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The Most Scenic Drive in Every State

These stunning stretches of road provide the perfect escape.

U.S. News & World Report

The Most Scenic Drive in Every State

These are the most scenic drives in every state

(Getty Images)

Enjoy a ride and soak up your surroundings with family, friends or solo.

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all and go on a drive. Fortunately, every state has at least one glorious drive that's both relaxing and picturesque. Before you pull the car out of the garage, consider one of these scenic drives throughout the United States.
Scenic drive in Alabama

(Getty Images)

Alabama: Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway

The Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway is 80 miles long, stretching from south to north on state Highway 9 and running through portions of Cleburne, Calhoun, Cherokee and DeKalb counties. This drive also weaves along Lookout Mountain and passes by plenty of other natural wonders, including Little River Canyon National Reserve, Talladega National Forest and the Dugger Mountain Wilderness Area, to name a few.

Enjoy a ride and soak up your surroundings with family, friends or solo.

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all and go on a drive. Fortunately, every state has at least one glorious drive that's both relaxing and picturesque. Before you pull the car out of the garage, consider one of these scenic drives throughout the United States.

Alabama: Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway

The Appalachian Highlands Scenic Byway is 80 miles long, stretching from south to north on state Highway 9 and running through portions of Cleburne, Calhoun, Cherokee and DeKalb counties. This drive also weaves along Lookout Mountain and passes by plenty of other natural wonders, including Little River Canyon National Reserve, Talladega National Forest and the Dugger Mountain Wilderness Area, to name a few.

Alaska: Hatcher Pass Scenic Drive

Hatcher Pass Scenic Drive is a local favorite in Alaska – and for good reason. The 60-mile Hatcher Pass Road (aka Fishhook Road) lies in the Talkeetna Mountains between the towns of Willow and Palmer, and takes you through stunning mountain landscapes that are dotted with wildflowers and wildlife, not to mention spectacular views. Keep in mind, the mostly gravel road is only open from July through September and can be closed at any time due to dangerous conditions (this area is some of the earliest to get snow in Alaska).

Arizona: U.S. Route 66

U.S. Route 66 has a reputation of being equal parts scenic and quirky. Along this hundreds-mile-long drive, you'll twist and turn along natural wonders like the Petrified Forest National Park and the Kaibab Plateau, where you can get a peek of the Grand Canyon. You'll also drive by fun roadside attractions including kitschy Americana gift shops, Old Western-style towns and interesting roadside accommodations, including Wigwam Village.

Arkansas: Pig Trail

The Pig Trail offers drivers the chance to get up close and personal with Arkansas' Ozark Mountains. This 19-mile-long journey along state Highway 23 to state Highway 16 lives among the leafy Boston Mountain region of the Ozarks, affording superb views of the forests year-round. Plan a trip during the fall for incredible foliage or come in the spring to watch the wildflowers are you glide by.

California: Sierra Vista Scenic Byway

This 90-mile central California byway skirts the edges of the south entrance to Yosemite National Park, so expect incredible vistas and varying terrain throughout. Along the road, you'll encounter landscapes that have stood the test of time, including forested areas surrounding stately granite peaks and domes. You'll also find patches of old sequoia trees, including one of the world's oldest, the 2,700-year-old Bull Buck Tree.

Colorado: Independence Pass

Independence Pass spans a stunning stretch of state Highway 82 in Colorado. Not only will you get an eyeful of beautiful landscapes, such as mountain wilderness of the Continental Divide, but you'll also drive through charming towns like Aspen – one of the best places to visit in Colorado – and Twin Lakes. The drive is about 32 miles long and there are several stops along the way for travelers to pull off and take in the views.

Connecticut: Litchfield Landscapes

This drive weaves through Connecticut for 75 miles, beginning and ending in Goshen along state routes 63 and 4. Sights you'll see along the way include beautiful rolling hills, vineyards and lakes. You can also stop in the village of West Cornwall to see its historic covered bridge and scenic riverside.

Delaware: Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

What this scenic byway lacks in length (it's only 12.25 miles long), it more than makes up for in beauty and history. Pass through the city of Wilmington before entering the rural countryside where you'll see historic roads that played a major role in Delaware's industrial past. The trip is along state Route 52 and state Route 100.

Florida: Florida Keys Highway

There's nothing quite like driving down a highway that's entirely surrounded by the ocean. The Florida Keys Highway (aka the Overseas Highway) is 100-some miles long and allows travelers to enjoy tiny beach towns, stunning scenery and bridges along the way. The journey begins near Miami, continuing along U.S. Route 1 from Key Largo to conclude in Key West.

Georgia: Cohutta-Chattahoochee Scenic Byway

This 54-mile route begins at the historic Prater's Mill in Whitfield County and ends in Murray County, Georgia. Peer at rolling hills and the Cohutta Mountains as you roll into breathtaking Chattahoochee National Forest. And while here, don't forget to stop at the mountaintop overlook at Fort Mountain State Park.

Hawaii: Mauna Loa Road

Mauna Loa Road may span 11.5 miles one-way, but you'll see plenty as you follow the scenic Highway 11 West. Expect to see old lava flows and forests, as well as views of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

Idaho: Mesa Falls Scenic Byway

Mesa Falls Scenic Byway starts at state Route 47 in Ashton and runs northeast to the old Bear Gulch Ski Area before turning northwest along Forest Service Route 294 to U.S. Route 20. This nearly 30-mile journey takes you past two spectacular waterfalls – Lower and Upper Mesa Falls – and through Harriman State Park.

Illinois: Great River Road

The Great River Road of Illinois will take you on a scenic tour along the Mississippi River. The 550-mile-long route traces the western border of Illinois and travelers can enjoy stops in historic towns, in addition to views of bluffs, riverside scenery and vineyards. Plan a stop in historic Galena for shopping, but also make time for excursions in Moline, Rock Island and Grafton.

Indiana: Ohio River Scenic Byway

Southern Indiana's Ohio River Scenic Byway, which stretches hundreds of miles along the state's southern border, will take you through some of the most beautiful lands of the Hoosier State. Drive by the Falls of Ohio State Park along the river in Clarksville, peer at prehistoric burial mounds near Evansville and admire historic buildings and riverside haunts.

Iowa: Covered Bridges Scenic Byway

Madison County, Iowa, is well-known for its beautifully restored and celebrated covered bridges. This 82-mile byway, which is made up of both paved and gravel roads, takes you past some of the most popular covered bridges in the area along with natural reserves and John Wayne's birthplace.

Kansas: Prairie Trail Scenic Byway

The 56-mile Prairie Trail Scenic Byway of Kansas starts in Canton and ends at Interstate 70 north of Ellsworth. This byway is a throwback to our nation's history, considering Native Americans, explorers and pioneers used this road to find food and shelter. Kansas is fairly flat, so expect to see plenty of rolling pastures and fields just as they were hundreds of years ago.

Kentucky: Duncan Hines Scenic Road

Duncan Hines Scenic Road runs mostly along Kentucky's U.S. Route 31 West. This route, which is largely rural, begins and ends at the home of famous businessman and food critic Duncan Hines in Bowling Green. Along the 80-mile loop, you pass through Mammoth Cave National Park as well as the town of Smiths Grove.

Louisiana: Cajun Corridor

Louisiana's Cajun Corridor will take you through 34 miles of rural land along state Highway 14, featuring coastal ridges, drained marshes and crawfish farms. Explore the land where oysters and fresh shrimp are plentiful and cane syrup and homemade pecan pie are always on the menu.

Maine: Rangeley Lakes

The 52-mile Rangeley Lakes scenic drive runs along state routes 4 and 17, lining the perimeter of Rangeley Lake and continuing on to the Appalachian Mountain ridgeline. Here, you have the chance to discover forests, mountains and hills, and wildlife such as moose. Consider checking out the area during fall for amazing autumn foliage.

Maryland: Baltimore's Historic Charles Street

Baltimore's famous Charles Street features cultural, residential and commercial stretches that define this prominent city. This scenic drive will take you past historic mansions and gardens, pubs and restaurants, Baltimore's oldest school (the Friends School) and Johns Hopkins University.

Massachusetts: Jacob's Ladder Trail Scenic Byway

Jacob's Ladder Trail Scenic Byway is famous for its history and beauty. This trail, which was first opened in 1910, is set among the Berkshires, offering a path to cross the mountains with views of beautiful rolling hills, rivers and woodlands as its backdrop. The 33-mile journey runs between the towns of Lee and Russell, along state Route 20.

Michigan: Red Arrow Highway

This scenic drive takes you north on state Route 12 from New Buffalo along the shores of Lake Michigan and through the state's many lakefront towns. You'll pass gorgeous Lake Michigan beaches, orchards and vineyards, and quaint villages such as Union Pier, Lakeside and Harbert.

Minnesota: St. Croix Scenic Byway

St. Croix Scenic Byway gives way to 124 miles of rolling hills and towering pines in eastern Minnesota. Start in Point Douglas near Hastings, then travel north to Sandstone, Minnesota, while peering at rugged rocks, cliffs, numerous clear water lakes and woods along the way.

Mississippi: Great River Road National Scenic Byway

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway stretches through multiple states including Arkansas, Illinois and Iowa. However, the Mississippi portion, which stretches along the Mississippi River, gives you front-row access to charming river towns, historic military sites and understated natural beauty.

Missouri: Blue Buck Knob National Forest Scenic Byway

Missouri's Blue Buck Knob National Forest Scenic Byway offers views of wooded lands and streams within Mark Twain National Forest. This 24-mile-long drive offers overlooks with panoramic views, rugged terrain, wildflowers and lakes. You can also stop for a 9-mile hike around Noblett Lake or a horseback ride with a local vendor.

Montana: Beartooth Highway

The state of Montana is strikingly gorgeous, but Beartooth Highway takes that beauty up a notch. This drive, which is located in Yellowstone Country, lasts 68 miles and features one of the highest elevations of any road in the Northern Rockies. Expect to see amazing mountain views, picturesque valleys and glacial lakes, among other natural wonders. Keep in mind this road is closed typically from October through May, due to hazardous weather conditions.

Nebraska: Bridges to Buttes Highway

Nebraska's nearly 200-mile-long Bridges to Buttes Byway takes you through diverse landscapes, including the Nebraska National Forest and Pine Ridge National Recreation Area. This road stretches east of Valentine at the junction of U.S. Highways 83 and 20 to the Wyoming border, offering wide-open natural spaces, working ranches and dramatic landscapes.

Nevada: Extraterrestrial Highway

Nevada's Extraterrestrial Highway, state Route 375, is the stuff legends are made of. This 98-mile-long road runs close to Nellis Air Force Range's iconic Area 51, which is rumored to be a hub for paranormal activity.

New Hampshire: Kancamagus Scenic Byway

This 35-mile scenic byway takes travelers along state Route 112 through the White Mountains of New Hampshire and also passes by Mount Kancamagus. As such, you'll encounter numerous scenic areas and overlooks, natural forests and stunning mountain views throughout your journey. If you have time, stop at the Russell Colbath Historic Site for lessons on colonial history.

New Jersey: Ocean Drive

Ocean Drive, which stretches along the Jersey Shore, runs from Ocean City to Strathmere. This scenic cruise takes you along the coast to Sea Isle City, Avalon and Stone Harbor, with beautiful ocean views as the backdrop.

New Mexico: Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway

Santa Fe National Forest Scenic Byway is home to trailheads, picnic areas and campgrounds galore, making it ideal for a drive with intermittent stops. Discover this area's beautiful terrain, towering peaks, and slopes that shimmer with snow in the winter and boast gold and crimson foliage during the fall.

New York: High Peaks Scenic Byway

This 30-mile scenic byway lives up to its name, taking you along 40 high peaks in the Adirondacks. On this drive along state Route 73, you'll also encounter awe-inspiring waterways, spectacular mountain passes and serene river valleys, forests and hamlets. Cruise on through or stop to go hiking, boating, rock climbing or whitewater rafting.

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains are renowned for their greenery and lush vegetation. This scenic parkway, which spans 252 miles in western North Carolina, boasts stunning vistas, endless forests and twists and turns that will help you stay alert during this quiet, peaceful drive. Plan a stop to hike up a mountain or discover one of North Carolina's famous waterfalls.

North Dakota: Devils Lake Loop

Devils Lake is a popular tourist attraction in North Dakota thanks to its boating, fishing and camping opportunities. Tourists who want to take it in during a drive can view vast open plains, stunning wooded hills and of course, Devils Lake (the state's largest body of water).

Ohio: Amish Country Byway

Amish Country Byway in northeastern Ohio takes you through more than 76 miles of rolling hills and introduces you to snapshots of Amish living. You'll encounter horse-drawn buggies, simple homesteads and traditional farms as you travel back in time to see how life used to be.

Oklahoma: Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway

The nearly 100-mile Wichita Mountains Scenic Byway boasts winding roads, rocky lowlands, rolling prairies and towering trees with leaves that display amazing crimson and yellow hues during fall. You also drive through Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge during this journey, which could mean seeing giant buffalo and other wildlife.

Oregon: Pacific Coast Scenic Byway

Oregon's Pacific Coast Scenic Byway lasts 363 miles and gets you up close to the expansive Pacific Ocean. The byway begins in Astoria and ends in Brookings, Oregon, with amazing Pacific Northwest scenery, quaint coastal towns, lighthouses and plenty of stunning beaches along the way.

Pennsylvania: Delaware River Valley

Pennsylvania is home to numerous scenic byways, including the roads along the Delaware River Valley which include state Route 611, Little Creek Road and Belvidere Highway. Along this path, you'll enjoy picturesque cliffs overlooking the Delaware River as well as farmland and beautiful country views.

Rhode Island: Ocean Avenue and Fort Adams

Newport, Rhode Island, boasts historic mansions, dramatic waterfront vistas and jaw-dropping ocean views. Take Ocean Avenue through town for 10 miles to see all that, in addition to the bridges of Newport and views of the neighboring community of Jamestown.

South Carolina: Hilton Head Scenic Highway

Hilton Head Scenic Highway is an 8-mile stretch of mostly undeveloped highway found along the path to the beautiful island of Hilton Head in South Carolina. Tourists take this drive to enjoy the open road and the area's lush greenery and wetlands, typically en route to a Hilton Head beach vacation.

South Dakota: Badlands Loop State Scenic Byway

South Dakota's Badlands hardly look like they belong on earth thanks to their desert, Mars-like appearance. Along the 39-mile Badlands Loop you'll encounter breathtaking rock formations, towering peaks, native grasslands and wildlife galore. You'll also find 16 Instagram-worthy scenic overlooks.

Tennessee: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains offer the ideal backdrop for a scenic drive thanks to the area's winding roads, dramatic mountain peaks and sweeping panoramic views of the valleys below. Stop at one of the scenic overlooks for a photo, or stay for a night in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge (two of Tennessee's top places to visit) and plan to hike, fish or camp.

Texas: Bandera Pass

Texas Hill Country is known for its wineries and wide-open swaths of land. Bandera Pass, which was originally used by settlers passing through the area, offers stunning views along state Highway 16 of the rolling hills and prairies of this popular Texas tourist destination.

Utah: Dead Horse Point

Just 9 miles north of Moab (one of Utah's best places to visit) is Dead Horse Point on state Route 313. The drive up to this point off of U.S. Route 191 passes through 14 miles of red rocks and amazing canyons. Once you reach Dead Horse Point, you'll find one of the most photographed vistas in the area along with incredible views of the Colorado River Canyon below.

Vermont: Lake Champlain Byway

Northwestern Vermont is the home of Lake Champlain and its scenic byway. This road runs north to south along U.S. Route 2 through Grand Isle County and beyond, featuring spectacular lake scenery and views of both the Green Mountains and New York's Adirondacks.

Virginia: Skyline Drive

Virginia's Skyline Drive winds through Shenandoah National Park along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are nearly 70 overlooks here perfect for eyeballing the area's natural beauty. In addition to stunning mountains, you'll also spot wildlife such as deer, black bears and wild turkeys on the route.

Washington: The Cascade Loop

Washington's 440-mile-long Cascade Loop offers striking mountainous terrain, dramatic lake views and miles of evergreen forest. Spring brings lush greenery, melting snow and rushing rivers, but keep in mind the road is closed during winter due to safety concerns.

West Virginia: Highland Scenic Highway

The Highland Scenic Highway does an excellent job of putting the state's natural beauty on display. Extending 43 miles, the Highland Scenic Highway offers stunning mountain and valley views along with exciting recreational opportunities should you want to break up the drive, including the chance to hike the famous Appalachian Trail.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin Lake Superior Byway

Wisconsin's Lake Superior Byway along state Highway 13 features 70 miles of stellar shoreline views along Lake Superior's southern coast, in addition to scenic forest views, pristine beaches and historic fishing villages. While this route is popular year-round, leaf-lovers flock here during fall to enjoy spectacular orange- and red-hued fall foliage.

Wyoming: Beartooth Highway

If you just want to get away from it all, consider escaping to Beartooth Highway just east of Yellowstone National Park along U.S. Route 212. This windy 40-mile path will take you through the state's Shoshone National Forest for views of the open plains, mountains and miles of natural scenery.
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