8 of the Best Scenic Road Trips in the US

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There’s something special and freeing about hitting the open road and exploring new places. And what could be more scenic than going on a road trip through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country?

If you’re looking for a breathtaking road trip adventure, look no further! Let’s explore eight of the best scenic road trips in the US. Pack your bags and get ready to hit the open road!

Pacific Coast Highway – California

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The legendary Pacific Coast Highway runs along the Northern California Coast. The PCH route, as locals call it, is one of the most scenic road trips you can experience. The road gives a spectacular view of the land with gigantic trees, expansive beaches, historic bridges, and a sky that doesn’t quit.

The stunning road also gives a view of San Diego and San Francisco. More so, you can take a detour to Oregon to witness the grand Ecola State Park and the rocky tide pools.

The highway is an All-American Road and a major route for travelers from San Diego to San Francisco. It’s about 1,500 miles and can take you about four days to travel with no time for pit stops. Additionally, it has two lanes and frequent traffic that may slow you down.

Route 66 – USA

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One of the original highways in the US is the iconic Route 66, which was established in 1926. You might have heard it called the ‘Will Rogers Highway’ or Mother Road. It’s famous in American Pop-culture, with legendary artists such as John Mayer, Brain Setzer, Glenn Frey, and Chuck Berry referencing the road in hit songs.

Route 66 starts in Chicago with the iconic Route 66 sign and stretches 300 miles onwards through Illinois. The road passes through eight states for a full stretch of 2,500 miles, ending at the Santa Monica pier.

A slight detour on your scenic road trip along Route 66 can get you to the Grand Canyon. You can also stop at some of the quirky museums and drive-in theaters, or have a piece of pie at the old-fashioned diners. If you are on a slow drive, the trip may last you a week.

Great River Road – New Orleans, St Louis, Minneapolis, and Memphis

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Following the Mississippi River course, the Great River Road is one of the most scenic road trips in the USA. This grand road meanders its way from the start of the River in Northern Minnesota to the South in New Orleans.

The road runs for about 3,000 miles. It’s a mix of linked county, federal, and state roads that get you through 10 different states.

This road-waterfront trip will take you through a series of diverse scenery. You’ll see everything from grassy paddocks to wetlands and more than 550 miles of small towns. A journey across this rich picturesque road will take you six to 10 days at an average pace.

Blue Ridge Parkway- The Carolinas and Virginia

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The Blue Ridge Parkway is a stunning way to experience the region’s biodiversity. The road runs for 469 miles, traversing through 29 counties. It provides a great view of the Appalachian heights. If you are lucky, you can pan for different minerals such as rubies, amethyst, emeralds, or even gold.

The curvy road twists through the Great Smoky Mountains and the Shenandoah National Parks. Additionally, it is an excellent site for birdwatching, with over 50 different bird species sighted in the area.

This area is also home to the deepest gorge to the east of the Grand Canyon. This includes Linville Gorge, the Whitewater Falls, Mount Mitchell, and New River.

17-Mile – California

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For a scenic California road trip, you should try the 17-mile stretch located in Pebble Beach. It is famous for the monumental Lone Cypress, a single Monterey Species tree on a hillside.

The road is the primary accessway for residents in the gated community of Pebble Beach. As a non-resident, you will pay a toll fee to use the road. You can also access the road entrance in Carmel, Pacific Grove, or California State Route 1.

The road spans the Del Monte forests and a series of current-beaten cliffs. The best time for a drive is in the evening. This time allows you to witness the sunset with a symphony of colors over the Pacific.

Route 12- Utah

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Located in Wayne County, Utah, State Route 12 stretches for 122.863 miles. It’s also known as “Highway 12 — A Journey Through Time Scenic Byway.”

The road has both scenic and historic sites. It passes through Bryce Canyon National Park, the Red Canyon, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

It then travels over Boulder Mountain and ends near the entrance of Capitol Reef National Park. The route passes through Henrieville, Tropic, and Cannonville. A trip along Route 12 road will take you approximately three hours.

Natchez Trace Parkway – Tennessee and Mississippi

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Take a trip through 10,000 years of history along the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway road. Historically, the road was a buffalo trail. It later became a common route for Native Americans, who improved the route for trading and hunting.

The road is also known as the wealthiest drive because of the opulent mansions along its route. It’s also popular for its hiking trails, camping grounds, and recreational activities.

Other attractions include the Windsor Ruins, Grand Gulf Military Park, and the First Presbyterian Church of Port Gibson. A road trip would take you about three days at an average driving speed. 

North Shore Drive – Minnesota

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A trip along North Shore Drive provides breathtaking sight to behold. It features spectacular scenery, including a cluster of waterfalls, state parks, and hiking trails. 

You’ll get an epic view of the lake’s shining waters and a chance to see majestic ships docked at the inland port of St. Lawrence Seaway. This 147-mile road can take you close to three hours at a slow pace. 

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