The 50 Most Scenic Drives in America

December 6, 2016 5:00 am
Pacific Coast Highway California Route 1 near Big Sur, California (MyLoupe/UIG/Getty Images)


With the holiday craziness approaching maximum annoyingness and the presidential election still not completely resolved, right about now you might be tempted to jump in your car and just start driving anywhere. And fast too. Well, perhaps we can help you with that.

Road & Track has released an impressive feature that lists the 50 most scenic drives across the country. The best part? There’s one for each state. So no matter where you live, there’s probably a beautiful drive nearby where you can step on the gas, crank up the radio, and leave your anxieties and reasons for depression at home. (Not to mention your relatives!)

That said, it’s also damn cold out in a lot of places in America right now. And you’ll probably want to select a scenic drive that’s not gonna have you sliding off the road due to snow and ice. So here are five of our favorite road trips from the list where it’s still nice and sunny and warm. Happy driving/escaping.


Alabama’s Talladega Scenic Drive

Who knew Alabama had a mountain? (Other than people in and around Alabama.) This 26-mile drive climbs 2,407 feet above sea level on its way up Cheaha Mountain, Alabama’s highest point. It offers great views of the Appalachian Mountains. Just watch out for possums.


Georgia’s Russell-Brasstown Scenic Byway

This 41-mile loop north of Atlanta takes you around the Chattahoochee National Forest, which is as beautiful as it is fun to say. You’ll also take in the view at the top of Brasstown Bald, which is Georgia’s tallest mountain. (Even taller than Tree Rollins!)

View of Cathedral Rock from the Airport Mesa Loop trail in Sedona, Arizona (Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket/Getty Images)


Arizona’s Red Rock Scenic Byway

Navigating this 7.5-mile drive might have you wondering, “Am I in Westworld?” You’re not, but you will be encountering the same sort of structures that are seen on the show. Namely, gorgeous red rock formations like Cathedral Rock (above) and Bell Rock.


Florida’s Florida Keys Scenic Highway

This relaxing, island-hopping drive takes you from Key Largo to Key West. You’ll see plenty of shimmering blue water from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, as well as lots of open-air cafes to stop for a bite. The piece de resistance: crossing Seven Mile Bridge.


California’s Highway 1

You gotta do this drive at least once before you die (ideally in a convertible), and now is as good a time as any. The whole thing is 656 miles. It stretches from Orange County to Mendocino County. If you can’t cover it all, make sure to hit Big Sur. Also known as, the greatest meeting of land and water in the world.

See the full list here.

—Shawn Donnelly for RealClearLife

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