- While you may not be able to travel internationally this summer, there are plenty of beautiful sights closer to home.
- If you’re thinking of taking a road trip, there’s a must-see road in every state.
- Florida’s Oversea Highway offers scenic views of piercing blue waters, while the Valley of Fire Highway in Nevada travels through the Mojave Desert.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
With many travel plans canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may wish to take a road trip this summer instead.
Whether you want to head to the West Coast to see the big, blue Pacific or travel through the Midwest to get a sense of rural America, there’s a must-see road along the way. Some are major highways with views that could very well cause wrecks, but others are off the beaten path just waiting to be discovered.
Alabama: State Road 9
Driving through Talladega National Forest along State Road 9 will give you bucolic views of tree-covered hills and small mountains. There are also several small side roads off the highway that lead to waterfalls and walking trails.
Alaska: Alaska Route 3
Denali National Park is known for being home to North America’s tallest peak. Driving on Interstate A-3 offers stunning views of the mountains, wildlife and greenery throughout the park.
Arizona: The Apache Trail
The Apache Trail is one of Arizona’s oldest highways. The partially unpaved drive takes you through the stunning canyons, desert scenes, and geologic formations that lie right outside of Phoenix.
Arkansas: The Pig Trail Scenic Byway
The Pig Trail Scenic Byway will take you through canopies of greenery during spring and summer, and stunning fall foliage in autumn. The road winds its way through the Ozark Mountains, and is a favorite among motorcyclists.
California: The Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most famous drives in the world, and for good reason. The cliff side drive on state route 1 offers epic vistas and stunning views of the Pacific, and, if you take the road long enough, you’ll pass the famous redwoods and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Colorado: The Trail Ridge Road
The Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park was specifically designed for optimal views – drivers and passengers can enjoy stunning panoramas from every turn.
Connecticut: Route 169
There are several back roads, interstates and byways that will show off Connecticut’s incredible autumn colors, but Route 169 might be the best. The small, two-lane road passes through quaint towns and offers stunning views of the state’s famous fall foliage.
Delaware: Brandywine Valley
Delaware’s Brandywine Valley, along the I-95 corridor, makes for a unique road trip by offering a glimpse into history: the rolling hills are where the 1777 Battle of the Brandywine took place, when George Washington and his army faced British General William Howe. It is also dotted with picture-perfect mansions and gardens.
Florida: The Overseas Highway
To get to the southernmost point of the continental US you have to take Florida’s seven-mile bridge to The Keys. You’ll be surrounded by piercing blue water for your entire drive on the Overseas Highway.
Georgia: US 41
The Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway travels along several roads, the best of which is US 41. The route takes drivers through Chattahoochee National Forest, and offers can’t-miss views of the Cohutta Mountains.
Hawaii: Hana Highway
The Hana Highway in Hawaii is another one of America’s most iconic roads. The coastal highway takes 620 twists and turns along the outskirts of Maui. You’ll see waterfalls, rainforests, and dramatic cliff sides.
Idaho: Sawtooth Scenic Byway
The Sawtooth Scenic Byway takes cars driving northbound on State Highway 75 into Sun Valley, a region famous for its many resorts and its white-capped mountains.
Illinois: Lake Shore Drive
Chicago traffic may be a bit tedious, but Lake Shore Drive will offer a view like no other. With the big cityscape on one side and the Lake Michigan shoreline on the other, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Indiana: Highway 36
Parke County is the covered bridge capital of the world, and takes a lot of pride in its 31 covered bridges, many of which are from the 1800s. Highway 36 is the perfect road from which to explore this historic infrastructure.
Iowa: Loess Hills, Interstate 29
Iowa’s vast plains might seem repetitive, but Loess Hills along Interstate 29 gives drivers a unique look into rural America.
Kansas: Interstate 70
Kansas’ Castle Rock is an off-road attraction just off the seemingly endless Interstate 70. The small detour offers some much needed excitement if you’re on a cross-state road trip through the plains.
Kentucky: Route 77
One of the best parts of Route 77 in Kentucky is the 900-foot Nada Tunnel.
Louisiana: Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is one of the most iconic streets in the world. You can easily drive through it during the day, but be wary of party-goers and tourists at night.
Maine: Park Loop Road
Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park is a 27-mile drive along the coast and through the park, which takes fall foliage to a new level every autumn.
Maryland: Old Frederick Road
The Loys Station bridge is a historic, 90-foot long covered bridge that you can still drive through on Old Frederick Road, just south of Route 77.
Massachusetts: Route 6
Massachusetts’ Route 6 starts at the very tip of cozy Cape Cod. The road takes drivers through the southern part of the state until it reaches Providence, Rhode Island.
Taking M-77 into Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore will lead straight to the south shore of Lake Superior. The relaxing drive will provide a bright, colorful scene during the spring and summertime, or a deep cascade of orange and red hues in the fall.
Minnesota: US 10
US 10 in Minnesota takes you through a variety of landscapes. It’s part of the Great River Road, which offers stunning views of the Mississippi River before continuing into Minneapolis, where you can see the state’s grandest skyline.
Mississippi: Great River Road
For scenic views of the Mississippi River, take the aptly named Great River Road. It’ll drive you over, under, and alongside the river until Minnesota if you stay on it long enough.
Missouri: Route 66
Iconic Route 66 makes its way through Missouri, and past a quaint town named Devil’s Elbow. A rusting bridge named the Devil’s Elbow Bridge takes travelers over the Big Piney River and through scenic bluffs.
Montana: Beartooth Highway
Beartooth Highway makes its way into Yellowstone National Park, thus providing picturesque views of the world-famous vistas the park is internationally famous for.
Nebraska: Highway 61
Highway 61 in Nebraska propels drivers into true American farmland. There’s not a lot of action on this drive, but it will give you a good look into the classic Midwest agricultural scene.
Nevada: Valley of Fire Highway
The Valley of Fire Highway travels through the Mojave Desert for a little over 10 miles. The fiery red formations are a stunning sight, and there are several parking areas if you want to see them up-close.
New Hampshire: Kacamagus Highway
New England’s fall foliage is world famous. See it in all its glory on New Hampshire’s Kancamagus Highway.
New Jersey: Spring Road
This small road in New Jersey lets cars pass under a canopy of white blossoms every spring. Spring Road in Holmdel is a popular drive for both locals and tourists, so expect slow moving cars and a bit of traffic during peak season.
New Mexico: The High Road To Taos
The High Road to Taos is a scenic, winding drive that runs through several small Pueblo Indian villages, which offer a glimpse into the high desert and the lives of those who live in it.
New York: Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway
Driving through the Adirondacks is much more relaxing than navigating the crowded streets of the Big Apple. The Whiteface Veterans Memorial Highway, also known as State Route 431, shows off the surrounding mountains as you make your way up Whiteface Mountain.
North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway
Visiting North Carolina without taking a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway would be a huge mistake. The Lynn Cove Viaduct, which wraps around Grandfather Mountain, is easily the best part of the entire drive.
North Dakota: Interstate 94
The endless plains of North Dakota take a turn for the interesting at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where the badlands begin. You can catch a glimpse of them from Interstate 94, or take a detour on one of the side roads.
Ohio: Buckeye Falls Drive
Sharon Woods may seem like a hotspot for hiking and other outdoor activities, but it also offers a scenic drive in the fall. Cruise down the tree-lined Buckeye Falls Drive for a breathtaking break.
Oklahoma: Highway 49
Highway 49 leads right to Wichita Mountains. Watch out for free range buffalo, which are known to crowd the roads here.
Oregon: US 101
Similar to California’s Pacific Coast Highway, US 101 in Oregon travels along the Pacific coast, and offer over 300 miles of seaside driving and rugged cliffs.
Pennsylvania: US Route 30
US Route 30 will take you straight through several Amish and Mennonite towns and into Lancaster, one of America’s oldest Amish communities. Don’t be surprised if most of the traffic consists of horse-drawn carriages.
Rhode Island: Ocean Drive
Ocean Drive in Newport will take you through the Ocean Drive Historic District, and thus past the many ostentatious homes built here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as it was a favorite spot to summer for the wealthy. If your legs need a stretch, take a stroll down Cliff Walk.
South Carolina: Botany Bay Boulevard
South Carolina’s Botany Bay on Edisto Island is one of the most famous roads in the south. Its canopied trees make for a stunningly shaded – and super Instagrammable – drive.
South Dakota: Needles Highway
Needles Highway, or Highway 87, is named for the granite “needles” along its route. But be prepared to take it slow – the road, which is in Custer State Park, includes 14 miles of tunnels and turns.
Tennessee: Tail of the Dragon
The Tail of the Dragon sees quite a few motorcyclists and driving enthusiasts thanks to the 318 curves that snake along the 11-mile, two-lane road. It doesn’t hurt that the views are great too.
Texas: Highway 118
The Big Bend National Park, which sits on the border of Mexico, can be seen by driving on Highway 118. You’ll travel through a stone tunnel and get epic views of the Chisos Mountains.
Utah: US Route 163
US Route 163 is also know as the road to Monument Valley. The highway cuts straight through the center of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which is a Navajo Nation equivalent to a national park.
Vermont: Route 100
Route 100 travels nearly the entire length of Vermont and earned the title of Best Foliage Drive in Vermont.
Virginia: Skyline Drive
Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park runs along the ridge of the mountains for 105 miles – pretty much the entire length of the park. Its views are some of the best in the state.
Washington: Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive
Loop around Olympic National Park, and get breathtaking scenery that ranges from mountains to forests to the ocean, as well as several different ecosystems.
West Virginia: New River Gorge Bridge
The New River Gorge Bridge allows cars to continue on US 19 over the New River. The 3,030-foot steel arch bridge was once the world’s longest single-span arch bridge (it’s now the third longest), and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains.
Wisconsin: US 61
US 61 runs along the Mississippi River offering stunning views of the northern parts of the river.
There’s also the Lake Superior Byway, which runs on Highway 13, showing off Wisconsin’s quaint, northernmost towns, as well as the Lake Superior shoreline they all share.
Wyoming: Beartooth Byway
Wyoming’s section of Beartooth Byway runs on US 212, and is dotted with wildlife, mountain views, and scenic plateaus.
- Read more:
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