The US has a long-standing and well-deserved reputation for scenic routes. Nothing beats a road trip, heading across the country, taking in the sights and simply enjoying the therapeutic feel of being out of the city. You get in your car, fill up the tank and head out to explore, alone or with a group of friends, welcoming adventure along the way.
The key to enjoying a good trip down any scenic route is to take it slow and make lots of stops to admire the views and talk to people. Part of what makes road trips so exciting is that you never know what your journey will bring your way.
If you are itching to hit the open road and travel to places you have never been to before, check out these five scenic American routes:
Route 66, Illinois to California
Popularly known as the Mother Road, Route 66 is an integral part of American History. Going down this road that stretches more than 2,400 miles between Chicago and Santa Monica gives you striking views of the Southwest. The route will take you through six states peppered with small towns and farmland as the plains gradually give way to canyons and deserts. For an interesting detour, make a stop at Pontiac, home to the Route 66 Museum and Hall of Fame. The town also boasts the Pontiac Oakland Auto Museum that houses a variety of vehicles and pays tribute to different car brands.
The Overseas Highway, Miami to Key West Florida
For a unique and exhilarating experience, take the Overseas Highway from Miami all the way down to Key West. This journey will make you feel like you’re skimming over the water as you cross the bridges and causeways that comprise the 120-mile route. Originally meant to be the Florida East Coast Railway, the route was converted to a highway after parts of the railway were wiped out by a devastating hurricane in 1935. As you traverse this breathtaking stretch of road, take time out to eat fish and chips, and have a soft drink in one of the numerous seafood drive-ins along the way. Also make sure you stop at the highway’s most spectacular section, Seven Mile Bridge, to snap photos of the splendid scenery.
Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, Virginia and the Carolinas
There are plenty of places to stay en route through Virginia, and you could end your vacation in style by taking a trip to the Shenandoah National Park. The Skyline Drive is the only road through the park and the trip will give you many opportunities to soak up the Appalachian scenery as you try to spot deer, squirrels and maybe even the elusive black bear. The drive then connects with the Blue Ridge Parkway, which eventually leads to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The parkway is a prime sport for bird watching as it is home to more than 40 different bird species. An autumn trip will have you falling in love with the different foliage colors while winter is the ideal time to check in at one of the ski resorts in the area.
Seward Highway, Alaska
For a completely different trip, you could journey along the Seward Highway that links Anchorage to Seward. You will get your fill of glaciers because this route really winds through the Alaskan wilds. Ideally, the whole journey can take five hours but it is a good idea to spread your trip over a few days to fully take in all the sights in the area. There are plenty of forests, mining towns and fishing villages for you to explore along the way. You can also spot plenty of moose and eagles in the course of your journey.
Going to the Sun Road, Montana
This is another scenic route worth exploring, especially in summer. The Going-to-the Sun road stretches over 52 miles and cuts across the Glacier National Park. The route gives you glimpses of cedar forests as well as glacial valleys and lakes. There are numerous places along the road where you can pull over to take in the stunning views. You can even see some actual glaciers at the Jackson Glacier Overlook. The whole drive should take you a few hours but you can draw out the trip as long as you like. The road is only open from May to October as the area receives too much snow to be passable in the winter.
The drives listed above are just a few of those found throughout the US. There are many more for you to drive along and explore. Remember that detours can make your trip more exciting and getting lost is just part of the fun. So next time you feel like making a trip, choose a scenic route, get in your car and head out for some fun.