The spirit of adventure thrives on the open road, a freedom that seizes the imagination like nothing else. So what if you had a list of the most extraordinary roads to explore in the U.S., each one a scenic byway or hidden gem in its own right? Intrigued?
Buckle up, because we’re about to take you on a whirlwind tour of America’s most breathtaking routes. From the cliff-hugging turns of the Pacific Coast Highway to the autumnal splendor of the Blue Ridge Parkway, we’ve got the inside scoop on the roads less traveled but more adored. We’ll even throw in some local folklore and gastronomic delights you can encounter along the way.
So grab your map, rev up that engine, and let’s hit the road to discover the untamed beauty of some of the best roads to drive in the USA.
1. Beartooth Highway
Winding through the rugged terrains of Montana and Wyoming, the Beartooth Highway is a feast for the eyes. With elevations that soar over 10,000 feet, it offers unparalleled views of the surrounding national parks and alpine plateaus. The road itself is a national scenic byway, a testament to its awe-inspiring beauty. Near its highest point, you can even catch a glimpse of Glacier National Park in the distance. The highway also features numerous switchbacks and zigzags, making it a thrilling drive for any road trip enthusiast.
If high-altitude adventures are your thing, you won’t want to miss exploring Beartooth Highway with our Kool Deadwood Nites Tour.
2. Bighorn National Forest
Tucked away in Wyoming, Bighorn National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and also a driver’s dream. Imagine cruising through roads framed by lush forests, alpine meadows and mirror-like lakes that reflect the sky. This tranquil sanctuary offers a scenic drive that feels worlds away from the neon lights of Las Vegas or the skyscrapers of San Francisco. As you navigate the winding roads, keep your eyes peeled for the area’s abundant wildlife — elk, moose, and even black bears might make an appearance.
So if you’re yearning for a drive that combines natural beauty with the thrill of discovery, Bighorn National Forest should be on your list. And, if you’d like to visit this magical place as a part of a guided tour, our Route 66 Sturgis Bike Week Tour is your ticket to this natural wonder.
3. The Million Dollar Highway
Stretching from Silverton to Ouray in Colorado, the Million Dollar Highway is a road like no other. With its steep grades and hairpin turns, this route is not for the faint-hearted — but offers some of the most stunning vistas in North America. The road takes you through the San Juan Mountains, offering glimpses of old mining towns that evoke the spirit of the Wild West. The highway is also famous for its lack of guardrails, adding an extra thrill to the drive. For those who crave a road less traveled, our Route 66 Summer Tour is the perfect way to uncover this gem.
4. Pikes Peak
Located in Colorado, Pikes Peak offers an experience that’s literally above the clouds. The summit provides panoramic views that stretch as far as the eye can see, making it one of the best roads to drive in the USA. The road to the summit is known as the Pikes Peak Highway, a toll road that offers some of the most stunning views in North America. The summit is also home to the Pikes Peak Summit House, where you can enjoy freshly made doughnuts at over 14,000 feet. If reaching new heights is on your bucket list, consider ascending the peak with our Spring Route 66 Tour.
5. Route 129, “Tail of the Dragon”
This 11-mile stretch in Tennessee and North Carolina is a motorcyclist’s dream, boasting 318 curves and a whole lot of adrenaline. It’s a road that demands your full attention and rewards you with an unparalleled riding experience. The road is near the Great Smoky Mountains, offering a scenic drive that’s second to none. The route is also dotted with quirky landmarks like the Tree of Shame, a monument to crashed motorcycles. For those who live for the thrill of the ride, this route is a must-see.
6. Blue Ridge Parkway
Connecting the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway is often dubbed “America’s Favorite Drive.” Its scenic beauty is unmatched, especially during the fall when the foliage turns into a riot of colors. The parkway runs for 469 miles, offering endless opportunities for exploration. It’s also home to the Blue Ridge Music Center, where you can experience the region’s musical heritage. If you’re looking for a drive that offers both tranquility and stunning visuals, our Route 66 Kool Deadwood Nites Tour is the perfect fit.
7. Pacific Coast Highway
Running along the California coastline, the Pacific Coast Highway offers some of the most iconic sea views in the United States. From Big Sur to Santa Monica, this route is a feast for the senses. The road also takes you through cities like San Diego and Santa Barbara, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication. The highway passes through Malibu, giving you a taste of the celebrity lifestyle. If coastal drives are your idea of heaven, don’t miss this route on our Route 66 Spring Tour.
8. Highway 101 in Oregon
With its rugged cliffs, coastal towns and towering redwoods, Highway 101 in Oregon is a road-tripper’s dream. It’s a journey that takes you through the heart of the Pacific Northwest, offering a scenic drive that’s as captivating as any you’ll find in the United States. The route also includes the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, a unique landscape that’s perfect for off-roading. For those who want to explore the Pacific Northwest in all its glory, this is the route to take.
9. Florida Keys
The Overseas Highway takes you on a magical journey from Miami to Key West. With the ocean on both sides, it’s like driving on water. Don’t forget to stop at Seven Mile Bridge; it’s a sight to behold. The road ends in Key West, a city that’s famous for its sunsets and its vibrant street life. The highway also passes through Marathon, where you can visit the Turtle Hospital for a unique experience. If you’re looking for a tropical escape, this route is your gateway to paradise.
10. Skyline Drive
Located in Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive offers 105 miles of pure scenic bliss. The road winds through the Appalachian Highlands, offering views that are nothing short of poetic. It’s a national scenic byway, offering a driving experience that’s enriching and visually stunning. The drive also features numerous overlooks and visitor centers, providing ample opportunities for photography and wildlife spotting. For those who appreciate the finer things in life, this drive is the perfect choice.
Discover These Scenic Roads with Route 66
So, what are the most scenic drives in America? The answer is as varied as the landscapes these roads traverse. But one thing’s for sure: the best way to experience them is with a guided tour. Route 66 Tours takes the hassle out of planning, letting you focus on the journey itself. From the adrenaline-pumping curves of the “Tail of the Dragon” to the tranquil beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway, your money and time are well-spent when you know exactly what to prioritize.
Ready to embark on the road trip of a lifetime? Unpack these legendary routes with Route 66 Tours.
Contact us now to get started.