22 stunning roads in the US you should drive before you die

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Wikimedia Commons

If you’re planning a road trip in the US, there are plenty of beautiful routes worth passing through.

It’s hard to imagine we’ll get to all of them in this lifetime. But if you want to try, consider this a guide to finding the best of the best out there.

Scroll down for a closer look:


ALASKA: Seward Highway

Take a two-hour drive between Anchorage to Seward, a tiny seaside community, and you will pass the Chugach Mountains and the gorgeous shores of the Turnagain arm.


ARIZONA: Highway 89

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Wikimedia Commons

Although Route 66 has become synonymous with American wanderlust and freedom, there are other choices in Arizona with some staggering views. Take Highway 89 from Flagstaff, Arizona to see views of the Grand Canyon, Echo Cliffs, and the Vermilion Cliffs.


CALIFORNIA: Pacific Coast Highway

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Wikimedia Commons

This is a very common recommendation, but for a reason. The winding Pacific Coast Highway is the longest state route in California and provides sweeping views of the water. It doubles as an easy route to popular cities like Long Beach and the San Francisco Bay Area.


COLORADO: Trail Ridge Road

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Wikimedia Commons

Of all the beautiful highways on this list, Trail Ridge Road is an absolute must. Eleven miles of this highway sits above the tree lines and there are beautiful views of the Grand Lake. You may even see bighorn sheep.


HAWAII: Route 61 or Pali Highway

Nuuanu Pali tunnels#palilookout#palihighway#windward#oahuhawaii#tunnels

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Pali Highway runs northeast from downtown Honolulu to Kailua on the island of Oʻahu. It has steep cliffs and many lookout points along the way.


IDAHO: Old Highway 95

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Wikimedia Commons

This is a classic highway for a road trip. Old Highway 95 will take you through the heart of Idaho to see stretches of grassy meadows, the Rockies, and Clearwater River.


FLORIDA: Overseas Highway

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Getty

The Overseas Highway is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a stunning drive in Florida. Take the 113-mile highway through the Florida Keys and stare at miles of ocean blue along the way.


MAINE: US Route 1

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Screenshot/Google Maps

This picture doesn’t exactly do it justice, but the US Route 1 in Maine is the best highway if you’re looking for views of the coast. Stop and look at the many lighthouses along the way.


MASSACHUSETTS: Mohawk Trail

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Wikimedia Commons

The Mohawk Trail, or Route 2, is one of the first auto-touring roads in the country. The 69-mile-long highway extends from Athol to Williamstown and provides breathtaking views of the Berkshire Mountains.


MISSISSIPPI: Natchez Trace Parkway

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Wikimedia Commons/Tony Webster

What makes the Natchez Trace Parkway stand out is its serene simplicity. The two-lane parkway extends 444 miles and makes its way from Mississippi to Tennessee. The road commemorates the Natchez Trace, a path that was created by Native Americans for trade.


MONTANA: Going-To-The-Sun-Road

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Reuters/Matt Mills McKnight

Perhaps one of the best-named highways out there, Going-To-The-Sun Road is a 52-mile highway that cuts right through Glacier National Park. The two-lane highway isn’t the easiest drive with its sharp turns, but the sweeping views of large lakes and cedar trees shouldn’t be missed.


NEVADA: Mount Rose Highway

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Wikimedia Commons

The 25-mile drive has views of Washoe Valley and Lake Tahoe Basin. You’ll have beautiful views of the Sierra mountains and there are plenty of scenic pullovers along the way to take everything. But be careful: the highway itself is very twisty and it’s known to get covered in snow during the winter season.


NEW HAMPSHIRE: Kancamagus Highway

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Wikimedia Commons

The Kancamagus Highway runs for just under 35 miles along New Hampshire’s Route 112. It cuts through the White Mountain National Forest so it’s a great drive if you want to see fall foliage.


NEW YORK: Seven Lakes Drive

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Wikimedia Commons

This gorgeous parkway is located in Hudson Valley and is the best way to get to Bear State Mountain Park. As you can guess by the name, the road passes by seven lakes, like Lake Askoti, pictured here.


NORTH CAROLINA: Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway is a personal favorite of mine because I drove through it in college and camped there for the night. The winding highway is covered in a canopy of trees and shows beautiful vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Try going in the fall when the leaves are changing colors and stop in Asheville while you’re there.


OREGON: Mt. Hood Scenic Byway

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Wikimedia Commons

Mt. Hood has been dubbed one of Oregon’s scenic wonders. Take the roughly 100-mile scenic byway for breathtaking views of the mountain and Hood River Valley. There are plenty of places to camp along the way.


TENNESSEE: Natchez Trace Parkway

The 440-mile highway actually passes through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. In Tennessee, you’ll get access to many waterfalls, like Jackson Falls, and the Birdsong Hollow, a gorgeous double-arched bridge.


UTAH: Scenic Byway 12

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Wikimedia Commons

Take your time on this 124-mile highway that leads you to two national parks: Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef. You’ll get to see plenty of creeks and canyons along the way.


VERMONT: Route 17

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Wikimedia Commons

There are plenty of options to choose from in Vermont. Route 100 is certainly a classic, but a great alternative is Route 17 that will take you from the edge of Lake Champlain to the Green Mountains with plenty of views of the foliage along the way.


WASHINGTON: Cascade Loop

The Cascade Loop is a must-do for any American road trip. You get to see the waterfalls of Stevens Pass Greenway, three national forests, and cute villages along the way. Try and go in the Spring, when the snow has thawed and you can more easily drive the 440-mile route.


WEST VIRGINIA: Highland Scenic Highway

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Wikimedia Commons

Highland Scenic Highway is on my personal to-do list because it looks like a beautiful drive for a Spring road trip. It runs 43 miles through the Monongahela National Forest with plenty of look-out points along the way. Be prepared to stop and look at the wildflower fields.


WYOMING: Beartooth Highway

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Wikimedia Commons

The 68-mile highway leads straight into the Northeast entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Take in the sweeping views of the mountain and stop for a hike at Lake Creek Waterfall on the way.