The best drives in America that you should know 2021
There is nothing more exciting than packing the car with a few essentials and setting off on a good old fashioned American road trip. Choosing where to go may be the difficult part of this adventure as when it comes to deciding in which direction to travel you are sure to be spoilt for choice and no matter where you are there will be an amazing drive near you.
This is what we try and do every year as a family. I have my own time with friends once or twice a year where we do a little hunting and fishing in South Dakota (personal favorite of mine). I always try to remember to stock up on ammo before we travel. I tend to favor Palmetto Armory as they always have great deals when buying bulk.
Each and every trip can be different, whether you choose to travel through forests, mountains, canyons, valley’s or you choose to travel along the many amazing coastlines there will be something new and different to experience.
It is said that a car represents freedom, mobility and control and that summer road trips are an American right of passage.
I would have to agree.
Alaska, Haines Highway
the national beauty of Alaska has to be seen to be appreciated, along with the variety of wildlife.
Haines which is often referred to as the Valley of the Eagles is home to the largest gathering of bald eagles in the world. There are many areas to picnic along the Chilkat River also campsites at Chilkoot Lake or Mosquito Lake. From the Haines Highway take the turn off to Mosquito Lake Road where you will find Mosquito Lake.
The lake has great fishing and in the winter you will see locals ice fishing or cross-country skiing on the lake or in nearby areas. The lake fills with migrating ducks in the spring and fall and trumpeter swans use the lake as a stopover on their migrations.
Arizona Highway 179
most people have heard of Route 66 well Arizona has a number of Route 66’s well known spots. Just outside of Sedona is the Red Rock Scenic Byway which has breathtaking rock formations and early native American cliff dwellings.
If you believe in the supernatural you will find that the Byway has what like-minded folk refer to as “vortexes” of spiritual energy, two of the biggest being Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock. Whether you are a believer or not you can still appreciate the amazing formations.
There is also the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village and the Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park where you will find a 36 ft tall Buddha and a stupa. The Tlaquepaque Arts & Craft Village is full of souvenirs to remind you of your trip while the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park is a peaceful place where people like to congregate or wander across the trails.
California Pacific Coast Highway
California’s famous Highway 1 runs along the length of most of the Pacific Coast and boasts some amazing scenery.
The route includes the well known Big Bur section, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and miles and miles of picturesque coast. Following the route north-bound will lead to Highway 101 and the Redwoods of California one of the most scenic drives in California.
Many famous places to stop are scattered along this route, Long Beach, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica and of course one not to be missed The Pebble Beach 17 mile drive. A further well known stop is Muir Beach Overlook, one that I am sure you will recognize.
California The 17 Mile Drive
This is a relatively short trip and is actually only 10 miles long and extends along California’s Monterey Peninsula on a privately owned strip of Highway 1.
From the towns of Pacific Grove to Carmel this route runs through the Del Monte forests which belong to the Pebble Beach Golf community.
There are stunning views of the coastline, rocky beaches with harbor seals, and the most amazing sunsets. If you are looking for somewhere to stop along the way head for the Monterey Bay Aquarium where you will be able to see sea turtles and sharks.
Blue Ridge Parkway Carolinas and Virginia
This scenic drive is situated high up along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains with the most stunning views of natural beauty to both east and west.
Built for travellers and explorers approximately 500 miles of road twists through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Park.
A drive for any time of the year but particularly amazing in the autumn with spectacular colors on view.
To appreciate this motoring experience you will want to spend more than one day as there are many places to stop and enjoy new experiences, live music, square dancing, souvenir shopping and you can even pan for emeralds, rubies and gold in the mines of the Appalachian Mountains.
Florida Seven Mile Bridge
Drive along the largest bridge in Florida, and some say one of the largest bridges in the world, and the beautiful blue ocean stretches as far as the eye can see. A paradise of beaches and beach bars and water sports galore along with tropical islands and the largest area of coral reef in the United States.
You can drive to the southernmost point in the USA near Key West which is nearer to Cuba than it is to Miami, make a stop at the Ernest Hemingway Museum or take a detour into Everglades National Park to explore the wilderness. This trip gives the opportunity to fish, relax and appreciate nature.
A stop off at the docks at Islamorada will give you the opportunity to feed bait fish to tarpon more than six feet long.
The seven mile bridge offers the chance of detour’s with an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful archipelago.
Hana Highway, Maui
This 52 mile stretch of road is not an easy drive. It can take more than two and a half hours to make the journey, from Kahului to Hana, that’s if you can resist stopping to admire the beautiful scenery and the many waterfalls, some giving the opportunity to swim.
This narrow road has many bridges to cross, about 59! Many are only one lane across.
With deep cliffs, flowering mango trees drive past Hana where the road ends and visit the Seven Sacred Pools, a seven tiered gulch at Haleakala National Park.
Park Loop Road, Maine
This 27 mile stretch of road begins at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center ( near route 3 on the northern side of the island) runs through forests, past lakes, mountains and rocky coastline. About 17 miles of the Loop is two lane one way traffic.
There are plenty of pull offs and signs for areas of interest and several beaches if you want to stop and relax. The loop can be completed in an hour if you can resist stopping to admire the rugged coast of the North Atlantic’s high ridgelines and sheer rock precipices.
Why not take a break from your road trip and enjoy a trip on a lobster fishing boat and catch something to take home for supper.
Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Route 112 has it all, towering trees, stunning lakes together with historical colonial heritage. Waterfalls falling into tempting pools, perhaps take the five mile hike to Sabbaday Falls near Waterville NH to visit a three-tiered waterfall and follow the wooden bridges over the river leading to picnic areas.
One of the best places to begin this drive is in Lincoln, take the twisting turning road which elevates to just under 3,000 ft before it descends to the town of Conway.
There are a few places where you can pull over and enjoy the beauty of the area. Although beautiful at any time of the year this trip is particularly enjoyable in October when the maples, alder and birch turn the most amazing colours. In springtime you will find yellow violets and wood anemone.
Loneliest Highway Nevada
This was named the loneliest highway in the United States by Life Magazine in 1986. Highway 50 runs across the middle of the state from Lake Tahoe in the west all the way to the Utah border.
The name of the loneliest highway seems very appropriate as this highway features long desolate stretches showing little signs of civilization, it crosses several communities, a national park and one reservoir where foxes, bobcats and wild horses roam.
The route itself is not at all boring it crosses over 17 mountain passess reaching elevations of over 7,000 ft featuring steep grades and breathtaking hairpin bends. This is an amazing and beautiful drive through a very remote and wild part of America.
At the beginning of the century the road became California’s first State Highway and eventually connected the nation’s Atlantic and Pacific coasts. To this day the Californian Department of Transportation calls Route 50 the “Backbone of America”.
North Cascades Highway, Washington
This highway through what is often called ‘The American Alps’. The 140 mile Highway follows State Route 20 from Sedro-Woolley in the west to Twisp in the east and passes through the North Cascades National Park complex, which is a widespread wilderness that extends from the north end of Lake Chelan up to the border of Canada.
The North Cascades Highway is part of the Cascade Loop, a very popular multi-day Washington road trip.
Due to the ruggedness of the road in the high mountain passess and the deluge of snow that falls each winter many avalanches pile up on the roads, the North Cascades Highway is usually one of the last of Washington’s mountain passes to be opened each year.
Mountain rivers, lush green forests and snow capped mountain peaks with bald eagles soaring above are just a few of the amazing sights to see. An area around Washington Pass has the Liberty Bell group of five peaks, many quaint little towns such as the wild west themed Winthrop and there is the beauty of Diablo Lake to help make any road trip memorable.