America's Best Spring Drives

America’s Best Spring Drives

Today is the first day of spring. Look around you. Do you see blossoming flowers, colorful parks, striking natural attractions, woodlands, and small quaint towns? A negative answer is a sign it's time for a classic American road trip.

Bighorn Scenic Byway, Wyoming

Traveling for 58 miles to witness sheer beauty may be the best recreational activity you do all season. The paved highway over the crest of the Bighorn Mountains winds past a dense forest, lavish pastures, stunning waterfalls, and gorgeous deep canyons. Stretching from the Powder River Basin to the Bighorn Basin, the Bighorn Byway follows US 14 from the west outside Greybull, according to Travel Wyoming.

Salmon River Scenic Route, Idaho

Go on a unique adventure this spring and follow the same path Lewis and Clark traveled over two centuries ago. The byway follows the Salmon River through the Salmon-Challis National Forest, serving as a natural pathway into the rugged backcountry, according to Visit Idaho. Attractions include Salmon spawning beds at Indian Riffles, Land of the Yankee Fork Interpretive Center, Tower Rock, Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, natural hot springs, and ghost towns.

Acadia All American Road, Maine

This lovely 40-mile spring drive will only take about 3 hours. Every minute spent on the road is worth your time. Along the way you'll get to see, explore and marvel breathtaking beaches, foliage, hiking trails, incredible swimming holes, islands, ponds, lakes and rivers, mountain and ocean views, and wildlife. The byway follows Route 3 into Bar Harbor, and then follows the park loop road thereafter, according to Explore Maine.

Road to Hana, Hawaii

The Hana Highway is Hawaii's most famous and treasured road. Don't miss a chance to see the almost 65 miles of pure beauty and thrill. You'll drive by steep sea-cliffs and see flourishing mango trees. Stop along the way to soak in views that look like they are from the Jurassic Park movies –breathtaking waterfalls and lots of swimming holes. If you go all the way, you'll make more than 600 turns and drive through shorelines, bridges and hills.

Santa Fe/Taos Loop, New Mexico

The 56 miles between Santa Fe and Taos offer a charming view and a twisted road through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Drive into the beauty of the high desert. This road is a gorgeous way to experience the state and visit a lot of historical places. You'll pass the cottonwood-dotted valley of Ojo Caliente and its pueblo communities. Stop by the Taos Pueblo compound, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the country. Tip: The Santa Fe & Taos Bike Tour made out list of the best cycling trips in the U.S. and Canada.

Hill Country Bluebonnet Trail, Texas

The Bluebonnet Trail, one of the best places in the world to see spring flowers, is designed as a Drive-Yourself tour. It winds its way through the waterfront communities of the Highland Lakes, according to Texas Hill Country Trail Region. Scenic drives around Horseshoe Bay, Granite Shoals, Kingsland, Inks Lake and Buchanan Dam are a photographer's dream. See what nature's spring splendor looks like.

Scenic Byway 12, Utah

This road is something else... Everywhere you look you see breathtaking scenery. You'll be amazed by the orange hoodoos of Red Canyon or contrasting landscape of mountainous and distant stones atop Boulder Mountain. Explore the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument; learn about the history; and camp in the backcountry. Highlights include Bryce Canyon and Capital Reef national parks, overlooks, trailheads, and museums.

The Blues Highway, Mississippi

U. S. Highway 61 between Memphis and Vicksburg is famously known as the "blues highway" and it ranks up there with Route 66 as one of the most iconic roads in American music lore. Dozens of blues artists have recorded songs about Highway 61. The original route, now called Old Highway 61, was just west of here, according to Mississippi Blues Trail. This trip made our list of Underrated Road Trips You've Never Thought to Take (But Should!).

Antelope Valley, California

Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed canyons in the American Southwest. When the sunlight shines in, the colors of the canyon appear to vibrate off of the walls. The canyon looks red, gold and orange. This western edge of the Mojave Desert northeast of Los Angeles is one of the last places where you can see whole hillsides covered in the spectacular state flower. Check out Kitanemuk Vista Point, Valley Vista Point, and Antelope Butte Vista Point.

Great River Road, Louisiana

It's called the Great River Road because it's along the 10 states the Mississippi River passes. So if you have a fascination with the Mighty River, look no farther. You'll find lots of upland meadows, plantation houses, thick forests, cliffs, and parks along the way. Drive by stunning white pillared houses standing amid lush gardens and trees dripping with Spanish moss. This fabled road consists of a corridor approximately 70 miles in length located on each side of the river between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the NPS says.

Columbia River Highway, Oregon

Last year was the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Columbia River Highway. The 70-mile route is often referred to as the "King of Roads." Take a couple of hours to cool off with a Columbia River Gorge hike through the rainforest. The state trail and three disconnected paved ribbons along abandoned stretches of the historic highway, give you more than 12 miles of sightseeing thrills, according to Oregon State Parks.

Through North Florida

The Sunshine State offers a lot more than Disney, Miami and other popular Spring Break destinations. North Florida is actually very charming. This is where the picturesque St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S. is located. You'll get to enjoy many off the beaten path beach retreats as well as historic sites and natural attractions like citrus groves, canopied trees and wildlife. You'll eventually reach New Smyrna Beach, which is great for vibrant nightlife entertainment.

Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway, South Carolina

This is the longest – 118 miles – and best known scenic byway in the state. It is named Cherokee Foothills because it runs through the foothills found at the base of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains which were the ancestral home of the Cherokees, according to SCDOT. Starting in Cherokee County, it runs along SC 11 all the way through Spartanburg, Greenville, Pickens and Oconee Counties to the west.

Adirondacks, New York

The Adirondack Park covers six million acres in Upstate New York, making it the largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, according to National Geographic. The entire mountain range is filled with iconic scenic roads where you can even bike along wine trails. They will also take you to incredible museums, lavish forests, as well as bike festivals, paddling contests, and golf courses. 

Outer Banks Highway, North Carolina

North Carolina's Outer Banks are a 145-mile-long stretch of picturesque barrier islands, and they're just waiting for you. Drive along and witness the beauty of the easternmost parts of North Carolina along the inlets which extend from the northern state line south to Cape Lookout. See and learn about the unique maritime culture shared by the 21 coastal villages along this path. 

San Juan Highway & Million Dollar Skyway, Colorado

Experience the Rocky Mountains from a car instead of on skis. The San Juan Highway – a total of about 160 miles – is filled is zigzagging routes and sharp turns, which is great if you only want to see unique and odd natural rock formations. Make sure you drive the canyon-clinging stretch between Silverton and Ouray, which is called the Million Dollar Highway, for some of the most breathtaking views you can see on any road.

Route 66, Arizona

Few roads in the entire world are as iconic as Route 66 – the ultimate American trip. The legendary 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica has been featured in just about everything – TV, music, movies. Many places still keep the original two-lane highway. The most popular locations along the trip are in the Southwest. Along the way you'll also find stunning panoramas, charming towns, rocky cliffs, and beautiful deserts and parks. The the Meteor Crater in Arizona, which is 50,000 years old, is a must-see along the way.

Merritt Parkway, Connecticut

This is a historic limited-access parkway in Fairfield County, and the first in the state. Its primary purpose was to relieve traffic congestion in southwestern Connecticut, especially on U.S. Route 1. The 37.5-mile pathway is characterized by its landscape design and ornamental Art Deco and modern bridges.