There’s so much to see during vacations, but sometimes we’re in such a hurry to get someplace in particular that we miss other good stuff on the way. That’s why every family or couples vacation should include at least one pleasure excursion together on one of America’s great scenic drives. Set no time limitations—just relax and enjoy the beauty and diversity of America.
So where should you drive? Look for routes designated as an All-American Road or National Scenic Byway. These are roads recognized by the U.S. government for meeting criteria in at least one of six categories: archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational or scenic. To earn the higher AAR status, the road must meet the criteria in at least two of the categories. Further, these roads must also have the support of their communities, in the form of a plan that accounts for everything from appropriate signage to preserving their specific qualities to promoting tourism. National Scenic Byways and All-American roads make perfect vacation sightseeing drives. You’ll find them all over:
A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway in Florida
This 72-mile stretch spans State Road A1A from just north of Daytona Beach through the shoreline east of Jacksonville. Much of the route hugs the surf, but it veers westward off Anastasia Island, over the famous Bridge of Lions, through historic downtown St. Augustine.
Kancamagus Scenic Byway in New Hampshire
“The Kanc” is a 34.5-mile stretch of New Hampshire Route 112 through of the White Mountain National Forest, from Lincoln to Conway. The birches, beeches and maples make this undulating drive a premier fall foliage experience. You’ll also see waterfalls and mountain vistas.
Colonial Parkway in Virginia
This All-American Road from Jamestown to Yorktown via Williamsburg connects all points of Virginia’s Historic Triangle. Designed and landscaped to replicate the Colonial experience, this wetlands drive is secluded from modern development and commerce.
Las Vegas Strip in Nevada
Many of us take cabs or courtesy shuttles to our favorite destinations or the Strip or explore sections of it on foot. On your next trip, hop in a car and drive this 4.2-mile, All-American Road from end to end. Truly take in all the unique, glittery excess, gorgeous in its entirety.
Arizona Highway 179 in Arizona
Why should you drive 90 miles north from Phoenix to tour a 7.5-mile stretch of Arizona Highway 179? Because it’s an All-American Road through Arizona’s legendary red rocks that ends in Sedona, a destination in itself. You won’t want to miss the stirring sight of Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, a 250-foot-tall monument to faith built into the cliffs. And If you can, time this trip so that you can enjoy the red rocks at sunset.
Explore an All-American Road or National Scenic Byway on your next vacation. Don’t miss an opportunity to experience one of America’s great scenic drives.