I’ll admit- traveling can be stressful, and oftentimes the process of getting to your destination is what makes it that way. There’s getting through security at the airport and the fear of missing your flight. There’s dealing with bickering children (your own or someone else’s) and being in cramped quarters. Sometimes you have to put up with inconveniences like lost college or unexpected fees. Other times, however, if you actively let go of your stress and worries, the journey is the destination and getting to wherever you want to go can be just as enjoyable, if not even more enjoyable, than the destination itself.
One of my favorite novels is Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. This book is classic Americana at its best, as it details the journey of Kerouac and his friends across the highways of 1950’s America without a destination in sight. You might not be able to follow in Kerouac’s exact tire tracks today as you could have when the book was published, as Route 66 doesn’t exist today as it did then- but there are plenty of drives throughout the United States that are just as entertaining and breathtaking. This summer, I challenge you to embrace the joys of traveling and take a road trip with your family and friends. I can just about guarantee that if you take one of these scenic drives, you will not be disappointed.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia to North Carolina
This 469-mile stretch of highway through the Blue Ridge Mountains is so breathtakingly beautiful that it’s managed by the National Park Service. Known as “America’s favorite drive,” it offers unparalleled views of the vast Shenandoah Valley, towering mountain peaks, and verdant forests and meadows.
Route 66, Illinois to California
Route 66 may not exist any longer as a main, unbroken highway, but you can still drive parts of this iconic highway. The most scenic stretch is the mountainous region extending from the Grand Canyon to the Colorado River. Be sure to experience Americana on your journey and stop at the kitschy roadside attractions, mom-and-pop shops, motels, diners, and vintage service stations.
Pacific Coast Highway, California
You’ve most likely seen pictures of Big Sur with stretches of elevated highway winding alongside seaside cliffs. That’s because the 100-mile stretch of road running from Monterey to Hearst Castle is so famous. Gasp in awe at the beauty of this drive and maybe stop at a beach while you’re at it.
Highway 12, Utah
If you want to feel small and awestruck, then this is the drive for you. Red-tinged sandstone cliffs tower above snaking expanses of highway between Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Park.
Route 100, Vermont
The classic New England drive is best enjoyed in the fall when the foliage takes on fiery shades of red, orange, and yellow. Route 100 is stretch of country road that winds through forests and over hills, from Stowe south to the Massachusetts border.
This is just a mere sampling of some of the gorgeous drives that can be found in the United States. Grab your crew and hit the road this summer for a real travel treat!