If you love signs, we bet you’re fond of road trips. Long drives are a great way to see as many signs as possible—as well as majestic natural panoramas and other exciting sights. Here are our top-ten picks for beautiful scenic drives in the United States. Pack a bag, give your vehicle a quick once-over, and get going!
10. Highway 2, Nebraska
One of the best scenic drives in the Midwest is Highway 2. This route crosses prairies and gently rolling hills, heads through the Nebraska National Forest at about the halfway point, and continues southeast. Along the way, you’ll see some of the state’s loveliest wildflowers plus various waterways, sand hills, and rock formations. If you like your journey relatively flat with a few surprises in store, this is a trip you won’t want to miss.
9. State Route 12, Utah
If you’ve dreamed of visiting Utah but aren’t sure where to start, why not take a long drive through the state? The entire length of State Route 12, also known as “Scenic Byway 12,” makes for a perfect weekend trip. The route extends from Capitol Reef National Park to just beyond Bryce Canyon National Park. In between, you can detour on many scenic backways and stop at numerous stunning lookout points as well. You’ll see incredible rock formations and other points of interest.
8. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia & North Carolina
If you’re itching to head south on your vacation, be sure to check out the Blue Ridge Parkway. This astounding route connects Shenandoah National Park with Great Smokey Mountains National Park. This drive is particularly popular in the fall, when the leaves have lost their chlorophyll and the mountains are a blaze of color. Regardless of the time of year, you’ll get to see beautiful mountain vistas and a variety of wildlife.
7. Columbia River Highway, Oregon
A west–east road, the Columbia River Highway is also called the “King of Roads,” and with good reason. This historic highway is actually the first scenic highway in America, so you know it’s full of incomparable beauty. This route passes museums, the Bonneville Dam, the Lewis and Clark Trail, amazing waterfalls, and overlooks of the river gorge. If you’re a history buff, this drive is one you’ll want to add to your to-do list.
6. Anchorage to Valdez, Alaska
Alaskan cruises don’t allow you to spend much time exploring the interior. If you really want to brave the cold, we recommend flying to the state and spending your time driving from Anchorage to Valdez. This horseshoe-shaped route leads you past some of the most beautiful country on Earth: snow-capped mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and hiking trails. And be sure to stop and have your picture taken by the sign at Jackass Creek!
5. Million Dollar Highway, Colorado
You don’t have to be rich to drive the Million Dollar Highway! This curvy mountainside route, which is free of guardrails, features a steep drop-off and multiple switchbacks. It’s definitely an item to add to your bucket list if you revel in extreme adventures. The payoff is the breathtaking views of the Rockies you’ll get to take in as you go. Remember to bring a camera or you’ll kick yourself.
4. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
While accounts of how it got its name differ, there’s no doubt that traveling Going-to-the-Sun Road is an unforgettable experience. This winding mountain highway in Glacier National Park affords steep downward views on one side as well as the opportunity to see Jackson Glacier. You’ll also see wildlife and have the chance to camp or picnic along the way. This fabulous route can be driven in a day, so set aside a weekend and go to the sun!
3. U.S. Route 1, Florida
Florida’s “Highway That Goes to Sea” is a much more appropriate moniker for boring-sounding U.S. Route 1. This overseas highway takes drivers from the mainland of the state to the Florida Keys. The route, which consists primarily of bridges, spans limestone and coral formations and crosses waters that vary in color from green to blue. You’ll also see palm trees, sea birds, boats, and peaceful expanses of sky. Sunrises and sunsets are particularly spectacular, so make time to pull over and take them in.
2. Hana Highway, Hawaii
If you happen to find yourself in Hawaii at some point (lucky dog!), it’s worth your while to drive along the Hana Highway. This route follows the northeastern coast of Maui, so you’re all set for some gorgeous views of the ocean. You’ll get to see the various volcanoes of the neighboring islands, different beaches, intensely blue waters, a number of one-lane bridges (about 50 bridges in total), craters, and waterfalls. But be careful: You might not want to come home!
1. Pacific Coast Highway, California
Finally, our top scenic drive in the country is the Pacific Coast Highway. Fans of the West Coast, the sea, and marvelous scenery will love this route that winds along the Pacific Ocean. This several-hour drive passes quaint communities, historic places and buildings such as old missions, expansive parks, massive redwoods, Bixby Bridge, and a number of other attractions. Many stretches of the road feature steep drop-offs for thrill-seekers.
Sometimes, taking the road more traveled makes all the difference. Thousands of visitors can’t be wrong! Pick one of these top scenic drives, and be prepared for the experience of a lifetime.