America's 10 Most Scenic Roadtrips

By: Angela Ayles
© Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

The lovely country of the United States has so much to offer and is the road trip fanatic’s paradise. It is made up of wonderful cities, charming landscapes, majestic mountains, refreshing rivers and lakes, fabulous beaches, and great people. It’s no wonder why the US is called “America the Beautiful!” In our opinion, these are America’s 10 most scenic road trips listed in alphabetic order by state.


1. Alaska – Highway 1 from Anchorage to Seward

Landscape on a summer evening of potter marsh, at the southern end of the Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge, Turnagain Arms and the Chugach Mountains in Alaska.
Getty Images / Copyright 2014 Moelyn Photos

For an exceptional 155 mile journey, travel Highway 1 from Anchorage to Seward. It presents one of the best opportunities to observe animals not only in their natural environment but right on the roadway. The unspoiled country and picturesque coastline are a photographer’s dream. There is so much to see along the way, as well as Chugach State Park, Potter Marsh Wildlife Refuge, Portage Glacier, and Alyeksa Resort.

2. Arizona – Route 89A from Flagstaff to Sedona

"Castle Rock near Oak Creek, not far from Sedona, Arizona, in morning lightMore images from Sedona:"
Getty Images / JacobH

Without a doubt, this highway is one of the most scenic paths in the United States. The 27-mile paved route 89A runs from the popular tourist town of Flagstaff through the impressive Oak Creek Canyon to the town of Sedona, which is known for its enormous red-rock formations. Oak Creek Canyon is filled with prismatic scenery and has an amazing variety of trees. There are many places to visit here, including the recreation area, Slide Rock State Park and the Red Rock–Secret Mountain Wilderness Region.

3. Arkansas – Highway 7 from Harrison to Hot Springs

Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Getty Images / Jeremy Mason McGraw 2014 - Global Image Creation

This all-natural scenic route goes through one national park and two national forests. It is especially striking in the fall when the leaves of the trees are changing colors. Highway 7, from Harrison to Hot Springs, offers 160 miles of extraordinary views of the craggy Ozark Mountains and other gorgeous surroundings, which includes rivers, forests, canyons, lakes and plenty of wildlife.

4. California – Route 1 from San Simeon to Carmel

Winding Highway 1 along California Coastline near Big Sur.
Getty Images / © Thomas Winz 2014

The eminent Route 1 stretches along the entire California coastline, but for an exceptionally intriguing road trip, travel the 90 miles of the highway that runs from San Simeon through Big Sur to Carmel. Big Sur is tucked in the middle of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The pristine scenery is absolutely astonishing. The road winds through amazing groves of huge redwood trees, stony beaches with sea lions, and along high jagged cliffs. While there are no actual towns, there are small bunches of wayside restaurants and shops scattered along the sides of the road.


5. Florida – Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West

The Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys
Danny Lehman / Getty Images

This road trip spans the length of about 113 miles and starts from the tip of Florida outside of Miami and goes all the way through Key West. The Overseas Highway takes in 42 fascinating ocean bridges that link the southeast crook of the Florida inland to the islands of the Florida Keys. The Seven Mile Bridge is almost seven miles in length and is the longest of the bridges. These bridges offer outstanding unbroken views of turquoise waters, seaside beaches, and islets. Along the way, there are many things to do and see on the islands; stop to eat at one of the numerous burger stands, visit the many souvenir shops or discover the Keys’ coral reefs on a diving expedition.

6. Hawaii – Hana Highway from Kahului to Hana

Getty Images / ©2017 Andriy Prokopenko

The Hana Highway follows 52 miles of the northern coast of Maui. The winding road, which runs along the edge of a tropical jungle, begins in Kahului and zigzags eastward to Hana. This is a road trip that offers breath-taking views of extraordinary seascapes, amazing beaches with black sand and incredible waterfalls. There are many places to stop and see, as well as the Garden of Eden and Botanical Arboretum, and the magnificent 80- foot drop waterfall known as Wailua Falls. Moreover, don’t forget to stop and take a walk on some of the trails at Waianapanapa State Park.

7. Minnesota – North Shore Drive from Duluth to Grand Portage

Two Harbors breakwater lighthouse in Minnesota
Getty Images / Viktor Posnov

The 154-mile North Shore Drive covers a picturesque path through the rough country of the Minnesota wilderness. This road winds through thick forests and serrated Mountains along the far-reaching coastline of Lake Superior. The lake is the biggest freshwater lake in the world, and the North Shore Drive route offers picture-perfect panoramic views with numerous interesting places to stop and visit, including the pretty harbor town of Grand Marais and the remarkable timeworn fur trading post in Grand Portage.

8. Missouri – Route 19 from Salem to Eminence

Rivers seldom move in a straight line, they meander, going this way then that, sort of like how I go about, Sometimes I don't have a clear destination in mind, I just travel in some general direction until I find IT. "I'll know it when I see it" seems to be the phrase that I use a lot. Thats why I like photography, it allows me to capture what I discover. When I dissever it. Whatever I discover. I like to explore, see things I never seen before. The St Francis Mountains in Southeast Missouri offers many of these places, such as this view of the St Francis River at Lee's Bluff in Madison County.
Getty Images / Larry Braun Photography

Located in one of the best areas of the Missouri Ozarks, this 44 mile trip is nature at its best. The scenery is absolutely postcard perfect! This road winds along impressive backdrops of countryside farms, lush forests and the beautiful Current River. The road crosses sections of the 1.5 million-acre Mark Twain National Forest and parts of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. Missouri has 5,000 known caves and many of them can be found along this route.

9. Wisconsin – Route 70 from Iron Mountain to Eagle River

Eagle River Autumn Scenic Landscape - Red canyon views near Eagle, Colorado USA.
Getty Images / ©Scott Cramer Photography

While Wisconsin is recognized as one of the most scenic states, Route 70 from Iron Mountain to Eagle River is known as one of the prettiest areas. The entire 69 mile stretch is filled with pristine views of primitive woods, rolling hills and an abundance of wildlife. This region is also a place to take a winter road trip because the roads are maintained during harsh weather.


10. Vermont – Highway 7 from Burlington to Bennington

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

For an awe-inspiring kaleidoscope of color, take this route during the early fall. Highway 7 runs through the western edge of Vermont, and the path between Burlington and Bennington goes through some exceptionally pretty areas, including Champlain Lake, maple syrup country and Green Mountain National Forest. This road trip features covered bridges, historic towns, and townships that were founded in the 1700s. There are also many interesting small museums scattered along the way.