The Most Beautiful Scenic Drives in America
America is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world. From lush forests to tropical beaches, no matter what kind of environment you want to visit, you can find it here. We’ve compiled a list of the 15 most scenic drives in the country for anyone with the itch to hop in the car and take in some incredible vistas this summer. We’ve separated them into regions so you can pick a gorgeous drive no matter where you are.
- Park Loop Road: Maine is full of beautiful coastal drives, but none compare to Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park. You’ll see gorgeous forest, rocky and dramatic coastline, as well as some of the park’s most popular destinations, like Thunder Hole. During tourist season, there are fees to travel the road, but you can buy a multi-day pass. And trust me, you’ll want to visit more than once.
- The Old King’s Highway: Want to enjoy the Cape Cod coastline? Then you’ll love the Old King’s Highway in Massachusetts (also known as Route 6A), a shady road full of historic houses that will take you near some of the most famous Cape Cod beaches, like Sandy Neck and Sandwich Town Beach. This road can become busy during the summer, so consider traveling off-season to take in a quiet view!
- Whiteface Veterans’ Memorial Highway: A drive on Whiteface Veteran’s Memorial Highway takes you up one of New York’s highest peaks, Whiteface Mountain. The view from the summit will let you see as far as Vermont and Canada, and this is one of the only Adirondack High Peaks that’s so easily accessible. The summit features a stone castle and gift shop, and the route descends to the charming town of Wilmington.
- U.S. 1, Florida Keys: Leave the mainland and venture out on this 120-mile-long stretch of islands that are a paradise of lighthouses, beach bars, and water sports. The southernmost leg, called the Overseas Highway, crosses beautiful limestone and coral islets throughout the Keys. You’ll also cross the Seven Mile Bridge, one of the longest in the world!
- Bayou Teche Byway: This drive will be a serious adventure at 183 miles long. Beginning in the town of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, the Bayou Teche Byway will take you off the beaten path as you explore some of the state’s lesser-known beauties. You’ll visit interesting and eclectic small towns and restaurants as well as see incredible architecture in Franklin’s historic district.
- Skyline Drive: The stretch of Virginia road called Skyline Drive is actually part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The road twists and turns along a ridge that offers incredible vistas of the surrounding mountains. The speed limit is quite slow and notorious for being strictly enforced, so make sure you remain mindful of this while you take in these incredible sights.
- Lake Shore Drive: This is an urban scenic drive in Chicago where you can see some of the feats of architecture the city has to offer, including the Willis Tower and Soldier Field, as well as the shore of Lake Michigan and the beauty of Lincoln Park. Starting in Jackson Park and traveling 26 miles along the lake, you’ll get to enjoy the greatest views in Chicago.
- Going-to-the-Sun Road: This 50-mile road is a two-lane highway crossing Glacier National Park in Montana. It crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and will take you on a tour of nearly every terrain in the park, including lakes, cedar forests, and tundra.
- Snowy Range Scenic Byway: This route crosses the Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming. It’s accessed from Interstate 80 at Laramie or Walcott Junction. You will see beautiful forests and many points of interest to stop for camping or fishing. Note that it’s closed after mid-November because of snowfall. The forest has a rich Native American history that you should learn more about before visiting.
- Red Rock Scenic Byway: Route 66 is the most iconic scenic roadway in America, and this stretch in Arizona referred to as the Red Rock Scenic Byway is home to some of the most famous spots. The entrance to Sedona Red Rock country is exactly what you’re picturing when someone mentions the beauty of Arizona. You can even find old Native American cliff homes on this drive.
- All-American Road: There are few roadways where you can see two national monuments, three state parks, and a variety of terrain, but you can find it all on Scenic Byway 12, known as Utah’s All-American Road. You’ll find Bryce Canyon, Kodachrome Basin State Park, forests, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument all by traveling this road!
- The Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway: You might recognize the scenery along this route from films like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Easy Rider. Enter the byway in Taos, New Mexico, which is rich in history and home to the New Buffalo commune. The route will cross Bobcat Pass and the Moreno Valley, offering alpine scenery, camping, fishing, old mining country, and the chance to detour to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.
- Pacific Coast Highway: This is one of the most beautiful and famous roads in the country. It hugs the California coast with a seemingly endless series of vistas and curves. Make sure you study up on what sites and pit stops you might want to find along the way, like the historic Danish village of Solvang, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, or the iconic Bixby Bridge. Soak it all in: It’s about the journey, not the destination.
- Hana Highway: Let’s be real: Every location in Hawaii is beautiful! But the Hana Highway is unique, with snaking turns making low speed necessary so you can take in all of the breathtaking views. These are some of the most beautiful views in Maui, including beaches, waterfalls, and lush forests. Read up on tips on making the most of your drive before you head out.
- Seward Highway: This road connects drivers from Anchorage, Alaska, to the seaside town of Seward. You’ll enjoy the coastal scenery along the shores of Turnagain Arm and see the peaks of the Chugach and Kenai mountains. If you love hiking, fishing, and camping, this route is full of opportunities for the most outdoorsy hobbies.
No matter where you roam, there’s a scenic drive waiting for you! Likewise, if you hit a bumpy road financially, help is available; car title loans may be an option to help you get back on your feet, without sacrificing your road trips. Is your dream trip among the highways listed? Got any travel tips for these routes? Let us know before you hit the road!