Scenic Drives Sure to Leave You Breathless

No matter the season, it is always prime time to get out into the great outdoors—after all, a natural high is the only way to go. Here are some scenic drives that are sure to take your breath away.
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Spring flowers on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Spring flowers on the Blue Ridge Parkway  (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

With more than 100 scenic byways throughout America, there is plenty to see and do on the road no matter the time of year. So, as the seasons roll by, jump in the car and take in fall’s vibrant leaves, winter’s snowy wonderland, spring’s wildflowers, and summer’s long hours of light.

Skyline Drive/Blue Ridge Parkway
Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee
Skyline Drive, which starts in the Shenandoah National Park, winds 105 miles through the western mountains of Virginia and links up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway then link Virginia to the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina and Smokey Mountains in Southern Tennessee. Since the elevation ranges from 650 to 6,000 feet, there is a wide range of time to see fall color.

White Mountains Trail Scenic Byway
New Hampshire
The 100-mile White Mountains Trail will take you through some of the most beautiful parts of New Hampshire. It passes through the famous White Mountains and around Mount Washington, which is stunning in both the fall and spring for scenic drives or hiking. Moose are plentiful in the White Mountains, so whether you’re on four wheels, two wheels, or two feet, keep a watchful eye.

State Route 169
Take State Route 169 through Connecticut and explore what is said to be “one of the last unspoiled areas in New England.” Drive the entire length from Lisbon to the Massachusetts state line and you will pass through nearly 25 quaint New England towns. This area is famous for its colonial history, with farmhouses and churches that are framed by brilliant colors in the fall.

State Route A1A
The historic Florida A1A byway runs almost the length of the eastern coast of Florida from Amelia Island at the Georgia state line to Key West. Along this route you’ll pass through seemingly endless beachfront towns, including St. Augustine, which is the oldest continually occupied European settlement in the United States, Cocoa Beach, which was the site of NASA shuttle launches, and Miami’s famous South Beach.

Country Music Highway
Take a ride along Kentucky’s historic Country Music Highway and experience the Bluegrass State the way it’s meant to be explored, with the radio up and the windows down. Many country music stars were once locals along this route, including Billy Ray Cyrus, Winona Judd, and Loretta Lynn. With images of horses running alongside their fences, and maybe a stop on the Bourbon Trail, you will certainly leave the rolling hills of Kentucky with a lyric or two of your own.

Highway 101/California State Route 1
California, Oregon, Washington
Both Highway 101 and California State Route 1 run north-south along the California, Oregon, and Washington coastline. These routes are also known as the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Pacific Highway, and the Oregon Coast Highway. Start in Southern California, and when Hwy 101 branches off inland, take SR 1 along the magnificent California coastline. Plenty of views of both the coast and forests, like Redwood National Forest, will be captured.

Published: 26 Sep 2012 | Last Updated: 11 Oct 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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