If there’s one country suited for road trips, it has to be the USA. With its roadside motels and diners and spectacular and varied landscapes, the United States is best explored on four wheels (also because public transportation isn’t all that convenient). In this post, we’ll show you the most scenic American roads for road trips.
8 Scenic American Roads for Road Trips
Pacific Coast Highway, California
California’s Pacific Coast Highway, also known simply as Highway 1, is the state’s longest state route. Designated an “All-American Road”, this is not only one of the most scenic American roads for road trips, but in the entire world. The entire road is an incredible 655 miles long, but you don’t need to drive the whole thing to understand what it’s about. Focusing on the section between Monterey and Santa Barbara will bring you passed state parks filled with towering redwoods, but also along phenomenal sand beaches and steep cliffs.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
Winding its way along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains for 469 miles, the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited unit in the National Park Service system. It connects Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. Along the way, you can enjoy spectacular mountain and valley views on the countless overlooks. There are also great hiking trails, informative visitor centers and historic exhibits.
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana
Crossing the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of America’s epic national park drives. This two-lane road consists of several hairpin turns and is quite steep in certain sections. It’s also notoriously difficult to snowplow in winter and spring, which means that portions of the road may be closed off to traffic. When it comes to mountain views, the Going-to-the-Sun Road rivals any other road in the USA.
Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii
Maui’s Hana Highway is a combination of Routes 36 and 360. It’s unquestionably the most scenic American road in Hawaii, winding its way for 64 miles along one of the world’s most spectacular coastlines. It runs through dense jungles, past picturesque beaches and above sheer coastal cliffs. This is an adventurous road, featuring no fewer than 54 one-lane bridges, dazzling drop-offs and tall roadside waterfalls.
Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Skyline Drive is the only road through Shenandoah National Park in central Virginia. Easily accessible from Washington, D.C., it’s a hugely popular road among day and weekend trippers. It measures 105 miles long and has no fewer than 75 scenic lookouts. The park offers superb hiking—to waterfalls, into wooded hollows and up mountains. Wildlife is abundant in the park as well and your chances of spotting black bears and deer are extremely high.
Columbia River Highway, Oregon
The historic Columbia River Highway is the oldest paved road in the American Northwest, the first road that was designated a scenic highway in the country. Running along the Columbia River, this highway follows a part of the Oregon Trail and the last section of the legendary Lewis and Clark expedition. It’s a phenomenal road for both drivers and cyclists. Hikers can access various hiking trails from the road while nature lovers will enjoy seeing tumbling waterfalls and summer’s wildflower display.
Highway 12, Utah
State Route 12 in Utah is considered to be one of the most scenic American roads for road tripping. It runs through some of the nation’s most iconic landscapes, passing jaw-dropping places such as Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The road ends in Capitol Reef National Park.
Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Traversing the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire, the 34-mile Kancamagus Highway is one of the greatest roads in New England. Connecting the towns of Conway and Lincoln, both heavily catered toward tourists, this scenic highway is void of any human-made structures. There are no gas stations, no houses, stores or accommodation. You’ll only find wilderness and basic campgrounds along the road. It’s a spectacular drive, especially in fall, lined with hiking trails and scenic lookouts.