One of the most underrated trips in America is the road trip. The country is so diverse in nature that the longer the trip, the more incredible the vacation gets. If you are an adventure seeker and adore traveling, our list of the most beautiful states to drive through in America will help you mark your starting point. Happy driving!
You have your tank filled up, best company seated in the back, tunes volume up and it’s time to hit the open road. You are searching for the most scenic drives in America to conquer and can’t really decide which states to visit. That is where we come in!
American roads have a lot of natural beauty to offer to its bold travelers. Stunning landscapes and a variety of flora and fauna, high mountains, wild and thick forests, marvelous canyons and long and mysterious coastlines are ready to be seen if you dare to explore these most beautiful states to drive through in America. As an excellent guide through all the scenic roads across the USA, we recommend The Most Scenic Drives in America book, revised and updated by Editors of Reader’s Digest. For a long time, one among the top 10 scenic drives in the USA was Patchwork Parkway, which again is reconfirmed through the following text.
According to the data from the FHA (Federal Highway Administration), there are 4.1 million mile roads currently in the US. The pavement system has been expanded throughout the whole country and if you are attracted by the hardwood forests to explore, it is almost impossible to stumble upon some road difficulties.
It is a high priority for the prosperous economy to have better roads and highways so, according to the research conducted by Reader’s Digest for economy purposes in their rankings, it can be useful to know that the top 3 best roads in America by state are in Kansas, Wisconsin and Montana. Interestingly, none of these states is found among these most beautiful states to drive through in America on our list.
Touring from the shorelines of Hawaii to the northern and rural Alaska and all the others in between, we will try to contribute to your quest and answer your might-be-wondering questions such as: ’Are there any scenic driving routes near me?’, or ‘Which driving route is the closest to me?’, so you can finally begin your journey.
As for the resources and ranking, we have visited many forums, have analyzed many opinions and discussion and have seen many extraordinary and breathtaking pictures. The ones that really helped to form the following suggestions of the panoramic drives to take are National Geographic, giving us an insight into the most famous America’s byways, and America’s Scenic Byways which provided us with the map collection of diverse roads of both All-American and National Scenic Byways as well as the map with mileage and travel duration information. The number of scenic roads in each state has been calculated and the list was formed according to it. Keep in mind that these are not only the states that have the most beautiful byways but some of them are also considered as the Most Beautiful States in the US.
These 12 most beautiful states to drive through in America beg you to be explored so don’t waste any time. Turn the camera on and let’s hit the road!
Number of scenic roads: 25
There are many scenic roads to drive through in Nevada. Long roads that cross the stunning mountains and wild parks are just some of the wonders there. You just have to make a plan and try one of the twenty-five scenic byways. Maybe you could start with the Loneliest Road in America, which approximately takes about 5 or 6 hours to tour. It’s a fascinating corridor of historic value. However, if you are interested in urban scenery and have only about half an hour to spare, Las Vegas Strip is the perfect for you. The unique neon lights along the road are impossible to forget.
Number of scenic roads: 25
Since Colorado and Nevada share the same number of scenic roads, they are occupy the same position on this list. Its breathtaking landscape and exciting nature attract the adventurers mostly, such as climbers, hikers and bikers, but you should know that in Colorado you can also find some peace and tranquility. Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway combine nature and relaxation so during the 80-minute tour you can also visit other tourist attractions such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Eldora Ski Resort and many others. Colorado is an excellent destination to explore and has a lot to offer to future visitors.
Number of scenic roads: 26
Florida is often associated with the marvelous turquoise color, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, pristine beaches and long coastlines. The most popular road, not only in Florida but the USA, is Florida Keys Scenic Byways. This road takes only about 4 hours to fall in love forever. If you prefer routes through the thick forests, you can drive through Green Mountain Scenic Byway for about the same time as you would the Florida Keys. You can’t go worng with whatever you choose!
Number of scenic roads: 26
It is difficult to deny the sheer beauty of Arizona when it comes to flora and fauna world. The first image that comes to mind to many people when they think of Arizona is often related to the cacti of enormous sizes in the middle of the desert. From the Desert to the Tall Pines Scenic Road is definitely a tour that appears to be going in the favor of cacti and desert. A majority of the road names are given by the Native American tribes, like, for example, Apache Trail Historic Road and Navajo Mountain Scenic Road, which stands for tremendous opportunities to explore the first dwellings of the Native Americans. Enjoy your history classes while driving through one of these most beautiful states to drive through in America.
8. New Mexico
Number of scenic roads: 27
Recommended as one of the must-do drives of 2015 by National Geographic, New Mexico counts about 27 scenic roads and byways worth of visiting. Diverse sceneries and astonishing landscapes are perfect for exploring and adventurous trips. The grassland of La Frontera del Llano Byway stretches around 94 miles through the Wild West. Another significant road to drive through is Abo Pass Trail and you’ll only need about 30-60 minutes to tour. Apart from historical and economic importance, the amazing panorama of the Manzano Mountains along the road will make you stop and get out of your car. You better bring a good camera! If you are interested to see the traditional rural lifestyle, New Mexico is a must-see state.
Number of scenic roads: 28
If you want to see the beauty of outdoors to its fullest, the most effective season is definitely autumn. Ohio is very often described as the least explored state for its hidden oasis, parks and lesser-known landscapes. The Wonderland of Ohio, or officially Hocking Hills Scenic Byways, completely confirms its title as the scenes in this part of Ohio are simply magnificent and impressive in autumn. Beside this romantic place, the perfect destination to tour with your loved one is Covered Bridge Scenic Byway. You’ll need about 4 hours to get to those ‘kissing bridges’ as they were entitled by the youth. It’s all about love in Ohio!
Number of scenic roads: 30
Washington State, as a real example of nature’s diversity took the sixth place on our list of the most beautiful states to drive through in America. The majestic mountains and freshness of nature will make you not only drive through it but to stay some time to explore and see the wonders of Washington. The Cascade Loop is a ride which is an ideal destination for your vacations as it takes about 2-4 days to drive the long 440 miles. While touring the loop, you can see the Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains and parts of the Columbia River Valley. Take a couple of days free and make beautiful memories.
Number of scenic roads: 31
Idaho with its spectacular alpine lakes and unique sand dunes represents one of the states that have been quite unexplored. That’s one reason more why Idaho should be on your tour list if you decide to drive across the breathtaking landscapes. National Geographic has suggested Salmon River Scenic Route as a must-visit stop. It’ll take around 4 hours of touring needed to see this extraordinary beauty.
Number of scenic roads: 39
Well, Utah and Oregon both have the same number of amazing roads to drive through. Utah is an excellent place if you love deserted terrains. The Capitol Reef Country Scenic Byway, which is around 60 miles long, is located in the south-central Utah. The park is famous for its contrasting layers of earth and stone, canyons, towers and cliffs so it can remind you of the history of the Wild West. Along with the Capitol Reef, an important historic scene in Utah is Patchwork Parkway, which held the top place as the most beautiful landscape in Utah for long.
Number of scenic roads: 39
A spectacular combination of waves, rocks and trees on hills in Smith Rock is one of the wonders of one of the most beautiful states to drive through in America, Oregon. The breathtaking landscape is a unique feast for the senses and represents a popular attraction in peak seasons and weekends. It would be such a pity not to recommend to drive through Cascada Lakes Scenic Byways. The road is a unique cut through high mountains, thick forests and breathtaking views of the lakes. Believe it or not, Cascada Lakes panorama gave us the goosebumps!
2. North Carolina
Number of scenic roads: 55
With the amazingly large number of 55 spectacular roads, North Carolina is close to the top of our list. The Ridge Parkway is definitely the most charming place in North Carolina you have to visit. If you are interested in animal and plant worlds, you mustn’t skip Cherohala Skyway – North Carolina. We have to highlight one more byway, Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. For the wood-lovers, it is a paradise on Earth!
Number of scenic roads: 65
With coral islands and charming colors of the blue nuisance, California stands for one of the fascinating states of never-ending roads extended throughout Washington and Oregon as well. California is also well-known for the wine production and it is necessary to mention the Silverado Trail as a National Geographic must-do drives of 2015. Since California is on the top of our list of 12 most beautiful states to drive through in America, we strongly advise to visit all of 65 scenes numbered. Happy drive!