Plan the road trip of the lifetime with these spectacular journeys that highlight all the beauty has to offer. From shorelines to mountain valleys, we've selected the best scenic routes to take from sea to shining sea.
The Scene: Take a cruise along the Gulf of Mexico on the Coastal Connection. Beginning at stretches for 130 miles where you'll pass by sandy beaches, wildlife refuges, and historic sites like and .
The Pit-Stop: is set on 137 acres of maritime land; it's a prime spot for viewing spring migrations in North America.
The Scene: You may want to break this seven-hour, 360-mile journey up over the course of a couple days to ensure you can see everything along the way. On route from to you’ll see , Worthing Glacier, Gulkana Glacier, the , and more.
The Pit-Stop: Be sure to stop at to see the "Santa Claus House" and the Antler Academy.
The Scene: Catch a glimpse of Alaska's best views along the 127-mile long Seward Highway. The iconic drive follows the Turnagain Arm from to . Hit the road between the months of May and September to witness the Aleutian Range and Alaska Range in all their glory, while keeping an eye out for Dall sheep perched on the cliffside.
The Pit-Stop: Watch beluga whales roll in the surf at along the Turnagain Arm.
The Scene: This scenic drive doesn't have an official name, but some locals call it Oak Creek Scenic Route. From to , travel nearly 30 miles to take in the natural beauty of pine trees, red rocks, canyons, and more.
The Pit-Stop: Cool off with your family at by riding on the creek's thrilling natural waterslide.
The Scene: Clocking in at 19 miles long, the Pig Trail Scenic Byway lies within the region of the . Some say the drive got its name because the winding road looks like the corkscrew tail of a pig. Crossing over the Mulberry River and through the Ozark Highlands Trail, this route showcases a riot of colorful foliage during the spring, summer, and fall.
The Pit-Stop: Looking for your next camping trip? Stop at the and spend the day climbing the 2,260-foot peak to get a closer look of the surrounding views of the Ozarks.
The Scene: If you're pressed for time, but still want to behold California's beauty, take this cliff-side drive from Monterey to Morro Bay. Coast along the 139-mile route and you’ll see Bixby Bridge, picturesque , the , and much more on the way.
The Pit-Stop: Stop at for photo-ops with the Pacific Ocean.
The Scene: Start your drive near beautiful to take in the area's pristine wilderness. At approximately 375 miles, Route 395 is filled with history, passing through old mining towns and present-day tourist attractions like and until you reach .
The Pit-Stop: Snap a quick photo of , the tallest mountain in the 48 contiguous states standing at 14,494 feet tall.
The Scene: Make your way through canyons and valleys on a road that was once used by miners over a hundred years ago. From historical mining towns to hot springs, this drive features some of the best views in the country.
The Pit-Stop: Between and , ride along on a route built in the late 1880s—with its endless curves and turns, you'll be in for a fun ride (as long as you're cautious)!
The Scene: Jump on Route 7 to take in this stunning 100-mile loop that's best experienced in the fall. (Hint: Peak foliage usually occurs between September 26 and October 15!)
The Pit-Stop: Step back into the 19th century by visiting . Your family can spend the entire day exploring this charming town, which includes gorgeous churches, railroad depots, streets, and historic houses.
The Scene: It's just 50 miles long, but this route allows you to witness spectacular scenes as you drive along endless acres of water marshes near the . In the fall, pull over to watch the Atlantic Flyway, when thousands of birds pass through the area as they migrate south for the winter.
The Pit-Stop: Tour the to marvel over the finest examples of the 18th and 19th-century architecture in the state.
The Scene: Though the full highway extends over 338 miles, we recommend making the journey from down to on highway A1A’s 67-mile stretch. The entire drive provides gorgeous seaside views as you drive through , , and .
The Pit-Stop: With so many popular destinations and small towns on this route, you’ll have plenty to choose from, though we recommend checking out , which is situated in . It’s the oldest plantation in the state.
The Scene: Driving over the blue-green waters of the Atlantic between the cities of and , the Overseas Highway provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Pick an off-season time to avoid a traffic jam, and it'll be smooth sailing for 113 miles.
The Pit-Stop: Visit (or stay the night!), the world's only underwater hotel.
The Scene: Founded almost a century ago, the Woodpecker Trail got its name from the woodpeckers living within the surrounding pine forests. Travel down the 204-mile drive along Georgia State Route 121 and pass through quaint Southern towns like , , , and .
The Pit-Stop: See the birds at , an endangered home for woodpeckers, cranes, robins, owls, and more species.
The Scene: Journey around Maui, Hawaii from to on this 2.5 hour, 52-mile trip while you take in the gorgeous tropics and ocean views.
The Pit-Stop: You'll want to take a quick break from your travels to take a closer look at , one of several waterfalls featured on the route.
The Scene: On the , this drive has it all: sea cliffs, lush valleys, and tropical rainforests. From Hilo to , the scenic detour will be a trip to remember.
The Pit-Stop: Take in 2,000 species of tropical plants from around the world in the .
The Scene: Beginning in , follow U.S. Highway 12 to the Idaho-Montana border until you reach the city of . For the next four-and-a-half hours, you'll follow the route of , so you're bound to see some great America sights through the ancestral homeland of the Nez Perce Native Americans.
The Pit-Stop: Plan a visit to the in . You can explore some Lewis and Clark historic landmarks, such as Canoe Camp and Cedar Grove.
The Scene: Get your kicks on Route 66! Starting in the heart of downtown , Route 66 allows you to cruise through Illinois for 301 miles, as you pass through farm towns and historic sites before reaching .
The Pit-Stop: It isn't a real road trip until you see something strange! Take your picture next to the in Collinsville.
The Scene: If you're a fan of beautiful bridges, then you are going to love , the covered bridge capital of the world. Follow the winding roads as you pass through small towns with a bit of history and lots of great local food.
The Pit-Stop: Lock yourself up for the night at the in . This bed and breakfast has turned once-bleak prison cells into cozy rooms (there's even a winery in the basement!).
The Scene: Travel along Iowa's eastern edge, over highways and country roads to see all the spectacular greenery. The 300-mile route passes through 10 counties, national wildlife refuges, and quaint river towns.
The Pit-Stop: Take in the panoramic views of the Mississippi River at .
The Scene: Enjoy nature by rolling your windows down and taking in incredible panoramic vistas of rolling hills and pretty prairie flowers on this scenic byway. (Psst: It's best to drive through this 47.2-mile route in the spring!)
The Pit-Stop: Relax at right before dusk. After all, the Flint Hills are famous for being one of the .
The Scene: History fanatics will love driving the 71 miles through this route, which includes the site where Abraham Lincoln's family once settled in Kentucky. Don't forget to take some time to shop and dine along the small towns' Main Streets!
The Pit-Stop: Learn about Lincoln's early life in Kentucky at the .
The Scene: Start your 183-mile adventure along the Byway in the town of . If you're feeling tired along the way, stop at one of the that showcase small town Cajun flavor.
The Pit-Stop: Check out to get an up-close look at American alligators and migratory North American birds.
The Scene: This three-hour, 40-mile trek offers spectacular coastal views where you’ll see beaches, harbors, and lighthouses aplenty. Starting in , you’ll drive down to Hulls Cove Visitor Center where you’ll then start .
The Pit-Stop: Bring your hiking boots, so you can venture to the top of in . It’s the highest peak on the east coast and offers incredible views of water.
The Scene: This route takes only 2.5 hours to drive, so you can take your time spending the entire day on exploring the beautiful mountainside area. Travel through the Appalachian Mountain ridge line to see some of the state's prime views.
The Pit-Stop: Hike to , a 90-foot waterfall that makes a great backdrop for a family photo.
The Scene: Starting in , the runs through several other states; the diverse route ranges from urban landscapes to country scenes with the Western Maryland mountains as a backdrop.
The Pit-Stop: If you want to experience the route by train, climb aboard for a short ride on the .
The Scene: Beside Bay, Route 6A winds through some of the oldest towns in America from to ; this route is more quiet than the touristy southern side of the Cape.
The Pit-Stop: Eat a fresh seafood lunch at while watching the waves crash along on the bay.
The Drive: M-22
The Scene: Often cited as one of the top fall drives in the country, M-22 runs along the shoreline starting in Manistee County and ending in after 116 miles.
The Pit-Stop: The might be long and narrow, but it offers the best lakeside views when on the top of the Michigan "mitt."
The Scene: Explore the lakes of central Minnesota, where you can fish, boat, or just relax near the water. Or, plan a beach day at any of the large lakes including , Pelican, , and the Whitefish chain.
The Pit-Stop: is known for its world-class mountain biking, and it's open for bikers of all levels.
The Scene: Plan a vacation along the Great River Road, a route that promises 300 miles of small town charm as you pass historic churches, bed and breakfasts, and even the storied in .
The Pit-Stop: Don't skip dinner at , a joint known for its mouthwatering steaks.
The Drive: Getaway
The Scene: Loop through the rolling hills of the Ozarks starting in , and ending in , the third largest city in the state. The route includes Missouri Routes 126 and 76, and U.S. Routes 160 and 65. You'll go south on 125 from Strafford to the community of Reuters (about 61 miles) before turning west on to U.S. 160. Follow 160 west until it hits Highway 76 (about 24 miles) just east of Forsyth. From there, turn south on 76 and you'll drive about 15 miles to Branson, before connecting with 65 north to Springfield. You'll see countless roadside streams and charming small towns along the way.
The Pit-Stop: Visit sections of the , named after Missouri's most famous citizen.