10 Most Beautiful Highways
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163 downtown san diego
It''s no wonder that they close this stretch of the highway off every year for the Rock and Roll marathon--it''s gorgeous. With palm tree-filled canyons, lush eucalyptus trees and wooden guard rails instead of the tacky metal ones, you almost don''t mind the crazy traffic getting into and out of downtown.
atchafalaya basin bridge
This stretch of I-10 in Louisiana is a stunning example of the uniqueness of the state. Complemented by forrest, rivers, lakes, and real Louisiana swamp, this bridge highway is gorgeous. Go in the summer when the trees are green and the egrets are plentiful.
road to hana, maui
The T-shirts all say: I survived the road to Hana. It can take more than four hours to travel the 52 miles from Kahului to Hana, as you snake past steep sea-cliffs lush with blooming mango trees, buy banana bread from roadside stalls, and pull over for Jurassic vistas
us 1 florida keys
Leaving the mainland for the 120-mile-long island chain of Florida’s Keys, travelers enter a paradise of beach bars, water sports, and Parrotheads (Jimmy Buffett fans). From Key Largo to Key West, the overseas highway strings the islands together like beads, running past lighthouses, underwater coral-reef parks, and across 7 Mile Bridge—one of the longest bridges in the world.
blue ridge parkway, carolinas and virginia
The nearly 500 miles of blacktop twisting through the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks was built for travelers seeking Appalachian overlooks. It’s a panoramic drive for all seasons, with undulating slopes of color in autumn, a bounty of forest canopy in summer, and hot-cider ski resorts in winter. The parkway has become a paradise for birders: with 59 resident species, it boasts more diversity than the entire continent of Europe.
route 12, utah
The red rock majesty of Utah is on triumphant display on State Route 12 winding between Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon national parks. The 124-mile strip has funky small towns and very few entry points, so it takes a map and determination to witness the steep sandstone canyons and bluffs of purple sage, and to tackle the narrow cliff-hanging ridgeline road called The Hogback.
bluebonnet trail, texas
Between Austin and Houston lies the Lone Star State’s most beautiful scenery, especially from March to May when the wild bluebonnets are out in force. From Austin, you’ll pass a chain of seven interconnected lakes on the Colorado River, including Lake Buchanan, a wilderness resort area popular with fishermen and artists.
highway 101, oregon
The state owns the entire coast of Oregon and has preserved unobstructed natural vistas along 300 or so miles of beaches off Highway 101. Between Port Orford and Brookings, fierce sea cliffs stand in contrast to the pastoral farmland and roaming cattle of Oregon’s small towns.
seward highway, alaska
When you drive through snow-capped fjords spilling into lush gree valleys and crystal-clear water, you feel like you''re on top of the world and since you''re in Alaska, you literally are. Absolutely stunning
olympic peninsula loop, washington
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Both the scenic route and the peninsula’s only major route, Highway 101 loops around the largest road-free area in the continental U.S. Starting in Seattle, head northwest to climb into the Hoh River rainforest, dominated by ancient Sitka spruce and western hemlock. You can spy the San Juan Islands from the top of Hurricane Ridge, and at low tide, the pools on Olympic beaches are rife with starfish, sand dollars, and crabs.
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