As a driver, the monotony of most US interstates can get old after a while. Luckily, across our great country, we have many historically recognized and beautiful highways. We’ve put together a list of our top 5 scenic and historic US highways to break up the everyday interstates and make your driving experience even better. Let’s explore.
1. Pacific Coast Highway
Also known as California State Route 1, the Pacific Coast Highway stretches 659 miles along the west coast. Built in 1934, it is the longest state route in California; it not only has beautiful scenery, but also connects many urban areas such as Greater Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. You can reach many beaches and attractions using the Pacific Coast Highway, making it a popular travel route for tourists. Additionally, the Pacific Coast Highway is designated as a Blue Star Memorial Highway; it is in place to pay tribute to members of the US Armed Forces. If you ever find yourself on the west coast, this highway is certain to sweep you away with its beauty.
2. Route 66
Often referred to as “The Mother Road,” Route 66 is one of the most recognizable highways in America. Route 66 was originally built in 1926 and passed through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Nowadays, with the addition of many other highways, Route 66 is not driveable from start to finish, but many segments still exist and are travelable. With many well-preserved souvenir shops and restaurants along the way, it’s definitely worth “getting your kicks” if you’re in the area! (We’re sure your trip would be better with this song, too.)
3. Blue Ridge Parkway
Winding through Virginia and North Carolina’s Blue Ridge mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a beautiful and serene stretch of 469 miles. Surrounded by lush greenery and mountains, this highway offers a relaxing drive through nature with several outdoorsy activities to do along the way. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the largest highway planned as a unit in the United States. Lately, it has been referred to as “a museum of the managed American countryside.” Several stops along this parkway are former industrial sites for things such as logging, the railroad, and a canal. This beautifully preserved stretch of history should definitely go on your traveling bucket list.
4. Historic Columbia River Highway
Built between 1913 and 1922, the Historic Columbia River Highway is a beautiful scenic highway stretching roughly 75 miles through Oregon. In addition to the indisputable beauty surrounding this highway, its construction was a feat of its own. Essentially, Samuel Lancaster, its engineer, focused on preserving the nature surrounding the highway during its construction. The Columbia River Highway was named a National Historic Landmark because of Lancaster’s design. The breathtaking highway passes by over 150 plant species, a beautiful view of the Columbia Gorge, and several waterfalls. For family adventures or scenic drives, the Historic Columbia River Highway is well worth a trip up to Oregon.
5. Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway
Between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico is the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. This byway is a 50-mile stretch alongside Highway 14, and it is advertised as “the perfect day trip linking Santa Fe and Albuquerque.” The Turquoise Trail passes through many old mining towns including Golden, Madrid, and Cerrillos. Each town is full of art, theatre, music, and activities for tourists of any kind. Named after the blueish-green turquoise formerly mined in this location, the byway has thousands of yearly visitors. If you find yourself out west, this day trip will be a fun and valuable experience for all ages!
At Wave Express, we want you to remember that adventure is always out there. Wherever you’re traveling, make the most of the experience! We are always here to wish you safe and happy driving.