This One Thing Is The Likely Reason Your Road Trips Aren't Exciting Enough

From adventuring with an annoying travel buddy to encountering bad weather, many factors can impact the enjoyment of your road trip. But there's one big factor that could make your drive particularly dull. You may believe that driving along that boring interstate highway is your only option, but think again, as it's very possible that there are some wonderfully scenic alternatives in the United States.

It comes as no surprise that taking a scenic route instead of a generic highway or road will elevate your experience. On a more exciting route, you might get to see beautiful landscapes, witness historic sites, check out distinct towns, partake in recreational activities — the list of opportunities goes on. Of course, some diligent pre-planning is key. Before heading out on the road, do some research to locate remarkable, accessible routes that are feasible for your particular journey. Finding such byways, which include roads and highways, is not so difficult either. There's actually a political element to this process, as one governmental head has officialized exceptional routes for nearly three decades.

Scenic byways all over the U.S.

Since 1996, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation has selected specific routes that qualify as America's Byways. Currently, there are 184 U.S. routes — consisting of National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads — that make up this exclusive group. To be labeled as such, a byway has to meet certain standards. For a National Scenic Byway to exist, a route must possess at least one of the following six "intrinsic qualities": scenic, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and archaeological. As for an All-American Road, a byway must fulfill requirements for at least two "intrinsic qualities." With that, it should have national importance and features that are completely unique to its location.

You can easily find each state's official byways by heading to the Federal Highway Administration's website and clicking on a state on the map. From there, you'll get a list of byways with details about each route's special features. While popular routes like the picturesque Pacific Coast Highway may ring a bell, you may not be so familiar with others; discovering hidden gems is the beauty of doing this research.

The States are teeming with incredible scenic drives. Those traveling along the East Coast, for example, may be interested in Maryland's Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway, the state's oldest national scenic byway. With momentous landmarks like former plantations and 18th-century courthouses, the route holds great historic significance. Plus, you'll catch stunning views of the Eastern Shore.