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5 Scenic Spring Drives in the United States

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Pacific Coast Highway, CaliforniaWith construction starting in 1934, and officially being named in 1964, historic Highway 1 will have you seeing the most beautiful coastal colors and sea-scenes than any other road in the nation. Starting in Orange County, continuing through Redwood forests, and finishing past the Golden Gate Bridge; there is a reason the Pacific Coast Highway is an official and unofficial road trip destination for thousands of drivers every year. Perhaps the most scenic section of the entire drive, Big Sur, allows drivers to make a quick stop, see some sea lions along a jagged Pacific coast, and then check out some of the northern most Redwood groves in California.

Travel Chanel: “Pacific Coast Highway: America’s Most Popular Road Trip For a Reason
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Website

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Going-to-the-Sun Road, MontanaNamed after a mountain that overlooks the area, Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park does serve as a good runway to almost leaving planet earth. Between this 50 mile road that bisects Glacier National Park, hikers and automobilists are exposed to glacier lakes, cedar forests, and alpine tundra. They can also expect to see wildlife, including common sightings of bears, wolverines, and moose. And with different views from both sides of the road, it doesn’t matter the direction you are travelling to ensure some Kodak moments. And with access to most of Glacier’s trails from the road, you’ll be encouraged to park the vehicle for a while.

Visit Montana – Glacier National Park – Going-to-the-Sun Road
New York Times – “Into the Big Sky”

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Skyline Drive, VirginiaFor a leisurely car ride out east, check out Skyline Drive that runs across the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. With views offered for every season, perhaps the two best times of year to go are in the spring for the wildflowers and the fall for the autumn shades. With a consistent speed limit of 35 mph, this 105 mile scenic byway takes about 3 hours to drive if you don’t stop. But with over 75 overlooks, and Appalachian Trail crossings dotted along the way, you’ll find plenty of reasons to pull over.

Shenandoah National Park – “Driving Skyline Drive”
Virginia is for Lovers – Skyline Drive

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San Juan Skyway, ColoradoTouted as both an All-American Road and National Forest Scenic Byway, the San Juan Skyway situated amidst the San Juan Mountains in Colorado offers one of the most scenic looped drives in the nation. Explore the Wild West on the San Juan Skyway with over 230 miles of historical markers and continuous vantage points. Start and end your adventure anywhere on the loop and make sure to check out adventure towns like Durango and Telluride to get some of that Rocky Mountain appreciation.

Durango Area Tourism Office – “A San Juan Skyway Adventure”

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Patchwork Parkway, UtahTravel back in time as you travel across Utah’s Patchwork Parkway. The 50 mile road sits atop the land that past pioneers navigated from one town to another, using patchwork quilts in the wintertime to keep their feet a bit drier, thus giving name to the now historic Patchwork Parkway. Along this route, you’ll get a good eyeful of everything that is Utah. Vibrant colors, deep canyons, lakes, and lava fields. And with the Patchwork Parkway connecting both Heritage Highway 89 and Scenic Byway 12, your fun doesn’t have to stop once you leave the patchwork behind.

How Stuff Works – “Top 10 Most Beautiful Drives in the United States”
Federal Highway Administration – “Scenic Byway 143”

Drive back to a time where driving was relaxing. Leave the red lights and congestion behind in the rear view mirror and sit back. Get the breeze rolling through the car with the open windows and don’ be afraid to turn up your mega music mix as some of the nations most beautiful scenery flies by outside the window. Be sure to stop plenty to stretch the legs, find a trail, or snap a picture. Whatever you do, remember to take your time and understand it’s the experience, not the end destination, that these roads are so highly recommended.


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