You’ve seen this in so many American films: an endless road, breathtaking scenic drives, a car with open windows and happy people inside of it, with the wind in their hair and sun on their faces. America, immense and diverse, is famous for its great routes. If you want to make an unforgettable road trip, head to the United States. Here’s a list of several scenic drives you should consider.
Scenic drives in the Pacific Coast, California
Winding its way along the coast of Central California, Pacific Coast Highway is unbelievably scenic. It begins in on the southern tip of Baja California and stretches to the end of the Olympic Peninsula. You can complete the route within a day, but passing the spectacular sites and not being able to stop for a little while might break your heart, so better plan a longer trip, preferably a couple of days or weeks.
Highlights: Cities: San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles. On the way, you’ll also pass some gorgeous beaches, like Point Dume, Pfeiffer State Beach, Refugio State Beach and Venice Beach. For a hike, stop at the Escondido Falls, McWay Waterfall or walk the Ewoldsen Trail.
Blue Ridge Parkway Bridging Virginia and North Carolina
Known as America’s favorite scenic drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway for many years has been the most visited site of the National Park System. It meanders for 469 miles between Shenandoah National Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from the starting point till the end surrounded by striking landscapes. Traveling along the Parkway, you’ll see many mountains, rivers, gorges, and waterfalls.
Highlights: Humpback Rock with its self-guiding trail and the James River and Kanawha Canal. In the Blue Ridge Music Center, you can listen to old-style music. That’s in Virginia, but as for North Carolina: Doughton Park with its excellent hiking trails and campsites, Craggy Gardens, Folk Art Center and Waterrock Knob offering a great view of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Olympic Peninsula in Washington
The misty mountains of Olympic Range guarantee spectacular landscapes. Gorgeous beaches, lush forests, castles and fascinating cities make this route even more magical. Begin the trip in the rainy but charming Seattle to admire romantic wilderness as the road winds its way through the Olympic Peninsula.
Highlights: First grab a cup of coffee in one of Seattle’s quirky coffee shops. Stop in the Hoh Rainforest and watch the sunset on the Ruby Beach. Hurricane Ridge is a great day-trip destination. Don’t miss the Lake Crescent, often considered to be the most beautiful lake in the US.
Historic Columbia River Highway in Oregon
Not very long (75 miles), but full of attractions, the Historic Columbia River Highway is a gem. It’s the first planned scenic road in America, and this fact by itself says a lot – landscapes along the highway are so stunning they simply had to be showcased. Known both as a route of unique beauty and significant historic site, the Columbia River Highway is one of the best scenic drives.
Highlights: At the beginning of your journey, stop at the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint. If you’re into water sports, take a longer break in the city of Hood River, widely known as the windsurfers paradise.
Red Rock Country in Arizona
Landscapes of Arizona are dramatically beautiful, made of deep canyons, impressive sandstone monoliths, and surprising rock pinnacles. Be ready, as the route is sizzling and from time to time quite harsh. Get a pair of good boots, lots of water and enjoy spectacular vistas. The journey begins on Interstate 17 and leads through the Red Rock Country for approximately 100 miles.
Highlights: Montezuma Castle National Monument is a wondrous cliff dwelling you can’t miss. In the Slide Rock State Park, you can slide down natural water chutes, take a dip in rock pools and explore atmospheric grottoes.
Cape Cod in Massachusetts
For beachaholics, Cape Cod is one of the best scenic drives. The route encompasses miles of lovely beaches and charming resort towns. Sleepy villages, remote dune lands of Cape Cod National Seashore, lively cities and famous beaches, the sites vary, and you can choose whatever appeals to you the most. Wherever you’re going to stop, you can be sure the views on your way will be enchanting.
Highlights: Sandwich, a historic town, the oldest on the Cape Cod. Nickerson State Park and Cape Cod National Seashore with their natural wonders. The busy and picturesque resort town of Provincetown.
Outer Banks in North Carolina
Endlessly curving, this scenic drive is like a coastal roller coaster. You might start at the Currituck Beach Lighthouse and end the drive at Ocracoke Island. On the way, you’ll pass by some picturesque lighthouses, beautiful dunes, and peaceful resort towns. The unspoiled nature of North Carolina’s Outer Banks is enchanting, be ready for lots of awe-inspiring vistas.
Highlights: is the highest lighthouse in the United States. Climb it up to admire the amazing landscapes it offers. It’s one among four lighthouses you can find at the Outer Banks. Visit the Jockey’s Ridge State Park and see the giant sand-dunes. In the end, spend some time on the Ocracoke Island, it’s a delightful place with lots of pristine nature.
Route 66 in Chicago
Route 66 is legendary, and the attractions it offers are among the best scenic drives, not only in the United States but across the world too. Chicago’s the beginning of the adventure that might last for weeks and miles until you reach Santa Monica in California. Discover the America’s historic route and find out what’s so special about it – you won’t be disappointed, it’s as good as they say.
Highlights: The route’s very long, over 2400 miles. The highlights are countless, and you’ll find them all along the road, in Illinois and Chicago itself, then in all of the next five states, it passes until it reaches California. Old-style motels, quirky shops, weird museums, natural wonders, you’ll find lots of captivating stops.
These were some of the most beautiful scenic drives North America has to offer. Across the country, there are numerous other scenic drives. Let us know what your favorite scenic drive is and share this article with your friends.