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The Most Scenic Drives in America

Is there anything more wonderful than packing your car with a few favorite snacks, turning up whatever’s on the radio, and embarking on a good old-fashioned American road trip? Personally, we don’t think so, which is why we’re excited to share our list of the most scenic drives in America–the best of the best, from sea to shining sea. These spectacular, hand-selected routes are sure to delight and inspire you as you set out on the journey of a lifetime, whether you’re a cross-country road trip veteran or totally new to the game. Each and every trip highlights the beauty and majesty of our great nation, from shorelines to mountain valleys and beyond. And no matter how much of our country you think you’ve already seen, there’s always something new to revel in: Make your way through canyons and valleys, visit beaches, harbors, and lighthouses, or explore historic American industrial cities and quaint river villages. Better yet, see several of those sights by combining one or more of these routes–or drive from coast to coast and see it all. Whatever you do, whatever your plan…we have a feeling you won’t regret spending your next vacation on the open road.

The Drive: North Shore Drive

The Scene: The Minnesota shoreline is an underrated treasure. Start out in Duluth, and be prepared for showstopping views of Lake Superior along your 142-mile journey. Just watch out for deer.

The Pit-Stop: Stop in Grand Marais, Minnesota for restaurants, lodging, fishing, and more.

The Drive: Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

The Scene: Not every American road trip has to take place in the middle of nowhere! Here in Chicago, find some of America’s most celebrated, storied architecture (including the Sears Tower and Willis Tower) and gaze out at unbelievable lakeside views.

The Pit-Stop: In the summer, you can stop at Millennium Park to take in a free concert. It’s one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations for a reason.

The Drive: Scenic Byway 12

The Scene: It’s got the word “scenic” right in the name, and for good reason: This 122-mile route passes through the glorious Bryce Canyon as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument.

The Pit-Stop: We don’t have to tell you to stop at Bryce Canyon’s Inspiration Point–you naturally will on your own. Observe the stunning geological spires, take in the breathtaking views, or go on a short hike.

The Drive: Bluebonnet Trail

The Scene: If you manage to go at the right time-anytime in March, April, or May should do-you’ll drive past thousands of beautiful bluebonnet flowers. There are also several lakes to see here.

The Pit-Stop: Depending on whether you’d like to stay on land or explore the waters, we recommend visiting Lake Buchanan or heading to the special Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center.

The Drive: Richardson Highway

The Scene: You may want to break this seven-hour, 360-mile journey up over the course of a couple days to ensure you can see everything along the way. On route from Fairbanks to Valdez, Alaska you’ll see Keystone Canyon, Worthing Glacier, Gulkana Glacier, the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, and more.

The Pit-Stop: Be sure to stop at North Pole, Alaska to see the “Santa Claus House” and the Antler Academy.

The Drive: Seward Highway

The Scene: Catch a glimpse of Alaska’s best views along the 127-mile long Seward Highway. The iconic drive follows the Turnagain Arm from Anchorage to Seward. Hit the road between the months of May and September to witness the Aleutian Range and Alaska Range in all their glory, while keeping an eye out for Dall sheep perched on the cliffside.

The Pit-Stop: Watch beluga whales roll in the surf at Beluga Point along the Turnagain Arm.

The Drive: Highway 89A

The Scene: This scenic drive doesn’t have an official name, but some locals call it Oak Creek Scenic Route. From Flagstaff to Sedona, travel nearly 30 miles to take in the natural beauty of pine trees, red rocks, canyons, and more.

The Pit-Stop: Cool off with your family at Slide Rock State Park by riding on the creek’s thrilling natural waterslide.

The Drive: Pig Trail Scenic Byway

The Scene: Clocking in at 19 miles long, the Pig Trail Scenic Byway lies within the Boston Mountains region of the Arkansas Ozark Mountains. Some say the drive got its name because the winding road looks like the corkscrew tail of a pig. Crossing over the Mulberry River and through the Ozark Highlands Trail, this route showcases a riot of colorful foliage during the spring, summer, and fall.

The Pit-Stop: Looking for your next camping trip? Stop at the White Rock Mountain Recreation Area and spend the day climbing the 2,260-foot peak to get a closer look of the surrounding views of the Ozarks.

The Drive: San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway

The Scene: Make your way through canyons and valleys on a road that was once used by miners over a hundred years ago. From historical mining towns to hot springs, this drive features some of the best views in the country.

The Pit-Stop: Between Silverton and Ouray, ride along on “The Million Dollar Highway,” a route built in the late 1880s-with its endless curves and turns, you’ll be in for a fun ride (as long as you’re cautious)!

The Drive: Litchfield Hills Loop

The Scene: Jump on Route 7 to take in this stunning 100-mile loop that’s best experienced in the fall. (Hint: Peak foliage usually occurs between September 26 and October 15!)

The Pit-Stop: Step back into the 19th century by visiting Falls Village. Your family can spend the entire day exploring this charming town, which includes gorgeous churches, railroad depots, streets, and historic houses.

The Drive: A1A Florida State Road

The Scene: Though the full highway extends over 338 miles, we recommend making the journey from Jacksonville down to Miami on highway A1A’s 67-mile stretch. The entire drive provides gorgeous seaside views as you drive through Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale.

The Pit-Stop: With so many popular destinations and small towns on this route, you’ll have plenty to choose from, though we recommend checking out Kingsley Plantation, which is situated in Timucuan Historic Preserve. It’s the oldest plantation in the state.

The Drive: Hana Highway

The Scene: Journey around Maui, Hawaii from Kahului to Hana on this 2.5 hour, 52-mile trip while you take in the gorgeous tropics and ocean views.

The Pit-Stop: You’ll want to take a quick break from your travels to take a closer look at Wailua Falls, one of several waterfalls featured on the route.

The Drive: Northwest Passage Scenic Byway

The Scene: Beginning in Lewiston, follow U.S. Highway 12 to the Idaho-Montana border until you reach the city of Grangeville. For the next four-and-a-half hours, you’ll follow the route of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery, so you’re bound to see some great America sights through the ancestral homeland of the Nez Perce Native Americans.

The Pit-Stop: Plan a visit to the Nez Perce National Historical Park in Spalding. You can explore some Lewis and Clark historic landmarks, such as Canoe Camp and Cedar Grove.

The Drive: Great River Road

The Scene: Travel along Iowa’s eastern edge, over highways and country roads to see all the spectacular greenery. The 300-mile route passes through 10 counties, national wildlife refuges, and quaint river towns.

The Pit-Stop: Take in the panoramic views of the Mississippi River at Mount Hosmer Park.

The Drive: Lincoln Heritage National Scenic Highway

The Scene: History fanatics will love driving the 71 miles through this route, which includes the site where Abraham Lincoln’s family once settled in Kentucky. Don’t forget to take some time to shop and dine along the small towns’ Main Streets!

The Pit-Stop: Learn about Lincoln’s early life in Kentucky at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site.

The Drive: Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway

The Scene: This route takes only 2.5 hours to drive, so you can take your time spending the entire day on exploring the beautiful mountainside area. Travel through the Appalachian Mountain ridge line to see some of the state’s prime views.

The Pit-Stop: Hike to Angels Falls, a 90-foot waterfall that makes a great backdrop for a family photo.

The Drive: Historic National Road

The Scene: Starting in Baltimore, the Historic National Road runs through several other states; the diverse route ranges from urban landscapes to country scenes with the Western Maryland mountains as a backdrop.

The Pit-Stop: If you want to experience the route by train, climb aboard for a short ride on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.

The Drive: Missouri Ozarks Getaway

The Scene: Loop through the rolling hills of the Ozarks starting in Strafford, Missouri, and ending in Springfield, the third largest city in the state. The route includes Missouri Routes 126 and 76, and U.S. Routes 160 and 65. You’ll go south on 125 from Strafford to the community of Reuters (about 61 miles) before turning west on to U.S. 160. Follow 160 west until it hits Highway 76 (about 24 miles) just east of Forsyth. From there, turn south on 76 and you’ll drive about 15 miles to Branson, before connecting with 65 north to Springfield. You’ll see countless roadside streams and charming small towns along the way.

The Pit-Stop: Visit sections of the Mark Twain National Forest, named after Missouri’s most famous citizen.

The Drive: Highway 50

The Scene: Experience the Wild West by starting in historic Carson City and following Highway 50 through the ruins of Pony Express stations, plus nearby abandoned mines, saloons, and opera houses. Keep an eye out for wild horses, elk, antelope, and deer, too.

The Pit-Stop: Camp out at Sand Mountain, a large sand dune located in the middle of nowhere.

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