A list that could be many more in number but here’s ten for starters.
1. Going To The Sun Road / Montana.
Not an easy road to drive and only open from June to September, this National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark is over 50 miles long and is the only road across Glacier National Park. For those that want to sit back and enjoy the views take one of the converted 1930’s tour buses from Lake McDonald Lodge. Whether driving or taking the tour you will soon realise why this drive makes our top ten. Offering some of the most spectacular view in all of the American Rockies you climb to where the snow-capped mountains meet the vivid blue skies and the naming of this road becomes apparent.
2. Overseas Highway / Florida.
Route 1 runs for 113 miles from Miami to Key West in the Florida Keys passing through the tropical islands of the Keys that are home to the largest tropical reefs in the United States. As the Keys are essentially a long string of islands you will pass over countless bridges above the turquoise blue waters that will have you feeling like you are floating above the water. You will also be able to boast having travelled along one of America’s longest bridges, just a mere 7 miles long.
Visits to the Florida Everglades in Southern Florida and time spent in the eclectic surroundings of Key West are highlights of a visit to this part of North America.
3. Pacific Coast Highway / California.
Considered one of the top drives in the world we couldn’t leave out the PCH. We recommend driving south from San Francisco to Los Angeles, driving on the right means you will have the most spectacular view as the waves crash against the rocky coastline. There an many places to stop and don’t miss the seals at San Simeon.
4. Highway 163 / Arizona & Utah.
Slicing through Navajo Nation Country, discover the backdrop to many iconic Cowboy & Indian movies as you experience the huge rocky outcroppings of Monument Valley rising vertically from the desert floor. Book early to overnight at the only place to stay in Monument Valley, Gouldings Lodge & Trading Post where the sunset and sunrise is something very special. Our recommendation is to combine this drive as part of an itinerary that then continues on to Moab to visit spectacular Canyonlands and Arches National Park.
5. Kancamagus Highway / New Hampshire
Running from Conway to Lincoln the route is only 36 miles long but being one of the highest roadways in the region it affords countless scenic panoramas. Beautiful at any time of year but spectacular during the New England Fall as you look across the vast forests, mountain tops and endless waterways and travel through the covered bridges, synonymous with New England. Easily incorporated into most tours of New England as you move from New Hampshire to Vermont.
6. Route 66
Needs little introduction, probably the most iconic road in the world. Spanning 8 states and over 2000 miles, Route 66 or ‘The Mother Road’ as it became known during the desperation of the Dust Bowl era, offers a nostalgic journey through 20th century American history and the search for a better life in the West. Can be tricky to follow in some parts so Complete North America provide an essential driving guide – EZ-66 for all travellers.
7. Highway 12 / Utah.
Not so well known as some others in the list but no less spectacular. A drive through the red rock country of the southern USA. Marvel at the towering mesas and stunning buttes with the chance to visit the majestic beauty of Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument en-route to Capitol Reef National Park. Time needs to be allowed to drive ‘Hole in the rock road’ into Grand Staircase Esclante to visit the slot Canyons and Coyote Gulch, the natural beauty of which you will struggle to match anywhere on earth.
8. Highway 101 Olympic National Park / Washington State.
Highway 101 circles Olympic National Park which is one of the less well known parks for British visitors but is without doubt one of the most incredible National Parks in America. Perhaps it’s most unique attraction is its variety, covering several different eco-systems from the towing peaks of the Olympic Mountains to the old growth forests. See the Glacier topped Mt Olympus, take a walk through rainforests and explore the Pacific Ocean coastline, Highway 101 is your gateway to it all.
9. Blue Ridge Parkway / North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia.
500 miles of Appalachian scenic driving through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Shenandoah National Park. Offering great view east and west as the road runs down the spine of the mountains it’s particularly special during the fall when the leaves turn golden for as far as the eye can see. Best combined with a visit to the region around the capital Washington D.C. and contrasted with a visit to Charleston and Savannah on the coast.
10. Beartooth Highway / Montana, Wyoming.
A 68 mile National Scenic Byway, we think this deserves a place on the list just for the cool name! However it reaches the top ten on merit. Running from southwest Montana through Wyoming and into Yellowstone National Park at it’s northeast entrance, closed in winter it offers breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains. The alpine plateaus offer numerous glacial lakes, forest valleys, waterfalls and wildlife and all this before you reach the awe-inspiring Yellowstone National Park.
We’d love to hear about some of your favourite drives.