This summer, it’s all about chasing those views. Whether you’re traveling out east or roaming through the Midwest, we’ve got the drool-worthy scenic routes guaranteed to make your social media followers a little jealous. So grab that map (or maybe just your smart phone), buckle up and get ready to soak in the scenery.
Now, while the Pacific Coast Highway, or State Route 1, is by far the most popular drive out west, there are still plenty of other roads to enjoy if you’ve already conquered the PCH. Here are two routes you can take that will give you coastal and countryside views.
Silverado Trail of Napa Valley
Wine anyone? While most Napa Valley visitors will find themselves cruising down Highway 29, the Silverado Trail actually offers views, wineries and less traffic. This nearly 30 mile stretch of road starts north near Calistoga and runs parallel to Highway 29, just to the east — quietly winding you through the countryside of Napa Valley. And don’t worry, this route is still packed with prominent wineries and attractions.
Pack your passport, we’re dipping just south of the border for this one. The drive from San Diego to Ensenada is only about a two-hour adventure, but the coastal views alone make this trip a must. The cliff-lined Ensenada Coast of Mexico offers spectacular views of the ocean and plenty of restaurants and beaches to enjoy along the way. Great for a weekend getaway or just a day trip, this is a perfect, quick scenic route if you’re looking to escape the city crowd for a bit.
Moving inward, the Central and Midwestern regions of America might not offer seaside views, but there’s still plenty of beauty to be found alongside these routes. From buffalos to epic bridges, our next two trails won’t disappoint.
I-80 Through Wyoming
Although Interstate 80 spans from San Francisco to New Jersey, we’re going to focus on the stretch that takes you through the beautiful state of Wyoming. For travelers taking to the road with kids, this is a perfect route that is literally loaded with attractions — museums, parks, archeological sites, wildlife and more. Plus, the state’s natural landscape is awe-inspiring all on its own.
Best traveled by those who aren’t afraid of heights, this Midwest route offers one of the most amazing views in America. Connecting the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge is over 26,000’ long and 550’ high, and crosses over the Straits of Mackinac. The bridge can be traveled by RVs, cars, camper vans, motorcycles…you name it, but be sure to make this trip during the day so you can capture all of the spectacular views this bridge offers.
The Southern Region of the United States is truly filled with unsuspecting scenic routes. While travelers typically gravitate towards the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southwestern areas of Arizona, these next two roads are less traveled but just as amazing as some of the better-known routes.
Scenic 7 Byway (Highway 7)
Running north to south through Arkansas this route offers almost 300 miles of southern beauty. This is one of those routes where you’ll need more than a day just to stop and see all of the attractions Highway 7 has to offer — including lakes, parks, charming towns, mines and the majestic Ozark National Forest. If you’re in the south, you won’t want to pass up this scenic, relaxing drive.
Discover a side of Florida you’ve probably never witnessed before with this route. The Big Bend Scenic Byway starts just south of Tallahassee and offers over 200 miles of some of Florida’s most wild views. This trip will take you straight through 68,000 acres of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, home to gators, exotic plants and nearly 300 species of bird. Oh, and don’t forget, some of these alligators can grow over 10’ long, so be sure to keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.
And last, but certainly not least, we’re heading east to capture views of the Atlantic and history-rich roadways dating all the way back to the 1800s. From Maryland to Maine these road trips will take you back in time and fill your belly with some must-have coastal cuisine.
Historic National Road Through Maryland
Travel though history on the Historic National Road (or National Pike) through Maryland. This road was built in the 1800s as the first, federally funded roadway project in America! Filled with historical sites, museums, and even great hiking and camping at the Rocky Gap State Park, you’ll want to plan for at least two days as this trail winds you all the way to Baltimore.
Hop on the very scenic Route 1 and be prepared for several stops as this road trip has plenty to see, explore and eat. From Boston to Bar Harbor, Route 1 gives you the best coastal views and takes you through numerous fishing towns and villages with some of the best lobster rolls you can find. You’ll encounter lighthouses, cliff-side outlooks, and some of the nation’s most historic neighborhoods. You don’t even need to be a history enthusiast to appreciate the historical value of this scenic route.