Top Ten Seasonal Scenic Drives
Everyone loves a good road trip, especially when there's gorgeous scenery to enjoy. Check out these ten seasonal scenic drives throughout America.
North Shore O'ahu, Hawaii, Route 83 : Most roads in Hawaii are worthy of must-see status, but this rises to the top for what it is not: touristy. It's a welcome relief from Honolulu's endless people press. The route winds through tiny surf villages like Waimea and Kawela, which are low on hype but big with character, allowing for a more honest look at island culture. The route's coastal hug furnishes endless ocean views and accesses empty beaches.
Florida's Highway 1 or Overseas Highway: This 133-mile stretch between Key Largo and Key West is one of the few roads that never disappoints, especially for winter-bored eyes. The entire route creases two stretching lips of turquoise water, providing an almost magical entrance ramp into the tropics. Lawton, Duck Key, Marathon and other small towns pocket the entire route, allowing for good stopping points. The route culminates in Key West, the most southern spot in the United States, making it the perfect exclamation point for the Overseas Highway.
Utah's Route 128 between Cisco and Moab: Start this drive in Cisco, a pebble of a town along Interstate 80, for it offers no hint of the awe you're about to witness. From Cisco there's nothing but sage, prairie dogs, and more sage. But once you catch up to the Colorado River, you plunge into a red rock valley that represents Mom Nature at her Salvador Dali best. Avant-garde rock and cliff formations, the color of brownie mix, wall the final 25 miles, rivaling most National Parks for mind-staggering scenery.
California's Highway 101 between Eureka and Crescent City: Often overlooked by California's more populous southern coastal routes, this 82-mile stretch of road makes disposable camera pictures look good. Views of northern California's moody north coast are many. But the giant redwoods dominate, both literally and figuratively, as the true visual headliners, especially in Redwood National Park.
Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road: Open only in summer, this 53-mile wonder snakes through Montana's northernmost Rockies. Hairpin turns, narrow shoulders fronted by plummeting cliffs, and snow-dusted peaks jabbing high into the Montana sky make you feel like you're mountaineering in a car.
Alaska's Route 1 into Homer: This 169-mile wander between Anchorage and Homer creates the lofty sense of driving through a National Geographic special. Turquoise streams charge through thick forests. The Cook Inlet, to the west, often reveals beluga whales. And the Homer Spit provides an unexpected beach setting favored by bald eagles.
Colorado's Highway 550 between Ouray and Durango:This is the ultimate mountain road. Craggy mountain ranges, veined with cascading snow-melt fed streams, scaffold both sides of the winding route. Abandoned mines pock scree-filled slopes like tombstones to lost dreams. And at approximately half-way, the route recesses into a deep valley, accessing Silverton, a Victorian mining town with a heavy anchor to its past.
Vermont's Route 125 between East Middlebury and Hancock: This wander serves as the ultimate fall stereotype. The Green Mountain National Forest pageants a spectacle of primary colors. Middlebury College's Breadloaf Campus, a summertime writing colony, adds a scholarly touch. And just past the sleepy village of Ripton resides Robert Frost's summer cabin.
Montana's Route 191 between Bozeman and West Yellowstone: Golden aspens and stately pines hem the road as it mimics the curves and twists of the fast-moving Gallatin River. Casting fly fishermen serve as reminders to why the film "A River Runs Through It" was filmed in and around here. The route, towards the south, veers through Yellowstone's northwest corner, providing plenty of opportunities to spy moose, bison, and elk.
Vermont's Route 100 between Stockbridge and Stowe: Famed traveler and journalist Charles Kuralt championed this road as the prettiest in America. Impossibly quaint villages with steepled churches, covered bridges, and tiny vegetable stands advertising homemade pies line the entire route. Not even Stephen King could write anything frightful about this autumnal wonder-spot.
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