Lifestyle

7 Ideas For A Spectacular Road Trip

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From New England’s thoroughfares to the scenic California coastline, there are countless road trips you can make around the country. These roadways include the natural beauty-laden drive of Blue Ridge Parkway that seduce tourists with their greenery, wildlife, mountain springs, and early morning scenes; and the human-made Lake Shore Drive in Chicago with views of Sears Tower and Lake Michigan.

If you wish to explore some great American drives, here are seven top destinations for an enjoyable road trip. 

1.   17-Mile Drive, California

“Monterey’s Lone Cyprus” by amerune is licensed under CC BY 2.0

California’s 17-Mile Drive presents a unique scene with its red-dotted lines, coastal cliffs, enchanting forests, white glowing beaches, and legendary golf courses. On your road trip, you will discover the scenic wonders of 17-Mile Drive, some of which are Crocker Grove’s giant trees, Point Joe’s turbulent sea, the Spanish Bay, the famous Lone Cypress, and the beautiful Fanshell Beach.

You have to pay $10.75 per vehicle to enter the 17-Mile Drive. However, the views of the surf-beaten cliffs, harbor seals, and spectacular sunsets on the Pacific are worth this meager entry fee. Note that the road goes along the ocean through a forest area, and you can take the help of the 17-Mile Drive Map to navigate the area easily.

2.   Blue Ridge Parkway, Carolinas, and Virginia

Cowee Mountain Overlook
“Cowee Mountain Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway (MM 430)” by Mountain Photo Gallery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Blue Ridge Parkway is often called America’s favorite drive as it offers a road trip experience unlike any other. You can have a panoramic view of the pastoral landscapes and rugged mountains sitting on the Appalachian Highlands on the road trip.

The 469 miles long Parkway offers a host of activities for people of all ages. Enjoy a picnic under the trees, rest beneath the stars at the Parkway’s campgrounds, hike on its beautiful trails, capture fantastic photos, or join a Parkway ranger to discover its wildlife attractions like the black bear and the Dark-Eyed Junco.

Remember that the Parkway trip depends on the weather, and during monsoons, the cell reception remains spotty. So carry all your required items on the car’s 4runner roof rack when you head to Blue Ridge. 

3.   U.S. 1, Florida Keys 

us1 florida keys
“Was3732831” by Sathish vikram is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The 120-mile-long overseas highway, also known as “the Highway that Goes to Sea,” is a great road that connects Miami to Key West. Travelers on this majestic highway experience colorful seascapes, serene landscapes, lines of palm trees, mangroves, and an expansive blue sky that seems to be closer than ever. The Florida Keys is also an excellent spot for boating and fishing enthusiasts, as it is for bird lovers, with its habitat of rare birds like roseate spoonbills, pelicans, ospreys, and white herons. You need to visit in September if watching birds is your priority. 

4.   Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

lakeshore drive
“Lake Shore Drive, Chicago” by Alan Light is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive is America’s prettiest urban parkway. Visitors on the drive are greeted with beaches, greenery, skyscrapers, parklands, and gigantic apartments on both sides of the road. You will have the best views on the roadway if you drive from south to north.

The first attraction on the drive is the Lakefront Trail, famous for paved pathways, busy streets, and the Lake Michigan shoreline. Next, you can visit Lincoln Park, which houses a zoo, a golf course, bird sanctuaries, boat harbors, and a nature museum. Other attractions on the Lake Shore Drive include Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain, and the Museum Campus.

5.   North Shore Drive, Minnesota

highway 61 minnesota
“US Highway 61 – Minnesota” by Dougtone is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The spectacular North Shore Drive draws visitors to its unspoiled fresh greenery and breathtaking scenery complemented by hiking trails, hillside forests, waterfalls, cobblestone beaches, rivers, parks, and Lake Superior. The 145 miles long scenic drive runs from the USA’s Minnesota to Canada’s Ontario and goes through several historic sites, small towns, and wildlife habitats.

On the drive, be ready to witness the sights of Duluth’s Lake Superior Harbor, Russ Kendall’s Fish Market, Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen on Highway 61 and the mesmerizing Gooseberry Falls. If you like taking photos, do not miss Splitrock Lighthouse and the Palisade Head.

6.   Trail Ridge Road, Colorado

trail ridge rd
“Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado” by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Trail Ridge Road in Colorado is the USA’s highest uninterrupted paved road. The roadway goes through 3600 meters high peaks and the alpine tundra to present you with some breathtaking scenes. The relaxing drive on the two-lane Trail Ridge offers you sweeping views of the stunning sunrise, forest canyons, and grazing wildlife like the elk, bighorn sheep, and deer. The usual drive time is between 2 to 4 hours, but it can stretch if you stop at the curves or grab a coffee at the Alpine Visitor Center.

7.   Route 12, Utah

route 12 utah
“Utah State Route 12” by Wolfgang Staudt is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Also known as Highway 12, Utah’s Scenic 124-mile Byway at south-central Utah has some of America’s most incredible natural views. Majestic red rocks form the landscape along the roadway that passes the Capitol Reef National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. There are small towns, sandstone canyons, national monuments, and state parks along the drive to please your eyes. If you have the whole day at hand, you can visit the Red Canyon, the Kodachrome Basin State Park, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the Calf Creek Falls.

The Bottom Line

America has no shortage of fascinating road trip destinations. No matter which one you visit, make sure the weather is comfortable. Book your tickets early to avoid last-minute rushes, and pack all the essential items before setting out. 

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