The Best Scenic Drives in America

The Best Scenic Drives in America

Quick! While the weather is still perfect, hit the road and head for one of the most breathtaking routes in the country. You won’t need much more than your GPS—two good options are the TomTom VIA 1515M Automobile Portable GPS Navigator and the Garmin Nüvi 44LM GPS—and this handy guide.

Route 1: San Juan Skyway
Where you’ll go: 233 winding miles through southwest Colorado
How long it’ll take you: About five to six hours if you plow straight through—taking a couple days to savor the views is highly recommended
What you’ll see: Mountain ranges including the San Juan Mountains; hillsides with ancient Native American pueblo ruins; the Old West town of Durango


Route 2: Patchwork Parkway
Where you’ll go: The 51 miles connecting Utah’s Heritage Highway 89 and Scenic Byway 12
How long it’ll take you: Two-ish hours in a straight shot
What you’ll see: The 10,500-foot-high Cedar Breaks national monument; canyons and cliffs in dazzling shades of orange and red; two historic pioneer communities bookending the route


Route 3: Blue Ridge Parkway
Where you’ll go: The 469-mile stretch from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley to North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains, including 120 miles of High Country
How long it’ll take you: About three days, budgeting time for a few stops
What you’ll see: The best view of the Smokies at Waterrock Knob; the Biltmore estate in Asheville; the engineering wonder that is Linn Cove Viaduct


Route 4: Seward Highway
Where you’ll go: The 127-mile distance between Anchorage and Seward
How long it’ll take you: About five hours, without stops—but you’ll want to spread it out over a few days
What you’ll see: The stunning Chugach Mountains; other natural wonders like waterfalls and glaciers; wildlife including moose and (maybe) whales; fishing villages and mining towns


Route 5: Pacific Coast Highway
Where you’ll go: 123 miles up (or down) the California coast, along this twisting route that’s an officially designated All-American Road
How long it’ll take you: About five hours, without stops
What you’ll see: Big Sur’s famous Bixby Bridge and redwoods; Monterey Bay’s adorable sea otters; the majestic Hearst Castle; Morro Bay’s volcano (it’s extinct, don’t worry)


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