Top Scenic Drives in the USA
The United States of America is home to a variety of breathtaking landscapes, from majestic mountains to coastal cliffs, and everything in between. One of the best ways to experience the beauty of this diverse country is by taking a scenic drive. Whether you’re a seasoned road-tripper or a first-time traveler, here are some of the most scenic drives in the USA that you won’t want to miss.
The Most Scenic Drives in the Western USA
The western region of the USA boasts some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the world. From rugged coastlines to towering mountain ranges, there are endless opportunities for unforgettable road trips. Here are some of the top scenic drives in the Western USA:
- Pacific Coast Highway (California)
Stretching from San Francisco to San Diego, the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most iconic scenic drives in the world. Along the way, you’ll pass by stunning beaches, dramatic cliffs, and charming seaside towns. Notable stops include Big Sur and Monterey, where you can explore picturesque lighthouses and sample fresh seafood. Be sure to take in the breathtaking views from Bixby Bridge, one of the most photographed spots on the route.
- Route 66 (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma)
One of the most famous highways in America, Route 66 is steeped in history and nostalgia. The 2,400-mile route runs from Chicago to Santa Monica, passing through eight states along the way. Must-see stops include the Cadillac Ranch in Texas and the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Whether you’re a fan of vintage Americana or just looking for an adventure, Route 66 is a classic road trip experience.
- Shenandoah Valley
One of the top scenic drives in the USA can be found in the Shenandoah Valley. The winding roads through the mountains offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Don’t just take our word for it – check out this stunning video from @VisitShenValley showcasing the beauty of the area. It’s no wonder that this drive is a popular destination for road trippers and nature enthusiasts alike.
- Red Rock Scenic Byway (Arizona)
Located in Sedona, Arizona, the Red Rock Scenic Byway is a 7.5-mile drive through stunning red rock formations and desert landscapes. Notable stops include Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, both of which offer stunning photo opportunities. Along the way, you’ll also find plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. For a truly unforgettable experience, consider taking a hot air balloon ride over the scenic landscape.
- Beartooth Highway (Montana, Wyoming)
Dubbed “the most beautiful drive in America” by the late Charles Kuralt, the Beartooth Highway is a 68-mile stretch of road that winds through the Beartooth Mountains. Along the way, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Notable stops include the Top of the World Store, where you can stock up on souvenirs and snacks, and the Gardner River Canyon, where you can hike to the breathtaking Overlook Point.
- Yellowstone Loop (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho)
Yellowstone National Park is home to some of the most iconic natural wonders in America, from Old Faithful to the Grand Prismatic Spring. The Yellowstone Loop encompasses several scenic drives within the park, including the Grand Loop Road, which takes you past Yellowstone’s most famous landmarks. Along the way, be sure to keep an eye out for bison, elk, and other wildlife. For a truly immersive experience, consider camping within the park.
One great way to experience the beauty of the United States is by taking a scenic drive. From coast to coast, the country boasts some of the most breathtaking views in the world. If you’re looking for a fun off-road adventure, you might want to consider checking out the competition between the Ford Bronco, the Jeep Wrangler, and the Land Rover Defender, as showcased in this article by Cars311. With stunning landscapes as a backdrop, this comparison test between three iconic SUVs will surely provide an exhilarating ride. So, pack your bags, buckle up, and get ready for an epic road trip!
The Most Scenic Drives in the Eastern USA
The Eastern USA is known for its historic sites, charming towns, and breathtaking landscapes. Here are some of the most scenic drives in the region:
- Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile road that winds through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. Along the way, visitors will be treated to stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Park. Some notable stops along the parkway include the Linn Cove Viaduct, the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, and the Peaks of Otter.
Driving tip: The speed limit on the parkway is 45 miles per hour, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.
- Acadia All-American Road
The Acadia All-American Road is a 40-mile stretch of road that winds through the beautiful Acadia National Park in Maine. Visitors will be treated to stunning views of the rocky coastline, beautiful forests, and picturesque fishing villages. Some notable stops along the road include Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, and the Jordan Pond House.
Lodging and dining recommendation: Stay at the Bar Harbor Inn and Spa, which offers stunning views of the harbor and is within walking distance of downtown Bar Harbor. For dining, try the lobster roll at the Thirsty Whale Tavern.
- Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive is a 105-mile road that winds through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. The road offers stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and visitors will have the opportunity to see wildlife such as black bears, deer, and wild turkeys. Some notable stops along the road include the Stony Man Trail, the Hawksbill Summit, and the Dark Hollow Falls Trail.
Best time to visit: The fall, when the leaves change colors, is a particularly stunning time to visit Skyline Drive.
- Coastal Highway 1
Coastal Highway 1 is a 37-mile road that winds through the charming coastal towns of Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Visitors will be treated to stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, charming lighthouses, and picturesque New England homes. Some notable stops along the road include the Martha’s Vineyard lighthouses, the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the Chatham Lighthouse.
Lodging and dining recommendation: Stay at the Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard, which offers stunning views of the harbor and is within walking distance of downtown Edgartown. For dining, try the lobster bisque at the Chatham Pier Fish Market.
- Natchez Trace Parkway
The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile road that runs from Mississippi to Tennessee. The road offers stunning views of the southern countryside, and visitors will have the opportunity to see historic sites such as the Mount Locust Inn and Plantation and the Emerald Mound. The road also offers opportunities for hiking and biking.
Lodging and dining recommendation: Stay at the Natchez Trace Bed and Breakfast in Clinton, Mississippi, which offers charming accommodations and easy access to the parkway. For dining, try the biscuits and gravy at the Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee.
One essential aspect of enjoying the top scenic drives in the USA is having the right tires for your vehicle. Proper tire selection can significantly impact your driving experience and ensure your safety on the road. For helpful tips on choosing the right tires for your vehicle, be sure to check out this informative article from Cars311.
If you’re planning a road trip and looking for the most scenic drives in the USA, you may have some questions. Here are some frequently asked questions that may help you plan your adventure.
The best times to take a scenic drive in the USA can vary depending on the location. For example, the Pacific Coast Highway in California is best driven in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and the crowds are fewer. The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina is stunning in the fall when the leaves change colors. The Beartooth Highway in Montana and Wyoming is typically open from late May to mid-October when the weather is warm and there’s no snow. If you want to see some breathtaking views, check out this video from a Twitter user who captured a stunning drive on the Beartooth Highway.
Some scenic routes may require fees or permits. For example, if you plan to drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, you will need to purchase a park entrance pass. The Natchez Trace Parkway is free to drive, but some attractions along the way may charge admission fees.
Some scenic routes may have restrictions or road closures due to weather or other factors. For example, the Beartooth Highway may close early in the season due to snow, and the Pacific Coast Highway may have road closures due to mudslides. It’s important to check with local authorities or park services before you start your journey to ensure that the route is open and safe to drive.
Always follow the posted speed limits, and be prepared for narrow and winding roads, especially on mountainous routes. Check your vehicle before embarking on your journey to ensure that it’s in good condition, and bring plenty of snacks and water for the road. Be sure to stop and take in the scenery along the way, and take advantage of any pullouts or overlooks for photo opportunities.
Always wear your seatbelt, and obey all traffic laws. Keep your eyes on the road and avoid distracted driving. If you’re feeling tired, pull over and take a break. Be aware of wildlife and pedestrians, especially in areas where they may be common.
With these tips in mind, you’re ready to hit the road and experience some of the most breathtaking views the USA has to offer. Happy driving!