There’s nothing many Americans love more than cruising the open road in their favorite car. Known for its highways and scenery, America has some of the best scenic drives in the world. If you’re itching to take a spin, here are some recommendations for a great drive.
Pacific Coast Highway
Hugging the California coast is a section of State Road 1 known as the Pacific Coast Highway. It begins near Leggett, north of San Francisco, and continues south to Orange County. Along the way, drivers cross the Golden Gate Bridge, through Monterey, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. The Pacific Coast Highway or portions of it have been designated as a National Scenic Byway, a Blue Star Memorial Highway, and an All American Road.
Driving along the PCH provides stunning views of the California coast, with steep dropoffs, blue ocean scenes, and views of the redwoods. If possible, arrange your drive heading from north to south to get the best views.
Overseas Highway in the Florida Keys
The Overseas Highway in Florida is a section of US Route 1 through the Florida Keys, a string of islands south of Miami, terminating in the famous Key West. Portions of the highway originally ran along previous bridges from the Florida East Coast Railway, though many have been replaced by more modernized bridges. Three of the older bridges – the Seven Mile Bridge, the Bahia Honda Bridge and the Long Key Bridge – remain and are listed with the National Register of Historic Places.
The Overseas Highway runs for 110 miles and features stunning ocean views and scenery from the Florida keys. While enjoying the drive, stop at restaurants and attractions to absorb some of the local culture, or check our 4-Day Florida Keys Vacation Itinerary. Keep an eye out for the small Key Deer that are native to the islands of the middle keys, specifically Big Pine Key and No Name Key.
Blue Ridge Parkway
If mountains are more your style than the ocean, hit the open road on the Blue Ridge Parkway, named “America’s Favorite Drive”. The Parkway extends from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, covering almost 500 miles of beautiful scenery including rustic farms, open meadows, and stunning mountain views. Autumn is one of the best times of year to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, when you’ll see the trees changing color.
Along the way, you’ll find tons of places to visit, such as Chimney Rock, the Biltmore Estate, the Flat Rock Playhouse, Grandfather Mountain, and the Luray Caverns. You’ll also find art galleries, museums, wineries, and plenty of restaurants along the way.
Hana Highway, Hawaii
Leave the mainland United States for a trip to Hawaii, where you can enjoy the stunning Hana Highway that winds along the coast of Maui from Kahului to Hana. The Hana Highway is a delight for those who love to drive, as it boasts 620 curves – as well as 59 bridges. Although it’s only about 50 miles long, the drive takes about two and a half hours.
In addition to the beaches and ocean, along the way you’ll also see waterfalls such as Ohe’o Gulch, or the Seven Sacred Pools.