Explore the Most Scenic Drives in America

Physician's Money Digest, July31 2004, Volume 11, Issue 14

Despite high gas prices, drivingvacations are still very popularduring the summer. As Americanstake to the open road to rediscoverthe United States, members of theSociety of American Travel Writers(SATW) were surveyed about theirfavorite scenic drives.

"From Idaho to Texas, and literallyfrom coast to coast, America is etched inscenic drives," says Adele Malott, SATWpresident, who lists Nevada's PyramidLake region among her favorite road triplocations. "Highways and byways beckonnot just to be driven this summer, butexplored for their boundless scenery, history,and culture."

The list of 10 of America's most treasureddrives, in no particular order, isaccompanied by comments from theSATW expert travel journalist submission:

1. Blue Ridge Parkway: Virginia and North Carolina -"A road along the mountain crest—marvel at changing vistas and suddenlyyawning chasms. A motorized metaphorfor the trail experience—what you seewhile driving is a lot like what you see inthe woods, but getting out of the car andexploring a hiking trail is a must."

2. Port Townsend to Neah Bay: Olympic Peninsula, Washington -"This sensory drive experience includesa Victorian seaport, 19th-century generalstores, and an island lighthouse."3. Mt. Cheaha: Alabama -"A very straight road with a 30-degree-angle drop from the mountain—for 3 miles."

4. Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway: South Dakota -"This 70-mile loop, including IronMountain Road, Needles Highway, andCuster State Park, winds through tall rockformations and tunnels, offering occasionalviews of Mt. Rushmore. Spectacular andever-present wildlife."

5. Going-to-the-Sun Road: Glacier National Park, Montana -"A narrow, winding road over the topof the Rockies, offering scenic overviewsgalore. Hugs the side of the mountains upand over the Continental Divide."

6. Great River Road: Baton Rouge–New Orleans, Louisiana -"This path snakes along the MississippiRiver through the old plantations, many ofwhich are open for tours. Catch views oflush sugarcane fields, wildlife, ancient liveoak, and quaint riverside hamlets."

7. Great River Road: Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota along the Mississippi River -"Crisscross the river via many bridges,dams, and locks to take in the beauty andcultural flavor of three states. Many writersand artists have been inspired by thedeep valleys and high ridgelines."

8. Kancamagus Highway: White Mountains, New Hampshire -"A wilderness drive stretching fromthe Pemigewassat River to the Saco River,filled with gorges, waterfalls, and mountainoverlooks. We can't imagine a morescenic 34 miles."

9. Overseas Highway: Florida Keys -"From Key Largo to Key West, Route 1serves up the dreamiest views of crystallinewaters and tropical life teeming above andamong the reefs. Not many byways offersunrise and sunset views."

10. Acadia National Park (27-mile Park Loop Road): Maine -"I grew up near the area and am still inawe of the changing mountain, lake, andocean views."

Now in its 48th year, the Raleigh, NC–based SATWrepresents more than 1300 professional travel journalists,photographers, editors, and media relationsprofessionals in North America. The society worksto raise the standards of the profession, guard theright to travel, and encourage conservation andpreservation of historic sites and natural wonders.