The Most Beautiful Drive in the United States: Exploring Breathtaking Scenic Routes

Choose the drive you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 14, 2024 06:22
Discover the hidden gems and breathtaking landscapes that grace the vast expanse of the United States, as we take you on a picturesque journey through the country's most beautiful drives. StrawPoll invites you to cast your vote and join fellow adventurers in ranking these awe-inspiring routes that stretch from sun-kissed coastlines to majestic mountains, and from serene forests to vibrant cities. Will it be the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, the enchanting Blue Ridge Parkway, or the captivating Going-to-the-Sun Road that steals your heart? Or perhaps you have a secret treasure waiting to be added to our list? Buckle up and embark on this thrilling adventure with us as we unveil the most stunning drives in the United States, as chosen by you, the explorers of the open road.

What Is the Most Beautiful Drive in the United States?

  1. 1
    87
    votes
    The Pacific Coast Highway offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, rocky cliffs, and winding roads. It's considered one of the most scenic routes in the world.
    The Pacific Coast Highway in California is regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the United States. It is a scenic stretch of Highway 1 that runs along the stunning coastline of California, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding landscapes. The highway passes through numerous picturesque coastal towns and iconic landmarks, making it an unforgettable driving experience.
    • Length: Approximately 655.8 miles (1,055.4 km)
    • Start Location: Dana Point, California
    • End Location: Leggett, California
    • Major Cities: Santa Monica, Los Angeles, San Francisco
    • Scenic Views: Panoramic ocean views, rugged cliffs, sandy beaches
    Pacific Coast Highway - California in other rankings
  2. 2
    29
    votes
    Blue Ridge Parkway - Virginia/North Carolina
    Acroterion · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile drive that winds through the Appalachian Mountains. It's known for its magnificent views of the mountain range, waterfalls, and autumn foliage.
    The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic highway that stretches for 469 miles through the states of Virginia and North Carolina. It offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lush forests, vibrant wildflowers, and shimmering waterfalls. Travelling along this iconic road is like immersing oneself in nature's beauty.
    • Length: 469 miles (755 kilometers)
    • States: Virginia and North Carolina
    • Scenic Views: Breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
    • Natural Features: Lush forests, vibrant wildflowers, and shimmering waterfalls
    • Wildlife: Opportunities for spotting a variety of wildlife, including deer, black bears, and diverse bird species
  3. 3
    25
    votes
    Going-to-the-Sun Road - Montana
    Brian W. Schaller · FAL
    Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-mile drive that takes you through Glacier National Park. The drive offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains, glaciers, and crystal-clear lakes.
    The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Montana is a breathtakingly scenic drive that winds its way through Glacier National Park. It offers stunning views of pristine lakes, towering mountains, and impressive glaciers. The road is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the United States, providing an unforgettable journey through the heart of nature.
    • Location: Glacier National Park, Montana
    • Length: 50 miles (80 kilometers)
    • Elevation: Ranging from 3,153 feet (958 meters) to 6,647 feet (2,026 meters)
    • Construction Period: 1921-1932
    • Scenic Overlooks: Over 30 scenic pullouts to admire the panoramic views
    Going-to-the-Sun Road - Montana in other rankings
  4. 4
    23
    votes
    The Great River Road follows the Mississippi River for over 2,000 miles. The drive showcases the river's history, culture, and natural beauty.
    The Great River Road - Minnesota to Louisiana is a scenic driving route that stretches for over 2,000 miles alongside the Mississippi River, offering breathtaking views of the river's beauty and the surrounding landscapes. It is considered one of the most picturesque drives in the United States, showcasing the diverse culture, history, and natural wonders along its path.
    • Length: 2,069 miles
    • States Traversed: 10 states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana
    • River Featured: Mississippi River
    • Scenic Byways: Along the route, it includes designated scenic byways, including the Great River Road Scenic Byway in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway in Illinois, and the Mississippi River Parkway in Louisiana, among others
    • Historical Sites: It passes numerous historical sites, such as Fort Snelling in Minnesota, Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, and Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana
  5. 5
    8
    votes
    Route 66 is an iconic drive that follows the path of the original highway from Chicago to Santa Monica. The drive takes you through small towns, big cities, and vast deserts.
    Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, is a historic highway that stretches from Illinois to California. It covers a distance of approximately 2,448 miles and offers a captivating drive through diverse landscapes and iconic landmarks.
    • Length: 2,448 miles
    • Start Point: Chicago, Illinois
    • End Point: Santa Monica, California
    • States crossed: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California
    • Year Established: 1926
    Route 66 - Illinois to California in other rankings
  6. 6
    11
    votes
    The Overseas Highway - Florida
    Dominika Durtan · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile drive that takes you across a series of bridges and islands in the Florida Keys. The drive offers stunning views of the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
    The Overseas Highway is a scenic drive in the United States that stretches approximately 113 miles from Miami to Key West, Florida. It is a section of U.S. Route 1 that connects the mainland of Florida to the Florida Keys. The drive offers breathtaking views of the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as numerous bridges and islands along the way.
    • Length: 113 miles
    • Start Point: Miami, Florida
    • End Point: Key West, Florida
    • Number of Bridges: 42
    • Seven Mile Bridge Length: 6.79 miles
  7. 7
    9
    votes
    The Million Dollar Highway is a 25-mile drive that takes you through the San Juan Mountains. The drive offers breathtaking views of the rugged peaks, deep canyons, and historic mining towns.
    The Million Dollar Highway is a spectacular and scenic drive located in southwestern Colorado, USA. It follows a portion of U.S. Route 550, running approximately 25 miles from Silverton to Ouray. The route offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, dramatic cliffs, deep canyons, and picturesque valleys. It is known for its hairpin turns, steep drops, and narrow lanes, making it both thrilling and awe-inspiring to drive.
    • Location: Colorado, USA
    • Route: U.S. Route 550
    • Length: Approximately 25 miles
    • Starting Point: Silverton
    • End Point: Ouray
  8. 8
    3
    votes
    Beartooth Highway - Montana/Wyoming
    Phil Armitage · Public domain
    The Beartooth Highway is a 68-mile drive that takes you through the Beartooth Mountains. The drive offers stunning views of the alpine scenery, glaciers, and wildlife.
    Beartooth Highway is a breathtaking scenic drive that winds its way through Montana and Wyoming. Known as one of the most beautiful drives in the United States, it offers stunning views of pristine alpine lakes, rugged mountains, and vast open meadows. The highway traverses the Beartooth Pass, reaching an elevation of 10,947 feet, making it one of the highest roads in the Northern Rockies. The drive is particularly popular during the summer months when the snow has cleared, and visitors can experience the full grandeur of the landscape.
    • Average Grade: 6.5%
    • Location: Montana/Wyoming
    • Length: 68 miles
    • Highest Elevation: 10,947 feet
    • Number of Switchbacks: 20+
  9. 9
    6
    votes
    The Natchez Trace Parkway - Mississippi/Tennessee
    Carol M. Highsmith (1946–) · Public domain
    The Natchez Trace Parkway is a 444-mile drive that follows the path of an ancient trail used by Native Americans, explorers, and settlers. The drive offers stunning views of the countryside, historic sites, and natural beauty.
    The Natchez Trace Parkway is a scenic road that stretches across 444 miles from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. It follows the historic Natchez Trace path used by Native Americans, explorers, and traders in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Parkway offers breathtaking views of the natural beauty and rich history of the region, making it one of the most beautiful drives in the United States.
    • Length: 444 miles
    • States: Mississippi, Tennessee
    • Starting Point: Natchez, Mississippi
    • Ending Point: Nashville, Tennessee
    • Historical Significance: Follows the path of the Natchez Trace, an important trade route in the early 1800s
  10. 10
    6
    votes
    The Cherohala Skyway is a 43-mile drive that takes you through the Cherokee National Forest. The drive offers stunning views of the Appalachian Mountains, waterfalls, and forests.
    The Cherohala Skyway is a beautiful scenic drive that spans across Tennessee and North Carolina. It offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, forests, and rivers, making it a dream route for nature lovers and road trippers alike. The drive covers a distance of approximately 43 miles, making it a perfect day trip to soak in the stunning beauty of the region.
    • Length: 43 miles
    • Location: Tennessee/North Carolina, United States
    • Elevation: ranging from 900 to 5,390 feet
    • Designated: National Scenic Byway
    • Surroundings: mountains, forests, rivers

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Ranking factors for beautiful drive

  1. Scenery
    The natural beauty, landscapes, and vistas that can be seen throughout the drive are essential factors. This may include mountains, beaches, forests, canyons, rivers, lakes, or other unique natural landmarks and formations.
  2. Road condition and quality
    A well-maintained, asphalt-paved, or concrete road with minimal potholes and debris is more enjoyable for drivers and allows for a smoother ride.
  3. Variety
    A diverse range of landscapes, landforms, flora and fauna, and attractions along the way contribute to a richer and more enjoyable experience.
  4. Historical and cultural significance
    Areas with a rich history or cultural significance (such as Native American landmarks, historical sites, and monuments) can add an extra layer of interest to a drive.
  5. Accessibility
    A route that is easily accessible from different parts of the country and offers suitable parking areas or rest stops makes for a more enjoyable trip.
  6. Vehicle compatibility
    Roads with wide lanes, adequate shoulders, and low levels of tight turns and steep inclines are better suited for a comfortable drive, especially for larger vehicles or those towing a trailer.
  7. Seasonal factors
    Some drives may be more appealing during certain seasons or weather conditions, such as fall foliage, spring blossoms, winter snowscapes, or during specific wildlife migrations.
  8. Length of the drive
    While longer drives can provide more opportunities to explore, drives that are too long may become tiring for some travelers. Considering the optimal length and duration of the drive is important.
  9. Traffic and congestion
    A drive with minimal traffic and congestion allows for a more enjoyable and stress-free experience, allowing drivers to fully appreciate the scenery and attractions along the way.
  10. Safety
    Roads with lower accident rates, proper signage, and well-maintained infrastructure lead to a safer and more comfortable drive.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful drive in the United States. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or driver is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 1356 views
  • 207 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each driver once every 24 hours. The rank of each driver is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

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More information on most beautiful drive in the united states

The United States boasts some of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the world. From the winding coastal highways of California to the rugged mountain passes of Colorado, there is no shortage of natural beauty to behold. Taking a road trip is a quintessential American experience, and there is no better way to truly appreciate the country's diverse landscapes than by hitting the open road. Whether you're seeking panoramic vistas, colorful foliage, or quaint small towns, the United States has something for everyone. So sit back, buckle up, and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful drives this country has to offer.

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