We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: the very best road trips aren’t about the destination.
Especially in the RV world, it’s all about the journey — and making that trip as memorable, comfortable, and beautiful as possible. Seeking out the scenic view has been a road trip tradition since road trips were a thing. In fact, that’s one of the most attractive aspects of road tripping in the first place: You actually have the time (and are generally traveling slowly enough) to take in the beauty of the road you’re traveling. Don’t get us wrong, the views out of an airplane window can be beautiful… but it’s hard to pick out individual details from 35,000 feet!
We think RVing goes hand in hand with taking the back roads, the slow roads, the roads that don’t necessarily get you where you’re going fast… but which you’ll always remember. And many of the roads we’re about to talk about are so beautiful, you’ll be glad they aren’t getting you anywhere fast. In fact, you may just wish they went on even longer!
So buckle up, campers! It’s time to hit the road. And while it may not be a short journey, it’s definitely going to be a good one.
Best Scenic Drives in the USA
Alright, enough chatter about logistics. You’re looking to take the ultimate American road trip, right?
If stunning scenery is what you’re after, here are 17 of the very best US trips to consider.
1. 17-Mile Drive, California
Don’t get us wrong: You should definitely take the Pacific Coast Highway through Big Sur. (In fact, for best results, start in San Diego and don’t stop until Vancouver.)
But this short, privately-owned drive around the jutting coastline of Pebble Beach is lesser known, though just as stunning. Coastal cliffs on one side and snow-white sand beaches on the other, all under the perfect everpresent breeze of central coast California… how can you go wrong?
Do note, however, that admission to 17-Mile Drive does require a fee of $10.25 per vehicle, which can be paid in cash only. This price is reimbursed with a $35 purchase at most Pebble Beach Resorts restaurants, except for Pebble Beach Market.
2. Beartooth Highway, Montana and Wyoming
3. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia
Along with hiking, biking, and other outdoorsy opportunities, this part of the country is also well-known for its delicious, estate-grown wines and craft beers. In fact, the Blue Ridge Parkway winds right past Asheville, which has one of the highest numbers of breweries per capita in the entire country.
4. Bluebonnet Trails, Texas
Even More Gorgeous Road Trip Ideas
We’re not done yet! If you’re looking for a scenic road in America, here are just a few to pick from.
5. Death Valley Scenic Byway, Death Valley National Park, California
Spanning 81 miles of CA-190 between Olancha and Death Valley Junction, this scenic road cuts right through the heart of the National Park — which you will need to pay an entry fee for. (Psst: If you’re doing lots of National Park travel this year, consider upgrading to the annual America the Beautiful Pass; it’s only $80, or even less for certain demographics, and you’ll get into over 2,000 federal recreational sites free of charge!)
6. Florida’s Route 17 Scenic Highway
As you cut through the heart of the state on this 60 mile drive from Loughman to Sebring, you’ll pass citrus fields, farmhouses, lakes, and cold springs — which are definitely worth taking a detour for. At 74 degrees year round, there’s never a wrong time to take a quick dip!
7. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Glacier National Park, Montana
Because of the ice and snow that give this Montana national park its name, many parts of Glacier are inaccessible for a broad swath of the year — including its most celebrated scenic route. The road may not be entirely plowed and clear for vehicular traffic until well into July, depending on the season.
But if you visit the Crown of the Continent in the summertime, you’ll be rewarded not only with this stunning drive, but with amazing hiking opportunities revealing high alpine lakes and forests that seem brought to life from a fairy tale. Just be sure to be safe with your food and hike in groups. Northern Montana is grizzly bear country!
8. Needles Highway, South Dakota
9. Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon
10. Lemhi Pass, Montana and Idaho
Straddling the border of two of the most mountainous states in the union, Lemhi Pass passes through the Beaverhead range, a subset of the Bitterroot section of the Rocky Mountains. It follows the continental divide, meaning it’s a whopping 7,373 feet above sea level. And although it’s fairly easily accessible from either stateside (and has actually been designated a National Historical Landmark), it is an unpaved road, which means you may need to disconnect your tow vehicle before you venture down it!
11. Loneliest Highway, Nevada
U.S. Route 50 is actually a transcontinental road, running more than 3,000 miles from Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento. That means it meanders through lots of rural landscapes — but the section that knifes Nevada in half was named “The Loneliest Road in America” by LIFE magazine back in 1986, and no one could really argue.
The nickname has stuck, as has the lack of population and traffic (so far). So if you’re looking to feel like you’re all the way out there, plan this driving route on the way to or from Las Vegas or Great Basin.
12. North Cascades Highway, Washington
Washington State Route 20 is the northernmost way across the Cascade Mountain Range, and is a subsection of the larger Cascade Loop, a 400-mile tour of this unique and stunning biosphere. Lush greenery, gem-like blue lakes, and precipitous cliff faces await the brave explorer who takes this trip through the American Alps.
13. Park Loop Road, Acadia National Park, Maine
The Best Road Trips for Scenic Travel
Which is the best road? The most beautiful, of course.
14. The Road to Hana, Hawaii
15. Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway, Colorado
16. Ten Mile Drive, Rhode Island
Traversing the perimeter of the peninsula south of Newport, this drive is divided into four legs: Brenton Cove Shore, East Passage of Narragansett Bay, Ocean Drive, and Bellevue Ave. You’ll see historic homes and mansions bespeaking a gilded age, when wealthy New Yorkers would make their way south to their Rhode Island summer homes in the late 1800s. You’ll also pass the state’s stunning Brenton Point State Park, whose windswept beaches draw both amateur and competitive kite flyers.
17. The High Road to Taos, New Mexico
Yes, there are more direct routes from New Mexico’s capital to its favorite ski bowl — but this slightly longer drive is sure to show you why artists like Ansel Adams and Georgia O’Keeffe found the high desert landscape so intriguing. After taking 84 north to the south end of Española, you’ll cut east on 76 to pass through the charming little town of Chimayo, before meandering through a few more small towns within the pine-filled (and decidedly un-desert-like) Carson National Forest.
Finally, you’ll arrive in Taos, where the well-known mountains loom large over the striking cut of the Rio Grande Gorge. Don’t miss a stop on the bridge of the same name — but even if you’re not normally afraid of heights, be sure to prepare your stomach.
Ready to take a Road Trip in the USA to Remember?
Here’s the thing: considering how large and lovely this country of ours is, pretty much any American road trip can be one to remember. No matter which state you start in or what destination you’ve got your sights set on, there’s a gorgeous USA road that’ll take you there — even if it does take just a little bit longer than the most direct route.
Happy trails to you, campers. May they always be the most scenic ones available, even if they’re not the fastest! After all, it’s not a race — it’s a journey.
Lichtsinn RV, America’s closest dealer to Winnebago Industries, has been named Top North American Winnebago Dealer by Winnebago Industries for the last four consecutive years. We proudly sell New RVs manufactured by Winnebago Industries as well as Used RVs.