13 Gorgeous Driving Landscapes in USA


1. Overseas Highway (Hwy 1)


Overseas Highway, Key West

Photo by basair


Where: Florida, 160 miles from Miami, FL to Key West


One of the most gorgeous driving landscapes in the United States is the Overseas Highway route between Miami and Key West. The road was originally build on the bridges that were left over from the Overseas Railroad that was destroyed by a major hurricane in 1935. Since then, the state of Florida has rebuilt much of the road turning many of the iconic structures into fishing piers. The highway hops between the various keys that lie between Miami and Key West helping the driver feel as though he or she is actually driving on top of the ocean. When planning out one’s drive on this iconic roadway, take the time to plan out the drive around the tourist seas can save a significant amount of time being stuck in traffic.



2. Hana Highway (Hwy 360)


The single lane of the Back Road to Hana

Photo by edrabbit


Where: Maui, Hawaii, 38 miles between Pauwela and Hana


There is no shortage of gorgeous driving landscapes in the state of Hawaii. One of the most spectacular; however, is the coastal drive along the Hana Highway on the island of Maui. The road takes the driver through jungle valleys and back out along the coastline. There are more than 50 one-lane bridges on the route with many dating back to 110. Along the drive there are a number of waterfalls and other attractions for the visitor to stop and enjoy. One of the most enjoyed aspects of the drive is taking the time to visit the ʻOheʻo Gulch, or “Seven Sacred Pools,” that is a series of waterfalls and pools located in the Haleakala National Park and is located at the end of the highway.



3. Pacific Coast Highway (Hwy 1)


pacific coast highway

Photo by digitizedchaos


Where: California, 332 miles between San Francisco and Santa Barbara, California


PCH, or Pacific Coast Highway, is one of the most famous roadways on the West Coast of the United States. Starting in San Francisco, the highway follows the coastline overlooking the Pacific Ocean to the right with many parts of the road having ginormous redwood trees on the opposing side of the roadway. The highway has long been designated as one of the “All American Roads” and it also serves as one of the major through fares in Los Angeles and several other municipalities along the route. The first section of the PCH dates to the 1930s when the Big Sur portion opened with many other sections of the road being opened under different designations in earlier years. Definitely one of the most gorgeous driving landscapes in the U.S. worth checking out if one finds themselves on the West Coast of the U.S.



4. Route 66


Day #20 - The Route 66

Photo by Aesum


Where: 300 miles between Chicago, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri


The “Mother Road” or “Main Street of America” was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. Route 66 was first established in November of 1926, and is one of the most iconic drives in the USA. At its peak, Route 66 spanned a total of 2,448 miles from Chicago through to Santa Monica, California. Today, the Interstate system has taken the place of much of the highway, with sections of the old road existing as the “Historic Route 66.” One of the best and most gorgeous stretches to enjoy the scenery of Middle America is between Chicago and St. Louis, Missouri. The highway starts out just west of Michigan Avenue on Adams Street in Chicago, and there are a number of roadside attractions to take in if one decides to take the trip down Route 66.



5. Turquoise Trail (Hwy 14)


Turquoise Trail, New Mexico

Photo by the norse


Where: New Mexico, 45 miles between Albuquerque and Santa Fe


The Turquoise Trail is one of the most historical and beautiful driving landscapes in the USA. With history as a trading route dating to 2000 B.C. or earlier, the road is an extremely scenic drive located between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. In addition to the gorgeous desert scenery located along the roadway, there are a number of sights available for the driver to check out along the way. One of the favorites of visitors to the area is the animated, miniature village, Tinkertown which has been open since 1983. The Tinkertown Museum is only open during the warmer months (April through October), so travelers are advised to confirm hours when making this stop along the Turquoise Trail.



6. Columbia River Highway (Hwy 30)


Trans Canada Desert

Photo by djking

Where: Oregon, 74 miles between Troutdale and The Dalles


The Columbia River Highway (Hwy 30) was completed in 1915, and it was the first paved and scenic highway in the Northwest. The roadway lays claim to being the first scenic highway in the country, and was also part of the Oregon Trail and final leg of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In the spring time, drivers can stop to enjoy the many waterfalls, wildflower displays in the late spring and summer, and gorgeous views from the roadway throughout the year. For those who enjoy combining hiking or cycling with a scenic drive, there are a large number of trails to enjoy and two sections of the old highway are reserved for non-automobile use throughout the year.



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7. Pig Trail Scenic Byway (Hwy 23)


Pig Trail Scenic Byway, AR

Photo by The Liliput


Where: Arkansas, 80 miles between Ozark and Eureka Springs


The Pig Trail Scenic Byway is one of the most spectacular drives located in Middle America. The highway features a gorgeous landscape lined with lilies and Echinacea proceeding from Ozark through the Ozark National Forest. The road ends in the town of Eureka Springs located in the mountains and goes from northern Arkansas and Missouri. The road is also a popular route for University of Arkansas Razorback fans since it helps connect people living in Central and Northwest Arkansas. The drive features a number of steep hills; hairpin turns, and is a favorite to drive with car enthusiasts. Be warned; however, that those who are prone to motion sickness may find the drive a bit much to handle with a driver who likes to go fast.



8. Delmarva Peninsula (Hwys 13 and 50)


Delmarva Peninsula - Maryland

Photo by Dougtone


Where: 210 miles between Annapolis, Maryland and Virginia Beach, Virginia


The Delmarva Peninsula is one of the most scenic regions on the East Coast of the United States to enjoy while driving one’s automobile. Consisting of U.S. Highways 50 and 13, the route takes one through the Maryland and Virginia Eastern Shore. The roadway travels through miles of wetlands with numerous water-side views during the drive. Along the way, there are a number of Chesapeake Bay and seaside towns that deliver some of the best seafood in the region if looking for a nice lunch or dinner. The route is extremely flat and is also popular with cyclists. Motorists should be warned; however, to watch their speed along much of the route, as it is not uncommon to receive a speeding ticket while traveling through the small towns where the speed limit drops to 45 and 55 MPH.




9. Blue Ridge Parkway


Blue Ridge Parkway

Photo by Donahos


Where: 469 miles between the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks


The Blue Ridge Parkway features some of the best views to be had in both the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. The entire stretch of roadway goes for more than 460 miles, and has distinct personalities to match the season. In the spring and early summer, the wildflowers are in full bloom, while a fall trek down the Parkway features some of the best viewing for fall colors in the country. There are a number of streams and waterfalls both viewable and accessible from the roadway that also includes a large number of fir and dogwood trees throughout the route. Picking the time of year to enjoy the drive is a must. For new visitors to the area, making hotel arrangements ahead of time when the fall leaves start to change is a must to avoid frustration.



10. Going-to-the-Sun Road


Going to the Sun Road

Photo by Trevor Bexon


Where: 52 miles in Glacier National Park


Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only highway that crosses the Glacier National Park located in the state of Montana. The road was first completed in 1932, and spans the width of the park. The sweet spot to enjoy this gorgeous driving landscape is between June and October after the snow is thawed or plowed. The drive features glaciers, snowy peaks, and gorges that carve out the glacial canyons. This is also the only location in the USA that water flows to the Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and Pacific Ocean. It typically takes up to 10 weeks to plow the road, so visitors are encouraged to check with the park before traveling to the area in June. The latest the park ever opened due to snow was July 13th in 2011.



11. All American Byway 12 (US Hwy 89)


State Route 12

Photo by Wolfgang Staudt


Where:  120 miles on Hwy 89 in Utah


Although the Grand Canyon gets all of the press for great scenery in the USA, Bryce Canyon is a nicely kept secret amongst the residents and visitors to Utah. The view of this and other amazing sites are along the All American Byway 12, US Highway 89, and include a horizon that features orange rocks, pine forests, green aspen, and other gorgeous sites. Drivers can enjoy the trip through rock canyons and if time permits stop to enjoy the Grand Staircase- Escalante National Monument. Similar to other scenic drives located in Western states, travelers will want to do their due diligence when researching the appropriate time of year to enjoy this scenic drive.



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12. San Juan Skyway


San Juan Skyway 2

Photo by Susan Renee


Where: 233 miles of roadway in the San Juan National Forest, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest


The San Juan Skyway is designated as an “All American Road” and forms a 233 mile loop in the southwest corner of Colorado. The scenic roadway travels through the San Juan National Forest, Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and the Gunnison National Forest paralleling the routes of narrow gauged railways. The drive takes passengers into the clouds and provides excellent views of the surrounding mountains, Pueblo Indian ruins, and forests. If making the drive in the spring, one will experience gorgeous views of waterfalls created by melting snow, large swaths of wildflowers in the meadows, and the beautiful red mountains located in Red Mountain Pass. Not as old as other scenic drives in the U.S. (1988), the San Juan Skyway is one of the most popular drives in the region.



13. Brandywine Valley Biway


Brandywine Meadows_07

Photo by Blackskull


Where: 12-24 miles in Pennsylvania and Delaware along the Brandywine Valley


The scenic drive around the Brandywine Valley is a relatively short but gorgeous driving landscape with roots dating to the American Revolution. In addition to the Battle of Brandywine taking place in 1777 along the route, the countryside featured by the drive includes numerous green pastures and colonial era mansions. Depending on what route one decides to take around the Valley, the drive will go through both Pennsylvania and Delaware and a favorite of both tourists and residents of the area – the single lane Smith’s Bridge. The drive includes numerous locations to stop and grab a nice lunch or dinner while enjoying the trip back in time around the local area.


source: www.carophile.com



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