America is home to stunning drives around the country that show off jaw-droppingly dramatic landscapes and dreamy nature. Here are some of the most scenic drives in the USA that will stoke your wanderlust.
GOING-TO-THE-SUN ROAD – GLACIER, MONTANA
Almost 50 miles carved into the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park in Montana, USA is the only road that traverses the park, providing access to Logan Pass at the Continental Divide. This alpine road is so winding it takes up to ten weeks for snowploughs to clear them each year, so the best time to visit is later in the summer and early autumn. For safety reasons, 45 miles per hour is the speed limit in the lower elevations of the road and 25 miles per hour in the alpine section. Please be careful around blind curves as animals and pedestrians do cross the road.
SKYLINE DRIVE – SHENADOAH, VIRGINIA
Skyline Drive in the USA is a 105-mile mountain road that runs the length of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia while giving grand vistas at every bend in the road. There are 75 overlooks, providing stunning views of the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont. It is extremely stunning in the summer and autumn. You can park your car on an overlook, get out and let your eyes wander the expansive surrounding scenery in fronts of you such as cascading waterfalls, rock summits, colourful flowers and marvellous birds of prey and appreciate its beauty.
CADES COVE LOOP, TENNESSEE
Located deep into Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop makes for a perfect leisure drive. Spend 2 to 3 hours exploring an early 1800s European settlement and appreciate the fresh air and beauty of the mountains. There is a working grist mill, called Cable Mill. Come on inside and talk with the miller, open daily March to October and on weekends in November. Cades Cove can get very crowded, so plan to visit early in the day or in the off-season to beat the traffic jams.
THE OVERSEAS HIGHWAY, MIAMI TO KEY WEST
The Overseas Highway, sometimes called ‘The Highway that goes to sea’, stretches from Miami to Key West through all the Keys in the USA. Drivers can experience the natural beauty of the ever-changing scenery of the seas and wilderness bordering the roadway and the magnificent sunrises and sunsets. Holiday weekends aside, Miami to Key West should not take more than four hours. Take note that the winter months tend to attract more tourists.
NORTH CASCADES SCENIC BYWAY, WASHINGTON
This 140-mile byway spans the section of the Cascade Loop from Twisp in the Methow Valley to Sedro-Woolley in the Skagit Valley in the USA. It is surrounded by jagged peaks and valleys, waterfalls and more than 300 turquoise azure glaciers within the North Cascades National Park. Like most mountain passes, this is closed in the winter due to snow. North Cascades is relatively far away from society, the nearest airport is Seattle. Do not forget to stop at Ross and Diablo Dam Overlooks for iconic photos.
US RT 163, MONUMENT VALLEY, UTAH
US Rt 163 is the 64-mile highway stretching from Arizona through the Navajo Nation in Southern Utah, showing off the dramatic and beautiful landscapes of Utah in Monument Valley. This drive will allow you to take in the red rocks and cliffs, one of the most iconic scenes in the USA. Plan about two hours to make this drive and take time to stop for photography. The nearest major airport to Monument Valley is in Flagstaff, Arizona.
PARK LOOP ROAD – ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, MAINE
The 27-mile Park Loop Road is the primary avenue for navigating through Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island by vehicle. It offers scenic ocean vistas where the rocks hit the water and the forest changes colours with the seasons. Make sure to plan extra time to stop for hiking and photography. Do not be afraid to check out surrounding areas, but always use caution whenever near the shore and especially when near the high cliffs.
TRAIL RIDGE ROAD – ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO
If you thought the journey to Rocky Mountain National Park in the USA was beautiful, just wait until you experience Trail Ridge Road. Known appropriately as the ‘Highway to the Sky’, the road crosses the Continental Divide at a whopping 12,183 feet. Colorado has also designated Trail Ridge Road as a scenic and historic byway. This high alpine road is only open from Memorial Day through mid-October when roads are clear of ice and snow.