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10 Road Trips in the USA With Breathtaking Views of Nature

 Within the current climate and continuing restrictions on both international and cross-country travel, you might think that you should just give up on making any summer vacation plans this year. We’re here to cheer you up and give a suggestion that might allow you to spend time in nature and stay relatively safe from the coronavirus - take a road trip! Most likely, there are a number of scenic drives and beautiful day road trips you can take in your area, no matter where you live, but here, we've collected 10 iconic drives throughout the United States that you must know about. If anything, add these beautiful mountain roads and seaside drives to your must-see list for next year or let them inspire you to take a short drive into nature in your local area.

1. 17-Mile Drive, California

Scenic Road Trips in the USA 17-Mile Drive, California

Although the common name of this only 10-mile long stretch of Highway 1 through the Monterey Peninsula is somewhat hyperbolic, the views you'll be able to catch while zooming through this scenic road can be described as astonishing without any exaggeration. The road lies almost entirely on the Pacific coastline, featuring rugged cliffs, colonies of harbor seals resting on the beach, and Del Monte Forest of cypress trees, the most notable of which is the Lone Cypress that can be seen in the image above. There are also a number of luxury mansions and private golf courses along the way.

2. Highway 101, Oregon

Scenic Road Trips in the USA Highway 101, Oregon
Highway 101 in Oregon stretches across the entire Pacific coast in the state and offers its visitors both gorgeous seaside vistas and picturesque mountain views. The beaches scattered with dark cliffs along the 300-mile stretch in the area are completely unobstructed by human activity. On your way, you'll also find several charming small towns and farms set against the background of lush green hills, go through tunnels, and catch a glimpse of the Heceta Head Lighthouse (seen above) if you'll be driving through the area of Yachats and Cape Perpetua.

3. Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolinas and Virginia

Scenic Road Trips in the USA Blue Ridge Parkway, Carolinas and Virginia
This 469-mile long road is a paradise for those of you who are seeking to spend some quiet time in the mountains. This scenic drive is beautiful all year round, and panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Park will be revealed to visitors who undertake the journey through the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you're lucky, you'll be able to catch a glimpse of one of the many bird species that live in the forests, such as the wild turkey, the yellow-throated warbler, the blue grosbeak, and many others.

4. Nevada State Route 169, Nevada

Scenic Road Trips in the USA Nevada State Route 169, Nevada
To experience a very different kind of mountainous landscape, one that's full of shallow brick-red peaks and a drier climate, take the Nevada 169 State Road that goes through the Valley of Fire National Park and the historic Lost City Museum, the Anasazi Pueblo Grande de Nevada, a Native American village that dates back to 300-500 BC! 

5. North Cascades Highway, Washington

Scenic Road Trips in the USA North Cascades Highway, Washington
Officially called State Route 20, the North Cascades Highway is a scenic road that stretches through the tall Cascade Mountains and doesn't disappoint with the rich variety of panoramic landscape views and pastoral vistas of small towns. You'll have the opportunity of stopping on several hilltops overlooking areas at Ross Lake, the North Cascades National Park, and the 5.477-ft (1.669 m) tall Liberty Bell Mountain on your way.

6. Mount Hood Highway, Oregon

Scenic Road Trips in the USA The Mount Hood Highway, Oregon
To reach even higher mountain peaks, take the Mount Hood Highway in Oregon - a 100-mile long panoramic drive that culminates at Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain that reaches an impressive height of 11,245 ft (3.427 m). A part of this road is called the Mount Hood Scenic Byway, a national scenic drive that connects the historic city of Troutdale with Hood River and has several hilltop viewpoints, waterfalls, rivers, and lakes along the way.

7. Going to the Sun Road, Montana

Scenic Road Trips in the USA Going to the Sun Road, Montana
Summer is the perfect time to give this subalpine road a try, as it's closed off between October and May due to heavy snowfalls. The winding turns of this 50-mile long road will give you a glimpse at Glacier National Park and vast green meadows. Visitors say that they often spot bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and even bears while traveling down the Going to the Sun Road.

8. Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire

Scenic Road Trips in the USA Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Although the White Mountains are a beautiful natural destination year-round, fall is definitely the best time to see the only 36-mile Kancamagus Highway scenery in full glory, as this is the time when the surrounding maple, beech, a red spruce forests are seemingly set ablaze with the vibrant hues of red, yellow, and orange. This magnificent foliage normally attracts whole leaf-watching tours to Kancamagus during the fall season.

9. Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington

Scenic Road Trips in the USA Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington
The Olympic Peninsula Loop is the only road you can take around the Olympic Peninsula, the subalpine land that encompasses the Olympic National Park and National Forest. This protected natural area is one of the last unexplored places in the United States, making it also the ultimate road adventure for nature lovers. Visitors will have the perfect opportunity to explore the ancient spruce forests of the peninsula, admire the spectacular wildlife, and observe the serenity of the marine sanctuary, as well as the numerous rivers and lakes the peninsula contains. 

10. Utah State Route 9, Utah

Scenic Road Trips in the USA
Zion National Park hardly needs any introduction, as the combination of lush green foliage and the eroded red hills surrounding Zion canyon are certainly an iconic and unforgettable sight to behold. While traveling through Utah State Route 9, you'll drive along the stream of the Virgin River and Pine Creek Canyon, with the cliffs being so close to the road at times that you'll be almost able to touch them!
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