Every state's most beautiful scenic byway



Slide 1 of 51: America is without a doubt the home of the road trip so it's hardly surprising that there are more than 120 National Scenic, National Forest Scenic Byways and Parkways in the country. As there are three states without any officially recognized scenic byways or parkways – Nebraska, Rhode Island and Texas – we've picked our favorite drives there. Now, fasten your seat belt and join us as we travel down America's most beautiful scenic byways.
Slide 2 of 51: Around 130 miles (209km) long, Alabama's Coastal Connection showcases the best of the state's Gulf Coast, from quiet bays and wildlife-rich sanctuaries to immaculate white-sand beaches and historic forts. Alabama's southern tip offers five different possible itineraries, based on your interests, whether it's history, food or nature. The full route runs from Spanish Fort through Daphne and Fairhope via Magnolia Springs and Elberta to Orange Beach, along Gulf Shores to Dauphin Island and finishes in Grand Bay.
Slide 3 of 51: A section of Alaska Route 1 (AK-1), going from Anchorage to Seward, runs through such scenic spots like Kenai Peninsula, Kenai Mountains and Chugach National Forest. Taking in jagged peaks, breathtaking fjords and alpine meadows, it's even possible to spot beluga whales in the water. Just 127 miles (204km) long, it takes just over four hours to drive, but you can easily plan a two-day itinerary by stopping at some of the most pretty and historic spots along the way. 
Slide 4 of 51: Winding through Arizona's Red Rock Country, the Red Rock Scenic Byway is often called a museum without walls. Traversing incredible red rock and desert landscapes, the State Route 179 runs south from Sedona through the Red Rock State Park to the junction with Interstate 17. There are also several trailheads, accessed directly from the road, offering plenty options for day hikes. Don't miss the Cathedral Rock and the Bell Rock vista at the start of the southern trailhead.

Slide 5 of 51: Running the width of Arkansas, from the Louisiana state border near El Dorado to Diamond City near the Missouri state border, the Scenic 7 Byway runs along Highway 7. Around 60 miles (97km) of the 290-mile-long (467km) drive pass through the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests, offering plenty of opportunities to take in the incredible landscape. There are several campgrounds along the route as well as opportunities to hike, mountain bike or canoe within a few miles of the highway.
Slide 6 of 51: A famed stretch of the California coast, Big Sur, along Highway 1, wows with its rock-peppered sands and dizzying Bixby Bridge. Roughly 90 miles (145km) long, Big Sur Coast Highway is considered among America's most beautiful stretches of road. Twisting along the coast, from Carmel-by-the-Sea to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, it's simply spectacular. Read our guide for more information on California's Central Coast.
Slide 7 of 51: Winding for 233 miles (375km) through the red-spotted San Juan Mountains, the San Juan Skyway is one of those roads that really is all about the drive. There are fascinating places to stop, from historic railroad town Durango to ski resort Telluride, but it’s the twists and turns, at some points revealing mountain-ringed lakes and at others bringing you to the edge of dramatic canyons, that’ll linger longest in your memory.
Slide 8 of 51: Essentially, New England encapsulated on one road, there's everything you'd expect from this part of the US when driving the Connecticut State Route 169. Spectacular colors in fall, historic buildings and charming cities all await when driving down this 32-mile-long (51km) road, connecting the Massachusetts state border and Lisbon. Along the road don't miss the enchanting Roseland Cottage (pictured) in Woodstock and the beautiful churches in Pomfret that date back to the 1800s.
Slide 9 of 51: Travel some 50 miles (80km) south from Wilmington to Dover on the Bayshore Byway, previously known as Route 9 Coastal Heritage Scenic Byway, and you’ll slice through multiple wildlife refuges and be rewarded with glorious views of the Delaware River. Top stops along the way include the sprawling Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where the tidal salt marshes are home to abundant birdlife, and Woodland Beach fishing pier (pictured). Visitors can choose between a 12-mile (19km) designated wildlife drive or one of the five hiking trails. 

Slide 10 of 51: Epic ocean views are the highlight of this 110-mile (177km) route which begins close to Miami and stretches out through the Florida Keys, right down to the quirky island city of Key West. A decent portion of the route is above the water, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge which juts out from the city of Marathon. Driving this open road, stopping to explore colorful cities and wildlife-rich refuges, is the ultimate way to discover the Keys. Take a look at our guide to the Florida Keys.
Slide 11 of 51: Tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, this 51-mile-long (82km) route couldn't be any more different from the famous red clay plains of Georgia. Mountainous and forest-clad, the area is home to the Cherokee, significant Civil War battle grounds and countless farmhouses that still stand more than 200 years later. Don't miss the Johns Mountain Overlook just a short drive off the byway. 
Slide 12 of 51: Crater Rim Drive is undoubtedly one of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park's most famous drives, however, jaunt off it 3.3 miles (5.3km) south of the Kīlauea Visitor Center and you'll have the splendor of the Chain of Craters Road to admire too. Stretching just under 20 miles (32km), the road winds itself south until it reaches the spectacular Hōlei Sea Arch and then comes to an abrupt stop at a point where lava occasionally flows into the sea from the Kīlauea Volcano. 
Slide 13 of 51: Follow in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as you travel down the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway. First navigated by the two men more than 200 years ago in a bid to find a viable route to the West Coast, it's still as breathtaking as it was back then. Idaho's longest byway at 202 miles (325km), it traverses the winding Clearwater River Canyon before splitting into two. Continue east on US-12 along scenic rivers and magnificent wilderness until you reach Lolo Pass Visitor Center.
Slide 14 of 51: You’d be hard pressed to find an unremarkable portion of the Great River Road, a network of highways tracing the wiggles of the mighty Mississippi for more than 2,000 miles (3,219km). But the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, covering 33 miles (53km) from Hartford to Grafton, Illinois, is one of the most spectacular. Here, you get three waterways for the price of one: this is where the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers converge. The byway winds west and north via Illinois Routes 3, 143 and 100.

Slide 15 of 51: Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson more than 200 years ago, the full length of the 620-mile (998km) National Road connected Potomac and Ohio Rivers and served as the main transport path to the West. The 156-mile (251km) stretch across Indiana (US-40) was completed in 1834 and remains an important transport artery. There's historic architecture and landmarks to enjoy along the road as well as the rumbling Thistlethwaite Falls (pictured) in Richmond.
Slide 16 of 51: A unique landscape of prairie and forest-covered bluffs, the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway slices through a very special piece of landscape. Approaching the western border of Iowa, the rolling hills are actually windblown soils formed after the last Ice Age. The byway itself is around 220 miles (354km) long and winds past a network of state parks, national landmarks and preserves. The Waubonsie State Park is especially well-suited to day hikes if you want turn this into a weekend trip. 
Slide 17 of 51: Stretching 47 miles (76km) across the flint Hills of Kansas, the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway follows the K-177 between Council Grove and Cassoday. A beautiful drive year-round, it offers panoramic vistas of the tallgrass prairie and passes the recently designated Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The highlight, however, is the stretch of the road that travels across the Flint Hills, opening up idyllic views of the ranches and pastures below. 
Slide 18 of 51: While much of Abraham Lincoln's life is connected with Illinois and, of course, Washington DC, it's Kentucky where the 16th president of the United States was born and spent his formative years. The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway connects significant landmarks, like Lincoln's birthplace at the Sinking Spring Farm (now a memorial – pictured), his childhood home at Knob Creek and the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville. But it's not just about Abraham Lincoln. The byway converges with Kentucky's famous Bourbon Trail along the US-150, winding past five distilleries.
Slide 19 of 51: Louisiana’s section of the Great River Road follows the arches of the Mississippi River for some 700 miles (1,126km) between the Arkansas state border and the Gulf of Mexico. Aside from linking up two of the state’s most popular cities – New Orleans and Baton Rouge – the route is characterized by historic plantation houses, breathtaking views of the so-called Big Muddy and plenty of Cajun and Creole food and culture.
Slide 20 of 51: Defined by a craggy shoreline, granite-capped mountains and fir forests, Acadia All-American Road is 40 miles (64km) of uninterrupted natural beauty. The byway gives access to carriage roads and hiking trails within the Acadia National Park and passes by fishing boats bobbing in Frenchman Bay and the cottages of old Bar Harbor. Take Route 3 into Bar Harbor and the park loop road thereafter.
Slide 21 of 51: Stretching south along the coast, from the state capital of Annapolis (pictured) to quieter roads around Breezy Point Beach, the scenic Roots and Tides Byway explores a great swathe of Chesapeake Bay. The byway is around 47 miles (76km) long and the route is studded with views of the water and historic spots to park up for a break. There are plenty of points of interest along the route too, from the Maryland State House to Historic London Town and Gardens – an interactive exhibit and reconstructed buildings of a 1700s seaport.
Slide 22 of 51: A riot of color through the golden season, Mohawk Trail is also billed as the first scenic road in New England, having been designated as such in 1914. It winds for 53 miles (85km) through northern Massachusetts, with popular road trips starting in Williamstown and spooling east to the city of Greenfield. The rolling hills of the Berkshires, lush in summer and gold, ocher and burnt red in fall, are the route’s crown jewel.
Slide 23 of 51: Spectacular views, small-town museums and ghostly abandoned mines best describe Michigan's Copper Country Trail. A 47-mile-long (76km) byway on the Keweenaw Peninsula, it runs along the US-41 from Houghton (pictured) to Copper Harbor and highlights the turbulent history of copper mining in the area. Stop to take in the views of Lake Superior, shop at quaint shops and learn more about the fascinating history of the area at the Houghton County Historical Society. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails shooting off the byway too.
Slide 24 of 51: You could easily make a weekend trip out of driving this scenic drive. Set off from Minneapolis and stay overnight in Duluth to then be rewarded with breathtaking vistas as you travel up the North Shore to Grand Marais. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road as views of Lake Superior open out along the stretch and don't miss the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Aside from its majestic cliff-top lighthouse (pictured), the park has opportunities for wildlife viewing and around three miles (5km) of hiking trails along the lakeshore.
Slide 25 of 51: Although this scenic byway also crosses sections of Tennessee and Alabama, its most prominent part lies in Mississippi, slicing the state diagonally down to the Louisiana state border. There are plenty of scenic pit stops along this historic trail, many of which come to life in fall, when the surrounding forest is crimson and orange. A top spot is the Cypress Swamp (pictured) at milepost 122, where a wooden boardwalk provides an easy hike through the trees. Later on in fall, the foliage burns red and the swamp floor is littered with rainbow leaves.
Slide 26 of 51: Running from Chicago in Illinois to Santa Monica in California, Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, runs through eight states. The Missouri section of the Route 66 has some of the best-preserved sections of the road, especially between Springfield, Missouri and the Oklahoma state border. In Missouri the road also travels through the Ozark country, passing through rolling hills, historic towns and pristine farmlands. The state is home to brilliant old motels and one of the best Route 66 attractions, Meramec Caverns.
Slide 27 of 51: Following the Kings Hill Pass over the Little Belt Mountains, the Kings Hill Scenic Byway runs along the US Highway 89 from White Sulphur Springs to US Highway 87. Just over 70 miles (113km) of pristine wildlife and beautiful forested mountains, the road parallels Belt Creek north of Kings Hill Pass. There are also several National Forest Campgrounds along the way and plenty of gravel roads and hiking trails criss-crossing the byway and the surrounding area. 
Slide 28 of 51: Nebraska often flies under the radar, but this rewarding road trip proves that the Cornhusker State has plenty to offer. The Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway (US Highway 75) runs for around 70 miles (113km) or so until it reaches Sioux City, another Nebraskan metropolis. Running adjacent to the Missouri River, the route is named after army commanders Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who led an expedition in this region and beyond in the early 19th century. The road itself is extremely picturesque in parts, passing manicured farmland and lakes and rivers.
Slide 29 of 51: The US 50 spans the entire country, crossing from Sacramento, California in the west to Ocean City, Maryland in the east. But it's the Nevada portion of the highway that's especially incredible. Dubbed The Loneliest Road in America by Life magazine in 1986, it surprisingly only added to the appeal of this 380-mile-long (612km) drive. You’re still likely to enjoy some stretches of the undulating desert highway to yourself with only mountain-pierced skies and the open road for company.
Slide 30 of 51: Stretching from Conway, a small town close to Echo Lake State Park, the famed Kancamagus Highway travels through dense White Mountain Forest until it reaches Lincoln along NH-112. Unsurprisingly, the route attracts plenty of leaf-peepers in fall, though it’s just as pretty in spring or summer, or when dusted with snow in winter. The road follows the path of the Swift River and hiking trails peel off the road and into the forest.
Slide 31 of 51: Explore the twists and turns of the Delaware River as you follow the almost 33-mile-long (53km) byway along it. Spanning from New Jersey's capital Trenton through charming riverside towns like Titusville, Lambertville, Stockton and Frenchtown, the byway is great for lovers of the outdoors. The canal towpath in the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park offers scenic walks as does Mount Tammany Trail (pictured) further north from Frenchtown. 
Slide 32 of 51: You can take the High Road and the Low Road on this 165-mile (266km) round trip from Santa Fe to Taos. Start on the elevated portion, which wiggles its way through forest and open stretches with incredible views of the Jemez Mountains. The Low Road, looping back from Taos, takes you down to the banks of the Rio Grande and through a narrow canyon.
Slide 33 of 51: There are more than two-dozen wineries along the shores of Cayuga Lake, one of New York state’s skinny Finger Lakes. So you might want to take your time (or designate a driver) when taking this 87-mile (140km) loop, which follows the water’s edge and passes state parks, cute villages and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, home to bald eagles and waterfowl.
Slide 34 of 51: Roughly a half of the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway runs through North Carolina (the other half is in West Virginia) and you'd be a fool to miss an opportunity to drive this incredible road. Top attractions include North Carolina's Craggy Gardens, a curious slice of the countryside known for its rhododendrons and twisting trees, while another popular stop is Linville Falls, a three-tiered cascade that’s an easy hike from the Parkway. The route also runs through Asheville, home to the spectacular Biltmore Estate. 
Slide 35 of 51: Heading out from the state capital of Bismarck, the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway takes you out west to the North Dakota badlands along the I-94. The route runs for around 108 miles (174km) and involves two hours of driving time. Take a detour to Regent where you'll find The Enchanted Highway – the world's largest scrap metal sculpture collection. The original Old Red Trail extended all the way from Seattle to New York City way before highways were built, and today the road still winds past pastoral scenery, wildlife and blue skies like it did once upon a time. 
Slide 36 of 51: Just 76 miles (122km) long, the Amish Country Byway might seem like a drive you can complete in a few hours, but factor in the cultural and historic treasures dotted along the road and you'll need at least a day. The road curves through and over the hills of pastoral countryside, making it easy to forget about the trappings of modern life. Be sure to visit Amish museums, farms and antique shops and enjoy some seriously good cooking in one of the many places to stop for a bite.
Slide 37 of 51: An 84-mile (135km) route connecting the West Siloam Springs on the Arkansas state border and the convergence of Illinois and Arkansas Rivers, the Cherokee Hills Byway showcases both the natural beauty and the cultural background perfectly. Situated in the foothills of the Ozarks, the road twists and turns over the Illinois River several times before reaching Park Hill, which provides an exceptional opportunity to learn about and begin to understand the plight of the Cherokee at the Cherokee Heritage Center and National Museum (pictured). 
Slide 38 of 51: A 213-mile (343km) loop of cliffs, fields and snowy mountaintops, the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway traces the steps of only a section of the historic Oregon Trail – a wagon train trail popular in the early to mid-1800s that connected eastern United States with the valley in Oregon. Ride through North America's deepest canyon as you follow the Snake River and imagine what traveling in wagons would have been like. 
Slide 39 of 51: Running through the gorgeous Allegheny National Forest, this 36-mile (58km) loop is surrounded by towering oak trees and fragrant black cherry. The byway begins at the intersection of Route 321 and Longhouse Drive and circles the Kinzua Creek arm of the Allegheny Reservoir. There are several picnic areas and campgrounds along the byway as well as exceptional hiking trails, including the Rimrock Overlook and Trail. 
Slide 40 of 51: Making the most of US-1, this coastal itinerary travels from the state capital of Providence down to the Aquidneck Island city of Newport, with its historic mansions and lighthouses. The journey is easily doable in a weekend, with only 32 miles (52km) of travel and around an hour on the road. Don’t rush it, though. Instead, lap up views of Narragansett Bay as they appear and make stop offs in spots like the coastal town of Jamestown, which sprawls across Conanicut Island.
Slide 41 of 51: Offering a mix of natural wonders, historic treasures and Southern hospitality, the Savannah River Scenic Byway is 110 miles (177km) of idyllic views and brilliant attractions. Running north from Clarks Hill to Oakway along the Savannah River, top stops along the way include McCormick's Historic District (pictured), Ninety Six National Historic Site (a settlement and battlefield from the Revolutionary War) and Calhoun Falls State Park.
Slide 42 of 51: It twists and loops over just 70 miles (113km) yet this Black Hills byway is the perfect introduction to South Dakota’s breathtaking landscapes. The route is actually four interlacing roads including Needles Highway, where the drive takes you through narrow tunnels and below towering granite pinnacles. It also cuts through Custer State Park, where buffalo graze the fields, and passes Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial.
Slide 43 of 51: Leading from the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (pictured), the 83-mile-long (134km) byway climbs the Clinch Mountain and passes through Bean Station – one of the most well-traveled trading posts along the Wilderness Road during its heyday in the 19th century. Stop to take in the sweeping views of the Great Valley of Tennessee and don't miss Newport, a historic railroad town from the early 20th century that's now home to some of the finest whitewater rafting in the country.
Slide 44 of 51: Starting out in state capital Austin, one of Texas’ coolest cities, this route beats a path west on US-290 to take in Fredericksburg (pictured), in the heart of Texas Hill Country. It’s around one hour 30 minutes and just under 80 miles (129km) between these two enchanting cities and you’ll be traveling through Texan wine country too. In fact, given the abundance of wineries, the stretch of US-290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg is known as Wine Road 290. These American destinations that feel like you're visiting a different country.
Slide 45 of 51: At just under 123 miles (198km), this All-American Road cuts through some of the state’s most spectacular scenery (and, clearly, it’s up against some strong competition). Starting in Panguitch and unraveling east to Torrey, the road feels like it’s always been here, curling past moon-gray mountains and ducking under peach-rock arches. Make a brief detour to see Escalante Petrified Forest, filled with fossilized trees. Take a look at 27 hiking mistakes you don't want to make.
Slide 46 of 51: Vermont’s Scenic Route 100 Byway winds from the northern town of Stowe to Weston in Windsor County. While each town has charm aplenty, the road itself steals the show. Even more impressive in the fall, it clings to the eastern edge of the Green Mountains. Don't let the 146-mile-long (235km) route intimidate you – there are plenty of stops, from skiing and horse-riding opportunities to historic attractions, to enjoy along the way and the route is also RV-friendly. Check out more stunning spots to relax in your RV this fall.
Slide 47 of 51: Connecting three of Virginia's most historically significant cities, the Colonial Parkway is a loop linking Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown. Only 23 miles (37km) long, the byway is intended for sightseeing so is free of trucks and commercial vehicles and is still a remarkable example of such American parkway design. 
Slide 48 of 51: If stunning views of Mount Rainier, river canyons and rocky ridges sound pretty perfect, you'll do well by traveling the 85-mile-long (137km) length of the Chinook Scenic Byway. A drive that'll take around three hours, you'll pass through a national park and a national forest and have a chance to take in waterfalls, meadows and even wildlife, if you're lucky. The scenic byway connects Enumclaw and Naches along State Route 410. Now discover American tourist attractions that no longer exist.
Slide 49 of 51: Trace the footsteps of George Washington as you travel through the easternmost counties of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle along this 136-mile-long (219km) route. Looping through three counties, the Washington Heritage Trail runs past homes and sites related to the Washingtons, including museums, historic districts and parks. With more than 40 historic sites featured on the trail, you definitely won't want to miss Berkeley Springs and the Samuel Taylor Suit Cottage (pictured), often referred to as Berkeley Castle.
Slide 50 of 51: Another stretch of the Great River Road, in Wisconsin it travels northeast from Minneapolis all the way down to the Illinois state border. Wisconsin's only national scenic byway, this section of the Mississippi River takes travelers through 33 historic and unique Wisconsin towns and offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities throughout the year. There are options to go boating or fishing, 12 historic downtowns to explore and several scenic overlooks, offering magnificent views of the river and the landscape surrounding it. Now discover the most beautiful state park in every US state.
Slide 51 of 51: An All-American Road that starts in Montana, then crosses into Wyoming, and then comes back into Montana again, Beartooth Highway is a section of US Route 212 and is named after the Beartooth Pass. While the road does cross two states, its arguably most impressive side is in Wyoming, within the Yellowstone National Park. The spectacular pass peaks at 10,947 feet (3,337m) above sea level and is surrounded by truly jaw-dropping scenery of the national park.  Now take a look at jaw-dropping pictures of the world's most dangerous roads

Drives easy on the eye

America is without a doubt the home of the road trip so it’s hardly surprising that there are more than 120 National Scenic, National Forest Scenic Byways and Parkways in the country. As there are three states without any officially recognized scenic byways or parkways – Nebraska, Rhode Island and Texas – we’ve picked our favorite drives there. Now, fasten your seat belt and join us as we travel down America’s most beautiful scenic byways.

Alabama: Alabama’s Coastal Connection

Around 130 miles (209km) long, Alabama’s Coastal Connection showcases the best of the state’s Gulf Coast, from quiet bays and wildlife-rich sanctuaries to immaculate white-sand beaches and historic forts. Alabama’s southern tip offers five different possible itineraries, based on your interests, whether it’s history, food or nature. The full route runs from Spanish Fort through Daphne and Fairhope via Magnolia Springs and Elberta to Orange Beach, along Gulf Shores to Dauphin Island and finishes in Grand Bay.

Alaska: Seward Highway

A section of Alaska Route 1 (AK-1), going from Anchorage to Seward, runs through such scenic spots like Kenai Peninsula, Kenai Mountains and Chugach National Forest. Taking in jagged peaks, breathtaking fjords and alpine meadows, it’s even possible to spot beluga whales in the water. Just 127 miles (204km) long, it takes just over four hours to drive, but you can easily plan a two-day itinerary by stopping at some of the most pretty and historic spots along the way. 

Arizona: Red Rock Scenic Byway

Winding through Arizona’s Red Rock Country, the Red Rock Scenic Byway is often called a museum without walls. Traversing incredible red rock and desert landscapes, the State Route 179 runs south from Sedona through the Red Rock State Park to the junction with Interstate 17. There are also several trailheads, accessed directly from the road, offering plenty options for day hikes. Don’t miss the Cathedral Rock and the Bell Rock vista at the start of the southern trailhead.

Arkansas: Scenic 7 Byway

Running the width of Arkansas, from the Louisiana state border near El Dorado to Diamond City near the Missouri state border, the Scenic 7 Byway runs along Highway 7. Around 60 miles (97km) of the 290-mile-long (467km) drive pass through the Ozark and Ouachita National Forests, offering plenty of opportunities to take in the incredible landscape. There are several campgrounds along the route as well as opportunities to hike, mountain bike or canoe within a few miles of the highway.

California: Big Sur Coast Highway

A famed stretch of the California coast, Big Sur, along Highway 1, wows with its rock-peppered sands and dizzying Bixby Bridge. Roughly 90 miles (145km) long, Big Sur Coast Highway is considered among America’s most beautiful stretches of road. Twisting along the coast, from Carmel-by-the-Sea to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, it’s simply spectacular. Read our guide for more information on California’s Central Coast.

Colorado: San Juan Skyway

Winding for 233 miles (375km) through the red-spotted San Juan Mountains, the San Juan Skyway is one of those roads that really is all about the drive. There are fascinating places to stop, from historic railroad town Durango to ski resort Telluride, but it’s the twists and turns, at some points revealing mountain-ringed lakes and at others bringing you to the edge of dramatic canyons, that’ll linger longest in your memory.

Connecticut: Connecticut State Route 169

Essentially, New England encapsulated on one road, there’s everything you’d expect from this part of the US when driving the Connecticut State Route 169. Spectacular colors in fall, historic buildings and charming cities all await when driving down this 32-mile-long (51km) road, connecting the Massachusetts state border and Lisbon. Along the road don’t miss the enchanting Roseland Cottage (pictured) in Woodstock and the beautiful churches in Pomfret that date back to the 1800s.

Delaware: Bayshore Byway

Travel some 50 miles (80km) south from Wilmington to Dover on the Bayshore Byway, previously known as Route 9 Coastal Heritage Scenic Byway, and you’ll slice through multiple wildlife refuges and be rewarded with glorious views of the Delaware River. Top stops along the way include the sprawling Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where the tidal salt marshes are home to abundant birdlife, and Woodland Beach fishing pier (pictured). Visitors can choose between a 12-mile (19km) designated wildlife drive or one of the five hiking trails. 

Florida: Florida Keys Scenic Highway

Epic ocean views are the highlight of this 110-mile (177km) route which begins close to Miami and stretches out through the Florida Keys, right down to the quirky island city of Key West. A decent portion of the route is above the water, including the famous Seven Mile Bridge which juts out from the city of Marathon. Driving this open road, stopping to explore colorful cities and wildlife-rich refuges, is the ultimate way to discover the Keys. Take a look at our guide to the Florida Keys.

Georgia: Ridge and Valley Scenic Byway

Tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, this 51-mile-long (82km) route couldn’t be any more different from the famous red clay plains of Georgia. Mountainous and forest-clad, the area is home to the Cherokee, significant Civil War battle grounds and countless farmhouses that still stand more than 200 years later. Don’t miss the Johns Mountain Overlook just a short drive off the byway. 

Hawaii: Chain of Craters Road

Crater Rim Drive is undoubtedly one of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s most famous drives, however, jaunt off it 3.3 miles (5.3km) south of the Kīlauea Visitor Center and you’ll have the splendor of the Chain of Craters Road to admire too. Stretching just under 20 miles (32km), the road winds itself south until it reaches the spectacular Hōlei Sea Arch and then comes to an abrupt stop at a point where lava occasionally flows into the sea from the Kīlauea Volcano. 

Idaho: Northwest Passage Scenic Byway

Follow in the footsteps of the Lewis and Clark Expedition as you travel down the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway. First navigated by the two men more than 200 years ago in a bid to find a viable route to the West Coast, it’s still as breathtaking as it was back then. Idaho’s longest byway at 202 miles (325km), it traverses the winding Clearwater River Canyon before splitting into two. Continue east on US-12 along scenic rivers and magnificent wilderness until you reach Lolo Pass Visitor Center.

Illinois: Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway

You’d be hard pressed to find an unremarkable portion of the Great River Road, a network of highways tracing the wiggles of the mighty Mississippi for more than 2,000 miles (3,219km). But the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway, covering 33 miles (53km) from Hartford to Grafton, Illinois, is one of the most spectacular. Here, you get three waterways for the price of one: this is where the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois rivers converge. The byway winds west and north via Illinois Routes 3, 143 and 100.

Indiana: National Road

Commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson more than 200 years ago, the full length of the 620-mile (998km) National Road connected Potomac and Ohio Rivers and served as the main transport path to the West. The 156-mile (251km) stretch across Indiana (US-40) was completed in 1834 and remains an important transport artery. There’s historic architecture and landmarks to enjoy along the road as well as the rumbling Thistlethwaite Falls (pictured) in Richmond.

Iowa: Loess Hills National Scenic Byway

A unique landscape of prairie and forest-covered bluffs, the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway slices through a very special piece of landscape. Approaching the western border of Iowa, the rolling hills are actually windblown soils formed after the last Ice Age. The byway itself is around 220 miles (354km) long and winds past a network of state parks, national landmarks and preserves. The Waubonsie State Park is especially well-suited to day hikes if you want turn this into a weekend trip. 

Kansas: Flint Hills National Scenic Byway

Stretching 47 miles (76km) across the flint Hills of Kansas, the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway follows the K-177 between Council Grove and Cassoday. A beautiful drive year-round, it offers panoramic vistas of the tallgrass prairie and passes the recently designated Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve. The highlight, however, is the stretch of the road that travels across the Flint Hills, opening up idyllic views of the ranches and pastures below. 

Kentucky: Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway

While much of Abraham Lincoln’s life is connected with Illinois and, of course, Washington DC, it’s Kentucky where the 16th president of the United States was born and spent his formative years. The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway connects significant landmarks, like Lincoln’s birthplace at the Sinking Spring Farm (now a memorial – pictured), his childhood home at Knob Creek and the Lincoln Museum in Hodgenville. But it’s not just about Abraham Lincoln. The byway converges with Kentucky’s famous Bourbon Trail along the US-150, winding past five distilleries.

Louisiana: Great River Road

Louisiana’s section of the Great River Road follows the arches of the Mississippi River for some 700 miles (1,126km) between the Arkansas state border and the Gulf of Mexico. Aside from linking up two of the state’s most popular cities – New Orleans and Baton Rouge – the route is characterized by historic plantation houses, breathtaking views of the so-called Big Muddy and plenty of Cajun and Creole food and culture.

Maine: Acadia All-American Road

Defined by a craggy shoreline, granite-capped mountains and fir forests, Acadia All-American Road is 40 miles (64km) of uninterrupted natural beauty. The byway gives access to carriage roads and hiking trails within the Acadia National Park and passes by fishing boats bobbing in Frenchman Bay and the cottages of old Bar Harbor. Take Route 3 into Bar Harbor and the park loop road thereafter.

Maryland: Roots and Tides Byway

Stretching south along the coast, from the state capital of Annapolis (pictured) to quieter roads around Breezy Point Beach, the scenic Roots and Tides Byway explores a great swathe of Chesapeake Bay. The byway is around 47 miles (76km) long and the route is studded with views of the water and historic spots to park up for a break. There are plenty of points of interest along the route too, from the Maryland State House to Historic London Town and Gardens – an interactive exhibit and reconstructed buildings of a 1700s seaport.

Massachusetts: Mohawk Trail

A riot of color through the golden season, Mohawk Trail is also billed as the first scenic road in New England, having been designated as such in 1914. It winds for 53 miles (85km) through northern Massachusetts, with popular road trips starting in Williamstown and spooling east to the city of Greenfield. The rolling hills of the Berkshires, lush in summer and gold, ocher and burnt red in fall, are the route’s crown jewel.

Michigan: Copper Country Trail

Spectacular views, small-town museums and ghostly abandoned mines best describe Michigan’s Copper Country Trail. A 47-mile-long (76km) byway on the Keweenaw Peninsula, it runs along the US-41 from Houghton (pictured) to Copper Harbor and highlights the turbulent history of copper mining in the area. Stop to take in the views of Lake Superior, shop at quaint shops and learn more about the fascinating history of the area at the Houghton County Historical Society. There are plenty of hiking and biking trails shooting off the byway too.

Minnesota: North Shore All-American Scenic Drive

You could easily make a weekend trip out of driving this scenic drive. Set off from Minneapolis and stay overnight in Duluth to then be rewarded with breathtaking vistas as you travel up the North Shore to Grand Marais. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road as views of Lake Superior open out along the stretch and don’t miss the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. Aside from its majestic cliff-top lighthouse (pictured), the park has opportunities for wildlife viewing and around three miles (5km) of hiking trails along the lakeshore.

Mississippi: Natchez Trace Parkway

Although this scenic byway also crosses sections of Tennessee and Alabama, its most prominent part lies in Mississippi, slicing the state diagonally down to the Louisiana state border. There are plenty of scenic pit stops along this historic trail, many of which come to life in fall, when the surrounding forest is crimson and orange. A top spot is the Cypress Swamp (pictured) at milepost 122, where a wooden boardwalk provides an easy hike through the trees. Later on in fall, the foliage burns red and the swamp floor is littered with rainbow leaves.

Missouri: Route 66

Running from Chicago in Illinois to Santa Monica in California, Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, runs through eight states. The Missouri section of the Route 66 has some of the best-preserved sections of the road, especially between Springfield, Missouri and the Oklahoma state border. In Missouri the road also travels through the Ozark country, passing through rolling hills, historic towns and pristine farmlands. The state is home to brilliant old motels and one of the best Route 66 attractions, Meramec Caverns.

Montana: Kings Hill Scenic Byway

Following the Kings Hill Pass over the Little Belt Mountains, the Kings Hill Scenic Byway runs along the US Highway 89 from White Sulphur Springs to US Highway 87. Just over 70 miles (113km) of pristine wildlife and beautiful forested mountains, the road parallels Belt Creek north of Kings Hill Pass. There are also several National Forest Campgrounds along the way and plenty of gravel roads and hiking trails criss-crossing the byway and the surrounding area. 

Nebraska: Lewis & Clark Scenic Byway

Nebraska often flies under the radar, but this rewarding road trip proves that the Cornhusker State has plenty to offer. The Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway (US Highway 75) runs for around 70 miles (113km) or so until it reaches Sioux City, another Nebraskan metropolis. Running adjacent to the Missouri River, the route is named after army commanders Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who led an expedition in this region and beyond in the early 19th century. The road itself is extremely picturesque in parts, passing manicured farmland and lakes and rivers.

Nevada: US Highway 50

The US 50 spans the entire country, crossing from Sacramento, California in the west to Ocean City, Maryland in the east. But it’s the Nevada portion of the highway that’s especially incredible. Dubbed The Loneliest Road in America by Life magazine in 1986, it surprisingly only added to the appeal of this 380-mile-long (612km) drive. You’re still likely to enjoy some stretches of the undulating desert highway to yourself with only mountain-pierced skies and the open road for company.

New Hampshire: Kancamagus Scenic Byway

Stretching from Conway, a small town close to Echo Lake State Park, the famed Kancamagus Highway travels through dense White Mountain Forest until it reaches Lincoln along NH-112. Unsurprisingly, the route attracts plenty of leaf-peepers in fall, though it’s just as pretty in spring or summer, or when dusted with snow in winter. The road follows the path of the Swift River and hiking trails peel off the road and into the forest.

New Jersey: Delaware River Scenic Byway

Explore the twists and turns of the Delaware River as you follow the almost 33-mile-long (53km) byway along it. Spanning from New Jersey’s capital Trenton through charming riverside towns like Titusville, Lambertville, Stockton and Frenchtown, the byway is great for lovers of the outdoors. The canal towpath in the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park offers scenic walks as does Mount Tammany Trail (pictured) further north from Frenchtown. 

New Mexico: High Road to Taos

You can take the High Road and the Low Road on this 165-mile (266km) round trip from Santa Fe to Taos. Start on the elevated portion, which wiggles its way through forest and open stretches with incredible views of the Jemez Mountains. The Low Road, looping back from Taos, takes you down to the banks of the Rio Grande and through a narrow canyon.

New York: Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway

There are more than two-dozen wineries along the shores of Cayuga Lake, one of New York state’s skinny Finger Lakes. So you might want to take your time (or designate a driver) when taking this 87-mile (140km) loop, which follows the water’s edge and passes state parks, cute villages and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, home to bald eagles and waterfowl.

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

Roughly a half of the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway runs through North Carolina (the other half is in West Virginia) and you’d be a fool to miss an opportunity to drive this incredible road. Top attractions include North Carolina’s Craggy Gardens, a curious slice of the countryside known for its rhododendrons and twisting trees, while another popular stop is Linville Falls, a three-tiered cascade that’s an easy hike from the Parkway. The route also runs through Asheville, home to the spectacular Biltmore Estate. 

North Dakota: Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway

Heading out from the state capital of Bismarck, the Old Red Old Ten Scenic Byway takes you out west to the North Dakota badlands along the I-94. The route runs for around 108 miles (174km) and involves two hours of driving time. Take a detour to Regent where you’ll find The Enchanted Highway – the world’s largest scrap metal sculpture collection. The original Old Red Trail extended all the way from Seattle to New York City way before highways were built, and today the road still winds past pastoral scenery, wildlife and blue skies like it did once upon a time. 

Ohio: Amish Country Byway

Just 76 miles (122km) long, the Amish Country Byway might seem like a drive you can complete in a few hours, but factor in the cultural and historic treasures dotted along the road and you’ll need at least a day. The road curves through and over the hills of pastoral countryside, making it easy to forget about the trappings of modern life. Be sure to visit Amish museums, farms and antique shops and enjoy some seriously good cooking in one of the many places to stop for a bite.

Oklahoma: Cherokee Hills Byway

An 84-mile (135km) route connecting the West Siloam Springs on the Arkansas state border and the convergence of Illinois and Arkansas Rivers, the Cherokee Hills Byway showcases both the natural beauty and the cultural background perfectly. Situated in the foothills of the Ozarks, the road twists and turns over the Illinois River several times before reaching Park Hill, which provides an exceptional opportunity to learn about and begin to understand the plight of the Cherokee at the Cherokee Heritage Center and National Museum (pictured). 

Oregon: Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

A 213-mile (343km) loop of cliffs, fields and snowy mountaintops, the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway traces the steps of only a section of the historic Oregon Trail – a wagon train trail popular in the early to mid-1800s that connected eastern United States with the valley in Oregon. Ride through North America’s deepest canyon as you follow the Snake River and imagine what traveling in wagons would have been like. 

Pennsylvania: Longhouse National Scenic Byway

Running through the gorgeous Allegheny National Forest, this 36-mile (58km) loop is surrounded by towering oak trees and fragrant black cherry. The byway begins at the intersection of Route 321 and Longhouse Drive and circles the Kinzua Creek arm of the Allegheny Reservoir. There are several picnic areas and campgrounds along the byway as well as exceptional hiking trails, including the Rimrock Overlook and Trail. 

Rhode Island: Providence to Newport

Making the most of US-1, this coastal itinerary travels from the state capital of Providence down to the Aquidneck Island city of Newport, with its historic mansions and lighthouses. The journey is easily doable in a weekend, with only 32 miles (52km) of travel and around an hour on the road. Don’t rush it, though. Instead, lap up views of Narragansett Bay as they appear and make stop offs in spots like the coastal town of Jamestown, which sprawls across Conanicut Island.

South Carolina: Savannah River Scenic Byway

Offering a mix of natural wonders, historic treasures and Southern hospitality, the Savannah River Scenic Byway is 110 miles (177km) of idyllic views and brilliant attractions. Running north from Clarks Hill to Oakway along the Savannah River, top stops along the way include McCormick’s Historic District (pictured), Ninety Six National Historic Site (a settlement and battlefield from the Revolutionary War) and Calhoun Falls State Park.

South Dakota: Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway

It twists and loops over just 70 miles (113km) yet this Black Hills byway is the perfect introduction to South Dakota’s breathtaking landscapes. The route is actually four interlacing roads including Needles Highway, where the drive takes you through narrow tunnels and below towering granite pinnacles. It also cuts through Custer State Park, where buffalo graze the fields, and passes Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial.

Tennessee: East Tennessee Crossing Byway

Leading from the Cumberland Gap National Historic Park (pictured), the 83-mile-long (134km) byway climbs the Clinch Mountain and passes through Bean Station – one of the most well-traveled trading posts along the Wilderness Road during its heyday in the 19th century. Stop to take in the sweeping views of the Great Valley of Tennessee and don’t miss Newport, a historic railroad town from the early 20th century that’s now home to some of the finest whitewater rafting in the country.

Texas: Austin to Fredericksburg

Starting out in state capital Austin, one of Texas’ coolest cities, this route beats a path west on US-290 to take in Fredericksburg (pictured), in the heart of Texas Hill Country. It’s around one hour 30 minutes and just under 80 miles (129km) between these two enchanting cities and you’ll be traveling through Texan wine country too. In fact, given the abundance of wineries, the stretch of US-290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg is known as Wine Road 290. These American destinations that feel like you’re visiting a different country.

Utah: Scenic Byway 12

At just under 123 miles (198km), this All-American Road cuts through some of the state’s most spectacular scenery (and, clearly, it’s up against some strong competition). Starting in Panguitch and unraveling east to Torrey, the road feels like it’s always been here, curling past moon-gray mountains and ducking under peach-rock arches. Make a brief detour to see Escalante Petrified Forest, filled with fossilized trees. Take a look at 27 hiking mistakes you don’t want to make.

Vermont: Scenic Route 100 Byway

Vermont’s Scenic Route 100 Byway winds from the northern town of Stowe to Weston in Windsor County. While each town has charm aplenty, the road itself steals the show. Even more impressive in the fall, it clings to the eastern edge of the Green Mountains. Don’t let the 146-mile-long (235km) route intimidate you – there are plenty of stops, from skiing and horse-riding opportunities to historic attractions, to enjoy along the way and the route is also RV-friendly. Check out more stunning spots to relax in your RV this fall.

Virginia: Colonial Parkway

Connecting three of Virginia’s most historically significant cities, the Colonial Parkway is a loop linking Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown. Only 23 miles (37km) long, the byway is intended for sightseeing so is free of trucks and commercial vehicles and is still a remarkable example of such American parkway design. 

Washington: Chinook Scenic Byway

If stunning views of Mount Rainier, river canyons and rocky ridges sound pretty perfect, you’ll do well by traveling the 85-mile-long (137km) length of the Chinook Scenic Byway. A drive that’ll take around three hours, you’ll pass through a national park and a national forest and have a chance to take in waterfalls, meadows and even wildlife, if you’re lucky. The scenic byway connects Enumclaw and Naches along State Route 410. Now discover American tourist attractions that no longer exist.

West Virginia: Washington Heritage Trail

Trace the footsteps of George Washington as you travel through the easternmost counties of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle along this 136-mile-long (219km) route. Looping through three counties, the Washington Heritage Trail runs past homes and sites related to the Washingtons, including museums, historic districts and parks. With more than 40 historic sites featured on the trail, you definitely won’t want to miss Berkeley Springs and the Samuel Taylor Suit Cottage (pictured), often referred to as Berkeley Castle.

Wisconsin: Great River Road

Another stretch of the Great River Road, in Wisconsin it travels northeast from Minneapolis all the way down to the Illinois state border. Wisconsin’s only national scenic byway, this section of the Mississippi River takes travelers through 33 historic and unique Wisconsin towns and offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities throughout the year. There are options to go boating or fishing, 12 historic downtowns to explore and several scenic overlooks, offering magnificent views of the river and the landscape surrounding it. Now discover the most beautiful state park in every US state.

Wyoming: Beartooth Highway

An All-American Road that starts in Montana, then crosses into Wyoming, and then comes back into Montana again, Beartooth Highway is a section of US Route 212 and is named after the Beartooth Pass. While the road does cross two states, its arguably most impressive side is in Wyoming, within the Yellowstone National Park. The spectacular pass peaks at 10,947 feet (3,337m) above sea level and is surrounded by truly jaw-dropping scenery of the national park. 

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