scenic drives in the US

5 Most Scenic Drives in the US

Everyone loves to get out of the house and take a vacation. There are many ways to do this, but one common adventure in America is the classic “road trip.” Whether this drive is a long one or just a day trip, scenic drives are often a great distraction as well as an exciting adventure to discover something new.

There are many locations to choose from when trying to find the best scenic drives and so many things to consider. The most scenic drives take your breath away and transport you into a sense of peace you may not have known existed. These top scenic drives range anywhere from the East to the West.

With so many scenic drives out there that are popular with tourists, it is hard to find the perfect ones. Here are the top picks to help you decide where your next drive will be.

What Is the Most Scenic Drive in The United States?

There are so many gorgeous, scenic drives in the US, but one scenic drive that seems to be a top choice amongst many is the Pacific Coast Highway combined with the 17 Mile Drive in California.

The winding drive from San Diego to San Francisco contains a beautiful collection of rocky shorelines, wildlife, redwood trees, and historic bridges. You can see so much, and with so many different things to see, you won’t get bored.

The best time is in the morning while the fog rolls along the street and unveils the natural beauty like a curtain being removed from a new art piece.

Finish off this trip with the 17 Mile Drive. This route originated in 1881. That’s a little less than a century, making it a historic landmark. You can experience the natural beauty California has to offer, including the 250-year-old cypress tree, which stands alone on the rocky shores.

There is plenty of wildlife to witness as well. You can also watch sea lions play about on the beach, and the birds relax in their natural habitat. You can watch the deer graze peacefully in the sunlight.

One great perk to the 17 Mile Drive, you can rent a sleek Lexus or other luxury cars to drive down those winding roads. And with the best road trip songs on your playlist, you can feel like you’re in a scene from a movie as you ride off into the sunset in your fancy car.

5 Of the Most Scenic Drives In The United States

With the US being so large, there are so many opportunities to enjoy the diversity of the terrain. Here are the five most scenic drives.

scenic drives in the US - infographicOlympic Peninsula Loop

This scenic drive is a stunning sight to see in Washington. Part of Highway 101 (one of the major highways starting in Seattle), this stretch of highway reaches the Hoh River rainforest, where you can find yourself surrounded by Sitka spruce and western hemlock.

When you reach the pinnacle of Hurricane Ridge, you can see the San Juan Islands. You can also see the Washington shoreline and watch the sun fall behind the horizon. This is perfect for a romantic date.

For the little ones, make sure to visit the tides and see the simple beauty of the starfish and crabs in their natural habitat. Children can observe the small creatures while walking up and down the rocky shoreline. This is a great way to get your kids active while peaking their interests.

Lake Shore Drive

This one is for those who love city life. Lake Shore Drive gives you a great view of the historic city of Chicago. Starting at Hollywood and reaching Jackson Park (a 26 mile stretch of road), you will be able to witness the architectural beauty of this city and experience history.

One side is lined with the monuments of famous architects, but on the other, you are greeted with the never-ending shorelines of Lake Michigan. You definitely won’t get bored on this drive. Try driving down this route at night to view the beautiful city lights!

If you visit during the summer, a great place to stop is Millennium Park. There you can watch a free concert. And everyone loves free entertainment!

Bluebonnet Trail

To visit this next route, you will have to go during a specific time of year. Between March and May, you can witness the astonishing beauty of Texas. From Austin to Houston, you can find yourself in the gorgeous bluebonnet meadows. For miles and miles, these flowers are in full bloom.

The bluebonnet flowers are not the only sight to see on this drive. While you are traveling, you can enjoy the seven interconnected lakes connected by the Colorado River.

You definitely won’t get bored with all the activities these natural attractions have to offer. If you have extra time, stop by one of the lakes for a quick walk break or go fishing. You can go swimming or float down the river. This is fun for everyone, including the children.

Richardson Highway

This scenic drive is a little farther away than the others, except in Alaska, but it is so worth it! It twists and turns from Fairbanks to Valdez and through the Chugach Mountains. These snow-capped mountains are awe-inspiring as they tower over you.

Make sure to stop at North Pole Alaska, located on this highway. You can visit the Santa Claus House and the Antler Academy. This is always exciting for children.

This highway is a historic part of Alaska, being that it was the first highway to be made here. The best time of year to venture down this drive is during the Northern Lights. Not only will you get to see the painted pictures of mountains but the natural lights that people dream of seeing!

Route 12

The last one on the list is the desolate but stunning Route 12 scenic drive through the deserts of Utah. It also goes by the name “Scenic Byway 12” because of its geological beauty.

You can witness the natural wonder of the Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase Escalante Monument, which you can hike. It is a must to stop at the Kiva Koffeehouse and enjoy your lunch or just get a sip of freshly brewed coffee. These popular attractions bring people from all over the country.

This drive is a little longer than many of the others, spanning 124 miles. You can choose to just see the main attractions or visit the small towns scattered down this stretch of highway. Small towns are always intriguing to visit with their unique personalities.

How Much Does A Road Trip Across The US Cost?

Many factors go into the cost of a road trip. You have to consider gas, the vehicle, food, lodging, and more. But don’t let this stop you. With a budget and careful planning, you can make this trip without breaking your bank account. And you can complete this road trip in about two weeks.

If you have your vehicle, costs will be much less than renting a car. You can travel from the East Coast to the West Coast with as little as two grand. It may be even a little less with gas prices going down. Gas is about $400 if your car gets 25 miles to the gallon, and then you have to consider food and overstay nights.

Food for two weeks with $30 a day can cost anywhere from $420 and upwards. The cheaper motels or hotels can cost anywhere from $30 to $150 a night, depending on where you decide to stop. This will cost you about $420 to $2,000 for the trip. There are ways to keep this price lower.

Sometimes renting a vehicle is better when taking a road trip. Yes, this will cost more and add probably about a grand to your budget, but the company will take care of the vehicle if something breaks on it. So this may save you in the long run.

If for some reason, your car breaks down, which is a possibility, you could be spending anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several grand. Just getting a new set of tires after the mileage put on them would start at $500.

There is good news, though! You can easily save money with a few of these tricks. If you can, stay in your car or a friend/family’s home during your road trip. Not only can you save money by not getting a hotel room but I bet your friend will make you a meal! A win-win situation if you ask me.

You can also prepare meals or snacks beforehand, so you aren’t eating out for every meal. This is a great way to stay away from all fast-food restaurants. But don’t forget to try the local cuisines.

There are also many discount offers online you can buy if you want to experience some of the attractions. Thankfully, most hiking spots or outdoor natural wonders don’t require paid admissions, but there are so many activities you may want to just try out.

And just in case your car runs out of gas on highway or any other inconvenience, Mach1 has all the information you need for roadside assistance.

What’s the Most Beautiful State in The USA?

Each state has its own beauty and tourist spots. But which one gets the title of the “most beautiful”? Two states seem to run head to head: California and Hawaii. No doubt, Hawaii is one of the top beautiful states. With the encompassing ocean and jungle-like terrain, it definitely deserves to be running, but another state seems to be the better choice.

California takes the crown as the most beautiful state. Not only does it contain an oceanside view and gorgeous forests like Hawaii, but it has multiple types of terrain. It has deserts, mountains, and national parks.

California is versatile, with many activities to do. You can find beauty for whatever your interest is because of this diversity. If you enjoy the ocean, go to the ocean. If you enjoy hiking, go to the mountains. If you enjoy a glass of wine on a cozy patio while taking in the breathtaking valleys, go to a winery. There is so much to experience and to see!

Final Thoughts

Before you take on this road trip adventure, it is important to get a pre-trip inspection to stay safe on the road, and be sure to pack your roadside safety kit. Now you are ready to explore many places have beautiful scenic drives. One that didn’t make the list but should get a memorable mention is Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire. It is a must during the fall when the leaves are changing colors. It is absolutely gorgeous!

Here are the many options you can choose as your next destination. These are great for day trips or longer vacations. You will definitely enjoy the beauty of the United State’s diversity.

If you’re planning to travel with your furry friend, don’t miss our guide on “Traveling with Pets: Safety and Comfort Tips” for valuable insights and recommendations.