Now that gas is back under $2.75 a gallon, this is a great time for a road trip.
Here are 12 fantastic American roadways…
THE PACIFIC STATES:
Historic Columbia River Highway
This is an extraordinary drive through Oregon’s stunning Columbia River Gorge in the Cascade Mountains. Multnomah Falls is the most magnificent of a number of waterfalls, it drops 620 feet to the largely forested canyon floor below.
This historical highway has actually been replaced by nearby Interstate 84, however numerous sectors continue to be open to cars. The total driving range is around 80 miles.
Oregon Coast Highway
The Oregon section of Route 101, that traces the state’s rocky, forested Pacific shoreline for its whole 340-mile journey. Fishing and logging towns are found through-out the route, however the real excitement is all the unpopulated areas between the towns with many state parks along the Oregon coast. The ocean is typically visable from Route 101, and there are so many places, such as Cannon Beach or Cape Blanco, where you can stroll along the Pacific in total seclusion.
California Freeway 1 in between Carmel and San Simeon
This is a 90 mile stretch of highway offering picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean. Unlike most of the California coast, this area is largely undeveloped with only one small village, Big Sur, along the way and what the local’s call the “Big Sir Highway.”
There is just one big problem about this breathtaking scenic drive, everybody knows about it… and the road is often is crowed with slow-moving traffic in the summer season.
You might want to get up bright and early and hit the road while everyone else is still sleeping in. Even better consider a fall or spring road trip when the roads are less busy.
THE SOUTHWEST AND MOUNTAIN STATES
Highway 50 across Nevada has actually been called “The Loneliest Road in America.” You can drive for more than 400 miles, over mountains, through the forests and barren open stretches, through the Great Basin National Park all without seeing many other cars.
It is truly a distinct driving experience to feel so totally alone on the roadway, but every 100 miles or so a town appears with at least one gas station, restaurant and motel. The highway basically follows the path that was once used of by the Pony Express, and with so few automobiles around, it is easy to imagine that you are back in the wild west.
Found in Montana’s Glacier National Park might just be the world’s most scenic drive. This 50-mile road provides picturesque breathtaking panoramic views of mountains and valleys as it winds over the Continental Divide. Cars longer than 21 feet and/or larger than 8 feet are not permitted on specific areas because of the tight turns and narrow lanes. Some of the roads are closed from early fall through late spring because of all the snow.
The park entrance charge is $25 dollars and needs to be paid to drive through the park and you will be issued a vehicle permit valid for seven days during the summer season.
Old Route 66 across western Arizona
This is one of the few stretches of the legendary Route 66 that remains virtually as it was back in its pre World War II prime time. You’ll see mainly the exact same motor courts and roadside tourist attractions, beautiful vistas and dusty villages that you would have seen if you had driven this road decades back.
Although it was officially eliminated from US maps in 1984, Route 66 has been revived as an official historical highway once again. Take exit 1 from I-40 right after crossing the California/Arizona line. This is part of the old Route 66 Hwy. and is now known as the Oatman-Topock Highway (Highway 10). When you reach Kingman, follow the roadway now called Arizona 66 to Seligman.
Million Dollar Freeway– that’s US-550 in between Silverton and Ouray in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains that reaches more than 10,000 feet above sea level, making it among the highest-elevation freeways in America.
The panoramic vistas are incredible as is the danger. This slim, 25-mile stretch of road snakes along mountain cliffs, commonly without so much as a guardrail between your car and a thousand foot drop.
We wouldn’t suggest attempting this drive at night or in bad weather. Tip: Drive it northbound if you prefer to hug the side of the mountain, drive it southbound if you desire the complete experience of being just a few feet from a cliff’s edge drop off and this will be a thrilling and is absolutely memorable journey!
The Lincoln Highway in Iowa
This scenic highway allows drivers to regain the feel of old-time, small-town America. The Lincoln Highway may not be as well-known as Route 66, however it was America’s first cross-country roadway when it connected New york city to San Francisco in 1913.
The interstates rendered it obsolete by the 1950s, but you still can follow what is essentially the old Lincoln Highway by taking present-day US 30 across Iowa. Keep your eyes open for red-white-and-blue Lincoln Highway road signs, the path diverts from US 30 in places. While modern highways bypass towns, this one goes right through charming little communities such as Belle Plaine and Woodbine.
Great River Roadway
Travel along the famous historical Mississippi River for 3,000 miles, however the roughly 450-mile stretch between Hannibal, Missouri, and La Crosse, Wisconsin, is especially picturesque. You’ll see dramatic cliffs and bridges and fantastic views of the old Mississippi River.
Quaint little towns along the way that are worth visiting for their culture and ambiance scattered along the way include Galena, Illinois, a great antiquing town, and Nauvoo, Illinois, the previous house of the Mormon Church before it moved to Salt Lake City. The town of Nauvoo has been recovered and reconstructed to look as it did back in the 1840s. http://experiencemississippiriver.com/
THE ATLANTIC STATES
Blue Ridge Parkway is a breath-taking panoramic 469-mile drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains of western Virginia and North Carolina.
The Blue Ridge Parkway’s highest elevation provides panoramic views of the surrounding vistas in every direction. The United States Park Service has the road and surrounding land, so you will see no billboards and very few buildings to block your view.
This is not the road to choose if you’re in a big rush, however the speed limitation is a sleepy 45 miles per hour through out most of the journey. Nearby is Asheville, North Carolina, which has America’s largest home, the Vanderbilt family’s Biltmore Estate.
Overseas Highway – US 1
This 127.5-mile stretch of US 1 connecting the beautiful Florida Keys to Miami and onto the mainland. For long stretches all you can see is blue sky, turquoise ocean and a road stretching out ahead. The exits lead to white-sand tropical isles rather than to towns or cities. It’s a drive unlike any other in America.
Vermont Path 100
This is a 200+ miles of forests, mountains, rivers and picturesque towns with barely a sign or resaurant establishment in sight. Much of the southern part of Route 100 runs inside or along the edge of the Green Mountain National park.
This scenic roadway gets very crowded in the fall when the leaves are beginning to change color, but it’s beautiful at any time of year.