Discover the beauty of America with the most breathtaking scenic drives in the United States. From stunning landscapes to dreamy sunsets, these 10 scenic drives showcase the best of the country’s picturesque views. Make sure to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking moments and always check the health and safety regulations and weather conditions before hitting the road. Prior to embarking on any journey by road, it is important to make sure that your vehicle is properly equipped and ready for the trip.
It should be noted that mountain roads are often subject to closure due to snow and other adverse weather conditions. The United States is home to many breathtaking scenic drives, including the awe-inspiring Glacier National Park in Montana and the stunning California State Route 180, to name a few. In light of this, we have carefully selected some of the best road trips in the U.S.A. that offer breathtaking views and the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the country.
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Here are some of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the United States:
1. Skyline Drive – Shenadoah, Virginia
Skyline Drive is a scenic 105-mile road located in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, starting from Front Royal which is around 60 minutes away from Washington DC. The drive offers stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont region through its 75 overlooks, making it an ideal destination for a full-day trip, especially during the summer and autumn months. To fully experience Skyline Drive, we suggest taking time to watch the sunset from one of the west-facing overlooks.
2. Going-To-The-Sun road – Glacier, Montana
The Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana is one of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the United States. Spanning nearly 50 miles through the stunning Rocky Mountains, it is the only road that crosses the park, leading to the Continental Divide’s Logan Pass. With its winding paths, snow plows can take up to ten weeks to clear the road each year, so the best time to visit is from late summer to early autumn. To make the most of your trip, consider booking a stay on the Western edge of the park in Kalispell, which also has an airport.
3. California State Route 180 (King’s Canyon Scenic Byway)
This state road passes through two National Parks in quick succession, starting with General Grant Grove of Giant Sequoias in Sequoia National Park. The road then travels an additional 50 miles through the Western Sierra to reach King’s Canyon National Park, a hidden treasure in the National Park system. The city of Fresno, California is the closest major city to King’s Canyon.
4. Cades Cove Loop
The 11-mile drive through Cades Cove Loop in Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a scenic and leisurely drive. Take 2-3 hours to explore the early 1800s European settlement and enjoy the fresh mountain air. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and make a stop at Cable Mill, which has restrooms. If you need a place to stay, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is nearby and the nearest airport is located in Knoxville, Tennessee.
5. The Overseas Highway: Miami to Key West
One of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the United States is the 110-mile Overseas Highway. This drive takes drivers from Miami to Key West through all the Keys, offering stunning ocean views and an opportunity to soak in the salt air and sunshine. Along the way, you’ll find charming beaches with public parking and unique local art gardens. The final destination, Key West, is a beautiful and picturesque town.
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6. North Cascades Scenic Byway
The North Cascades Scenic Byway in Northern Washington is widely considered to be one of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the United States, offering awe-inspiring views of towering mountains and shimmering glacier waters. This mountainous and hair-raising road takes you through the park, and be sure to stop at the Washington Pass Overlook for a photo opportunity.
Along the way, you can explore the charming 1920s towns and immerse yourself in the great outdoors of the Methow Valley. Keep in mind that this road may be closed during the winter due to snow, and the nearest airport is Seattle, which is a fair distance from this secluded and stunning location.
7. Beartooth Highway – Southwest Montana
The Beartooth Highway is a 68-mile mountain pass that connects Red Lodge to the Northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park, passing through the remote and ecologically diverse Beartooth Mountains in Southwest Montana. This highway boasts breathtaking views as it winds through the mountains, making it a popular scenic route. The closest major airport is located in Billings, Montana.
8. U.S. Route 163 (Monument Valley, Utah)
U.S. Route 163 is a 64-mile highway that passes through the Navajo Nation in Southern Utah and Arizona, showcasing the stunning Utah landscapes, particularly Monument Valley with its iconic red rocks and cliffs. Enjoy an uncrowded drive as you take in the vast open spaces. Allow at least 2 hours for this scenic journey, and don’t forget to pause for photo opportunities, especially during breathtaking sunsets. The closest major airport to Monument Valley is located in Flagstaff, Arizona.
9. Park Loop Road – Acadia National Park, Maine
The 27-mile Park Loop Road, which winds around Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park, offers stunning views of the ocean where rocks meet water and the forest transforms with the seasons. Set aside extra time for hiking and photography opportunities. To save on accommodations, consider staying in Bangor, Maine, which is nearby.
10. Trail Ridge Road – Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
The Trail Ridge Road is one of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the United States. Dubbed the “Highway to the Sky,” this 48-mile mountain route starts in Estes Park, climbs over 4,000 feet to reach above the tree line in Rocky Mountain National Park, and ends in Grand Lake. The highest elevation paved road in Colorado, the Trail Ridge Road features hairpin turns and breathtaking views. Visitors should plan for at least half a day to fully enjoy this scenic drive, with the nearest major airport located in Denver.
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The United States is home to many breathtaking scenic drives, each offering unique and beautiful views of the country’s natural landscapes. From the Skyline Drive in Virginia to the Overseas Highway in Miami to Key West, this blog article highlights 10 of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the country. With beautiful vistas, charming towns, and opportunities to immerse yourself in nature, these drives are perfect for a road trip adventure. Remember to check the weather and road conditions, and pack your camera to capture the breathtaking moments.