The Top 10 Scenic Drives In The United States

Few things are more refreshing than taking a leisurely drive past stunning landscapes and through otherworldly terrain. Take a break from domestic monotony and focus your next RV adventure on one of the USA’s most breathtaking routes.

Even if you think you can’t be tempted into planning a road trip, these 10 scenic drives may just cure your provincialism and inspire you to explore.

1. Route 66

scenic drives
Route 66. Photo by Jakub Gorajek on Unsplash

Also known as the “Mother Road”, Route 66 is one of the oldest and most famous highways in the United States. It trails through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, beginning in the heart of Chicago.

Once an essential passageway to the West, the historical route has inspired various books, movies, and songs. Today, the 2,451-mile drive provides travelers with diverse terrain, unusual landmarks, and nostalgic memories of the Old West.

2. Richardson Highway

scenic drives
Richardson Highway. Photo by Madeleine Deaton on Flickr

Cruise past some of Alaska’s natural wonders along a 360-mile stretch known as the Richardson Highway. Glacial mountains, sprawling canyons, and abundant wildlife line the winding roads from Fairbanks to Valdez.

Before you leave, visit the town of North Pole, where travelers can visit the Santa Claus House any time of the year.

3. Overseas Highway

scenic drives
Overseas Highway. Photo: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images, Flickr

The beauty of Florida’s Overseas Highway lasts for 113 miles, 7 of which pass completely over the Atlantic Ocean. Not surprisingly, locals have nicknamed this section the “Seven-Mile Bridge.”

Visit when traffic is minimal and enjoy a tranquil drive to Key West, the southernmost point of the contiguous United States.

4. Hana Highway

scenic drives
Hana Highway. Photo By Ella Emsheimer

Hawaii is known for its scenic beauty, so it’s no surprise that its islands hold some of the most beautiful routes in the United States. Hana Highway, which circles most of the island of Maui, snakes along cliffs’ edges, through rainforests, and past Haleakala volcano, ending in Hana.

The entire trip only takes about 3 hours, so you will have plenty of time to stop and admire the waterfalls or sample some of Maui’s famous roadside banana bread.

See also: 5 Things You Should Know About RVing In Hawaii

5. Highway 100

scenic drives
Vermont’s Highway 100. Photo from Pixabay

Although Vermont’s Highway 100 is gorgeous all year round, it reaches a new level of brilliance once a year. Every October, the once-green trees adopt new color schemes of red, orange, and yellow, blazing like roadside wildfires.

In the spring and summer, the drive still offers rushing streams and covered bridges, passing through charming New England towns. If you decide to travel in the winter, keep in mind that you may get snowed in.

6. Great River Road

scenic drives
Great River Road. Photo from Pixabay

Passing through 10 states and covering a distance of 2,320 miles, the Great River Road is the longest scenic byway in the United States. It follows the Mississippi River through the Old South, past historic plantations, and up north, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota.

The route cuts through the United States and weaves past innumerable landmarks, following the most historically significant trading route in the United States.

7. Bayou Teche Scenic Byway

scenic drives
Bayou Teche Scenic Byway. Photo from Pixabay

The Bayou Teche Scenic Byway winds through Southern Louisiana, past Grecian architecture, swampy cypresses, and twisted oaks dripping with Spanish moss. The dark water and haunting stillness of the bayou make it the perfect setting for a Gothic novel.

Following the marshy river into Louisiana’s French Region, you are likely to encounter Cajun cuisine and locals who still speak an authentic Acadian dialect.

8. Pacific Coast Highway

scenic drives
Pacific Coast Highway. Photo by Thomas Ciszewski on Unsplash

Spanning the entire coast of California is the incredibly photogenic Pacific Coast Highway. Also known as Highway 1, it stretches from the California-Oregon border to the southernmost point of San Diego.

Cruise along coastal bluffs, across Big Sur’s Bixby Bridge, and past seaside redwood forests while taking an unparalleled journey along the West Coast.

See also: 15 Must-See Places Along The Pacific Coast Highway

9. Newfound Gap Road

scenic drives
Newfound Gap Road. Photo by Phil Varney on Flickr

Newfound Gap Road carves through the Great Smoky Mountains, offering travelers panoramic views of colorful foliage and sierra sunsets.

Start in Asheville, North Carolina and drive through mountain passes into Tennessee. If you visit during the fall, you’ll be plunged into golden forests along the way.

10. Flint Hills National Scenic Byway

scenic drives
Flint Hills National Scenic Byway. Photo by Patrick Emerson on Flickr

The Flint Hills region of Kansas is breathtaking any time of the day. Drive through in the morning if you’re craving emerald foothills and blue skies, or wait until evening to witness some of the best sunsets in the Midwest.

Visiting in the spring is highly recommended, especially if you’re looking for a drive through vivid prairies bursting with wildflowers.

You may also like: 5 Cross-Country Road Trips That You’ll Never Forget

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