1. Redwoods, California
Located on the north and central California coast, the Redwood National and State Parks contain 45% of all the remaining coast redwood, which are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. The protected area covered by the RNSP allows you to observe these giants from your car as well as offering hundreds of walking, hiking, and biking trails if you’re more adventurous.
2. Moab, Utah
While Moab is technically a city, the area is best known for its breathtaking views and most predominantly, its insane hiking and mountain biking trails (particularly the famed Slickrock Trail). There’s a variety of other activities as well, from whitewater rafting to photography.
3. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
A brief stretch of just 52 miles, Going-to-the-Sun Road was built to cross the Continental Divide and bisect the unreal Glacier National Park. Accordingly, there’s tons of places to pull off and check out the many landscapes of the park, from alpine tundra and valleys, to glacial lakes and cedar forests.
4. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina & Virginia
The Blue Ridge Parkway isn’t a national park (though it connects North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park), it runs through the Appalachian Mountains and offers views at least similarly (if not more) beautiful. It is one of the most visited sections of the national park system.
Virtually anywhere you drive or visit during the late-summer and early fall in Vermont is going to be beautiful. The variation in colors of foliage is mind-blowing, and it’s only complemented by gorgeous lakes, fantastic architecture, and very very little traffic.
6. Hearst Castle, California
Once the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst’s humble abode, after his death in 1951 the Hearst Corporation donated it to the state of California. The estate is located about an hour north of Los Angeles, and has been preserved in much of the same state it was since being occupied by its owner—including an extensive collection of art and antiques. And it’s all open to the public.
7. Natchez Trace Parkway, Mississippi, Alabama, & Tennessee
Running from Nashville to southern Mississippi’s Natchez, the NTP is one of the best ways to get a taste of the many environments of the south. You’ll see swamps, hills, forests, rivers, and farmland among its landscapes—not to mention plenty of opportunities to go hiking, biking, or swimming.
8. Pacific Coast Highway, California
Running down the majority of California’s coast, the majority of the PCH is also located right on the coast, allowing drivers to experience some of the most spectacular views on the west coast. It is one of the great “All-American Roads.”
9. Finger Lakes Region, New York
The Finger Lakes are located between Syracuse and Rochester and include eleven lakes: Canadice, Canandaigua, Conesus, Cayuga, Hemlock, Honeoye, Keuka, Otisco, Owasco, Seneca, and Skaneatele. Not only are the lakes and waterfalls beautiful, but surrounding them are halcyon towns, farmland, and wineries.
10. Overseas Highway, Florida
Driving the Overseas Highway is a pretty surreal experience. It is a network of roads and bridges, almost entirely located above the sea, leading from Florida’s mainland to America’s southernmost point, Key West. The entire highway is 113 miles long, with the longest stretch located completely above water being the Seven Mile Bridge (which itself is seven miles long).