You’re planning your next road trip using your RV road trip planner, and you want to know: What are the best scenic routes in America? As I’ve traveled around the United States some of my favorite moments have been driving scenic routes.

They’re better than interstates for many reasons, including: they’re quieter, less crowded, and they take you through the most beautiful landscapes on the planet.

There’s a lot of them though, and with so many options, we know how hard it can be to choose the best scenic drive.

So, we looked for scenic drives with the most breathtaking views, must-see sights, and unique scenery. Using these criteria, we found the top 20 scenic drives in North America. 

Along with the best scenic routes in the U.S., we also included the top three must-see sights for each scenic drive AND the best time of year to drive these most beautiful roads.

Since, these routes are sometimes isolated, and include clearance restrictions, hairpin turns, and steep inclines, we’ve also included some safety tips for driving scenic driving routes.

Let’s get started so you can get driving!

Safety on the Best Scenic Routes in America

Check Fluids and Tires

Many of the best scenic routes are isolated. They lack the services that you’ll find along the bigger interstates such as mechanics, and sometimes even gas stations.

So, if you get a flat tire, you’re unlikely to find help nearby, and you might have limited or no cell-service. Uh-oh.

Getting caught in a situation like this can be stressful. Avoid it all together by consistently checking your fluids, tires, and gas levels while on the road. 

Check Road Restrictions

You’re driving one of the best road trips in the U.S. when your passenger starts shrieking.

The bright yellow sign above the tunnel ahead of you screams: CLEARANCE 11’ 3”.

You realize, in a fraction of a moment, that your RV stands at 12’ and you slam on the brakes. Fortunately, you stop in time, but now what?

Avoid this situation by planning ahead. Contact the Department of Transportation for the scenic route you plan on driving.

Ask them about it’s road restrictions, clearance levels, etc. It can save your RV, or even your life. 

Take it Slow

You feel like you’re on a rollercoaster. Another hairpin turn makes your stomach do a flip as you peer over at the driver.

Their white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel and wide-eyes do nothing to reassure you. Slow down. It’s the scenic route for a reason—you’re supposed to be enjoying the scenery. 

Many of the best roads in the U.S. are a little more perilous than their interstate counterparts.

Some travel along high cliffs, involve tight turns, or steep inclines. It’s best to take your time while driving on them so you avoid becoming a statistic. 

Use These Roadside Assistance Companies

When you’re traveling on one of the best scenic routes in the U.S. You want peace of mind.

These companies will help you when you get a flat tire, need to be towed, run out of gas, and more. Enlist in one of their plans so you don’t get caught in a bind. 

  • Good Sam (Find a plan HERE)
  • AAA (Find a plan HERE)
  • Your Insurance Company

–Many major insurance companies offer roadside assistance, including: Allstate, Statefarm, Nationwide, Farmers, Progressive, etc.

America’s 20 Most Scenic Road-Trip Routes

1. Pacific Coast Highway, California

Pacific Coast Highway

No other road in the state of California so thoroughly captures the Golden State’s spirit.

Along it’s 655-mile length you’ll find yourself driving past sun-drenched beaches near LA, over the Golden Gate Bridge near San Francisco, and below towering Redwood tress in Northern California.

It gets better! The entire highway winds along the Pacific Ocean, giving you breathtaking views the entire drive. It’s my favorite scenic road- trip route on this list. 

Where: California 1 and Highway 101 – California

What to See:

  • Big Sur – 90 miles of the most beautiful coast in the world.
  • San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge, eclectic culture, Alcatraz, and more.
  • Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park – Where Coastal Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, meet the Pacific Ocean.

Best Time to Visit: Year-Round (Thank you beautiful, California beach weather)

2. Volcanic Scenic Byway, Northern California & Southern Oregon 

volcanic legacy scenic byway oregon

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the Northwestern U.S. hides a ring of volcanoes.

These slumbering behemoths molded the beautiful landscape into what it is today. 

Drive along it’s dark pine forests and among it’s towering mountain ranges.

It’s one of the best roads in the U.S. because it’s tall height seems to stand above the rest of the world. 

Where: Northern California & Southern Oregon 

What to See: 

  • Crater Lake – Massive volcanic caldera filled with beautiful blue water, and featuring famous Wizard Island.
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park – Golden Gate Bridge, eclectic culture, Alcatraz, and more.
  • Mt. Shasta – Drive by it at sunset to see the definition of Purple Mountain Majesty

Best Time to Visit: Summer/Spring

3. The Overseas Highway, U.S. 1 – Florida Keys 

Florida Keys’ Overseas Highway

Florida is known for it’s year-round, sub-tropical climate. I mean come on, it’s pretty much a jungle paradise edged with sugar-white sand beaches.

Nowhere is this more apparent than along The Overseas Highway.

It’s basically one enormous bridge that connects the Florida Keys—a series of islands—with some of the best wildlife, natural features, and beaches in the world. You won’t find any other road like this in the United States. 

Where: U.S. 1 – Florida Keys 

What to See: 

  • Florida Keys – The highway connects these islands, each one with a treasure of it’s own.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park – Massive abandoned sea fort surrounded by flourishing coral reefs and picturesque blue water
  • 7-Mile Bridge – One of the longest bridges in the world with beautiful Gulf waters on either side.

Best Time to Visit: Winter/Spring (Probably best to avoid hurricane season)

4. Route 66 – Missouri

Route 66 – Missouri

Good ol’ Route 66. It’s the Mother of all Roads, giving birth to American road culture as we know it.

While the entire route, stretching from Illinois to California, is surely worth checking out, there’s a must-see section.

The Missouri segment passes through the Ozarks with it’s winding rivers, limestone caverns, and forested hills. 

Where: Route 66 – Missouri 

What to See: 

  • The Lake of the Ozarks – Great place for water sports with more than 1100 miles of shoreline (more than California’s coast).
  • 66 Drive-In – Recapture some of that road spirit. See a drive-in movie at the oldest drive-in along Route 66
  • Gateway Arch – This 630-foot man-made arch in St. Louis welcomes visitors to the American West

Best Time to Visit: Late Spring/Summer

5. Monument Valley Scenic Route, Northern Arizona & Southern Utah

Monument Valley Scenic Route

This must-see scenic route provides views you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.

The sandstone bluffs that made Monument Valley famous line this epic highway. 

You can immerse yourself in the Navajo culture that can be found here, or hike one of the Valley’s many trails. 

Where: US Route 163 – Northern Arizona & Southern Utah

What to See: 

  • Tribal Park Loop – 17-mile loop featuring all that Monument Valley has to offer from the seat of your RV
  • The Mittens and Merrick Butte – Take a picture with Monument Valleys most famous sandstone giants
  • Forest Gump Point – Iconic view of Monument Valley from the 1994 hit Forrest Gump

Best Time to Visit: Fall/Spring

6. Beartooth Highway, Northern Wyoming & Southern Montana

Beartooth Highway

You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world when driving this scenic route. It’s a 5,000-foot rise in elevation covers over 68 miles of beautiful highway.

Along the way you’ll see snow capped mountain ranges, endless seas of lodgepole pines, and teeming wildlife. 

Where: Beartooth Highway – Northern Wyoming & Southern Montana

What to See: 

  • Yellowstone National Park – The first National Park in the U.S. and my personal favorite. It features wolves, grizzlies, bison, and other wildlife amid pristine, forested wilderness and steaming hot springs and gushing geysers.
  • Bear’s Tooth – Marvel at the highway’s namesake—an unusual, pyramid-shaped mountain.
  • Clay Butte Fire Lookout Tower – Offer 360-degree views of the region (USE CAUTION: Dirt Road).

Best Time to Visit: Late Spring/Summer

7. The Great River Road, Minnesota to Louisiana 

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway in Illinois

What’s the United States’ great river? Every American school kid knows the answer—The Mississippi.

So, it only makes sense that the 3,000 miles of road following it, carry the name: The Great Road River. This scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns.

Where: Minnesota to Louisiana 

What to See: 

  • New Orleans, Louisiana  – Unique city that perfectly captures Mississippi river culture. Known for it’s Cajun food, excellent jazz, and French infused culture. 
  • Trail of Tears State Park – learn about the tragic history behind the Trail of Tears, do some fishing in the Mississippi River, and observe unique wildlife
  • Fort Snelling – This Minnesota Fort, built in 1820, offers lessons about human history in the area dating back 10,000 years

Best Time to Visit: Fall (The iconic Fall landscape)

8. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway

Lovingly referred to by many as ‘America’s Favorite Drive’, Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through 469 miles of Appalachian Highlands.

It’s 45 MPH speed limit and ban on semi-trucks makes for a relaxing drive through the surrounding wilderness with plenty of chances to spot it’s diverse wildlife. 

Where: Virginia to North Carolina 

What to See: 

  • Mabry Mill – Snap a photo of this picturesque, old mill.
  • Craggy Pinnacle – Two-mile hike through fairytale forests. It’s peak gives you a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 
  • Cascade Falls – Beautiful hike with gushing waterfall.

Best Time to Visit: Summer/Fall (Autumn colors galore)

9. 12 Scenic Byway, Utah 

Utah 12 Scenic Byway

The best road trip in Utah involves Highway 12—the spiritual spine of the state.

This stretch of highway passes Bryce Canyon National Park and Grand Escalante National Monument, through Dixie National Forest, and into Capitol Reef National Park.

You’ll see pine forests, rusty red landscapes, and unique hoodoos. 

Where: Utah 

What to See: 

  • Bryce Canyon National Park – Famous for it’s geological formations called hoodoos as well as it’s diverse wildlife
  • Grand Escalante National Park – We don’t need Elon Musk to get to Mars. You can find it at Grand Escalante National Park in Utah 
  • Capitol Reef National Park – Keep an eye out for it’s sandstone arches and Western movie landscape.

Best Time to Visit: Fall/Spring

10. Highway 101, Oregon 

Highway 101 oregon

The twin sister of California’s Pacific Coast Highway. It’s practically a continuation of that highway, but it has so much to offer that it deserves it’s own mention.

Along it’s coastal route you’ll see dark green mountains meeting wind swept seas. The combination of the two gives the highway an otherworldly appearance. 

Where: Oregon 

What to See: 

  • Cannon Beach – Oregon’s premiere beach. Get a picture of the famous Haystack Rock and relax on the cool sands. 
  • Sea Lions Cave – Largest Sea Cave in America and home to hundreds of Steller sea lions
  • Oregon National Dunes Recreation Area – Where epic sand dunes lie between the ocean and Oregon’s massive forests

Best Time to Visit: September through mid-October

11. The Cascade Loop, Washington

The Cascade Loop

This 440-mile loop passes through the Northern Cascade Mountain Range and Puget Sound.

You can stop off in Seattle to enjoy the cities beautiful views and unique architecture, or immerse yourself in the diverse wildlife of the Cascades. 

Where: Washington

What to See: 

  • Puget Sound – Take a picture of Seattle’s Space Needle, spot an Orca pod from the shore, or marvel at the distance snow-capped Mt. Rainier. 
  • Leavenworth – Quaint Bavarian themed town with plenty of fun festivals. 
  • Stevens Pass – Breathtaking mountain and forest scenery perfect for hiking and snow sports.

Best Time to Visit: Summer/Early Fall

12. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

Kancamagus Highway

We all have that stereotypical image of Fall impressed into our minds—multicolored forests, crisp air, and autumnal festivals galore.

If you want to see the real-life version of that mental image, drive The Kancamagus Highway. It’s one of the best roads in the U.S. to experience Fall. 

Where: New Hampshire 112 – Northern New Hampshire

What to See: 

  • White Mountain National Forest – Hardwood forests and Alpine peaks make for a breathtaking landscape.
  • Flume Gorge – Natural, granite gorge with a raised bridge that runs it’s length.
  • Franconia Notch State Park – Scenic mountain pass with spectacular hiking and wildlife.

Best Time to Visit: Fall (Autumn colors galore)

13. Trail Ridge Road, Colorado

Trail Ridge Road

In terms of best roads to drive in the U.S., Trail Ridge Road is the highest, reaching 12,183 feet at it’s peak. It meanders through Rocky Mountain National Park.

You’ll be provided with some of Colorado’s most beautiful wildernesses including huge pine forests and soaring mountain peaks. 

Where: Colorado

What to See: 

  • Rocky Mountain National Park – The longest mountain range in the U.S. Home to diverse wildlife and breathtaking views. 
  • Emerald Lake – 4.1-mile trail loop to one of Colorado’s most pristine mountain lake. 
  • Estes Park – Great town for shopping, action sports, winter sports, and enjoying Rocky Mountain views.

Best Time to Visit: Summer

14. Coast Connection Scenic Byway, Alabama

Coast Connection Scenic Byway

If you’ve ever wanted to get a taste for Southern living in the United States this is the best U.S. road trip for you.

Alabama’s Coast Connection Scenic Byway features cultural downtowns, relaxing beaches, wildlife preserves, history, and the freshest seafood you’ll find in the South. 

Where: Alabama

What to See: 

  • Bon Secour National Refuge – Keep an eye out for the endangered Alabama Beach Mouse, and other wildlife unique to the Coast. 
  • Gulf State Park – Bike, kayak, and relax along it’s sugary sand shores.  
  • Fort Morgan State Park – Where history and nature meet Alabama’s coast.

Best Time to Visit: Spring/Fall

15. Lake Michigan Coastal Road, Michigan

Lake Michigan Coastal Road

Bordering the largest lake in the United States, M-22 has been reported by many to be one of the top five drives in the U.S.

That’s unsurprising when you consider the spectacular scenery, delicious restaurants, and quaint fishing towns. 

Where: Highway M-22 – Michigan 

What to See: 

  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – Miles of sand bluff shores dotted with lush forests, pristine lakes, and unique plant and animal life.  
  • Point Betsie Lighthouse – Check out this picturesque lighthouse at sunset.
  • Leland – Get transported back in time among the wooden fishing shanties of this Michigan City. Practice the line while you’re here.

Best Time to Visit: Fall (Autumn colors galore)

16. Richardson Highway, Alaska

Richardson Highway

Many refer to Alaska as ‘The Last Frontier’ of the United States. You can see why by driving one of the best scenic routes in the country.

Richardson Highway unfolds along glaciers, towering mountain ranges, and fertile Alaskan soil. It’s the best way to see Alaska, and all the nature it has to offer.  

Where: Alaska Route 4 – Alaska

What to See: 

  • Mt. Denali – Tallest mountain in the United States, and one of the most breathtaking  
  • Thompson Pass – Home to one of the few places in the world you can drive to a glacier.
  • Keystone Canyon – Gorge with steep rock walls, dotted with waterfalls, and beautiful foliage.

Best Time to Visit: Summer

17. Cherohala Skyway, Tennessee 

Pacific Coast Highway

This scenic road trip snakes through the Great Smoky Mountains and Cherokee National Forest.

You’ll find trout-filled lakes, secret waterfalls, and gorgeous wildflowers along the highway. In the Fall it becomes a place of unparalleled autumnal beauty. 

Where: Highway 143 – Tennessee 

What to See: 

  • Cherokee National Forest – Provides solitude in a backcountry forest with whitewater river rafting, fishing, and birdwatching.  
  • Bald River Falls – Take a 6-mile forest road to a picturesque waterfall
  • Santeetlah Lake – A beautiful lake for a picnic

Best Time to Visit: Fall (Autumn colors galore)

18. Park Loop Road, Maine 

Park Loop Road

This short, but amazing scenic route takes you through some of the best Maine Wilderness.

You can spend time looking for wildlife in it’s dense forests, or relax on it’s beaches. It’ll make you feel like you’re on the edge of the world. 

Where: Acadia National Park – Maine 

What to See: 

  • Cadillac Mountain – The main attraction in Acadia National Park. This mountain offers great views of the coast and it’s nearby islands.   
  • Thunder Hole – Yeah, we know your Uncle has the same nickname, but this might make more noise than even him. It’s a rocky section of shoreline that creates a thunderous boom when waves collide with it. 
  • Sand Beach – A gorgeous beach with sea shell infused sands

Best Time to Visit: Late Spring – Fall (Autumn colors galore)

19. 10-Mile Road, New England

10 Mile Road

What this scenic route lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. This quaint stretch of road will put you at ease instantly.

It’s the best of what the United States East coast has to offer: Gentle deciduous trees, sandy shores, and gentle sunsets. 

Where: Oceanic Drive – Newport, Rhode Island

What to See: 

  • The East Passage of Narragansett – Two main attractions for this area: The lighthouse on Castle Hill and Hammersmith Farm, the childhood home of John F. Kennedy. 
  • Brenton Point State Park – Picnic, hike, and relax with spectacular views of the Eastern U.S.’s coast. 
  • Mansions – Gawk at the houses of the country’s most wealthy families

Best Time to Visit: Late Spring – Fall (Autumn colors galore)

20. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

Going to the Sun Road

Once you drive this beautiful road, you’ll understand why the state gave it the name: ‘Going-to-the-Sun-Road’.

It quite literally ascends thousands of miles into the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

The entire drive is breathtaking. Make sure you’re the passenger so you can fully enjoy it. 

Where: Glacier National Park – Montana

What to See: 

  • Lake McDonald – Clear, reflective glacial lake with multi-colored river rocks along it’s shorelines. Perfect for a picture! 
  • Logan’s Pass – Stay in your car, and gaze around at the mountainous scenery, or hike the easy trail nearby to get a more intimate view of nature. 
  • Glacier National Park – This national park contains one of the most beautiful glacial mountain ranges in the world. It’s protected lands shelter unique plant and animal life. 

Best Time to Visit: Summer

There’s 20 of the best scenic routes in the U.S. Truth be told, the United States has over 4.8 million miles of road, more than any other country in the world.

More than likely we missed your best U.S. road trip. So, tell us about it in the comments below!

Most Scenic Roads To Drive Down USA