America's most scenic road trips

Jul 2, 2013 at 9:14 a.m. ET

Let's escape the real world for a while, and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors. Check out five of the most scenic road trips America has to offer.

There's nothing better than having nothing to do... but drive. With your windows down and the music up, a feeling of peace overcomes your body as you leave your old destination to make way for a new one. Road trips are simply freeing — you get to leave your past behind (at least temporarily) and worry only about what's ahead. While all road trips can be fun, not all are beautiful. Here, we're giving you a peek at America's top five most exhilarating road trips!

America's most scenic road trips


Pacific Coast Highway

Think breathtaking beaches, pristine beach houses, wide-open spaces and crashing waves. The drive up California's Pacific Coast Highway won't come close in comparison to any highway you've ever been on. This trip is best done in leisurely fashion, allowing you plenty of time to stop and enjoy the views and grab a bite to eat at a beachside grill. Consider driving all the way to Morro Bay for a romantic and relaxing weekend, or continue on to Napa Valley and experience the country's finest wine tastings.

America's most scenic road trips


Lake Michigan Coast

Mellower than the Pacific Coast Highway is that of the Lake Michigan Coast. The water is clear, the sand is white and the land is fertile — making for one beautiful and incredibly relaxing drive. You'll travel through Traverse City (Cherry Capital of the World) and see beautiful cherry orchards all summer long. You'll also come across harbors, quaint wineries and charming little towns. Most people, even those who grew up in Michigan, are more than impressed with the beauty of this drive.

America's most scenic road trips


Santa Fe to Taos in New Mexico

Head west for a scenic drive that will take you back in time. New Mexico's Highway 76 is rich in history, culture and art. You'll see Spanish artwork and old, charming rooms built hundreds of years ago that were used for protection. You'll also come across ghost towns, dinosaur tracks and even lakes, hills and mountains that are full of wildlife. The drive is only about an hour, so take your time and make sure to grab some authentic Mexican food for lunch.

America's most scenic road trips


Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota

If wildlife is what you're after, a drive across the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota is what you need to experience. This trip is full of open meadows, canyons, creeks, lakes and Ponderosa pines. It truly has it all, and allows you to both relax and be captivated. Be sure to stop by Mount Rushmore National Memorial while you're on the road too!

America's most scenic road trips


Million Dollar Highway in Colorado

This drive is not for the faint of heart. It offers breathtaking views of Colorado's San Juan Mountains and historic mining structures to awe over. The drive is recommended for only those who love adventure — as there are very steep cliffs and no guardrails. The highway offers plenty of lookout points for you to pull over and rest. But be warned! It's best to take this road trip during the spring and summer months to avoid icy, snowy roads that winter months bring.


What's the most scenic road trip you've ever been on? Share in the comments below!

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