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Seven Great Road Trips in America

Thanks to numerous mountain ranges, thousands of miles of coastline, and millions of acres of stunning desert terrain, the United States boasts some of the world's best destinations for the perfect road trip. Listed from east to west, here are seven of American's favorite places to hit the road and never look back. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia/Tennessee

The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway begins at Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and ends at the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. The drive features incredible vistas, many small towns, and numerous historical landmarks. Some of the country's best mountain scenery can be found along a 105-mile stretch of the parkway known as Skyline Drive. There are also lots of stops along the way to enjoy typical mountain activities like picnicking, hiking, and swimming. Adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains, the towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are two of the world's top family vacation destinations, as well.  

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Virginia/North Carolina

Also, right outside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail winds through Smoky Mountains National Park and could be one of the nation's best-kept secrets. The one-way drive runs for five-and-a-half miles through the most scenic areas of the park. The ride starts with a 3,000-foot climb to the Piney Mountain overlook and ends with a 5,000-foot descent from Mt LeConte to the Little Pigeon River. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail gives people with limited mobility or families with small children a chance to enjoy the beautiful Smoky Mountains from the comfort of their car. 

Overseas Highway, Florida Keys

Also known as Highway 1, the Overseas Highway runs through the Florida Keys from Miami to Key West. The highway features simultaneous views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, forty-two bridges, and the world's best Conch Fritters and Key Lime Pie. Notable attractions in Key Largo include John Pennekamp State Park, glass-bottom boat tours, and an "African Queen" river tour aboard the restored steamer that Humphrey Bogart piloted in the original 1952 film. A little further south in Islamorada, the tidal flats on Anne's Beach extend out over a mile-and-a-half. Along with the Ernest Hemingway House and excellent nightlife, Key West also lays claim to being the southernmost point in the United States and has the "Southernmost Point Buoy" to prove it.

Highway 163, Arizona/Utah

The drive north on Arizona Highway 163 delivers stunning views of our nation's most dramatic terrain - Monument Valley. The colossal buttes of Monument Valley have starred in many TV ads as well as the movie "Forrest Gump." Old western fans will recognize Monument Valley from many films, as well. As the backdrop to "Duke," "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon," "Rio Grande," "Stagecoach," "Fort Apache," and "The Searchers," Monument Valley earned the name "John Wayne Country.".

Scenic Byway 12, Utah

Utah's Scenic Byway 12 boasts the United State's highest concentration of State and National and State Parks, trailheads, scenic overlooks, and points of interest. Beginning at Red Canyon, and ending at Capitol Reef National Park, the-112 mile drive winds through the visually stunning Grand Staircase Escalante. Other significant points of interest along the route include Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Anasazi State Park Museum, and Escalante Petrified Forest State Park. An additional seven scenic backways, twelve visitor centers, and nine towns along the route make Utah's Scenic Byway 12 one of the world's top road trip destinations. 

The Pacific Coast Highway

California's Pacific Coast Highway (a.k.a. "The PCH") features some of America's most dramatic vistas. Driving the PCH from Santa Barbara to Monterey (or vice versa) takes about eight hours non-stop. But, the route has so much to do and see along the way, many people take a week or more to complete the trip. A visit to Hearst Castle will easily take up a half-day. Other must-see stops include McWay Falls, Morro Bay, the Old World Danish village of Solvang,  and "America's Happiest City" - San Luis Obispo.  At the northern end of the PCH, Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula offer breathtaking scenery as well as some of the world's best golf.

Seward Highway, Alaska

Alaska's Seward Highway connects the cities of Seward and Anchorage. Designated a National Forest Scenic Byway, the trip spans 127-miles in total. Driving south from Anchorage, the first 50-miles of highway hugs the dramatic shorelines of Turnagain Arm and is arguably one of America's most beautiful stretches of roadway. The drive has plenty of places to stop and spot wildlife like Otters, Sea Lions, and Beluga and Humpback whales. Spectacular mountain views, ice-blue glaciers, and alpine valleys make The Seward Highway one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world.