The Top 10 U.S. Wildlife Adventures
|A blue heron in Everglades National Park (Rubberball/Getty Images)|
Victory Basin, Vermont
In fall, drive the Victory Road south of Gallup Mills. This part-paved, part-dirt route crosses Victory Basin, where vibrant colors of broad-leaved trees—yellow birch, American beech, and sugar maple—are interspersed with sphagnum bog and stands of black and red spruce. White-tailed deer spend the winter here, and watch out for moose and the rare black-backed woodpecker.
Mouth of the Delaware, Delaware
Start at New Castle, founded by the Dutch in 1651, and follow Rte. 9 over the high bridge across the Chesapeake–Delaware Canal toward Penn Port, named for William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. The road passes through salt marshes—be sure to visit Woodland Beach's tidal marshes, which have blue herons and snowy egrets. Also stop by Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge to see migrating birds before joining Rte. 8 to Dover.
Indian River Lagoon Scenic Highway, Florida
On the Atlantic coast of Florida, drive on Rte. 1 and Rte. A1A between Wabasso and Titusville through a habitat with more species of estuary wildlife than anywhere else in North America. And if three national wildlife refuges and several state parks and sanctuaries fail to impress, there's always the Kennedy Space Center, and the McLarty Treasure Museum, with shipwrecked Spanish treasures.
Loess Hills Scenic Byway, Iowa
This route in western Iowa between the small communities of Akron and Hamburg follows the Missouri River through prairie and forest-covered bluffs made of wind-blown silt. To the north of Akron (the northern terminus of the byway) lies the Broken Kettle Grasslands, famed for its profusion of prairie butterflies such as the dusted skipper.
Creole Nature Trail, Louisiana
Passing bayous, marshlands, and beaches in the Louisiana Outback along the Gulf of Mexico, this 180-mile (290 km) route—accessed via I-10—has been designated an All-American Road by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It crosses three wildlife refuges and a bird sanctuary, and with two major bird migration flyways passing through, the area is one of the best birding places in the U.S. More than 300 species stop here, including tree swallows, kingbirds, kingfishers, Orchard Orioles, and Yellow-billed Cuckoos. On warm, sunny days, however, a favored local activity is alligator spotting.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication