When they say that it’s the journey that matters, not the destination, certain trips are able to exemplify that belief more than others. If you have some free time coming up and don’t have a particular destination you want to go to, then getting into your car and going for a drive with some scenes to check out along the way is the next best thing.
Some of the options on the list below provide different parts of nature to enjoy and take pictures of, and others give you more of a landscape to look at that is made better when the sun is setting. Here are some scenic drives you should consider embarking on in America.
1. Highway 78, Alabama
If you’re used to the views of the hills and mountains while you’re driving along the road, then Highway 78 in Alabama will grant you beautiful scenes no matter the time of day. This highway is situated through the Appalachian Mountains, which works if you have a hiking trip planned with friends and family or are just finishing up and want to take a rest with a drive.
This option also works for those who prefer to travel in warmer environments, though the spring and fall are the best times to drive along this highway so that you can enjoy high temperatures and changes in colors. You can drive to Tennessee, the Carolinas and other southern states if you have a long break.
2. S. 1, Florida
Some of you may prefer great views of the ocean and other bodies of water during your drives. In this case, save a weekend for U.S. 1 so that you can check out the small bodies of land and blue water in the Florida Keys. The overseas highway connects these islands so that you have a spot to get out and stretch on your breaks.
The points along the highway provide a variety of sources of entertainment, including beaches for if you want to do some surfing or snorkeling, or bars for trying out different drinks. Lighthouses, coral-reef parks and other sites are common along the highway. And when you’re done driving US 1, visit other parts of Florida for fun things to do with your family.
3. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Residents of North Carolina looking for a relaxing drive should take their cars along Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects Shenandoah and Great Smokey Mountains National Parks so that you have plenty of places to stop and enjoy nature. These locations are great for picnics with friends and family or small hikes so that you can stretch out and get some exercise.
The majority of places you stop by along this highway don’t require an admission fee, which means you have plenty of money left over for dinners and other activities. It’s best to make sure ahead of time that it isn’t raining near your destinations, unless you don’t mind getting wet.
4. Pacific Coast Highway, California
Moving over to the West Coast, fans of long drives, specifically those in California, should put trips along the Pacific Coast Highway on their to-do lists. Travelers are treated with amazing views of the ocean, hills and mountains that make for great additions to your photo collection, and these spots are great for a break at the beach or on hike up the mountains.
This highway stretches from Los Angeles to San Francisco, providing plenty of places to spend the night in more populated areas if you’re driving the whole way. This makes it easy to find restaurants, clubs and other sources of entertainment on your journey.
5. Silverado Trail, California
Speaking of California, residents can also take a drive along the Silverado Trail if they want to spend their break on the road. This is also the way to go if you are a fan of wine and want to test out different wineries along the way, but the mountains and valleys in the background are sure to provide enjoyable sites if you’re not.
There are also spots along the way for bike tours if you want to enjoy some fresh air while you’re traveling. If you have enough time, stop by one of the balloon ride services in Napa Valley so that you can get a better view of the area.
6. Hana Highway, Hawaii
Those who have a vacation planned for Hawaii should save time for a drive along Hana Highway in addition to their days saved for surfing and hiking. This highway can actually make it easier to get to a variety of options for these activities, and the views of the mountains and gardens work great for when you need a break to take some photos.
Some of the beaches that you’ll see along the way have calmer waters than others, which will determine which ones you’ll want to stop for if you love to surf. Restaurants and cafes are hard to miss on this highway, giving you a great number of places for lunch or dinner.
7. Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington
Small towns are among the most unique sites for road trips, and the Olympic Peninsula Loop in Washington gives you the chance to tour through different spots for meals and shopping breaks. The majority of towns along this option are on the ports, which should work for anyone who want to take pictures of lakes when the sun is setting or go for a fishing trip.
When you’re not checking out the museums, city halls and other attractions in these towns, you can venture to the hot springs, waterfalls and other beautiful areas closer to nature. There are also spots along the coast for you to views of the ocean when mountains in the background.
Take a drive along these highways so that you can make some memories on your next vacation.