Eight Great American Road Trips

The coastline near the Santa Monica mountains on the southern California coast, near Point Mugu.
The coastline near the Santa Monica mountains on the southern California coast, near Point Mugu. | Source
Along the central California coastline. Just gorgeous, breathtaking views!
Along the central California coastline. Just gorgeous, breathtaking views! | Source
California's stunning northern coastline, this is near Fort Bragg.
California's stunning northern coastline, this is near Fort Bragg. | Source
A sight along the breathtakingly beautiful Million Dollar Highway in Colorado.
A sight along the breathtakingly beautiful Million Dollar Highway in Colorado. | Source
Some of the beautiful pine cones and foliage along the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado. This is one road trip not to be missed!
Some of the beautiful pine cones and foliage along the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado. This is one road trip not to be missed! | Source

Great Road Trips For Anyone Searching For Beauty and Adventure!

The United States of America is full of beautiful roadways, scenic byways and breathtakingly beautiful drives. And many of the most beautiful road trips are the ones that are taken in the fall when the foliage is in its full blazing colorful glory. From coastal seashores to magnificent mountain ranges to amazing foliage, there is something along these memorable drives for everyone to love.

I'll begin by going from the West Coast of America to the Eastern Coast. Then I'll cover two other iconic and gorgeous roadways, one found in Hawaii and another famous scenic roadway in Alaska.

The California Coastline, Scenic Route 1

Beginning with the famous California coastline, a fantastic road trip is found along the California coasts Route 1. This highway is also sometimes known simply as "Highway 1" and can be started either from the northern end of California going south or from the southern end of California, heading northward. This road practically stretches the entire length of the state, which is quite a long drive. It's best broken up by stays along the way in iconic seaside towns.

Either direction offers adventurers a gorgeous drive with scenery ranging from the huge redwood trees to fabulous pristine beaches and a rocky coastline that has been carved over the centuries by the sea water. Twisting and curving while traversing past breathtakingly beautiful scenery, everyone can enjoy the simplicity of the beautiful scenery, while keeping an eye out for playful sea lion pups or curious otters!

Stopping in the quaint little towns dotting the coastline like Laguna Beach or Carmel By The Sea provides opportunities for breaks, along with fun recreational opportunities. Charming accommodations can be found as well, depending on one's budget and on the amenities desired.

Many have said that the most beautiful part of this particular drive is in the Big Sur area, which is located in the central coast area, near San Simeon and it stretches all the way to Carmel. Visitors will be thrilled by majestic redwood trees on one side of this drive and beaches with playful sea lions and otters on the other side. A camera is an absolutely must for this gorgeous and spectacular scenic drive!

The Million Dollar Highway In Breathtakingly Beautiful Colorado

Near Tellluride, Colorado begins a seemingly short twenty-four mile stretch of road that connects the towns of Ouray and Silverton, located in the southwestern part of the state. This highway is also known as U.S. 550. Located in the San Juan mountains, this is one road trip full of exciting twists and turns combined with vertical drops that will make anyone feel as if they are riding on an amusement park roller coaster.

In the springtime, this is an especially pretty trip featuring gorgeous displays of wildflowers. Be sure to watch for some of the fascinating wildlife here, everything from black bears can be spotted to elk to deer and mountain goats. This is one road trip that will remind visitors of the days back when the Wild West really WAS wild. This gorgeous stretch of highway may seem to be deceptively short, but a good day should be planned to take this trip. Those crazy turns and drops take time to travel.

Be sure to plan on spending some time in the historic town of Silverton, which is listed as a National Historic Landmark. Check out the fascinating array of buildings from the 1870's and breathe in the history of the western part of this fabulous country.

A Scenic "All American Road," Highway 12, In Southern Utah

Famously gorgeous Highway 12 Scenic All American Road in Southern Utah, near Red Canyon.
Famously gorgeous Highway 12 Scenic All American Road in Southern Utah, near Red Canyon. | Source
Beautiful Red Canyon scenic drive in Utah.
Beautiful Red Canyon scenic drive in Utah. | Source

Southern Utah's Famous Scenic Highway 12

Boasting several national parks, this historic roadway in southern Utah is one of only twenty-seven roadways in the entire United States to have received the designation nationally of "All American Road." This award is one of the highest honors that can possibly be bestowed on a roadway for its beautiful scenery.

With brilliantly sparkling blue lakes and the mountain ranges studded with majestic pines all along this roadway, taking this drive is always a pleasure. These sights combined with amazing sandstone structures and glorious red colored canyons make this scenic American byway a display of beauty virtually unmatched any place else in this vast country.

This spectacular roadway goes from the amazing Bryce Canyon through the pretty green forests of Boulder Mountain and continues on through the Dixie National Forest. Offering some of the most unforgettable scenery in the entire United States, the drive becomes even more beautiful (if that is even possible) in the evening when the sun is setting in an amazing display of reds, golds along with a stunning shade of blaze orange.

Scenic Route 179 Near Beautiful Sedona, Arizona

On the famous road to Sedona, just beautiful!
On the famous road to Sedona, just beautiful! | Source
An area known as "Devil's Bridge" on the road to Sedona, Route 179 near Sedona, Arizona.
An area known as "Devil's Bridge" on the road to Sedona, Route 179 near Sedona, Arizona. | Source
A gorgeous desert sunset, and pretty red rocks on the road to Sedona.
A gorgeous desert sunset, and pretty red rocks on the road to Sedona. | Source

Arizona's Red Rock Scenic Byway, Route 179

Located near the population-filled and sprawled out area of Sedona, this scenic route is short, but packed full of glorious color and adventure. Travel from Sedona southward on scenic route 179, with this route ending at Interstate 17 by Rimrock, Arizona. Bringing along a mountain bike is a great idea for this run, along with a good pair of hiking boots. There are many trails to hike and ride, and beautiful red rock formations to see.

These red rock formations have interesting names based on the way they look like "Snoopy" (that one is my favorite) and "Bell" and "Cathedral". Nice hikes can be taken on the hiking trails, but be sure to bring along water, wear a hat and sunscreen and sunglasses and enjoy the beauty of nature while protecting yourself from the strong UV rays found in the desert. Watch as the daylight causes the red rock formations to seemingly change color.

Most of this drive will be through the Coconino National Forest where you can see sprawling areas filled with beautiful desert yucca and cacti along with majestic pines. Look above for eagles and hawks swooping overhead, and be sure to watch for coyotes, elk and deer.

Visitors will be interested to know that many Western's were filmed in this area back in the 1940s and 1950s, including the Jimmy Stewart movie "Broken Arrow." The scenery may look familiar, and this could be the reason why!

This is a drive always worth taking, but is especially beautiful in the evening near sunset, the colors alone offer a breathtaking view!

The Sun Road Through Glacier National Park In Montana

In the gorgeous northern Montana area, one of the most scenic drives in the United States is found on a 52 mile stretch of roadway through the stunning Glacier National Park. This road is known either by the name Sun Road, or Going To The Sun Road. See all the beauty created by these huge and impressive glaciers and continue on your adventure, ultimately crossing the Continental Divide.

The Continental Divide is thrilling, at an elevation of over 6,600 feet. Be sure to stop along the way at the Jackson Glacier Overlook to see the glaciers. And be sure to keep a watch for bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Thrill to the sights of this wilderness, with its natural canyons, gorges, crystal clear lakes and the famous Garden Wall. Portions of the roadway known as the Garden Wall were created almost eighty years ago, and this area of the road was carved into these majestic vertical cliffs.

This road is open from early June until the middle of October, or until the first snow begins to fall, so a trip here would have to be planned for summer and early Fall to see all of the splendor and beauty of this dramatic landscape. Glaciers have made this area absolutely breathtaking, and you will want to stop along the way to take advantage of the many stunning photo opportunities, and just to get out of the car and explore.

There are also a few small campgrounds, and some limited lodging available along the way. It's best to look into lodging in advance of your trip. The sheer beauty of this landscape is practically unmatched in any other area of this beautiful United States.

Breathtaking Beauty Found Along Sun Road In Northern Montana

Going to Sun Mountain along the famous Sun Road in northern Montana.
Going to Sun Mountain along the famous Sun Road in northern Montana. | Source
Crystal clear, still lakes offer breathtaking beauty on this scenic drive through Montana.
Crystal clear, still lakes offer breathtaking beauty on this scenic drive through Montana. | Source
Natural beauty along Going To The Sun road in northern Montana.
Natural beauty along Going To The Sun road in northern Montana. | Source

The Spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway In North Carolina And Virginia

The famous Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall, one of the BEST seasons to travel this historically scenic roadway.
The famous Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall, one of the BEST seasons to travel this historically scenic roadway. | Source
The Tannabark Overlook along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Tannabark Overlook along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. | Source

The Beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway Through North Carolina And Virginia

When talking about the most scenic road trips in America, I absolutely have to include a famous one on the east coast of this beautiful country. known as the Blue Ridge Parkway. This gorgeous stretch of highway runs from the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina to the beautiful Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia.

This road trip, nearly 470 miles of wildflower and foliage bliss is sometimes referred to as America's Favorite Drive, and for good reason. This is a very old road, with parts of the road having been constructed back in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. This is an especially scenic and gorgeous drive in the fall, when all of the foliage is at it's glorious best.

It pays to remember that the speed limit throughout much of this parkway is 45 miles per hour, and to allow extra time for that. You wouldn't want to go any faster than that anyway, just to be sure to take in the beauty of this area. The beautiful red maples, dogwood trees and tulip trees look especially magnificent in the fall. And visitors will not want to miss a trip to Grandfather mountain, with its famous swinging bridge. Be sure to watch for wildlife along this pretty parkway, you might see a black bear or a pretty whitetail deer!

Scenic mountain overlooks, glorious foliage and spectacular scenery make this a very worthwhile drive any time of the year, especially in the fall.


The Hana Highway On The Island Of Maui ~ Also Known As The Road To Hana

A beautiful aerial photo of the famous Hana Highway.
A beautiful aerial photo of the famous Hana Highway. | Source
A view from Hana Highway on the Island of Maui in Hawaii.
A view from Hana Highway on the Island of Maui in Hawaii. | Source

The Famous Hana Highway On The Island Of Maui

One of the most twisting, turning and winding roadways in America is found on the Island of Maui in the Hawaiian Island chain. We actually drove on this road when we lived in Hawaii for three years, and it was a gorgeous, spectacularly scenic drive. This historic roadway is also known as the Road To Hana or the Hana Highway.

It is also a bit of a difficult drive for the person driving! So many twists and turns call for constant attention to the roadway. There are over 600 hairpin turns and over 50 one lane bridges on this road! It is amazing. This is a spectacular drive that offers beautiful views, and stops are not only a necessity, especially for the driver, but everyone will want to stop to check things out along the way.

One place to stop for sure is the burial site of the famous aviator Charles Lindberg. He passed away on August 26, 1974 from cancer, and was buried in a small church yard alongside the road to Hana. I had actually forgotten about this interesting stop until my husband reminded me. Even though we drove on the Hana Highway back in 1985, he still remembered seeing the grave site of Charles Lindberg there! When we saw it, it was well kept with a pretty flower lei on it in Mr. Lindberg's honor.

Driving along this scenic roadway gives visitors an idea of what old Hawaii must have been like, back in the early plantation days and in the days of tiny little surf towns. Gorgeous botanical gardens and interesting caverns are must-sees along this historic route.

Stopping at the famous Waianapanapa State Park (try saying that three times fast!) and you will see the world famous black sand beach and the pretty fresh water caves in the park. The beach is amazing, and well worth the trip! Interesting sights and magnificent natural beauty make this a splendid drive and a must-see on the Island of Maui.

The Pretty And Scenic Seward Highway In Alaska

Gorgeous frozen waterfalls along the stunning Seward Highway in Alaska.
Gorgeous frozen waterfalls along the stunning Seward Highway in Alaska. | Source
Beautiful mountains along the Seward Highway, Kenai Mountains.
Beautiful mountains along the Seward Highway, Kenai Mountains. | Source

The Beautiful Seward Highway in Alaska

The magnificent Seward Highway, linking the city of Anchorage to the little town of Seward, Alaska offers a memorable trip through some of the prettiest scenery found in Alaska. This is over 125 miles of pure bliss driving past humongous glaciers, amazing fjords and lush forestland.

Be watchful along this drive for some amazing wildlife sightings, as you may encounter the sights of beluga whales in the waters below, or pretty Dall sheep grazing among the cliff-sides. Travel alongside the majestic Chugach Mountains overlooking Cook Inlet, past beautiful waterfalls.

Two highly recommended stops along this scenic route include the famous Crow Creek Mine where visitors can pan for gold, and the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center where everyone can learn about the area and the wildlife and foliage all along this scenic byway. A leisurely trip is the most recommended way to travel, so you are sure not to miss any of the spectacular scenery and highlights of this amazing trip.

Take A Great American Road Trip!

Road trips are one of the great American pastimes, especially during the summer months. Why not try one of these beautifully scenic All-American Road Trips next time you embark on a vacation? It will lead you to an even deeper appreciation for all of the amazing, natural beauty found in these United States of America.

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Comments 18 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I have seen all but one; great choices for this hub!


Photoshark317 profile image

Photoshark317 4 years ago from Lafayette Orgon

Seen California and the Blue Ridge Mountains Parkway. But you left out the Oregon Coast


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

Awesome road trip!!! Thanks for taking us along. The sheer beauty of it all is astounding. The photos and imagery are like a little piece of heaven right here on Earth. I hope one day I will get to see such lovely places. Voted Way UP, except funny. Well done. In His Love, Faith Reaper


KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks, billybuc! :) Glad you got a chance to see so many of these, thank you for stopping by! :) I appreciate it!

I sure did, Photoshark, and a few others on the east coast as well, like through Maine.... it was SO hard to narrow it down to just eight. I thought that any more than eight or so would make this too long! I bet Oregon is absolutely beautiful! :) Thanks for your great comment!

I'm so glad you liked this, Faith! :) I was so glad to find so many pretty pictures for it, thanks so much for reading and for the votes, too! Very appreciated! :)


Photoshark317 profile image

Photoshark317 4 years ago from Lafayette Orgon

You're welcome. I've got a hub on the Oregon Coast if you're interested


KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

I'll check that out, photoshark! :) Thanks!


Photoshark317 profile image

Photoshark317 4 years ago from Lafayette Orgon

Name is Leroy


KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thank you, Leroy! :) It's always nice to know the name that goes with the HubPages names. :)


weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia

Not sure when I'll get to retire but these will be on the list! Luckily I'm a half hour away from the Blue Ridge Parkway in the meantime! Great Hub, voted up!


KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks so much, Pete! I hope you do get to see these places. :) And don't worry, retirement will be here before you know it! :) It comes along so fast as life goes by entirely too fast. Especially once those little ones come along! ;) Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I appreciate that!


John-Rose profile image

John-Rose 4 years ago from USA

Hello, hear I though that I been to a lot of places; however, I only know a couple of the places on your list. Thanks for the reminder that there is still a lot to see out there. ~ John


KathyH profile image

KathyH 4 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

You're welcome, John. It's amazing how really huge and expansive the United States is, we found that out when we moved out west! Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

A wonderful share and thank you.

Eddy.


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, Eddy! I appreciate your wonderful support! :)


hiwinder profile image

hiwinder 3 years ago from Western North Carolina

I live near the Blue Ridge Parkway and couldn't agree more about it's beauty. It's a great place to drive a sports car.


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks Hi winder, so glad you enjoyed this, it was a fun one to write! Thanks for reading and commenting! :-)


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

Amazing hub! I hope one day I will be able to pick one of the road trip routes - preferably the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is simply beautiful - and I'm sure I'll enjoy the ride. Voted up & shared.


KathyH profile image

KathyH 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada Author

Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, Mike! So glad you found this to be interesting and helpful! And thank you for the great votes and shares! I appreciate that very much! :)

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