11 Best North American Summer Scenic Road Trips

11 Best North American Scenic Summer Road Trips

11 Best North American Summer Scenic Road Trips

Some of the best memories are made on road trips. There’s nothing quite like it! So pack up the gang, some favorite snacks and an awesome playlist and get ready to visit one of these drive-worthy destinations.

1. Route 66: Chicago to California

One of the most famous and historic highway drives is Route 66 starting in Chicago, Illinois and ending on the shores of the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, Califorina. It’s traditionally traveled from east to west and it takes in some of the country’s most archetypal roadside scenes. Route 66 earned the title “Main Street of America” because it wound through small towns across the Midwest and Southwest, lined by hundreds of cafés, motels, gas stations, and tourist attractions.

Family friendly vacation home in Santa Monica (#230520)

Family friendly vacation home in Santa Monica (#230520)

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America’s longest linear park, runs for 469 miles through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Vacation rental home in Sevierville #219386 OwnerDirect.com

Views of LeConte and the Smoky Mountains (#219386)

3. Route 50: The Loneliest Road: Colorado to Lake Tahoe

U.S. Route 50 is a transcontinental highway in the United States, stretching from West Sacramento, California, in the west to Ocean City, Maryland, on the east coast. The Nevada portion crosses the center of the state and was named “The Loneliest Road in America” by Life magazine in July 1986. The 1,066 mile stretch from Pueblo, CO heading west to Lake Tahoe should satisfy your scenery craving by taking you over the Rockies, past Crested Butte and Colorado’s Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Tahoma, Lake Tahoe #240169

Tahoma, Lake Tahoe #240169

4. Overseas Highway: Miami to Key West

The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile highway carrying U.S. Route 1 through the Florida Keys. Large parts of it were built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. In less than 4 hours, surround yourself with the natural beauty of the ever-changing scenery of the seas and wilderness bordering the highway.

Miami Beach #246234

Miami Beach #246234

5. Pacific Coast Highway, California

State Route 1 is a major north–south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. At a total of just over 659 miles, it is the longest state route in California and well known as one of the most scenic drives in the world. During the 10 hour trip., enjoy stunning coastal views, seaside villages, untouched forest and make your way through some sunny wine making districts too. Stop in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles on  your way to San Diego.

Oceanfront Condo for Rent in San Diego #239892 OwnerDirect.com

Oceanfront San Diego, CA (#239892)

6. Sea to Sky Highway – Vancouver to Lillooet

There are few highways in the world with as much awe-inspiring scenery as the Sea to Sky Highway running from Vancouver to Lillooet.  Officially known as BC Highway 99, this legendary route is approximately a 2 hour drive from Vancouver to Whistler with incredible sights at just about every turn. View the Howe Sound waters, snow-capped mountain peaks, waterfalls and canyons on route.

Whistler, BC #99982

Whistler, BC #99982

7. Trans-Canada Highway – Camore to Kelowna

Named Highway 1 for a reason, the Trans-Canada Highway runs through all 10 provinces of Canada from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the Atlantic ocean on the east. One of the more scenic trips is to start in Canmore, Alberta in the Rocky Mountains, to Sicamous, BC where you will turn left onto Highway 97A running through the Okanagan Valley to Kelowna and wine country.

West Kelowna, British Columbia #212040

West Kelowna, British Columbia #212040

8. Olympic Peninsula – Pacific Coast, Washington

The amazing thing about the Pacific Coast and the Olympic Peninsula is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself. Starting in Port Townsend, US-101 heads west around the Olympic Peninsula, passing unforgettable scenery – from old-growth forests to sandy beaches and scattered towns throughout.

Westport, WA #242463

Westport, WA #242463

9. New England Fall Foliage tour

One of the best times for a road trip in Autumn in New England. Give yourself at least a week to tour the 6 states from Massachusett’s Berkshire Mountains up through Vermont and New Hampshire, ending in Boston. The fabulous and colorful scenery, back roads and small quaint towns make it a wonderful adventure to enjoy the season.

South Bristol, Maine #231230

South Bristol, Maine #231230

10. The Road to Hana

The scenic Road to Hana on Maui is the undisputed top attraction on the island. Few words describe the beauty of this drive with its cliffs cloaked in green and lush valleys bursting with waterfalls. Curves hug the coastline and gaze over the ocean that stretches all the way to Alaska. The Hana Highway is a 64.4-mile-long stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului to the town of Hana in east Maui. To the east of Kalepa Bridge, the highway continues to Kipahulu as Hawaii Route 31.

Ocean Front Lahaina, Maui #226161

Ocean Front Lahaina, Maui #226161

11. Vancouver Island Highway

There are a few road trip routes to take on Vancouver Island including the Nanaimo to Campbell River Oceanside route. This Highway 19A is a slower trek compared to its sister highway, #19, but it’s a more scenic road running along the ocean and more nature-focused.  Circle back on the main Vancouver Island Highway, Highway 19, for a quicker journey back to Nanaimo. Or if starting in Victoria, take the Pacific Marine Circle Route, which is a spectacular 289 km drive that takes road trippers through a variety of scenic locations including Duncan, Lake Cowichan, Port Renfrew and Sooke along a scenic highway route.

Victoria, BC #228162

Victoria, BC #228162

11 Best North American Summer Scenic Road Trips was last modified: July 18th, 2019 by Andrea

About the Author

Andrea Lamond is the marketing director for Owner Direct Vacation Rentals and an avid traveler. When not blogging, working on media projects or SEO, you’ll find her out skiing the slopes, enjoying the beach, or immersing herself in different cultures around the world.

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