America is filled with amazing drives. Unfortunately, most road trips are filled with sleep-inducing highways and interstates. It’s time for a different road trip. There may not be rest stops packed with fast food, but there will certainly be memories that will last a lifetime. These are our favorite drives in the USA.
Going to the Sun Road
Glacier National Park, Montana
Famous for being the only road to cross the Continental Divide, Going to the Sun Road crosses 53 miles through Glacier National Park. While spring may not be the best time for this road—up to 80 feet of snow can cover the entire area—any other time will be rewarded with spectacular scenery. So much spectacular scenery, in fact, that both The Shining and Forrest Gump featured sections of the road.
Oregon Route 3
Oregon Route is a driving enthusiast’s dream. Picture 44 miles of switchbacks that run from Flora, Oregon, to Anatone, Washington, known as the “Rattlesnake Grade”. Tread carefully, however, as all of the miles of on-road fun come with limited access to driver support in the event of car problems. Or worse.
Stretching from Stowe to Jeffersonville, Vermont’s Smuggler’s Notch actually dates back to 1812 when it was used as a supply route for the British army in Canada. Highly scenic as it passes forests and large rock formations up through Mt. Mansfield in the resort town of Stowe. The drive leads to some amazing hiking in and around the Smuggler’s Notch Resort area.
Highway 1 in Big Sur
Designated as an American scenic byway, Highway 1 stretches approximately 85 miles through Big Sur. Running alongside the Pacific Ocean, Highway 1 in Big Sur was the first part of the piecemeal construction of the Pacific Coast Highway. While the spectacular views of the jagged California coastline are not to be missed, it should also be mentioned that Big Sur has a significant marine wildlife population including Blue Whales and Elephant Seals.
Pacific Coast Highway
No list of awesome drives would be complete without the PCH. Spanning most of the California coastline, driving along the PCH is considered a must-do on any visit to the Golden State. The northernmost section begins in Mendocino County traveling south through the San Francisco Bay Area and across the Golden Gate Bridge. It then continues south through the Monterey Bay area—including Carmel and Pebble Beach—and further into Big Sur before reaching Los Angeles County and finally ending in Orange County.
Seven Mile Bridge
If you happen to be making your way from Miami to the Florida Keys, you will encounter the engineering marvel known as the 7 Mile Bridge. As part of US 1, the Seven Mile Bridge connects the city of Marathon with Little Duck Key. And if driving over the glistening blue waters of Southern Florida isn’t cool enough, then consider that this iconic roadway has made appearances in movies such as True Lies, License to Kill, 2 Fast 2 Furious, and Mission Impossible III.
San Juan Skyway
It goes without saying that Colorado has no shortage of natural beauty. Connecting its fair share of it is the San Juan Skyway, situated along the San Juan Mountains. Spanning about 240 miles, the Skyway runs through popular destination towns such as Durango, Silverton, and Telluride and even has been named one of America’s Best Spring Drives by Travel & Leisure.
Utah’s Patchwork Parkway (Byway 143 ) was named as a result of early settlers using patchwork quilts to cross snow-covered mountain plateaus in search of much needed food. Following the ancient route, the Patchwork Parkway spans about 50 miles and is Utah’s first All-American Road.
Built in 1943, the Haines Highway connects Haines, Alaska, with Haines Junction in the Yukon Territory. Spanning about 150 miles, the Haines Highway is perfect to take in all that is Alaska, from green summer months to the icy cold and desolate winter. Fortunately, there is a never a shortage of scenery as snow-covered mountains are everywhere the eye can see.
Over the course of about 50 miles, the Road to Hana meanders through lush, tropical rainforest and is a popular tourist destination for visitors to Maui. And with good reason. Offering fantastic views of Honomanu Bay and the Pacific Ocean, travelers along the Hana Highway will find unmatched hiking and breathtaking waterfalls. And if spirited driving is your thing, there are no less than 620 curves along its path.