You don’t need to travel to another country to experience some truly beautiful and awe-inspiring landscapes. Sometimes, all you have to do is just look a little beyond your backyard.
The United States is home to many world-renowned scenic drives, and all you need is a car or any other vehicle to experience every single one of them. With the help of our intrepid friends at Three Rivers Chrysler of Pittsburgh, a local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram dealer in the Pittsburgh area, we have put together a list of some of the most famous ones in the Land of the Free.
Located in Alaska, the Denali Highway (Alaska Route 8) is a lightly traveled, mostly gravel highway that spans from Paxton, AL, to Cantwell, AL, for a distance of some 135 miles. It opened in 1957 and was the first road access to Denali National Park, then known as Mt. McKinley National Park.
Since 1971, primary park access has been via the Parks Highway, which incorporated a section of the Denali Highway from Cantwell to the present-day park entrance.
Florida Keys Highway
As suggested by its name, the Florida Keys Highway snakes through the Florida Keys, following a 117-mile path that was originally established in 1912 when the Florida Coast Railroad stretched all the way from Miami to Key West. The bridges along the route stretch over the largest coral reefs in the United States and are considered engineering marvels.
Many of the islands along the route are home to exotic animals such as the tiny Key Deer. Unfortunately, the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma means now is probably not the best time to schedule a trip.
The Silverado Trail
Beginning near the top of San Francisco Bay and traveling northward through Napa Valley — the most famous winegrowing region in America — the Silverado Trail offers breathtaking scenery. You can also stop along the way to enjoy wine tastings and tours at any of the dozens of wineries along the route.
Pacific Coast Highway
As one of America’s most iconic driving destinations, California’s coastal route runs along the powerful Pacific Ocean and provides stunning scenery, quirky rest stops and the serendipity of wondering what lies around the next bend. Few routes are quite like it.
The Pacific Coast Highway (AKA California State Route 1) was built in 1934 and stretches nearly 550 miles along most of the coastline. If you’re looking for the most dramatic scenery packed into less than half the total mileage, set your sights on the Central Coast and a journey of about 240 miles from Monterey south to Santa Barbara.
And, oh, be sure to check out the Hearst Castle when you drive by.
Acadia Park Loop
Acadia National Park in Maine is among America’s most beautiful patch of land, and the 27-mile Park Loop Road swirls around Mt. Desert Island, offering breathtaking views of the park’s rocky coastlines and the ocean.
For the more active types, there is an elaborate series of hiking trails throughout the island, along with an extensive system of gravel carriage roads to explore. You can also enjoy the beaches and other exciting attractions on the old roads of the park.
Finally, be sure to hit up Cadillac Mountain in the early morning to see the first rays of sunlight to touch American soil each day.
Blue Ridge Mountains
For an experience unlike any other, cruise along the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoy the stunning close-up views of the rugged mountains and breathtaking long-range vistas of the Appalachian Highlands.
The Parkway meanders for 469 miles, providing not only plenty of recreation opportunities but also protection for a wide diversity of plants and animals. You just never know what you’ll come across.
Utah’s Route 12
Utah’s Route 12 passes through Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park before concluding near the entrance to Capitol Reef National Park. What you get over its serene 120-mile stretch are multi-colored limestone cliffs and towering red rock formations.
Seeing the sunset from just about anywhere on Route 12 is an unforgettable experience, and that’s not an understatement.