Top 10 Scenic Byways
With warm weather just around the corner, it is the perfect time of year to pull out those trusty roadmaps and plot out adventures on some of the nation's most scenic byways. In many cases it doesn't take long once outside the city to be immersed in the vibrant beauty of nature. Whether you drive a convertible, a practical sedan, or an SUV prepared for off-road obstacles, you'll be sure to love these scenic drives.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Skyline Drive
Located in the heart of Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, this breathtaking 105-mile scenic byway will lead you through lush forest and past sparkling waterfalls. There are many sudden vistas you'll come across and the challenge of the day will be not stopping at every single one. Keep your eye out for black bears, local deer, and a large variety of birds.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Big Sur Coastal Byway
If you want an ocean view with a wild and untamed landscape leading up to it then this 72-mile scenic byway will be calling your name. Hidden among rocky cliffs you'll find soft sandy beaches and don't be surprised if you spot sea lions doing some exploration of their own. The coastline is dramatic yet inviting and you'll experience California much like it probably was when settlers first began arriving.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Route 66
Out of all the scenic byways, this is probably the one that most people think of first. Route 66 is one of the longest scenic drives you'll find yourself taking, with over 1400 miles of everything from gorgeous country views to funky little towns. This is America's road. It symbolizes the freedom of exploration and the spirit of adventure you can experience it the whole way down Route 66. There are so many places to go and things to see that this scenic drive will take more than a couple days to see it all.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Turquoise Trail
This is one of the Southwest's most beautiful scenic byways. Stretching from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, you'll be driving on 62 miles through the Cibola and Santa Fe National Forests. On this trail you will find hidden canyons, ancient and unusual rock formations and a magnificent vista called Sandia Crest. Take a few minutes and stop off at the fascinating Tinkertown Museum, built over 40 years by just one man.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Do you enjoy scenic drives with lighthouses, waterfalls, islands, and bridges? If so, then the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is just for you. This trail is over 500 miles long and will take you all along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway from Pennsylvania into New York. Be sure to stop and see Niagara Falls and the Boldt Castle along your journey.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Stevens Pass Greenway
This nearly 90-mile scenic byway is located in Washington state and will take you through the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forests. This land is rugged and you'll be taken up and down the mountains and into steep valleys, everywhere with lush tree growth around you. Along the way you will come across charming towns, including Leavenworth, a town seemingly more believable to exist in the Old World than in modern Washington.
Top 10 Scenic Byways:Chinook Scenic Byway
You'll feel on top of the world while rolling down this 85-mile scenic drive. Also in Washington state, this byway will lead you high through a mountain pass and bring you back down past clear lakes and flower-dotted meadows. If hiking, biking, and skiing are up your alley there will be plenty for you to do.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Florida Keys Scenic Highway
If you are looking for a laid-back scenic drive past aquamarine sea, dense mangroves, and over a chain of islands then the Florida Keys Scenic Highway running from Key Largo to Key West is a great option. Take your time driving down; stop off in Islamorada for an afternoon of fishing or Bahia Honda State Park for a day of sinking your toes in soft sand while relaxing under a palm tree. The water is a thousand shades of blue and green and the drive over the Seven-Mile Bridge alone makes the entire drive worth it.
Top 10 Scenic Byways:Nebo Loop
This scenic byway is located entirely in Uinta National Forest in Utah. Take the 37-mile drive through colorful rock formations and stop off to see Devil's Kitchen after taking a short hike through the forest. You'll see views of impressive Mount Nebo and if you're feeling adventurous then get out and hike the 9-mile Mount Nebo Wilderness trail.
Top 10 Scenic Byways: Connecticut State Route 169
One of the shorter scenic drives at only 32 miles, this trail will give you a sense of stepping back through time to the earlier days of New England. You will drive past small villages, quiet and charming, and don't be surprised to see a multitude of animal life since hustle and bustle hasn't touched life here. Enjoy views of thick woods, flowing streams, and rich fields. Breathe in fresh air and relax.
Photo courtesy of: Dysepsion