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Best Scenic Drives by State - Byway Collections

Alabama Byways

Discovering Alabama’s Scenic Byways: A Journey through Natural Beauty and History

Alabama, the Heart of Dixie, is a state renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural landscapes. One of the best ways to explore the diversity of this Southern gem is by embarking on a road trip along its scenic byways. These routes offer travelers a unique opportunity to experience the state’s breathtaking beauty, from rolling hills and fertile farmlands to rugged mountains and pristine coastlines. Join us as we road trip on Alabama’s scenic byways.

Alabama has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Alabama’s Coastal Connection

Alabama’s Coastal Connection Byway is a stunning route that winds along the state’s Gulf Coast, offering travelers a taste of the Gulf of Mexico’s beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. This scenic byway is approximately 130 miles long and showcases a range of attractions and natural wonders. Here are some of the best features of Alabama’s Coastal Connection Byway:

  1. White Sandy Beaches: The byway provides access to some of Alabama’s most beautiful beaches, including Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. The soft, white sand and warm Gulf waters are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.
  2. Gulf State Park: Located in Gulf Shores, Gulf State Park is a natural wonderland offering hiking trails, a fishing pier, a golf course, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife viewing. The park also features a beach pavilion and educational programs.
  3. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge: This pristine coastal habitat is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers. The refuge is home to various bird species and provides interpretive trails for visitors to explore.
  4. Fort Morgan State Historic Site: This well-preserved Civil War-era fort played a significant role in American history. Visitors can explore the fort’s grounds, museum, and learn about its military history.
  5. Dauphin Island: A charming barrier island, Dauphin Island offers a laid-back atmosphere and beautiful beaches. Visit the Dauphin Island Estuarium to learn about the region’s marine life and ecosystems.
  6. Historic Sites: The byway passes through various historical sites and markers, providing insights into the area’s past, including its Native American heritage, French colonial history, and Civil War significance.
  7. Seafood Dining: Savor the Gulf’s bounty at local seafood restaurants and markets. Indulge in fresh oysters, shrimp, crab, and other delectable seafood dishes.
  8. Water Activities: The Gulf Coast is a paradise for water enthusiasts. Enjoy fishing, boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and even dolphin-watching tours in the warm Gulf waters.
  9. Cultural Attractions: Explore museums, art galleries, and cultural centers showcasing the history, art, and traditions of the Gulf Coast.
  10. Outdoor Adventures: Beyond the beaches, the byway offers opportunities for hiking, biking, and exploring natural areas. The Hugh S. Branyon Backcountry Trail in Orange Beach is a popular spot for outdoor activities.
  11. Festivals and Events: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to attend local festivals, including seafood festivals, music events, and cultural celebrations that showcase the region’s vibrant spirit.
  12. Sunsets: The Gulf Coast is renowned for its breathtaking sunsets. Enjoy spectacular views as the sun dips below the horizon, casting hues of orange, pink, and purple across the water.
  13. Scenic Drives: The byway itself is a scenic delight, with coastal views, marshlands, and glimpses of wildlife along the route. Drive slowly, take in the scenery, and stop at overlooks for photos.
  14. Family-Friendly Attractions: The Gulf Coast is a family-friendly destination with amusement parks, mini-golf courses, and interactive attractions that kids and adults alike will enjoy.

Alabama’s Coastal Connection offers a delightful journey along the Gulf Coast, combining natural beauty, outdoor adventure, rich history, and a welcoming coastal culture. Whether you’re seeking relaxation on the beach, exploration of historic sites, or the thrill of water sports, this scenic route has something for every traveler. It’s an opportunity to unwind, connect with nature, and immerse yourself in the charm of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway in Alabama is a scenic and historically rich route that offers travelers a glimpse into the state’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. Stretching approximately 33 miles through the northwestern corner of Alabama, this segment of the Natchez Trace Parkway is filled with attractions and features that make it a memorable journey. Here are some of the best features of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Alabama:

  1. Natural Beauty: The Natchez Trace Parkway is renowned for its unspoiled landscapes and serene beauty. As you travel through the Alabama segment, you’ll be treated to rolling hills, lush forests, and meandering streams.
  2. Bicycling: The parkway is a designated bicycle route, making it a popular destination for cyclists. Biking along the Trace allows you to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings and enjoy a leisurely ride.
  3. Birdwatching: Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse avian population along the parkway. Bring your binoculars and spot various bird species, including songbirds, raptors, and waterfowl.
  4. Picnicking: Numerous pull-offs and picnic areas provide opportunities to take a break, enjoy a meal, and savor the tranquil atmosphere of the parkway.
  5. Sunset Overlooks: The parkway offers several scenic overlooks, perfect for watching the sunset. The changing colors of the sky over the Alabama landscape create a peaceful and picturesque setting.
  6. Historical Markers: Along the route, you’ll encounter historical markers and interpretive signs that provide insights into the region’s history, including its Native American heritage and the history of the Natchez Trace itself.
  7. Wayside Exhibits: Stop at wayside exhibits that showcase the cultural and historical significance of the Natchez Trace. These exhibits offer educational information about the area’s past.
  8. Tishomingo State Park: Located near the northern terminus of the Alabama segment, Tishomingo State Park is a natural wonderland with hiking trails, rock formations, and the Bear Creek Canyon. It’s an ideal spot for outdoor activities.
  9. Water Activities: Canoeing and kayaking are popular activities along the Tennessee River, which runs parallel to the parkway. Paddle the river’s calm waters and enjoy scenic views.
  10. Fall Foliage: In the autumn, the parkway comes alive with vibrant fall colors. The changing leaves create a picturesque backdrop for your journey.
  11. Camping: The Colbert Ferry Campground, located within the Alabama segment, provides a serene camping experience along the Tennessee River. Campers can enjoy both natural beauty and historical significance.
  12. Old Trace Drive: This 20-mile loop road off the main parkway offers a deeper exploration of the area, with additional opportunities for birdwatching and enjoying the peaceful scenery.
  13. Peaceful Drive: The Natchez Trace Parkway is known for its leisurely pace and absence of commercial traffic. It’s a peaceful and unhurried journey through Alabama’s countryside.
  14. Accessibility: The parkway is designed for accessibility, making it suitable for travelers of all ages and abilities. The well-maintained road and gentle slopes ensure a comfortable and enjoyable drive.

The Natchez Trace Parkway in Alabama offers a serene and enriching experience for travelers seeking natural beauty and historical insights. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, birdwatching, picnicking, or simply taking a scenic drive through the countryside, this segment of the Natchez Trace Parkway has something for everyone. It’s a place where you can unwind, connect with nature, and appreciate the cultural heritage of the region.

Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail – an All-American Road

Alabama’s history is deeply rooted in the Civil Rights Movement, and the Selma to Montgomery March Byway tells a powerful story. Trace the footsteps of civil rights leaders as you travel this historic route, which commemorates the 1965 march for voting rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Along the way, you’ll encounter landmarks such as the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the National Voting Rights Museum, and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church. Here are some of the best features of the Selma to Montgomery All-American Road:

  1. Historic March Route: This byway follows the footsteps of the brave Civil Rights Movement activists who participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches. Historical markers and interpretive signs along the route provide insights into the events of 1965 and the struggle for voting rights.
  2. Edmund Pettus Bridge: Perhaps the most iconic symbol of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, this bridge was the site of “Bloody Sunday” on March 7, 1965. Visitors can walk across the bridge and reflect on its historical significance.
  3. Lowndes Interpretive Center: Learn about the history of the movement and the people who participated in the marches at this informative center. Exhibits, films, and educational programs offer a comprehensive understanding of the events.
  4. National Voting Rights Museum and Institute: Located in Selma, this museum chronicles the struggle for voting rights in America. It houses a significant collection of artifacts and documents related to the Civil Rights Movement.
  5. Historic Sites: The byway passes through several towns and communities that played important roles in the Civil Rights Movement, including Selma, White Hall, and Lowndesboro. Explore these areas and discover their unique histories.
  6. Natural Beauty: Alabama’s countryside offers beautiful rural landscapes, including fields, farms, and scenic countryside. The journey through these areas provides a peaceful backdrop for reflection.
  7. Viola Liuzzo Park: This park in Lowndesboro commemorates the life and sacrifice of Viola Liuzzo, a civil rights activist who was murdered during the 1965 marches. It serves as a tribute to her dedication to the cause.
  8. Historic Churches: Visit historic churches along the route, such as Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma, where many Civil Rights Movement meetings were held. These churches played pivotal roles in the movement.
  9. Montgomery Civil Rights Memorial: Located near the end of the route, the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery honors those who lost their lives in the struggle for civil rights. It’s a somber and powerful reminder of the sacrifices made.
  10. Montgomery Visitor Center: Learn more about Montgomery’s role in the Civil Rights Movement at the city’s visitor center, which provides information on historic sites, museums, and events related to civil rights history.
  11. Cultural Attractions: Montgomery offers a rich cultural scene with museums, galleries, and theaters. Explore the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, the Rosa Parks Museum, and the Dexter Parsonage Museum to learn about local history and culture.
  12. Dining and Shopping: Enjoy Southern cuisine and local flavors at restaurants and cafes in Selma and Montgomery. Explore unique shops and boutiques for souvenirs and gifts.
  13. Educational Opportunities: The Selma to Montgomery All-American Road provides a valuable educational experience for visitors interested in American history, civil rights, and social justice.
  14. Community Events: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend special events, parades, and festivals that celebrate the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and the progress made since then.

The Selma to Montgomery All-American Road in Alabama is a powerful and educational journey through the heart of the Civil Rights Movement. Travelers can pay homage to the heroes of the movement, gain a deeper understanding of American history, and appreciate the progress made toward equality and justice. It’s a route that invites reflection, learning, and inspiration as you explore the enduring legacy of the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama.

Talladega Scenic Drive

For those seeking an escape into the natural beauty of the state, the Talladega Scenic Drive is a must-visit. This byway takes you through the Talladega National Forest, where you’ll be surrounded by lush forests, pristine lakes, and rolling hills. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore hiking trails, fishing spots, and serene picnic areas. The drive also offers access to the Cheaha Mountain State Park, where the state’s highest point, Mount Cheaha, provides stunning vistas. Here are some of the best features of the Talladega Scenic Drive:

  1. Scenic Beauty: The primary allure of the Talladega Scenic Drive is its stunning natural beauty. As you traverse the byway, you’ll be surrounded by a lush canopy of trees, including hardwoods and pine forests, which come alive with vibrant colors in the fall.
  2. Talladega National Forest: The drive meanders through the Talladega National Forest, which covers over 392,000 acres. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, turkey, and a multitude of bird species. Hikers and nature enthusiasts can explore the many trails within the forest.
  3. Cheaha Mountain: The Talladega Scenic Drive leads to Cheaha Mountain, Alabama’s highest point. At Cheaha State Park, visitors can take in breathtaking panoramic views from the observation tower and hike scenic trails.
  4. Chinnabee Silent Trail: This popular hiking trail follows along Cheaha Creek and offers stunning views of Cheaha Falls, Devil’s Den Falls, and various waterfalls and cascades along the route. It’s a paradise for waterfall enthusiasts and hikers.
  5. Lake Chinnabee: This serene and picturesque lake provides opportunities for picnicking, fishing, and relaxation. It’s an excellent spot to unwind and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.
  6. Camping: The Talladega National Forest offers several campgrounds, providing an opportunity to spend a night or more under the stars and immerse yourself in the peacefulness of the forest.
  7. Outdoor Activities: Beyond hiking, the byway provides access to a wide range of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife watching. It’s a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
  8. Scenic Overlooks: Several overlooks and pull-off areas along the byway offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and rolling hills, making for excellent photo opportunities.
  9. Fall Foliage: In the autumn, the Talladega Scenic Drive becomes a tapestry of vibrant fall colors. The changing leaves create a breathtaking and immersive seasonal experience.
  10. Historic Sites: The byway passes by historical sites, including former iron ore mines and old settlements, offering a glimpse into the region’s history and industrial heritage.
  11. Quiet and Peaceful: The byway is known for its tranquility and the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life. It’s a place to connect with nature and enjoy the serenity of the forested landscape.
  12. Picnic Areas: Scattered throughout the byway are designated picnic areas, where you can enjoy a meal surrounded by the natural beauty of the Talladega National Forest.
  13. Wildflowers: Depending on the season, the byway may be adorned with colorful wildflowers, adding to the scenic charm and providing a habitat for pollinators.
  14. Accessibility: The byway is well-maintained and accessible, making it suitable for travelers of all ages and abilities. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable drive through Alabama’s countryside.

The Talladega Scenic Drive in Alabama offers a serene and immersive experience in the heart of the Talladega National Forest. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, hiking to waterfalls, or simply taking in the natural beauty of the region, this byway has something to offer all who venture along its winding path. It’s an opportunity to disconnect from the noise of everyday life and reconnect with the tranquility of nature.

More great scenic drives in Alabama:

Whether you’re drawn to the captivating stories of the Civil Rights Movement, the natural wonders of the Appalachian Mountains, or the allure of the Gulf Coast, Alabama’s scenic byways offer an unforgettable journey through the heart of the South. As you traverse these picturesque routes, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the state’s diverse landscapes and its role in shaping American history and culture. So, hit the road, explore the hidden gems of Alabama, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Alabama’s Autumn Kaleidoscope: Exploring the Fall Colors

When autumn arrives in Alabama, it ushers in a spectacular transformation of the state’s landscapes. From the northern hills to the southern coast, the trees don their vibrant fall attire, creating a breathtaking natural spectacle. The crimson, gold, and amber hues of Alabama’s fall foliage paint a vivid tapestry that invites residents and visitors alike to explore the beauty of the season.

When to Visit

The best time to witness the peak of fall colors in Alabama typically occurs from late October through early November. However, the exact timing can vary depending on the region and the weather conditions for that year. To plan your fall foliage excursion, keep an eye on local foliage reports and updates from state parks.

Where to Experience Alabama’s Fall Colors

  1. Cheaha State Park: As Alabama’s highest point, Cheaha State Park, located in the Talladega National Forest, offers breathtaking views and vibrant foliage. The drive up to the park is adorned with colorful trees, and the observation tower provides a panoramic view of the surrounding forest ablaze with fall colors.
  2. Little River Canyon National Preserve: This natural wonder in northeast Alabama is not only known for its deep canyon but also for its stunning fall foliage. Hiking along the Little River Canyon Rim Parkway offers scenic vistas and the chance to see the colorful leaves reflected in the crystal-clear waters below.
  3. Talladega National Forest: The dense woodlands of Talladega National Forest become a palette of reds, yellows, and oranges in the fall. Hike the Chinnabee Silent Trail to witness the stunning foliage and visit waterfalls along the way.
  4. Oak Mountain State Park: Located near Birmingham, this popular state park boasts beautiful hardwood forests that come alive with color in the fall. Explore the park’s hiking and biking trails while surrounded by the vibrant foliage.
  5. Bankhead National Forest: In northwestern Alabama, Bankhead National Forest offers a serene and remote setting for enjoying fall colors. Explore the Sipsey Wilderness Area and its numerous hiking trails to fully immerse yourself in the autumn beauty.
  6. Noccalula Falls Park: Located in Gadsden, this park is home to a stunning waterfall framed by fall foliage. Stroll along the park’s trails and enjoy the vivid colors surrounding the cascading waters.
  7. Conecuh National Forest: In south Alabama, Conecuh National Forest offers a unique opportunity to experience fall colors in a more subtropical climate. Cypress swamps and hardwood forests provide a different perspective on autumn.

Tips for a Memorable Fall Foliage Adventure

  1. Plan Ahead: Research the best times to visit and the most vibrant locations for fall foliage in Alabama. Consider making reservations for accommodations if needed.
  2. Photography: Don’t forget your camera! Autumn provides fantastic opportunities for capturing stunning photographs of the colorful landscapes.
  3. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Many of the locations with the best fall colors also offer hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Plan accordingly and enjoy the crisp fall air.
  4. Pack Accordingly: Autumn weather can be unpredictable. Dress in layers, bring comfortable footwear for walking and hiking, and pack essentials like water, snacks, and a map.
  5. Fall Festivals: Check local event calendars for fall festivals and events, which often include live music, arts and crafts, and seasonal treats.
  6. Safety First: When hiking or exploring natural areas, be sure to follow safety guidelines and let someone know your plans and estimated return time.

Alabama’s fall foliage is a captivating display of nature’s artistry, inviting all who visit to immerse themselves in the colors of the season. Whether you’re hiking through dense forests, driving along scenic byways, or simply taking a leisurely walk in a city park, the vibrant hues of Alabama’s fall foliage create an unforgettable autumn experience. So, grab your jacket and camera, and embark on a journey to witness the state’s stunning transformation during this enchanting season.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Alaska Byways

Alaska’s Scenic Drives and Byways: Navigating the Wild Beauty of the Last Frontier

Alaska, a land of rugged grandeur and untamed wilderness, beckons explorers with its awe-inspiring landscapes and a sense of adventure that is second to none. Amidst its snow-capped peaks, pristine rivers, and vast stretches of pristine wilderness, lie some of the most captivating and picturesque scenic drives and waterways in the world. The winding roads not only offer access to some of the most remote and breathtaking corners of the Last Frontier but also provide travelers with an intimate connection to the state’s rich natural and cultural heritage. Discover the unparalleled beauty, wildlife, and culture that define this northern paradise as you embark on a journey through the scenic byways of Alaska, where every turn reveals a new vista, a fresh adventure, and a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the North.

Alaska has five scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Alaska Marine Highway

The Alaska Marine Highway, a unique and extensive ferry system, offers travelers a remarkable way to explore the stunning coastal landscapes and remote communities of the Last Frontier. Here are five of its best features:

  1. Spectacular Scenery: One of the standout features of the Alaska Marine Highway is the opportunity to witness some of Alaska’s most breathtaking scenery from the comfort of a ferry. The voyage takes you through pristine fjords, past towering glaciers, and alongside rugged coastlines, providing unparalleled views of Alaska’s natural wonders.
  2. Remote Access: Alaska is known for its remote and isolated communities, many of which are not accessible by road. The Alaska Marine Highway bridges these gaps, serving as a lifeline for residents and a unique way for tourists to reach destinations that would otherwise be difficult to access.
  3. Cultural Immersion: Traveling on the ferries allows passengers to immerse themselves in Alaskan culture. Many of the communities served by the Alaska Marine Highway are rich in Indigenous heritage, and passengers have the opportunity to interact with locals, learn about their traditions, and sample regional cuisine.
  4. Wildlife Viewing: Alaska is renowned for its diverse wildlife, and the ferry system offers fantastic opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts. Passengers often spot whales, dolphins, sea lions, and a variety of bird species during their journey, making it a wildlife-watching adventure in itself.
  5. Flexibility and Adventure: Unlike a traditional cruise, the Alaska Marine Highway provides travelers with the flexibility to customize their itinerary. You can hop on and off at different ports, explore at your own pace, and even camp on board, turning your voyage into a true Alaskan adventure.

The Alaska Marine Highway stands out for its ability to showcase Alaska’s stunning landscapes, provide access to remote communities, offer cultural experiences, facilitate wildlife encounters, and grant travelers the freedom to create their own unique adventures along the way. It’s an exceptional way to explore the beauty and diversity of Alaska’s coastal regions.

Glenn Highway

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway in Alaska offers a breathtaking journey through some of the state’s most stunning landscapes. Here are five of its best features:

  1. Spectacular Mountain Vistas: The Glenn Highway treats travelers to awe-inspiring views of the Chugach Mountains, Talkeetna Mountains, and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. The rugged peaks, glaciers, and pristine wilderness along the route make it a paradise for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
  2. Matanuska Glacier: A highlight of the Glenn Highway is the proximity to the Matanuska Glacier, one of Alaska’s most accessible glaciers. Visitors can take guided tours onto the glacier, providing a unique opportunity to experience the icy wonderland up close.
  3. Historical and Cultural Sites: Along the byway, you’ll encounter historical and cultural attractions, including the Eklutna Historical Park with its colorful spirit houses, the historic copper-mining town of Sutton, and the native heritage center in Chickaloon. These sites offer insight into Alaska’s rich history and diverse cultures.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: The Glenn Highway provides access to a wealth of outdoor activities. Hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing opportunities are abundant. The region is home to numerous trails and recreation areas, inviting adventurers to explore its natural beauty.
  5. Salmon Runs: During the summer months, the Glenn Highway offers a chance to witness one of Alaska’s iconic natural phenomena – the salmon runs. Various viewpoints and rivers along the route provide excellent opportunities to observe salmon swimming upstream to spawn, a captivating display of the state’s wildlife.

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway boasts stunning mountain vistas, access to glaciers, rich historical and cultural sites, abundant outdoor recreational opportunities, and the chance to witness Alaska’s unique wildlife and natural events. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the grandeur of the Last Frontier.

Haines Highway – Valley of the Eagles

The Haines Highway – Valley of the Eagles National Scenic Byway offers travelers a remarkable journey through a diverse range of landscapes and cultural attractions. Here are five of its best features:

  1. Breathtaking Mountain and Valley Scenery: The Haines Highway treats visitors to some of the most breathtaking mountain and valley scenery in Alaska. As you drive through the Chilkat Valley, you’ll be surrounded by towering peaks, pristine lakes, and lush forests, creating a picturesque backdrop at every turn.
  2. Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve: This scenic byway is renowned for the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, which hosts one of the largest gatherings of bald eagles in the world. The eagles congregate here in the late fall to feed on salmon, offering birdwatchers and photographers a unique and captivating wildlife experience.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: The Haines Highway offers numerous opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, and camping are just a few of the activities available in the area. The nearby Chilkoot Lake State Recreation Area is a popular spot for these activities.
  4. Rich Cultural Heritage: Along the route, you can explore the cultural heritage of the region. Visit the Alaska Indian Arts Center to learn about Native Alaskan art and culture, or explore the Fort Seward Historic District in Haines, which features well-preserved buildings from the early 20th century.
  5. Historical Sites and Museums: History buffs will appreciate the historical sites and museums along the byway. The Sheldon Museum and Cultural Center in Haines provides insights into the region’s history, while the Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry offers a historical perspective on transportation in the area.

The Haines Highway – Valley of the Eagles National Scenic Byway offers travelers a blend of stunning natural beauty, exceptional wildlife viewing, outdoor recreation opportunities, a rich cultural heritage, and historical sites and museums. It’s a road trip that promises a diverse range of experiences and unforgettable vistas along the way.

Seward Highway All-American Road

The Seward Highway All-American Road in Alaska is renowned for its breathtaking scenery and diverse attractions. Here are five of its best features:

  1. Stunning Coastal Views: The Seward Highway hugs the rugged coastline of the Turnagain Arm, offering travelers stunning vistas of the Chugach Mountains and the dramatic waters of the arm. The constantly changing tides and the backdrop of majestic peaks create an ever-evolving, picture-perfect scene.
  2. Chugach State Park: As you journey along the Seward Highway, you’ll have access to Chugach State Park, one of the largest state parks in the United States. This wilderness paradise beckons outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities for hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, and exploring glaciers.
  3. Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center: Located along the highway, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center allows visitors to get up close to native Alaskan wildlife, including bears, moose, bison, and eagles. It’s an educational and memorable experience for all ages.
  4. Portage Glacier: A short detour from the Seward Highway takes you to Portage Glacier, where you can embark on boat tours or hike to viewpoints for spectacular glacier views. Witnessing the impressive ice formations is a highlight of the journey.
  5. Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park: The southern terminus of the Seward Highway leads to the charming coastal town of Seward and the gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. Visitors can explore the park’s glaciers, fjords, and marine wildlife through boat tours and hikes.

The Seward Highway All-American Road offers travelers a feast for the senses, with stunning coastal views, access to wilderness in Chugach State Park, wildlife encounters at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, glacier experiences at Portage Glacier, and the opportunity to explore the natural wonders of Kenai Fjords National Park. It’s a road trip that showcases Alaska’s diverse beauty and outdoor adventures.

The George Parks Highway Scenic Byway

The George Parks Highway Scenic Byway in Alaska is a route renowned for its natural beauty and access to numerous attractions. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Denali National Park and Preserve: The George Parks Highway is the gateway to Denali National Park and Preserve, home to North America’s tallest peak, Denali (formerly known as Mount McKinley). The park offers breathtaking scenery, wildlife viewing opportunities, and a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking and camping.
  2. Talkeetna: The charming town of Talkeetna, located along the highway, is a popular stop for visitors. It’s known for its quirky character, with colorful buildings, unique shops, and a friendly atmosphere. It’s also a hub for flightseeing tours of Denali.
  3. Scenic Vistas: The highway provides numerous opportunities to pull over and enjoy scenic vistas of the Alaska Range, including stunning views of Denali on clear days. The landscape features rivers, lakes, forests, and wide-open spaces, making it a paradise for photographers.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: The area around the George Parks Highway offers ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you’re interested in hiking, fishing, kayaking, or wildlife watching, you’ll find a wide range of activities to enjoy.
  5. Alaskan Heritage: Along the route, you can explore Alaskan heritage and culture. The Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage provides insights into the state’s indigenous cultures, while the historic sites and museums in the area offer glimpses into Alaska’s history.
  6. Idyllic Small Towns: In addition to Talkeetna, you’ll encounter other charming small towns and communities along the byway. These towns offer a taste of local life, with unique shops, restaurants, and cultural experiences.
  7. Abundance of Wildlife: The George Parks Highway is known for its wildlife sightings. Keep an eye out for moose, caribou, eagles, and other native creatures as you drive through this pristine wilderness.

The George Parks Highway Scenic Byway is celebrated for its access to Denali National Park, the charming town of Talkeetna, breathtaking vistas, outdoor recreational opportunities, cultural experiences, and the chance to encounter Alaska’s remarkable wildlife. It’s a journey that encapsulates the essence of the Last Frontier.

More great scenic drives in Alaska:

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Alaska’s scenic drives, byways, and waterways largely depends on your interests and the specific byways you plan to explore. Alaska offers a range of stunning landscapes and unique experiences throughout the year, so here’s a breakdown by season:

  1. Summer (June to August):
    • Peak Tourist Season: Summer is the most popular time to visit Alaska’s scenic byways. The weather is generally milder, and the days are long, providing ample daylight for exploring.
    • Wildlife Viewing: This season offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, as animals are active, and many species give birth during this time.
    • Wildflowers: You’ll be treated to vibrant displays of wildflowers, particularly in June and July.
    • Cruises and Outdoor Activities: Summer is ideal for cruises along the coastal byways and outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
  2. Fall (September to October):
    • Fall Foliage: In late August through September, you can witness the stunning fall foliage as the leaves change colors, especially along interior and mountainous routes.
    • Fewer Crowds: As the summer tourist season wanes, you’ll encounter fewer crowds and lower prices for accommodations and tours.
    • Northern Lights: In September, you might catch glimpses of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in northern Alaska.
  3. Winter (November to February):
    • Northern Lights: Winter is the prime time to witness the Northern Lights, especially in the northern regions like Fairbanks.
    • Snow and Winter Activities: If you enjoy winter sports like skiing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding, Alaska’s scenic byways offer unique opportunities.
    • Few Tourists: While many areas become less accessible due to snow and ice, there are fewer tourists, creating a more intimate experience.
  4. Spring (March to May):
    • Milder Weather: Spring brings milder temperatures and longer days as the snow starts to melt, making it an excellent time for a road trip.
    • Wildlife: As the snow recedes, wildlife becomes more visible, making it a great time for wildlife enthusiasts.
    • Avoiding Crowds: Spring provides a chance to explore without the summer crowds, but some roads may still be closed due to snow and ice.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Alaska’s scenic byways depends on your interests, whether you prefer the warm and bustling summer months, the colorful fall foliage, the tranquility of winter, or the emergence of life in the spring. Be sure to research the specific byways you plan to visit and check road conditions and accessibility, especially if traveling in the shoulder seasons or during winter.

Driving Tips

Driving in Alaska can be a unique and rewarding experience, but it also presents some challenges due to its remote nature and diverse weather conditions. Here are some essential driving tips for Alaska:

  1. Check Road Conditions: Before embarking on your journey, check road conditions and weather forecasts. Alaska’s weather can change rapidly, and road closures due to snow, ice, or avalanches are not uncommon, especially in the winter.
  2. Prepare for Long Drives: Distances between towns and services in Alaska can be vast, so be prepared for long drives. Make sure your vehicle is in good condition, and carry emergency supplies like food, water, warm clothing, and a first-aid kit.
  3. Watch for Wildlife: Alaska is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including moose, caribou, bears, and eagles. Be vigilant, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are most active. Reduce your speed and use high beams when appropriate.
  4. Carry Emergency Gear: In addition to basic emergency supplies, carry items like a flashlight, extra blankets, a shovel, and tire chains. These can be crucial if you encounter problems on remote stretches of road.
  5. Fuel Up: Gas stations can be few and far between in some parts of Alaska, so fill up your tank when you have the chance. It’s also a good idea to carry extra fuel containers for longer journeys.
  6. Stay Informed: Tune in to local radio stations for weather updates and road conditions, especially if you’re driving in remote areas. Many communities in Alaska rely on radio for communication.
  7. Observe Construction Zones: Construction zones are common during the summer months. Slow down, follow posted signs, and be prepared for delays.
  8. Use Pullouts: When driving slowly to take in the scenery or to allow faster vehicles to pass, use designated pullouts or turnouts to allow traffic to flow smoothly.
  9. Plan Accommodations: If you’re embarking on a multi-day road trip, plan your lodging in advance. Lodging options can be limited in certain areas, especially during peak tourist seasons.
  10. Drive with Caution in Winter: In the winter, be prepared for icy and snowy conditions. Install snow tires or carry chains and drive cautiously. Consider renting a four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive vehicle if you plan to travel extensively in winter.
  11. Stay on Designated Roads: Off-road driving is not allowed in most areas of Alaska. Stick to designated roads and trails to protect the environment and avoid getting stuck in rugged terrain.

By following these driving tips and exercising caution, you can make the most of your Alaskan road trip while ensuring your safety and the preservation of this beautiful wilderness.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Arizona Byways

Exploring the Beauty of the Southwest: Arizona’s Scenic Byways

Arizona, known for its dramatic landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, beckons travelers with a network of picturesque routes that wind through some of the most stunning terrain in the American Southwest. These scenic byways offer a chance to embark on a journey through a diverse tapestry of experiences, from the awe-inspiring wonders of the Grand Canyon to the colorful desert vistas of Sedona and the historic charm of Route 66. We invite you to hop in the driver’s seat and join us as we explore the enchanting world of Arizona’s scenic byways, where every turn of the road unveils a new adventure and a deeper appreciation for the natural and cultural treasures of the Grand Canyon State.

Arizona has five scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Coronado Trail National Scenic Byway

The Coronado Trail National Scenic Byway, located in eastern Arizona, is renowned for its stunning vistas and diverse range of attractions. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Scenic Overlooks: The byway offers numerous pullouts and overlooks that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. From towering cliffs to deep canyons and lush forests, the vistas along the Coronado Trail are nothing short of spectacular.
  2. Gila National Forest: As you drive the byway, you’ll traverse the Gila National Forest, which offers opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, camping, birdwatching, and picnicking are just a few of the activities you can enjoy in this pristine wilderness.
  3. Wildlife Viewing: The Coronado Trail is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, elk, eagles, and other native species. Keep an eye out for wildlife while driving, especially during the early morning and late afternoon.
  4. Historical Sites: The byway passes through or near several historic sites, including the mining town of Clifton and the historic Fort Apache, offering insights into the region’s past.
  5. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests: The byway also takes you through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, which feature serene alpine meadows, pristine lakes, and opportunities for camping and hiking.
  6. Fall Foliage: In the fall, the Coronado Trail is known for its stunning display of fall foliage, particularly in the higher elevations. The vibrant colors of the changing leaves make for a memorable drive.
  7. Chiricahua National Monument: While not directly on the byway, Chiricahua National Monument is a short drive away and well worth the visit. It’s known for its unique rock formations and hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.
  8. Rustic Charm: Along the Coronado Trail, you’ll encounter rustic mountain towns and communities where you can experience local culture and hospitality. Consider stopping in places like Alpine and Springerville for a taste of small-town Arizona.
  9. Challenging Terrain: The Coronado Trail is renowned for its winding, steep, and sometimes narrow roads. While this can be a thrilling driving experience for enthusiasts, it’s essential to drive with caution, especially in adverse weather conditions.
  10. Starry Nights: Due to its remote location and minimal light pollution, the Coronado Trail offers excellent stargazing opportunities. On clear nights, the sky comes alive with stars, making it an ideal spot for astronomy enthusiasts.

The Coronado Trail National Scenic Byway offers travelers a chance to immerse themselves in the diverse natural beauty, wildlife, and history of eastern Arizona. It’s an adventure that combines dramatic landscapes with opportunities for outdoor recreation and cultural exploration.

Historic Route 66 All American Road – AZ*

Route 66 All-American Road in Arizona offers a nostalgic journey through the iconic landscapes and historic sites of the American Southwest. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Landmarks: Route 66 is steeped in history, and Arizona’s portion is no exception. Travelers can explore historic landmarks like the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, the Petrified Forest National Park, and the Hackberry General Store, which capture the essence of this legendary road.
  2. Classic Americana: The route is lined with classic Americana, including vintage diners, neon signs, and roadside attractions that harken back to the golden age of road trips. You can’t miss the famous “Standin’ on the Corner” Park in Winslow, made famous by the Eagles’ song “Take It Easy.”
  3. Scenic Drives: While cruising along Route 66, you’ll experience diverse landscapes, from the striking red rocks of Sedona to the wide-open expanses of the Painted Desert. The byway takes you through a range of ecosystems, providing a visual feast for nature enthusiasts.
  4. Cultural and Artistic Experiences: Many towns along Route 66 showcase local art and culture. In towns like Williams and Flagstaff, you can explore galleries, museums, and festivals that celebrate the region’s heritage.
  5. Outdoor Adventures: The byway provides access to outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. The Kaibab National Forest near Williams offers excellent opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.
  6. Grand Canyon: While not directly on Route 66, the iconic Grand Canyon is easily accessible from this road. Many travelers use Route 66 as a gateway to one of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders.
  7. Quirky Attractions: Be prepared to encounter quirky and unique attractions like the Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, known for its humorous signs and entertaining staff.
  8. Photography Opportunities: Route 66 offers countless opportunities for photographers to capture the nostalgic essence of the road and the stunning scenery that surrounds it.
  9. Friendly Communities: Route 66 is renowned for its friendly and welcoming communities. The people you meet along the way often share their stories and love for this historic road.
  10. Nostalgic Roadside Motels: For those seeking an authentic experience, consider staying in one of the vintage motels that dot the route. These retro accommodations offer a step back in time.

Route 66 All-American Road in Arizona is a journey through time, culture, and nature, with its historic landmarks, classic Americana, scenic drives, and opportunities for adventure. It’s a road trip that captures the spirit of the American West and the nostalgia of the open road.

Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway

The Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway National Scenic Byway in Arizona offers travelers a serene and captivating journey through the rugged beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the surrounding region. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Grand Canyon North Rim: The byway is the primary access route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Visitors can revel in breathtaking panoramic views of the canyon, enjoy hiking trails along the rim, and experience the tranquility of the less-crowded North Rim.
  2. Kaibab National Forest: The route takes you through the scenic Kaibab National Forest, which offers opportunities for outdoor recreation, including hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The forest’s diverse ecosystems provide a serene backdrop for the journey.
  3. Vista Points: Along the byway, you’ll find numerous vista points and overlooks that offer spectacular views of the Grand Canyon, allowing travelers to marvel at its vastness and ever-changing colors.
  4. Tranquil Wilderness: The Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway provides a peaceful and less congested alternative to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a quieter and more contemplative Grand Canyon experience.
  5. Seasonal Changes: Depending on the time of year you visit, you can witness the seasonal changes in the landscape, from the lush greenery of summer to the vibrant colors of autumn.
  6. Wildlife Encounters: The Kaibab Plateau is home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, elk, and turkey. Birdwatchers will appreciate the opportunity to spot a wide range of bird species in this habitat.
  7. Starry Nights: Due to its remote location and minimal light pollution, the byway offers exceptional stargazing opportunities. On clear nights, the sky comes alive with stars, making it a fantastic spot for astronomy enthusiasts.
  8. Visitor Centers and Interpretive Sites: Throughout the byway, you’ll find visitor centers and interpretive sites that provide valuable information about the region’s geology, ecology, and cultural history.
  9. Ranger Programs: The National Park Service offers ranger-led programs and guided hikes at the North Rim, providing in-depth insights into the Grand Canyon’s natural and cultural heritage.
  10. Historical Sites: The Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway also passes through or near historical sites, including the Jacob Lake Inn and historic cabins, which offer a glimpse into the area’s history.

The Kaibab Plateau-North Rim Parkway National Scenic Byway offers travelers an opportunity to connect with the grandeur of the Grand Canyon while enjoying the serene wilderness of the Kaibab Plateau. It’s a road trip that promises solitude, natural beauty, and a deeper appreciation for one of the world’s most awe-inspiring landscapes.

Red Rock All American Road*

The Red Rock Scenic Byway, also known as the Red Rock All-American Road, is a stunning route in Arizona that showcases the captivating beauty of Sedona and its iconic red rock formations. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Red Rock Formations: The byway offers unparalleled views of Sedona’s striking red rock formations, including Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Snoopy Rock. These natural wonders are a photographer’s dream and a sight to behold.
  2. Sedona: The byway takes you through the charming town of Sedona, known for its vibrant arts scene, upscale shops, and diverse dining options. It’s a great place to stop for shopping, dining, and exploring art galleries.
  3. Outdoor Activities: Sedona is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The byway provides access to a multitude of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as opportunities for jeep tours and hot air balloon rides.
  4. Oak Creek Canyon: As you drive along the byway, you’ll descend into the scenic Oak Creek Canyon, known for its lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and the opportunity for picnicking, swimming, and fishing.
  5. Cultural and Spiritual Sites: Sedona is known for its vortex sites, which are believed to have spiritual and healing energy. Visitors can explore these sites and learn about the area’s cultural and metaphysical heritage.
  6. Scenic Overlooks: Numerous pullouts and scenic overlooks along the byway provide opportunities to stop and admire the awe-inspiring views of the red rocks and surrounding landscapes.
  7. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife, including deer, javelinas, and a variety of bird species, as you explore the area.
  8. Art Galleries and Studios: Sedona is home to a vibrant arts community, with numerous galleries and studios showcasing local and Native American art. Visitors can appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship of the region’s artists.
  9. Stargazing: Due to its dark skies and minimal light pollution, Sedona is an excellent spot for stargazing. On clear nights, the stars and celestial formations are a sight to behold.
  10. Seasonal Beauty: The byway offers a different experience in every season. Spring brings wildflowers, while summer offers warm weather for outdoor activities. Fall presents colorful foliage, and winter dusts the red rocks with snow, creating a unique atmosphere.

In summary, the Red Rock Scenic Byway in Sedona, Arizona, is a captivating journey through one of the most visually stunning and culturally rich areas of the state. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, art and culture, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the red rocks, this byway has something for every traveler.

Sky Island Parkway National Scenic Byway (Catalina Highway)

The Sky Island Parkway National Scenic Byway, also known as the Catalina Highway, offers a mesmerizing journey from the desert floor to the cool heights of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Elevation Change: One of the most remarkable aspects of this byway is the dramatic elevation change. As you ascend from the desert floor to the mountain’s summit, you’ll experience a significant shift in climate, vegetation, and wildlife.
  2. Santa Catalina Mountains: The byway takes you through the Santa Catalina Mountains, which provide abundant opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, birdwatching, and picnicking.
  3. Scenic Overlooks: Along the route, you’ll encounter several pullouts and scenic overlooks that offer stunning views of Tucson and the surrounding desert landscape. These vantage points are perfect for taking in the breathtaking vistas and capturing memorable photographs.
  4. Biosphere 2: Near the start of the byway, you can visit the Biosphere 2, a unique research facility that replicates different ecosystems. Guided tours provide insights into environmental science and research.
  5. Mount Lemmon Ski Valley: In the winter, Mount Lemmon Ski Valley offers skiing and snowboarding opportunities. It’s a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts and provides a unique contrast to the desert climate below.
  6. Summer Escape: For Tucson residents, the Catalina Highway serves as a welcome escape from the scorching summer heat. The higher elevations offer cooler temperatures, making it a popular destination for summer getaways.
  7. Wildlife Viewing: The Santa Catalina Mountains are home to diverse wildlife, including mule deer, black bears, and a variety of bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to spot these animals in their natural habitat.
  8. Rock Climbing: The area is a rock climber’s paradise, with numerous climbing routes available for all skill levels. The rugged cliffs and rock formations make for thrilling adventures.
  9. Geological Formations: The byway provides a chance to explore geological formations, including canyons, cliffs, and unique rock outcroppings. Geology enthusiasts will find much to appreciate.
  10. Starry Nights: Due to its higher elevation and reduced light pollution, the byway is an excellent spot for stargazing. On clear nights, you can marvel at the brilliance of the night sky.

In summary, the Sky Island Parkway National Scenic Byway, or Catalina Highway, offers a diverse range of experiences, from the saguaro-studded desert floor to the cool, forested heights of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, scientific exploration, or simply enjoying the beauty of nature, this byway has something to offer all who embark on its scenic journey.

More great scenic drives in Arizona:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Arkansas Byways

Discovering Natural Beauty and History on Arkansas Scenic Drives

Arkansas, often called “The Natural State,” is a hidden gem for travelers seeking a combination of natural beauty and rich history. The state boasts a network of scenic roads that wind through lush forests, picturesque mountains, and charming towns. Here’s a journey through some of Arkansas’s most captivating scenic drives.

Arkansas has three scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway

Nestled in the heart of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, Crowley’s Ridge National Scenic Byway offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore the natural beauty and rich history of northeastern Arkansas. This picturesque byway meanders through the rolling hills of Crowley’s Ridge, a geological anomaly in the otherwise flat delta landscape. Let’s take a journey through the best features of this enchanting byway:

1. A Geological Marvel – Crowley’s Ridge is a geological wonder that stands out in contrast to the surrounding flatlands. It’s a narrow, elevated ridge that runs approximately 150 miles from the Missouri Bootheel down into Arkansas. This ridge was formed over millions of years by the erosional processes of wind and water, creating a distinctive landscape of rolling hills, scenic overlooks, and hardwood forests.

2. Scenic Beauty – One of the primary draws of the Crowley’s Ridge Scenic Byway is its stunning natural beauty. As you travel along this byway, you’ll be treated to picturesque vistas of the ridge’s undulating hills and lush woodlands. The landscape is particularly enchanting during the fall when the foliage bursts into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold, making it a prime destination for leaf-peeping enthusiasts.

3. Charming Towns – The byway connects several charming towns and communities, each offering its unique character and attractions. Places like Jonesboro, Paragould, and Piggott provide opportunities to explore local history, culture, and cuisine. Be sure to stop in these towns to experience warm Southern hospitality and sample some delicious regional dishes.

4. Historical and Cultural Sites – Crowley’s Ridge is steeped in history, and the byway provides access to numerous historical and cultural sites. The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, for instance, was once a residence where renowned author Ernest Hemingway wrote portions of his famous novel “A Farewell to Arms.” The museum offers insights into Hemingway’s life and work.

5. Outdoor Activities – The byway offers plenty of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. Hiking trails, such as those in Crowley’s Ridge State Park, provide opportunities for exploration and wildlife viewing. Birdwatchers will appreciate the diverse avian species that call the ridge home, especially during migratory seasons.

6. Delta Cultural Center – Located in Helena, just south of the byway’s terminus, the Delta Cultural Center is a fascinating stop for those interested in the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta. It explores the music, art, and heritage of this iconic region, showcasing exhibits and hosting events that celebrate the Delta’s unique contributions to American culture.

7. Rich Agricultural Heritage – As you travel along the Crowley’s Ridge Scenic Byway, you’ll witness the agricultural heritage of the region. The fertile farmlands along the ridge are known for their cotton and rice production, providing a glimpse into the agricultural traditions that have shaped this area for generations.

8. Tranquil Atmosphere – One of the most captivating aspects of this byway is the tranquil atmosphere it offers. The winding roads and serene landscapes make it an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Whether you’re driving the byway or stopping to take in the scenery, you’ll find a sense of peace and serenity that’s perfect for relaxation and reflection.

The Crowley’s Ridge National Scenic Byway is a hidden gem that invites travelers to discover the natural wonders, cultural richness, and historical significance of northeastern Arkansas. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a scenic drive through a unique landscape, this byway promises an unforgettable road trip through the heart of Crowley’s Ridge. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

 

The Talimena Scenic Drive

For a stunning scenic drive that combines natural beauty and history, the Talimena Scenic Drive is a must-visit. This 54-mile byway traverses the Ouachita Mountains and connects Arkansas with Oklahoma. The route is particularly famous for its stunning fall foliage, with vibrant colors blanketing the landscape in the autumn months.

As you drive along this scenic route, you’ll find multiple pull-offs and overlooks, such as Winding Stair Mountain, where you can capture panoramic views of the rugged Ouachita terrain. This byway is also home to the historic Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge, offering an opportunity to step back in time and enjoy mountain hospitality.

Here are some of the best features of the Talimena Scenic Byway in Arkansas:

  1. Panoramic Vistas: The Talimena Scenic Byway is celebrated for its breathtaking panoramic views. As you wind your way along the route, you’ll encounter numerous scenic overlooks and pull-offs that provide sweeping vistas of the Ouachita Mountains. The views are particularly stunning during the fall when the foliage transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  2. Fall Foliage: Autumn is a prime time to visit the byway, as it’s famous for its exceptional fall foliage. The dense hardwood forests along the route burst into a symphony of colors, making it a popular destination for leaf-peeping enthusiasts.
  3. Queen Wilhelmina State Park: This historic state park is a highlight along the byway. It’s home to the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge, a charming mountain inn that harks back to the golden age of rail travel. The lodge offers a restaurant and accommodations, making it a perfect place to stay while exploring the byway.
  4. Hiking Trails: The Talimena Scenic Byway provides access to several hiking trails in the Ouachita National Forest. These trails range from easy strolls to more challenging hikes, offering opportunities to explore the region’s diverse flora and fauna.
  5. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the byway. The Ouachita Mountains are home to various species, including deer, wild turkeys, black bears, and a variety of bird species. The area is a haven for birdwatchers.
  6. Recreational Activities: Outdoor enthusiasts will find ample opportunities for recreation, including picnicking, camping, and fishing in the nearby national forest and state parks.
  7. Historical Markers: The byway features historical markers and interpretive signs that provide insights into the region’s history, including its Native American heritage, pioneer settlers, and the construction of the byway itself.
  8. Photography Opportunities: Whether you’re a professional photographer or a hobbyist, the Talimena Scenic Byway offers countless opportunities for capturing stunning landscapes, vistas, and natural beauty.
  9. Quiet and Serenity: As the name suggests, this scenic byway provides a sense of peace and serenity. The winding road and the natural surroundings create a tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
  10. Gateway to Oklahoma: The Talimena Scenic Byway extends into Oklahoma, providing a seamless transition for travelers who wish to explore more of the Ouachita Mountains and its natural wonders.

As you embark on a journey along the Talimena Scenic Byway in Arkansas, be prepared for a captivating experience filled with stunning views, outdoor adventure, and a deep connection to the natural beauty of the Ouachita Mountains. Whether you’re traveling in the fall to witness the vibrant foliage or during any other season to explore the byway’s natural and historical features, it promises to be a memorable road trip.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

 

The Arkansas Great River Road

The Great River Road, which follows the Mississippi River, passes through the eastern part of Arkansas. This historic route is part of a larger network that spans ten states along the Mississippi River, offering travelers a unique blend of natural beauty, culture, and history.

In Arkansas, the Great River Road takes you through fertile farmland, charming river towns, and historic sites like the Arkansas Post National Memorial, which preserves the site of the first European settlement in the Lower Mississippi River Valley. The road is also a birder’s paradise, with numerous opportunities for birdwatching along the Mississippi River.

The Arkansas Great River Road provides travelers with an opportunity to explore the natural beauty, history, and culture of Arkansas’s delta region. Here are some of the best features of the Arkansas Great River Road:

  1. Mississippi River Views: The Arkansas Great River Road provides stunning panoramic views of the Mississippi River. As you drive along this byway, you’ll encounter numerous overlooks and pull-offs where you can enjoy the sight of the mighty river as it flows through the delta landscape.
  2. Rich History: The delta region is steeped in history, and the byway connects travelers with a variety of historical sites and attractions. You can explore Civil War battlefields, plantation homes, and museums that showcase the cultural and historical significance of the area.
  3. Delta Cultural Center: Located in Helena, the Delta Cultural Center is a must-visit destination along the byway. This center offers a deep dive into the history and culture of the Mississippi Delta. It features exhibits, artifacts, and interactive displays that highlight the region’s contributions to American music, art, and literature.
  4. Birdwatching: The delta region is a haven for birdwatchers. The Mississippi Flyway, a major migratory route for birds, passes through this area, making it an excellent location for spotting a wide variety of bird species. Bring your binoculars and keep an eye out for bald eagles, waterfowl, and songbirds.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The Arkansas Great River Road offers opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. You can explore state parks, wildlife management areas, and nature reserves that provide hiking, birding, and wildlife viewing experiences. The Mississippi River itself offers fishing and boating opportunities.
  6. Scenic Byway Communities: Along the byway, you’ll encounter charming towns and communities such as Blytheville, Osceola, and Marianna. These towns offer a glimpse into the local culture and hospitality of the delta region. Be sure to stop and explore, savoring regional cuisine and shopping for unique crafts and antiques.
  7. Festivals and Events: The delta region is known for its lively festivals and events. Depending on the time of your visit, you might stumble upon music festivals, agricultural fairs, or cultural celebrations that provide a taste of local traditions and entertainment.
  8. Civil War History: Arkansas played a significant role in the American Civil War, and the Great River Road connects travelers with historical sites related to this period. The Arkansas Post National Memorial and other Civil War battlefields offer insights into this crucial chapter in American history.
  9. Mississippi River Bridges: The byway takes you across several historic Mississippi River bridges, including the Helena Bridge and the Blytheville Bridge. These architectural marvels provide unique photo opportunities and a chance to appreciate the engineering feats that span the mighty river.
  10. Southern Hospitality: Perhaps one of the greatest features of the Arkansas Great River Road is the warm Southern hospitality you’ll encounter along the way. The locals are known for their friendly demeanor and willingness to share the stories and traditions of the delta region.

Whether you’re interested in history, culture, birdwatching, or simply enjoying a scenic drive along the Mississippi River, the Arkansas Great River Road offers a rich and diverse range of experiences. It’s a journey that allows you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

 

More scenic drives in Arkansas:

 

Planning Your Scenic Byway Adventure

Arkansas’s scenic byways offer a diverse range of experiences, from the rugged wilderness of the Ozarks to the rich history along the Mississippi River. As you plan your journey, be sure to check for current road conditions, accommodations, and dining options along the way. Additionally, take the time to explore the charming towns and historical sites that each byway connects you with.

Whether you’re seeking a leisurely drive, outdoor adventure, or a deep dive into history, Arkansas’s scenic byways have something to offer every traveler. So, buckle up, hit the road, and discover the natural beauty and cultural richness of “The Natural State.”

 

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Arkansas depends on your preferences and what you want to experience during your trip. Arkansas experiences all four seasons, each offering unique opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and what you can expect:

  1. Spring (March to May):
  • Spring is a delightful time to visit Arkansas, especially if you enjoy mild weather and blooming landscapes.
  • Wildflowers, including vibrant azaleas and dogwoods, paint the state with colors.
  • Spring is perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring state parks as the weather is comfortable and the crowds are smaller than in the summer.
  1. Summer (June to August):
  • Summer in Arkansas is warm and humid, making it ideal for water-based activities and outdoor adventures.
  • This season is great for boating, fishing, swimming in lakes and rivers, and exploring the numerous caves in the Ozarks.
  • Be prepared for high temperatures and occasional thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon.
  1. Fall (September to November):
  • Fall is arguably the most popular time to visit Arkansas due to its stunning fall leaves.
  • The Ozark and Ouachita Mountains are renowned for their vibrant fall colors, attracting leaf-peepers from across the country.
  • Hiking, scenic drives, and attending fall festivals are some of the best activities during this season.
  1. Winter (December to February):
  • Winter in Arkansas is relatively mild, but it can still bring chilly temperatures and occasional snowfall, particularly in the northern parts of the state.
  • It’s a great time to visit if you enjoy a quieter, less crowded experience at state parks and attractions.
  • Winter is ideal for cozying up by the fire in a cabin, exploring museums and historical sites, and, if conditions allow, enjoying winter sports in the Ozarks.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Arkansas depends on your interests and what you want to experience. If you’re looking to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and water sports, spring and fall offer the most pleasant weather. For those who appreciate the beauty of fall foliage, autumn is the prime season. Winter provides a quieter and more budget-friendly experience, while summer is perfect for water-based fun and family vacations.

Consider the activities and experiences that interest you the most and plan your visit to Arkansas accordingly. Regardless of the season, the state offers a wide range of attractions, natural beauty, and cultural experiences to make your trip enjoyable and memorable.

 

Getting There

Arkansas is served by several international airports, making it convenient for travelers to access the state from various domestic and international locations. Here are the major international airports that serve Arkansas:

  1. Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT): Located in Little Rock, Arkansas’s capital city, Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the state. It provides both domestic and limited international service, primarily to Mexico and seasonal flights to Cancun and the Caribbean.
  2. Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA): Situated in Bentonville near the northwest corner of the state, XNA serves the rapidly growing region around Bentonville, Rogers, and Fayetteville. While it primarily offers domestic flights, it occasionally provides international charter services.
  3. Memphis International Airport (MEM): Although not located in Arkansas, Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee, is relatively close to the eastern border of Arkansas. It serves as an alternative option for travelers in the eastern part of the state. MEM offers a variety of domestic flights and limited international service.
  4. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY): Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, MSY is within driving distance of southern Arkansas. It offers a broad range of domestic and international flights to destinations around the world.
  5. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW): While not in Arkansas, DFW is one of the largest and busiest airports in the United States and is accessible by air or road from northern and western parts of the state. DFW provides a wide range of domestic and international flights.

When planning your trip to Arkansas, consider the airport that best suits your travel needs, destination, and airline preferences. Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport (LIT) and Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) are the primary choices for travelers seeking direct access to various cities within Arkansas. However, the proximity of other regional airports may provide additional options for international travel.

 

Fall Colors along Arkansas Scenic Routes

Arkansas is known for its beautiful fall foliage, and experiencing the vibrant autumn colors is a popular activity for both residents and visitors. The timing of peak fall color in Arkansas varies depending on the location and elevation, but generally, you can expect the most vibrant foliage during the following periods:

  1. Late October to Early November: In the Ozark Mountains of northern Arkansas, particularly in areas like Jasper, Eureka Springs, and the Buffalo National River region, you can typically expect peak fall leaves in late October to early November. These higher elevations offer some of the most striking autumn colors in the state.
  2. Early to Mid-November: In the Ouachita Mountains of western Arkansas, including areas like Hot Springs and Mena, peak fall colors often occur in early to mid-November. These regions feature a mix of hardwood forests and pine trees, creating a diverse and colorful landscape.
  3. Mid-November: For the central part of the state, including cities like Little Rock and Conway, mid-November is typically when fall colors peak. This is also the time when urban parks and scenic byways showcase the brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  4. Late November: In the southern regions of Arkansas, including areas like Texarkana and El Dorado, peak fall leaves may extend into late November due to the milder climate.

When planning a fall colors trip to Arkansas, it’s a good idea to check local sources and foliage reports for updated information on the best timing for leaf-peeping in your chosen location. Additionally, consider exploring state parks, scenic byways, and hiking trails to fully appreciate the natural beauty of Arkansas during the autumn season.

 

Driving Tips

Driving in Arkansas can be a pleasant and scenic experience, but it’s essential to follow the rules of the road and adapt to local driving conditions. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, here are some driving tips for navigating Arkansas safely:

  1. Buckle Up: Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers in the vehicle. Ensure that everyone is securely buckled before you start your journey.
  2. Be Mindful of Wildlife: Arkansas is home to diverse wildlife, including deer. Be cautious, especially in rural areas and near wooded regions, as wildlife can suddenly appear on the road.
  3. Watch for Farm Equipment: In rural areas, you may encounter slow-moving farm equipment on the road. Exercise patience and pass safely when it’s permitted.
  4. Avoid Distracted Driving: It is illegal to text while driving in Arkansas. Use a hands-free device if you need to make calls, and refrain from other distracting activities while driving.
  5. Respect Red-Light Cameras: Some cities in Arkansas use red-light cameras at intersections. Obey traffic signals to avoid receiving citations.
  6. Winter Driving: In the winter months, be prepared for potential ice and snow. Equip your vehicle with snow tires or chains if necessary and drive cautiously on slippery roads.
  7. Rest Areas and Services: When planning a long trip, take advantage of the rest areas and service plazas along highways to rest, use restroom facilities, and grab a snack.
  8. Be Courteous: Arkansas drivers are generally polite and courteous. Extend the same courtesy by allowing merging vehicles to enter the highway and using turnouts to let faster traffic pass on two-lane roads.

By following these driving tips and adhering to the rules of the road, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Arkansas. Remember that road conditions can change, so stay informed and adapt to the circumstances as needed to maintain safety on your journey.  Read More about Arkansas’ Scenic Byways …

California Byways

California’s Best Scenic Drives: A Journey Through Natural Beauty and Diversity

California, often celebrated for its stunning landscapes and diverse terrain, boasts an extensive network of scenic byways that offer travelers a unique opportunity to explore the state’s natural wonders, cultural heritage, and outdoor adventures. These picturesque routes wind through majestic mountains, along rugged coastlines, and into charming towns, providing a front-row seat to California’s unparalleled beauty. Let’s embark on a journey through some of California’s most captivating scenic byways.

California has eight scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Arroyo Seco Historic Parkway – Route 110

The Arroyo Seco National Scenic Byway, located in California, offers travelers a captivating journey through the rugged landscapes of the San Gabriel Mountains. This picturesque byway is renowned for its natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and historical significance. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Arroyo Seco National Scenic Byway:

  1. San Gabriel Mountains: The byway provides access to the stunning San Gabriel Mountains, which offer hiking, camping, and picnicking opportunities. The towering peaks, rugged canyons, and lush forests create a dramatic backdrop for your journey.
  2. Angeles National Forest: Much of the Arroyo Seco Scenic Byway traverses the Angeles National Forest, one of the nation’s largest urban forests. This protected wilderness area is home to diverse plant and animal species and boasts miles of hiking trails, including the Gabrielino National Recreation Trail.
  3. Pasadena: The byway begins in the charming city of Pasadena, known for its historic architecture, cultural attractions, and the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. Consider exploring this city before or after your scenic drive.
  4. Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL): Located near the byway, JPL is a world-renowned space exploration facility managed by NASA and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). While not typically open to the public, its presence adds a unique element to the area’s character.
  5. Devil’s Gate Dam: This historic dam, part of the Hahamongna Watershed Park, is a noteworthy stop along the byway. It has historical significance and offers opportunities for scenic walks and birdwatching.
  6. Hahamongna Watershed Park: This park, adjacent to Devil’s Gate Dam, provides a peaceful escape with hiking trails, picnic areas, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
  7. Arroyo Seco Stream: The byway follows the Arroyo Seco stream, which meanders through a picturesque canyon with oak woodlands and riparian habitats. The stream’s clear waters are inviting for trout fishing and cooling off on a hot day.
  8. Rose Bowl Stadium: Located near the byway, the iconic Rose Bowl Stadium is a historic sports and entertainment venue. While you may not always catch a game or event, its presence is a notable part of Pasadena’s landscape.
  9. Art and Cultural Attractions: Pasadena is home to various art galleries, museums, and cultural institutions. Consider exploring the Norton Simon Museum, the Huntington Library, and the Gamble House for enriching cultural experiences.
  10. Scenic Overlooks: The byway provides several pull-offs and scenic viewpoints where you can stop and admire the breathtaking vistas of the San Gabriel Mountains and the Arroyo Seco Canyon.
  11. Outdoor Recreation: Whether you’re interested in hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, or simply enjoying a leisurely picnic, the Arroyo Seco National Scenic Byway offers a range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts.
  12. Historic Landmarks: Along the byway, you’ll find historic sites and landmarks that tell the story of the area’s development and cultural heritage. These include old bridges, stone walls, and remnants of early settlements.

The Arroyo Seco National Scenic Byway is a hidden gem in Southern California, offering a tranquil escape into nature, opportunities for outdoor adventure, and a glimpse into the area’s history and culture. Whether you’re a hiker, a nature lover, or simply seeking a scenic drive, this byway promises a memorable journey through the rugged beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains and the charm of Pasadena.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Big Sur Coast Highway – Route 1

The Big Sur Coast Highway, also known as California State Route 1, is one of the most iconic and scenic drives in the United States. Stretching along the rugged coastline of California, this national scenic byway offers travelers a breathtaking journey through dramatic cliffs, pristine beaches, and towering redwoods. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Big Sur Coast Highway:

  1. Stunning Coastal Views: The primary attraction of the Big Sur Coast Highway is its unparalleled coastal scenery. As you drive along the winding road, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean meeting the rocky cliffs of the California coast. The vistas are particularly spectacular at spots like Bixby Creek Bridge, McWay Falls, and Hurricane Point.
  2. Bixby Creek Bridge: This iconic bridge is one of the most photographed spots along the byway. It spans Bixby Creek and offers a dramatic backdrop of the coastline. It’s an ideal place to stop and take in the views.
  3. McWay Falls: McWay Falls is a mesmerizing waterfall that cascades directly onto a secluded beach, creating a scene that’s nothing short of magical. A short trail leads to a viewpoint where you can admire the falls and the pristine cove below.
  4. Point Sur State Historic Park: Home to a historic lighthouse, Point Sur State Historic Park offers guided tours that provide insight into the area’s maritime history. The lighthouse sits atop a volcanic rock and provides panoramic views of the coastline.
  5. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park: This park is a haven for nature lovers. It offers numerous hiking trails through towering redwoods, including the popular Pfeiffer Falls Trail and the Valley View Trail. The Big Sur River also flows through the park, providing opportunities for picnicking and swimming.
  6. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Known for its unique 80-foot waterfall that flows directly into the ocean, this state park is a must-visit. The Overlook Trail offers stunning views of McWay Falls and the surrounding coastline.
  7. Garrapata State Park: This park features a network of trails that lead to hidden coves, rocky beaches, and coastal bluffs. It’s an excellent place for hiking and wildlife viewing.
  8. Breathtaking Sunsets: The Big Sur Coast Highway is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. There are numerous pull-offs and scenic viewpoints where you can watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean, painting the sky with vibrant colors.
  9. Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery: A bit further south, near San Simeon, you can witness the remarkable sight of elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery. These massive marine mammals gather here year-round, offering a unique wildlife viewing experience.
  10. Cultural and Artistic Attractions: Along the route, you’ll find several art galleries, cultural events, and creative communities that add to the area’s unique charm. The Big Sur International Marathon, the Henry Miller Memorial Library, and local art galleries are worth exploring.
  11. Camping and Lodging: The byway is dotted with campgrounds, cabins, and lodges where you can immerse yourself in the natural surroundings. Be sure to make reservations well in advance, especially during the peak summer months.
  12. Outdoor Activities: Beyond the stunning scenery, the Big Sur Coast Highway offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, picnicking, surfing, and whale watching.

The Big Sur Coast Highway is a true gem of California, providing an unforgettable blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and cultural richness. Whether you’re driving the entire route or stopping at specific attractions, this national scenic byway promises an extraordinary journey along one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

California Historic Route 66 – Needles to Barstow All-American Road

While Route 66 spans multiple states, its California segment offers a nostalgic journey through the Mojave Desert. Travelers can explore quirky roadside attractions, charming diners, and vintage motels as they cruise along this historic route. Stops like the Bagdad Café and the Amboy Crater provide glimpses of a bygone era.

California Historic Route 66, specifically the stretch from Needles to Barstow, is a historic and iconic portion of the legendary highway known as the “Main Street of America.” This All-American Road offers travelers a nostalgic journey through the Mojave Desert, featuring a blend of classic roadside attractions, historic landmarks, and scenic beauty. Here are some of the best features and highlights of this section of Route 66:

  1. Historic Route 66 Landmarks: This route is dotted with classic Route 66 landmarks, including neon-lit motels, retro diners, and quirky roadside attractions that harken back to the heyday of American road travel. Don’t miss the vintage signs and architecture that evoke a sense of nostalgia.
  2. El Garces Hotel: Located in Needles, the El Garces Hotel is a beautifully restored Harvey House, once a popular chain of hotels and restaurants along the Santa Fe Railway. Today, it serves as a transportation center and museum, offering a glimpse into the area’s railroad history.
  3. Amboy Crater: Near the town of Amboy, you’ll find the Amboy Crater, an extinct volcano that you can hike up for panoramic views of the surrounding desert. The trailhead is easily accessible from Route 66.
  4. Roy’s Motel and Café: Roy’s, a classic Route 66 stop in Amboy, is a must-visit. It’s a well-preserved relic from the past, complete with a retro sign and a small museum inside the café.
  5. Historic Roadside Murals: Along the way, you’ll encounter colorful murals and artworks that depict the history and culture of Route 66 and the communities it passed through.
  6. Ghost Town of Ludlow: Ludlow is a former mining town that has turned into a ghost town. Explore the remnants of old buildings and experience a glimpse into the region’s mining past.
  7. Kelso Depot Visitor Center: Located in the Mojave National Preserve, the Kelso Depot is a beautifully restored railroad depot that now serves as a visitor center. It offers information about the preserve’s natural and cultural history.
  8. Route 66 Mother Road Museum: In Barstow, the Route 66 Mother Road Museum is a fascinating stop for history enthusiasts. It showcases artifacts, memorabilia, and stories related to the iconic highway.
  9. Diverse Scenery: While the route primarily traverses the Mojave Desert, you’ll be treated to diverse desert landscapes, from expansive sand dunes to vast Joshua Tree forests.
  10. Kelbaker Road: A scenic side trip, Kelbaker Road takes you through the heart of the Mojave National Preserve and offers stunning desert vistas, including the Kelso Dunes and the Granite Mountains.
  11. Photographic Opportunities: The unique desert landscape, vintage signs, and classic Americana make this stretch of Route 66 a photographer’s paradise. Be sure to have your camera ready to capture the essence of the road.
  12. Quiet and Nostalgic: Unlike some busier sections of Route 66, this segment tends to be quieter, allowing for a more relaxed and nostalgic road trip experience.

As you travel from Needles to Barstow along California’s Historic Route 66, you’ll journey through a slice of American history and witness the enduring spirit of the iconic highway. Whether you’re drawn to its vintage charm, curious about its history, or simply seeking a unique road trip adventure, this section of Route 66 is sure to leave you with lasting memories of a bygone era of American travel. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Death Valley National Scenic Byway

The Death Valley National Scenic Byway, officially known as California State Route 190, takes travelers on a mesmerizing journey through one of the most extreme and otherworldly landscapes in North America. This scenic byway offers a unique opportunity to explore the natural wonders, geological marvels, and captivating history of Death Valley National Park. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Death Valley National Scenic Byway:

  1. Badwater Basin: The lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin, is a surreal salt flat that stretches for miles. A boardwalk takes you out into the basin, where you can walk on the salt crust and take in the vast, stark beauty.
  2. Zabriskie Point: This iconic viewpoint provides breathtaking panoramic views of the colorful badlands, eroded canyons, and the golden hues of the Amargosa Range. Sunrise and sunset here are especially magical.
  3. Artist’s Palette: A short drive from Zabriskie Point, Artist’s Palette is a vibrant, multi-hued rock formation caused by volcanic activity. The colors are most vivid during the late afternoon.
  4. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: These picturesque sand dunes near Stovepipe Wells are a popular spot for photographers and visitors. Explore the dunes, and if you’re up for it, climb to the top for an incredible view of the surrounding landscape.
  5. Devil’s Golf Course: This unique landscape features vast fields of salt crystal formations that resemble a jagged and treacherous golf course. It’s an interesting stop to observe the harshness of the environment.
  6. Dante’s View: Perched high in the Black Mountains, Dante’s View offers breathtaking vistas of Death Valley and the Panamint Range. It’s a popular spot for stargazing as well, due to its elevation and dark skies.
  7. Golden Canyon: A hike through Golden Canyon leads you to the Red Cathedral or to the base of Manly Beacon, both of which offer stunning geological formations and unique hiking experiences.
  8. Historic Sites: Along the byway, you’ll come across historic sites such as Harmony Borax Works, which played a crucial role in the area’s mining history, and Furnace Creek Visitor Center, where you can learn about the park’s geology and ecology.
  9. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for desert wildlife, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, and desert tortoises. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for wildlife sightings.
  10. Stargazing: Death Valley National Park is a designated International Dark Sky Park, making it one of the best places for stargazing in the United States. On clear nights, the sky comes alive with countless stars and celestial wonders.
  11. Museum and Visitor Centers: Stop at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and the Borax Museum to learn about the history, geology, and natural features of Death Valley.
  12. Camping and Hiking: The byway provides access to numerous campgrounds and hiking trails for those who want to explore the park in more depth.
  13. Furnace Creek Ranch: Located in the heart of the valley, Furnace Creek Ranch offers accommodations, dining, and recreational activities, making it a convenient base for exploring the area.

The Death Valley National Scenic Byway offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience one of the hottest, driest, and most uniquely beautiful places on Earth. Whether you’re a geology enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a profound and surreal adventure, this byway will leave you with memories of a landscape unlike any other. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway

The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is a hidden gem in California that winds through the stunning landscapes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This scenic drive offers travelers a tranquil and picturesque journey through lush forests, rugged peaks, and charming communities. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway:

  1. Spectacular Scenic Beauty: The byway is renowned for its breathtaking scenery. As you traverse the Sierra Nevada, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of towering mountain peaks, pristine lakes, and lush forests that change with the seasons.
  2. Ebbetts Pass: The byway gets its name from Ebbetts Pass, which sits at an elevation of 8,736 feet. The pass itself is a scenic highlight, offering expansive views of the surrounding mountains.
  3. High Sierra Trailheads: The byway provides access to numerous hiking trails that lead into the High Sierra wilderness. These trails are ideal for hikers of all skill levels and offer opportunities to explore alpine lakes, meadows, and the rugged Sierra backcountry.
  4. Calaveras Big Trees State Park: Just off the byway, you can explore Calaveras Big Trees State Park, home to giant sequoias, some of the largest trees on Earth. A network of trails allows you to walk among these towering giants.
  5. Alpine Lakes: The byway passes by several stunning alpine lakes, including Lake Alpine and Kinney Reservoir. These lakes are perfect for fishing, kayaking, picnicking, and simply enjoying the serene mountain surroundings.
  6. Historic Markers: Along the route, you’ll find historic markers and interpretive signs that share the history of the area, including tales of early explorers and the Gold Rush era.
  7. Fall Foliage: In the autumn, the byway transforms into a tapestry of vibrant colors as the leaves of aspen and other deciduous trees change hues. The fall foliage is particularly stunning in late September and early October.
  8. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the byway. You may spot mule deer, black bears, gray foxes, and a variety of bird species, including bald eagles and hawks.
  9. Fishing Opportunities: The clear mountain streams and lakes provide excellent fishing opportunities for anglers. Whether you prefer fly-fishing or casting from the shore, you’re likely to have a memorable fishing experience.
  10. Winter Recreation: During the winter months, the Ebbetts Pass area transforms into a winter wonderland. Nearby Bear Valley Ski Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
  11. Charming Mountain Towns: Along the route, you’ll encounter charming mountain towns like Arnold, Bear Valley, and Markleeville. These communities offer dining, shopping, and lodging options, as well as a warm welcome to travelers.
  12. Low Traffic: Unlike some of the more well-known scenic byways in California, Ebbetts Pass tends to have lower traffic levels, allowing for a more peaceful and leisurely drive.

The Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is a hidden treasure in the Sierra Nevada mountains, offering a serene escape into the heart of California’s wilderness. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a scenic drive through the high country, this byway will provide a memorable and tranquil journey through some of the state’s most beautiful and pristine landscapes. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

The Route 1 San Luis Obispo North Coast All-American Road

The Route 1 San Luis Obispo North Coast Scenic Byway Corridor, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway, is a breathtaking stretch of California’s coastline that takes travelers on a journey through rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, charming coastal towns, and diverse natural beauty. This scenic drive showcases some of the most captivating features of California’s central coast. Here are the best features and highlights of this stunning corridor:

  1. Dramatic Coastal Views: The primary attraction of this byway is the spectacular coastal scenery. As you drive along the winding road, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean meeting the rugged cliffs of the California coast. The vistas are particularly stunning at spots like Ragged Point and Piedras Blancas.
  2. Hearst Castle: A visit to Hearst Castle, perched high on a hill overlooking the coastline, is a must. This opulent mansion, built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, offers guided tours that provide insight into the area’s history and the extravagant lifestyle of the early 20th century elite.
  3. Elephant Seal Rookery: Near San Simeon, the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is a remarkable sight to behold. These massive marine mammals gather here year-round, offering a unique wildlife viewing experience. The best time to see them is during the mating and birthing season.
  4. Cambria: The charming town of Cambria is a picturesque stop along the byway. It’s known for its quaint shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Cambria’s Moonstone Beach is a serene place to stroll and take in the coastal scenery.
  5. San Simeon: In addition to the elephant seal rookery, San Simeon is home to a variety of accommodations, making it a convenient base for exploring the area. Be sure to visit the historic San Simeon Pier and the Santa Rosa Creek estuary.
  6. Piedras Blancas Light Station: This historic lighthouse, located just north of San Simeon, offers tours that provide insights into the history of maritime navigation along the coast.
  7. Scenic Overlooks: The byway provides several pull-offs and scenic viewpoints where you can stop and admire the breathtaking vistas of the coastline. These include Vista Point and Salmon Creek Falls.
  8. Hiking Trails: There are hiking opportunities along the route, including trails that lead to hidden coves, coastal bluffs, and scenic overlooks. Check out the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve in Cambria for coastal hiking.
  9. Historic Sites: You’ll find historic markers and interpretive signs that share the history of the area, including tales of early explorers, native tribes, and the maritime heritage of the region.
  10. Wildlife Viewing: Beyond elephant seals, the area is teeming with wildlife. Keep an eye out for dolphins, sea otters, pelicans, and other marine creatures, especially in the offshore kelp forests.
  11. Art and Culture: The towns along the byway are known for their vibrant art scenes. Explore local galleries and cultural events to get a taste of the region’s creativity.
  12. Sunsets: The San Luis Obispo North Coast Scenic Byway is renowned for its spectacular sunsets. Find a quiet spot along the coast to watch the sun dip below the horizon and cast a warm glow on the ocean.
  13. Wine Country: The nearby Paso Robles wine region offers opportunities for wine tasting and tours. Consider taking a detour to explore the wineries and vineyards in the area.

The San Luis Obispo North Coast Scenic Byway Corridor is a picturesque and tranquil escape along the California coast, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and cultural richness. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a scenic drive with unparalleled coastal views, this byway promises an unforgettable journey along one of the most breathtaking coastlines in the world. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Tioga Road – Big Oak Flat Road National Scenic Byway

The Tioga Road – Big Oak Flat Road National Scenic Byway, located in Yosemite National Park in California, is a stunning route that takes travelers through the heart of the Sierra Nevada, showcasing some of the park’s most iconic natural wonders. This byway offers a unique opportunity to explore the breathtaking landscapes, alpine scenery, and outdoor adventures that Yosemite has to offer. The road is typically open only during the summer and early fall due to heavy snowfall in winter.

Here are the best features and highlights of the Tioga Road – Big Oak Flat Road National Scenic Byway:

  1. Yosemite Valley: The byway begins in Yosemite Valley, one of the most famous and awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world. Here, you’ll be treated to iconic views of El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall, and Yosemite Falls. Take time to explore the valley floor and its numerous hiking trails and viewpoints.
  2. Bridalveil Fall: One of the first attractions you’ll encounter along the byway is Bridalveil Fall, a 620-foot waterfall that flows year-round. A short trail leads to an excellent viewpoint for a close-up look at the falls.
  3. Tunnel View: Shortly after starting the byway, you’ll reach Tunnel View, a famous viewpoint that offers a jaw-dropping panorama of Yosemite Valley, El Capitan, Half Dome, and Bridalveil Fall. It’s a must-stop spot for photos.
  4. El Capitan: The massive granite monolith of El Capitan is a favorite for rock climbers and a stunning sight for all visitors. You can watch climbers on its vertical face from the meadows below.
  5. Bridalveil Creek Campground: If you plan to spend the night in Yosemite, this campground along the byway offers a beautiful setting surrounded by forests and close to the falls.
  6. Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias: A short detour from the byway takes you to the Mariposa Grove, home to over 500 mature giant sequoias, including the famous Grizzly Giant and the California Tunnel Tree. The grove offers a variety of hiking trails through the towering trees.
  7. Glacier Point: Accessible via a side road off the byway (usually open from late spring to early fall), Glacier Point offers a commanding view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the High Sierra peaks. It’s a breathtaking spot for photography.
  8. Olmsted Point: This viewpoint provides a unique perspective of the high country and offers views of Tenaya Lake and the granite formations of the area.
  9. Tenaya Lake: A pristine alpine lake located along the byway, Tenaya Lake is a great place for a picnic, swimming, canoeing, or simply enjoying the serenity of the Sierra Nevada.
  10. Tuolumne Meadows: Located at a higher elevation, Tuolumne Meadows is a vast, open subalpine meadow surrounded by rugged peaks. It’s a hub for hiking, camping, and exploring the high country.
  11. Wildlife Viewing: Yosemite is home to diverse wildlife, including black bears, mule deer, bobcats, and a variety of bird species. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings along the byway.
  12. Hiking Trails: The byway provides access to numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging backcountry routes. Some of the most popular hikes include those to Sentinel Dome, Taft Point, and May Lake.
  13. Starry Nights: Yosemite’s clear mountain skies make it an excellent place for stargazing. On a clear night, you can see a multitude of stars and celestial wonders.

The Tioga Road – Big Oak Flat Road National Scenic Byway is a gateway to the natural wonders of Yosemite National Park. Whether you’re interested in iconic vistas, outdoor adventures, or simply savoring the beauty of the Sierra Nevada, this byway promises an unforgettable journey through one of the most remarkable natural landscapes in the United States. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway

The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in California, also known as California State Route 89, is a remarkable journey through a region shaped by volcanic activity, showcasing a diverse range of natural wonders, outdoor adventures, and scenic beauty. This byway, which runs from Lassen Volcanic National Park to the Nevada border, offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore geological marvels, serene lakes, and lush forests. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in California:

  1. Lassen Volcanic National Park: Begin your journey in Lassen Volcanic National Park, where you’ll encounter a stunning array of volcanic features, including hydrothermal areas with bubbling mud pots and steaming fumaroles. Don’t miss the chance to hike to the summit of Lassen Peak for panoramic views.
  2. Bumpass Hell: Located in Lassen Volcanic National Park, Bumpass Hell is a unique hydrothermal area with a boardwalk trail that takes you through a surreal landscape of hissing vents and colorful pools.
  3. Manzanita Lake: A serene alpine lake within Lassen Volcanic National Park, Manzanita Lake is perfect for picnicking, fishing, kayaking, and enjoying views of Lassen Peak.
  4. McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park: A short detour from the byway leads you to Burney Falls, one of California’s most beautiful waterfalls. The falls cascade down a fern-covered cliff into a pool, creating a picturesque scene.
  5. Hat Creek Rim: As you continue north, you’ll drive along Hat Creek Rim, offering expansive vistas of the surrounding terrain. Keep an eye out for pull-offs with panoramic views.
  6. Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts, home to a wide variety of waterfowl, migratory birds, and wildlife, especially during the spring and fall migration seasons.
  7. Lava Beds National Monument: Explore the fascinating lava tube caves at Lava Beds National Monument, which were formed by volcanic activity and offer a unique opportunity for exploration.
  8. Medicine Lake: Nestled within the caldera of an ancient volcano, Medicine Lake is a peaceful spot for boating, fishing, and camping, surrounded by forested slopes.
  9. OR – Klamath Basin: The byway passes through the Klamath Basin, known for its wetlands and diverse bird populations. Look for opportunities to observe waterfowl, including bald eagles.
  10. OR – Crater Lake National Park: The northern terminus of the byway is Crater Lake National Park, home to one of the world’s most stunning and pristine lakes. The deep blue waters of Crater Lake are surrounded by sheer cliffs and can be viewed from various overlooks and scenic drives.
  11. Rim Drive: The Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park provides access to numerous viewpoints, including Discovery Point, Watchman Overlook, and Phantom Ship Overlook, each offering unique perspectives of the lake.
  12. Cleetwood Cove Trail: Hike the Cleetwood Cove Trail for an adventure down to the water’s edge, providing the only accessible shore of Crater Lake. You can take a boat tour or even swim in the chilly waters.
  13. Wizard Island: Take a boat tour to Wizard Island, a cinder cone within Crater Lake, where you can hike to the summit for panoramic views or enjoy a refreshing swim in the clear waters of the lake.
  14. Stargazing: Due to its remote location and limited light pollution, the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway is an excellent place for stargazing. On clear nights, you can see a dazzling display of stars and constellations.

The Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway in California offers an extraordinary journey through a geological wonderland, providing an opportunity to witness the raw power of volcanic activity and the stunning beauty it has created. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a scenic drive through some of the most unique landscapes in the United States, this byway promises an unforgettable adventure. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Planning Your Scenic Byway Adventure

California’s scenic drives and byways promise a diverse range of experiences, from coastal drives to mountain escapes and desert exploration. When planning your journey, consider the best time to visit based on your interests and the region’s climate. Be sure to check for road conditions, accommodations, and dining options along the way. Explore the cultural attractions, recreational activities, and natural beauty that each byway offers. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a scenic drive, California’s scenic byways guarantee an unforgettable adventure through the Golden State’s captivating landscapes and rich heritage.

 

Fall Colors along California’s Most Scenic Routes

California is not as famous for its fall foliage as some other states in the northeastern United States, but it still offers some beautiful displays of autumn colors in certain regions. Here are some of the best places to enjoy fall colors in California:

  1. Eastern Sierra: The Eastern Sierra, particularly in areas like Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, offers stunning fall foliage, especially in the higher elevations. You can see groves of aspen trees with their vibrant yellow and orange leaves.
  2. Hope Valley: Located south of Lake Tahoe, Hope Valley is known for its brilliant fall colors, particularly along Highway 88. The aspen trees create a golden canopy in late September and early October.
  3. Yosemite National Park: While Yosemite is famous for its towering waterfalls and granite cliffs, it also offers beautiful fall foliage. Look for cottonwood and black oak trees changing colors in the park.
  4. Lake Arrowhead: In the San Bernardino Mountains, Lake Arrowhead and the surrounding area provide a lovely display of fall colors in late October.
  5. Idyllwild: This mountain town in the San Jacinto Mountains is another spot to witness the changing leaves, particularly in the San Bernardino National Forest.
  6. Big Bear Lake: Located in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Lake is surrounded by pine and oak trees that change colors in the fall, creating a beautiful contrast with the lake.
  7. Angeles National Forest: The San Gabriel Mountains in the Angeles National Forest offer fall foliage displays, especially in the higher elevations. Places like Wrightwood are worth exploring.
  8. Napa Valley: While it’s more famous for its vineyards, Napa Valley also experiences fall foliage as the vines change colors. Combine wine tasting with scenic drives for a unique experience.
  9. Julian: Located in Southern California, Julian is known for its apple orchards and quaint downtown. It’s a charming spot to experience autumn in the state.
  10. Shasta Cascade Region: The Shasta Cascade region in Northern California offers vibrant colors in the fall, particularly around areas like Mount Shasta and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Remember that the timing of fall foliage varies each year depending on factors like temperature and elevation. In California, the best time to see fall colors typically falls between late September and mid-October in most areas. However, it’s always a good idea to check local reports and conditions for the most accurate information on when and where to see the autumn colors.  Read More about California’s Scenic Byways …

Colorado Byways

Exploring the Majesty of Colorado’s Scenic Drives

Colorado, often referred to as the “Centennial State,” is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, from towering mountain peaks to expansive plains. The best way to experience the state’s natural beauty and diverse terrain is by embarking on a journey along its scenic byways. Colorado’s scenic byways offer travelers an opportunity to explore the state’s rich history, unique geology, and stunning vistas. Let’s take a road trip through some of Colorado’s most picturesque routes.

Colorado has thirteen scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Colorado River Headwaters Byway

Beginning in Grand Lake, the Colorado River Headwaters Byway follows the course of the mighty Colorado River as it begins its journey through the Rocky Mountains. The scenic route provides access to outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and camping, and offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and opportunities to explore the region’s history and culture. Here are the top five features and highlights of the Colorado River Headwaters Byway:

  1. Colorado River Headwaters: As the name suggests, the primary highlight of this byway is the opportunity to see the headwaters of the Colorado River. The river begins its journey here, in the pristine mountain landscapes of Colorado. Visitors can witness the birthplace of this iconic river and appreciate its significance in the American West.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The byway offers breathtaking views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains, including the rugged Indian Peaks Wilderness and the Arapaho National Recreation Area. The pristine landscapes, alpine lakes, and dense forests create a stunning backdrop for your journey.
  3. Outdoor Activities: Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do along the route. Fishing is a popular activity, with opportunities to catch trout and other freshwater species in the Colorado River and nearby lakes. Hiking, camping, and picnicking are also popular ways to enjoy the outdoors.
  4. Historical Sites: The byway passes through towns with rich histories related to mining, ranching, and the Old West. Visitors can explore historical sites and museums to learn about the area’s cultural heritage. Hot Sulphur Springs, for example, has natural hot springs that have been enjoyed for centuries.
  5. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife during your drive. The region is home to a variety of animals, including moose, deer, elk, and a range of bird species. Birdwatchers will particularly enjoy the diverse avian life in the area.

Whether you’re interested in witnessing the birth of the Colorado River, exploring pristine mountain landscapes, or engaging in outdoor activities, the Colorado River Headwaters Byway promises a unique and enriching travel experience in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway

The Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado is a unique and captivating route that combines natural wonders, prehistoric treasures, and rich cultural history. This scenic byway, which spans both Colorado and Utah, offers travelers the opportunity to explore ancient fossil sites, dramatic landscapes, and historic landmarks. Here are the top five features and highlights of the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado:

  1. Dinosaur Fossil Sites: The byway is renowned for its abundance of dinosaur fossils and paleontological discoveries. Visitors can explore world-class dinosaur museums and excavation sites, such as the Dinosaur Journey Museum in Fruita, which houses an impressive collection of dinosaur fossils and interactive exhibits. Be sure to visit the Mygatt-Moore Quarry, where you can watch scientists at work and see dinosaur bones in situ.
  2. Dramatic Scenery: The byway traverses stunning landscapes, including the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the rugged Book Cliffs. The backdrop of towering mesas, buttes, and rock formations provides a dramatic setting for your road trip.
  3. Colorado National Monument: Located near Grand Junction, the Colorado National Monument is a must-visit along the byway. Drive along the Rim Rock Drive for panoramic views of the Monument Canyon and the surrounding red rock formations. Hiking and rock climbing opportunities are also available for those seeking a more active adventure.
  4. Cultural Heritage: The byway passes through towns with rich histories related to mining, ranching, and Native American cultures. Be sure to explore the cultural heritage of the region through historic sites, museums, and visitor centers.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The area surrounding the byway offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing are popular pursuits. Additionally, the byway passes through several state parks and recreation areas, providing opportunities for camping, picnicking, and water-based activities.

As you journey along the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado, you’ll have the chance to step back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, appreciate the region’s natural wonders, and immerse yourself in its rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re fascinated by fossils, captivated by dramatic landscapes, or simply seeking outdoor adventures, this byway promises a truly one-of-a-kind travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway

The Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado offers travelers a journey through the state’s rich history, stunning landscapes, and charming communities. This scenic route takes you on a trip through the heart of southern Colorado, showcasing its heritage, natural beauty, and outdoor recreation opportunities. Here are the top five features and highlights of the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway:

  1. Historic Towns and Sites: The scenic drive passes through a series of historic towns and sites that offer a glimpse into Colorado’s frontier past. Florence, for example, boasts a historic downtown with preserved buildings from the late 19th century. In Westcliffe, you can explore the Silver Cliff Museum to learn about mining history, and in Walsenburg, visit the Lathrop State Park with its historic guesthouses.
  2. Spectacular Scenery: The byway meanders through diverse landscapes, including the Wet Mountains, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the serene Wet Mountain Valley. The dramatic backdrop of rugged peaks, rolling hills, and pristine meadows provides breathtaking views throughout the journey.
  3. San Isabel National Forest: The Frontier Pathways Byway offers access to the San Isabel National Forest, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore hiking trails, go camping, or simply enjoy the tranquility of the forest. The North and South Colony Lakes are popular hiking destinations within the forest.
  4. Historic Railroads: History buffs will appreciate the byway’s connection to Colorado’s railroad heritage. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers scenic train rides through the stunning Royal Gorge, and the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad near Antonito provides a step back in time with its vintage steam locomotives.
  5. Hardscrabble Pass: This mountain pass along the byway offers a scenic drive through a historic mining area. Take in views of the surrounding peaks and forests as you traverse this high-elevation pass.

The Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado invites travelers to explore the state’s history, appreciate its stunning landscapes, and immerse themselves in outdoor adventures. Whether you’re interested in historical sites, scenic beauty, or outdoor recreation, this scenic drive offers a well-rounded and enriching travel experience through southern Colorado’s frontier region. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway

The Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway in Colorado is a historic and stunning scenic route that takes travelers through the heart of the state’s gold rush history and captivating landscapes. This byway showcases the stories of Colorado’s mining heritage, featuring ghost towns, scenic drives, and outdoor adventures. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway:

  1. Historic Mining Towns: The byway passes through several historic mining towns, each with its unique charm and history. Cripple Creek, Victor, and Florissant offer opportunities to explore well-preserved buildings, museums, and exhibits that provide insights into the region’s gold mining past.
  2. Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad: Hop aboard this historic narrow-gauge railroad in Cripple Creek for a scenic ride through the gold mining district. The train journey offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and mining operations.
  3. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument: Explore the ancient past at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, where you can see well-preserved fossilized trees and learn about the prehistoric creatures that once roamed the area. Guided tours and educational programs are available.
  4. Victor Lowell Thomas Museum: This museum in Victor is dedicated to preserving the history of the region and its mining heritage. It’s named after the famous journalist Lowell Thomas, who covered the mining story in the early 1900s.
  5. Ghost Towns: Explore the remnants of once-thriving mining towns like Goldfield and Gillett, which are now ghost towns. These historic sites provide a glimpse into the rough-and-tumble days of the gold rush era.

The Gold Belt Tour Scenic Byway is a treasure trove of history, natural beauty, and outdoor adventure. Whether you’re interested in exploring the region’s mining history, enjoying scenic drives, or embarking on outdoor activities, this byway offers a well-rounded and enriching travel experience in the heart of Colorado. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway

The Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado is a picturesque route that takes travelers through diverse landscapes, offering a wide range of outdoor activities and opportunities to connect with nature. Known for its stunning vistas and unique attractions, this byway is a must-visit for those looking to explore the beauty of western Colorado. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway:

  1. Grand Mesa: The byway’s namesake, the Grand Mesa, is the largest flat-topped mountain in the world. As you ascend the mesa, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and distant peaks. The mesa is home to over 300 lakes, making it a haven for fishing, kayaking, and picnicking.
  2. Land’s End Observatory: At the end of the byway, you’ll find the Land’s End Observatory, which offers jaw-dropping views of the Uncompahgre Plateau and the canyons of the Colorado River. It’s an ideal spot for photography and taking in the expansive vistas.
  3. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the Grand Mesa explodes with brilliant fall colors. The aspen trees that cover the slopes turn vibrant shades of gold and orange, creating a stunning backdrop for your journey.
  4. Winter Sports: During the winter months, the Grand Mesa transforms into a winter wonderland. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling are popular activities on the mesa, making it a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
  5. Wildlife Watching: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the byway. The mesa is home to a variety of animals, including deer, elk, moose, and a variety of bird species. Birdwatchers will particularly enjoy the diverse avian life in the area.

The Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway offers a serene and picturesque escape into the natural beauty of western Colorado. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, taking in breathtaking vistas, or simply enjoying the tranquility of the mesa, this scenic drive promises a rejuvenating and memorable travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway

The Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado is a delightful road trip that combines history, natural beauty, and outdoor activities. This byway, located near Denver, offers a fantastic day trip or weekend getaway for those looking to explore Colorado’s heritage and stunning landscapes. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway:

  1. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre: One of the most iconic attractions along the Lariat Loop is Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre. This natural amphitheater, set among towering red rock formations, is world-renowned for its acoustics and has hosted countless legendary concerts. Visitors can explore the park’s trails, visit the Visitor Center, and enjoy the stunning views.
  2. Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave: Pay a visit to the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave, located atop Lookout Mountain. Learn about the life of the legendary Wild West showman Buffalo Bill Cody and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The museum houses fascinating exhibits and artifacts related to Buffalo Bill’s life and the Old West.
  3. Recreational Opportunities: The area surrounding the byway provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities. You can hike, bike, or picnic in numerous parks and open spaces. The Mount Falcon Park and Genesee Park are popular destinations for hiking and enjoying the outdoors.
  4. Diverse Dining and Shopping: The towns along the Lariat Loop offer a variety of dining options, from cozy cafes to upscale restaurants. You can also explore boutiques and shops selling unique local products, art, and souvenirs.
  5. Gateway to the Rockies: The Lariat Loop serves as a gateway to the Rocky Mountains, making it an ideal starting point for further adventures in the mountains. You can continue your journey into the higher elevations and explore even more of Colorado’s natural wonders.

Whether you’re interested in history, breathtaking scenery, or outdoor activities, the Lariat Loop Scenic and Historic Byway offers a well-rounded and enjoyable travel experience in the Denver area. It’s a fantastic way to escape the city and immerse yourself in the beauty and heritage of Colorado’s foothills and mountains. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

San Juan Skyway

Known as the “Road to the Sky,” the San Juan Skyway takes you through the rugged San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. This byway offers a rich blend of natural beauty and cultural history, with stops in picturesque towns like Durango, Ouray, and Telluride. Don’t miss the opportunity to soak in the relaxing waters of the Ouray Hot Springs. This byway offers travelers a chance to experience majestic mountain vistas, charming historic towns, and outdoor adventures. Here are the five best features and highlights of the San Juan Skyway:

  1. San Juan Mountains: The San Juan Skyway takes you through the heart of the San Juan Mountains, known for their rugged beauty and towering peaks. This mountain range is famous for its dramatic landscapes, including the stunning Uncompahgre Gorge and the towering Mount Sneffels.
  2. Historic Mining Towns: Along the route, you’ll encounter several historic mining towns that have retained their 19th-century charm. Durango, Silverton, Ouray, and Telluride are among the most notable. These towns offer a glimpse into the region’s mining history with preserved buildings, museums, and unique shops.
  3. Million Dollar Highway: The Million Dollar Highway, a section of the San Juan Skyway, is renowned for its stunning and often exhilarating drive. The road winds through steep canyons and along sheer cliffs, providing breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys below. The name is said to come from the value of the gold and silver ore that was once transported along this road.
  4. Box Canyon Falls: In the town of Ouray, you can visit Box Canyon Falls, a stunning natural attraction where a waterfall drops into a narrow box canyon. The short hike to the falls and the views from the observation deck are spectacular.
  5. Alpine Scenery and Wildflowers: During the summer months, the byway is adorned with colorful wildflowers that carpet the alpine meadows. The scenery is particularly enchanting, with a vibrant mix of greens, blues, and yellows.

The San Juan Skyway is a must-visit for anyone seeking a blend of natural beauty, history, and outdoor adventure. Whether you’re driving the entire loop or exploring specific sections, this byway promises an unforgettable road trip through the rugged and captivating landscapes of southwestern Colorado. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway

The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado retraces the historic Santa Fe Trail, which was a vital trade route in the 19th century. This scenic route offers a journey through the state’s rich history, taking travelers along a route that once played a pivotal role in the westward expansion of the United States. This byway is steeped in history, offers picturesque landscapes, and provides opportunities for outdoor exploration. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado:

  1. Historic Sites: The byway passes through numerous historic sites and landmarks that were part of the Santa Fe Trail, a critical trade route between Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site near La Junta is a reconstructed trading post that offers insight into the trail’s history. You can also explore the Comanche National Grassland, where remnants of the original trail can still be seen.
  2. Comanche National Grassland: This expansive grassland, which the byway traverses, offers opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and experiencing the vastness of the plains. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls the grassland home.
  3. Landscape Diversity: The byway showcases the diverse landscapes of Colorado’s southeastern region, from rolling plains to rugged canyons. The towering Spanish Peaks and the dramatic landscape of the Purgatoire River Canyon provide stunning visual contrasts along the route.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: The region surrounding the byway offers outdoor enthusiasts opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The nearby Trinidad Lake State Park and Vogel Canyon are popular destinations for outdoor activities.
  5. Historical Interpretive Centers: Interpretive centers and museums along the byway provide in-depth information about the Santa Fe Trail and the history of the area. These centers offer educational exhibits and guided tours that bring the past to life.

The Santa Fe Trail Scenic and Historic Byway in Colorado offers a unique opportunity to trace the footsteps of early American pioneers and traders while immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Colorado’s southeastern landscapes. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply a scenic drive through the plains, this byway promises a rewarding and educational travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Scenic Highway of Legends

In southern Colorado, the Scenic Highway of Legends takes you through the breathtaking Culebra Range and Spanish Peaks. The scenic drive is aptly named, offering travelers a journey through some of the state’s most picturesque landscapes and fascinating historical sites. The byway takes you through the heart of southern Colorado, showcasing its natural beauty, geology, and rich cultural heritage. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Scenic Highway of Legends:

  1. Spanish Peaks: The byway provides stunning views of the iconic Spanish Peaks, two towering volcanic mountains that are central to the region’s Native American and Hispanic cultures. These twin peaks are a prominent feature of the landscape and offer excellent hiking and photo opportunities.
  2. Cuchara Valley: The Cuchara Valley is a lush, alpine valley surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s a peaceful and picturesque area where you can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. The quaint town of Cuchara is a great place to explore and enjoy mountain hospitality.
  3. Cordova Pass: This high mountain pass along the byway offers spectacular views of the surrounding wilderness and the Spanish Peaks. The pass is a great place to stop for a picnic and take in the scenery.
  4. Trinidad: The city of Trinidad, located along the byway, offers a wealth of historical and cultural attractions. Explore the Trinidad History Museum, which features exhibits on the area’s history and Hispanic heritage. The town also boasts a beautifully preserved downtown district with charming shops and restaurants.
  5. Diverse Scenery: The Scenic Highway of Legends showcases diverse landscapes, from rugged mountain terrain to lush valleys and rolling plains. The variety of ecosystems and geological formations along the route make it a rewarding journey for nature enthusiasts.

Whether you’re interested in exploring Colorado’s natural beauty, learning about its history, or simply enjoying a scenic drive through captivating landscapes, the Scenic Highway of Legends promises a memorable and enriching road trip through the heart of southern Colorado. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Silver Thread Scenic Byway

The Silver Thread Scenic Byway in Colorado is a captivating route that takes travelers through some of the state’s most scenic landscapes, historic towns, and outdoor adventure opportunities. This scenic drive showcases the natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains and offers a glimpse into the region’s rich mining history. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Silver Thread Scenic Byway:

  1. Lake City: This charming historic town is a highlight of the byway. Lake City is nestled in a picturesque valley and offers opportunities for shopping, dining, and exploring its historic district. The Hinsdale County Museum provides insight into the town’s mining heritage.
  2. Uncompahgre National Forest: The byway winds through the Uncompahgre National Forest, a pristine wilderness area that offers endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing are popular activities in the forest. Be sure to explore the Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, which branches off from the Silver Thread Byway and offers even more adventure.
  3. Creede: Another historic town along the byway, Creede is known for its vibrant arts scene and the Creede Repertory Theatre. Visitors can stroll along its charming downtown streets, explore the Underground Mining Museum, and enjoy live performances during the summer theater season.
  4. North Clear Creek Falls: This stunning waterfall is easily accessible from the byway and is known for its picturesque setting. A short walk from the parking area provides views of the falls cascading into a deep canyon. It’s a great spot for photography.
  5. Scenic Overlooks: Throughout the journey, you’ll encounter numerous scenic overlooks that offer breathtaking vistas of the San Juan Mountains and the Rio Grande Valley. These overlooks provide opportunities for taking in the stunning landscapes and capturing memorable photos.

The Silver Thread Scenic Byway offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, historic charm, and outdoor recreation. Whether you’re interested in exploring the region’s mining history, enjoying outdoor adventures, or simply taking in the stunning mountain scenery, this scenic drive promises a memorable and enriching road trip in southern Colorado. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Top of the Rockies

The Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway in Colorado is a breathtaking scenic route that takes travelers through some of the highest and most majestic mountain landscapes in the state. This byway offers stunning views, outdoor adventures, and access to some of Colorado’s most iconic natural attractions. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway:

  1. Independence Pass: This high mountain pass, at an elevation of 12,095 feet (3,687 meters), is one of the highest paved passes in the United States and offers awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountains. The drive over Independence Pass is a highlight of the byway and provides access to hiking trails, alpine lakes, and the historic Independence ghost town.
  2. Leadville: The historic town of Leadville, one of the highest-elevation cities in the United States, is a central attraction along the byway. Explore the town’s historic district with well-preserved Victorian architecture, visit the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, and take a ride on the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad.
  3. Mount Elbert: The byway provides views of Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado and the second-highest in the contiguous United States. Although hiking to the summit requires a challenging ascent, the trailhead is accessible from the byway for those seeking an epic outdoor adventure.
  4. Scenic Overlooks: Throughout the byway, you’ll encounter numerous scenic overlooks that offer sweeping views of the Rocky Mountains, alpine meadows, and pristine wilderness. These overlooks provide ample opportunities for photography and taking in the breathtaking scenery.
  5. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the byway. The high-altitude forests and alpine meadows are home to a variety of animals, including mule deer, elk, marmots, and even the occasional bighorn sheep.

The Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway offers an unforgettable road trip through the high country of Colorado. Whether you’re interested in exploring alpine lakes, tackling high mountain hikes, or simply enjoying a scenic drive through some of Colorado’s most spectacular landscapes, this byway promises a truly exceptional travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Trail of the Ancients

The Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway in Colorado is a remarkable route that takes travelers through the heart of ancient Puebloan and Native American history, as well as stunning desert landscapes. This byway is rich in cultural significance and offers unique opportunities to explore prehistoric ruins and geological wonders. Here are the five best features and highlights of the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway:

  1. Ancient Puebloan Ruins: The byway is home to several well-preserved ancient Puebloan ruins, including Hovenweep National Monument and Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. These sites offer a glimpse into the lives and architecture of the indigenous people who inhabited the region centuries ago. Hiking trails and interpretive centers provide insights into their culture and history.
  2. Mesa Verde National Park: One of the most iconic attractions along the byway is Mesa Verde National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site is renowned for its cliff dwellings and ancient villages carved into the rock faces. You can take guided tours to explore these fascinating archaeological sites and learn about the ancestral Puebloans who called Mesa Verde home.
  3. Natural Bridges: The Trail of the Ancients takes you through the rugged desert terrain of the Four Corners region, which includes opportunities to see natural wonders like the Natural Bridges National Monument. Here, you can witness impressive natural stone bridges carved by the forces of erosion.
  4. Cultural Centers: Along the byway, you’ll find cultural centers and museums that provide context and insight into the history and traditions of the Native American communities of the region. The Anasazi Heritage Center, located in Dolores, is a notable stop where you can learn about the Ancestral Puebloans and the ongoing cultural heritage of the area’s tribes.
  5. Star Gazing: The remote and unspoiled landscapes along the byway make it an excellent spot for stargazing. The clear desert skies offer unparalleled views of the night sky, making it a popular destination for amateur astronomers.

The Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway is a journey through time, offering a unique blend of cultural exploration and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in archaeology, geology, or simply immersing yourself in the striking desert landscapes of the Four Corners region, this scenic drive promises a memorable and educational travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Trail Ridge Road/Beaver Meadow Road

As the highest continuous paved road in North America, Trail Ridge Road is a jewel of Rocky Mountain National Park. This byway traverses the heart of the Rockies, offering awe-inspiring views of alpine tundra, glacial valleys, and abundant wildlife. Travelers can experience the dramatic change in ecosystems as they ascend to elevations exceeding 12,000 feet.

Trail Ridge Road and Beaver Meadow Road offer travelers a scenic drive through one of the most breathtaking and diverse alpine landscapes in the United States. These roads provide access to high mountain vistas, pristine wilderness, and unique alpine ecosystems. Here are the five best features and highlights of Trail Ridge Road and Beaver Meadow Road:

  1. Alpine Tundra: Trail Ridge Road is renowned for being the highest continuous paved road in North America, reaching elevations over 12,000 feet (3,657 meters). As you ascend, you’ll enter the alpine tundra zone, a fragile and unique ecosystem characterized by hardy plants, lichens, and stunning vistas. The views from here are unparalleled, offering sweeping panoramas of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  2. Wildlife Viewing: The high-altitude meadows and forests along the roads provide excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and even the occasional black bear or moose. Birdwatchers will also enjoy spotting alpine species like the ptarmigan.
  3. Scenic Overlooks: Trail Ridge Road and Beaver Meadow Road are dotted with numerous scenic overlooks and pullouts. These stops allow you to take in the majestic landscapes, photograph the wildlife, and appreciate the sheer beauty of the Rockies. Some overlooks offer interpretive signs that provide information about the geology and ecology of the area.
  4. Hiking Trails: The roads provide access to a network of hiking trails that allow you to explore the alpine terrain and its unique flora and fauna up close. Some popular trails include the Ute Trail and the Alpine Ridge Trail, both of which offer spectacular views.
  5. Ranger Programs: Rocky Mountain National Park offers ranger-led programs and guided hikes during the summer season. These programs are a fantastic way to learn more about the park’s ecology, geology, and history from knowledgeable park rangers.

More than a scenic drive, Trail Ridge Road and Beaver Meadow Road are an opportunity to immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. Whether you’re interested in high-altitude ecology, wildlife, hiking, or simply taking in breathtaking mountain views, these roads offer a truly exceptional road trip through Rocky Mountain National Park. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

More great scenic drives in Colorado:

Each of these scenic drives offers a distinct and captivating experience, whether you’re seeking adventure, history, or simply a drive through Colorado’s awe-inspiring landscapes. As you explore these routes, you’ll understand why Colorado is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and a treasure trove of natural beauty. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let Colorado’s scenic routes guide you through the wonders of the Centennial State.

Fall Colors in Colorado along Scenic Routes

Colorado is known for its stunning fall colors, with vibrant displays of golden aspen trees against the backdrop of rugged mountain landscapes. Leaf-peeping season in Colorado typically begins in mid-September and can extend into early October, depending on the elevation and weather conditions. Here are some of the best places in Colorado to witness the breathtaking fall colors:

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park: This iconic national park offers some of the most spectacular fall foliage in Colorado. Drive along the Trail Ridge Road or take a hike on one of the many trails to experience the vibrant aspen groves and colorful meadows.
  2. Maroon Bells: Located near Aspen, the Maroon Bells are famous for their stunning reflections in Maroon Lake. In the fall, the surrounding aspen trees turn vibrant shades of gold and orange, making it a photographer’s paradise.
  3. Kebler Pass: Often considered one of the best places in Colorado for fall colors, Kebler Pass near Crested Butte features one of the largest and most vibrant aspen groves in the state.
  4. Independence Pass: This high mountain pass near Aspen offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and valleys blanketed in autumn hues. The drive along Highway 82 is a scenic adventure.
  5. Guanella Pass: Close to Denver, Guanella Pass provides an accessible location to witness fall foliage. The aspen groves here are particularly picturesque.
  6. San Juan Mountains: The entire San Juan Mountain range in southwestern Colorado is known for its stunning fall foliage. Areas like Telluride, Ouray, and Durango offer opportunities for leaf-peeping against a backdrop of rugged peaks.
  7. Steamboat Springs: This mountain town boasts colorful aspen forests that can be explored through hiking, mountain biking, or simply enjoying the views from town.
  8. Cripple Creek: Known for its historic charm, Cripple Creek is surrounded by beautiful foliage in the fall. The nearby Gold Belt Scenic Byway offers a scenic drive through the area.
  9. Cottonwood Pass: Located between Buena Vista and Crested Butte, Cottonwood Pass offers sweeping views of the Sawatch Range and vibrant fall colors.
  10. Poudre Canyon: North of Fort Collins, Poudre Canyon is a lovely spot to see fall leaves along the Cache la Poudre River.
  11. Vail: The Vail Valley is not only a winter wonderland but also a fantastic place to see fall colors. Take a scenic gondola ride or explore the area’s hiking trails.
  12. Rabbit Ears Pass: Near Steamboat Springs, this pass offers colorful aspen groves and excellent viewpoints for fall foliage photography.

As you plan your fall foliage adventure in Colorado, keep in mind that the timing of peak colors can vary depending on the location and elevation. It’s a good idea to check local foliage reports and weather conditions to maximize your chances of seeing the most vibrant fall colors during your visit.

Read More about Colorado’s Scenic Byways …

Connecticut Byways

Exploring Connecticut’s Best Scenic Drives: A Journey Through Natural Beauty and History

Connecticut, known for its rich history and picturesque landscapes, offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore the state’s charm and heritage through a network of scenic drives. These routes have been designated for their exceptional natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural appeal, providing an ideal backdrop for a memorable road trip. Here’s a guide to Connecticut’s most scenic roads, inviting you to embark on a journey through the Nutmeg State’s diverse and captivating landscapes.

Connecticut has two scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

The Merritt Parkway (Route 15): A Road Less Traveled

One of Connecticut’s most renowned scenic byways, the Merritt Parkway, is a masterpiece of both engineering and aesthetics. This National Scenic Byway winds its way from Greenwich to Stratford, offering a glimpse into a bygone era with its art deco bridges, lush tree canopy, and serene parkway design. Meandering through Fairfield County, the Merritt Parkway takes travelers on a journey through state parks, historical landmarks, and serene woodlands.

Along the way, consider stopping at Merwin Meadows Park in Wilton, where you can enjoy a relaxing picnic by the river. Or visit the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield, where the famous American impressionist J. Alden Weir found inspiration in the landscape’s beauty. In autumn, the parkway transforms into a tapestry of vibrant fall colors, making it a must-visit during the leaf-peeping season.

Here are some of the standout features of the Merritt Parkway:

  1. Art Deco Architecture: One of the most distinctive features of the Merritt Parkway is its art deco architecture. The parkway’s bridges and overpasses are adorned with intricate, decorative details, from geometric patterns to floral motifs. These structures are considered architectural gems and have earned the parkway a place on the National Register of Historic Places.
  2. Lush Tree Canopy: The Merritt Parkway is known for its lush tree canopy. It’s often referred to as the “Gateway to New England” due to the lush foliage that envelops the roadway. Driving beneath the canopy, especially during the fall when the leaves change color, is a breathtaking experience.
  3. Parkway Design: The parkway was designed with aesthetics in mind. Unlike typical highways, it was constructed to blend harmoniously with the natural environment. The designers sought to create a serene and park-like atmosphere for travelers, which is evident in the landscape and architectural details.
  4. Limited Commercial Development: The Merritt Parkway has limited commercial development along its route. This lack of billboards and commercial establishments contributes to its scenic beauty and tranquility, allowing drivers to focus on the natural surroundings.
  5. Bridges and Tunnels: The parkway features numerous bridges and tunnels that add to its character. The bridges are not only architecturally striking but also functional, allowing traffic to flow smoothly while preserving the parkway’s aesthetics.
  6. Historical Significance: The Merritt Parkway has historical significance as one of the first limited-access, divided highways in the United States. Its construction in the 1930s provided a blueprint for subsequent highway development.
  7. Recreational Areas: Along the Merritt Parkway, you’ll find several recreational areas and state parks where you can stop and enjoy the natural beauty. Some of these areas offer hiking trails, picnic spots, and opportunities for birdwatching.
  8. Scenic Overlooks: The parkway includes scenic overlooks that provide panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. These overlooks are perfect for taking in the scenery and capturing memorable photographs.
  9. Seasonal Beauty: The Merritt Parkway is stunning year-round, but it truly shines during the fall when the trees along the route burst into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. This makes it a popular destination for leaf-peepers.
  10. Cultural Attractions: The parkway connects to cultural attractions, such as the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Ridgefield, where you can learn about American Impressionism and art history.

The Merritt Parkway is not just a roadway; it’s a cultural and architectural treasure that showcases the harmonious blend of transportation and aesthetics. It offers a unique and scenic driving experience that allows travelers to appreciate the beauty of both nature and human creativity. Whether you’re taking a leisurely drive or simply admiring its bridges and tunnels, the Merritt Parkway is a testament to Connecticut’s commitment to preserving its historical and natural heritage. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Connecticut Route 169: The Quiet Corner

Connecticut Route 169, known as “The Quiet Corner,” is a National Scenic Byway that winds its way through the northeastern part of the state. This scenic drive is celebrated for its exceptional beauty, charming towns, and historical significance. Here are some of the best features of Connecticut Route 169:

  1. New England Charm: Route 169 is the epitome of New England charm. As you travel along this byway, you’ll encounter picturesque villages, centuries-old homes, and quintessential New England architecture. The well-preserved character of the towns along the route is a testament to the region’s rich history.
  2. Historical Landmarks: The byway is dotted with historical landmarks and sites. One of the highlights is the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, the birthplace of the American patriot Nathan Hale. Visitors can explore the beautifully preserved farmhouse and learn about the life of this historical figure.
  3. Fall Foliage: Route 169 is particularly popular during the fall foliage season. The rolling hills and lush forests along the byway burst into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow, making it a favorite destination for leaf-peepers.
  4. Farm Country: The byway takes you through some of Connecticut’s most picturesque farmland. You’ll see fields of corn, dairy farms, and historic barns, providing a glimpse into the agricultural heritage of the region.
  5. Vibrant Villages: The towns along Route 169, including Woodstock, Pomfret, and Canterbury, are vibrant and welcoming. Each has its own unique character and attractions, such as charming shops, art galleries, and local eateries.
  6. Antique Shops: The byway is home to numerous antique shops and markets, making it a haven for collectors and vintage enthusiasts. You’ll find a wide range of treasures, from furniture to collectibles, as you explore these shops.
  7. Outdoor Activities: Route 169 provides access to outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and picnicking in state parks and natural areas. Mashamoquet Brook State Park and Bigelow Hollow State Park are popular destinations for outdoor enthusiasts.
  8. Scenic Overlooks: Along the byway, you’ll encounter several scenic overlooks that offer panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. These overlooks provide excellent photo opportunities and a chance to soak in the natural beauty of the region.
  9. Cultural Heritage: The Quiet Corner is known for its cultural heritage. You can explore the arts and crafts of the region, attend local festivals and events, and visit cultural centers that celebrate the area’s traditions.
  10. Peaceful Atmosphere: As the name suggests, Route 169 offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere. The quiet, unhurried pace of life in this part of Connecticut makes it an ideal destination for those seeking relaxation and a break from the hustle and bustle.

Connecticut Route 169 is a road less traveled that beckons travelers to explore its historical, cultural, and natural treasures. Whether you’re interested in history, scenic beauty, or simply a peaceful drive through charming villages, this National Scenic Byway has something to offer everyone who ventures along its picturesque route. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

More great scenic drives in Connecticut:

Traveling the Scenic Byways Responsibly

As you embark on your journey along Connecticut’s scenic byways, it’s essential to travel responsibly. Respect local communities, adhere to speed limits, and follow Leave No Trace principles when enjoying natural areas. Be mindful of seasonal road conditions, especially during the winter months when snow and ice may affect travel.

Connecticut’s scenic byways invite you to explore the state’s diverse landscapes and rich heritage. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventures, these routes offer a wide range of experiences for travelers. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and discover the beauty of the Nutmeg State one scenic byway at a time.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Connecticut depends on your preferences and what you’d like to experience during your trip. Connecticut experiences all four seasons, each with its unique charm and activities. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and what you can expect:

  1. Spring (March to May):
    • Spring in Connecticut is a delightful time to visit if you enjoy mild weather and blooming landscapes.
    • April and May bring blossoming flowers and trees, making it a picturesque time for nature enthusiasts.
    • Outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and exploring gardens and parks are popular in spring.
  2. Summer (June to August):
    • Summer is a vibrant season in Connecticut with warm weather and longer daylight hours.
    • It’s an excellent time for outdoor activities like swimming, boating, kayaking, and picnicking.
    • Many festivals, fairs, and outdoor events take place during the summer months.
    • The shoreline areas, including beaches and coastal towns, are particularly popular during this season.
  3. Fall (September to November):
    • Fall is arguably the most popular time to visit Connecticut, especially for leaf-peeping.
    • The state’s foliage is stunning, with trees displaying vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
    • Apple picking, pumpkin farms, and fall festivals are abundant during this season.
    • October is often the peak month for fall foliage, and it’s a prime time to explore scenic byways and hiking trails.
  4. Winter (December to February):
    • Connecticut experiences a cold and snowy winter, making it a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
    • Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing are popular activities in winter.
    • Some towns and cities decorate for the holidays, creating a festive atmosphere.
    • If you enjoy cozying up by the fire and savoring hot cocoa, winter can be a charming time to visit.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Connecticut depends on your interests and what you hope to experience. If you’re a fan of outdoor activities and vibrant foliage, fall is an excellent choice. Summer is perfect for beachgoers and those seeking a lively atmosphere, while spring offers pleasant weather for exploration. Winter caters to snow sports enthusiasts and those who enjoy a cozy, holiday ambiance.

Consider the activities and experiences that most appeal to you when deciding the ideal time for your visit to Connecticut. Regardless of the season, the state offers a wide range of attractions and events to make your trip enjoyable and memorable.

 

Getting There

Connecticut is served by several international airports, making it convenient for travelers to access the state from various domestic and international locations. Here are the major international airports that serve Connecticut:

  1. Bradley International Airport (BDL): Located in Windsor Locks, Bradley International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Connecticut. It serves as the primary international gateway for the state. BDL offers a range of international flights to destinations in Canada and the Caribbean, with connections to major hubs in the United States.
  2. T.F. Green Airport (PVD): While not located in Connecticut, T.F. Green Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, is relatively close to the Connecticut border and serves as an alternative option for travelers. PVD offers international flights, primarily to destinations in Canada and seasonal flights to Europe.
  3. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK): Located in Queens, New York, JFK is one of the busiest international airports in the United States. It’s approximately an hour and a half drive from southwestern Connecticut and provides a wide range of international flight options to destinations around the world.
  4. LaGuardia Airport (LGA): Also situated in New York City, LaGuardia Airport is another option for travelers from southwestern Connecticut. LGA primarily serves domestic flights but does offer limited international service.
  5. Logan International Airport (BOS): Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Logan International Airport is accessible from eastern Connecticut and provides international flights to various destinations, including Europe, Canada, and the Caribbean.
  6. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR): Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, is within driving distance of southwestern Connecticut. It offers a wide range of international flights, including those to Europe, Asia, and other global destinations.
  7. Westchester County Airport (HPN): While not a major international airport, Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York, is relatively close to parts of Connecticut. It primarily serves domestic flights but may offer some limited international connections.

When planning your trip to Connecticut, consider the airport that best suits your travel needs, as well as your destination and airline preferences. Bradley International Airport (BDL) is the primary choice for travelers seeking direct access to Connecticut, but the proximity of other regional airports can provide additional options for international travel.

 

Fall Color on Connecticut Scenic Routes

Connecticut is known for its stunning fall foliage, and the changing colors of autumn are a highlight of the state’s natural beauty. The timing of peak fall color in Connecticut varies from year to year and is influenced by factors like temperature and rainfall. However, as a general guideline, here’s what you can expect for fall color in Connecticut:

  1. September to Early October: In northern Connecticut, including the Litchfield Hills and areas near the Massachusetts border, you can typically expect the foliage to start changing in late September to early October. This region often experiences an early onset of vibrant fall colors, especially in higher elevations.
  2. Mid-October: Central Connecticut, including towns like Hartford, typically experiences peak fall foliage in mid-October. This is when the trees showcase brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  3. Late October: In southern Connecticut, including coastal areas and towns like New Haven and Stamford, the fall colors tend to peak in late October. The milder coastal climate causes the foliage to change a bit later than in northern regions.
  4. Coastal Areas: Coastal areas along Long Island Sound may experience a more gradual transition of colors due to the moderating influence of the water. However, you can still enjoy beautiful fall foliage in these regions.

Some of the best places to experience Connecticut’s fall colors include state parks, forests, and scenic byways. Consider visiting locations like Sleeping Giant State Park, Lovers Leap State Park, and the Connecticut River Valley for picturesque fall foliage.

If you’re planning a trip to Connecticut to see the fall colors, it’s a good idea to check with local tourism bureaus and state parks for updates on the best times and locations for leaf-peeping. Keep in mind that the timing of peak foliage can vary each year, so flexibility in your travel plans may be beneficial to ensure you catch the most vibrant displays of autumn beauty.

Driving Tips

Driving in Connecticut, like in any state, requires adherence to road rules and local driving conditions. Here are some driving tips for safely navigating the roads in Connecticut:

  1. Be Mindful of Pedestrians: Connecticut is known for its pedestrian-friendly communities. Be vigilant at crosswalks and intersections, and always yield to pedestrians who have the right of way.
  2. Stay in Right Lane Unless Passing: On multi-lane highways, use the right lane for normal driving and the left lane for passing. Connecticut law prohibits “left-lane hogging.”
  3. Winter Driving: Be prepared for winter weather conditions, especially if driving during the colder months. Equip your vehicle with snow tires or chains as needed and drive cautiously on icy or snowy roads.
  4. Use Headlights in Rain: Connecticut law requires drivers to turn on their headlights whenever their windshield wipers are in use due to rain, snow, sleet, or fog.
  5. Watch for Wildlife: Be cautious of wildlife, especially in rural areas. Deer are common in Connecticut, and they can pose a hazard, particularly during dawn and dusk.
  6. Avoid Cell Phone Use: It is illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving in Connecticut. Hands-free devices are allowed. Texting while driving is also prohibited.
  7. Be Aware of Cyclists: Connecticut has a growing cycling community. Be mindful of cyclists and provide them with sufficient space when passing.
  8. Emergency Services: In case of an emergency on the road, dial 911. The Connecticut State Police or local law enforcement will respond to assist you.
  9. Respect Red-Light Cameras: Some Connecticut cities have red-light cameras at intersections. Be sure to obey traffic signals to avoid receiving a citation.

By following these driving tips, you can help ensure your safety and the safety of others while traveling on Connecticut’s roads. Remember to stay informed about local traffic laws and regulations and adapt your driving habits to match road and weather conditions.   Read more about Connecticut Byways…

Delaware Byways

Delaware’s Hidden Treasures: A Journey Along the Scenic Byways

While Delaware may be one of the nation’s smallest states, it boasts a surprising abundance of natural beauty, historical significance, and quaint charm. Delaware Scenic Byways, a network of picturesque routes, meander through this coastal gem, offering travelers a unique opportunity to explore the First State’s diverse landscapes and cultural heritage. From the serene shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the tranquil countryside, Delaware’s scenic byways invite road trippers to embark on an unforgettable journey. In Delaware, every turn of the road reveals a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered.

Delaware has two scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway

Delaware’s Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway, often referred to as the “Gateway to the First State,” is a captivating journey through a region that seamlessly marries natural beauty, artistry, and history. This picturesque drive invites travelers to immerse themselves in the rolling countryside, meandering rivers, and the timeless charm of Delaware’s Brandywine Valley. With each mile, the byway unveils a tapestry of experiences, from world-class art museums to enchanting gardens, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking both cultural enrichment and the serenity of the outdoors. Here are some of the byway’s best features:

  1. Historic DuPont Legacy: Nemours Mansion and Gardens

The journey begins at the awe-inspiring Nemours Mansion and Gardens, a masterpiece of both architecture and horticulture. This grand estate, once home to industrialist Alfred I. duPont, offers visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the early 20th century. Stroll through formal gardens adorned with fountains, sculptures, and reflecting pools, and tour the exquisite mansion, featuring French-inspired design and luxurious furnishings.

  1. Longwood Gardens: A Horticultural Wonderland

A short drive from Nemours leads us to Longwood Gardens, a horticultural wonderland that captivates visitors year-round. Spanning over 1,000 acres, Longwood offers a kaleidoscope of gardens, fountains, and conservatories. Explore outdoor gardens bursting with colorful blooms, and step inside the conservatory to witness a world of exotic plants and lush greenery. Throughout the year, Longwood hosts seasonal displays, concerts, and illuminated evening events, making every visit a unique experience.

  1. The Delaware Art Museum: A Cultural Gem

Our road trip continues to the Delaware Art Museum, a cultural gem that houses an impressive collection of American and European art. Marvel at works by renowned artists such as John Sloan, Howard Pyle, and Pre-Raphaelite masterpieces. The museum’s lush sculpture garden invites visitors to explore outdoor art installations amidst tranquil surroundings.

  1. Brandywine River Museum of Art: A Tribute to Wyeths

The Brandywine River Museum of Art, located along the byway, celebrates the artistry of the Wyeth family. The museum showcases the works of N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth, three generations of American artists whose depictions of rural life and landscapes are both evocative and iconic. The museum’s riverside location offers scenic views that often resemble the very landscapes depicted in the artwork.

  1. Natural Wonders: Brandywine Creek State Park

As we venture further along the byway, we encounter Brandywine Creek State Park, a pristine natural oasis. The park provides opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife observation. Follow the scenic trails that wind along the Brandywine Creek, offering peaceful moments amidst the lush woodlands.

  1. Quaint Villages and Historic Sites

Throughout the byway, you’ll have the chance to explore quaint villages and historic sites such as the Brandywine Battlefield. These charming communities and significant landmarks provide a glimpse into the region’s rich history and rural character.

The Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway in Delaware is an enriching journey that combines art, nature, and history into a seamless tapestry of experiences. Whether you’re a lover of fine art, a horticultural enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, this byway has something to offer every traveler. It’s a road trip that promises to inspire, rejuvenate, and leave you with cherished memories of Delaware’s Brandywine Valley.

Delaware Bayshore Scenic Byway

The Delaware Bayshore Scenic Byway is a delightful route that winds along the western edge of Delaware’s Delaware Bay, offering travelers a chance to explore the natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural heritage of the region. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Bayshore Beaches: The byway provides access to several pristine beaches along the Delaware Bay, making it an ideal destination for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Prime Hook Beach and Slaughter Beach are popular spots for enjoying the bay’s tranquil waters.
  2. Wildlife Viewing: The Delaware Bayshore is a critical stopover point for migratory birds, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, both accessible from the byway, offer excellent opportunities to observe a wide variety of bird species, including bald eagles, shorebirds, and waterfowl.
  3. Salt Marshes and Wetlands: The byway passes through extensive salt marshes and wetlands, providing a unique opportunity to appreciate the delicate ecosystems and natural beauty of the region. Look for tidal creeks and estuaries teeming with marine life.
  4. Fishing and Crabbing: The bayshore is a paradise for fishing and crabbing enthusiasts. Cast a line from the shore or charter a boat for a day of angling in the bay’s rich waters. Blue crabs are abundant in the area, making crabbing a popular pastime.
  5. Cultural Heritage: The byway is rich in cultural history, with numerous historic sites and communities to explore. Visit historic towns like Lewes, Milton, and Dover to discover their charming architecture, museums, and maritime heritage.
  6. Lighthouses: Keep an eye out for picturesque lighthouses along the route, such as the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse in Lewes and the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse near Lewes, which offer great photo opportunities.
  7. Delaware Nature Society: The Delaware Nature Society operates the Dupont Nature Center near Slaughter Beach, providing educational programs, exhibits, and opportunities for hands-on learning about the bay’s ecology.
  8. Delaware Seashore State Park: The byway passes through or near Delaware Seashore State Park, offering opportunities for camping, hiking, swimming, and water sports. The park’s beautiful beaches and scenic views are highlights along the route.
  9. Delicious Seafood: Sample fresh seafood at local restaurants and seafood markets along the byway. Delight in the flavors of the bay, with options such as crab cakes, oysters, and clam chowder.
  10. Sunsets Over the Bay: The Delaware Bayshore is renowned for its stunning sunsets. As the day draws to a close, find a quiet spot along the shore to witness the bay’s serene beauty as the sun dips below the horizon.

The Delaware Bayshore Scenic Byway offers a serene and picturesque journey along the western edge of Delaware’s Delaware Bay, providing a blend of natural wonders, wildlife experiences, cultural heritage, and opportunities for outdoor recreation. It’s a road trip that promises relaxation, exploration, and a deeper connection to the bay’s unique coastal charm.

More great scenic drives in Delaware:

 

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Delaware’s scenic byways depends on your preferences and the specific experiences you seek. Delaware offers diverse landscapes and activities throughout the year. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons:

  1. Spring (March to May):
    • Wildflowers: Spring brings blooming wildflowers along many byways, creating colorful and picturesque landscapes.
    • Mild Weather: Spring offers pleasant temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.
    • Birdwatching: Migratory birds return during this season, making it an excellent time for birdwatching along coastal byways.
  2. Summer (June to August):
    • Beach Season: If you’re visiting coastal byways, summer is the peak beach season, with warm weather for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.
    • Festivals and Events: Delaware hosts numerous summer festivals, outdoor concerts, and cultural events along its byways.
  3. Fall (September to November):
    • Fall Foliage: Autumn months bring vibrant fall foliage, especially along the Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway. The colors are typically at their peak in October.
    • Historical Sites: Fall is an excellent time to explore historical sites and museums as tourist numbers may decrease.
  4. Winter (December to February):
    • Winter Getaways: Some byways offer cozy winter getaways. Coastal towns like Lewes may have a quieter, more peaceful atmosphere during the off-season.
    • Holiday Celebrations: Delaware’s byways may feature holiday lights and seasonal events in December, creating a festive ambiance.
  5. Year-Round Scenic Byways: Some byways, particularly those in urban areas, can be enjoyed year-round due to their temperate climates and cultural attractions.
  6. Off-Peak Travel: If you prefer quieter and less crowded experiences, consider visiting the byways during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) or even in winter when tourist numbers are lower.

The best time to visit Delaware’s scenic byways depends on your interests and the type of experiences you’re seeking. Each season offers its own unique charm, whether it’s the beauty of spring blossoms, the vibrancy of summer beach activities, the stunning fall foliage, or the tranquility of a winter escape. Be sure to research the specific byway you plan to visit for any seasonal attractions or events. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Florida Byways

Florida Scenic Highways: Exploring the Sunshine State’s Beauty on the Road

Florida, known as the Sunshine State, offers much more than just its famous beaches and theme parks. For those seeking a deeper connection with the state’s natural beauty and rich history, Florida’s Scenic Highways provide the perfect avenue for exploration. These picturesque routes wind through diverse landscapes, from pristine coastal areas to tranquil rural communities, offering travelers a unique opportunity to experience the real Florida. Join us on a journey along Florida’s Scenic Highways to discover the hidden gems of the state.

Florida has two eight scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway All-American Road

Stretching along Florida’s Atlantic coast, the A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway is a 72-mile ribbon of road that meanders through some of the state’s most charming coastal communities. This byway offers an authentic taste of Old Florida, where small towns, lush hammocks, and pristine beaches reign supreme. Here are some of the A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byways best features:

  1. Beachfront Bliss: The A1A Byway provides access to some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches. Whether you’re into sunbathing, swimming, or beach combing, you’ll find a perfect spot to soak up the sun.
  2. Historical Sites: Explore historical sites like the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Fort Matanzas National Monument, which tells the story of early Spanish Florida.
  3. State Parks: Discover diverse ecosystems at several state parks, including Washington Oaks Gardens State Park and Gamble Rogers Memorial State Recreation Area, where hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching are popular activities.
  4. Scenic Overlooks: Pull off the road at designated overlooks for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, coastal dunes, and the Intracoastal Waterway.
  5. Marine Life: Keep an eye out for dolphins playing in the waves and, if you’re lucky, you might spot a sea turtle nesting on the shore.

Big Bend Scenic Byway

In the northwestern part of the state, the Big Bend Scenic Byway offers a glimpse into Florida’s rural heartland. This 220-mile route traverses a quiet and picturesque landscape of forests, rivers, and quaint small towns. Here are some of the byway’s best features:

  1. Natural Wonders: The byway passes through the Apalachicola National Forest, known for its towering longleaf pine trees and diverse wildlife. Explore hiking trails and go birdwatching in this natural paradise.
  2. River Adventures: The byway follows the course of several rivers, including the Suwannee and the Steinhatchee. Canoeing, kayaking, and boating are popular activities along these waterways.
  3. Historic Towns: Visit charming towns like Quincy, Havana, and Monticello, where you can stroll through historic districts and admire well-preserved architecture.
  4. Cultural Heritage: Learn about the region’s history and culture at local museums and heritage centers, such as the John Gorrie Museum and the Monticello Opera House.
  5. Fishing: The Big Bend region is a renowned fishing destination, and anglers can cast their lines in freshwater rivers or in the Gulf of Mexico.

 Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway

The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway, located in the northeastern part of the state, is a picturesque route that spans approximately 60 miles. This byway offers travelers an opportunity to explore Florida’s natural beauty and diverse ecosystems, with a special focus on the habitat of the Florida black bear. Here are some of the best features of the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway:

  1. Black Bear Habitat: As the name suggests, one of the main attractions of this byway is the chance to spot Florida black bears in their natural habitat. The area is home to a significant population of these magnificent creatures, and lucky travelers may have the opportunity to observe them, particularly in the spring and early summer.
  2. Ocala National Forest: The byway winds through the Ocala National Forest, which is the southernmost national forest in the continental United States. This pristine wilderness features miles of hiking trails, crystal-clear springs, and abundant wildlife. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the forest’s diverse landscapes, including sand pine scrub, hardwood hammocks, and wetlands.
  3. Wildlife Viewing: Beyond black bears, the Ocala National Forest is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, alligators, and a variety of bird species. Birdwatchers will be especially delighted by the chance to spot migratory and resident birds.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. The Juniper Springs Recreation Area is a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking.
  5. Natural Springs: In addition to Salt Springs, the byway passes by several other natural springs, including Silver Glen Springs and Juniper Springs. These springs provide refreshing opportunities for swimming and experiencing the clear, cool waters that Florida is known for.
  6. Historical Sites: Learn about the region’s history at sites like the Fort Gates Ferry Landing and the historically significant community of Astor. Interpretive signs along the byway provide insights into the area’s heritage.

The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway provides a unique and immersive experience in one of Florida’s most ecologically diverse regions. Whether you’re interested in wildlife viewing, outdoor adventures, or simply a peaceful drive through the forest, this byway has something for everyone. It’s an opportunity to connect with nature, learn about the region’s history, and, if you’re fortunate, catch a glimpse of the majestic Florida black bear in its natural habitat.

Florida Keys Scenic Highway

The Florida Keys Scenic Highway, designated an All-American Road, is a legendary route that spans approximately 113 miles and connects the southern tip of Florida to the tropical paradise of Key West. This iconic highway offers travelers a unique and unforgettable journey through the Florida Keys, with a multitude of attractions along the way. Here are some of the best features of the Florida Keys Scenic Highway:

  1. Breathtaking Ocean Views: One of the most captivating aspects of this scenic highway is the continuous and stunning ocean views. As you drive along the Overseas Highway (U.S. Route 1), you’ll be treated to vistas of turquoise waters on either side of the road. Be sure to stop at the numerous overlooks and bridges for unparalleled photo opportunities.
  2. Overseas Railroad History: The highway follows the route of the historic Overseas Railroad, which was transformed into the Overseas Highway in the early 20th century. You can still see remnants of the old railroad bridges and discover the fascinating history of this engineering marvel.
  3. Tropical Islands and Keys: The Florida Keys are a chain of picturesque islands, each with its own unique charm. From Key Largo to Key West, you can explore islands like Islamorada, Marathon, and Big Pine Key, each offering its own set of attractions, from water sports and wildlife encounters to cultural experiences and dining.
  4. Water Activities: The Florida Keys are a paradise for water enthusiasts. Snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, paddleboarding, and boating are just a few of the activities you can enjoy in the clear and warm waters of the Keys. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park in Key Largo, the first underwater state park in the United States.
  5. Key West’s Unique Culture: The highway’s ultimate destination is Key West, a vibrant and quirky island known for its colorful history and vibrant arts scene. Explore historic Old Town Key West, visit the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, and take a photo at the Southernmost Point Buoy.
  6. Wildlife Encounters: The Florida Keys Scenic Highway offers numerous opportunities to encounter local wildlife. Keep an eye out for iguanas, Key deer (an endangered species), and a variety of bird species. You might even spot dolphins or sea turtles swimming in the warm waters.
  7. Sunset Celebrations: Key West is renowned for its spectacular sunsets, and there’s no better place to witness this daily marvel than at Mallory Square. Join the lively Sunset Celebration, where street performers, artists, and vendors come together to celebrate the end of the day.

The Florida Keys Scenic Highway All-American Road offers a journey filled with natural beauty, history, culture, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re driving the entire length or just exploring specific Keys, this iconic highway provides an unforgettable experience in one of the most captivating and laid-back destinations in the United States.

Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway

The Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway is a stunning route that stretches along Florida’s east coast, encompassing the Indian River Lagoon, one of the most biodiverse estuaries in North America. This scenic drive offers travelers a chance to explore the natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural heritage of the region. Here are some of the best features of the Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway:

  1. Biodiversity and Wildlife: The Indian River Lagoon is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. It’s home to a wide variety of animals, including manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and numerous species of birds. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot ospreys, pelicans, herons, and even the occasional bald eagle.
  2. Natural Scenic Beauty: The lagoon itself is a picturesque waterway, with its calm, shallow waters reflecting the vibrant colors of the sky and surrounding flora. The byway provides numerous opportunities to enjoy scenic overlooks and vistas along the lagoon.
  3. Eco-Tourism and Outdoor Activities: The byway is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Visitors can enjoy kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, fishing, and hiking in the many parks and preserves along the route. Some parks, like Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, offer guided eco-tours.
  4. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: This expansive wildlife refuge is a must-visit along the byway. It provides opportunities for wildlife viewing, birding, and hiking on nature trails. The refuge is known for its manatee observation deck and the annual Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival.
  5. Historical and Cultural Sites: The byway passes through several towns and communities with rich histories. Stop and explore historical sites, including museums, gardens, and heritage centers. Titusville, in particular, offers insight into the region’s space exploration history.
  6. Environmental Education: Several nature centers and visitor centers along the byway offer educational programs and exhibits about the lagoon’s ecosystem, conservation efforts, and the importance of preserving this unique estuary.
  7. Barrier Islands: The byway crosses over several barrier islands, each with its own charm and attractions. Explore Canaveral National Seashore, with its pristine beaches and historical sites, or take a ferry to Honeymoon Island State Park.

The Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway is a remarkable route that showcases the natural wonders and cultural heritage of Florida’s east coast. Whether you’re interested in wildlife watching, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of the lagoon, this byway offers a memorable and enriching experience for travelers of all interests.

Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail

The Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail is a beautiful and diverse scenic drive that winds through the Ormond Beach area in northeast Florida. This 34-mile route offers travelers a chance to explore a wide range of natural environments, cultural sites, and recreational opportunities. Here are some of the best features of the Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail:

  1. Scenic Views: The byway provides stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Halifax River, and the Tomoka Basin. You’ll enjoy picturesque vistas as you drive along the route, particularly from the High Bridge, which spans the Halifax River.
  2. Historic Ormond Beach: The byway passes through Ormond Beach, a town with a rich history dating back to the late 19th century. Explore the historic district and discover charming homes, museums, and landmarks that tell the story of the area.
  3. Tomoka State Park: This natural gem offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, birdwatching, and fishing. The park’s ancient Timucuan shell mound is an archaeological treasure, and the Tomoka River provides opportunities for kayaking and boating.
  4. Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens: Explore the beautiful gardens and art exhibitions at this cultural center. The museum hosts various events, workshops, and rotating exhibits that celebrate local artists.
  5. Bulow Creek State Park: This park along the byway features hiking trails that lead to centuries-old live oak trees and the impressive remains of Bulow Plantation’s sugar mill. It’s an excellent spot for nature lovers and history enthusiasts.
  6. Wildlife Viewing: The area surrounding the byway is teeming with wildlife. Keep an eye out for manatees, dolphins, alligators, and a variety of bird species. Birdwatchers will find many opportunities to spot both resident and migratory birds.
  7. Recreational Activities: Whether you enjoy cycling, hiking, kayaking, or picnicking, the byway offers a range of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. There are numerous access points to the water for boating and paddling adventures.
  8. Beach Access: The byway provides convenient access to the area’s beautiful beaches, where you can relax, swim, surf, or simply soak up the sun.

The Ormond Scenic Loop & Trail is a hidden gem in Florida that combines natural beauty, history, and recreational opportunities into a single captivating journey. Whether you’re interested in exploring the outdoors, learning about the region’s history, or simply enjoying a scenic drive, this byway has something to offer all who venture along its picturesque route.

River of Lakes Heritage Corridor

The River of Lakes Heritage Corridor, located in Central Florida, is a captivating byway that showcases the region’s rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and recreational opportunities. Stretching for approximately 105 miles, this corridor offers travelers a chance to immerse themselves in Florida’s diverse landscapes and history. Here are some of the best features of the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor:

  1. Scenic Waterways: As the name suggests, the byway follows a network of rivers and lakes, including the St. Johns River, Lake George, and Lake Monroe. These waterways provide picturesque views and opportunities for boating, fishing, and water-based recreation.
  2. Historical Sites: Along the corridor, you’ll encounter a wealth of historical sites and landmarks. Visit places like the DeBary Hall Historic Site, a beautifully preserved 19th-century hunting estate, and the Enterprise Heritage Center, which explores the history of the area’s steamboat industry.
  3. Blue Spring State Park: This park is a highlight of the byway and is known for its crystal-clear spring, which is a designated manatee refuge in the winter months. Visitors can view manatees from the spring’s overlook or take a refreshing swim in the spring’s cool waters.
  4. Cultural Heritage: Explore the history and culture of the region at various museums, art galleries, and heritage centers. Learn about the early settlers, Native American history, and the impact of steamboats on the area’s development.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The byway offers abundant opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and birdwatching. The Lake Monroe Conservation Area and the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge provide hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.
  6. Fishing and Boating: With the St. Johns River and several lakes along the route, the corridor is a paradise for anglers and boaters. Cast your line for bass, catfish, and other freshwater species, or rent a boat and explore the scenic waterways.
  7. Wildlife Viewing: The River of Lakes Heritage Corridor is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Birdwatchers can spot herons, egrets, ospreys, and eagles, while nature enthusiasts may encounter deer, alligators, and other native animals.

The River of Lakes Heritage Corridor offers a rich and diverse experience for travelers interested in history, culture, and the natural beauty of Florida. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, learning about the region’s heritage, or simply enjoying a scenic drive along its winding path, this byway has something to offer all who embark on this enriching journey.

Scenic Highway 30A

Scenic Highway 30A is a picturesque route that stretches along the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle, known for its stunning beaches, charming coastal communities, and natural beauty. This 28.5-mile byway offers travelers a unique and idyllic experience along Florida’s Emerald Coast. Here are some of the best features of Scenic Highway 30A:

  1. Gulf Coast Beaches: Scenic Highway 30A is renowned for its pristine, white-sand beaches with clear turquoise waters. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and water sports like snorkeling, paddle boarding, and beach combing.
  2. Seaside: The town of Seaside along 30A is famous for its New Urbanism design, pastel-colored houses, and vibrant town square. Stroll the cobblestone streets, dine at local restaurants, and explore unique boutiques and art galleries.
  3. Coastal Dune Lakes: The byway passes several coastal dune lakes, rare geographical features found in only a few places worldwide. These lakes provide opportunities for kayaking, paddle boarding, and birdwatching.
  4. State Parks: Scenic Highway 30A is bordered by several state parks, including Grayton Beach State Park and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. These parks offer hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and camping opportunities.
  5. Bike-Friendly: The byway is popular among cyclists, with dedicated bike lanes and rental shops along the route. Biking is an excellent way to explore the coastal communities and natural surroundings at a leisurely pace.
  6. Art and Culture: Explore the thriving arts scene with galleries and cultural events in towns like Grayton Beach and Rosemary Beach. The annual 30A Songwriters Festival and South Walton Artist of the Year events are highlights.
  7. Unique Architecture: The architecture along 30A is diverse and captivating, featuring a mix of architectural styles, from classic coastal cottages to modern, eco-friendly designs.
  8. State Forests: The byway traverses Point Washington State Forest, offering hiking and biking trails through pine forests, wetlands, and rare coastal dune ecosystems.
  9. Sunsets: Witnessing the spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico is a must-do activity along 30A. Beachfront access points provide the perfect setting for this nightly event.

Scenic Highway 30A in Florida offers a unique blend of natural beauty, coastal charm, cultural richness, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re interested in beachfront relaxation, outdoor adventures, artistic exploration, or culinary delights, this byway has something to offer travelers of all interests.

More great scenic drives in Florida:

Florida’s Scenic Highways offer a captivating blend of nature, history, and culture. Whether you’re exploring the coastal communities along A1A, delving into the rural charm of the Big Bend, or experiencing the artistic allure of 30A, these byways provide a memorable way to discover the diverse beauty of the Sunshine State. So, hit the road, immerse yourself in Florida’s scenic wonders, and create your own unforgettable journey through the heart of this diverse and vibrant state.

When to Visit

Florida is a popular year-round destination, thanks to its pleasant climate and diverse range of attractions. The best time to visit Florida depends on your preferences, the type of experience you seek, and your tolerance for crowds and weather conditions. Here’s a breakdown of the different seasons in Florida:

  1. Winter (December to February):
    • Pros: Winter is a popular time for visitors seeking warm, mild weather. It’s perfect for beachgoers and outdoor activities. Many cultural and sporting events, including the NFL Pro Bowl and various festivals, take place during this season.
    • Cons: Winter is the peak tourist season in Florida, so popular destinations like Miami, Orlando, and the Florida Keys can be crowded, and accommodations may be more expensive. Some areas may experience chilly nights, especially in northern Florida.
  2. Spring (March to May):
    • Pros: Spring offers pleasant weather, with temperatures warming up but not yet reaching the scorching heat of summer. Spring break crowds begin to thin out by late April. It’s a great time for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.
    • Cons: Spring break can still be busy in March, so if you prefer a quieter experience, aim for late spring. Also, some areas may have increased pollen levels, which could affect those with allergies.
  3. Summer (June to August):
    • Pros: Summer is the ideal time for families with school-aged children to visit due to the long break. Water parks, theme parks, and beaches are in full swing. Prices for accommodations and attractions may be lower than in the peak winter season.
    • Cons: Florida summers are hot and humid, with occasional thunderstorms. Crowds can be heavy, particularly at popular tourist destinations. Mosquitoes and afternoon rain showers are common. Be prepared for higher humidity levels and plan outdoor activities in the morning or late afternoon.
  4. Fall (September to November):
    • Pros: Fall brings more comfortable temperatures and fewer crowds, making it an excellent time to explore Florida. The hurricane season is a consideration, but storms are not guaranteed. Fall festivals and events, such as Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, provide cultural experiences.
    • Cons: Hurricane season can bring unpredictable weather, so travelers should monitor forecasts and consider travel insurance. Some attractions or accommodations may close or have reduced hours in the fall.

In summary, the best time to visit Florida depends on your preferences. If you want pleasant weather and fewer crowds, consider visiting in the spring or fall. If you’re looking for warm beach weather and don’t mind the crowds, winter is the prime season. Summer is perfect for families but comes with higher temperatures and the possibility of afternoon rain. To avoid peak crowds and enjoy good weather, consider the shoulder seasons (late spring and early fall) for a well-rounded Florida experience.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com

Georgia Byways

Georgia’s Enchanting Scenic Byways: A Road Trip Through Southern Beauty

Georgia, often celebrated for its warm hospitality and rich history, offers travelers a captivating journey through its diverse landscapes and charming communities via a network of scenic drives. These picturesque routes crisscross the state, revealing the heart and soul of Georgia’s natural beauty, culture, and heritage. From the lush forests of the North Georgia Mountains to the historic antebellum architecture of the South, Georgia’s scenic byways beckon explorers to hit the road and savor the beauty of the Peach State. Every twist and turn reveals a new story and a deeper connection to the southern charm that defines this extraordinary state.

Georgia has one scenic drive that is part of the America’s Byways collection:

Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway

Nestled in the heart of the North Georgia Mountains, the Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone seeking a scenic escape. This byway, designated as one of Georgia’s most picturesque drives, offers a mesmerizing journey through the Appalachian foothills, showcasing the state’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. Let’s explore the best features of the Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway, an adventure that promises breathtaking vistas, outdoor activities, and a deep connection with Georgia’s rugged charm.

  1. Vogel State Park: Where Adventure Begins

Our journey along the Russell-Brasstown Byway begins with a visit to Vogel State Park, Georgia’s second oldest state park. Nestled at the base of Blood Mountain, this outdoor paradise offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and the tranquil Lake Trahlyta. Whether you’re an avid hiker or prefer a leisurely stroll, Vogel has trails suitable for all levels. The park’s waterfall and lush greenery provide a soothing backdrop for picnics and relaxation.

  1. The Appalachian Trail: A Hiker’s Dream

The Russell-Brasstown Byway intersects with the legendary Appalachian Trail, a 2,190-mile trek from Georgia to Maine. Hiking a portion of this iconic trail is an unforgettable experience. Follow the path of intrepid thru-hikers, and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Chattahoochee National Forest, verdant valleys, and an abundance of wildlife. If you’re not up for a long-distance hike, opt for shorter segments that still offer a taste of this historic trail.

  1. Brasstown Bald: Georgia’s Highest Peak

As we continue along the byway, we reach Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s highest peak. A visit to the Brasstown Bald Visitor Center reveals a sweeping panorama of four states: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. A short, scenic shuttle ride takes you to the summit, where a viewing platform offers unparalleled vistas. Sunrise and sunset are particularly enchanting times to witness the landscape bathed in golden hues.

  1. Folk Art and History: The Hickory Flat Pottery and the Old Sautee Store

Venturing further, you’ll encounter charming stops that reflect the region’s rich cultural heritage. The Hickory Flat Pottery showcases the work of local artisans, offering an opportunity to take home a piece of North Georgia’s craftsmanship. Just down the road, the Old Sautee Store takes you back in time with its vintage ambiance and an array of antiques, crafts, and folk art.

  1. Sautee-Nacoochee Valley: A Step into the Past

Our journey concludes in the Sautee-Nacoochee Valley, a place where history and natural beauty intertwine. The Sautee-Nacoochee Indian Mound serves as a testament to the valley’s Native American heritage. Nearby, the Stovall Mill Covered Bridge, dating back to 1895, offers a picturesque glimpse into the past.

As you explore the Russell-Brasstown National Scenic Byway, you’ll discover that it’s more than just a road; it’s a portal to Georgia’s wilderness, culture, and history. This byway beckons travelers to savor the simple pleasures of life, immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature, and forge connections with the stories that have shaped this corner of the South. Whether you’re chasing panoramic views, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or savoring the nostalgia of covered bridges, the Russell-Brasstown Byway promises an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Georgia’s wilderness.

More great scenic drives in Georgia:

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Georgia’s scenic byways largely depends on your preferences and the specific byway you plan to explore. Georgia offers diverse landscapes and experiences throughout the year. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons:

  1. Spring (March to May):
    • Wildflowers: Spring brings vibrant wildflowers to many parts of Georgia, creating colorful and picturesque landscapes along the byways.
    • Moderate Temperatures: Spring offers pleasant weather with mild temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as hiking and picnicking.
    • Festivals: Many communities along the byways host spring festivals celebrating local culture, arts, and traditions.
  2. Summer (June to August):
    • Warm Weather: Summer brings warm and sunny weather, perfect for water-related activities like boating and swimming at lakes or along coastal byways.
    • Beach Escapes: If you’re visiting coastal byways, summer is a popular time for beach vacations.
    • Fruit Harvest: Some byways in Georgia, such as those in the agricultural regions, offer opportunities for fruit picking, including peaches and blueberries.
  3. Fall (September to November):
    • Fall Foliage: The autumn months bring stunning fall foliage to many parts of Georgia, particularly in the North Georgia Mountains. The colors are especially vibrant in October.
    • Cooler Temperatures: Fall offers pleasant and cooler weather for outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
    • Harvest Festivals: Communities often host harvest festivals, showcasing local produce, crafts, and cultural events.
  4. Winter (December to February):
    • Mild Winters: Georgia’s winters are relatively mild compared to many other states. This is an excellent time for those who prefer cooler weather without the extreme cold.
    • Holiday Lights: Some byways, particularly in urban areas like Atlanta, feature impressive holiday light displays during the winter season.
  5. Year-Round Scenic Byways: Some scenic byways in Georgia, especially those near the coast and in milder climates, can be enjoyed year-round due to their temperate conditions.
  6. Off-Peak Travel: If you prefer quieter and less crowded experiences, consider visiting the byways during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) or even in winter when tourist numbers are lower.

The best time to visit Georgia’s scenic byways depends on your interests, whether you prefer the beauty of spring blossoms, the vibrant colors of fall foliage, the warmth of summer for water activities, or the mildness of winter. Each season offers its own unique charm, and the choice largely depends on the experiences you seek along the byways. Be sure to research the specific scenic drive you plan to visit for any seasonal attractions or events.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Hawaii Byways

Hawaii’s Scenic Byways: A Journey Through Paradise

Hawaii, the picturesque archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, lush greenery, and vibrant culture. Beyond the stunning beaches and tropical resorts, Hawaii boasts a network of scenic byways that take travelers on a journey through the heart and soul of the islands. These routes offer a chance to explore Hawaii’s diverse terrain, rich history, and unique local culture. From the volcanic slopes of Mauna Loa to the vibrant streets of Waikiki, each byway tells a story of Hawaii’s beauty and heritage. Hawaii boasts eight great scenic drives:

Alii Drive-Royal Footsteps Along the Kona Coast Scenic Byway

Adventure begins along the Alii Drive, a road that follows the footsteps of Hawaiian royalty on the Kona Coast. This scenic byway takes you to historic sites, ancient fishponds, and cultural landmarks, such as Hulihee Palace and the sacred Ahuena Heiau. Along the way, you’ll be captivated by the stunning coastal vistas, serene beaches, and vibrant marine life, including the chance to spot honu (green sea turtles) basking in the sun.

Diamond Head: Lei Around Le’ahi Scenic Byway

Heading to Oahu, explore the Diamond Head byway, also known as the Lei Around Le’ahi Scenic Byway. This route offers iconic views of Diamond Head Crater and takes you to the heart of Waikiki, where you can immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, shopping, and dining. The byway showcases the historical and cultural significance of Diamond Head and offers opportunities for outdoor adventures, such as hiking to the summit.

Holoholo Koloa Scenic Byway

On the island of Kauai, the Holoholo Koloa Scenic Byway delves into the history of Hawaii’s sugar plantation era. As you travel through the charming town of Koloa, you’ll encounter preserved buildings, plaques, and interpretive signs that reveal the challenges and triumphs of plantation life. The lush landscapes, including the famous Spouting Horn blowhole, make this byway a delightful and educational excursion.

Ka`u – The Slopes of Mauna Loa Scenic Byway

Venturing to the Big Island, the Ka’u Scenic Byway offers a journey through the dramatic landscapes of Mauna Loa’s slopes. This route takes you through a unique blend of environments, from lava deserts to lush rainforests. Explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, witness the power of volcanic activity at the Thurston Lava Tube, and take in the mesmerizing views of the Kau Desert.

Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor Scenic Byway

The Mamalahoa Kona Heritage Corridor Scenic Byway on the Big Island is a road trip through time. This byway features historical sites, cultural landmarks, and agricultural treasures that span centuries of Hawaiian history. Explore the coffee plantations, ancient petroglyphs, and the Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, a sacred place of refuge.

Maunalua-Makapu’u Scenic Byway

Heading back to Oahu, the Maunalua-Makapu’u Scenic Byway offers breathtaking coastal vistas and opportunities for marine adventures. The byway takes you to the renowned Hanauma Bay, a marine sanctuary perfect for snorkeling. Along the way, you’ll encounter cultural sites, hiking trails, and unforgettable views of the Pacific Ocean.

Puna–The Red Road Scenic Byway

The Puna–The Red Road Scenic Byway on the Big Island invites travelers to explore a hidden paradise. This route takes you through a lush rainforest, past unique geological formations, and along the famous “Red Road.” Discover pristine beaches, lava tree molds, and the intriguing Kapoho tide pools, known for their crystal-clear waters.

Waikiki-Kauhale O Ho’okipa Scenic Byway

Our journey concludes in the heart of Honolulu with the Waikiki-Kauhale O Ho’okipa Scenic Byway. This byway immerses you in the vibrant culture and history of Hawaii’s capital. Explore Waikiki’s bustling streets, visit museums, and enjoy the world-famous beach. The byway also showcases the architectural and cultural heritage of the area, including historic hotels and royal residences.

Hawaii’s scenic byways offer a diverse array of experiences, from exploring volcanic landscapes and cultural heritage to indulging in marine adventures and relaxing on stunning beaches. Whether you’re seeking history, culture, or natural beauty, these byways promise an unforgettable journey through the magic of the Hawaiian Islands.

Best Time to Visit

Hawaii’s scenic byways can be enjoyed year-round due to the state’s pleasant climate, but the best time to visit may depend on your preferences and the specific byway you plan to explore. Here’s a general breakdown:

  1. Year-Round Pleasures: Hawaii’s temperate climate means that scenic byways can be enjoyed any time of year. You’ll find pleasant temperatures and beautiful scenery regardless of the season.
  2. Dry Season (April to October):
    • Warm Weather: Hawaii’s dry season typically offers warm and sunny weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, and beach outings.
    • Calmer Waters: The Pacific Ocean tends to be calmer during this period, making it a good time for snorkeling, scuba diving, and water sports.
    • Festivals and Events: Many cultural festivals and events take place during the dry season, providing opportunities to immerse yourself in Hawaiian traditions.
  3. Rainy Season (November to March):
    • Lower Crowds: Hawaii’s rainy season usually sees fewer tourists, resulting in lower accommodation prices and less crowded attractions.
    • Lush Landscapes: The rains bring out the vibrant colors of the islands’ lush landscapes, creating stunning vistas and waterfalls.
    • Whale Watching: This season is the best time for whale watching, as humpback whales migrate to Hawaiian waters from November to April.
  4. Specific Byway Considerations:
    • For byways in higher elevations, such as the slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island, be prepared for cooler temperatures, especially in the evenings and during the winter months.
    • Coastal byways, like the ones on Oahu, offer a beach-oriented experience, so the dry season may be preferable for those seeking sun and surf.
  5. Off-Peak Travel: Consider visiting Hawaii’s scenic byways during the shoulder seasons (spring and fall) to avoid peak tourist crowds while still enjoying pleasant weather.
  6. Hawaii’s Unique Regions: Keep in mind that Hawaii’s islands have diverse microclimates. For example, the windward (eastern) sides tend to be wetter, while the leeward (western) sides are drier. The weather can also vary by island.

The best time to visit Hawaii’s scenic byways ultimately depends on your interests and the specific experiences you seek. Whether you prefer sunny days for outdoor activities or quieter periods with reduced crowds, you can find a time that suits your needs while enjoying the beauty and culture of Hawaii’s picturesque routes.

Driving Tips

Driving on Hawaii’s scenic byways can be a rewarding and memorable experience. However, it’s essential to be prepared and follow certain driving tips to ensure your safety and enjoyment:

  1. Rent the Right Vehicle: Choose a suitable rental car for your planned activities. While a compact car is sufficient for most byways, if you plan to explore off-road areas or higher elevations, consider a vehicle with four-wheel drive or higher ground clearance.
  2. Navigation Tools: Ensure you have reliable navigation tools, whether it’s a GPS device, a smartphone with GPS apps, or a physical map. Cell phone reception can be limited in some remote areas, so having a map is a good backup.
  3. Stay Informed: Check road conditions and weather forecasts before you embark on your journey. Some scenic byways, particularly those in higher elevations, can be affected by fog, rain, or changing weather patterns.
  4. Plan Rest Stops: Plan rest stops along the way, especially on longer journeys. Hawaii’s scenic byways offer plenty of opportunities for picnicking, hiking, and sightseeing. Take advantage of these to break up your drive and enjoy the scenery.
  5. Respect Local Wildlife: Hawaii is home to unique wildlife, and encounters with animals on or near the road are possible. Drive cautiously, especially in areas known for wildlife, to avoid collisions and protect the animals.
  6. Mind the Speed Limit: Observe speed limits on the byways. Some roads may have lower speed limits due to their winding nature or proximity to residential areas. Additionally, radar and speed cameras are used in some locations to enforce speed limits.
  7. Be Mindful of Narrow Roads: Many scenic byways in Hawaii feature narrow and winding roads, particularly in rural and mountainous areas. Exercise caution, especially on curves and steep inclines, and yield to oncoming traffic when necessary.
  8. Parking and Pullouts: Use designated parking areas and pullouts for sightseeing stops. Avoid stopping in the middle of the road or blocking traffic to take pictures or admire the view.
  9. Observe Traffic Rules: Follow all traffic rules and regulations, including seat belt use and cellphone usage while driving. Hawaii has strict laws against distracted driving.
  10. Weather Variability: Be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially in higher elevations. Pack clothing layers, including rain gear, and consider bringing essentials like water, snacks, and sunscreen.
  11. Respect Local Communities: Some scenic byways pass through residential areas or cultural sites. Drive respectfully, reduce noise, and obey posted signs or rules related to local customs and traditions.
  12. Leave No Trace: Practice responsible tourism by leaving no trace of your visit. Dispose of trash properly, respect protected areas, and do not disturb wildlife or natural habitats.
  13. Emergency Contacts: Familiarize yourself with emergency contact numbers, such as local law enforcement, medical services, and roadside assistance, in case of unforeseen situations.
  14. Share the Road: Some scenic byways are popular among cyclists and pedestrians. Be cautious and share the road safely with other users.

By following these driving tips, you can enjoy Hawaii’s scenic byways while ensuring a safe and respectful experience for yourself and others on the road. Remember to take your time, savor the breathtaking views, and embrace the aloha spirit of the islands.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Idaho Byways

Idaho’s Scenic Byways: Where Adventure Meets Astonishing Beauty

Idaho, often referred to as the “Gem State,” boasts some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in the United States. Beyond its famous potatoes, this western gem offers a network of scenic byways that wind through towering mountain ranges, deep canyons, pristine lakes, and lush forests. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, Idaho’s scenic byways offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in the state’s rich tapestry of natural wonders and cultural heritage. In this article, we invite you to embark on a virtual road trip through the picturesque landscapes of Idaho’s scenic byways, where every twist and turn reveals a new chapter in the state’s captivating story, promising adventure, serenity, and breathtaking beauty.

Idaho has six scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

International Selkirk Loop

Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, the International Selkirk Loop All-American Road is a hidden gem that traverses the diverse landscapes of Idaho’s northernmost reaches. This scenic byway, part of a cross-border adventure that includes Canada’s British Columbia and Washington state, offers an extraordinary journey through the Selkirk Mountains, stunning lakeshores, and charming towns of Idaho. The International Selkirk Loop beckons travelers with promises of breathtaking vistas, outdoor adventures, and cultural discoveries. In this article, we’ll embark on a road trip along this captivating route and explore some of the best features that make it a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable Idaho experience.

  1. Lake Pend Oreille: A Watery Wonderland

Our journey begins at Lake Pend Oreille, one of Idaho’s largest and most enchanting lakes. The International Selkirk Loop skirts its scenic shores, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, and swimming. The sparkling waters, surrounded by lush forests and mountain backdrops, are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

  1. Schweitzer Mountain Resort: A Year-Round Playground

Just a short drive from Lake Pend Oreille, Schweitzer Mountain Resort awaits with year-round recreational opportunities. In winter, it’s a premier ski destination with powdery slopes, while summer brings hiking, mountain biking, and scenic chairlift rides that provide panoramic views of the Selkirk Mountains.

  1. Historic Towns: Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry

As you travel along the loop, you’ll encounter the charming towns of Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry. Sandpoint, located on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, boasts a vibrant arts scene, eclectic shops, and a thriving waterfront area. Bonners Ferry, further north, exudes a small-town charm and is known for its friendly atmosphere and historic sites.

  1. Wildlife Watching: A Natural Paradise

The Selkirk Mountains are a haven for wildlife, and the loop offers numerous opportunities for spotting creatures like bald eagles, moose, deer, and even the elusive grizzly bear. Keep your camera ready as you may encounter these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.

  1. Scenic Drives: Captivating Vistas

The byway itself is an attraction, with its winding roads that lead to captivating vistas. The Moyie River Canyon and the dramatic drop of the Moyie Falls are highlights along the route, offering scenic overlooks that are perfect for taking in the rugged beauty of the region.

  1. Outdoor Recreation: Hiking and Kayaking

For outdoor enthusiasts, the loop provides a gateway to endless recreational opportunities. Hiking trails, such as the Mickinnick and Roman Nose, offer varying levels of challenge and reward hikers with stunning viewpoints. Kayakers and canoers can explore the gentle waters of the Selkirk Loop’s many lakes and rivers.

  1. Art and Culture: The Panida Theater

In Sandpoint, the historic Panida Theater stands as a cultural hub, hosting live performances, concerts, and film screenings throughout the year. It’s a place where you can connect with the local arts scene and immerse yourself in the region’s cultural offerings.

  1. Border Crossing: An International Adventure

For those with a sense of adventure, the International Selkirk Loop provides the unique experience of crossing the U.S.-Canada border multiple times, allowing you to explore the rich cultural heritage and scenic wonders of both countries.

The International Selkirk Loop All-American Road is a must-see scenic drive through a land of rugged beauty, outdoor adventure, and cultural discovery. Whether you’re seeking the tranquility of lakeshores, the thrill of outdoor activities, or a taste of small-town charm, this captivating road trip offers it all. With every mile, you’ll find yourself immersed in the enchanting landscapes and warm hospitality that define Idaho’s northern wilderness.

Northwest Passage Scenic Byway

At 202 miles, the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway is Idaho’s longest byway. This route follows the route Lewis and Clark navigated through north-central Idaho. It begins at Lewiston, splits at Kooskia, and arrives in Grangeville to the south and Lolo Pass to the east. The traverse winds along the Clearwater River Canyon, parting toward the Camas Prairie on one side while continuing along the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River on the other.

This byway moves through a magnificent wilderness, including the Lochsa Wild and Scenic River, and ends at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center. Following the route along U.S. 12 parallels the history trails of Lewis and Clark and Nez Perce. On the southern edge of Lewiston, visit Hells Gate State Park, a public recreation area and entrance to Hells Canyon, the deepest canyon in North America. Located where the Clearwater and Snake Rivers meet in Lewiston, stop to see the Tsceminicum sculpture, a bronze artwork that speaks of Nez Perce legend creatures.

Payette River Scenic Byway

The Payette River Scenic Byway in Idaho is a picturesque route that winds its way through the Payette River Valley, offering travelers a diverse range of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Payette River: As the byway’s namesake, the Payette River is a central feature of this scenic drive. The river provides opportunities for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and fishing. The pristine waters flow alongside the road, offering serene views and recreational possibilities.
  2. Cascade Reservoir: Located along the byway, Cascade Reservoir is a popular spot for boating, water skiing, swimming, and picnicking. The calm waters of the reservoir are ideal for family-friendly water activities and relaxation.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: The Payette River Scenic Byway is a gateway to a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and camping. The surrounding Payette National Forest offers numerous trails and campgrounds for those who want to explore the rugged wilderness.
  4. Wildlife Viewing: The byway passes through diverse habitats, making it an excellent location for wildlife enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for deer, elk, eagles, and other wildlife along the route.
  5. Scenic Overlooks: The byway features several scenic overlooks that provide breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains, forests, and the river valley. These overlooks are perfect for capturing stunning photographs and enjoying the view.
  6. Towns and Communities: Along the route, you’ll encounter charming towns and communities such as Cascade and Smiths Ferry. These small towns offer a taste of local culture, with shops, restaurants, and friendly hospitality.
  7. Winter Recreation: In the winter months, the Payette River Scenic Byway transforms into a winter wonderland. Nearby ski resorts, such as Tamarack Resort and Brundage Mountain Resort, provide opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
  8. Hot Springs: Several hot springs are located in the vicinity of the byway, offering a relaxing soak amid beautiful natural surroundings. These hot springs are perfect for unwinding after a day of outdoor adventure.
  9. Fishing: The Payette River and its tributaries are known for their fishing opportunities. Anglers can try their luck at catching trout, salmon, and other fish species in the clear waters of the river.
  10. Fall Foliage: During the autumn months, the byway is adorned with vibrant fall foliage, making it an ideal destination for leaf-peeping and scenic drives.
  11. Cultural and Historical Sites: Learn about the area’s history and heritage by visiting local museums, historical markers, and interpretive centers along the byway.

The Payette River Scenic Byway is a year-round destination that offers a wide array of outdoor and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a connection with nature, this scenic byway delivers an unforgettable experience in the heart of Idaho’s beautiful Payette River Valley.

Pend Oreille Scenic Byway

The Pend Oreille Scenic Byway in Idaho is a spectacular route that meanders through the stunning landscapes of the Idaho Panhandle, with Lake Pend Oreille as its centerpiece. This byway offers travelers a blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural experiences. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Lake Pend Oreille: Lake Pend Oreille, one of the largest and deepest lakes in the Pacific Northwest, is the star attraction of this scenic byway. Its crystal-clear waters provide a backdrop for various water-based activities, including boating, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.
  2. Farragut State Park: Located along the byway, Farragut State Park is a vast recreational area with hiking trails, a disc golf course, and a swimming beach. The park also features remnants of a former naval training station, offering a glimpse into its history.
  3. Outdoor Adventure: The byway is a gateway to outdoor adventures, including hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing. The surrounding mountains and forests are teeming with opportunities for exploration.
  4. Scenic Overlooks: Numerous pullouts and scenic overlooks along the route provide breathtaking views of Lake Pend Oreille and the surrounding mountains. These spots are perfect for capturing stunning photographs and enjoying the scenery.
  5. Bird Watching: The area around Lake Pend Oreille is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The lake and its shoreline provide habitat for a diverse range of bird species, making it an excellent location for birdwatching enthusiasts.
  6. Historic Communities: The byway passes through charming towns like Sandpoint and Hope. These communities offer unique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and a chance to experience local culture.
  7. Cultural Sites: The Bonner County Historical Museum in Sandpoint and the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center in Sagle provide insights into the region’s history and aviation heritage.
  8. Seasonal Activities: Depending on the season, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities. In winter, Schweitzer Mountain Resort offers skiing and snowboarding, while summer brings scenic chairlift rides and hiking trails with stunning views.
  9. Lake Cruises: Take a scenic boat cruise on Lake Pend Oreille to get a different perspective of the lake and its surroundings. Several tour operators offer narrated cruises.
  10. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, elk, bald eagles, and ospreys, which are frequently spotted in the area.
  11. Fall Foliage: In the autumn months, the byway is ablaze with the vibrant colors of fall foliage, making it an excellent destination for leaf-peeping and scenic drives.
  12. Waterfront Dining: Enjoy delicious cuisine at waterfront restaurants and cafes in Sandpoint, where you can savor a meal with views of the lake.

The Pend Oreille Scenic Byway is a year-round destination that offers a wide range of recreational and cultural experiences. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventure, relaxation, or immersing yourself in local culture, this scenic byway invites you to explore the natural beauty of Idaho’s Panhandle region.

Pioneer Historic Byway

The Pioneer Historic Byway in Idaho is a journey through the state’s rich history, taking travelers on a path that explores the heritage of the early pioneers and settlers who ventured into this rugged and beautiful land. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Towns: The byway passes through several historic towns and communities, including Montpelier, Paris, and Georgetown. These towns offer a glimpse into Idaho’s past with well-preserved architecture, museums, and interpretive centers.
  2. Oregon Trail Interpretive Center: Located in Montpelier, this center provides a comprehensive look at the Oregon Trail and the pioneer experience. Interactive exhibits, artifacts, and guided tours offer an educational and immersive experience.
  3. Bear Lake: Known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies” due to its stunning blue waters, Bear Lake is a prominent feature along the byway. Visitors can enjoy water sports, fishing, and relaxing on the sandy beaches.
  4. Pioneer Cemetery: The Pioneer Cemetery in Montpelier is the resting place of early pioneers and settlers. It offers a serene and reflective atmosphere, and some of the headstones provide insights into the challenges faced by the pioneers.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The byway is surrounded by opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Nearby Bear Lake State Park provides additional opportunities for picnicking, boating, and wildlife watching.
  6. Georgetown Summit: As you traverse the byway, you’ll reach the Georgetown Summit, which offers panoramic views of the Bear Lake Valley and the surrounding mountains. It’s an excellent spot for photography and taking in the scenery.
  7. Local Cuisine: The region is known for its delicious local cuisine, including Bear Lake raspberries and the famous Bear Lake “Raspberry Shake.” Many roadside stands and cafes offer these tasty treats.
  8. Scenic Drives: The byway itself is a scenic drive, with views of the rolling hills, farmlands, and the lake. The drive is particularly stunning during the changing seasons, such as fall foliage.
  9. Bear Lake National Wildlife Refuge: Located near the byway, this refuge is a haven for birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts. It provides habitat for waterfowl, migratory birds, and other wildlife species.
  10. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you might have the opportunity to participate in local festivals and events celebrating the region’s history and culture.
  11. Photography Opportunities: The Pioneer Historic Byway offers numerous opportunities for photographers to capture the beauty of rural Idaho, from historic buildings to scenic vistas.
  12. Quiet and Serene Atmosphere: For those seeking a peaceful and tranquil road trip experience, the byway’s rural setting and small-town charm provide the perfect backdrop.

The Pioneer Historic Byway in Idaho is more than just a scenic drive; it’s a journey through time that allows travelers to connect with the pioneers who settled this rugged frontier. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventure, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of rural Idaho, this byway offers a unique and enriching experience.

Western Heritage Historic Byway

The Western Heritage Historic Byway is a 47-mile route that meanders through sagebrush and canyon along the Snake River in southwestern Idaho. A panoramic view of the Owyhee Mountains lends itself to bird watching—specifically, birds of prey that are protected in the area. These special avian species migrate into the deep canyon of the Snake River and are active March to late June. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (NCA) aims to preserve the wildlife habitat not only for birds of prey, but also the hawks, owls, eagles and falcons that arrive each spring to mate and raise their young.

Originating in Wyoming, Snake River ambles across southern Idaho before turning north along the Idaho-Oregon border. Here it enters Washington and flows west to the Columbia River. At 1,078 miles long, Snake River is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, and the largest North American river that drains into the Pacific Ocean. An important source of agricultural irrigation, the river is also known for recreation, most notably for salmon fishing. The route lends itself to hiking and boating as well.

The Snake River Canyon rim is a scenic 10-mile stretch of developed trails throughout Twin Falls. Visitors can witness BASE jumpers take a plunge from the Perrine Bridge while kayakers navigate the river below. Constructed in 1901, Swan Falls Dam is the oldest hydroelectric dam on the Snake River. Visit the Swan Falls Dam Historic Powerhouse and Museum to learn about its history. Snake River is also home to Celebration Park, an archaeological park that reveals petroglyphs 100 to 1,000 years old, buried in huge basalt melon gravels deposited by the historic Bonneville flood. Stop for a walking tour of historic Guffey Railroad Bridge to hear early area mining and railroad stories.

The Owyhee County Museum in Murphy tells the life of miners, ranchers and farmers from early Southern Idaho. Eight miles south of Kuna is Initial Point, a small volcanic remnant known as the originating point for the first government survey of Idaho. The butte rises roughly 350 feet out of the Snake River Plain; once powerful enough to shift the river’s course from its lava flow. Also within Kuna is Indian Creek, offering small whitewater chutes and moderate waves for surfing. A trail system also extends from the creek.

More great scenic drives in Idaho:

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Illinois Byways

Exploring Illinois Scenic Byways: Journeys through Prairie Beauty

Illinois, often celebrated for its iconic cities and bustling urban life, also hides a treasure trove of natural beauty within its heartland. The state’s scenic byways offer travelers a chance to escape the hustle and bustle, immersing themselves in the charm of the Illinois prairie. These roadways wind through landscapes that showcase the state’s diverse scenery, from rolling hills to tranquil lakeshores, historic sites to vibrant small towns. We invite you to embark on a journey through the Land of Lincoln’s scenic byways, where every mile promises breathtaking vistas, cultural discoveries, and a deep connection with the heartland’s rich heritage. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a scenic escape, Illinois scenic byways offer something special for every traveler.

Illinois has seven scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Great River Road

The Great River Road in Illinois is a picturesque route that follows the course of the mighty Mississippi River, offering travelers a chance to explore the state’s natural beauty, history, and cultural heritage. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Scenic River Views: The Great River Road provides unparalleled views of the Mississippi River. The river’s meandering course, expansive waters, and lush riverbanks create a stunning backdrop for your journey.
  2. Eagle Watching: Illinois is home to a significant population of bald eagles, and the byway offers excellent opportunities for eagle watching, especially during the winter months when these majestic birds congregate along the river.
  3. Historic River Towns: The byway passes through charming historic towns such as Galena, Alton, and Quincy. These towns are rich in history and offer attractions like historic architecture, museums, and quaint shops.
  4. Lincoln’s Legacy: Springfield, the capital of Illinois, is part of the Great River Road and is home to numerous Lincoln-related sites, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.
  5. Cahokia Mounds: This UNESCO World Heritage Site preserves the remains of an ancient Native American city. Visitors can explore the mounds, interpretive center, and learn about the Mississippian culture that once thrived here.
  6. Wine Country: The byway passes through the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, where you can visit vineyards and wineries to sample local wines and enjoy scenic views of the rolling hills.
  7. Outdoor Recreation: The Mississippi River and its surroundings offer opportunities for outdoor activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and birdwatching. State parks and conservation areas along the route provide places to explore nature.
  8. Locks and Dams: Witness the workings of the river’s navigation system at locks and dams along the route, where you can see barges being raised or lowered.
  9. Lewis and Clark History: Learn about the famous explorers Lewis and Clark, who launched their expedition in Illinois. Visit interpretive centers and monuments that commemorate their journey.
  10. Scenic Overlooks: Numerous overlooks and parks along the byway provide vantage points for capturing stunning photographs of the river, bluffs, and sunsets.
  11. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend cultural festivals, art shows, and music events in the river towns.
  12. Culinary Delights: Savor regional cuisine at local restaurants and enjoy dishes that highlight the flavors of the Midwest.

The Great River Road in Illinois offers a diverse range of experiences, from exploring history to connecting with nature. Whether you’re interested in historic sites, outdoor adventures, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty of the Mississippi River, this byway provides a memorable road trip through the heartland of Illinois.

Historic National Road

The Historic National Road in Illinois, often referred to as U.S. Route 40, is a historic highway that stretches across the state, offering travelers a glimpse into the past and a journey through charming towns and scenic landscapes. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Significance: The Historic National Road is often referred to as the “Road that Built the Nation” because it was the first federally funded highway in the United States. Traveling along this route allows you to walk in the footsteps of early pioneers and settlers.
  2. Historic Towns: The byway passes through several historic towns, including Vandalia, Greenville, and Effingham. These towns are filled with well-preserved architecture, museums, and sites that reflect the region’s history.
  3. Cumberland Trail: The byway is part of the Cumberland Trail, a scenic and historic route that stretches from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River. It offers opportunities for hiking and exploring the natural beauty of the region.
  4. Covered Bridges: As you travel along the route, you’ll encounter charming covered bridges, such as the Sugar Creek Covered Bridge in Glenarm. These bridges harken back to a bygone era and make for excellent photo opportunities.
  5. Cultural Attractions: Explore cultural attractions like the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, the National Road Interpretive Center in Vandalia, and the Cross at the Crossroads in Effingham, which is one of the largest crosses in the world.
  6. Lincoln Connections: The byway connects with other historic sites related to Abraham Lincoln, including the Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site and the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway.
  7. Scenic Countryside: The Historic National Road traverses picturesque countryside with rolling hills, open farmland, and rural landscapes. The route is particularly beautiful during the changing seasons.
  8. Roadside Attractions: Discover quirky and unique roadside attractions, including vintage diners, antique shops, and old-fashioned service stations.
  9. Historic Inns and Motels: Experience the charm of historic inns and motels along the route, many of which have been in operation for decades and offer a glimpse into the past.
  10. Recreational Opportunities: Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching at state parks and recreation areas near the byway.
  11. Small-Town Atmosphere: The byway takes you through small towns where you can experience genuine Midwestern hospitality, dine at local eateries, and engage with friendly locals.
  12. Preservation Efforts: The byway is a testament to preservation efforts that have maintained the character and historic charm of the road, allowing modern travelers to appreciate its heritage.

The Historic National Road in Illinois offers a nostalgic and scenic journey through the heart of the state. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor exploration, or simply taking a leisurely drive through the countryside, this byway provides a unique and enriching road trip experience.

Historic Route 66  

Historic Route 66 in Illinois is a legendary highway that has captured the hearts of travelers for generations. This iconic route is known for its retro charm, roadside attractions, and a deep connection to American history. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Classic Roadside Motels: Route 66 is famous for its classic, neon-lit motels that harken back to the golden era of American road trips. Many of these vintage accommodations have been lovingly restored, offering travelers a chance to experience the nostalgia of a bygone era.
  2. Muffler Men: Keep an eye out for the towering “Muffler Men” statues that dot Route 66. These whimsical fiberglass giants are a unique feature of the road and make for great photo opportunities.
  3. Historic Diners and Cafes: Enjoy a meal at historic diners and cafes that have been serving hungry travelers for decades. These establishments often feature hearty, all-American fare and friendly service.
  4. Lincoln’s Legacy: Route 66 intersects with several sites related to Abraham Lincoln, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield and the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
  5. Cozy Corner Drive-In: Located in Springfield, this iconic drive-in restaurant is famous for its chili dogs and milkshakes. It’s a must-visit for anyone traveling Route 66 through Illinois.
  6. Shea’s Gas Station Museum: In Springfield, Shea’s Gas Station Museum is a restored 1926 service station that provides a glimpse into the early days of automobile travel.
  7. Historic Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum: Located in Pontiac, this museum celebrates the history and culture of Route 66 with exhibits, memorabilia, and a Hall of Fame honoring those who contributed to the road’s legacy.
  8. Pig Hip Restaurant: In Broadwell, you’ll find the Pig Hip Restaurant, known for its quirky name and delicious pork tenderloin sandwiches.
  9. Giant Artifacts: Look for giant-sized roadside attractions, such as the giant rocking chair in Atlanta and the Paul Bunyan statue in Elkhart. These oversized landmarks add a touch of whimsy to the journey.
  10. Murals and Wall Art: Many towns along Route 66 in Illinois feature colorful murals and wall art that depict the history and culture of the region. These murals are often found on the sides of buildings and provide a unique backdrop for photos.
  11. Historic Bridges: Cross over historic bridges along the route, such as the Chain of Rocks Bridge in Madison and the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis. These bridges offer scenic views of the Mississippi River.
  12. Scenic Drives: Route 66 in Illinois takes you through a variety of landscapes, from urban areas to rural countryside. The road offers scenic drives with opportunities for enjoying the changing scenery.

Route 66 in Illinois is a nostalgic journey through the heartland of America, where you can relive the romance of the open road and discover the history and charm of this iconic highway. Whether you’re a history buff, a vintage enthusiast, or simply seeking a classic American road trip experience, Route 66 in Illinois delivers a memorable adventure.

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway offers travelers a captivating journey through the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and history of the Illinois River Valley. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Scenic River Views: As the byway’s name suggests, it provides breathtaking views of the Illinois River and its winding course. The river is the focal point of the journey, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, and wildlife watching.
  2. Starved Rock State Park: One of Illinois’ most iconic state parks, Starved Rock offers hiking trails that lead to stunning overlooks, waterfalls, and canyons. It’s a haven for nature enthusiasts and photographers.
  3. Historic Sites: Discover historic sites like Fort St. Louis, a French fort from the 17th century, and the Hegeler-Carus Mansion in LaSalle, a beautifully preserved mansion from the Gilded Age.
  4. Museums and Interpretive Centers: Explore educational attractions like the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center in Ottawa and the Reddick Mansion and Gardens in Ottawa, which provide insights into the region’s history and ecology.
  5. Scenic Overlooks: The byway boasts numerous scenic overlooks, including Lover’s Leap Overlook, Buffalo Rock State Park Overlook, and others that provide panoramic vistas of the river valley.
  6. Birdwatching: The Illinois River Valley is a designated “Important Bird Area,” making it a hotspot for birdwatching. You can spot a wide variety of waterfowl, raptors, and migratory birds in the area.
  7. Recreational Opportunities: The byway offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, picnicking, and camping in several state parks and conservation areas.
  8. Wildlife Viewing: In addition to birdwatching, the region is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, foxes, beavers, and more. Keep your eyes peeled for these creatures during your journey.
  9. Fall Foliage: The byway is particularly stunning during the autumn months when the foliage bursts into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold, making it a prime destination for leaf-peeping.
  10. Historic River Towns: Explore charming river towns like Ottawa, Peru, and Henry, where you can stroll along historic Main Streets, dine at local restaurants, and visit boutique shops.
  11. Culinary Delights: Savor regional cuisine at farm-to-table restaurants, wineries, and craft breweries along the byway. Be sure to try local specialties like catfish and other fresh catches.
  12. Nature Preserves: The byway passes through several natural areas and preserves that protect the region’s unique ecosystems and provide opportunities for nature lovers to observe native plants and wildlife.

The Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway offers a rich blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a deeper connection with the heartland of Illinois. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, history, or simply taking in the scenic views, this byway promises an enriching and unforgettable journey through the Illinois River Valley.

Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway in Illinois is a historic route that invites travelers to follow in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln and experience a diverse range of attractions and landscapes. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Lincoln Heritage: The Lincoln Highway is named after Abraham Lincoln, and it passes through towns and sites associated with the 16th President of the United States. This includes his hometown of Springfield, where you can explore the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and his tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery.
  2. Historic Towns: The byway traverses numerous charming towns, each with its own unique character and history. Some of these towns, like Rochelle and Dixon, are known for their Lincoln-related sites and other historic attractions.
  3. Museums and Interpretive Centers: Along the route, you’ll find museums and interpretive centers that delve into the history of the Lincoln Highway, its impact on transportation, and the stories of the people who traveled it.
  4. Joliet: The Lincoln Highway begins in Joliet, where you can explore the Route 66 Visitor Center and learn about the history of this iconic highway, as well as its connections to the Lincoln Highway.
  5. Scenic Drives: The byway offers scenic drives through rural landscapes, small towns, and farmlands, providing a glimpse of the heartland of America.
  6. Murals and Public Art: Many towns along the Lincoln Highway feature colorful murals, sculptures, and public art installations that celebrate the history and culture of the region.
  7. Historic Bridges: Cross over historic bridges that date back to the early 20th century, showcasing the architectural and engineering marvels of the time.
  8. Dining and Local Cuisine: Savor classic American diner fare, regional specialties, and farm-to-table cuisine at local restaurants and eateries along the byway.
  9. Roadside Attractions: Discover quirky and unique roadside attractions, such as the World’s Largest Lincoln Statue in Lincoln, Illinois, and the Birthplace of Standard Time Monument in Chicago Heights.
  10. Preservation Efforts: The Lincoln Highway Association and local communities have made significant efforts to preserve and promote the history of the Lincoln Highway, ensuring that its legacy continues to be celebrated.
  11. Outdoor Recreation: The byway provides opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching in parks and natural areas along the route.
  12. Fall Foliage: Experience the vibrant colors of autumn along the byway as the trees change into a tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows.

The Lincoln Highway in Illinois offers a captivating journey through history, culture, and picturesque landscapes. Whether you’re interested in exploring Lincoln’s legacy, experiencing small-town America, or simply taking a leisurely drive through the heartland, this historic route promises a memorable and enriching road trip experience.

Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway

The Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway in Illinois is a picturesque route that showcases the confluence of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers, offering travelers a blend of natural beauty, history, and outdoor recreation. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Confluence of Rivers: Witness the mesmerizing meeting point of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers at the confluence viewpoint in Hartford. It’s a stunning sight where the waters of these mighty rivers come together.
  2. Lewis and Clark Expedition: The byway follows the path of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and you can visit several sites related to their historic journey, including Camp River Dubois State Historic Site and the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site.
  3. Pere Marquette State Park: Explore Illinois’ largest state park, Pere Marquette, which offers hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and opportunities for birdwatching and picnicking. The park’s lodge is a rustic gem.
  4. Biking and Hiking: The byway features bike trails, including the Sam Vadalabene Bike Trail, which offers a scenic ride along the riverbanks. There are also hiking trails that lead to blufftop vistas.
  5. Grafton: This charming river town is known for its shops, restaurants, and wineries. It’s a great place to relax, enjoy a meal with a river view, and explore its vibrant arts community.
  6. Alton: Visit Alton, where you can explore its historic downtown, visit the Alton Museum of History and Art, and learn about the region’s abolitionist history. The town is also known for its riverboat casinos.
  7. Riverboat Cruises: Experience the river from a different perspective by taking a riverboat cruise, offering narration about the history and ecology of the rivers.
  8. Eagle Watching: The byway is renowned for its bald eagle-watching opportunities, especially during the winter months when these majestic birds migrate to the area. The Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge is a prime spot for eagle viewing.
  9. Scenic Overlooks: Enjoy panoramic views of the river valleys from several scenic overlooks, including the Brussels Ferry Crossing Overlook and the McAdams Peak Overlook.
  10. Historic Sites: Explore historic sites and landmarks along the route, such as the historic Elsah Village and the Benjamin Godfrey Mansion, which reflect the area’s rich heritage.
  11. Culinary Delights: Savor local cuisine at riverside restaurants and wineries, where you can indulge in regional dishes and wines.
  12. Art and Culture: Discover local art galleries, craft shops, and cultural events that celebrate the creativity of the region’s artists and artisans.

The Meeting of the Great Rivers National Scenic Byway is a dynamic and diverse route that offers a blend of natural wonders, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply taking in the beauty of the river landscapes, this scenic byway provides a memorable and enriching road trip experience.

Ohio River Scenic Byway

The Ohio River National Scenic Byway in Illinois offers travelers a chance to explore the scenic beauty, history, and cultural heritage of the Ohio River Valley. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Scenic River Views: The byway provides stunning vistas of the Ohio River, which winds its way through the region. The river’s calm waters, lush riverbanks, and scenic bluffs create a picturesque backdrop for your journey.
  2. Historic Towns: The byway passes through charming historic towns like Metropolis and Cairo, each with its own unique character and stories to tell. Explore their Main Streets, visit local museums, and discover their rich history.
  3. Cave-in-Rock State Park: This state park is home to the famous Cave-in-Rock, a natural limestone cave that has served as a shelter and hideout for outlaws throughout history. The park offers hiking trails and river views.
  4. Fort Massac State Park: Visit this historic site in Metropolis, where you can explore a reconstructed 18th-century fort, learn about the region’s colonial history, and enjoy picnicking and outdoor recreation.
  5. Shawnee National Forest: The byway skirts the edges of the Shawnee National Forest, a vast wilderness area with opportunities for hiking, camping, and exploring unique geological features like Garden of the Gods and Rim Rock.
  6. Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site: In Metropolis, you can visit the reconstructed law offices where Abraham Lincoln practiced law before becoming President. It’s a significant piece of Lincoln’s legal and political history.
  7. Birdwatching: The Ohio River Valley is a haven for birdwatchers, with opportunities to spot a wide variety of waterfowl and migratory birds in the region’s wetlands and forests.
  8. Outdoor Recreation: Enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, hiking, and picnicking in state parks and natural areas along the byway.
  9. Civil War History: Learn about the Civil War history of the region, as it played a strategic role during the conflict. Explore Cairo’s history as a Union stronghold and visit relevant historic sites.
  10. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to attend local festivals and events that celebrate the culture, music, and heritage of the Ohio River Valley.
  11. Antique Shops and Local Artisans: Discover antique shops, craft stores, and art galleries in the charming river towns, where you can find unique treasures and support local artisans.
  12. Scenic Drives: The byway itself offers beautiful drives along the river, providing ample opportunities for taking in the scenic beauty and capturing memorable photographs.

The Ohio River National Scenic Byway in Illinois is a road trip through a region rich in history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage. Whether you’re interested in exploring history, enjoying outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing by the river, this byway promises a memorable and enriching journey through the Ohio River Valley.

Another great scenic drive in Illinois:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Indiana Byways

Indiana’s Scenic Byways: Exploring the Hoosier State’s Hidden Treasures

Nestled in the heart of the Midwest, Indiana boasts a surprising wealth of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and picturesque landscapes. Beyond the bustling cities and industrial centers lies a network of scenic byways that wind through charming towns, lush forests, and tranquil lakeshores. These roadways offer travelers a chance to escape the urban hustle and immerse themselves in the serene charm of the Hoosier State. We invite you to embark on a journey through Indiana’s scenic drives, where every turn of the road reveals hidden gems, historic landmarks, and a deep connection with the state’s rich history. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, or simply seeking a scenic escape, Indiana’s scenic byways promise an unforgettable exploration of the state’s diverse and captivating landscapes.

Indiana has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Historic National Road

The Historic National Road in Indiana, also known as U.S. Route 40, is a historic highway that traverses the state, offering travelers a glimpse into the past and a journey through charming towns and scenic landscapes. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Significance: The Historic National Road holds a special place in American history as one of the country’s earliest federally funded highways. Traveling along this route allows you to follow in the footsteps of early pioneers and settlers.
  2. Historic Towns: The byway passes through several historic towns, including Richmond, Centerville, and Cambridge City. These towns feature well-preserved architecture, museums, and sites that reflect the region’s history.
  3. Interstate Historic Sites: Explore sites related to Abraham Lincoln, including his boyhood home in Cambridge City and other historic sites connected to his life and legacy.
  4. Vibrant Main Streets: Many towns along the byway have vibrant Main Streets with antique shops, boutiques, and local restaurants serving regional cuisine.
  5. Covered Bridges: The byway features picturesque covered bridges, such as the historic Huddleston Farmhouse Covered Bridge in Cambridge City. These bridges are iconic symbols of rural America.
  6. Quirky Attractions: Discover unique roadside attractions like the world’s largest collection of paint can art at the Antique Tool Museum in Cambridge City and the 1920s-era Madonna of the Trail statue in Richmond.
  7. Historic Inns and Motels: Experience the charm of historic inns and motels along the route, many of which have been in operation for decades and offer a glimpse into the past.
  8. Outdoor Recreation: Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching at state parks and recreation areas near the byway.
  9. Culinary Delights: Savor regional cuisine at local restaurants and diners, where you can sample dishes that highlight the flavors of Indiana.
  10. Scenic Drives: The byway takes you through picturesque landscapes, from rolling hills and farmlands to charming small towns, offering opportunities for leisurely drives and scenic views.
  11. Preservation Efforts: The Historic National Road Association and local communities have made significant efforts to preserve and promote the history of the byway, ensuring that its legacy continues to be celebrated.
  12. Local Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you might have the opportunity to participate in local festivals and events that celebrate the region’s heritage and culture.

The Historic National Road in Indiana is not just a road; it’s a gateway to the state’s past and an opportunity to experience the spirit of the pioneers and settlers who shaped this land. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an antique hunter, or simply looking for a scenic drive through Indiana’s charming countryside, this byway offers a unique and enriching road trip experience.

 

Indiana’s Historic Pathways National Scenic Byway

Indiana’s Historic Pathways and the Buffalo Trace route pass through sixteen counties and numerous communities. It originates in the east in two major urban areas (Cincinnati, OH and Louisville, KY), and both routes end at Vincennes, one of Indiana’s most historic cities. Travelers along the Byway experience natural landscapes of hills, valleys, and agricultural fields, as well as small-town main streets, unique architecture, metropolitan communities, and river life.

Visitors can explore history and architecture at historic sites like Howard Steamboat Museum, Hillforest Victorian House Museum, Veraestau Historic Site, and Culbertson Mansion State Historic Site. If you’re a history buff, don’t miss Indiana’s oldest city, Vincennes, which was the capital of the Indiana Territory before the state was created. This historic town is now home to the Indiana Military Museum, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, Vincennes State Historic Sites, and Grouseland, home of William Henry Harrison, first governor of the Indiana Territory and ninth president of the United States. The byway is also home to several covered bridges, including the Medora Covered Bridge, which claims the title of the longest historic covered bridge in the United States.

Step back in time and stay in unique world-class accommodations like French Lick Resort & Casino and West Baden Springs Resort. Or tour Schimpff’s Confectionery, a 130-year-old candy shop and museum in Jeffersonville famous for their old-fashioned candies. Indiana’s Historic Pathways also has lots of unique family activities like train rides aboard the French Lick Scenic Railway, feeding giraffes and elephants at Wilstem Ranch, and exploring the fossil beds of Falls of the Ohio State Park.

Looking for adventure? We have you covered with plenty and state and national forests, rivers, caves, wildlife refuges, and attractions like Paoli Peak, Perfect North Slopes, and Lawrenceburg Speedway. Our unique cave system is home to Indiana Caverns, the longest cave in the state, and Marengo Cave, a US National Landmark, among many others.

Ohio River Scenic Byway

The Ohio River Scenic Byway in Indiana offers travelers a captivating journey along the picturesque Ohio River and through the state’s historic river towns. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Scenic River Views: As the name suggests, the byway provides stunning vistas of the Ohio River. The tranquil waters and lush riverbanks create a serene backdrop for your journey.
  2. Historic Towns: Explore charming historic towns along the route, including New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Madison. These towns boast well-preserved architecture, antique shops, and cultural attractions.
  3. Madison: Known as the “Prettiest Small Town in America,” Madison is a highlight of the byway. Stroll along the historic district’s brick-lined streets, admire its 19th-century architecture, and visit the many boutique shops and galleries.
  4. Historic Districts: The byway passes through several historic districts, such as the Madison Historic District and the New Albany Downtown Historic District, where you can immerse yourself in the region’s rich history.
  5. Falls of the Ohio State Park: Discover the Falls of the Ohio State Park, home to a unique fossil bed that offers insight into prehistoric life. The park also features hiking trails and scenic overlooks of the river.
  6. Outdoor Recreation: Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching in state parks and natural areas along the route.
  7. Festivals and Events: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to participate in local festivals and events that celebrate the region’s culture and heritage.
  8. Culinary Delights: Savor regional cuisine at riverside restaurants and eateries, where you can indulge in dishes that highlight the flavors of Indiana.
  9. Scenic Drives: The byway offers picturesque drives along the river, providing plenty of opportunities for taking in the beauty of the Ohio River Valley.
  10. Riverside Activities: The Ohio River invites visitors to enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, and riverfront picnics. You can also take riverboat cruises to learn about the history and ecology of the river.
  11. Museums and Interpretive Centers: Explore museums and interpretive centers that offer insights into the history of the Ohio River, its role in transportation, and the communities that have thrived along its banks.
  12. Art and Culture: Discover local art galleries, craft shops, and cultural events that celebrate the creativity of the region’s artists and artisans.

The Ohio River Scenic Byway in Indiana combines natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a leisurely road trip through the picturesque Ohio River Valley. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply taking in the scenic views, this byway promises a memorable and enriching journey through the heart of the Hoosier State.

Whitewater Canal Scenic Byway

The Whitewater Canal Scenic Byway in Indiana offers travelers a delightful journey through the state’s scenic countryside, historic sites, and charming towns. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Whitewater Canal State Historic Site: The byway’s namesake, the Whitewater Canal, is a historic feat of engineering. Visit the Whitewater Canal State Historic Site in Metamora to learn about the canal’s construction and importance in the 19th century.
  2. Metamora: This picturesque canal town is a highlight of the byway, known for its well-preserved historic district. Explore quaint shops, dine at local restaurants, and experience a bygone era through horse-drawn canal boat rides.
  3. Whitewater Gorge Park: Enjoy outdoor recreation in the Whitewater Gorge Park, which offers hiking trails, picnicking areas, and scenic overlooks of the Whitewater River.
  4. Brookville Lake: Discover Brookville Lake, a large reservoir perfect for boating, fishing, and water-based activities. The lake’s scenic beauty and recreational opportunities make it a popular destination along the byway.
  5. Historic Architecture: The byway is dotted with historic architecture, including 19th-century homes, barns, and mills. Keep an eye out for charming, well-preserved structures that evoke a sense of Indiana’s past.
  6. Antique Shops: The byway passes through areas known for their antique shops, making it a great place to hunt for unique treasures and collectibles.
  7. Outdoor Activities: Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and birdwatching along the byway and in nearby state parks and natural areas.
  8. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend local festivals and events that celebrate the region’s culture and history.
  9. Local Cuisine: Savor regional cuisine at local restaurants and cafes, where you can indulge in dishes that feature fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
  10. Scenic Drives: The byway offers leisurely drives through rolling hills, farmlands, and wooded areas, providing ample opportunities for taking in the natural beauty of the region.
  11. Museums and Interpretive Centers: Explore museums and interpretive centers that provide insights into the history of the Whitewater Canal, its impact on the region, and the people who lived and worked along its banks.
  12. Whitewater Valley Railroad: Experience a journey back in time with a ride on the Whitewater Valley Railroad, which offers scenic train rides and special events throughout the year.

The Whitewater Canal Scenic Byway in Indiana combines history, natural beauty, and small-town charm to create a road trip experience that is both enriching and delightful. Whether you’re interested in exploring history, enjoying outdoor adventures, or simply taking in the scenic views, this byway promises an enjoyable journey through the heart of Indiana’s countryside.

More great scenic drives in Indiana:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Iowa Byways

Journey Through Iconic America: Discovering Iowa’s Diverse Byways

Iowa’s byways offer visitors journeys into iconic America. Diverse and rugged glacier-carved landscapes, shaped over thousands of years, flow seamlessly into vast flat plains and farmsteads sprinkled across rolling hills reminiscent of a Grant Wood painting. Iowa’s cultural heritage plays a major role on all fourteen byways, boasting hundreds of historic sites, state and county parks, national landmarks, and interpretive centers, each telling Iowa’s stories from the first Native Americans through European immigrants to modern times.

Expect the unexpected along Iowa’s byways. Trace the footsteps of Lewis and Clark. Explore six miles through geologic formations at Maquoketa Caves State Park. Ride your bike thirteen stories high. Marvel at mounds built by prehistoric cultures.

Iowa’s scenic drives and byways follow the road less traveled through a beautiful and remote countryside that is interspersed with small historic towns that each boast authentic character, local foods and hidden gems that can’t be found anywhere else.

Iowa has three scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Great River Road

Follow the mighty Mississippi River between Iowa’s southern and northern borders on the Iowa portion of the Great River Road. On this All-American Road, you will find world-class vistas, charming river towns, magnificent limestone bluffs, and a working river. Part of a 3,000-mile-long network of federal, state and county roads, the Great River Road stretches the length of the river from Lake Itasca in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

The views of the river are ever changing along the 328-mile route in Iowa. You may be looking down from the bluff at a panoramic scene or be right on the riverfront where you can dip your toes in the water. One constant as you travel this world-renowned route is the stories you will hear of the Mighty Mississippi and the nation it helped build.

Here are some of the best features of the Great River Road in Iowa:

  1. Prehistoric Native American Mounds: It’s hard to escape discovering history on the Great River Road because people have inhabited the Mississippi River valley for thousands of years. You’ll find the evidence of prehistoric Native Americans at Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa and Toolesboro Indian Mounds about seven miles east of Wapello.
  2. Living History of European Settlers: You’ll also be following in the footsteps of the first Europeans to visit Iowa, French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet. Later, immigrants from Germany, Ireland, France, and Scandinavia settled into the beautiful spaces along the byway. Eighteen national interpretive centers and museums along the byway retell the histories of the people who have lived here.
  3. National Riverboat Museums: The river has also changed over the years as people have tried to tame it, mainly for transportation. A stop at one of the 11 lock and dam systems is worth your time. Some offer tours and at others you may see barges carrying their loads of corn, coal, combines, and other equipment. Learn more about transportation at one of the national riverboat museums in Dubuque, LeClaire, and Keokuk.
  4. Scenic River Vistas: Pikes Peak State Park overlooks the Mississippi River opposite the confluence of the Wisconsin River, providing spectacular views of the Mississippi River Valley from Iowa and some of the best views in the upper Midwest of the Mississippi River. A spectacular panoramic view of fifty miles of the beautiful Mississippi River valley rewards visitors who take the side trip up the 104-acre Mount Hosmer City Park, situated on a bluff 450 feet above the town of Lansing.
  5. Water Recreation: Today, you are as likely to see recreational boats as working vessels. You may spot canoes, kayaks, sailboats, fishing boats and jet skis on the water. If you’ve got a hankering to take a ride yourself, you’ll find a variety of options up and down the river, ranging from pontoon ecotours to a dinner cruise on a replica steamship.
  6. Wildlife Viewing at National Wildlife Refuges: As you travel the Great River Road, you are also following the Mississippi River Flyway, a major corridor for migratory birds. (More than 325 bird species make the round trip each year along the flyway, from breeding grounds in Canada and the northern United States to wintering grounds in Central and South America.) Two national wildlife refuges on the Mississippi River in Iowa offer safe resting and feeding habitat to ducks, geese, and other birds making their way to Canada, Mexico and beyond. The refuges and other public lands offer wildlife viewing, as well as opportunities to hunt, fish, paddle, picnic, camp, and dangle your feet in the river.
  7. Riverfront Trails: If you like your outdoor adventures a little less on the wild side, many towns have transformed their riverfronts into parks with extensive bicycling and walking trails.
  8. Charming River Towns: The tug of the river also affects businesses you’ll find along the byway. Bed and breakfasts, hotels and guest cabins are often situated with a view of the water. Restaurants feature catfish and offer outdoor decks for warm weather dining.
  9. Fall Foliage: Some of the state’s most colorful fall foliage can be found along Great River Road, especially in towns such as Marquette and McGregor.
  10. Art Galleries & Studios: Local artists are inspired by the natural beauty, and you can visit galleries and studios along the way to purchase works from watercolors and photographs to pottery and jewelry.

Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway

It’s easy to remember you’re on the Lincoln Highway with historic bridges, signs, original 1928 Lincoln Highway markers, Burma-Shave signs, and Lincoln Highway folk art around every corner. The legendary route, America’s first transcontinental improved highway, was established in 1913, beginning at Times Square in New York City and ending in Lincoln Park in San Francisco, with the center being Tama, Iowa and the Lincoln Highway Bridge.

The Byway was eventually named after Abraham Lincoln as a memorial. The highway traverses fourteen states. Today, you can follow much of the original route on Iowa’s Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, passing through dozens of small towns and some of the state’s largest cities. With so much to offer, it’s easy to see why this route has been designated as one of America’s National Scenic Byways.

Though farmland is a constant feature, the landscape is as diverse as the communities you’ll travel through on the byway’s 460 miles. From the steep bluffs of the Mississippi River to the level plains and undulating river valleys of central Iowa and to the wind-sculpted Loess Hills near the Missouri River, the views are always changing.

Here are some of the best features of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway:

  1. Lincoln Highway History: History buffs will marvel at nationally known landmarks of the Lincoln Highway, including Preston’s Gas Station in Belle Plaine, Tama’s Lincoln Highway Bridge and the Reed-Niland Corner at Colo. Throughout the byway, towns and cities have committed to preserving the character of this famous road, and travelers will find examples of historic buildings, canopy gas stations and vintage cafes, as well as roadside sculptures, murals and art. Interpretive markers, signs and museums along the route unravel the mysteries and explain the legacy of this historic road. (There are over 200 individual properties and over 340 districts that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places along the Byway corridor in Iowa alone.)
  2. Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad and Museum: All aboard the famous Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad for spectacular views of the Des Moines River Valley. For a one-of-a-kind experience, hop on the Rail Explorers‘ rail bikes to experience the tracks up close.
  3. National Wildlife Refuges: If you are ready to get out of your vehicle, there are many places for outdoor recreation, providing plenty of choices for where to go and what to do. The Byway has a national wildlife refuge on each end and one in the middle. In addition, numerous state and county parks offer camping, hunting, fishing, swimming and picnicking.
  4. High Trestle Trail: You might stretch your legs with a bike ride or hike on more than 700 miles of trails in the Byway corridor. Central Iowa has become a mecca for recreational trails with 670 miles (and counting), including the High Trestle Trail near Madrid. This 25-mile trail includes an artistic 13-story high bridge with an unforgettable view of the Des Moines River valley.
  5. College Towns: For a more leisurely stroll, wander through one of the Byway’s striking college campuses, including Iowa State University in Ames or Cornell College in Mount Vernon.
  6. Ledges State Park: Ledges State Park in Madrid is a showcase of some of the most unique and inspiring natural resources in the state of Iowa. Distinct geological features, diverse vegetation and abundant wildlife have been enticing people to the area for thousands of years.
  7. Meskwaki Tribal Museum, Tama: The Meskwaki Settlement, home to Iowa’s only resident Native American tribe, is located along the Byway. The Tribal Museum, Meskwaki Casino, and Powwow grounds are must-visits to experience just a little of this culture.
  8. Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum: The displays in the Presidential Museum in West Branch tell of the life and career of Herbert Hoover. His birthplace cottage is also on site. It is one of thirteen presidential museums operated by the National Archives and Records Administration.
  9. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art: Over 2,000 years of temporary and permanent collection exhibitions including Art in Roman Life and works by Grant Wood and Marvin Cone.

Loess Hills National Scenic Byway

Majestic views are the hallmark of a trip on the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway. Formed by deposits of very fine, windblown soil at the end of the last ice age, these are not your average hills. Spanning 15 miles at their widest and nearly 200 miles long from Sioux City, Iowa to St. Joseph, Mo., you’d have to travel to China to see any taller loess formations.

The views include panoramas of the fertile Missouri River valley farmland, forested hills and vast grasslands. Scenic overlooks are strategically placed and offer interpretive signage along with parking. The byway features a 220-mile paved main route, with an additional 185 miles of optional excursion loops that range from interstate highways to gravel roads. These roads lead you from the Missouri border to Akron and are easily accessed from Interstates 29 and 80.

  1. Outdoor Wonders: Hundreds of opportunities exist along the byway to get out and experience the Loess Hills. One popular destination is the state’s largest remnant prairie, Broken Kettle Grasslands Preserve near Sioux City. This is a great place to search for the rare flora and fauna found in the Loess Hills. The region’s state forests and preserves are also good bets, but a trip in early June to the annual Loess Hills Prairie Seminar is the best way to learn about the extraordinary natural resources found here.
  2. Birding: A must-see for birders is the 45-foot-high observation tower at Hitchcock Nature Center north of Crescent. During fall migration, the tower is staffed during daylight hours with volunteers who count hawks and other raptors on their journey south.
  3. Historic Loess Hills: The story of the Loess Hills spans thousands of years and there are plenty of stops along the byway where you can learn more about this fascinating topography. At the northern reaches, the Loess Hills Interpretive Center and Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center have interactive exhibits explaining the geology and natural history of the area. Other sites interpret Native American occupation of the Loess Hills that dates back 6,000 years.
  4. Lewis and Clark Monument and Scenic Overlook: The byway traces the route of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery, which made its way through the area in 1804 as the expedition headed northwest towards Oregon. In Sioux City, you can visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center or a 100-foot obelisk atop a bluff overlooking the Missouri River that marks the grave of Sgt. Charles Floyd, the only casualty of the Corps’ expedition.
  5. Squirrel Cage Jail: This rare 1885 three-story Victorian Gothic-style brick structure is one of only three of this type of rotary cell jails left in existence. It served as a jail between 1885 and 1969.
  6. Savor Local Wine: The soil and terrain of the Loess Hills resembles that of the world-renowned wine regions of France and Germany, and in recent years wineries have sprouted up all along the byway. The region was designated the Loess Hills District American Viticultural Area (AVA) as a specific geographic area where grapes are grown for wine and an area where soil type, climate, and elevation is clearly distinguishable from its surroundings. Unique wineries and vineyards provide many spots for wine connoisseurs and beginners alike to enjoy local wines.
  7. Loess Hills Lavender Farm: The farm offers a gift shop with handmade lavender products, teas, and luncheon options. The third weekend in July is the annual Lavender Stock where visitors can cut a lavender bundle, attend a craft class, enjoy live music, and browse the many vendor tables throughout the fields.
  8. Wabash Trace Nature Trail – Malvern Trailhead: One of Iowa’s premier trails, stretching more than sixty-two miles through southwest Iowa. Converted railroad right-of-way that runs from Council Bluffs on the north to Blanchard on the Iowa/Missouri border.

More great scenic drives in Iowa:

Planning Your Scenic Byway Adventure

Iowa’s scenic and heritage byways offer a diverse range of experiences, from the… to the rich history along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. As you plan your journey, be sure to check for current road conditions, accommodations, and dining options along the way. Additionally, take the time to explore the charming towns and historical sites that each byway connects you with.

Whether you’re seeking a leisurely drive, outdoor adventure, or a deep dive into history, Iowa’s byways have something to offer every traveler. So, buckle up, hit the road, and discover the natural beauty and cultural richness of “The Hawkeye State.”

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Iowa depends on your preferences and what you want to experience during your trip. Iowa experiences all four seasons, each offering unique opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration. Here’s a breakdown of the seasons and what you can expect:

Spring (March to May):
Spring in Iowa often has mild temperatures but can also have a lot of precipitation. The countryside is in bloom with wildflowers and tree blossoms. It’s an excellent time for birding and visiting farms to meet baby animals. Iowa’s tulip festivals are not to be missed in May!

Summer (June to August):
Summer is the best time to visit Iowa in terms of viewing its iconic farmland and corn fields. Iowa also has some of the country’s best county fairs and, of course, there’s the Iowa State Fair in August. Summer is the best time to visit Iowa for water recreation including riverboat tours, music festivals, and RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), the oldest, largest and longest recreation bicycle touring event in the world. Expect warm to hot temperatures and lots of humidity, plus the occasional spectacular thunderstorm.

 

Fall (September to November):

Autumn is a great time to visit Iowa, as temperatures begin to cool down from the summer. Colorful fall foliage stands out most in the Northwest and Northeast corners of the state. Fall festivals, including the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival, are plentiful and not to be missed. Iowa provides excellent public lands for hunting, and nowhere are corn mazes more spectacular than in Iowa!

Winter (December to February): Temperatures certainly take a dip in Iowa in the winter, especially in terms of wind chill and seasonal snow. That doesn’t stop most adventurers from enjoying the great outdoors. Snowshoeing, sledding, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing are popular activities throughout the state. It’s also an excellent time for wildlife tracking and eagle watching. Don’t miss the Color the Wind Kite Festival in Clear Lake! The holidays are particularly charming in Iowa’s small towns where visitors can cozy up in a Bed and Breakfast when they’re not busy shopping at quaint boutiques or touring art and cultural museums.

Getting There:

Iowa is served by the Des Moines International Airport, seven regional airports, and numerous municipal airports. Iowa borders the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Des Moines, the state capital, is approximately a five-hour drive from Chicago, three-and-a-half hours from Minneapolis, less than three hours from Kansas City, and two hours from Omaha.

 

Fall Foliage:

Peak fall color occurs in northern Iowa, on average, between October 7-16. Typically, peak fall color occurs progressively later the farther south you go in Iowa. Central Iowa reached peak fall color around October 15-23, with southern portions reaching their peak in the third week of October.

Fall is an especially scenic time on the Driftless Area Scenic Byway as the hardwood timbers blaze with color. One of the most photographed spots in Iowa, Pikes Peak State Park offers even more beautiful views during the fall. Hikers can get a bird’s eye view of the Loess Hills and fall foliage from the top of the 45-foot-tall observation tower at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek. The 36-mile loop of Glacial Trail Scenic Byway takes some surprising turns through historic oak savannahs, changing prairie grasses, red and golden foliage and crisp blue skies, offering a perfect fall day on the road.

Driving Tips:

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, here are some driving tips for navigating Iowa safely:

  • Buckle Up: Iowa requires all passengers in the front seats of a vehicle to wear seat belts. The law also applies to passengers in the back seats who are under age 18.
  • Be Mindful of Wildlife: One of the leading causes of crashes on Iowa roadways is wildlife, typically with deer. October, November and May are the peak months for deer collisions; however, they can occur at any time of the year. Deer travel in groups, so always look for more animals if one is seen. If an animal is encountered, and there isn’t time to stop, don’t swerve or veer as this will likely result in a more severe crash.
  • Watch for Farm Equipment: In rural areas, you may encounter slow-moving farm equipment on the road. Exercise patience and pass safely when it’s permitted.
  • Avoid Distracted Driving: Iowa’s distracted driving law prohibits the use of mobile phones and other hand-held electronic communication devices to write, send, or view an electronic message while driving. Before writing, sending, or reading a text message, email, or social media post, the vehicle must be brought to a complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway.
  • Iowa’s Move Over or Slow Down Law requires motorists to change lanes when approaching any of the following stopped vehicles displaying flashing lights:
    • Any stopped emergency, tow, recovery, maintenance, construction, solid waste, or recycling collection vehicle that has its flashing lights activated.
    • Any stopped motor vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, that is continually displaying hazard lights.
    • If a lane change is not possible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, you must slow down and be prepared to stop. While no speed is specified, it must be reasonable and proper for the existing conditions.
  • Slow-Moving Vehicles: A reflective orange triangle on the rear of a vehicle means it is traveling 35 mph or less. You may see this sign on road maintenance equipment, farm vehicles, or horse-drawn wagons in Amish communities.
  • Winter Driving: In the winter months, be prepared for potential ice and snow. Equip your vehicle with snow tires or chains if necessary and drive cautiously on slippery roads.
  • Mind the heat: Never leave children, elderly persons, dependent persons, or pets in an enclosed vehicle alone. Depending on the temperature and humidity, the inside of a vehicle can soar above 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Even on a mild, 78 degree day, the inside of a parked vehicle can reach 100 degrees in minutes. Long exposure to extreme heat may lead to a heat stroke or death. If you see someone suffering from symptoms of heat stroke, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately. In Iowa it is legal for you to break a vehicle’s window in order to provide medical attention to a person or animal trapped inside.

By following these driving tips and adhering to the rules of the road, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Iowa. Remember that road conditions can change, so stay informed and adapt to the circumstances as needed to maintain safety on your journey.

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Kansas Byways

 Exploring the Heartland’s Beauty: Kansas Scenic Byways

When one thinks of Kansas, the image that often comes to mind is wide-open prairies, amber waves of grain, and a simple, rural charm. While the state indeed boasts these iconic landscapes, Kansas has much more to offer in terms of natural beauty and cultural heritage. The Kansas Scenic Byways provide a fascinating glimpse into the diverse landscapes and historical treasures that this central U.S. state has to offer.

Kansas has two scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Flint Hills National Scenic Byway

The Flint Hills Scenic Byway, also known as Kansas Highway 177, offers travelers a unique perspective on one of the state’s most distinctive features—the Flint Hills. This 47-mile stretch winds through a region of tallgrass prairies, rolling hills, and limestone outcrops. The Flint Hills are home to one of the last remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystems in North America, and this byway showcases it beautifully. Along the route, you’ll encounter opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and exploring charming small towns like Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove, where you can learn about the Santa Fe Trail and local history.

Here are some of the best features of the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway:

  1. Tallgrass Prairie: The Flint Hills are home to one of the last remaining tallgrass prairies in North America. The byway provides an opportunity to experience the vast expanse of these native grasslands, which once covered much of the central United States.
  2. Rolling Hills: The byway winds through the rolling Flint Hills, offering scenic vistas of undulating terrain covered in tall grasses. These distinctive hills are a unique geological feature of the region and provide breathtaking views.
  3. Wildlife Viewing: The Flint Hills are teeming with wildlife, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, coyotes, and various bird species. The Konza Prairie Biological Station, near Manhattan, offers hiking trails and educational opportunities for wildlife observation.
  4. Prairie Wildflowers: During the spring and early summer, the Flint Hills burst into a riot of colors as prairie wildflowers bloom. The byway becomes a vibrant canvas of purples, yellows, and blues, providing a stunning visual treat for travelers.
  5. Historic Sites: Along the route, you’ll encounter historical markers and sites that offer insights into the region’s history and culture. Be sure to stop at the Chase County Courthouse, a stunning example of native limestone architecture.
  6. Small Town Charm: The byway passes through charming small towns like Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove, where you can experience the warm hospitality of the locals, explore quaint shops, and savor delicious local cuisine.
  7. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway offers numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking and birdwatching. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Strong City has hiking trails that take you through the heart of the tallgrass prairie.
  8. Cultural Heritage: Learn about the history of the region, including its Native American heritage and the role of the Flint Hills in the cattle ranching industry. The Symphony in the Flint Hills, an annual event, celebrates the culture and beauty of the area through music and art.
  9. Scenic Overlooks: Several designated overlooks and pull-off areas along the byway provide panoramic views of the Flint Hills landscape. These spots are perfect for taking photographs and soaking in the natural beauty.
  10. Visitor Centers: The Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve Visitor Center are excellent places to gather information about the region, its flora and fauna, and recreational opportunities.
  11. Prairie Burn Preserves: Witness controlled prairie burns, an essential part of prairie ecology, during the prescribed burn season. These burns help maintain the health of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem and are a unique sight to behold.

The Flint Hills National Scenic Byway offers a captivating journey through one of America’s most distinctive landscapes. Whether you’re interested in the natural beauty of the tallgrass prairie, the history of the region, or simply a scenic drive through rolling hills, this byway provides a memorable and enriching experience for travelers of all interests.

Wetlands & Wildlife National Scenic Byway

The Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway, located in northeast Kansas, is a picturesque route that offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore the region’s diverse wetlands, rich wildlife habitats, and cultural heritage. This 77-mile byway takes you through a landscape of wetlands, prairies, and woodlands, providing numerous attractions and outdoor experiences. Here are some of the best features of the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway:

  1. Wetland Ecosystems: The byway highlights the importance of wetland ecosystems in Kansas, particularly the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. These wetlands are critical stopover points for migratory birds, making them ideal locations for birdwatching and wildlife observation.
  2. Birdwatching Paradise: The wetlands along the byway are a haven for birdwatchers. With over 300 bird species documented in the region, including sandhill cranes, pelicans, and shorebirds, it’s a prime location for bird enthusiasts to spot both resident and migratory species.
  3. Wildlife Viewing: Beyond birds, the wetlands are home to a diverse array of wildlife. Visitors may encounter deer, bobcats, coyotes, and waterfowl while exploring the area.
  4. Nature Centers: Stop at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center in Great Bend to learn about the region’s natural history, conservation efforts, and the wildlife that call the wetlands home. The center offers educational exhibits and programs for all ages.
  5. Hiking and Nature Trails: Several hiking and nature trails wind through the wetlands and surrounding prairies. These trails provide opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the area and observe wildlife up close.
  6. Seasonal Events: Depending on the time of year, you can participate in seasonal events and festivals, such as the annual Birdwatching Festival at Cheyenne Bottoms or guided tours of the wetlands.
  7. Historical Sites: The byway takes you through communities like Hoisington, where you can explore the town’s history and visit the Hoisington Historical Museum.
  8. Scenic Drives: The Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway offers a leisurely and scenic drive through the heart of Kansas, providing opportunities to stop at designated overlooks and viewpoints to take in the beauty of the wetlands.
  9. Photography: Whether you’re an amateur or professional photographer, the byway offers endless opportunities for capturing the natural beauty of the wetlands and the wildlife that inhabit them.
  10. Camping and Picnicking: Some areas along the byway provide camping and picnicking facilities, allowing visitors to extend their stay and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
  11. Educational Signage: Throughout the byway, you’ll find interpretive signs that provide information about the region’s wildlife, ecosystems, and conservation efforts. These signs enhance the educational aspect of the journey.
  12. Sunset and Sunrise Views: The wetlands offer stunning sunrise and sunset views, with the changing colors of the sky reflected in the tranquil waters, creating a captivating sight for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

The Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway in Kansas offers a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers interested in wetland ecosystems, birdwatching, and wildlife observation. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a bird lover, or simply seeking a serene and educational journey through the heartland, this byway provides an enriching and unforgettable experience in the beauty of Kansas’s wetlands and wildlife habitats.

More great scenic drives in Kansas:

Kansas Scenic Byways offer a captivating journey through the heartland of America, revealing the state’s diverse landscapes, historical significance, and unique cultural heritage. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a scenic road trip, these byways provide a wonderful opportunity to explore the beauty and character of the Sunflower State. So, hop in your car and hit the open road to discover the hidden treasures and scenic wonders that await along Kansas’s picturesque byways.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Kansas largely depends on your interests and what you hope to experience in the state. Kansas has distinct seasons, each offering its own unique attractions and activities. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit Kansas based on the seasons:

  1. Spring (March to May):
    • Spring is a delightful time to visit Kansas when the state starts to awaken from winter.
    • Late April to early May is the prime time for wildflower viewing, especially in the Flint Hills.
    • Pleasant temperatures make outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and camping enjoyable.
    • Spring also marks the start of the festival season, with events like tulip festivals and music festivals.
  2. Summer (June to August):
    • Summer in Kansas can be hot and humid, particularly in July and August.
    • It’s an excellent time for outdoor enthusiasts who want to explore state parks, go boating on lakes, and enjoy water sports.
    • Farmers’ markets and fairs are in full swing during the summer months.
    • Tornado season is most active in late spring and early summer, so be mindful of weather conditions if you plan to visit during this time.
  3. Fall (September to November):
    • Fall is arguably the best time to visit Kansas for pleasant weather and stunning fall foliage.
    • Late September to mid-October is the peak season for viewing colorful fall foliage, particularly in the eastern part of the state and the Flint Hills.
    • Festivals celebrating harvest and the changing seasons abound in the fall.
  4. Winter (December to February):
    • Winters in Kansas can be cold, and snowfall is possible, especially in the northern and western regions.
    • While not as popular as the other seasons, winter can be a peaceful time to visit if you enjoy quiet getaways, indoor attractions, and holiday festivities.

To choose the best time for your visit, consider your preferences and the activities you’d like to enjoy. If you’re interested in outdoor adventures and experiencing the vibrant fall foliage, fall is the prime season. For those who prefer milder weather and want to avoid extreme heat or cold, spring and early summer can be ideal. Keep in mind that Kansas’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to check the local forecast before your trip and be prepared for potential weather changes.

 Getting There

Kansas is served by several international airports that offer both domestic and limited international flights. These airports are the primary gateways for travelers coming to and from Kansas. Here are the major international airports in Kansas:

  1. Kansas City International Airport (MCI): Located in Kansas City, Missouri, just across the border from Kansas, this is the largest and busiest airport serving the Kansas City metropolitan area. It offers numerous domestic flights and limited international service, primarily to destinations in Mexico and Canada.
  2. Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (ICT): Serving the largest city in Kansas, Wichita’s airport provides domestic flights to various U.S. cities. While it mainly serves domestic travelers, there may be occasional charter flights to international destinations.
  3. Garden City Regional Airport (GCK): Situated in southwest Kansas, Garden City Regional Airport offers regional flights primarily serving the local community and nearby areas. It does not have regular international flights.
  4. Hays Regional Airport (HYS): Located in north-central Kansas, Hays Regional Airport provides regional flights and does not have international service.
  5. Salina Regional Airport (SLN): Serving the city of Salina in central Kansas, this airport offers regional flights to a few destinations but does not provide international service.
  6. Manhattan Regional Airport (MHK): Manhattan, home to Kansas State University, has a regional airport with domestic flights. It does not have international service.

For international travelers, the most common approach is to fly into Kansas City International Airport (MCI) or another major U.S. gateway airport and then connect to a domestic flight to reach their final destination within Kansas. The choice of airport will depend on your specific travel plans and destination within the state. Keep in mind that flight options and routes may vary, so it’s advisable to check with airlines for the most up-to-date information on international flights to and from Kansas.

Fall Colors in Kansas

When autumn arrives in Kansas, the state transforms into a tapestry of warm, vibrant hues. While Kansas may not be as famous for its fall foliage as New England, it still offers beautiful displays of color throughout the season. Here’s what you can expect to see when chasing fall colors in Kansas:

  1. Eastern Kansas Foliage: Eastern Kansas, with its varied terrain and hardwood forests, provides some of the most striking fall foliage in the state. The region’s maples, oaks, and hickories turn shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating picturesque landscapes. Notable spots for fall color in eastern Kansas include the Kansas City metropolitan area, Lawrence, and the Flint Hills.
  2. The Flint Hills: Although often associated with tallgrass prairies, the Flint Hills region also features woodlands that come alive with fall colors. The rolling hills and limestone bluffs provide a stunning backdrop for autumn foliage, especially in places like Konza Prairie Biological Station and Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.
  3. State Parks: Kansas is home to several state parks that offer fantastic fall foliage viewing opportunities. Clinton State Park, Perry State Park, and Pomona State Park, located in eastern Kansas, provide beautiful settings for hiking, picnicking, and leaf-peeping.
  4. River Valleys: The valleys of the Kansas River and the Missouri River are known for their scenic beauty in the fall. As the leaves change, the riverside landscapes take on a golden hue. The Wyandotte County Lake Park and Kaw Point Park in Kansas City are great places to enjoy river valley views.
  5. Countryside Drives: Kansas boasts an extensive network of rural roads and scenic byways that offer delightful drives through the countryside. Consider taking a leisurely road trip along routes like the Glacial Hills Scenic Byway, the Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway, or the Flint Hills Scenic Byway for stunning fall vistas.
  6. Botanical Gardens: The Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, located in the Kansas City area, feature well-maintained gardens and wooded areas that burst with color during the fall season. It’s a great place to enjoy both cultivated and natural foliage.
  7. October Festivals: Many communities in Kansas celebrate the arrival of fall with festivals and events that showcase local culture, arts, and crafts. These festivals often coincide with the peak of fall foliage and provide a fun way to immerse yourself in the season.
  8. Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes: Fall in Kansas isn’t complete without a visit to a pumpkin patch or a corn maze. Many farms across the state offer these attractions, providing a family-friendly way to enjoy the autumn atmosphere.
  9. Sunflower Fields: While sunflowers are usually associated with summer in Kansas, their golden blooms can still be found in early fall. Check out sunflower fields and enjoy the combination of sunflowers and changing leaves.
  10. Autumn Hiking: Kansas has a variety of hiking trails that lead through forests, along rivers, and up hillsides, offering opportunities for hikers to immerse themselves in the fall colors while getting some exercise.

Keep in mind that the timing of peak fall foliage in Kansas can vary from year to year and is influenced by weather conditions. Generally, the peak season typically occurs from late September to mid-October. To make the most of your fall foliage experience in Kansas, consider checking local foliage reports and visiting at the optimal time for the best colors.

Driving Tips

Driving in Kansas can be a pleasant and straightforward experience, given the state’s well-maintained road network and generally courteous drivers. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, here are some driving tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey in the Sunflower State:

  1. Observe Speed Limits: Kansas enforces speed limits rigorously, so it’s essential to obey posted speed limits on highways, city streets, and residential areas. Be aware that speed limits can vary depending on the type of road and location.
  2. Buckle Up: Kansas law requires all occupants of a vehicle to wear seat belts, regardless of their age or seating position. Failure to do so can result in fines.
  3. Be Cautious in Inclement Weather: Kansas experiences a range of weather conditions, from thunderstorms to snowstorms. Exercise caution when driving in adverse weather and adjust your speed accordingly. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions, especially during spring and winter.
  4. Watch for Wildlife: Rural areas of Kansas are known for wildlife crossings, particularly deer. Be vigilant, especially during dawn and dusk, and reduce your speed in areas where wildlife is likely to cross the road.
  5. Mind Farm Equipment: Rural areas may have slow-moving farm equipment on the roads, especially during planting and harvesting seasons. Be patient, and only pass when it’s safe to do so.
  6. Avoid Distracted Driving: Kansas has laws against texting while driving, and distracted driving can lead to accidents. Focus on the road, and if you need to use your phone, pull over to a safe location.
  7. Drive Defensively: Always be aware of your surroundings and anticipate the actions of other drivers. Defensive driving can help you react to unexpected situations on the road.
  8. Keep an Emergency Kit: It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle, especially during winter months. Include items like a flashlight, blankets, non-perishable snacks, and basic tools.

By following these driving tips and being considerate of other road users, you can enjoy a safe and pleasant driving experience in Kansas while exploring its diverse landscapes and communities.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Kentucky Byways

Kentucky Scenic Byways: A Journey Through the Bluegrass State’s Beauty

Kentucky, known as the Bluegrass State, is a land of rolling hills, horse farms, historic sites, and natural beauty. One of the best ways to experience the diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage of Kentucky is by exploring its scenic drives and byways. These designated routes offer travelers a chance to journey through some of the most picturesque and historically significant parts of the state. Join us as we embark on a road trip through Kentucky’s scenic byways.

Kentucky has seven scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Country Music Highway

Kentucky’s Country Music Highway celebrates the birthplace of country music legends. This byway travels through the eastern part of the state and takes you to the hometowns of famous musicians like Loretta Lynn and Ricky Skaggs. Discover the musical heritage of Kentucky and enjoy live performances in the region’s music venues. This scenic byway offers travelers a unique blend of musical heritage, cultural significance, and scenic beauty. Here are some of the best features of Kentucky’s Country Music Highway National Scenic Byway:

  1. Birthplace of Country Music Legends: The byway is named after the famous musicians who were born and raised in the region. It’s often referred to as the “Country Music Highway” because of its connection to country music icons like Loretta Lynn, Ricky Skaggs, and many more.
  2. Loretta Lynn Homeplace: Visit the Loretta Lynn Homeplace in Butcher Hollow, the childhood home of the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” herself. The museum offers insights into Loretta Lynn’s life and career and allows you to explore the house where she grew up.
  3. Country Music Attractions: Along the byway, you’ll find a variety of country music attractions, including museums, music venues, and historical markers. These places pay tribute to the artists who shaped the genre and share their stories with visitors.
  4. Live Music Performances: The byway’s towns and communities often host live music performances and events, allowing you to experience the sounds of country music in the region that birthed it. Check local event listings for concerts and shows during your visit.
  5. Scenic Drives: Kentucky’s Country Music Highway offers scenic drives through the Appalachian foothills. Enjoy picturesque views of rolling hills, meandering rivers, and charming rural landscapes as you travel along the byway.
  6. Historic Small Towns: The byway takes you through historic small towns and communities that have preserved their Appalachian heritage. Explore towns like Paintsville, Prestonsburg, and Pikeville, each with its unique character and cultural offerings.
  7. Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder: Ricky Skaggs, a renowned bluegrass and country musician, hails from this region. You may have the opportunity to see Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder perform live at venues along the byway.
  8. Cultural Heritage: In addition to music, the Country Music Highway celebrates the cultural heritage of the Appalachian region. Explore local crafts, Appalachian cuisine, and the rich history of the area.
  9. Outdoor Recreation: The byway is surrounded by natural beauty, making it an excellent starting point for outdoor adventures. Hiking, fishing, and camping opportunities are available in nearby state parks and forests.
  10. Storytelling and Folklore: Immerse yourself in the storytelling and folklore of the Appalachian region. Local residents often share tales of the area’s history, legends, and traditions.
  11. Homemade Cuisine: Savor traditional Appalachian and Southern cuisine at local restaurants and diners. Don’t miss the chance to try regional specialties like fried catfish, cornbread, and biscuits with gravy.
  12. Friendly Communities: The people along the Country Music Highway are known for their warmth and hospitality. Engage with the friendly locals, and you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the culture and traditions of the region.

Kentucky’s Country Music Highway National Scenic Byway offers a unique and immersive journey through the heart of American country music. Whether you’re a fan of the genre or simply want to explore the cultural heritage and natural beauty of eastern Kentucky, this byway provides a rich and rewarding experience for travelers of all interests. So, hit the road, enjoy the music, and discover the stories of the country music legends who called this region home.

Great River Road

The Great River Road in Kentucky is a portion of the larger Great River Road National Scenic Byway, which follows the course of the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota to its delta in Louisiana. Kentucky’s section of the Great River Road provides travelers with a unique blend of scenic beauty, history, culture, and outdoor adventure. Here are some of the best features and attractions along the Great River Road in Kentucky:

  1. Ohio River Views: The Great River Road in Kentucky runs alongside the Ohio River, offering travelers stunning river views. The river, with its gentle currents and scenic banks, provides a picturesque backdrop for your journey.
  2. Historic Towns: The byway passes through historic river towns like Wickliffe, Columbus-Belmont State Park, and Paducah, each with its unique charm and historical significance. Explore well-preserved downtown areas, museums, and cultural attractions.
  3. Columbus-Belmont State Park: This state park is home to Civil War-era fortifications and a Confederate memorial. Visitors can explore the park’s historical exhibits and enjoy scenic views of the river.
  4. Paducah’s Quilt Trail: Paducah is known as a UNESCO Creative City and a hub for quilting and the fiber arts. Take a stroll through the LowerTown Arts District to see vibrant murals and quilt-inspired public art.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The Great River Road in Kentucky provides opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy picnicking, hiking, and birdwatching at state parks and wildlife areas along the route.
  6. National Quilt Museum: Located in Paducah, the National Quilt Museum is a must-visit for art and quilting enthusiasts. It showcases stunning quilt artistry and hosts exhibitions from quilters around the world.
  7. Riverboat Cruises: Some river towns along the byway offer riverboat cruises and tours, providing a unique perspective on the Ohio River and its history.
  8. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to attend cultural festivals and events in the river towns, celebrating music, arts, and local heritage.
  9. Paducah Wall to Wall Murals: Paducah’s historic downtown features a collection of murals that tell the story of the city’s past. Stroll through the streets and enjoy these outdoor works of art.
  10. Biking and Scenic Drives: The byway is a great route for biking and scenic drives. Enjoy the peaceful countryside, lush farmland, and riverfront views as you explore the region at a leisurely pace.
  11. Local Cuisine: Savor Southern and regional cuisine at local restaurants and diners. Kentucky is known for its barbecue, catfish, and comfort food, which you can enjoy during your journey.
  12. Historic Sites: Along the byway, you’ll encounter historical markers and sites that commemorate the region’s role in the Civil War and the early settlement of the Ohio River Valley.
  13. Wildlife Viewing: The Ohio River corridor is rich in wildlife. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, waterfowl, and other wildlife that call the river and its shores home.

Kentucky’s Great River Road offers travelers a diverse and engaging experience that combines scenic beauty, historical sites, cultural attractions, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or simply enjoying the tranquil beauty of the Ohio River, this scenic byway has something to offer every traveler. It’s an opportunity to explore the rich heritage and natural wonders of the region while following the course of one of America’s great rivers.

Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway

The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway in Kentucky is a historical and culturally rich route that pays homage to one of America’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln. This scenic byway takes travelers through the heart of Kentucky, where Lincoln spent his formative years. Here are some of the best features and attractions along the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway:

  1. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park: Perhaps the most iconic feature of the byway is the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. Visitors can explore the memorial building that houses a replica of Lincoln’s birth cabin, walk the Sinking Spring Farm grounds, and view the symbolic birthplace cabin.
  2. Lincoln Museum: Located in Hodgenville, the Lincoln Museum offers an in-depth look at the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. It features a collection of artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that provide insights into Lincoln’s early years in Kentucky.
  3. Historic Downtown Hodgenville: Stroll through the charming downtown area of Hodgenville, where you’ll find historic buildings, quaint shops, and local restaurants. The town embraces its Lincoln heritage, and you can discover Lincoln-themed art and historical markers.
  4. Knob Creek Farm: Located just south of Hodgenville, Knob Creek Farm is another important site in Lincoln’s early life. It’s where the Lincolns lived from ages 2 to 7. Visitors can explore the site, including the preserved Knob Creek Boyhood Home.
  5. Lincoln’s Boyhood Home at Knob Creek: This historic site features a cabin and a visitor center with exhibits about Lincoln’s time in the area. It’s a peaceful place to reflect on Lincoln’s childhood and the influence it had on his character.
  6. Historic Sites and Markers: Along the byway, you’ll encounter numerous historical markers, monuments, and sites related to Abraham Lincoln and the history of Kentucky. These markers provide additional context and insights into the region’s rich history.
  7. Scenic Drives: The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway winds through picturesque Kentucky landscapes, including rolling hills, farmland, and small towns. Enjoy leisurely drives and take in the scenic beauty of the Bluegrass State.
  8. Lincoln Day Celebrations: Depending on when you visit, you may have the opportunity to attend Lincoln Day celebrations and events in Hodgenville and nearby communities. These festivities often include reenactments, parades, and educational programs.
  9. Outdoor Recreation: The area around the byway offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching. Explore nearby state parks and natural areas to connect with the region’s natural beauty.
  10. Local Cuisine: Savor Southern and Kentucky cuisine at local restaurants and diners. Try regional specialties like fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and bourbon-infused dishes.
  11. Lincoln-related Art and Memorabilia: Hodgenville and the surrounding region feature various art installations and memorabilia dedicated to Abraham Lincoln. Explore the artistic and cultural expressions of Lincoln’s legacy.
  12. Cultural Immersion: Engage with the friendly locals to learn more about the history and culture of the area. Residents are often passionate about preserving and sharing the Lincoln heritage.

The Lincoln Heritage Scenic Highway in Kentucky is a journey through history and a celebration of the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. It offers a unique opportunity to connect with one of America’s most revered presidents and explore the region where he spent his early years. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply appreciate the natural beauty of Kentucky, this scenic byway has much to offer. It’s a memorable road trip that combines historical significance, cultural richness, and scenic charm.

Old Frankfort Pike Historic and Scenic Byway

The Old Frankfort Pike Historic and Scenic Byway in Kentucky is a picturesque route that takes travelers on a journey through the heart of the Bluegrass Region. Known for its lush horse farms, historic estates, and rolling landscapes, this byway offers a glimpse into Kentucky’s rich heritage and natural beauty. Here are some of the best features and attractions along the Old Frankfort Pike Historic and Scenic Byway:

  1. Horse Farms: The Old Frankfort Pike is often referred to as “The Horseman’s Paradise.” As you drive along the byway, you’ll encounter some of the world’s most prestigious thoroughbred horse farms, where champion racehorses are raised and trained.
  2. Keeneland Race Course: Keeneland is a world-famous racecourse and a must-visit destination along the byway. Even if you’re not there for a race, you can explore the beautiful grounds, visit the Keeneland Library, and experience the rich equestrian culture.
  3. Historic Estates: The byway is lined with historic estates and grand homes that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of these estates offer tours, providing insights into the region’s history and architecture.
  4. Scenic Beauty: The Old Frankfort Pike offers stunning vistas of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region. The rolling hills, white-board horse fences, and lush pastures create a picturesque backdrop for your journey.
  5. Distilleries: The byway is not just about horses; it’s also bourbon country. Explore nearby distilleries like Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, and Castle & Key for tours and tastings.
  6. Midway: The charming town of Midway is a delightful stop along the byway. Stroll through its historic downtown with quaint shops, restaurants, and galleries.
  7. Historic Markers: The byway features numerous historical markers that provide information about the area’s history, including its role in the Civil War, the horse industry, and the development of Kentucky as a state.
  8. Thoroughbred Center: Located near the byway in Lexington, the Thoroughbred Center offers tours that provide an inside look at the world of thoroughbred horse training.
  9. Outdoor Recreation: The Bluegrass Region offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking. Explore nearby natural areas like the Kentucky Horse Park and Raven Run Nature Sanctuary.
  10. Local Cuisine: Savor Southern and Kentucky cuisine at local restaurants and eateries. Try classic dishes like hot browns, country ham, and spoonbread while you’re in the area.
  11. Bourbon Trail Access: The Old Frankfort Pike provides easy access to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, allowing you to explore additional distilleries and bourbon-related attractions in the region.
  12. Photography Opportunities: The byway offers countless opportunities for photographers to capture the beauty of the Bluegrass Region, from sunrise over the rolling hills to the elegance of thoroughbred horses.
  13. Equine Events: Depending on when you visit, you may have the chance to attend equine events, horse shows, or races at Keeneland or other local venues.

The Old Frankfort Pike Historic and Scenic Byway in Kentucky is a journey through some of the state’s most iconic and beautiful landscapes. Whether you’re a horse enthusiast, a history buff, a bourbon connoisseur, or simply seeking a scenic drive through the heart of the Bluegrass Region, this byway offers a rich and immersive experience. It’s a road trip that combines the best of Kentucky’s cultural heritage and natural splendor.

Red River Gorge Scenic Byway

The Red River Gorge National Scenic Byway in Kentucky is a breathtaking route that winds its way through the stunning geological wonders of the Red River Gorge and Daniel Boone National Forest. Known for its rugged terrain, towering sandstone cliffs, lush forests, and outdoor recreational opportunities, this scenic byway offers an unforgettable journey through nature’s marvels. Here are some of the best features and attractions along the Red River Gorge National Scenic Byway:

  1. Natural Bridge State Resort Park: This park features the iconic Natural Bridge, a massive sandstone arch that spans 78 feet. Visitors can hike to the top for panoramic views of the gorge or explore the many trails and overlooks within the park.
  2. Hiking and Rock Climbing: The Red River Gorge is a mecca for hikers and rock climbers. With over 100 natural sandstone arches and an extensive trail system, outdoor enthusiasts can explore the gorge’s diverse landscapes and challenge themselves on world-class climbing routes.
  3. Overlooks and Scenic Vistas: The byway offers several overlooks and pull-off areas that provide breathtaking views of the rugged terrain, deep canyons, and lush forests below. Sky Bridge, Chimney Top Rock, and Courthouse Rock are some of the most popular scenic vistas.
  4. Red River: The scenic byway follows the course of the Red River, offering opportunities for picnicking, fishing, and enjoying the sights and sounds of this pristine waterway.
  5. Natural Beauty: Explore the diverse ecosystems of the Red River Gorge, from hardwood forests to sandstone cliffs. In the spring, the area comes alive with colorful wildflowers, while the fall foliage is a sight to behold.
  6. Rock Shelters and Caves: The gorge is home to numerous rock shelters and caves, some of which contain Native American rock art and artifacts. Access to these sites is restricted, but guided tours are available.
  7. Breathtaking Archways: While Natural Bridge is the most famous, the gorge is also home to other impressive natural arches and rock formations, such as Double Arch, Creation Falls, and Princess Arch.
  8. Outdoor Recreation: Beyond hiking and rock climbing, the byway provides opportunities for camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, and birdwatching.
  9. Daniel Boone National Forest: The Red River Gorge is part of the vast Daniel Boone National Forest, which offers even more outdoor recreation and exploration options. It encompasses over 708,000 acres of rugged terrain and pristine wilderness.
  10. Ecological Diversity: The gorge is known for its incredible biodiversity. It’s home to a variety of plant and animal species, including rare and endangered ones. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts will find plenty to admire.
  11. Visitor Centers: Stop by the Gladie Visitor Center or the Red River Gorge Geological Area Information Center for maps, information, and educational exhibits about the area’s geology and natural history.
  12. Starry Nights: Due to its remote location and limited light pollution, the Red River Gorge is an excellent spot for stargazing. On clear nights, the night sky comes alive with stars and celestial wonders.

The Red River Gorge National Scenic Byway in Kentucky offers a truly immersive experience in the heart of nature’s wonders. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, geological marvels, or simply a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this scenic drive has something to offer all who venture along its winding path. It’s a place where the natural world takes center stage, inviting you to explore its rugged beauty and embrace the serenity of the Red River Gorge.

Wilderness Road Heritage Highway

The Wilderness Road Heritage Highway in Kentucky is a historic and scenic byway that retraces the path of early pioneers and settlers as they ventured into the untamed wilderness of Kentucky. This highway offers travelers a chance to step back in time and experience the challenges and triumphs of those who blazed the trail westward. Here are some of the best features and attractions along the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway:

  1. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: At the eastern terminus of the byway lies Cumberland Gap, a crucial passage through the Appalachian Mountains. Explore the national historical park, hike the trails, and learn about the history of this strategic route.
  2. Daniel Boone’s Trace: The highway follows the route blazed by the legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone, who helped carve a path through the wilderness. Historical markers and interpretive signs along the way recount his adventures.
  3. Historic Sites: The byway is dotted with historic sites and landmarks that tell the story of the pioneers who settled in Kentucky. Visit places like Martin’s Station and the Wilderness Road Blockhouse for insights into early frontier life.
  4. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: The byway provides access to hiking trails, including the Wilderness Road Trail and the Ridge Trail, which offer opportunities to explore the natural beauty and rugged terrain of the region.
  5. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the byway, including deer, turkey, and a variety of bird species. The area’s natural habitats provide excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife observation.
  6. Scenic Views: The byway offers stunning scenic vistas of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. Pull over at designated overlooks to capture the beauty of the landscape with your camera.
  7. Historical Interpretation: Several visitor centers and museums along the route provide historical interpretation and exhibits that shed light on the challenges faced by early settlers and the Native American populations in the area.
  8. Pioneer Reenactments: Depending on when you visit, you may have the opportunity to witness historical reenactments and living history demonstrations that depict life on the frontier.
  9. Local Communities: Explore charming towns and communities along the byway, such as Middlesboro and Barbourville. These towns offer a glimpse into the culture and heritage of the region.
  10. Festivals and Events: Check the local event calendar for festivals and events celebrating the history and heritage of the Wilderness Road. These events often feature music, crafts, and educational programs.
  11. Craftsmanship: Discover the craftsmanship and artistic heritage of the region by visiting local artisans and craftsmen who continue traditional skills and crafts passed down through generations.
  12. Local Cuisine: Savor Appalachian and Southern cuisine at local restaurants and diners. Try regional specialties like cornbread, fried chicken, and homemade biscuits.
  13. Starry Nights: Due to its rural location, the Wilderness Road Heritage Highway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the night sky.

The Wilderness Road Heritage Highway in Kentucky offers a unique and educational journey through the history and natural beauty of the Appalachian frontier. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply enjoying the serene landscapes of the region, this byway provides a rich and meaningful experience for travelers of all interests. It’s a chance to step into the shoes of early pioneers and gain a deeper appreciation for their courage and determination in forging a path through the wilderness.

Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway

The Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway in Kentucky is a picturesque route that winds through the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. This area, situated between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural heritage. Here are some of the best features and attractions along the Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway:

  1. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area: The byway takes travelers through the heart of the Land Between the Lakes, a 170,000-acre protected area known for its diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and outdoor activities.
  2. Scenic Beauty: Enjoy stunning views of Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley as you drive along the byway. The serene lakeshores and wooded landscapes create a tranquil setting for your journey.
  3. Nature and Wildlife: The Land Between the Lakes is home to a wide range of wildlife, including deer, turkey, eagles, and migratory birds. Birdwatching and wildlife observation are popular activities in the area.
  4. Visitor Centers: Stop by the Woodlands Nature Station and the Golden Pond Visitor Center to learn about the natural and cultural history of the region. Exhibits, educational programs, and interpretive displays provide insights into the area’s ecology and heritage.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The byway offers access to a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking. Explore the numerous trails, waterways, and recreational facilities within the Land Between the Lakes.
  6. LBL Planetarium and Observatory: Located at the Golden Pond Visitor Center, the planetarium offers programs about the night sky, astronomy, and space exploration. On clear nights, the observatory allows for stargazing and celestial observation.
  7. Elk & Bison Prairie: This drive-through wildlife viewing area allows you to see elk, bison, and other wildlife up close in a natural habitat. It’s a unique opportunity to witness these majestic animals in a controlled environment.
  8. The Homeplace 1850s Working Farm: Step back in time and experience life on a 19th-century farm. Costumed interpreters demonstrate period farming techniques and activities, providing a glimpse into the region’s agricultural history.
  9. Historical Sites: Explore historical markers and sites that tell the story of the region’s Native American history, early settlement, and the impact of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
  10. Cultural Heritage: The Woodlands Trace highlights the cultural heritage of the area, including the traditions and lifestyles of the people who once called this region home.
  11. Water Activities: Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley offer opportunities for swimming, boating, kayaking, and fishing. You can also rent watercraft or join guided tours to explore the lakes.
  12. Picnic Areas: Scattered throughout the byway are scenic picnic areas where you can enjoy a meal while surrounded by the natural beauty of the Land Between the Lakes.
  13. Seasonal Events: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to attend special events and festivals celebrating the natural and cultural heritage of the area.

The Woodlands Trace National Scenic Byway in Kentucky offers a peaceful and immersive journey through the pristine landscapes and rich history of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or outdoor adventurer, this byway provides a diverse range of experiences and activities for travelers of all interests. It’s an opportunity to connect with the beauty of the region and gain a deeper understanding of its natural and cultural significance.

More great scenic drives in Kentucky:

As you plan your journey through Kentucky’s scenic byways, remember to check for road conditions and lodging in advance. Each scenic route offers its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural significance, and outdoor adventure. Whether you’re interested in horses, bourbon, history, or simply the scenic beauty of the Bluegrass State, Kentucky’s scenic byways have something to offer every traveler. So, hit the road and explore the diverse and captivating landscapes that make Kentucky a gem in the heart of America.

Kentucky’s Colorful Tapestry: Exploring the Stunning Fall Foliage

As summer’s warmth begins to wane and the days grow shorter, nature puts on a breathtaking show across the state of Kentucky. The vibrant transition from green to gold, crimson, and orange marks the arrival of fall, a season celebrated for its stunning foliage and cool, crisp air. If you’re seeking an autumnal adventure filled with brilliant hues and outdoor splendor, look no further than the Bluegrass State.

The Changing Leaves

Kentucky’s diverse landscape, which includes rolling hills, dense forests, and meandering rivers, creates the perfect canvas for nature’s annual masterpiece. The changing leaves typically begin their transformation in mid-September, reaching their peak brilliance in October. Throughout the state, you’ll find an array of deciduous trees, each contributing its unique hue to the kaleidoscope of colors.

 Where to Experience Kentucky’s Fall Foliage

  1. Daniel Boone National Forest: The sprawling Daniel Boone National Forest covers over 700,000 acres and offers numerous opportunities for leaf-peeping. The Red River Gorge Geological Area within the forest is especially famous for its vibrant fall colors, with countless hiking trails providing ideal vantage points.
  2. Mammoth Cave National Park: While renowned for its underground wonders, Mammoth Cave National Park also boasts captivating surface beauty in the fall. The Green River Valley provides an enchanting backdrop for autumn explorations.
  3. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area: This vast recreation area is a prime spot for enjoying fall foliage. Whether you’re hiking the trails or cruising along Kentucky Lake or Lake Barkley, you’ll be surrounded by stunning scenery.
  4. Cumberland Gap National Historical Park: As the leaves change, this historical park comes alive with color. The iconic Cumberland Gap and the park’s numerous hiking trails offer sweeping vistas of the fall foliage.
  5. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest: Located near Louisville, Bernheim Forest is a botanical wonderland. In the fall, its diverse collection of trees erupts in a riot of colors, creating a visual feast for visitors.

 Tips for Enjoying Fall in Kentucky

  1. Timing is Key: To witness the peak of fall foliage, plan your trip for late September through mid-October. The exact timing can vary from year to year, so check local foliage reports for up-to-date information.
  2. Pack Accordingly: Autumn weather can be unpredictable, so bring layers and be prepared for cooler temperatures. Comfortable hiking shoes or walking boots are essential if you plan to explore on foot.
  3. Capture the Moment: Don’t forget your camera! Fall in Kentucky is a photographer’s dream, with every turn revealing a new and captivating view.
  4. Plan Ahead: Some of the most popular destinations for fall foliage can get crowded, so consider making reservations in advance, especially for accommodations and tours.
  5. Local Flavors: While you’re reveling in the beauty of fall, savor the flavors of the season. Kentucky is known for its comfort food, so indulge in regional favorites like hot browns, bourbon-infused dishes, and apple pie.

Kentucky’s fall foliage is a magnificent spectacle that beckons nature enthusiasts, photographers, and anyone in search of autumn’s splendor. Whether you’re exploring the rolling hills of the Bluegrass Region or the rugged beauty of Daniel Boone National Forest, you’ll find yourself immersed in a vibrant tapestry of colors. Plan your visit, pack your camera, and prepare to be enchanted by the breathtaking fall foliage of the Bluegrass State.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Louisiana Byways

Louisiana’s Scenic Byways: A Journey Through Bayous, Piney Woods, and Creole Culture

Louisiana is a state that dances to the rhythm of its own unique culture, where vibrant music, mouthwatering cuisine, and rich history come together in a symphony of experiences. Beyond the bustling streets of New Orleans and the historic charm of Baton Rouge lies a network of scenic byways that meander through the heart of this captivating state. We invite you to embark on a road trip through Louisiana’s scenic byways, where every twist and turn of the road unveils the beauty of the bayous, the grandeur of historic homes, and the soulful melodies of Creole and Cajun traditions. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culinary connoisseur, or simply seeking the tranquility of moss-draped oak trees, Louisiana’s scenic drives promise an unforgettable exploration of the Pelican State’s diverse and mesmerizing landscapes.

Louisiana has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Bayou Teche National Scenic Byway

The Bayou Teche National Scenic Byway offers travelers a scenic drive through the heart of Cajun Country, showcasing the state’s unique culture, natural beauty, and historical significance. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Bayou Teche: This scenic waterway is the focal point of the byway. As you follow its meandering path, you’ll encounter serene bayou landscapes, moss-draped cypress trees, and the tranquil rhythm of life along the water.
  2. Cajun Culture: Explore the rich and vibrant culture of Cajun Louisiana through the towns and communities along the byway. Discover the French influence, traditional music, and unique cuisine that make this region distinct.
  3. Martinville: Visit St. Martinville, one of the oldest towns in Louisiana, and explore its historic district. Don’t miss the iconic Evangeline Oak and the Acadian Memorial, which celebrate Acadian heritage.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: Enjoy outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and birdwatching along the bayou. Several access points and parks offer opportunities to connect with nature.
  5. Historic Homes: Explore historic homes such as the Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Site and Shadows-on-the-Teche, where you can learn about the region’s antebellum history and architecture.
  6. Art and Festivals: Discover local art galleries and studios and check the calendar for festivals celebrating Cajun and Creole culture, music, and cuisine.
  7. Swamp Tours: Take a guided swamp tour to get up close and personal with the unique flora and fauna of Louisiana’s swamps and wetlands. Spot alligators, turtles, and various bird species.
  8. Fishing: The bayou is a popular spot for fishing, offering opportunities to catch catfish, bass, and other freshwater species. Local guides can lead you to prime fishing spots.
  9. Local Cuisine: Savor authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine at local restaurants and eateries along the byway. Try gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and other regional specialties.
  10. Historic Churches: Explore historic churches along the route, such as St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church in St. Martinville, known for its beautiful architecture and religious significance.
  11. Live Music: Experience live Cajun and Zydeco music at local venues and dance halls. The lively tunes and spirited dancing are a hallmark of the region’s culture.
  12. Artisan Crafts: Shop for handmade crafts, jewelry, and artwork created by local artisans, showcasing the unique craftsmanship of the region.

The Bayou Teche National Scenic Byway in Louisiana provides a glimpse into the soul of Cajun Country, where the traditions, music, and cuisine are as rich and diverse as the landscapes themselves. Whether you’re interested in immersing yourself in Cajun culture, exploring the bayou’s natural wonders, or simply enjoying a leisurely drive through the heart of Louisiana, this byway promises an enriching and unforgettable road trip experience.

Boom or Bust National Scenic Byway

The Boom or Bust National Scenic Byway in Louisiana offers a fascinating journey through the state’s oil boom history, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Oil Industry History: The byway takes you through the heart of Louisiana’s oil country, where you can explore the history and impact of the state’s oil industry. Learn about the boom and bust cycles that shaped the region.
  2. Museums and Interpretive Centers: Visit museums and interpretive centers along the route that provide insights into the oil industry, including the Louisiana State Oil and Gas Museum in Oil City.
  3. Historic Oilfield Equipment: See historic oilfield equipment, such as pump jacks and drilling rigs, that played a pivotal role in the state’s oil history.
  4. Cultural Heritage: Discover the cultural heritage of the region, including the diverse mix of people who settled in the area during the oil boom. Explore their traditions, music, and cuisine..
  5. Outdoor Recreation: Enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, birdwatching, and hiking in nearby state parks and wildlife management areas.
  6. Scenic Views: Take in scenic views of the Red River, Caddo Lake, and the picturesque landscapes of northern Louisiana.
  7. Historic Downtowns: Explore historic downtowns along the route, including Homer, Vivian, and Plain Dealing where you can visit museums, galleries, and dine at local restaurants.
  8. Festivals and Events: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend local festivals and events that celebrate the culture and history of the region.
  9. Cajun and Creole Cuisine: Savor authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine at local eateries, where you can sample dishes like gumbo, boudin, and crawfish étouffée.
  10. Antique Shops: Browse antique shops and boutiques, where you can hunt for unique treasures and collectibles.
  11. Swamp Tours: Experience the unique ecosystem of Louisiana’s swamps and wetlands with guided swamp tours, where you can spot wildlife and learn about the region’s natural history.

The Boom or Bust National Scenic Byway offers a multifaceted journey that delves into the history of Louisiana’s oil and timber industries while celebrating the culture and natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re interested in industrial history, outdoor adventures, or simply exploring the heart of Louisiana, this byway promises an enriching and educational road trip experience.

Creole Nature Trail All-American Road

The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a unique and scenic route that takes travelers through the diverse landscapes of southwestern Louisiana, known for its rich wildlife, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Abundant Wildlife: The Creole Nature Trail is often called the “Louisiana Outback” due to its incredible wildlife diversity. Birdwatchers can spot over 400 species of birds, including majestic bald eagles and colorful roseate spoonbills. Alligators, otters, and numerous other animals can also be seen along the way.
  2. Sabine National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is a key highlight of the trail, offering numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing, birding, and photography. Its extensive boardwalks and hiking trails provide an up-close look at Louisiana’s natural habitats.
  3. Gulf Coast Beaches: The trail features picturesque Gulf Coast beaches where you can relax, swim, or collect seashells. Rutherford Beach and Holly Beach are popular spots for beachcombing and enjoying the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters.
  4. Holly Beach: Known as the “Cajun Riviera,” Holly Beach is famous for its fishing, crabbing, and beachcombing. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset over the Gulf.
  5. Wildlife Education: Visit the Creole Nature Trail Adventure Point to learn about the region’s wildlife, habitats, and conservation efforts. Interactive exhibits and educational programs make it a great stop for families.
  6. Cultural Heritage: Discover the Creole and Cajun culture of the area through local festivals, music, and cuisine. Explore small towns along the trail, such as Sulphur and Cameron, to experience the region’s unique way of life.
  7. Photography Opportunities: The trail is a photographer’s paradise, offering endless opportunities to capture stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife. Don’t forget your camera or binoculars.
  8. Fishing and Crabbing: The area is a fishing and crabbing haven, with many spots along the route where you can cast a line or drop a crab trap. Local seafood markets offer fresh catches.
  9. Lighthouse Views: Visit the Sabine Pass Lighthouse for a glimpse into the area’s maritime history and enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf and surrounding marshes.
  10. Kayaking and Canoeing: Paddle through calm waterways and estuaries to get closer to nature. Rentals and guided tours are available for kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts.
  11. Seasonal Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you can participate in local festivals celebrating seafood, culture, and nature, providing a unique cultural experience.

The Creole Nature Trail All-American Road is a hidden gem that showcases the best of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, from its stunning wildlife and natural landscapes to its vibrant culture and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil getaway, this byway promises an unforgettable and educational road trip experience.

Louisiana Great River Road

The Louisiana Great River Road offers travelers an opportunity to explore the cultural, historical, and natural treasures along the mighty Mississippi River. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Plantations: Visit iconic plantations like Oak Alley, Nottoway, and Laura Plantation, where you can step back in time to the antebellum era, learn about plantation life, architecture, and gardens.
  2. Riverfront Views: Enjoy scenic views of the Mississippi River from various vantage points along the byway, where you can watch the river’s powerful flow and perhaps catch a glimpse of a passing riverboat.
  3. Historic Towns: Explore charming historic towns like St. Francisville, New Roads, and Donaldsonville, each with its own unique character, preserved architecture, and local attractions.
  4. Culinary Delights: Savor authentic Creole and Cajun cuisine at local restaurants and cafes, where you can indulge in dishes like gumbo, crawfish étouffée, and beignets.
  5. Museums and Interpretive Centers: Discover the history of the region, from Native American cultures to the Civil War, at museums and interpretive centers such as the West Baton Rouge Museum and the St. Francisville Museum.
  6. Outdoor Activities: Enjoy outdoor recreation, including hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking, at state parks and wildlife management areas along the route.
  7. Festivals and Events: Depending on the time of year, you can attend local festivals and events that celebrate the culture, music, and heritage of the region, such as the Angola Prison Rodeo.
  8. Swamp Tours: Take a guided swamp tour to explore the unique ecosystem of Louisiana’s swamps, marshes, and bayous. Spot alligators, turtles, and various bird species.
  9. Music and Art: Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and music scene of Louisiana by visiting local galleries, studios, and live music venues.
  10. Historic Churches: Explore historic churches along the route, including the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Baton Rouge, known for its Gothic Revival architecture.
  11. Scenic Drives: The byway offers picturesque drives through rolling hills, farmlands, and riverside landscapes, providing ample opportunities for taking in the natural beauty of the region.
  12. Mississippi River Bridges: Cross some of the Mississippi River’s iconic bridges, including the Huey P. Long Bridge in New Orleans, and admire their engineering marvels.
  13. Riverfront Festivals: Attend festivals and events along the riverfront, including the French Quarter Festival and the Steamboat Natchez Harbor Cruise, for a taste of New Orleans’ vibrant culture.

The Louisiana Great River Road is a journey through history, culture, and the natural beauty of the Mississippi River region. Whether you’re interested in exploring historic estates, indulging in delicious cuisine, or simply taking in the scenic views, this byway promises a memorable and enriching road trip through the heart of Louisiana.

More great scenic drives in Louisiana:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Maine Byways

Exploring the Beauty of Maine: A Journey Through Maine’s Most Iconic Scenic Drives

 Maine, often referred to as the “Pine Tree State,” is renowned for its rugged coastline, pristine wilderness, and charming coastal villages. Beyond its picturesque landscapes and coastal charm, Maine offers travelers a network of scenic routes that showcase the state’s natural beauty, history, and cultural heritage. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a peaceful road trip, Maine’s scenic drives have something to offer every traveler.

Maine’s scenic byways offer travelers an opportunity to explore the state’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage. From the rugged coast of Acadia National Park to the remote wilderness of Katahdin Woods and Waters, each byway provides a unique and immersive experience. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure, historical insight, or simply a peaceful drive through breathtaking scenery, Maine’s scenic drives are your gateway to the beauty and charm of the Pine Tree State.

Maine has seven scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

 

Acadia All-American Road

The Acadia All-American Road in Maine is a scenic byway that takes travelers on a breathtaking journey through the stunning landscapes of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park. Known for its rugged coastal beauty, pristine wilderness, and charming coastal villages, this byway offers an array of natural wonders and cultural attractions. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Acadia All-American Road:

  1. Acadia National Park: This byway is the gateway to Acadia National Park, one of the crown jewels of the U.S. National Park System. The park offers a multitude of activities, including hiking, biking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing. Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the East Coast, provides panoramic views and is a popular spot for sunrise and sunset.
  2. Park Loop Road: The Park Loop Road is part of the byway and takes you on a scenic drive through Acadia National Park. Along the way, you’ll encounter stunning coastal vistas, forests, and pristine lakes. Be sure to stop at key points like Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, and Otter Cliff.
  3. Carriage Roads: Acadia is renowned for its carriage roads, a network of picturesque gravel pathways perfect for walking, biking, and horseback riding. The bridges along the carriage roads are architectural marvels.
  4. Jordan Pond: Jordan Pond, with its crystal-clear waters, is a tranquil spot for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying popovers at the Jordan Pond House.
  5. Bar Harbor: The charming town of Bar Harbor is a gateway to the park and offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions. Stroll along the scenic Shore Path or take a whale-watching tour from the harbor.
  6. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse: This iconic lighthouse is located on the southwestern tip of Mount Desert Island. The view of the lighthouse against the rocky coast is a must-see.
  7. Wildlife Watching: Acadia is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, moose, seals, and a variety of bird species, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons.
  8. Cultural Attractions: Acadia National Park also has historical sites, including the Rockefeller Carriage Roads and Bridges, which are marvels of engineering and craftsmanship.
  9. Fall Colors: Acadia is a spectacular destination for leaf-peeping in the fall. The mix of maple, birch, and oak trees creates a vibrant tapestry of autumn colors.
  10. Photography: With its dramatic landscapes, Acadia is a photographer’s paradise. Sunrise and sunset are particularly magical times for capturing the park’s beauty.
  11. Stargazing: Acadia’s dark skies provide excellent opportunities for stargazing and astrophotography.

The Acadia All-American Road in Maine is a captivating journey through some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the United States. Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene and beautiful escape, this byway offers a wealth of experiences that celebrate the rugged beauty of Mount Desert Island and the wonders of Acadia National Park. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Bold Coast Scenic Byway

The Bold Coast Scenic Byway in Maine is a captivating route that leads travelers through the rugged and unspoiled beauty of Downeast Maine. This byway offers a unique blend of natural wonder, coastal charm, and outdoor adventure. As you journey along this scenic route, you’ll encounter some of Maine’s most picturesque landscapes and attractions. Here are the best features and highlights of the Bold Coast Scenic Byway:

  1. Picturesque Coastal Views: The Bold Coast lives up to its name with dramatic and pristine coastal views. The rocky shoreline, cliffs, and crashing waves provide a stunning backdrop for your road trip.
  2. Quoddy Head State Park: Located at the easternmost point of the contiguous United States, Quoddy Head State Park is a highlight of the byway. Hike to the Quoddy Head Lighthouse for panoramic views and visit the visitor center to learn about the area’s natural and cultural history.
  3. West Quoddy Head Light: The candy-striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is an iconic landmark and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States. It’s a great spot for taking pictures and enjoying the coastal scenery.
  4. Coastal Hiking Trails: The byway offers access to several hiking trails that meander along the coast. The Bold Coast Trail is a favorite, taking you through forests and along cliffs with breathtaking vistas.
  5. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife during your journey. The area is known for birdwatching, and you might spot bald eagles, ospreys, seals, and even whales off the coast.
  6. Lubec: This charming coastal town is worth exploring. Visit the Lubec Channel Lighthouse, walk along the waterfront, and enjoy fresh seafood at local eateries.
  7. Sunrise at Quoddy Head: Quoddy Head is famous for its spectacular sunrise views over the Atlantic Ocean. Set your alarm early to witness the first rays of the sun touching the United States.
  8. Cobscook Bay State Park: This state park offers hiking trails, picnicking areas, and opportunities for kayaking and canoeing in the scenic Cobscook Bay.
  9. Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge: Located nearby, this refuge is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. It provides habitat for deer, moose, waterfowl, and more. The refuge’s trails offer excellent birdwatching opportunities.
  10. Whale Watching: Local outfitters offer whale-watching tours in the Bay of Fundy, where you can see humpback whales, minke whales, and even the rare North Atlantic right whale.
  11. Starry Nights: The remote nature of the byway and its coastal location make it an excellent place for stargazing. On clear nights, the sky is filled with stars and constellations.

The Bold Coast Scenic Byway in Maine is a journey through one of the state’s most unspoiled and visually stunning regions. Whether you’re interested in coastal scenery, outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters, or simply experiencing the tranquility of a coastal drive, this byway promises a unique and enriching travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway

The Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway in Maine is a picturesque route that takes travelers through the remote and pristine wilderness of northern Maine. This scenic drive offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and opportunities to explore the region’s rich history and culture. As you journey along this captivating route, you’ll encounter some of Maine’s most spectacular landscapes and attractions. Here are the best features and highlights of the Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway:

  1. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument: The byway passes through the heart of the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, a protected area designated by President Barack Obama in 2016. This vast wilderness offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife watching.
  2. Mount Katahdin: The towering Mount Katahdin, Maine’s highest peak and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, is a prominent feature along the byway. Outdoor enthusiasts can embark on challenging hikes to the summit, with trails suitable for both novice and experienced hikers.
  3. Scenic Overlooks: The byway provides several scenic overlooks that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding forests, waterways, and mountains. These overlooks are perfect for photography and picnicking.
  4. Outdoor Adventures: Explore the pristine waters of the Penobscot River and the East Branch of the Penobscot River by canoe or kayak. The area is known for its excellent fishing, with opportunities to catch trout, salmon, and bass.
  5. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls the national monument home. Moose, deer, black bears, and a variety of bird species are commonly spotted in the area.
  6. Stargazing: Due to its remote location and minimal light pollution, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, the night sky comes alive with stars and constellations.
  7. Recreational Trails: The byway features numerous recreational trails for hiking, biking, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing, depending on the season. The trails wind through lush forests and along riverbanks.
  8. Historical Sites: Explore historical sites like the Lunksoos Camps, which provide insight into the area’s logging history. The byway also passes through the towns of Patten and Sherman, which have their own unique histories.
  9. Cultural Heritage: Learn about the cultural heritage of the region, including the history of the Penobscot Nation and the logging traditions of northern Maine.
  10. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the byway is transformed into a vibrant tapestry of fall colors as the leaves change. The mix of deciduous trees creates stunning vistas of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  11. Spectacular Bridges: The byway features several picturesque bridges that cross the Penobscot River and its tributaries, providing excellent opportunities for photography and enjoying the river views.

The Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway in Maine offers travelers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the unspoiled wilderness of northern Maine while enjoying outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters, and stunning vistas. Whether you’re interested in hiking to the summit of Mount Katahdin, paddling down the Penobscot River, or simply taking in the natural beauty of the region, this byway promises a unique and enriching travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway

The Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway in Maine, also known as Route 201, is a picturesque route that takes travelers on a journey through the remote and rugged landscapes of northern Maine. This scenic byway offers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and opportunities to explore the region’s history and culture. As you drive along this captivating route, you’ll encounter some of Maine’s most stunning landscapes and attractions. Here are the best features and highlights of the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway:

  1. Remote Wilderness: This byway passes through some of Maine’s most remote and pristine wilderness areas. Travelers can enjoy the tranquility of unspoiled nature and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
  2. Kennebec River: The byway closely follows the Kennebec River, providing opportunities for scenic views and recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, and white-water rafting.
  3. Outdoor Adventures: Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do along the route. The byway offers access to hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail, and opportunities for camping, birdwatching, and wildlife photography.
  4. Historic Landmarks: Explore the history of the region at various historic sites and landmarks. The byway passes through towns with well-preserved 19th-century architecture, providing a glimpse into the area’s history.
  5. The Forks: This small town is a hub for outdoor adventure and is known for its white-water rafting on the Kennebec and Dead Rivers. It’s a great place to arrange outdoor excursions.
  6. Leaf Peeping: In the fall, the byway transforms into a canvas of vibrant fall colors as the leaves change. The mix of hardwood trees creates stunning vistas of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  7. Stargazing: Due to its remote location and minimal light pollution, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.
  8. Bingham: Visit the town of Bingham, which offers a charming downtown area, perfect for a stroll. The town’s proximity to the Kennebec River makes it a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts.
  9. Art and Culture: Discover local art galleries and cultural events in towns along the byway, where you can experience the unique heritage of the region.
  10. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife along the route. Moose, deer, bald eagles, and various bird species are frequently spotted in the area.
  11. Recreational Opportunities: Depending on the season, you can enjoy activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and ice fishing, making the byway a year-round destination for outdoor fun.

The Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway in Maine invites travelers to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and rich history of northern Maine. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, cultural exploration, or simply taking in the serene ambiance of the wilderness, this byway promises a unique and enriching travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway

The Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway in Maine is a scenic route that takes travelers through the pristine wilderness and serene landscapes of western Maine. Known for its stunning lakes, lush forests, and outdoor recreational opportunities, this scenic drive offers a peaceful escape and a chance to connect with nature. As you journey along this captivating route, you’ll encounter some of Maine’s most beautiful natural attractions and outdoor activities. Here are the best features and highlights of the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway:

  1. Rangeley Lakes: The byway is named after the Rangeley Lakes, a chain of clear, sparkling lakes that are ideal for fishing, boating, swimming, and picnicking. These lakes include Rangeley Lake, Mooselookmeguntic Lake, and others, each with its own unique charm.
  2. Outdoor Recreation: The byway provides access to a wealth of outdoor recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. Miles of scenic trails wind through the surrounding forests.
  3. Fishing: Rangeley Lakes is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can try their luck at catching brook trout, salmon, and other freshwater species in the pristine waters.
  4. Saddleback Mountain: This iconic mountain near Rangeley offers year-round activities. In the winter, it’s a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, while in the summer, it’s a fantastic place for hiking and mountain biking.
  5. Height of Land: A famous scenic overlook along the byway, the Height of Land offers panoramic views of Mooselookmeguntic Lake and the surrounding mountains. It’s a must-stop for breathtaking vistas and photo opportunities.
  6. Mingo Springs Golf Course: Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at Mingo Springs Golf Course, an 18-hole course with scenic views of the lakes and mountains.
  7. Fly Fishing: The region is known for its exceptional fly fishing. Local guides can take you to some of the best spots for casting your line.
  8. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife during your drive. The area is home to moose, deer, loons, bald eagles, and a variety of bird species. Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers will be delighted.
  9. Coos Canyon: While not directly on the byway, Coos Canyon is a short detour worth taking. This dramatic gorge features waterfalls and swimming holes, making it a popular spot for cooling off in the summer.
  10. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the byway becomes a canvas of vibrant fall colors as the leaves change. The surrounding forests come alive with shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  11. Rangeley Lakes Region Logging Museum: Learn about the history of logging in the region at this informative museum in Rangeley. It provides insights into the area’s cultural heritage.
  12. Scenic Drives: Beyond the byway, you can explore additional scenic drives and backroads that lead to hidden gems and more opportunities for natural beauty and exploration.

The Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway in Maine offers travelers a chance to experience the pristine wilderness and outdoor wonders of western Maine. Whether you’re interested in water-based activities, hiking, or simply taking in the serene ambiance of the lakes and forests, this scenic drive promises a tranquil and enriching travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Schoodic Scenic Byway

The Schoodic Scenic Byway in Maine offers travelers a captivating journey through the rugged and unspoiled beauty of Downeast Maine. This byway is a less crowded alternative to the Acadia All-American Road on Mount Desert Island, providing a tranquil escape with its own unique attractions. As you explore this scenic route, you’ll discover some of Maine’s most stunning natural landscapes and cultural gems. Here are the best features and highlights of the Schoodic Scenic Byway:

  1. Schoodic Peninsula: The byway traverses the Schoodic Peninsula, which is part of Acadia National Park but less visited than Mount Desert Island. Here, you’ll find rocky shorelines, spruce-fir forests, and unparalleled coastal views.
  2. Schoodic Point: This iconic destination on the peninsula offers dramatic views of the crashing waves, offshore islands, and the Schoodic Peninsula itself. It’s a prime spot for watching seabirds and enjoying the sound of the surf.
  3. Schoodic Woods Campground: Located within Acadia National Park, this campground provides a serene and secluded place to stay. It’s an ideal base for exploring the peninsula’s hiking trails and natural beauty.
  4. Hiking Trails: The byway offers access to numerous hiking trails, including the Anvil Trail, which leads to Schoodic Head, and the Alder Trail, which offers a coastal stroll along the cliffs.
  5. Schoodic Arts for All: This community-based organization promotes the arts on the Schoodic Peninsula, offering concerts, workshops, and cultural events throughout the year.
  6. Winter Harbor: This picturesque village along the byway features a charming downtown area with shops, galleries, and restaurants. It’s also the gateway to the Schoodic Institute, which hosts educational programs and research activities.
  7. Fall Colors: The byway is a fantastic place to experience the brilliant fall colors of Maine. The mix of hardwood trees creates stunning vistas of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  8. Birdwatching: The Schoodic Peninsula is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Look for eagles, falcons, puffins, and a variety of seabirds along the coast.
  9. Stargazing: Due to its remote location and minimal light pollution, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.
  10. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife during your drive. Deer, seals, and a variety of bird species are frequently spotted in the area.
  11. Winter Activities: In the winter, the byway becomes a playground for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, with groomed trails and opportunities for winter sports.

The Schoodic Scenic Byway in Maine invites travelers to immerse themselves in the pristine natural beauty and rich cultural heritage of Downeast Maine. Whether you’re interested in coastal vistas, outdoor adventures, or cultural exploration, this scenic drive promises a peaceful and enriching travel experience away from the crowds. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

St. John Valley Cultural/Fish River Byway

The St. John Valley Cultural/Fish River Byway in Maine is a scenic route that winds through the St. John Valley, offering travelers a unique blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and outdoor adventure. This byway celebrates the rich Acadian and Franco-American traditions of the region while showcasing the picturesque landscapes along the way. As you journey through this captivating route, you’ll encounter some of Maine’s most charming attractions and cultural gems. Here are the best features and highlights of the St. John Valley Cultural/Fish River Byway:

  1. Acadian and Franco-American Heritage: The byway takes you through communities with a strong Acadian and Franco-American cultural heritage. Explore museums, historical sites, and cultural centers to learn about the region’s history and traditions.
  2. Madawaska: Start your journey in Madawaska, known as the “Most Northeastern Town in the United States.” The town offers a warm welcome and opportunities to explore Acadian culture.
  3. Saint David: This picturesque village is home to the Saint David Church, a beautiful neo-Gothic church that is a cultural and architectural landmark.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: The byway provides access to outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and birdwatching. The Fish River is a popular spot for canoeing and kayaking.
  5. Lakeview Restaurant: Stop at the Lakeview Restaurant in Saint Agatha for delicious Acadian and Franco-American cuisine, including traditional meat pies and ployes (buckwheat pancakes).
  6. Long Lake: The byway follows the shore of Long Lake, offering scenic views and opportunities for boating, fishing, and picnicking.
  7. Historical Markers: Look for historical markers along the byway that provide insights into the cultural and historical significance of the region.
  8. Eagle Lake: This small town on the byway is known for its serene setting and recreational opportunities, including snowmobiling in the winter.
  9. Fort Kent: At the northern end of the byway, visit the town of Fort Kent, home to the University of Maine at Fort Kent and the Fort Kent Blockhouse, which offers a glimpse into the region’s history.
  10. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the byway is a fantastic place to experience the brilliant fall foliage of Maine. The mix of hardwood trees creates stunning vistas of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  11. St. John River: The byway parallels the St. John River, providing beautiful river views and opportunities for scenic drives and photography.
  12. Cultural Events: Check the local events calendar for festivals, fairs, and cultural events that celebrate the Acadian and Franco-American heritage of the region.

The St. John Valley Cultural/Fish River Byway in Maine offers travelers a chance to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage and natural beauty of the St. John Valley. Whether you’re interested in exploring Acadian traditions, enjoying outdoor activities, or simply savoring the tranquil ambiance of this charming region, this byway promises an enriching and culturally immersive travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

More great scenic drives in Maine:

Fall Colors in Maine

Maine is renowned for its vibrant and stunning fall foliage, attracting visitors from near and far to witness the changing colors of its forests. The fall leaf season in Maine typically spans from late September to mid-October, although the timing can vary depending on the location within the state and the weather conditions. Here are some of the best places in Maine to experience the breathtaking fall colors:

  1. Acadia National Park: Located on Mount Desert Island, Acadia National Park offers a diverse range of hardwood trees, creating a kaleidoscope of colors in the fall. Drive along the Park Loop Road for spectacular views.
  2. Grafton Notch State Park: This park in western Maine features a rugged landscape with hiking trails that lead to panoramic vistas, perfect for enjoying the fall foliage.
  3. Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument: In northern Maine, this national monument is a remote and pristine location for fall foliage viewing. The landscape is a mix of forests, rivers, and mountains.
  4. Rangeley Lakes Region: The Rangeley Lakes offer a backdrop of colorful hills and serene lakes. Scenic routes and overlooks provide excellent photo opportunities.
  5. Moosehead Lake: Maine’s largest lake, Moosehead Lake, is surrounded by forests that come alive with autumn colors. Boat tours offer a unique perspective on the foliage.
  6. Bethel: This charming town in western Maine is known for its beautiful fall foliage and the annual Harvestfest & Chowdah Cook-off, a popular fall event.
  7. Kennebec Valley: The Kennebec Valley region, including areas around Waterville and Augusta, offers picturesque landscapes and vibrant foliage.
  8. Western Lakes and Mountains: This region encompasses several lakes and mountain towns, making it a prime spot for leaf-peeping and outdoor activities.
  9. The Maine Highlands: As you explore the Highlands region, you’ll encounter rolling hills, serene lakes, and small towns where you can soak in the fall ambiance.
  10. Coastal Maine: Even along the coast, you can enjoy beautiful fall colors. Places like Camden and Rockport offer coastal views combined with colorful foliage.
  11. Allagash Wilderness Waterway: For a truly remote and wild fall color experience, venture into the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in northern Maine.

Remember that the exact timing of peak fall foliage can vary from year to year, so it’s a good idea to check with local authorities or websites like MaineFoliage.com that provide foliage updates. Whether you’re driving, hiking, or simply enjoying the scenery, Maine’s leaf peeping season is a remarkable and memorable experience for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.  Read More about Maine’s Scenic Byways …

Maryland Byways

Maryland’s Scenic Byways: A Tapestry of Nature, History, and Charm

Nestled along the eastern seaboard of the United States, Maryland is a state known for its rich history, picturesque landscapes, and charming small towns. Beyond the bustling streets of Baltimore and the historic allure of Annapolis, a network of scenic byways winds through this Mid-Atlantic gem, offering travelers a chance to explore the hidden treasures that make Maryland a true gem of a state. We invite you to embark on a journey through Maryland’s scenic byways, where each twist and turn of the road reveals a tapestry of natural beauty, historical significance, and warm hospitality. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Maryland’s scenic byways promise an unforgettable exploration of the Old Line State’s diverse and captivating landscapes.

Maryland has six scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Baltimore’s Historic Charles Street

Baltimore’s Historic Charles Street Byway, a designated Maryland Scenic Byway, takes travelers on a captivating journey through the heart of Baltimore, showcasing the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and architectural charm. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Landmarks: Explore historic landmarks along Charles Street, including the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon, which predates the one in Washington, D.C., and offers panoramic city views from the top.
  2. Museums and Galleries: Visit world-class museums such as the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art, where you can admire impressive art collections spanning centuries and cultures.
  3. Mount Vernon Cultural District: Immerse yourself in Baltimore’s arts and culture scene in the Mount Vernon Cultural District, home to theaters, music venues, and a thriving artistic community.
  4. Historic Architecture: Marvel at the architectural diversity along Charles Street, from elegant 19th-century mansions to modern skyscrapers, showcasing Baltimore’s architectural evolution.
  5. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend cultural festivals and events celebrating music, arts, and local heritage.
  6. Historic Theatres: Catch a performance at historic theaters like the Hippodrome Theatre and Center Stage, which have been entertaining Baltimoreans for generations.
  7. Local Cuisine: Savor the flavors of Baltimore by dining at local restaurants, seafood eateries, and bakeries offering iconic dishes like crab cakes and Berger cookies.
  8. Cultural Institutions: Discover cultural institutions along the byway, such as the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Peabody Institute, known for their contributions to education and the arts.
  9. Historical Sites: Visit historical sites like the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, where the famous writer lived, and the Maryland Historical Society, preserving the state’s history.
  10. Shopping: Explore boutique shops, art galleries, and antique stores along Charles Street, where you can find unique treasures and souvenirs.
  11. Parks and Green Spaces: Enjoy urban green spaces such as Mount Vernon Place and Sherwood Gardens, offering peaceful respites in the heart of the city.
  12. Cultural Diversity: Experience the diverse culture of Baltimore as you encounter neighborhoods representing various communities and traditions along the byway.
  13. Educational Institutions: Charles Street is home to prestigious educational institutions like Johns Hopkins University and the University of Baltimore, contributing to the city’s intellectual vibrancy.

Baltimore’s Historic Charles Street Byway is a captivating blend of history, culture, and urban vitality. Whether you’re interested in art, history, or simply strolling through charming neighborhoods, this byway promises a delightful and enriching road trip experience through the vibrant heart of Baltimore.

Chesapeake Country All-American Road

The Chesapeake Country All-American Road in Maryland offers travelers a picturesque journey through the Chesapeake Bay region, known for its natural beauty, maritime heritage, and charming waterfront communities. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Chesapeake Bay Views: Enjoy breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries as you drive along the scenic byway, with opportunities to stop at scenic overlooks for panoramic vistas.
  2. Historic Waterfront Towns: Explore historic waterfront towns such as Annapolis, St. Michaels, and Chestertown, each with its own unique character, preserved architecture, and maritime heritage.
  3. Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum: Visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels to learn about the region’s maritime history, including the art of boatbuilding and the traditions of the watermen.
  4. Lighthouses: Discover iconic lighthouses along the route, such as the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse and the Hooper Strait Lighthouse, offering insights into the region’s maritime navigation history.
  5. Water-Based Activities: Take advantage of water-based activities like boating, sailing, kayaking, and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
  6. Seafood Cuisine: Savor fresh Chesapeake Bay seafood at local restaurants and crab houses, where you can indulge in famous dishes like Maryland crab cakes and steamed blue crabs.
  7. Scenic Drives: Enjoy leisurely drives through scenic countryside, farmlands, and charming coastal villages, providing ample opportunities for taking in the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay region.
  8. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend local festivals and events celebrating the Chesapeake Bay’s culture, music, and heritage.
  9. Art Galleries and Studios: Explore art galleries and studios along the byway, where you can view and purchase works by local artists inspired by the Chesapeake Bay’s beauty.
  10. Outdoor Recreation: Experience outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking in state parks, wildlife refuges, and nature reserves along the route.
  11. Wildlife Viewing: The Chesapeake Bay region is a haven for birdwatching and wildlife enthusiasts, with opportunities to spot eagles, ospreys, herons, and other native species.
  12. Historical Sites: Visit historical sites like the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and the historic homes and museums in Chestertown, offering insights into the region’s past.
  13. Watermen Culture: Learn about the traditional way of life of the Chesapeake Bay watermen, who have harvested seafood from the bay for generations.
  14. Parks and Natural Areas: Discover scenic parks and natural areas, including Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where you can immerse yourself in the Chesapeake Bay’s pristine landscapes.

The Chesapeake Country All-American Road is a captivating blend of natural beauty, maritime history, and coastal charm. Whether you’re interested in maritime heritage, outdoor adventures, or simply a relaxing coastal getaway, this byway promises an unforgettable and enriching road trip experience through the Chesapeake Bay region of Maryland.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad All-American Road in Maryland is a significant and historic byway that commemorates the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Harriet Tubman Visitor Center: Begin your journey at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center in Church Creek, which provides a comprehensive introduction to Tubman’s life and the Underground Railroad’s role in the fight for freedom.
  2. Tubman Byway Markers: Follow the Tubman Byway markers, which guide you along the route with interpretive signs and historical information, allowing you to retrace Harriet Tubman’s footsteps.
  3. Tubman’s Birthplace: Visit the site of Harriet Tubman’s birthplace on the Brodess Farm and learn about her early life as a slave.
  4. Tubman’s Underground Railroad Routes: Explore the landscapes and waterways that Tubman used as she led enslaved individuals to freedom. Visit places like Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and the Choptank River, which played key roles in her journeys.
  5. Tubman’s Legacy Forest: Discover the Tubman’s Legacy Forest, a 17-acre site that commemorates Tubman’s connection to the land and nature. It features a walking trail and interpretive signs.
  6. Historic Cambridge: Explore the historic town of Cambridge, where Tubman lived and worked, and visit the Harriet Tubman Museum and Educational Center to learn more about her life and activism.
  7. Underground Railroad Stories: Hear stories of bravery and resilience as you learn about the individuals who sought freedom and the communities that supported them along the Underground Railroad.
  8. Outdoor Activities: Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing in the natural landscapes that Tubman and others traversed during their escape to freedom.
  9. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend cultural festivals and events that celebrate the legacy of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad.
  10. Educational Programs: Participate in educational programs and guided tours offered at various sites along the byway, providing deeper insights into the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad.
  11. Scenic Landscapes: Take in the serene and picturesque landscapes of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where you can appreciate the same natural beauty that Tubman and her passengers encountered during their journeys.

The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad All-American Road offers a poignant and educational journey through the history of American slavery and the courageous efforts to escape it. It honors the legacy of Harriet Tubman, one of the most iconic figures in American history, and invites travelers to reflect on the enduring struggle for freedom and equality.

Historic National Road

The Historic National Road in Maryland, often referred to as Route 40, is a historic and scenic byway that showcases the development of transportation, commerce, and culture in the United States. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Architecture: Travel through towns like Cumberland, Hagerstown, and Frederick, where you can admire well-preserved 19th-century architecture, including historic homes, taverns, and churches.
  2. National Road Museum: Visit the National Road Museum in Boonsboro to learn about the history of the road, its significance in westward expansion, and the people who traveled it.
  3. Scenic Overlooks: Enjoy scenic overlooks along the route, offering stunning views of the Maryland countryside, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains and the Catoctin Mountains.
  4. Catoctin Mountain Park: Explore Catoctin Mountain Park, home to hiking trails, campgrounds, and the former presidential retreat, Camp David.
  5. Historic Bridges: Cross historic bridges, such as the Casselman River Bridge near Grantsville, which is one of the last remaining 19th-century arch bridges in the United States.
  6. Cultural Attractions: Discover cultural attractions like the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts and the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum, showcasing the region’s art and railroad history.
  7. Antique Shops: Browse antique shops and boutiques in towns along the route, where you can hunt for unique treasures and collectibles.
  8. Historic Inns and Taverns: Stay at historic inns and taverns that once hosted travelers on their journey westward, providing a unique and charming lodging experience.
  9. Civil War History: Explore Civil War history sites, including the Pry House Field Hospital Museum and the South Mountain State Battlefield, which played a role in the Civil War’s Antietam Campaign.
  10. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend local festivals and events that celebrate the history, culture, and heritage of the region.
  11. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and camping in state parks and recreation areas located along the Historic National Road.
  12. Unique Roadside Attractions: Encounter unique roadside attractions, including the Big Savage Tunnel, the Mason-Dixon Line marker, and quirky landmarks that add character to the journey.
  13. Local Cuisine: Savor local cuisine at restaurants and eateries along the byway, where you can sample regional dishes and classic American comfort food.

The Historic National Road in Maryland is a journey through time, offering travelers a glimpse into the history of transportation and westward expansion in the United States. Whether you’re interested in historic architecture, outdoor adventures, or simply a scenic drive through Maryland’s countryside, this byway promises an enriching and nostalgic road trip experience.

Journey Through Hallowed Ground

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway in Maryland offers a profound and educational journey through history, culture, and natural beauty, particularly along the Civil War heritage corridor. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Civil War History: Immerse yourself in the rich Civil War history of Maryland by exploring battlefields like Antietam National Battlefield, where one of the bloodiest battles of the war took place. Learn about the soldiers, leaders, and events that shaped the nation.
  2. National Historic Sites: Visit national historic sites such as Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, where you can explore the region’s role in the development of the United States.
  3. Historic Towns: Stroll through charming historic towns like Frederick, which boasts well-preserved architecture, boutique shops, and local eateries. Each town along the route has its own unique character and historical significance.
  4. Monuments and Memorials: Pay your respects at monuments and memorials dedicated to the memory of soldiers, leaders, and events related to the Civil War, such as the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.
  5. Catoctin Mountain Park: Explore Catoctin Mountain Park, home to hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and the Camp David Presidential Retreat. Enjoy outdoor activities in a beautiful natural setting.
  6. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend cultural festivals and reenactments that bring history to life.
  7. Historic Inns: Stay at historic inns and bed-and-breakfasts that provide a glimpse into the past while offering modern comforts and hospitality.
  8. Culinary Delights: Savor regional cuisine at local restaurants, where you can enjoy farm-to-table dining and dishes inspired by the area’s history and culture.
  9. Covered Bridges: Admire picturesque covered bridges along the byway, such as the Loy’s Station Covered Bridge, offering a step back in time.
  10. Scenic Landscapes: Enjoy scenic views of rolling hills, farmlands, and the picturesque countryside that make this region of Maryland so visually captivating.
  11. Educational Centers: Visit educational centers and museums, including the Pry House Field Hospital Museum and the National Shrine Grotto of Lourdes, which provide insights into the history and heritage of the area.
  12. Winery Tours: Explore local wineries and vineyards, where you can taste Maryland wines and appreciate the vineyard landscapes.
  13. Biking and Hiking Trails: Take advantage of biking and hiking trails in national parks and recreational areas, providing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the natural beauty of the region.

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway in Maryland is a powerful and immersive experience for history buffs, nature lovers, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of America’s past. This byway invites travelers to reflect on the events that shaped the nation and the enduring legacy of the United States.

Religious Freedom Byway

The Religious Freedom Byway in Maryland offers travelers a journey through the history of religious freedom in the United States. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Clement’s Island: Visit St. Clement’s Island State Park, where Maryland’s first European settlers landed in 1634. It’s also the site where they held a Mass, marking the birth of religious tolerance in the state.
  2. Historic St. Mary’s City: Explore Historic St. Mary’s City, a living history museum that recreates the 17th-century settlement and the establishment of religious freedom in Maryland. It features reconstructed buildings, gardens, and interactive exhibits.
  3. Religious Freedom Landmarks: The byway is dotted with historic churches, cemeteries, and landmarks that played pivotal roles in the struggle for religious freedom in Maryland.
  4. Religious Heritage Sites: Visit various religious heritage sites along the route, including St. Ignatius Church, the oldest continuously active Catholic parish in the United States.
  5. Historic Architecture: Admire the historic architecture of churches and buildings along the byway, showcasing a variety of architectural styles and periods.
  6. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend cultural festivals and events that celebrate the heritage and religious traditions of the region.
  7. Educational Centers: Learn about Maryland’s role in promoting religious freedom at educational centers and museums, where you can explore the history, philosophy, and impact of this fundamental freedom.
  8. Scenic Waterways: Enjoy scenic views of the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay as you travel along the byway, providing serene and picturesque vistas.
  9. Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking in state parks and natural areas along the route.
  10. Culinary Experiences: Sample local cuisine and explore farm-to-table dining options, where you can savor dishes inspired by the region’s history and culture.
  11. Interpretive Signage: Look for interpretive signage and historical markers along the route, which provide context and information about the religious history of Maryland.

The Religious Freedom Byway in Maryland invites travelers to explore the foundations of religious tolerance and freedom in the United States. It is a unique opportunity to reflect on the importance of this fundamental principle and its enduring significance in American history and culture.

More great scenic drives in Maryland:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Massachusetts Byways

Exploring Massachusetts Scenic Byways: A Journey Through History and Beauty

Massachusetts, often referred to as the Bay State, is a land of captivating contrasts, where the rich tapestry of history and the beauty of nature intersect. One of the best ways to experience this dynamic state is by embarking on a journey along its scenic byways. Massachusetts boasts a diverse network of these picturesque routes, each offering a unique perspective on the state’s natural wonders and cultural heritage.

Massachusetts has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Connecticut River Scenic Byway

The Connecticut River Scenic Byway follows the meandering Connecticut River through Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley. This route treats travelers to picturesque river views, fertile farmland, and the charming towns of Northampton and Amherst. Stop by the Emily Dickinson Museum and experience the vibrant cultural scene of this valley. As you journey along this scenic byway, you’ll encounter numerous noteworthy features that make it a must-visit destination. Here are some of the best features of the Connecticut River Scenic Byway in Massachusetts:

  1. River Views: The byway closely follows the Connecticut River, providing travelers with breathtaking views of one of New England’s most iconic waterways. The river’s serene waters, lush banks, and picturesque islands create a tranquil and captivating setting.
  2. Historic Northampton: This charming town is a highlight along the route. Northampton boasts a well-preserved historic district with beautiful architecture, boutique shops, art galleries, and a lively cultural scene. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore its vibrant downtown.
  3. Quaint Villages: The byway passes through several quaint villages like Sunderland and Hadley, where you can experience the charm of rural New England. These villages often have local markets, historic landmarks, and opportunities to interact with friendly locals.
  4. Agricultural Heritage: As you drive through the Pioneer Valley, you’ll pass by fertile farmland and agricultural communities. Enjoy the sight of rolling hills and fields that produce a variety of crops, including apples, pumpkins, and more.
  5. Historic Sites: The Connecticut River Scenic Byway offers access to several historical sites and museums. Be sure to visit the Historic Deerfield village, a beautifully preserved colonial-era settlement with museums and guided tours.
  6. Outdoor Recreation: The byway is surrounded by numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. Explore state parks like Mount Sugarloaf, offering hiking and panoramic views, or take a leisurely bike ride along the Norwottuck Rail Trail.
  7. Connecticut River Greenway State Park: This park is a haven for nature enthusiasts. It features trails, birdwatching opportunities, and picnic areas along the river, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing break.
  8. Fishing and Boating: The Connecticut River is known for its excellent fishing and boating opportunities. Anglers can try their luck in the river’s waters, while boaters can explore its meandering channels and quiet coves.
  9. Birdwatching: The river and its surrounding wetlands provide abundant birdwatching opportunities. Keep an eye out for eagles, herons, ospreys, and other bird species that call the river valley home.
  10. Scenic Overlooks: The byway includes several scenic overlooks and rest areas where you can stop to take in the stunning views, capture photographs, or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty.
  11. Cultural Events: The Pioneer Valley hosts various cultural events, including music festivals, art exhibitions, and farmers’ markets. Check local event listings for activities that may coincide with your visit.
  12. Seasonal Beauty: The Connecticut River Scenic Byway offers a different experience in each season. Whether you visit during the lush greenery of summer, the vibrant foliage of fall, or the tranquility of winter, you’ll be treated to unique and captivating landscapes.

The Connecticut River Scenic Byway in Massachusetts provides a diverse range of attractions and experiences for those who appreciate natural beauty, history, culture, and outdoor adventure. It’s a road trip that showcases the very best of the Pioneer Valley’s scenic treasures and offers a memorable journey through this captivating region of Massachusetts.

Mohawk Trail

The Mohawk Trail, one of Massachusetts’ oldest scenic byways, takes travelers on a historic journey through the western part of the state. This route, once used by Native Americans and European settlers, offers stunning vistas of the Berkshire Mountains, pristine forests, and charming New England towns.

Here are some of the best features of the Mohawk Trail National Scenic Byway:

  1. Panoramic Views: The Mohawk Trail is renowned for its breathtaking views of the Berkshire Mountains. As you wind through the hills and valleys, you’ll encounter numerous scenic overlooks that provide picture-perfect vistas of the surrounding landscapes.
  2. Historic Route: The byway follows a path with a rich history, originally used by Native Americans, then later by early European settlers. Along the route, you’ll find historical markers and informative signs that recount the region’s fascinating past.
  3. Bridge of Flowers: The charming village of Shelburne Falls, located along the Mohawk Trail, is home to the Bridge of Flowers. This old trolley bridge has been transformed into a vibrant garden with an enchanting array of flowers and plants, making it a must-see attraction.
  4. Hiking Opportunities: The Mohawk Trail offers access to numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to more challenging hikes. Popular options include the Mohawk Trail State Forest and the Appalachian Trail, both of which provide opportunities to explore the region’s natural beauty.
  5. Berkshire East Mountain Resort: Located in Charlemont, this resort offers outdoor adventures year-round. In the warmer months, enjoy ziplining, mountain biking, and white-water rafting. In the winter, it transforms into a skiing and snowboarding destination.
  6. Historic Towns: Along the byway, you’ll encounter charming towns like Deerfield and Charlemont, where you can explore well-preserved historic districts, dine in local restaurants, and visit quaint shops.
  7. Cultural Attractions: The Mohawk Trail is dotted with cultural attractions, including art galleries, museums, and performance venues. The historic Deerfield village, for example, offers insights into early American life with its museums and guided tours.
  8. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to attend local festivals and events celebrating the arts, culture, and heritage of the region. Check local event listings to see what’s happening during your visit.
  9. Fall Foliage: The Mohawk Trail is particularly famous for its fall foliage. The vibrant colors of the leaves in late September to early October draw leaf-peepers from all over the country.
  10. Quaint Bed-and-Breakfasts: Along the route, you’ll find charming bed-and-breakfasts and inns that offer cozy accommodations and a warm, New England welcome. These establishments often provide an excellent opportunity to experience local hospitality.
  11. Seasonal Activities: The Mohawk Trail offers different experiences in each season. From skiing and snowshoeing in the winter to hiking and kayaking in the summer, there’s something to enjoy year-round.
  12. Scenic Overlooks: Numerous pull-off areas along the byway provide opportunities to stop and take in the beautiful scenery. These designated spots are perfect for photography or simply appreciating the natural beauty of the region.

The Mohawk Trail National Scenic Byway in Massachusetts is a captivating journey through history, nature, and culture. It offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to a wide range of interests, making it an ideal road trip destination for those seeking both scenic beauty and cultural enrichment. Whether you’re traveling for the views, the history, or the outdoor adventures, the Mohawk Trail won’t disappoint.

Old King’s Highway

The Old King’s Highway National Scenic Byway in Massachusetts, also known as Route 6A, offers travelers a journey through time and a chance to experience the charm of Cape Cod’s historic villages and natural beauty. This scenic byway is steeped in history and culture, with a wide array of attractions to explore. Here are some of the best features of the Old King’s Highway National Scenic Byway:

  1. Historic Villages: Route 6A winds through some of Cape Cod’s most picturesque and historic villages, including Barnstable, Yarmouth Port, Dennis, Brewster, Orleans, and Sandwich. Each village has its own unique character and offers opportunities to explore historic sites, art galleries, and quaint shops.
  2. Colonial Architecture: The byway is known for its well-preserved colonial-era architecture. Take a leisurely stroll through the villages to admire the charming Cape Cod cottages, historic churches, and old-fashioned inns.
  3. Cape Cod Bay: The byway runs along Cape Cod Bay, providing stunning water views. Stop at one of the many beaches or overlooks to enjoy the serenity of the bay and witness spectacular sunsets.
  4. Cape Cod National Seashore: While not directly on Route 6A, the Cape Cod National Seashore is easily accessible from the byway. This protected area offers pristine beaches, sand dunes, hiking trails, and opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife viewing.
  5. Cultural Attractions: The Old King’s Highway is home to numerous cultural attractions, including art galleries, museums, and historical societies. Don’t miss the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster or the Sandwich Glass Museum.
  6. Antique Shopping: The byway is a haven for antique enthusiasts. You’ll find a plethora of antique shops and boutiques along the route, perfect for discovering unique treasures.
  7. Historic Sites: Explore historical sites like the Hoxie House in Sandwich, one of the oldest houses on Cape Cod, or the Captain Bangs Hallet House Museum in Yarmouth Port, which offers insights into Cape Cod’s maritime history.
  8. Whale Watching: Cape Cod is known for its whale-watching tours. Many of these excursions depart from towns along Route 6A, providing an opportunity to witness majestic whales in their natural habitat.
  9. Quaint Inns and Bed-and-Breakfasts: The byway is dotted with charming inns and bed-and-breakfasts that offer cozy accommodations and a taste of Cape Cod hospitality. These establishments often provide an excellent opportunity to experience the region’s unique charm.
  10. Art Galleries and Studios: Cape Cod has a vibrant arts scene, and you’ll find numerous art galleries and studios along the byway. Explore local artists’ creations and perhaps even find a unique piece of art to take home.
  11. Scenic Drives: The Old King’s Highway offers a leisurely and scenic drive through Cape Cod’s landscapes. The road is shaded by trees and lined with stone walls, making it a picturesque route year-round.
  12. Beaches and Water Activities: Cape Cod is known for its beautiful beaches. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or kayaking at one of the many beaches along the byway.

The Old King’s Highway National Scenic Byway in Massachusetts offers a delightful journey through Cape Cod’s history, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in exploring historic villages, relaxing on sandy beaches, or discovering local art and antiques, this byway provides a diverse range of attractions and experiences that will leave you enchanted with Cape Cod’s timeless appeal.

Battle Road Scenic Byway All-American Road

The Battle Road Scenic Byway in Massachusetts is a historic and picturesque route that takes travelers back in time to the American Revolutionary War. Stretching through the towns of Lexington, Lincoln, and Concord, this byway offers a unique blend of historical significance and natural beauty. Here are some of the best features of the Battle Road Scenic Byway:

  1. Revolutionary War History: The Battle Road Scenic Byway is deeply connected to the events of April 19, 1775, when the American Revolution began. Travelers can explore the sites where the famous battles of Lexington and Concord took place, including the Lexington Green, North Bridge, and Minute Man National Historical Park.
  2. Historic Landmarks: The byway is lined with historic landmarks, museums, and monuments that provide insights into the Revolutionary War and the people who played pivotal roles in shaping American history. These include the Old Burying Ground in Lexington and the Old Manse in Concord.
  3. Minute Man National Historical Park: This park encompasses a significant portion of the byway and offers visitors the opportunity to explore preserved battlefields, colonial-era homes, and interpretive centers that tell the story of the American Revolution.
  4. Beautiful Landscapes: While immersing yourself in history, you’ll also enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The Battle Road Scenic Byway is surrounded by scenic landscapes, including meadows, woods, and the serene Concord River.
  5. Walden Pond: Made famous by Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond is a tranquil and picturesque spot along the byway. Visitors can take a dip in the pond, hike the surrounding trails, and learn about Thoreau’s experiment in simple living at the Walden Pond State Reservation.
  6. Outdoor Recreation: The byway offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and picnicking. The Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is an excellent place for birdwatching and wildlife observation.
  7. Historic Reenactments: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to witness historical reenactments of the battles that took place along the Battle Road. These events provide a vivid and educational experience.
  8. Thoreau’s Path: This trail runs parallel to the byway and takes visitors through woodlands and along waterways. It’s an opportunity to enjoy a peaceful walk in nature while reflecting on Thoreau’s writings and philosophies.
  9. Historic Homes: Along the byway, you can explore several historic homes, including the Hancock-Clarke House, the home of John Hancock’s grandfather, and the Hartwell Tavern, a restored colonial-era tavern.
  10. Educational Visitor Centers: The Battle Road Visitor Center and the Minute Man Visitor Center provide valuable information, exhibits, and educational programs that enhance your understanding of the area’s history.
  11. Seasonal Beauty: The Battle Road Scenic Byway is beautiful year-round, but it truly comes alive during the spring when the wildflowers bloom and in the fall when the foliage turns vibrant shades of red and gold.
  12. Guided Tours: Many guided tours are available for visitors who want a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the byway’s sites. Knowledgeable guides can provide valuable insights and context.

The Battle Road Scenic Byway offers a unique and immersive journey into American history, allowing visitors to walk in the footsteps of the patriots who fought for independence. It’s a place where history and natural beauty combine to create a rich and meaningful experience for all who travel its path.

More great scenic drives in Massachusetts:

No matter which Massachusetts scenic byway you choose, planning your journey is a breeze. The state’s Department of Transportation provides detailed maps, resources, and recommendations to help you make the most of your road trip. Keep in mind that weather conditions can vary, so check the forecast and road conditions before heading out.

Massachusetts scenic byways offer a captivating blend of natural beauty, historic sites, and cultural experiences. Each byway tells a unique story of the state’s heritage and landscapes, making it a road trip you won’t soon forget. So, embark on a journey through Massachusetts’ scenic byways and immerse yourself in the history, culture, and breathtaking scenery of this remarkable state.

A Symphony of Colors: Witnessing the Spectacle of Fall Foliage in Massachusetts

As summer’s warmth gradually yields to the crisp embrace of autumn, Massachusetts transforms into a masterpiece of natural artistry. The Bay State’s forests burst into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold, creating a visual symphony that captivates the senses. Each year, the fall foliage in Massachusetts draws visitors from near and far to witness this breathtaking spectacle.

The Science Behind the Splendor

The mesmerizing transformation of Massachusetts’ landscapes in the fall is a result of a complex interplay of environmental factors. As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, deciduous trees prepare for the winter months. During this process, chlorophyll production decreases, revealing the hidden pigments within the leaves. The combination of different tree species and their unique pigments results in the rich and varied palette of colors that blankets the state.

Timing is Everything

The timing of your visit is crucial for experiencing the peak of fall foliage in Massachusetts. While the exact timing can vary from year to year and is influenced by weather conditions, the peak typically occurs in mid to late October. To plan your trip effectively, consult local resources and foliage trackers for real-time updates on the progression of fall colors.

Prime Locations for Leaf-Peeping

  1. The Berkshires: Located in the western part of the state, the Berkshires offer some of the most stunning fall foliage in Massachusetts. Explore the Mohawk Trail, visit Mount Greylock, or enjoy the picturesque villages of Stockbridge and Lenox.
  2. The Pioneer Valley: The Connecticut River Valley is known for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant foliage. Take a scenic drive along the historic Route 5, visit Northampton, and explore the scenic views from Skinner State Park.
  3. Cape Cod: While Cape Cod is famous for its coastal beauty, it also showcases lovely fall foliage. Travel along Route 6A on the Cape, which winds through charming towns like Sandwich and Orleans.
  4. Central Massachusetts: Discover the beauty of Central Massachusetts by exploring Wachusett Mountain State Reservation, Mount Wachusett, and the Blackstone River Valley.
  5. North of Boston: Explore the towns and parks north of Boston, including Harold Parker State Forest and Middlesex Fells Reservation, to witness the beauty of fall colors.
  6. South Shore and Cape Ann: The South Shore and Cape Ann regions offer a unique coastal perspective on fall foliage. Visit World’s End in Hingham or Halibut Point State Park in Rockport for stunning coastal views amidst colorful foliage.

 Activities Amidst the Colors

While the fall foliage is reason enough to visit Massachusetts during this season, there’s a wealth of activities to enjoy amidst the colors:

  1. Hiking: Massachusetts offers an array of hiking trails that immerse you in the heart of fall foliage. Whether you’re seeking a challenging trek or a leisurely stroll, there’s a trail for everyone.
  2. Photography: The vibrant colors provide the perfect backdrop for photography enthusiasts. Capture the beauty of Massachusetts’ fall foliage at sunrise, sunset, or under the soft, diffused light of an overcast day.
  3. Culinary Delights: Fall is also harvest season in Massachusetts. Enjoy apple picking, savor freshly baked apple pies, indulge in cider donuts, and explore farm-to-table dining experiences.
  4. Art and Culture: Massachusetts’ cultural scene comes alive in the fall. Explore art galleries, attend festivals, and immerse yourself in local culture.
  5. Scenic Drives: Massachusetts’ well-maintained roads make it easy to enjoy fall colors from the comfort of your car. Plan a scenic drive to take in the best views at your own pace.

Massachusetts’ fall foliage is a natural masterpiece that unfolds with grace and splendor each year. The breathtaking beauty of the state’s landscapes, combined with a myriad of outdoor activities and cultural experiences, makes autumn in Massachusetts an enchanting and unforgettable season for all who are fortunate enough to visit. Plan your fall getaway wisely and be prepared to be immersed in the symphony of colors that paints Massachusetts’ landscapes each year.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Michigan Byways

Michigan’s Scenic Byways: Where Nature’s Beauty Meets Rich History

Nestled in the heart of the Great Lakes region, Michigan is a state of unparalleled natural beauty, cultural richness, and historical significance. While the hustle and bustle of its cities and the allure of its freshwater coastlines often steal the spotlight, Michigan has a secret worth exploring—the mesmerizing world of its scenic drives. These roadways offer a unique perspective on the state’s diverse landscapes, from the rugged beauty of the Upper Peninsula to the charming countryside of the Lower Peninsula. We invite you to embark on a journey through Michigan’s scenic byways, where you’ll find a harmonious blend of breathtaking vistas, hidden treasures, and a profound connection to the state’s past and present. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking an escape from the ordinary, Michigan’s scenic roads promise an unforgettable road trip adventure.

Michigan has three scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Copper Country Trail National Byway

The Copper Country Trail National Byway offers travelers a captivating journey through the historic Copper Country, known for its mining heritage, scenic landscapes, and cultural treasures. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Quincy Mine: Explore the Quincy Mine and Hoist, a National Historic Landmark, where you can descend into an underground copper mine and learn about the challenges and triumphs of Michigan’s mining history.
  2. Keweenaw National Historical Park: Visit the Keweenaw National Historical Park, which encompasses numerous historic sites, museums, and interpretive centers that delve into the region’s mining heritage and the lives of the people who shaped it.
  3. Historic Towns: Discover charming historic towns such as Houghton and Hancock, which boast well-preserved architecture, vibrant cultural scenes, and opportunities for shopping and dining.
  4. Lake Superior Shoreline: Explore the pristine shoreline of Lake Superior, where you can relax on sandy beaches, hike along the coast, or simply take in the majesty of the largest of the Great Lakes.
  5. Outdoor Activities: Take advantage of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, and fishing in the abundant natural areas and state parks along the byway.
  6. Copper Harbor: Visit Copper Harbor, the northernmost point of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where you can explore Fort Wilkins State Historic Park, take a scenic boat tour, and enjoy the tranquil harbor atmosphere.
  7. Copper Country Color Tour: Experience the Copper Country Color Tour in the fall, when the landscape is ablaze with vibrant autumn foliage, making for a breathtaking and picturesque drive.
  8. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend cultural festivals and events that celebrate the region’s heritage, music, and local traditions.
  9. Copper Falls: Discover stunning waterfalls like Hungarian Falls and Eagle River Falls, where you can hike and photograph the natural beauty of the area.
  10. Lighthouse Exploration: Explore historic lighthouses along the shoreline, including the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, which guided ships through Lake Superior’s waters.
  11. Mine Tours: Take guided tours of other historic copper mines in the area, such as the Delaware Mine, to gain insights into the challenges faced by miners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Copper Country Trail National Byway is a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor adventure. Whether you’re interested in delving into mining history, exploring the great outdoors, or simply enjoying scenic drives, this byway promises an enriching and memorable road trip through Michigan’s Copper Country.

River Road Scenic Byway

The River Road Scenic Byway in Michigan offers travelers a picturesque journey through the stunning landscapes and rich history of the northeastern part of the state. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Au Sable River: Follow the winding course of the pristine Au Sable River, one of Michigan’s most scenic waterways, offering opportunities for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing.
  2. Lumberman’s Monument: Visit the Lumberman’s Monument, a towering tribute to the lumberjacks who played a vital role in Michigan’s timber industry during the 19th century. The monument offers panoramic views of the Au Sable River.
  3. River Overlooks: Stop at numerous scenic overlooks along the route, which provide breathtaking vistas of the Au Sable River Valley, dense forests, and the Huron-Manistee National Forests.
  4. Hiking Trails: Explore hiking trails in the Huron-Manistee National Forests, where you can embark on scenic walks through lush forests and along the riverbanks.
  5. Canoeing and Kayaking: Paddle down the Au Sable River, known for its crystal-clear waters and peaceful surroundings, offering an ideal setting for canoeing and kayaking adventures.
  6. Fishing: Cast your line into the Au Sable River, a renowned destination for anglers seeking trout and other freshwater fish.
  7. Fall Foliage: Experience the River Road Scenic Byway during the autumn months when the surrounding forests burst into vibrant hues of red, orange, and yellow, creating a stunning fall foliage display.
  8. Riverboat Tours: Take a riverboat tour along the Au Sable River, allowing you to relax and appreciate the beauty of the region from a different perspective.
  9. Historical Markers: Discover historical markers and interpretive signs that share the stories of the early settlers, loggers, and pioneers who shaped the region’s history.
  10. Iargo Springs: Visit Iargo Springs, a natural artesian spring with a viewing platform overlooking the river and a historic stairway that descends into the springs area.
  11. Au Sable Oscoda Historical Society: Explore the history of Oscoda and the surrounding area at the Au Sable Oscoda Historical Society Museum, which offers exhibits on logging, fishing, and local heritage.
  12. Local Cuisine: Savor local cuisine at restaurants and cafes in the charming towns along the byway, where you can enjoy fresh catches, hearty meals, and regional specialties.

The River Road Scenic Byway is a tranquil and immersive journey through Michigan’s natural beauty and historical legacy. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a serene escape, this byway promises a memorable and refreshing road trip experience in the heart of the Great Lakes State.

Woodward Avenue (M-1) – Automotive Heritage Trail

The Woodward Avenue (M-1) – Automotive Heritage Trail is a route that celebrates the state’s deep automotive history and culture. Here are some of its best features:

  1. Historic Woodward Avenue: Drive along historic Woodward Avenue, often referred to as “America’s Main Street,” known for its rich automotive history and role as the birthplace of the American automobile industry.
  2. Woodward Dream Cruise: Experience the world-famous Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual event that draws classic car enthusiasts from around the globe. It’s a car lover’s paradise, with thousands of vintage and classic vehicles on display.
  3. Automotive Museums: Visit automotive museums along the route, including the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, which houses a vast collection of historic automobiles, artifacts, and exhibits that trace the evolution of the industry.
  4. Greenfield Village: Explore Greenfield Village, part of The Henry Ford complex, where you can step back in time and see historic buildings, vehicles, and exhibits that showcase American innovation and culture.
  5. Woodward Avenue Landmarks: Pass by iconic landmarks along Woodward Avenue, including the General Motors Technical Center, where automotive design and engineering innovations continue to thrive.
  6. Local Car Shows: Depending on the time of year, you can participate in or attend local car shows and events, celebrating the love of automobiles and the automotive heritage of the area.
  7. Historic Dealerships: Discover historic dealerships and automotive businesses that have been part of the landscape for generations, each with its own unique story.
  8. Woodward Avenue’s Entertainment: Enjoy the vibrant entertainment and dining scene along Woodward Avenue, where you can find a variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars that cater to both locals and visitors.
  9. Historic Architecture: Admire the historic architecture and design of buildings and structures along the route, some of which have been associated with the automotive industry for over a century.
  10. Cruising Culture: Experience the cruising culture of Woodward Avenue, where you can watch or participate in the tradition of cruising, especially during warm summer evenings.
  11. Automotive Heritage Tours: Take guided tours and experiences that delve into the history and culture of the automotive industry in Michigan, offering insights into the state’s role in shaping American mobility.
  12. Local Art and Memorabilia: Explore local art installations and memorabilia related to automotive history, celebrating the artistry and design of classic cars.

The Woodward Avenue (M-1) – Automotive Heritage Trail is a nostalgic and immersive journey through Michigan’s automotive past and present. Whether you’re a car enthusiast, history buff, or simply curious about the impact of the automobile on American culture, this byway promises an exciting and educational road trip experience in the heart of the automotive world.

More great scenic drives in Michigan:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Minnesota Byways

Discovering Minnesota’s Scenic Byways: A Journey Through Natural Beauty and Heritage

Minnesota, often referred to as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” boasts a diverse and picturesque landscape that is best explored through its scenic byways. These carefully curated routes take travelers on a journey through the state’s pristine wilderness, charming small towns, and rich cultural heritage. From the North Shore of Lake Superior to the rolling hills of the Driftless Area, Minnesota’s scenic drives offer a captivating glimpse of the state’s natural beauty and historical significance.

Minnesota has eight scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway

The Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway in Minnesota offers travelers a captivating journey through the pristine beauty of the Chippewa National Forest and the serene wilderness of northern Minnesota. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Scenic Beauty and Outdoor Recreation: The byway takes you through the heart of the Chippewa National Forest, where you’ll encounter breathtaking landscapes. Rolling hills, dense forests, pristine lakes, and meandering rivers create a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities. Hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing are popular pastimes along the route.
  2. Suomi Hills: The Suomi Hills, also known as “Finn Hills,” are a unique geological feature in this region. These hills are remnants of an ancient mountain range, and they offer striking views of the surrounding forests and lakes. Suomi Hills is an excellent spot for hiking and photography.
  3. Lakes and Waterways: The byway is dotted with numerous lakes and waterways, making it an ideal destination for water enthusiasts. Whether you enjoy canoeing, kayaking, boating, or fishing, you’ll find ample opportunities to engage with the pristine waters of northern Minnesota. Nearby fishing resorts and boat launches provide easy access to the lakes.
  4. Wildlife Viewing: The Chippewa National Forest is home to a diverse array of wildlife. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, black bears, bald eagles, and various bird species. The byway offers multiple viewpoints and pull-off areas where you can safely observe wildlife in their natural habitat.
  5. Cultural and Historical Sites: The Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway also offers glimpses into the area’s cultural and historical heritage. You can visit sites like the Marcell Logging Camp, where you’ll learn about the region’s logging history, or explore the local art scene in the quaint town of Grand Rapids.

Additionally, the byway is well-maintained, making it accessible for both leisurely drives and extended road trips. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, scenic beauty, or a serene escape into nature, the Edge of the Wilderness National Scenic Byway in Minnesota has something to offer every traveler. It provides a true immersion into the tranquil wilderness of northern Minnesota, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and those looking for a peaceful retreat.

Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway

The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway in Minnesota is a unique and picturesque route that takes travelers on a journey through the natural beauty and urban landscapes of Minneapolis. As the name suggests, it’s a “grand round” tour that connects various parks, lakes, and scenic areas within the city. Here are five of the best features and highlights of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway:

  1. Urban Park System: One of the most outstanding features of the Grand Rounds is its interconnected urban park system. The byway links together several of Minneapolis’s most iconic parks, including Theodore Wirth Regional Park, Chain of Lakes Regional Park, Minnehaha Regional Park, and many others. This network of green spaces offers a wide range of outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to picnicking and birdwatching.
  2. Chain of Lakes: The byway’s Chain of Lakes Regional Park is a highlight in itself. It encompasses several beautiful lakes, including Lake Calhoun (Bde Maka Ska), Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. These pristine bodies of water are surrounded by walking and biking paths, beaches, and recreational facilities. It’s a popular spot for water sports, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and sailing.
  3. Minnehaha Falls: Located within Minnehaha Regional Park, Minnehaha Falls is a stunning natural attraction along the byway. The waterfall plunges over a limestone bluff into a picturesque gorge. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the creek or hike along the trails that provide various vantage points to view the falls.
  4. Historical Sites: The Grand Rounds byway also features historical sites and landmarks that offer insights into the city’s past. Fort Snelling State Park, for example, is home to Historic Fort Snelling, a 19th-century military fort and National Historic Landmark. Visitors can explore its restored buildings and learn about Minnesota’s history.
  5. Biking and Recreation: The byway is a haven for cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts. It boasts a well-maintained network of biking and walking trails that wind through the city’s parks and natural areas. The Grand Rounds is part of the larger Twin Cities Bike Trails system, making it easy for cyclists to explore Minneapolis on two wheels.

Additionally, the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway offers stunning views of the Mississippi River, urban gardens, and public art installations. It’s a testament to Minneapolis’s commitment to preserving its natural beauty and enhancing the quality of life for its residents and visitors. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, scenic beauty, or a leisurely stroll through a vibrant urban landscape, the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway offers it all. It’s a perfect blend of nature and city life, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring Minneapolis.

Great River Road – Minnesota

The Great River Road in Minnesota is a captivating scenic byway that follows the course of the mighty Mississippi River as it meanders through the state. This iconic route showcases the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities along the riverbanks. Here are five of the best features and highlights of the Great River Road in Minnesota:

  1. Mississippi River Views: The Great River Road provides breathtaking views of the Mississippi River at various points along the route. Whether you’re stopping at scenic overlooks, parks, or quaint river towns, you’ll have ample opportunities to take in the majestic river and its ever-changing scenery.
  2. Historic River Towns: The byway is dotted with charming historic river towns such as Red Wing, Winona, and Wabasha. These towns offer a glimpse into the region’s rich history and culture. Explore their well-preserved architecture, visit museums, and enjoy local cuisine and shops.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: The Great River Road is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers access to numerous state parks, wildlife management areas, and recreational opportunities. Hiking, birdwatching, boating, and fishing are popular activities along the route. Be sure to explore places like Frontenac State Park and Great River Bluffs State Park.
  4. Cultural Attractions: Discover cultural attractions along the way, such as the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, which educates visitors about the majestic bald eagle, a common sight along the Mississippi River. You can also explore the history of the river and its role in shaping the region at various interpretive centers and museums.
  5. Scenic Drives and Byway Segments: The Great River Road allows you to explore different segments of the route, each with its unique charm. For example, the Apple Blossom Scenic Byway takes you through picturesque orchards and vineyards. These side trips enhance the overall experience of the byway.

Additionally, the Great River Road in Minnesota is part of the larger Great River Road National Scenic Byway, which extends through ten states along the Mississippi River. Travelers can embark on an extended road trip to explore the river’s entire length or focus on specific sections that pique their interest. The Great River Road in Minnesota is a remarkable journey that combines natural beauty, cultural exploration, and outdoor adventures. It’s an ideal route for anyone looking to immerse themselves in the history, heritage, and scenic wonders of the Mississippi River and its surrounding landscapes.

Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway

The Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway in Minnesota offers a captivating journey through the heart of the Superior National Forest and the stunning wilderness of northern Minnesota. This remote and pristine byway is a nature lover’s paradise. Here are five of the best features and highlights of the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway:

  1. Breathtaking Scenic Beauty: The Gunflint Trail is renowned for its rugged and untouched natural beauty. As you drive along the byway, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas of dense forests, crystal-clear lakes, and rolling hills. The scenic overlooks along the route provide picture-perfect opportunities to capture the essence of the Superior National Forest.
  2. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW): The Gunflint Trail serves as a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, one of the most pristine and remote wilderness areas in the United States. Outdoor enthusiasts flock to this region for canoeing, kayaking, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The pristine lakes and waterways offer unparalleled opportunities for serene exploration.
  3. Wildlife Viewing: The byway passes through an area teeming with wildlife. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, black bears, moose, red foxes, wolves, and a wide variety of bird species. Birdwatching and wildlife photography are popular activities along the Gunflint Trail.
  4. Trailheads and Hiking: The Gunflint Trail is a hub for hiking trails that wind through the Superior National Forest. Hikers can explore trails of varying difficulty levels, from short and easy walks to challenging backcountry routes. The Superior Hiking Trail, Kekekabic Trail, and Border Route Trail are among the options for outdoor enthusiasts.
  5. Quiet Solitude and Stargazing: One of the most remarkable features of the Gunflint Trail is its peaceful and remote atmosphere. Away from the lights of urban areas, the night skies are exceptionally dark and ideal for stargazing. On clear nights, you can witness a dazzling display of stars and constellations.

In addition to these features, the Gunflint Trail offers a range of accommodations, including cabins, resorts, and campgrounds, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. The opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature is one of the greatest appeals of this byway. Overall, the Gunflint Trail National Scenic Byway is a wilderness adventure like no other. It provides an opportunity to experience the unspoiled beauty of northern Minnesota, whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, serene moments in nature, or simply a peaceful retreat from the modern world.

Historic Bluff Country National Scenic Byway

The Historic Bluff Country National Scenic Byway in Minnesota winds through the picturesque Driftless Area of southeastern Minnesota, offering travelers a blend of natural beauty, history, and cultural charm. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Limestone Bluffs and Rolling Hills: The Driftless Area is characterized by its rugged limestone bluffs and deep river valleys. The byway provides stunning views of these unique geological formations. The winding roads take you through valleys and up scenic overlooks, offering vistas of the rolling hills and bluffs covered in lush vegetation. This landscape is a haven for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
  2. Root River: The byway follows the meandering Root River, offering numerous opportunities for water-based activities. Canoeing, kayaking, and tubing are popular along this scenic river. The Root River State Trail, a multi-use trail that parallels the river, is perfect for biking and hiking.
  3. Historic Towns: The Historic Bluff Country Byway passes through charming small towns like Lanesboro, Peterson, and Preston. These towns boast well-preserved historic districts, delightful bed and breakfasts, quaint shops, and local eateries. Lanesboro, in particular, is known for its vibrant arts scene and the Commonweal Theatre.
  4. Wildlife and Birdwatching: The diverse habitats along the byway support a wide range of wildlife, making it a prime spot for birdwatching and wildlife observation. You may encounter white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, red-tailed hawks, and numerous songbirds. The byway’s natural beauty is enhanced by the presence of these creatures.
  5. Root River Trail Towns: The Root River State Trail, a 42-mile-long paved trail, connects several trail towns along the byway. These trail towns, including Harmony, Preston, and Houston, offer easy access to the trail and provide amenities such as bike rentals and shuttle services. Cyclists and hikers can explore the scenic beauty of the area while stopping in these towns for refreshments and exploration.

Additionally, the Historic Bluff Country National Scenic Byway is known for its annual “Bluff Country Studio Art Tour” and “Amish backroads,” where visitors can explore Amish communities and purchase handmade crafts and goods. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, cultural experiences, or simply savoring the tranquility of the Driftless Area, the Historic Bluff Country Byway has something to offer every traveler. It’s a perfect blend of natural beauty and small-town charm, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a peaceful and scenic getaway in Minnesota.

Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway

The Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway in Minnesota offers a journey through the state’s rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant communities. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Historic and Cultural Sites: The byway is steeped in history, and you’ll find numerous historic and cultural sites along the route. Visit the Lower Sioux Agency Historic Site, which provides insights into the lives of the Dakota people and early European settlers. Explore Fort Ridgely State Park, an important site during the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862. The Harkin Store, a restored 19th-century general store, is another notable attraction.
  2. Scenic Overlooks: The byway offers several scenic overlooks that provide panoramic views of the Minnesota River Valley. These viewpoints offer stunning vistas of the river, surrounding bluffs, and lush valleys. Be sure to stop at these locations for photo opportunities and to appreciate the natural beauty of the area.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for recreation along the byway. Hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife viewing are popular activities in Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area and other nearby parks. The river itself is a great spot for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing.
  4. Communities and Local Flavors: The byway passes through charming towns and communities that offer a taste of Minnesota’s hospitality. Explore towns like New Ulm, known for its German heritage and craft beer scene, or Henderson, where you can enjoy local cuisine and shop for unique gifts. These communities often host cultural festivals and events throughout the year.
  5. Natural Beauty and Wildlife: The Minnesota River Valley is home to diverse ecosystems, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife. Keep an eye out for deer, foxes, bald eagles, and other bird species as you travel the byway. The changing seasons bring their own unique charm, with vibrant wildflowers in spring and colorful foliage in the fall.

In addition to these features, the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway provides an opportunity for visitors to explore the prairies and woodlands of southern Minnesota, where the natural beauty is complemented by the rich history of the region. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply taking in the beauty of the Minnesota River Valley, this scenic byway has something for everyone. It’s a perfect blend of cultural heritage, natural landscapes, and friendly communities, making it a memorable destination for travelers exploring Minnesota.

North Shore Scenic Drive

The North Shore Scenic Drive in Minnesota is a breathtaking journey along the northeastern shoreline of Lake Superior, offering travelers a unique blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and cultural exploration. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this stunning scenic drive:

  1. Lake Superior Views: The North Shore Scenic Drive provides some of the most spectacular views of Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes. As you wind your way along the shoreline, you’ll encounter numerous scenic overlooks and pull-off areas where you can admire the vast expanse of the lake. The crystal-clear waters and changing moods of Lake Superior create a mesmerizing backdrop for your journey.
  2. Waterfalls and State Parks: The drive takes you past several stunning waterfalls, including Gooseberry Falls, Tettegouche State Park, and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. These natural wonders offer opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and photography. The cascading waters and lush surroundings make for unforgettable experiences.
  3. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: The North Shore is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. There are numerous hiking trails that cater to all skill levels, including the Superior Hiking Trail, which traverses the entire North Shore region. Whether you’re into hiking, camping, fishing, or birdwatching, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors.
  4. Historical and Cultural Attractions: The byway is dotted with historical and cultural attractions, including the iconic Split Rock Lighthouse, a National Historic Landmark. You can explore the lighthouse, its visitor center, and the surrounding grounds to learn about maritime history and the region’s past. Additionally, you can visit the charming town of Grand Marais, known for its art galleries, local shops, and dining.
  5. Scenic Drives and Fall Colors: The North Shore Scenic Drive is particularly famous for its vibrant fall foliage. In the autumn, the maple and birch trees that line the route burst into brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold. The drive becomes a visual feast for leaf-peepers, making it one of the best places in Minnesota to experience fall colors.

In addition to these features, the North Shore Scenic Drive offers opportunities for birdwatching, wildlife observation, and enjoying the serenity of the forested landscape. The drive is a year-round destination, with each season offering its unique charm and attractions. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or a peaceful escape into nature, the North Shore Scenic Drive in Minnesota delivers it all. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone exploring the region, and its diverse attractions make it suitable for solo travelers, couples, families, and adventurers of all kinds.

Paul Bunyan National Scenic Byway

The Paul Bunyan National Scenic Byway in Minnesota is a delightful route that takes travelers through the heart of the state’s lake country, offering a blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor recreation. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Chain of Lakes: The byway winds its way through a region known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Along the route, you’ll encounter several beautiful lakes, including Gull Lake, Whitefish Lake, and Cross Lake. These pristine bodies of water offer opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, and other water-based activities.
  2. Paul Bunyan’s Story: As you travel the byway, you’ll encounter various attractions and landmarks dedicated to the legendary lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his loyal companion, Babe the Blue Ox. Learn about Paul Bunyan’s folklore, which is deeply rooted in Minnesota’s history and culture. Keep an eye out for statues and roadside attractions that pay homage to this iconic figure.
  3. Recreation and Outdoor Activities: The byway is surrounded by numerous parks and recreational areas. Visitors can explore hiking and biking trails, go golfing, or enjoy picnics in scenic settings. The nearby Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area is known for its mountain biking trails and former mining pits that have been transformed into clearwater lakes for diving and paddling.
  4. Small Town Charm: The Paul Bunyan Byway passes through several charming small towns, including Pequot Lakes and Pine River. These towns offer friendly atmospheres, local shops, dining establishments, and cultural attractions. It’s an opportunity to experience the warm hospitality of Minnesota’s lake country.
  5. Scenic Drives and Fall Colors: The byway is particularly enchanting in the fall when the surrounding forests explode with vibrant fall foliage. The drive becomes a visual feast as the maple, oak, and birch trees don their brilliant autumn colors. This is an ideal time for leaf-peeping and scenic photography.

Additionally, the byway offers glimpses of wildlife, serene lake views, and opportunities for birdwatching, making it a tranquil and nature-filled journey for travelers of all ages. The Paul Bunyan National Scenic Byway is a delightful route that combines outdoor adventures, cultural heritage, and the natural beauty of Minnesota’s lake country. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking a leisurely drive, outdoor recreation, or a deeper connection with the folklore and legends of the North Woods.

More great scenic drives in Minnesota:

Fall Colors in Minnesota

Minnesota is a state that truly comes alive in the fall. As the summer heat mellows, a remarkable transformation sweeps across the landscape, painting it in vivid hues of red, orange, and gold. The arrival of autumn is celebrated with a burst of vibrant colors that blankets the state, and the spectacle is simply awe-inspiring. Here’s a closer look at the enchanting fall colors of Minnesota.

Nature’s Masterpiece: Changing Leaves

The star of the Minnesota autumn show is undoubtedly the foliage. As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, deciduous trees across the state respond to the changing conditions by preparing for winter. Chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for the green color in leaves, begins to break down, revealing the true colors hidden beneath. This process leads to a stunning array of red, orange, and yellow leaves.

The Seasonal Transformation

Fall colors typically start to make their appearance in northern Minnesota in early to mid-September, and then the breathtaking wave of color gradually moves southward as the season progresses. Timing can vary depending on the region, but the peak of fall foliage is often in October, making it the perfect time for leaf-peeping adventures.

Where to Experience the Magic

  1. North Shore Scenic Drive: Along the northeastern shores of Lake Superior, the North Shore Scenic Drive provides a front-row seat to some of the most magnificent fall colors in the state. The juxtaposition of the colorful leaves against the deep blue waters of the lake creates a striking contrast.
  2. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW): In the far north, the BWCAW offers an immersive wilderness experience amidst a blaze of fall colors. Paddle through pristine lakes and camp beneath the vibrant canopy of leaves.
  3. Minnesota River Valley: The southern part of the state showcases its own brand of autumn beauty. The Minnesota River Valley is known for its rolling hills, river bluffs, and picturesque small towns, all of which become even more charming when draped in fall colors.
  4. State Parks and Forests: Minnesota’s state parks and forests are treasure troves of fall foliage. Places like Itasca State Park, Jay Cooke State Park, and Whitewater State Park are renowned for their vibrant autumn displays.

Outdoor Adventures Amidst Fall Colors

Fall is not just about admiring the foliage from a distance; it’s also the perfect time to immerse yourself in the outdoors. Hiking, biking, and birdwatching take on a whole new level of beauty when surrounded by the warm hues of autumn. Exploring Minnesota’s trails, lakeshores, and riverbanks during this season is a true delight.

Plan Your Fall Getaway

For those looking to experience the magic of Minnesota’s fall colors, planning ahead is essential. Accommodations in popular leaf-peeping destinations can fill up quickly, so make reservations in advance. Additionally, check local resources and websites for updated fall color reports to ensure you catch the leaves at their peak.

Minnesota’s fall colors are nothing short of a natural masterpiece. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a visitor, there’s something undeniably special about witnessing the transformation of the Land of 10,000 Lakes into a kaleidoscope of colors each autumn. So, grab your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on a captivating journey through the state’s autumn symphony.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Mississippi Byways

Mississippi’s Scenic Byways: Where Heritage and Nature Unite

Mississippi, often celebrated for its rich musical heritage and warm Southern hospitality, is also home to some of the most captivating and picturesque landscapes in the American South. Beyond the bustling cities and charming small towns, the state boasts an array of scenic byways that wind through lush forests, along tranquil rivers, and past historic sites. These scenic drives offer travelers a unique opportunity to explore Mississippi’s natural beauty, cultural treasures, and vibrant history in a way that only a road trip can provide.

You are invited to embark on a journey through Mississippi’s scenic byways, where you’ll discover a harmonious blend of Southern charm, diverse ecosystems, and a profound connection to the state’s heritage. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a leisurely drive through captivating landscapes, Mississippi’s scenic byways promise an enriching and memorable road trip adventure.

Mississippi has two scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Great River Road

The Great River Road in Mississippi follows the majestic course of the Mississippi River, offering travelers a chance to explore the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and historical significance of this iconic waterway. Here are some of the best features of the Great River Road in Mississippi:

  1. Scenic Overlooks: Enjoy breathtaking views of the Mississippi River from various scenic overlooks along the route, allowing you to take in the river’s grandeur and the surrounding landscapes.
  2. Antebellum Mansions: Visit historic antebellum mansions such as the Stanton Hall and Longwood in Natchez, where you can step back in time and admire the architectural grandeur of the Old South.
  3. Vicksburg National Military Park: Delve into Civil War history at Vicksburg National Military Park, where you can tour battlefields, visit the USS Cairo Museum, and pay tribute to the soldiers who fought here.
  4. Catfish Capital: Sample Mississippi’s famous catfish dishes in towns like Greenville, known as the Catfish Capital of the World, offering mouthwatering Southern cuisine.
  5. Cultural Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to attend cultural festivals and events that celebrate the music, food, and traditions of the Mississippi Delta.
  6. Blues Heritage: Explore the birthplace of the blues in Clarksdale, where you can visit the Delta Blues Museum, Ground Zero Blues Club, and the crossroads where legend has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for musical talent.
  7. Tunica Casinos: Try your luck at the Tunica casinos, a popular entertainment destination along the Great River Road, offering gaming, live entertainment, and dining options.
  8. Riverboat Cruises: Experience a Mississippi Riverboat cruise, which allows you to travel the river in style, with options for sightseeing, dining, and live entertainment.
  9. Birdwatching: Discover the rich birdlife of the Mississippi River’s floodplain, which attracts birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts to the region.
  10. Outdoor Activities: Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and picnicking in the state parks and natural areas that line the Great River Road.
  11. Riverfront Parks: Visit riverfront parks in cities like Memphis, where you can stroll along scenic riverfront promenades, attend concerts and events, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
  12. Historic Landmarks: Explore historic landmarks, such as the Mississippi River Bridge in Memphis, and learn about the river’s role in transportation and commerce.

The Great River Road in Mississippi offers a dynamic blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and historical significance. Whether you’re interested in history, music, cuisine, or simply the charm of the Mississippi River, this iconic byway promises an unforgettable road trip adventure through the heart of the South.

Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a historic and scenic byway that stretches 444 miles through three states, offering travelers a serene and picturesque journey through the heart of the South. Here are some of the best features of the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi:

  1. Historical Significance: Explore the rich history of the Natchez Trace, which served as a vital trade route for Native Americans, settlers, and traders in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  2. Scenic Beauty: Enjoy the serene and unspoiled natural landscapes of Mississippi, including lush forests, rolling hills, and the picturesque countryside, which are a feast for the eyes, especially during the fall foliage season.
  3. Cultural Heritage: Discover the cultural heritage of the region through interpretive centers and historical markers that provide insights into the lives of those who traveled the Trace.
  4. Mount Locust: Visit Mount Locust, one of the oldest structures on the Trace, which served as an inn for travelers during the 1800s and now operates as a historic site.
  5. Emerald Mound: Explore Emerald Mound, one of the largest and most well-preserved Native American mounds in the United States, offering a glimpse into the prehistoric cultures of the region.
  6. Sunken Trace: Walk or bike along the Sunken Trace, a portion of the old Natchez Trace that has eroded over time, creating a unique trail through the forest.
  7. Windsor Ruins: Admire the hauntingly beautiful Windsor Ruins, the remains of an antebellum mansion that was destroyed by fire during the Civil War.
  8. Cypress Swamp: Take a stroll along the Cypress Swamp Trail, where you can immerse yourself in the serene beauty of a cypress-tupelo swamp.
  9. Jackson Falls: Stop at Jackson Falls, a picturesque waterfall along the parkway that provides a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
  10. Birdwatching: Birdwatchers will appreciate the diverse birdlife along the Trace, with opportunities to spot a variety of species, especially during migration seasons.
  11. Cycling: The Natchez Trace Parkway is a popular route for cyclists, offering a peaceful and scenic ride through the countryside.
  12. Overlooks: Numerous overlooks along the parkway provide stunning vistas of the Mississippi landscape, making for excellent photo opportunities.
  13. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife such as deer, raccoons, and a variety of bird species that call the parkway home.
  14. Visitor Centers: Stop at the visitor centers along the route to gather information, maps, and enjoy exhibits about the history and ecology of the Natchez Trace.

The Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi is a tranquil and historically significant route that allows travelers to step back in time and appreciate the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Deep South. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply a leisurely drive through the countryside, this scenic byway promises a peaceful and enriching road trip experience.

More great scenic drives in Mississippi:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Missouri Byways

Missouri’s Scenic Byways: Where History Meets Natural Beauty

Missouri, the Show-Me State, boasts a diverse and captivating landscape that extends from the rolling Ozark Mountains to the fertile plains along the Missouri River. Amidst this breathtaking scenery, a network of scenic byways winds its way through the heart of the state, offering travelers a unique perspective on Missouri’s rich history, cultural heritage, and natural wonders. We invite you to embark on a journey through Missouri’s scenic byways, where you’ll uncover a tapestry of experiences that celebrate the state’s boundless beauty. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, these byways promise an enriching and memorable road trip adventure through the heartland of America. From charming small towns to rugged landscapes, Missouri’s scenic byways have something to offer every traveler, and they’re ready to show you their best side.

Missouri has three scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Crowley’s Ridge Parkway

The Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway in Missouri offers travelers a unique and scenic journey through a geological wonder known as Crowley’s Ridge. This distinctive landform, characterized by its gentle, rolling hills, is surrounded by the flat Mississippi Delta and offers a range of captivating features:

  1. Unique Geological Formation: Crowley’s Ridge itself is a remarkable geological feature, stretching for approximately 150 miles across the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The ridge rises sharply above the surrounding landscape, creating a striking contrast in elevation.
  2. Scenic Vistas: Enjoy picturesque vistas from overlooks along the byway, where you can take in panoramic views of the rolling hills, lush forests, and nearby farmland.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: Explore the natural beauty of Crowley’s Ridge through hiking, birdwatching, and nature photography in the state parks and conservation areas that dot the route, including Trail of Tears State Park and Lake Boutin Recreation Area.
  4. Historical Sites: Learn about the region’s history at historical sites like the Hunter-Dawson State Historic Site, which preserves a 19th-century plantation home, and the Civil War Fort D Historic Site in Cape Girardeau.
  5. Cultural Attractions: Immerse yourself in local culture by visiting charming small towns along the route, such as Jackson and Bloomfield, which offer unique shopping, dining, and cultural experiences.
  6. Seasonal Beauty: Experience the changing seasons along the byway, with vibrant spring blossoms, lush summer foliage, colorful fall leaves, and serene winter landscapes, each offering its own visual appeal.
  7. Wildlife Viewing: Spot diverse wildlife species in the area, including deer, wild turkeys, and various bird species. Birdwatchers will find the region particularly rewarding.
  8. Fishing and Boating: Cast a line or enjoy a peaceful day of fishing at Lake Boutin, which provides opportunities for angling and boating.
  9. Historical Interpretation: Learn about the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee Indian removal at the Trail of Tears State Park, which features exhibits and information about this tragic chapter in American history.
  10. Picnicking: Many of the parks along the byway offer picnic areas where you can enjoy a leisurely meal amidst the natural beauty of the region.
  11. Stargazing: On clear nights, the low light pollution in this area makes it an excellent spot for stargazing and observing celestial wonders.

The Crowley’s Ridge Parkway National Scenic Byway in Missouri is a hidden gem that showcases the state’s geological diversity and historical significance. Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures, history, or simply a peaceful scenic drive through captivating landscapes, this byway promises a rewarding and memorable road trip experience.

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66 in Missouri, often referred to as the “Main Street of America,” is a legendary and iconic byway that traverses the heart of the state. Along this historic route, travelers can immerse themselves in the nostalgia of a bygone era and explore a diverse range of attractions and features:

  1. Historic Landmarks: Route 66 is dotted with historic landmarks and nostalgic roadside attractions that harken back to the golden age of American road trips. Don’t miss Red Cedar Inn in Pacific, one of the oldest restaurants on Route 66, or Meramec Caverns, known as the “Jesse James Hideout.”
  2. Mural Towns: Several towns along Route 66 in Missouri feature vibrant, vintage-style murals that tell the stories of the road’s heyday, such as Cuba’s Route 66 Mural City and St. James’ “History on Route 66” murals.
  3. The Chain of Rocks Bridge: Explore the iconic Chain of Rocks Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River and offers stunning views of the river and the cityscape of St. Louis. It’s a must-visit for both history enthusiasts and photographers.
  4. Route 66 State Park: Discover the Route 66 State Park, where you can explore the original roadbed of Route 66, view interpretive exhibits, and enjoy hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching in a scenic setting.
  5. Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q: Savor mouthwatering barbecue at Missouri Hick Bar-B-Q in Cuba, which is renowned for its delicious smoked meats and cozy atmosphere.
  6. Devil’s Elbow: Visit Devil’s Elbow, a picturesque section of Route 66 along the Big Piney River, known for its stunning rock formations and historic bridge.
  7. Tulsa-To-Springfield: Take a drive on the Tulsa-to-Springfield stretch of Route 66, which showcases beautiful Ozark landscapes and rolling hills.
  8. Kicks on 66 Antique Mall: Shop for vintage treasures and Route 66 memorabilia at the Kicks on 66 Antique Mall in Joplin, a popular stop for collectors and nostalgia buffs.
  9. Graffiti Highway: Explore the “Graffiti Highway” in Carthage, where travelers have left their mark by painting messages and artwork on the pavement, creating a unique testament to the road’s enduring appeal.
  10. Local Eateries: Satisfy your appetite with classic diner fare and home-cooked meals at the various diners, cafes, and restaurants that line Route 66. Be sure to try the famous “czech kolache” in towns like Cuba.
  11. Meramec Spring Park: Visit Meramec Spring Park near Rolla, which features a trout hatchery, hiking trails, and serene natural surroundings.
  12. Antique Shops: Explore the antique shops and boutiques that offer vintage collectibles and unique finds, making it a great place to shop for souvenirs and mementos.
  13. Route 66 Museum: Stop by the Route 66 Museum in Lebanon, which provides a fascinating look at the history and culture of the Mother Road.

Historic Route 66 in Missouri is not just a road; it’s a journey through time and a celebration of American culture and history. Whether you’re interested in vintage roadside attractions, delicious cuisine, or simply a road trip through the heart of the Midwest, Route 66 promises an unforgettable adventure and a glimpse into the past.

Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road

The Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road in Missouri is a charming and scenic byway that meanders through the heart of the state, following the course of the mighty Mississippi River. Along this picturesque route, travelers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the river’s edge, explore historic towns, and enjoy a variety of unique features:

  1. Mississippi River Views: The Great River Road provides stunning panoramic views of the Mississippi River, offering plenty of opportunities for scenic overlooks and peaceful moments by the water’s edge.
  2. Historic Towns: Explore charming historic towns along the route, including Hannibal, the boyhood home of Mark Twain, and Clarksville, known for its picturesque riverfront.
  3. Mark Twain’s Legacy: Visit the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum in Hannibal, where you can step back in time to the author’s childhood and explore his literary heritage.
  4. Hannibal’s Lighthouse: Discover the Hannibal Lighthouse, a picturesque structure overlooking the river that serves as a scenic highlight and a nod to the region’s maritime history.
  5. Wineries and Vineyards: Taste the local flavors at wineries and vineyards in the area, where you can sample Missouri wines and enjoy tours of the scenic vineyard landscapes.
  6. Historical Sites: Visit historical sites like Fort Belle Fontaine Park, which preserves the history of a former U.S. military fort, and the Apple Creek Winery, located in an 1870s-era church.
  7. Missouri River Confluence: Witness the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers at the Riverfront Park in Louisiana, providing a striking natural spectacle.
  8. Art Galleries and Studios: Explore art galleries and studios in towns along the byway, where you can admire and purchase the works of local artists.
  9. Antiques and Boutiques: Shop for antiques, unique crafts, and boutique items in the charming shops and boutiques that line the byway.
  10. Riverfront Parks: Relax in riverfront parks with picnic areas and walking trails, where you can enjoy a leisurely break amidst scenic surroundings.
  11. Outdoor Recreation: Engage in outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, and birdwatching, taking advantage of the natural beauty and wildlife of the region.
  12. Seasonal Events: Depending on the time of year, you may have the opportunity to attend seasonal events, festivals, and farmers’ markets that showcase the local culture and cuisine.
  13. Bald Eagle Watching: During the winter months, the Mississippi River becomes a prime location for bald eagle watching, attracting bird enthusiasts from near and far.

The Little Dixie Highway of the Great River Road in Missouri offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, history, and small-town charm. Whether you’re interested in literary history, scenic river views, or simply a peaceful drive through picturesque landscapes, this byway promises an enriching and memorable road trip experience along the banks of the Mississippi River.

More great scenic drives in Missouri:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Montana Byways

Montana’s Scenic Byways: A Journey Through Nature’s Masterpiece

Montana, often dubbed “Big Sky Country,” is a state renowned for its vast and unspoiled wilderness, dramatic mountain landscapes, and a sense of freedom that comes from being surrounded by nature’s grandeur. In this land of epic proportions, where the horizon stretches endlessly and the mountains reach for the heavens, a network of scenic byways beckons to adventurous travelers and nature enthusiasts alike.

You are invited to embark on an awe-inspiring journey through Montana’s scenic byways, where the call of the wild is undeniable, and the beauty of the land is unmatched. These byways promise a road trip experience like no other, with each turn unveiling a new vista, a hidden gem, or a connection to Montana’s rich cultural and historical heritage. From the majestic peaks of the Rockies to the rolling plains, Montana’s scenic drives offer an opportunity to traverse some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the United States. Whether you seek outdoor adventures, cultural discoveries, or simply the joy of the open road, Montana’s scenic drives are your ticket to an unforgettable adventure in the heart of the American West.

Montana has one scenic drive that is part of the America’s Byways collection:

Beartooth Highway All-American Road

Tucked away in the rugged wilderness of Montana, the Beartooth Highway All-American Road stands as one of the crowning jewels of the state’s scenic byway network. Spanning from the charming town of Red Lodge to the gateway of Yellowstone National Park, this breathtaking route traverses the Beartooth Mountains, offering travelers a journey through some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the United States. With each twist and turn of the road, the Beartooth Highway unveils a world of natural splendor and outdoor adventures, making it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a road trip like no other.

 

Best Features of the Beartooth Highway All-American Road:

  1. Spectacular Mountain Passes: The byway takes you over the Beartooth Pass, often referred to as the “Highway to the Sky.” At over 10,000 feet in elevation, this pass offers breathtaking panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and rugged landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see.
  2. Outdoor Recreation: The Beartooth Mountains beckon outdoor enthusiasts with opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife viewing. The region is home to diverse ecosystems, including lush forests and high alpine meadows.
  3. Rock Creek Vista Point: Make a stop at Rock Creek Vista Point, a popular overlook that provides a jaw-dropping vista of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It’s an ideal spot for photography and taking in the grandeur of the landscape.
  4. Top-of-the-World Scenery: Experience the sensation of being on top of the world as you traverse the Beartooth Pass, where you’ll encounter dramatic switchbacks, pristine mountain lakes, and wildflower-filled meadows.
  5. Camping and Picnicking: Along the byway, you’ll find numerous campgrounds and picnic areas where you can enjoy the tranquility of the mountains and the crisp mountain air.
  6. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for wildlife such as bighorn sheep, mountain goats, marmots, and even grizzly bears that call this region home.
  7. Scenic Overlooks: The byway is punctuated with several pullouts and scenic overlooks, each offering unique and breathtaking vistas of the Beartooth Mountains.

 

Best Time to Visit:

The Beartooth Highway All-American Road is typically open from late May to mid-October, with the best time to visit being in the summer and early fall. Late June through September is particularly ideal when wildflowers blanket the alpine meadows, and the weather is conducive to outdoor activities. Keep in mind that the higher elevations can still be quite chilly even in the summer, so packing warm clothing is advisable.

In the fall, the byway is ablaze with the fiery colors of changing foliage, making it a spectacular destination for leaf-peeping and photography. Be sure to check road conditions before embarking on your journey, as winter snowfall can impact accessibility, especially at the highest elevations.

The Beartooth Highway is more than just a road; it’s a gateway to the untamed beauty of Montana’s wilderness. Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor adventurer, or simply seeking a scenic drive through awe-inspiring landscapes, this byway promises an unforgettable journey through Montana’s high country.

More great scenic drives in Montana:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Nebraska Byways

Exploring the Beauty of Nebraska Scenic Byways

When it comes to scenic beauty and tranquil landscapes, Nebraska may not be the first state that comes to mind, but hidden within its vast plains are some of the most picturesque and charming routes in the United States. Nebraska’s scenic drives offer travelers a unique opportunity to discover the state’s diverse natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. From rolling sandhills to historic trails, here’s a closer look at a few of the scenic byways that make Nebraska a road trip destination worth exploring.

Nebraska has two scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway

The Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway in Nebraska offers a delightful journey through the heart of the state, following the historic path of the Lincoln Highway, one of the first transcontinental highways in the United States. This scenic byway covers approximately 400 miles and is rich in history, natural beauty, and cultural attractions. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway in Nebraska:

  1. Historic Route: As one of the earliest transcontinental highways, the Lincoln Highway played a significant role in the development of the American West. Traveling this byway allows you to trace the footsteps of pioneers and early motorists who ventured across the country.
  2. Historic Markers and Monuments: Along the route, you’ll encounter numerous historic markers, monuments, and interpretive signs that provide insights into the history of the Lincoln Highway and its significance. These markers offer opportunities for learning and reflection.
  3. Small Town Charm: The byway passes through charming small towns, each with its own unique character and history. Explore Main Streets, visit local shops, and experience the warm hospitality of rural Nebraska communities.
  4. Pioneer and Cultural Heritage: Immerse yourself in Nebraska’s pioneer and cultural heritage by visiting museums and historic sites along the byway. These attractions showcase the state’s history, including its Native American heritage, pioneering spirit, and agricultural roots.
  5. Natural Beauty: Nebraska’s landscapes unfold before you as you travel along the byway. Enjoy scenic views of rolling prairies, open farmland, and the Platte River Valley. The byway is particularly stunning during sunrise and sunset.
  6. Wildlife Viewing: Nebraska’s diverse ecosystems offer opportunities for wildlife viewing. Keep an eye out for birds, such as sandhill cranes, waterfowl, and raptors, especially in the Platte River Valley during migration seasons.
  7. Parks and Recreation: The byway passes near or through several state parks and recreational areas. Take a break to hike, picnic, or enjoy water-based activities in these natural settings.
  8. Historic Lodging: For a truly immersive experience, consider staying in historic lodgings along the byway. Some accommodations have preserved their original charm and offer a glimpse into the past.
  9. Seasonal Events: Depending on the time of your visit, you may have the opportunity to participate in seasonal events and festivals that celebrate Nebraska’s culture, agriculture, and heritage.
  10. Photography Opportunities: The byway presents endless photo opportunities, from rustic barns and historic structures to vast prairies and the changing seasons.
  11. Community Events: Check the local event calendars for community gatherings, parades, and fairs in the towns along the route. These events offer a chance to connect with local residents and experience the region’s culture.

The Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway in Nebraska is not only a road trip through the state’s history but also a picturesque journey through its landscapes and communities. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a relaxing drive, this byway provides a unique opportunity to explore Nebraska’s past and present while enjoying its scenic beauty.

Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway

The Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway in Nebraska offers a captivating and tranquil road trip experience through one of the most unique and pristine landscapes in the United States—the Nebraska Sandhills. Covering approximately 272 miles in the central part of the state, this byway showcases the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and rich history of the Sandhills region. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway:

  1. Sandhills Landscape: The defining feature of this byway is the stunning Sandhills landscape. It encompasses vast grass-covered sand dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see. The Sandhills are unique and mesmerizing, offering a sense of open space and tranquility.
  2. Wildlife Viewing: The Sandhills region is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The diverse habitats of the Sandhills support a wide range of species, including pronghorn antelope, white-tailed deer, coyotes, eagles, and a variety of migratory birds. Keep your binoculars handy for birdwatching opportunities.
  3. Stunning Sunsets: The Sandhills offer some of the most spectacular sunsets you’ll ever witness. The open vistas and expansive horizons make it an ideal location to capture the breathtaking colors of the setting sun.
  4. Chimney Rock: A short detour from the byway takes you to Chimney Rock National Historic Site. This iconic geological formation played a significant role in the westward expansion of the United States and serves as a symbol of the pioneers’ journey along the Oregon Trail.
  5. Historic Ranches: The Sandhills are home to numerous historic ranches that have been operating for generations. Some ranches offer tours and opportunities to learn about the region’s ranching heritage and cattle culture.
  6. Cowboy Culture: Experience the cowboy way of life by visiting local rodeos, attending cattle drives, and participating in western-themed events held in towns along the byway.
  7. Calamus Reservoir: Enjoy recreational activities at the Calamus Reservoir State Recreation Area, where you can go boating, fishing, camping, and hiking. The area is a scenic oasis within the Sandhills.
  8. Nature Preserves: The Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway passes near or through several nature preserves and conservation areas, offering opportunities for hiking, birding, and wildlife observation in pristine natural settings.
  9. Small Town Charm: The byway takes you through charming small towns such as Broken Bow, Ord, and Valentine. These communities offer a warm welcome, local shops, and cultural events.
  10. Stargazing: The wide-open skies of the Sandhills provide excellent conditions for stargazing. On clear nights, you can see a dazzling display of stars and constellations.
  11. Nebraska National Forest: Explore the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey, where you can hike and picnic in the pine-covered canyons and visit the Bessey Tree Nursery.
  12. Seasonal Festivals: Depending on the time of year, you may have the chance to attend local festivals and events that celebrate the Sandhills culture, agricultural heritage, and wildlife.

The Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway is a hidden gem in Nebraska, offering a journey through a landscape that is both timeless and serene. Whether you’re interested in natural beauty, wildlife, history, or simply seeking a peaceful road trip, this byway provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rugged charm of the Sandhills region.

More great scenic drives in Nebraska:

Nebraska’s scenic byways offer a diverse range of experiences, from exploring the natural beauty of the Sandhills to tracing the paths of outlaws and pioneers. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful road trip, Nebraska’s scenic byways provide a chance to discover the hidden gems of the Cornhusker State. So, hit the road, and embark on an unforgettable journey through the heartland of America.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Nebraska depends on your interests and what you’d like to experience during your trip. Nebraska experiences all four seasons distinctly, and each season has its own unique attractions and activities. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit Nebraska based on the seasons:

  1. Spring (March to May):
    • Pros: Spring in Nebraska brings milder temperatures and the awakening of nature. It’s an excellent time for outdoor activities like hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the state’s parks and wildlife refuges. The state’s prairies come to life with wildflowers in bloom during late spring.
    • Cons: Spring can be unpredictable, with occasional rain showers and fluctuating temperatures. Be prepared for variable weather conditions.
  2. Summer (June to August):
    • Pros: Summer is the peak tourist season in Nebraska. The weather is warm, and it’s the perfect time for outdoor adventures like camping, fishing, boating, and attending fairs and festivals. The Sandhills region is particularly beautiful in summer.
    • Cons: Expect crowds at popular tourist destinations during the summer months. Some areas can become hot and humid, especially in July and August.
  3. Fall (September to November):
    • Pros: Fall is a favorite time for many travelers. The weather is mild, and the foliage begins to change into vibrant autumn colors. It’s an ideal season for scenic drives, hiking, and wildlife viewing. Fall festivals and pumpkin patches are popular attractions.
    • Cons: While fall is generally pleasant, temperatures can start to cool down in November. Be prepared for the possibility of chilly weather.
  4. Winter (December to February):
    • Pros: Winter in Nebraska offers a quieter and more peaceful experience. It’s a great time for indoor attractions like museums, historic sites, and cultural events. The state’s parks can be serene and beautiful with a blanket of snow.
    • Cons: Winter temperatures can be cold, with occasional snowfall and icy conditions. Some outdoor activities may be limited during this season.
  5. Late Spring (May and early June) and Early Fall (September):
    • Bonus: If you want to avoid the crowds and still enjoy pleasant weather, late spring (May and early June) and early fall (September) are excellent times to visit. These shoulder seasons offer a balance of good weather and fewer tourists.

Ultimately, the best time to visit Nebraska depends on your interests and what you hope to experience during your trip. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, vibrant foliage, cultural events, or a peaceful winter retreat, Nebraska has something to offer year-round. Consider your preferences and the activities you’d like to pursue when planning your visit to the Cornhusker State.

Getting There

Nebraska is served by several international airports that provide access to the state from various destinations around the world. While these airports primarily handle domestic flights, they offer connections to international hubs for travelers arriving from abroad. Here are the main international airports in Nebraska:

  1. Omaha Eppley Airfield (OMA): Located in Omaha, Eppley Airfield is the largest and busiest airport in Nebraska. While it primarily serves domestic flights, it does offer limited international connectivity, including flights to and from Mexico. Travelers from international destinations often connect through major U.S. hubs such as Chicago O’Hare International Airport or Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to reach Omaha.
  2. Lincoln Airport (LNK): Lincoln Airport, situated in Lincoln, primarily serves domestic flights. International travelers typically arrive at Lincoln Airport via connecting flights from major U.S. airports like Denver International Airport or Chicago O’Hare International Airport.
  3. Central Nebraska Regional Airport (GRI): Located in Grand Island, Central Nebraska Regional Airport primarily handles domestic flights. International travelers typically connect through larger airports like Denver International Airport or Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.
  4. Kearney Regional Airport (EAR): Kearney Regional Airport, located in Kearney, serves domestic flights. Travelers from international destinations usually connect through larger airports like Denver International Airport or Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport to reach Kearney.

While these airports may have limited international flights, they are well-connected to major U.S. airports that offer a wide range of international routes. Travelers planning a trip to Nebraska from abroad can choose their arrival airport based on their final destination within the state and their preferred airline routes.

Fall Colors in Nebraska

Nebraska may not be as famous as some other states for its fall foliage, but it still offers a beautiful display of autumn colors, particularly in certain areas. The fall foliage season typically occurs from late September to mid-October, but the timing can vary depending on the weather and the region. Here are some of the best places to witness fall colors in Nebraska:

  1. Niobrara Valley: Located in northern Nebraska, the Niobrara Valley is known for its scenic beauty, especially in the fall. The Niobrara River flows through canyons lined with cottonwood trees, which turn brilliant shades of yellow and gold in the autumn. It’s a great spot for canoeing, hiking, and leaf-peeping.
  2. Ponca State Park: Situated in northeastern Nebraska, Ponca State Park is a popular destination for fall foliage enthusiasts. The park’s hardwood forests, including oak and maple trees, create a vibrant tapestry of colors in the fall. The park offers hiking trails and scenic overlooks to enjoy the views.
  3. Indian Cave State Park: Located in the southeastern part of the state, Indian Cave State Park features rugged terrain and dense woodlands that transform into a blaze of reds, oranges, and yellows during the fall season. The park has hiking trails and offers scenic views of the Missouri River.
  4. Fort Robinson State Park: In the western part of Nebraska, Fort Robinson State Park boasts a mix of ponderosa pine and hardwood trees that provide a stunning display of fall colors. The park’s historic buildings and scenic drives make it an ideal spot for leaf-peeping.
  5. Branched Oak State Recreation Area: Near Lincoln, this recreation area surrounds Branched Oak Lake and offers excellent opportunities for camping, fishing, and hiking. The fall foliage, particularly around the lake, is quite picturesque.
  6. Loess Hills: Along the Missouri River in the extreme western part of the state, the Loess Hills are known for their unique landscape. In the fall, the hillsides come alive with vibrant colors, creating a dramatic contrast with the prairie below.
  7. The Sandhills: While the Sandhills of Nebraska are known for their open prairies, some areas feature stands of deciduous trees that turn golden in the autumn. Driving through the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway in the fall can be a memorable experience.

Remember that the timing of fall foliage can vary from year to year, so it’s a good idea to check with local sources or the Nebraska Tourism website for updates on peak fall color times. Additionally, consider taking scenic drives or hiking trails in these areas to fully immerse yourself in Nebraska’s fall beauty.

Driving Tips

Driving in Nebraska can be a pleasant and straightforward experience, but it’s essential to be prepared, especially if you’re visiting from out of state. Whether you’re exploring Nebraska’s scenic byways or navigating its highways, here are some driving tips to keep in mind:

  1. Check Road Conditions: Before embarking on your journey, especially during the winter months, check road conditions and weather forecasts. Nebraska can experience severe winter weather, including snow and ice, which can impact road safety.
  2. Obey Speed Limits: Follow posted speed limits, which can vary depending on the type of road and location. Speed limits are strictly enforced in Nebraska and exceeding them can result in fines and penalties.
  3. Seat Belts: Ensure that all occupants of your vehicle are wearing seat belts at all times. Seat belt use is mandatory for both the driver and passengers in Nebraska.
  4. Be Prepared for Weather Changes: Nebraska’s weather can change rapidly, especially during transitional seasons. Carry extra clothing, blankets, and emergency supplies in case you encounter unexpected weather or road closures.
  5. Mind Wildlife: When driving in rural areas, be aware of wildlife, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are more active. Be prepared to brake if a wild animal crosses the road.
  6. Distracted Driving Laws: Nebraska has laws against texting and using handheld devices while driving. It’s safer to use a hands-free device if you need to make calls.
  7. Watch for Slow-Moving Vehicles: In rural areas, you may encounter slow-moving farm equipment on the road, especially during planting and harvest seasons. Be patient and wait for a safe passing opportunity.
  8. Gas Stations: In remote areas, gas stations may be scarce. Fill up your tank when you have the chance, and consider carrying extra fuel for longer journeys, especially in the western part of the state.
  9. Roadside Assistance: Consider joining an automobile club or having roadside assistance coverage in case of breakdowns or other unexpected issues.
  10. Drinking and Driving: Nebraska has strict laws against drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%. Designate a sober driver if you plan to consume alcohol.
  11. Child Safety: Children under the age of 8 must be secured in a child safety seat or booster seat appropriate for their age and size. Follow Nebraska’s child passenger safety laws.
  12. Respect Local Drivers: Nebraska drivers are generally courteous, but it’s essential to follow traffic rules and be respectful of local driving customs.

By following these driving tips and being prepared, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring Nebraska’s scenic byways, attractions, and natural beauty. Always exercise caution and prioritize safety when on the road.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Nevada Byways

Nevada’s Scenic Byways: A Journey Through the Silver State’s Natural Splendor

Nevada, often celebrated for the dazzling lights and high-energy entertainment of Las Vegas, also holds a hidden treasure trove of natural beauty that beckons to be explored. In addition to the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, the Silver State reveals its quieter, more serene side through a network of scenic byways that wind through some of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in the American West. From rugged mountain passes to vast desert expanses, Nevada’s scenic byways offer travelers an opportunity to escape the city and immerse themselves in the breathtaking vistas, rich history, and unique culture that define this dynamic state.

Nevada has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

City of Las Vegas Boulevard National Scenic Byway

Where the Las Vegas Strip All-American Road ends at Sahara Avenue, the City of Las Vegas Boulevard National Scenic Byway begins and extends north 3.4 miles to Washington Avenue. This stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard holds significant historical and cultural importance in the context of Las Vegas. Here are some key sites and aspects of its significance:

  1. Historical Significance: This portion of Las Vegas Boulevard is part of the original Las Vegas Strip, where the city’s first hotels and casinos were established in the early to mid-20th century. It played a pivotal role in the city’s growth as a gambling and entertainment hub.
  2. Iconic Hotels and Casinos: Several iconic hotels and casinos are situated along this stretch, including the Sahara and The Strat (formerly known as the Stratosphere). These establishments have been central to Las Vegas’ reputation as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.”
  3. Neon Boneyard: The Neon Boneyard, located near this area, is a museum that preserves and showcases vintage Las Vegas signs, many of which once adorned the casinos and businesses along this stretch. It serves as a testament to the city’s rich history and the evolution of its iconic neon signage.
  4. Fremont Street Experience: The Fremont Street Experience is a popular attraction located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a pedestrian mall and entertainment district that spans five blocks of historic Fremont Street, between Main Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. A few key features of the Fremont Street Experience include the Viva Vision canopy, a massive LED display covering the entire pedestrian mall area, and vintage neon signs and marquees.
  5. Cultural Significance: Las Vegas Boulevard is not just about gambling and entertainment; it’s a symbol of American pop culture. It has been featured in numerous films, television shows, and books, making it a cultural touchstone that resonates with people worldwide.
  6. Evolving Entertainment: Over the years, this portion of Las Vegas Boulevard has witnessed the evolution of entertainment in the city. From the classic showgirl performances of the past to modern residencies by global music superstars, it reflects the changing tastes of visitors.
  7. Urban Revitalization: The area around this part of the boulevard has undergone revitalization efforts in recent years. The arrival of new businesses, restaurants, and attractions has breathed new life into the neighborhood, enhancing its appeal to both tourists and locals.

The City of Las Vegas Boulevard National Scenic Byway is historically significant as a foundational part of the city’s development, a repository of its cultural heritage, and a dynamic center of entertainment and urban revitalization. It embodies the spirit of Las Vegas, blending its storied past with its ever-evolving future.

Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway

Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Nevada, the Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway offers a remarkable journey through some of the most stunning and pristine landscapes in the United States. Renowned for its crystal-clear waters, majestic peaks, and year-round outdoor activities, Lake Tahoe is a natural wonder that beckons travelers seeking both adventure and serenity. This scenic byway traces the breathtaking circumference of Lake Tahoe, allowing visitors to explore the lake’s vibrant shoreline, alpine vistas, and a wealth of recreational opportunities.

Best Features of the Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway:

  1. Lake Tahoe: The star of the show is undoubtedly Lake Tahoe itself. With its brilliant blue waters surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the lake provides a stunning backdrop for the entire journey. Swimming, boating, and paddleboarding are just a few of the activities you can enjoy on the lake’s pristine surface.
  2. Emerald Bay State Park: This iconic park along the byway is home to the jaw-dropping Emerald Bay, a National Natural Landmark. Hike down to Vikingsholm, a Scandinavian-style castle, or take a boat tour to explore the bay’s fascinating underwater state park.
  3. Outdoor Adventures: The byway is a gateway to year-round outdoor activities. In the summer, hike through the lush forests and mountain trails, while winter brings world-class skiing and snowboarding opportunities at renowned resorts like Heavenly and Squaw Valley.
  4. Scenic Overlooks: Numerous pullouts and scenic overlooks provide breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding mountains. Inspiration Point, on the southwest shore, offers one of the most captivating vistas.
  5. Historic Sites: Visit Tallac Historic Site to step back in time and explore preserved estates and buildings from Lake Tahoe’s storied past as a Gilded Age resort destination.
  6. Biking: The byway is popular with cyclists, with dedicated bike paths and routes for all skill levels. Bike rentals are widely available, and the fresh alpine air makes for a refreshing ride.
  7. Diverse Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, including black bears, bald eagles, and mule deer, which call this pristine environment home.
  8. Lakefront Dining: Sample local cuisine at charming lakefront restaurants, where you can savor fresh seafood while enjoying unparalleled lake views.
  9. Entertainment: The towns around Lake Tahoe offer a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, with live music, theater, and cultural events throughout the year.

 

Best Time to Visit:

Lake Tahoe’s beauty knows no bounds, but the best time to visit depends on your interests. Summer (June to August) is ideal for water sports, hiking, and warm weather. Autumn (September to November) brings vibrant fall foliage and fewer crowds. Winter (December to February) is a haven for snow enthusiasts, while spring (March to May) sees the landscape come alive with blooming wildflowers.

The Lake Tahoe National Scenic Byway in Nevada is a gateway to natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and alpine serenity. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adrenaline-pumping activities, or a scenic drive through stunning landscapes, this byway promises an unforgettable journey through the Sierra Nevada’s alpine paradise.

Las Vegas Strip All-American Road

Nestled in the heart of the Mojave Desert, the Las Vegas Strip All-American Road is a world-famous destination that needs no introduction. Known simply as “The Strip,” it’s a dazzling oasis of entertainment, luxury, and excitement that captivates millions of visitors from around the globe each year. This iconic roadway stretches approximately 4 miles along Las Vegas Boulevard South, offering a visual feast of neon lights, iconic landmarks, and world-class resorts. Join us on a journey through the glittering wonderland that is the Las Vegas Strip, an All-American Road that’s synonymous with indulgence, extravagance, and unforgettable experiences.

  1. A Neon Wonderland: The Las Vegas Strip is synonymous with its dazzling neon signs and towering LED displays. As you drive along this iconic road, you’ll be enveloped by a kaleidoscope of colors and lights that transform the cityscape into a mesmerizing dreamscape. The spectacle comes alive at night, with resorts and casinos competing to outshine each other with their elaborate displays.
  2. World-Class Resorts: The Strip is home to some of the most opulent and famous resorts in the world. From the luxurious Bellagio with its dancing fountains to the Venetian, a faithful recreation of Venice, Italy, and the modern marvel that is the Aria Resort and Casino, each property offers a unique experience. The iconic Caesars Palace, with its Roman-inspired architecture and the Colosseum theater, is another must-visit landmark.
  3. Entertainment Extravaganza: Entertainment is the beating heart of The Strip. Catch world-class performances by renowned artists, comedians, and magicians at venues like the Colosseum, Park Theater, and T-Mobile Arena. Cirque du Soleil shows, such as “O” at Bellagio and “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay, are celebrated for their artistic excellence.
  4. Gourmet Delights: Dining on The Strip is a culinary adventure. Renowned chefs and celebrity restaurants abound. Whether you’re savoring a steak at Gordon Ramsay Steak, indulging in a buffet at Wynn Las Vegas, or enjoying innovative cuisine at Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand, the dining options are endless.
  5. Retail Therapy: Shopping enthusiasts will be in paradise on The Strip. Explore high-end boutiques at The Forum Shops at Caesars, indulge in luxury shopping at The Shops at Crystals, or hunt for deals at the Fashion Show Mall.
  6. Nightlife and Casinos: As the sun sets, The Strip transforms into a vibrant nightlife hub. Experience the excitement of world-class casinos, nightclubs, and bars. The Cosmopolitan’s Marquee Nightclub and XS at Encore are among the hottest spots for nighttime revelry.

 

Best Time to Visit

Las Vegas enjoys a desert climate, so the best time to visit The Strip is during the spring and fall when temperatures are moderate. However, The Strip is a year-round destination, and each season offers a unique experience.

The Las Vegas Strip All-American Road is a destination that truly never sleeps. Its allure is undeniable, offering a captivating blend of entertainment, luxury, and spectacle. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant nightlife, world-class dining, or simply the thrill of being in one of the world’s most iconic destinations, The Strip promises a glittering adventure that leaves an indelible mark on all who visit.

Pyramid Lake Road

Nevada, often associated with its desert landscapes and vibrant cities, is also home to hidden gems of natural wonder. Among these treasures is the Pyramid Lake Road National Scenic Byway, a route that winds its way through the starkly beautiful high desert terrain to the sparkling jewel that is Pyramid Lake. This byway offers a journey through ancient landscapes, Native American heritage, and the tranquil oasis of Pyramid Lake. Join us as we explore the best features of the Pyramid Lake Road National Scenic Byway and discover why it’s a destination that should be on every traveler’s list.

 

Best Features of the Pyramid Lake Road National Scenic Byway:

  1. Pyramid Lake: At the heart of the byway lies Pyramid Lake, a mesmerizing blue expanse framed by the dramatic Pyramid and Anaho Islands. The lake is renowned for its beauty, fishing, and recreational opportunities, including boating, swimming, and picnicking.
  2. Cultural Significance: The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe calls this region home, and their cultural heritage is deeply intertwined with the land. Visit the Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitors Center to learn about the tribe’s history and traditions.
  3. Sutcliffe: The small town of Sutcliffe, located along the byway, offers services, accommodations, and dining options. Stop for a meal and enjoy lakefront views.
  4. Anaho Island National Wildlife Refuge: This island, located within Pyramid Lake, is a designated National Wildlife Refuge and serves as a sanctuary for a variety of bird species, including the American white pelican. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts will be captivated by the wildlife here.
  5. Fishing Paradise: Pyramid Lake is renowned for its Lahontan cutthroat trout, some of which can grow to impressive sizes. Fishing is a popular activity, and the lake’s clear waters provide excellent angling opportunities.
  6. Recreation: The byway offers hiking, camping, and opportunities for water sports. The nearby Pyramid Lake Marina provides boat rentals, making it easy to explore the lake.
  7. Scenic Overlooks: Throughout the journey, you’ll encounter scenic overlooks that provide panoramic views of the lake, surrounding desert, and the Pyramid and Anaho Islands.
  8. Photography: The stark beauty of the desert landscape and the vibrant blue waters of Pyramid Lake create a photographer’s paradise, especially during sunrise and sunset.

 

Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit the Pyramid Lake Road National Scenic Byway is during the spring and fall. Spring brings wildflower blooms and milder temperatures, while fall offers cooler weather and the stunning colors of changing foliage. Summer can be hot, so if you plan to visit during this season, be prepared for warm temperatures and strong sun.

Fishing enthusiasts should note that the cutthroat trout fishing season typically runs from October to June, making spring and early summer prime times for angling.

The Pyramid Lake Road National Scenic Byway is a tranquil oasis in the Nevada desert, offering a serene escape into nature’s beauty. Whether you’re drawn to outdoor adventures, cultural exploration, or simply a peaceful drive through the high desert, this byway promises an unforgettable journey to the sparkling shores of Pyramid Lake.

More great scenic drives in Nevada:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

New Hampshire Byways

Discovering New Hampshire’s Scenic Byways: A Journey Through Natural Beauty and History

New Hampshire, the “Granite State,” is renowned for its rugged landscapes, charming towns, and rich history. One of the best ways to explore the state’s natural beauty and cultural heritage is by taking a drive along its scenic byways. These roadways traverse diverse terrain, offering travelers a chance to experience the best that New Hampshire has to offer. Let’s embark on a journey through some of New Hampshire’s most captivating scenic byways.

New Hampshire has three scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

 

Connecticut River National Scenic Byway

The Connecticut River National Scenic Byway in New Hampshire is a scenic drive that closely follows the Connecticut River as it winds its way through the state’s picturesque landscapes. This byway is part of the larger Connecticut River Byway that stretches through multiple states, offering travelers a chance to explore the beauty and history of the Connecticut River Valley. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Connecticut River Byway in New Hampshire:

  1. Spectacular River Views: As the name suggests, this byway provides stunning views of the Connecticut River, one of the most iconic and pristine rivers in New England. The river serves as a focal point of the scenic drive, offering numerous opportunities for scenic pull-offs and photo stops.
  2. Fall Colors: New Hampshire is famous for its vibrant fall foliage, and the Connecticut River Byway is no exception. During the autumn months, the surrounding forests burst into a symphony of red, orange, and yellow hues, making this an ideal route for leaf-peeping and capturing the essence of New England’s fall.
  3. Historic Covered Bridges: The byway takes you through areas where you can discover some of New Hampshire’s historic covered bridges. These charming structures are not only photogenic but also represent a piece of the state’s architectural heritage. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore and photograph these iconic landmarks.
  4. Scenic Overlooks: Along the Connecticut River Byway, you’ll encounter various scenic overlooks and pull-offs that provide panoramic views of the river valley, surrounding mountains, and countryside. These vantage points are perfect for capturing the beauty of the landscape.
  5. Outdoor Activities: The byway offers access to a variety of outdoor recreational activities. You can explore hiking trails, go fishing, enjoy picnicking by the river, or even take part in water-based activities like kayaking and canoeing on the Connecticut River.
  6. Historical Sites: Discover the history of the region by visiting historical sites and museums along the byway. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the Native American heritage, early settlers, and the industrial history of the Connecticut River Valley.
  7. Wildlife Watching: The Connecticut River and its surroundings provide excellent opportunities for wildlife watching. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, waterfowl, beavers, and other native wildlife as you travel along the byway.
  8. Charming Towns: The byway connects you with picturesque New Hampshire towns like Haverhill, Bath, and Lancaster, each with its unique character and attractions. Explore the local culture, enjoy regional cuisine, and visit small-town shops and galleries.
  9. Scenic Drives: If you want to extend your journey, the byway also intersects with other scenic drives, such as the White Mountains Trail, allowing you to explore more of New Hampshire’s natural beauty.
  10. Relaxation and Tranquility: One of the byway’s greatest features is the sense of relaxation and tranquility it offers. The winding roads and serene river views create a peaceful atmosphere, making it an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The Connecticut River National Scenic Byway in New Hampshire provides a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and outdoor adventure. Whether you’re taking a leisurely drive, exploring historic sites, or immersing yourself in the stunning scenery, this byway promises a memorable journey through the heart of New Hampshire’s Connecticut River Valley. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Kancamagus National Scenic Byway

Nestled within the heart of the White Mountain National Forest, the Kancamagus Scenic Byway is a 34.5-mile route that winds through pristine wilderness. This byway is famous for its breathtaking autumn foliage, attracting leaf-peepers from far and wide. The Kancamagus offers several picturesque stops, including Sabbaday Falls and Lower Falls, where you can cool off in crystal-clear mountain streams during the summer months.

Often referred to as “The Kanc,” this popular scenic drive offers a plethora of remarkable features for travelers to enjoy. Here are some of the best features of the Kancamagus National Scenic Byway:

  1. Stunning Fall Foliage: The Kancamagus Scenic Byway is world-famous for its vibrant fall foliage. During late September and early October, the surrounding hardwood forests burst into a symphony of red, orange, and yellow hues, creating a mesmerizing display of autumn colors.
  2. Scenic Overlooks: Throughout the byway, you’ll find numerous scenic overlooks and pull-offs that provide breathtaking vistas of the White Mountains. Some of the most notable stops include Sabbaday Falls, the Kancamagus Pass, and the Sugar Hill Scenic Vista.
  3. Hiking Trails: The Kancamagus Scenic Byway offers access to numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging hikes. Popular trailheads include the Lincoln Woods Trail, the Greeley Ponds Trail, and the Mt. Kancamagus Trail. Hikers can explore the pristine wilderness and experience the beauty of the White Mountain National Forest.
  4. Swift River: The Swift River runs alongside much of the byway, offering opportunities for picnicking, fishing, and swimming in the clear, cold mountain waters. The Rocky Gorge Scenic Area is a favorite spot for enjoying the river’s beauty.
  5. Wildlife Viewing: The White Mountains are home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, moose, black bears, and various bird species. Keep your eyes peeled as you drive, hike, or picnic along the byway for a chance to spot these creatures in their natural habitat.
  6. Camping and Picnicking: The byway provides access to several campgrounds and picnic areas, allowing visitors to enjoy the great outdoors. Popular sites include the Jigger Johnson Campground and the Covered Bridge Campground.
  7. Historic Covered Bridges: As you travel along the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, you’ll encounter several historic covered bridges, such as the Albany Covered Bridge and the Swift River Covered Bridge. These picturesque structures add to the byway’s charm and make for excellent photo opportunities.
  8. Photography Opportunities: Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur, the Kancamagus Scenic Byway offers countless opportunities to capture stunning landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and the changing seasons.
  9. Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing: During the winter months, the byway transforms into a winter wonderland. Adventurous visitors can explore backcountry skiing and snowshoeing trails in the White Mountains.
  10. Nature Interpretive Centers: The Russell-Colbath Historic Site and the Saco Ranger Station provide information about the history, ecology, and geology of the area. These centers are great places to learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the White Mountains.
  11. Dark Sky Viewing: Due to its remote location and minimal light pollution, the Kancamagus Scenic Byway is a designated Dark Sky Sanctuary, making it an excellent spot for stargazing and astrophotography.
  12. Peace and Serenity: Above all, the Kancamagus Scenic Byway offers a sense of peace and serenity. The winding road and the pristine surroundings create a tranquil atmosphere, providing a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The Kancamagus Scenic Byway is a nature lover’s paradise and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re visiting in the fall to witness the spectacular foliage or exploring the byway during any other season, you’re sure to be captivated by the natural beauty and recreational opportunities it offers in the heart of the White Mountains. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

White Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway

As part of the larger White Mountains Trail, this scenic byway showcases some of New Hampshire’s most iconic natural attractions. The route encompasses 100 miles of majestic mountain scenery, passing through Franconia Notch State Park, the Flume Gorge, and the Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the trailheads leading to the Appalachian Trail and various other hiking routes.

The White Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway in New Hampshire offers travelers a spectacular journey through the rugged landscapes of the White Mountains. Here are the best features of the White Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway:

  1. Scenic Vistas: As you travel along this byway, you’ll encounter numerous scenic overlooks and pull-offs that provide awe-inspiring views of the White Mountains. The vistas offer panoramic landscapes that are especially captivating during the fall foliage season.
  2. Presidential Range: The byway takes you near the Presidential Range, home to some of the tallest peaks in the Northeast, including Mount Washington. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore hiking trails leading to these majestic summits or visit the Mount Washington Observatory.
  3. Ammonoosuc River: The Ammonoosuc River parallels much of the byway’s route, offering opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and enjoying the serene beauty of this mountain stream.
  4. Franconia Notch State Park: This renowned state park is nestled along the byway and features natural wonders such as the Flume Gorge, Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway, and the iconic Old Man of the Mountain historic site.
  5. Outdoor Adventures: The White Mountain Trail is a gateway to a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, camping, and winter sports. Popular trailheads and recreational areas, such as Crawford Notch State Park and Pinkham Notch, provide access to these adventures.
  6. Kancamagus Scenic Byway: The White Mountain Trail intersects with the Kancamagus Scenic Byway, known for its stunning fall foliage, hiking trails, and access to the Swift River. Exploring both byways allows you to experience even more of the White Mountains’ beauty.
  7. Ski Resorts: The region is home to some of the best ski resorts in New England. Places like Bretton Woods, Cannon Mountain, and Loon Mountain offer winter sports enthusiasts excellent opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.
  8. Franconia Range: Another impressive mountain range along the byway, the Franconia Range is famous for its rugged beauty and hiking trails, including the challenging Franconia Ridge Loop.
  9. Historic Covered Bridges: You’ll come across several historic covered bridges, such as the Albany Covered Bridge and the Lincoln Covered Bridge, as you travel along the byway. These charming structures are iconic to New England’s rural landscape.
  10. Small Town Charm: The byway passes through quaint New Hampshire towns like Lincoln, Franconia, and Twin Mountain. These towns offer delightful stops for exploring, dining, and experiencing the local culture.
  11. White Mountain National Forest: Much of the byway traverses the White Mountain National Forest, providing access to pristine wilderness, wildlife viewing, and opportunities to connect with nature.
  12. Waterfalls: Waterfall enthusiasts will appreciate the chance to visit enchanting cascades like Arethusa Falls and Glen Ellis Falls, which can be accessed via short hikes near the byway.
  13. Visitor Centers and Interpretive Programs: Various visitor centers and interpretive programs along the byway offer information about the history, geology, and ecology of the White Mountains, enriching your understanding of this remarkable region.

The White Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway offers a captivating journey through New Hampshire’s White Mountains, providing a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural experiences. Whether you’re driving the entire byway or exploring specific sections, you’re bound to be enchanted by the diverse and captivating features of this scenic route. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

More great scenic drives in New Hampshire:

Planning Your Scenic Byway Adventure

New Hampshire’s scenic byways provide a diverse range of experiences, from dramatic mountain vistas to tranquil lakeside retreats and charming villages steeped in history. When planning your journey, be sure to check for road conditions, accommodations, and dining options along the way. Explore the cultural attractions, recreational activities, and natural beauty that each byway offers. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or simply seeking a scenic drive, New Hampshire’s scenic byways promise an unforgettable journey through the state’s captivating landscapes and rich heritage.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit New Hampshire depends on your interests and the experiences you’re seeking. Each season in New Hampshire offers its unique charm and activities. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during each season:

  1. Summer (June to August):
    • Summer is the peak tourist season in New Hampshire, with warm temperatures and plenty of outdoor activities.
    • It’s ideal for hiking, camping, swimming in lakes, and enjoying outdoor festivals and events.
    • Popular destinations like the White Mountains, Lakes Region, and the Seacoast are bustling with visitors.
    • Be prepared for crowded tourist spots and higher accommodation prices, especially during the weekends.
  2. Fall (September to November):
    • Fall is perhaps the most iconic time to visit New Hampshire due to its stunning foliage.
    • Late September to early October is typically when the foliage peaks, with vibrant red, orange, and yellow colors covering the landscape.
    • It’s perfect for scenic drives, leaf-peeping, and hiking in the White Mountains.
    • Make accommodation reservations well in advance, as this is a popular time to visit.
  3. Winter (December to February):
    • New Hampshire transforms into a winter wonderland with snow-covered landscapes.
    • Winter sports enthusiasts can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
    • The state’s ski resorts, like Bretton Woods and Loon Mountain, offer excellent conditions.
    • Be prepared for cold temperatures, and check road conditions if you plan to travel during snowstorms.
  4. Spring (March to May):
    • Spring in New Hampshire can be unpredictable, with lingering snow in March and early April, but it gradually warms up.
    • Late spring sees the blossoming of flowers and trees.
    • It’s a quieter time to visit, making it ideal for those who prefer solitude and lower accommodation rates.
    • Spring also brings the opening of hiking trails and outdoor activities.
  5. Late Spring and Early Fall: These “shoulder seasons” (late May to early June and late September to early October) offer a balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds. Accommodation rates are often more affordable during these times.
  6. Holiday Season (Late November to December): If you enjoy festive holiday celebrations and winter activities, visiting during late November and December can be magical. You’ll find charming holiday markets, ice skating rinks, and Christmas lights displays.

Ultimately, the best time to visit New Hampshire depends on your personal preferences and the activities you want to pursue. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure, stunning fall foliage, winter sports, or a peaceful retreat, New Hampshire has something to offer year-round. Just be sure to plan accordingly, considering the weather and the specific experiences you desire.

Getting There

New Hampshire does not have its own major international airport, but it is well-connected to several nearby airports in neighboring states. Travelers flying into New Hampshire often use these international airports:

  1. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT): Located in Manchester, New Hampshire, this airport is the largest in the state and offers nonstop flights to approximately 10 domestic destinations. It is the most convenient airport for travelers heading to most of New Hampshire.
  2. Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (PSM): Located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, this airport is a joint civil and military use airport. As of August 2023, it offers limited flights to three destinations in Florida.
  3. Lebanon Municipal Airport (LEB): Located in Lebanon, New Hampshire, this small airport offers limited flights to Boston and White Plains, New York.
  4. Logan International Airport (BOS): Located in Boston, Massachusetts, Logan Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the New England region. It offers a wide range of domestic and international flights to numerous destinations worldwide. Logan is approximately a 1.5 hour drive from southern New Hampshire.
  5. Portland International Airport (PWM): Located in Portland, Maine, this airport can be useful for travelers in eastern and southeastern New Hampshire. It provides domestic flights to approximately 10 destinations year-round, with significant seasonal service during the warmer months.
  6. Bradley International Airport (BDL): Situated in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, halfway between Hartford CT and Springfield MA, Bradley International Airport is an option for travelers in the southwestern part of New Hampshire. It offers a variety of domestic flights and limited international service.
  7. Burlington International Airport (BTV): While located in Burlington, Vermont, this airport is an option for travelers in northern/western New Hampshire. It offers domestic flights to approximately 8 destinations year-round, with several seasonal destinations during the warmer months.

Travelers can choose the airport that best suits their destination and travel plans, keeping in mind that the drive to and from airports varies depending on their location within New Hampshire. Manchester-Boston Regional Airport  (MHT) is the most convenient option for most of New Hampshire while Logan International Airport (BOS) in Boston provides the widest range of international flight options for travelers throughout the region.

Fall Colors in New Hampshire

New Hampshire is renowned for its stunning fall foliage, attracting visitors from all over the world. The state’s lush forests and diverse tree species make for a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors in the autumn months. The timing of peak fall foliage can vary from year to year, but here’s a general guideline for experiencing the breathtaking fall colors in New Hampshire:

Late September to Early October: In the northern regions of New Hampshire, particularly the White Mountains and the Great North Woods, fall foliage typically reaches its peak in late September to early October. This is the first area to showcase the brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows of the changing leaves.

Early to Mid-October: In the central parts of the state, including areas like the Lakes Region and the Monadnock Region, you can generally expect peak foliage from early to mid-October. The hills and lakeshores become a tapestry of fall colors during this time.

Mid- to Late October: For the southern and coastal regions of New Hampshire, including places like Portsmouth and the Seacoast, peak foliage usually occurs in mid- to late October. The foliage here is often a mix of brilliant colors, accentuated by the coastal landscape.

Late October to Early November: At lower elevations and in milder climates, such as the southwestern part of the state, fall foliage can extend into early November. This is a good time to explore historic towns like Keene and Peterborough.

To make the most of your fall foliage trip to New Hampshire, consider the following tips:

  1. Plan Ahead: Make accommodations reservations well in advance, especially if you plan to visit during peak foliage season, as it’s a popular time to travel.
  2. Scenic Drives: Explore some of the state’s scenic byways, such as the Kancamagus Scenic Byway and the White Mountain Trail, for prime leaf-peeping opportunities.
  3. Hiking: Take advantage of the numerous hiking trails throughout the state to immerse yourself in the vibrant fall colors. Popular trails include the Franconia Ridge Loop and Mount Monadnock.
  4. Cruise on Lakes: Enjoy the beauty of fall foliage from the water by taking a cruise on one of New Hampshire’s lakes, like Lake Winnipesaukee.
  5. State and National Parks: Visit state parks, like Monadnock State Park and Franconia Notch State Park, and national forests, such as the White Mountain National Forest, for stunning foliage displays.
  6. Festivals and Events: Check local event calendars for fall festivals and events, which often feature live music, craft fairs, and seasonal treats.

Remember that fall foliage timing can vary due to weather conditions, so it’s a good idea to check foliage reports closer to your travel dates for the most accurate information on peak foliage in specific regions. Regardless of when you visit, you’re sure to be captivated by the breathtaking beauty of New Hampshire’s fall foliage.

Driving Tips

Driving in New Hampshire can be a delightful experience, especially when exploring its scenic landscapes and charming towns. However, it’s essential to be aware of local driving conditions and follow safe driving practices. Here are some driving tips for New Hampshire:

  1. Obey Speed Limits: Pay close attention to posted speed limits, which can vary from one area to another. Speed limits are enforced, and fines for speeding can be substantial.
  2. Be Mindful of Wildlife: New Hampshire’s rural areas are home to various wildlife, including deer and moose. Be cautious, especially during dawn and dusk, as these animals can suddenly dart onto the road.
  3. Winter Driving: If you’re driving in New Hampshire during the winter months, be prepared for potentially icy and snowy conditions. Equip your vehicle with snow tires or chains, carry an emergency kit, and drive at safe speeds when roads are slippery.
  4. Bicycles: Be mindful of cyclists, especially in areas popular for biking, such as the Lakes Region and the Seacoast. Give them plenty of space when passing and obey all cycling-related traffic laws.
  5. Road Conditions: Check road conditions and weather forecasts, especially when traveling in the White Mountains or during winter months. Snow and ice can create challenging driving conditions.
  6. Roundabouts: New Hampshire has many roundabouts. Familiarize yourself with how they work, yield to traffic already in the circle, and follow posted signs.
  7. Plan for Tourist Traffic: New Hampshire is a popular tourist destination, particularly during the fall foliage season and winter for skiing. Plan your trips accordingly to avoid heavy traffic if possible.

By following these driving tips and adhering to the rules of the road, you can enjoy a safe and pleasant driving experience while exploring the scenic beauty and attractions of New Hampshire.

New York Scenic Byways

Exploring New York’s Designated Scenic Drives: A Journey Through Natural Beauty

New York, often referred to as “The Empire State,” is renowned for its vibrant cities like New York City, but it’s also a treasure trove of natural beauty. Beyond the skyscrapers and bustling streets lies a network of scenic drives that lead travelers through some of the state’s most breathtaking landscapes. From the Adirondack Mountains to the Finger Lakes, and the Hudson River Valley to the Catskills, New York’s scenic routes offer a diverse range of experiences for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and adventure seekers alike.

New York’s scenic byways provide a captivating way to experience the state’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re in search of adventure in the Adirondacks, wine tasting in the Finger Lakes, or a historic journey along Route 20, there’s a byway for every traveler. So, embark on a road trip through the Empire State’s scenic routes and let the beauty of New York unfold before you, one mile at a time.

New York has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Great Lakes Seaway Trail

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail in New York is a designated National Scenic Byway that offers travelers a unique and picturesque journey through the state’s northern border along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. This scenic drive is renowned for its stunning landscapes, historical sites, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail in New York:

  1. Spectacular Lake and River Views: As the byway’s name suggests, one of its most outstanding features is the breathtaking views of the Great Lakes (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario) and the St. Lawrence River. Numerous overlooks and pull-off points provide opportunities to admire the expansive waters and watch ships pass through.
  2. Lighthouses: The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is home to several historic lighthouses, each with its own unique charm. Visitors can explore these iconic structures, such as the Presque Isle Lighthouse and Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, while learning about their maritime history.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: The byway offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and swimming. Wellesley Island State Park and Robert Moses State Park are popular spots for outdoor enthusiasts.
  4. Thousand Islands: This region, part of the St. Lawrence River, is known for its stunning archipelago of islands. Take a boat tour to explore some of the Thousand Islands and discover picturesque cottages and natural beauty.
  5. Boldt Castle: Located on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands, Boldt Castle is a magnificent mansion with a romantic history. Visitors can tour the castle and its beautifully landscaped grounds.
  6. Historical Sites: The byway is dotted with historical sites, including Fort Ontario in Oswego, which played a significant role in various wars and conflicts. The Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site offers insights into the War of 1812.
  7. Wineries and Breweries: The region along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is known for its wineries and craft breweries. Enjoy wine tastings, tours, and local brews at various establishments along the route.
  8. Bird Watching: Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunities for bird watching in this area. The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for migratory birds.
  9. Scenic Villages: The byway passes through charming villages and towns like Alexandria Bay, Clayton, and Sackets Harbor, where you can explore local shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
  10. Fall Color: In the autumn, the byway is a prime location for leaf-peeping. The surrounding forests transform into a vibrant display of reds, oranges, and yellows, making it an ideal destination for fall color enthusiasts.
  11. Water Activities: Kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating are popular water-based activities along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. Several marinas and rental facilities cater to visitors interested in water adventures.
  12. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, the night sky is filled with stars and constellations, making it a great spot for astronomy enthusiasts.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail in New York promises a scenic and enriching experience, whether you’re interested in natural beauty, maritime history, outdoor recreation, or simply enjoying the tranquil vistas of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. It’s a journey that offers a blend of natural wonders and cultural heritage along the northern border of New York State. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Lakes to Locks Passage

The Lakes to Locks Passage in New York is an All-American Road that offers travelers a captivating journey through a region rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Spanning from Waterford to Rouses Point along the eastern border of New York, this scenic byway takes you through a diverse landscape of lakes, rivers, canals, and picturesque communities. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Lakes to Locks Passage All-American Road:

  1. Erie Canal: The byway follows the historic Erie Canal, often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Visitors can learn about the canal’s construction, which played a vital role in the development of the United States, at several canal-related sites and museums.
  2. Lake Champlain: The byway offers stunning views of Lake Champlain, one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in the United States. Activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming are popular here.
  3. Historic Sites: Explore historic sites and landmarks along the route, including Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point State Historic Site, and the Saratoga National Historical Park. These locations offer insights into the Revolutionary War and early American history.
  4. Adirondack Mountains: The byway provides access to the Adirondack Park, a vast wilderness area known for its outdoor recreation opportunities. Hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing are popular in this region.
  5. Waterford: Begin your journey in Waterford, where you can explore the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center and witness the famous “Flight of Five” locks, a series of canal locks on the Erie Canal.
  6. Saratoga Springs: This vibrant city is known for its mineral springs, cultural events, and the historic Saratoga Race Course. Explore the Saratoga Spa State Park and the lively downtown area.
  7. Vibrant Villages: The Lakes to Locks Passage is lined with charming villages like Whitehall, Ticonderoga, and Essex, where you can stroll through historic districts, dine in local restaurants, and visit art galleries.
  8. Outdoor Adventures: The byway offers numerous outdoor activities, including kayaking, biking, birdwatching, and picnicking in the various parks and nature reserves along the route.
  9. Ferry Rides: Take a scenic ferry ride across Lake Champlain to Vermont, offering breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
  10. Cultural Heritage: The byway celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the region with events, festivals, and museums that highlight the traditions, arts, and crafts of the area.
  11. Leaf Peeping: In the autumn, the byway becomes a canvas of vibrant fall colors as the leaves change. The Adirondack Mountains and the shores of Lake Champlain offer exceptional views of the foliage.
  12. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.

The Lakes to Locks Passage All-American Road in New York offers a fascinating journey through a region that played a significant role in American history and showcases the natural beauty of upstate New York. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventure, or simply taking in the scenic beauty of the region, this byway provides a rich and diverse travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway

The Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway in New York is a hidden gem that offers travelers a unique and tranquil journey through a picturesque landscape rich in history and natural beauty. This byway stretches for approximately 26 miles along the historic Erie Canal and Mohawk River, taking you on a peaceful escape from the bustle of city life. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway:

  1. Erie Canal Heritage: The byway follows the path of the Erie Canal, an engineering marvel of the 19th century. Visitors can explore the remnants of the canal, including locks, aqueducts, and historic structures.
  2. Historic Sites: Along the route, you’ll encounter various historical sites, including the Waterford Historical Museum, which provides insights into the Erie Canal’s history and construction.
  3. Waterford: Start your journey in Waterford, one of the oldest incorporated villages in the United States. Stroll through its historic district and visit the Waterford Harbor Visitor Center, where you can learn about the canal and its importance to the region.
  4. Scenic Views: The byway offers stunning views of the Mohawk River and the surrounding landscapes. Scenic overlooks and parks provide opportunities for picnics and photography.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The Mohawk Towpath is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking and biking trails, such as the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, wind along the canal, offering a chance to immerse yourself in nature.
  6. Birdwatching: The byway passes through several wildlife management areas and preserves, making it an excellent location for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for migratory birds and local wildlife.
  7. Fishing and Boating: The Mohawk River is known for its fishing opportunities, particularly for species like bass and walleye. Boating is also popular, and you can access the river from various points along the byway.
  8. Historic Villages: Explore charming villages like Rexford, Vischer Ferry, and Clifton Park, each with its own historic character and attractions.
  9. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the byway transforms into a colorful tapestry as the leaves change. The canal and riverbanks come alive with vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  10. Cultural Events: The region along the byway hosts cultural events and festivals that celebrate the area’s heritage, including art exhibitions, music performances, and historical reenactments.
  11. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.
  12. Canal Locks: The byway features several well-preserved canal locks, such as Lock 2 in Waterford and Lock 7 in Niskayuna, which offer a glimpse into the canal’s engineering history.

The Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway in New York is a peaceful and scenic route that invites travelers to step back in time while enjoying the natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re interested in exploring history, indulging in outdoor activities, or simply taking in the serene ambiance of the canal and river, this byway provides a tranquil and enriching travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Palisades Scenic Byway

The Palisades Scenic Byway in New York and New Jersey offers travelers a captivating journey along the Hudson River, where you can explore a stunning combination of natural beauty, historic landmarks, and recreational opportunities. This scenic byway stretches for approximately 13 miles through the picturesque Hudson River Valley, providing travelers with a memorable and enriching experience. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Palisades Scenic Byway:

  1. Hudson River Views: The Palisades Scenic Byway offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the majestic Palisades Cliffs, which rise dramatically from the river’s edge. Numerous pull-offs and overlooks provide opportunities to admire the river’s beauty and watch boats pass by.
  2. Palisades Interstate Park: This park, which includes the Palisades Cliffs, is a central feature of the byway. Visitors can explore the park’s trails, picnic areas, and scenic viewpoints, including the famous “Lookout Inn.”
  3. Hiking and Nature Trails: The byway is a gateway to several hiking and nature trails that wind through the Palisades Cliffs and the surrounding woodlands. The Long Path, a long-distance hiking trail, runs through the area and offers opportunities for scenic hikes.
  4. Tallman Mountain State Park: Located along the byway, this state park provides a serene escape for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching are popular activities, and the park features a scenic pond.
  5. Historic Landmarks: The byway passes by several historic sites, including the Kearney House, a restored 18th-century house that offers a glimpse into the region’s history. Nearby, you can explore the grounds of the Kearney House and discover its heritage.
  6. Cultural Attractions: The byway is close to cultural attractions such as the Rockland Center for the Arts and the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. These institutions celebrate art and culture in the region.
  7. Rockland Lake State Park: Located near the southern end of the byway, this state park offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming, picnicking, and hiking. The park also features a large lake for boating and fishing.
  8. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the Palisades Scenic Byway becomes a canvas of vibrant fall colors as the leaves change. The combination of the river, cliffs, and forests creates a stunning display of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  9. Picnicking: Many of the parks and scenic overlooks along the byway offer picnic facilities. It’s an ideal setting to enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning views of the Hudson River.
  10. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations and minimal light pollution, the byway provides excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.

The Palisades Scenic Byway in New York and New Jersey invites travelers to explore the Hudson River Valley’s natural and cultural treasures. Whether you’re interested in hiking along the cliffs, enjoying picnics with river views, or immersing yourself in the region’s history and art, this byway promises a serene and enriching travel experience. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

More great scenic drives in New York:

Fall Colors along New York Scenic Routes

New York State is known for its spectacular display of fall leaves, attracting visitors from around the world. The vibrant colors typically begin to emerge in September and peak in October, though the exact timing can vary depending on the region and weather conditions. Here are some of the best places to witness the breathtaking fall colors in New York State:

  1. Adirondack Mountains: The Adirondacks are a prime destination for fall foliage. The diverse mix of hardwood trees, including maples, oaks, and birches, create a stunning tapestry of red, orange, and yellow. Popular spots include Lake Placid, Lake George, and the High Peaks region.
  2. Catskill Mountains: The Catskills offer a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, making for a unique blend of colors. Scenic routes like the Catskill Scenic Trail and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway offer excellent leaf-peeping opportunities.
  3. Hudson Valley: The Hudson Valley’s rolling hills and riverfront views provide a picturesque backdrop for fall foliage. Visit places like Bear Mountain State Park and Storm King Art Center for stunning vistas.
  4. Finger Lakes Region: The Finger Lakes region is not only known for its lakes but also for its vineyards and beautiful fall colors. The hills surrounding the lakes are a great place to enjoy the changing leaves.
  5. Central New York: The area around Syracuse and Utica boasts vibrant fall foliage. Green Lakes State Park, Highland Forest, and Chittenango Falls State Park are popular spots to view the colors.
  6. Western New York: Explore the colorful landscapes of Western New York, including Letchworth State Park, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” and Allegany State Park.
  7. Thousand Islands: The region along the St. Lawrence River offers a unique opportunity to see fall foliage against a backdrop of water. Take a boat tour through the Thousand Islands for a memorable experience.
  8. Southern Tier: This region includes places like Binghamton and Elmira. Parks such as Buttermilk Falls State Park and Robert H. Treman State Park are known for their fall beauty.
  9. North Country: The North Country region, including areas like Plattsburgh and Ticonderoga, offers stunning foliage views, particularly around Lake Champlain.
  10. Long Island: Even on Long Island, you can enjoy the fall colors. Visit parks like Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve and the Long Island Greenbelt Trail.

Remember that peak color times can vary from year to year, so it’s a good idea to check local foliage reports as your travel dates approach. Whether you’re hiking, taking a scenic drive, or simply strolling through a charming village, New York State’s fall colors provide a stunning backdrop for your autumn adventures.  Read More about New Hampshire’s Scenic Byways …

New Jersey Byways

New Jersey’s Scenic Byways: Exploring the Garden State’s Hidden Beauty

While New Jersey may be known for its bustling cities and proximity to the bustling metropolis of New York City, it’s also a state brimming with natural wonders and scenic landscapes waiting to be discovered. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains, New Jersey’s diverse geography provides the backdrop for a network of picturesque roadways. These scenic drives wind through charming towns, past pristine lakes, and into the heart of lush forests, offering travelers a chance to escape the urban hustle and embrace the tranquil beauty of the Garden State. Embark on a journey through New Jersey’s scenic byways, where each road unveils a new facet of this often-overlooked haven for nature enthusiasts and road trip aficionados.

New Jersey has six scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway

New Jersey’s Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway is a hidden gem that winds along the state’s picturesque coastline, offering travelers a chance to experience the natural beauty and rich maritime history of the Garden State. Stretching approximately 122 miles from Perth Amboy to Cape May, this scenic drive takes you on a captivating journey through charming seaside towns, pristine beaches, and serene wetlands. Along the way, you’ll encounter a wealth of natural wonders, historic sites, and cultural treasures that make the Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway a must-visit destination for those seeking a coastal escape.

Best Features:

  1. Sandy Hook: The byway begins at Sandy Hook, a narrow peninsula known for its stunning beaches, wildlife-rich salt marshes, and historic Fort Hancock. Visitors can explore the Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the oldest working lighthouse in the United States, and enjoy sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and New York Harbor.
  2. Coastal Communities: As you travel south along the byway, you’ll pass through charming coastal communities like Highlands, Atlantic Highlands, and Keyport. These towns offer a glimpse into New Jersey’s maritime heritage, with bustling harbors, seafood restaurants, and opportunities for boating and fishing.
  3. Gateway National Recreation Area: The byway traverses the Gateway National Recreation Area, a vast expanse of protected natural areas that include salt marshes, dunes, and maritime forests. Birdwatching, hiking, and wildlife viewing are popular activities in this pristine coastal environment.
  4. Victorian Cape May: At the southern terminus of the byway lies Cape May, a picturesque town renowned for its well-preserved Victorian architecture. Stroll along tree-lined streets adorned with charming bed-and-breakfast inns, visit the Cape May Lighthouse, and relax on beautiful beaches.
  5. Historic Landmarks: Along the route, you’ll encounter numerous historic landmarks, including the Twin Lights of Navesink, a pair of historic lighthouses; the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, celebrating African American history; and the Historic Cold Spring Village, an open-air living history museum.
  6. Delightful Dining: The Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway is dotted with seafood restaurants and local eateries, allowing you to savor fresh catches and regional cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in seafood delights like clam chowder and lobster rolls.
  7. Birdwatching and Wildlife: Bird enthusiasts will be captivated by the byway’s birdwatching opportunities. The region is home to a variety of avian species, including migratory birds, making it a prime spot for birdwatching and wildlife photography.

The Bayshore Heritage Scenic Byway invites travelers to slow down, take in the coastal scenery, and immerse themselves in New Jersey’s maritime culture and natural wonders. Whether you’re exploring historic sites, enjoying beachfront relaxation, or savoring local seafood, this byway promises an enriching and unforgettable journey along the Jersey Shore.

Delaware River Scenic Byway

New Jersey’s Delaware River Scenic Byway offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life, inviting travelers to embark on a tranquil journey through the state’s picturesque riverfront landscapes. This scenic drive stretches approximately 34 miles along the eastern bank of the Delaware River, from the charming town of Phillipsburg in the north to the historic village of Milford in the south. As you follow the meandering course of the Delaware River, you’ll encounter a tapestry of natural beauty, historic sites, and cultural treasures that make this byway a hidden gem in the Garden State.

Best Features:

  1. Riverside Views: Perhaps the most enchanting feature of the Delaware River Scenic Byway is the ever-present view of the Delaware River itself. The peaceful waters reflect the changing seasons, creating a serene backdrop for your journey. Numerous scenic overlooks and pull-off areas allow you to pause and soak in the river’s beauty.
  2. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area: The northern portion of the byway passes through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a sprawling natural preserve known for its lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and exceptional outdoor recreational opportunities. Hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking are popular activities within this pristine wilderness.
  3. Historic Towns: Along the route, you’ll encounter charming historic towns like Frenchtown and Lambertville. These towns boast well-preserved architecture, quaint streets, and a vibrant arts scene. Stroll through their downtown areas, visit art galleries, and explore local boutiques.
  4. D&R Canal Towpath: The Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park runs parallel to the byway and offers a picturesque walking and biking trail known as the D&R Canal Towpath. This scenic trail winds through serene landscapes, providing an opportunity to connect with nature and history.
  5. Delightful Dining: The Delaware River Scenic Byway is lined with charming cafes, restaurants, and farm-to-table eateries. Local cuisine, including fresh seafood and farm-fresh produce, can be savored while enjoying views of the river.
  6. Historic Bridges: The byway crosses several historic bridges, including the charming Uhlerstown-Frenchtown Bridge and the iconic New Hope-Lambertville Bridge. These structures add to the byway’s charm and provide excellent vantage points for admiring the river.
  7. Artistic Inspiration: The scenic byway has long been a source of inspiration for artists and photographers. The play of light on the river, the changing colors of the landscape, and the quaint villages make it a haven for creative souls.

The Delaware River Scenic Byway offers a serene and contemplative journey through New Jersey’s natural beauty and historic heritage. Whether you’re exploring the scenic outdoors, savoring local cuisine, or simply enjoying the riverside tranquility, this scenic drive promises a relaxing and enriching experience for all who venture along its course.

Millstone Valley Scenic Byway

The Millstone Valley Scenic Byway in New Jersey is a delightful road trip that combines the allure of history and the beauty of nature. This 27-mile scenic drive, nestled in the heart of Somerset County, meanders through charming towns, serene landscapes, and sites of historical significance, offering travelers a journey through time and the opportunity to connect with the state’s rich heritage. As you explore this scenic route, you’ll discover a tapestry of features that make the Millstone Valley Byway a captivating destination.

 

Best Features:

  1. Millstone River: The byway closely follows the Millstone River, which adds a tranquil and picturesque backdrop to your journey. The river is ideal for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing, and its waterside trails provide opportunities for leisurely strolls and birdwatching.
  2. Rockingham Historic Site: History enthusiasts will be drawn to the Rockingham Historic Site, an 18th-century farmhouse that served as George Washington’s final Revolutionary War headquarters. Visitors can explore the restored house and its gardens while learning about the pivotal moments in American history that unfolded here.
  3. Historic Villages: The byway passes through several charming historic villages, including Kingston and Griggstown. These towns are dotted with well-preserved 18th and 19th-century buildings, adding to the byway’s nostalgic charm.
  4. Delightful Scenery: Millstone Valley is known for its idyllic scenery, including lush forests, rolling hills, and pastoral farmland. The byway is particularly stunning during the autumn months when the foliage transforms into a vibrant tapestry of red, orange, and gold.
  5. Millstone Valley Preserve: This natural oasis along the byway features a network of hiking trails that wind through woodlands and along the riverbank. It’s a perfect spot for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the local flora and fauna.
  6. Historical Markers: Along the route, you’ll encounter historical markers that share intriguing tales of the region’s past. These markers provide insight into the area’s role in the American Revolution and its industrial history.
  7. Cultural Attractions: The byway is home to cultural attractions such as the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, which offers opportunities for biking and walking, and the charming Van Harlingen Historical Society and Museum.
  8. Farm Markets: Depending on the season, you can explore local farm markets that offer fresh produce, baked goods, and artisanal products. It’s a chance to savor the flavors of the region.

The Millstone Valley Scenic Byway offers a peaceful and immersive journey through New Jersey’s history and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in historical sites, outdoor adventures, or simply enjoying the scenic countryside, this road trip promises a delightful and enriching experience for all who travel its winding path.

Palisades Scenic Byway

New Jersey’s Palisades Scenic Byway offers a remarkable journey through a landscape that seamlessly blends natural beauty, history, and outdoor recreation. This 38-mile scenic drive traces the eastern banks of the Hudson River, affording travelers captivating views of towering cliffs, lush forests, and the iconic Manhattan skyline across the water. As you traverse this scenic route, you’ll encounter a wealth of best features that make the Palisades Scenic Byway a destination cherished by nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and those seeking a serene escape from city life.

Best Features:

  1. Palisades Interstate Park: The byway is flanked by the Palisades Interstate Park, a stunning natural preserve that boasts miles of hiking trails, picnicking areas, and opportunities for birdwatching. The park’s rugged cliffs, which rise to 500 feet above the river, are a testament to the power of nature.
  2. Palisades Cliffs: The towering cliffs of the Palisades are the byway’s defining feature. These geological wonders provide a dramatic backdrop for your journey and offer numerous overlooks and vantage points where you can pause to admire the breathtaking vistas.
  3. Scenic Overlooks: The byway is punctuated by scenic overlooks that allow you to savor panoramic views of the Hudson River and the New York City skyline. One of the most iconic viewpoints is the State Line Lookout, which offers an unbeatable perspective of the river and surrounding landscape.
  4. Hiking and Biking Trails: Outdoor enthusiasts will find a paradise of hiking and biking trails along the byway, catering to various skill levels. The Long Path, a long-distance hiking trail, winds through the area, providing opportunities for exploration and adventure.
  5. Alpine Boat Basin: This charming recreation area along the byway offers boating and fishing opportunities on the Hudson River. It’s an ideal spot for picnics and enjoying the serene riverfront setting.
  6. Birdwatching: The Palisades are a haven for birdwatchers, with numerous species of birds making their home in the cliffs and forests. Keep an eye out for hawks, falcons, and songbirds.

The Palisades Scenic Byway is a serene escape that transports you from the urban hustle to a world of natural wonder and historical significance. Whether you’re hiking along the cliffs, taking in breathtaking views, or exploring cultural attractions, this scenic drive promises an enriching and memorable journey along the Hudson River’s stunning shore.

Pine Barrens Scenic Byway

New Jersey’s Pine Barrens Scenic Byway offers a unique and tranquil journey through one of the state’s most distinct and pristine ecosystems. This 130-mile scenic drive takes travelers deep into the heart of the Pine Barrens, a vast and mysterious wilderness that covers a significant portion of southern New Jersey. As you follow this scenic route, you’ll encounter a fascinating blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor adventure, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path experience.

Best Features:

  1. Pine Barrens Ecosystem: The byway provides a captivating introduction to the Pine Barrens ecosystem, characterized by its dense pine forests, cedar swamps, and unique flora and fauna. The vast stretches of unspoiled wilderness offer an ideal backdrop for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers.
  2. Wharton State Forest: Encompassing a significant portion of the Pine Barrens, Wharton State Forest is a haven for outdoor activities. Hiking, camping, canoeing, and picnicking are popular pursuits in this pristine wilderness area. Batsto Village, an authentic 19th-century ironmaking community within the forest, offers a glimpse into the region’s history.
  3. Lake Absegami: Located within Wharton State Forest, Lake Absegami is a serene oasis for swimming, boating, and fishing. The tranquil waters are perfect for cooling off on a warm day or simply relaxing by the shore.
  4. Historical Sites: The Pine Barrens Scenic Byway is dotted with historical sites that tell the story of the region’s past. The Batsto Village and Atsion Mansion are notable stops that offer guided tours, showcasing the area’s rich history.
  5. Outdoor Exploration: Numerous trails and boardwalks provide opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. The Mullica River Trail is a popular route that winds through the wilderness, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Pine Barrens.
  6. Birdwatching: The Pine Barrens are renowned for their birdwatching opportunities, attracting bird enthusiasts from near and far. Keep your binoculars ready to spot species like the Pine Barrens treefrog and the Pine Warbler.
  7. Cultural Heritage: The Pine Barrens have a unique cultural heritage, including the traditions of the Piney people who have called this region home for generations. The byway offers glimpses into this cultural tapestry through its historical sites and interpretive centers.
  8. Stargazing: With its relatively low light pollution, the Pine Barrens offer excellent stargazing opportunities. On clear nights, the dark skies reveal a dazzling display of stars and celestial wonders.

The Pine Barrens Scenic Byway provides a peaceful and educational journey through one of New Jersey’s most enigmatic and ecologically significant regions. Whether you’re exploring its natural wonders, delving into history, or simply relishing the tranquility of the Pine Barrens, this scenic drive promises a memorable and rejuvenating escape into the heart of nature.

Western Highlands Scenic Byway

New Jersey’s Western Highlands Scenic Byway is a picturesque adventure that winds through some of the state’s most stunning and rugged landscapes. This 104-mile scenic drive takes travelers on a journey through the scenic and historic northwestern region of the Garden State, where the Appalachian Mountains create a dramatic backdrop for a range of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and breathtaking vistas. As you explore this scenic route, you’ll encounter a medley of features that make the Western Highlands Scenic Byway a captivating destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

 

Best Features:

  1. High Point State Park: At the northern terminus of the byway stands High Point State Park, home to the awe-inspiring High Point Monument. Climb to the top of the monument for panoramic views that stretch into neighboring states, and explore the park’s hiking trails, picnic areas, and serene Lake Marcia.
  2. Delaware Water Gap: The byway skirts the edge of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, rafting, and camping opportunities abound in this pristine wilderness, and the stunning vistas of the Delaware River and the Kittatinny Mountains are a sight to behold.
  3. Historic Towns: Along the byway, you’ll pass through charming historic towns like Newton, Branchville, and Vernon. These towns offer a glimpse into the region’s history with well-preserved architecture, museums, and vibrant communities.
  4. Culinary Delights: The byway is home to farm markets, wineries, and restaurants serving up local cuisine and artisanal products. It’s the perfect opportunity to savor the flavors of the region.
  5. Outdoor Adventures: Whether you’re hiking the Appalachian Trail, exploring Stokes State Forest, or fishing in the Pequest River, the Western Highlands Scenic Byway provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.
  6. Cultural Attractions: The region boasts cultural attractions like the Sterling Hill Mining Museum and the Space Farms Zoo & Museum, where you can delve into the area’s geological and wildlife history.
  7. Autumn Splendor: During the fall, the byway transforms into a tapestry of fiery colors as the foliage changes. The scenic vistas and leaf-peeping opportunities are a highlight of the byway.
  8. Stargazing: The remote location and lower light pollution of this region make it an excellent spot for stargazing. On clear nights, the night sky comes alive with stars and celestial wonders.

The Western Highlands Scenic Byway is a journey through New Jersey’s rugged beauty, offering a blend of natural wonders, outdoor recreation, and cultural exploration. Whether you’re conquering mountain peaks, discovering history, or simply soaking in the tranquility of the Highlands, this scenic road trip promises a memorable and enriching escape into the heart of nature.

More great scenic drives in New Jersey:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

New Mexico Byways

Unveiling New Mexico’s Enchanted Scenic Byways: A Road Trip through Nature and Culture

New Mexico, known as the “Land of Enchantment,” is a state where the spirit of the Southwest comes alive in every corner. Beyond its vibrant cities and rich cultural tapestry, the Land of Enchantment reveals its true magic along its scenic byways. These meandering roads traverse a stunningly diverse landscape, offering travelers the opportunity to embark on a road trip filled with natural wonders, ancient history, and vibrant culture. Join us as we embark on a journey through New Mexico’s scenic byways, where each route beckons with its unique blend of breathtaking vistas and captivating stories waiting to be discovered.

New Mexico has nine scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway

New Mexico’s Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway is a journey through the rugged landscapes of the American Southwest, where history and nature converge to create a road trip like no other. Stretching for approximately 84 miles through the heart of Lincoln County, this scenic byway invites travelers to delve into the tales of the Old West, from the legendary outlaw Billy the Kid to the Native American cultures that have called this land home for centuries. As you explore this captivating scenic drive, you’ll encounter a range of best features that make the Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway a must-visit destination for history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone seeking an authentic Western experience.

Best Features:

  1. Lincoln Historic Site: The byway begins in the town of Lincoln, a place where time seems to have stood still. This historic site preserves the buildings and streets that were once the backdrop for the Lincoln County War, a feud involving Billy the Kid. Visitors can explore the historic buildings, including the courthouse and Tunstall Store, and gain insights into this turbulent period of the Old West.
  2. Billy the Kid’s Gravesite: The byway takes you to Fort Sumner, where the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid is buried. His gravesite at the Fort Sumner Cemetery is a place of pilgrimage for those fascinated by Wild West history.
  3. Pecos River: As you follow the byway, you’ll cross the Pecos River, which winds through the picturesque valley and offers opportunities for fishing and water-based recreation. The river’s cottonwood-lined banks provide a serene backdrop for picnics and relaxation.
  4. Bosque Redondo Memorial: Located near Fort Sumner, this memorial commemorates the tragic history of the Navajo and Mescalero Apache people who were forced to live in internment camps in the 1860s. It’s a place to reflect on the resilience of Native American cultures.
  5. Outdoor Adventure: The surrounding landscapes are a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, birdwatching, and camping opportunities abound in the nearby state parks and forests, including Sumner Lake State Park and Billy the Kid Scenic Byway Recreation Area.
  6. Cultural Attractions: The byway offers cultural attractions such as the Museum of New Mexico’s Fort Stanton Historic Site, where you can learn about the region’s military history, and the Hubbard Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs.
  7. Scenic Beauty: The byway passes through diverse landscapes, from the arid plains of the Tularosa Basin to the lush forests of the Sacramento Mountains. The changing scenery provides endless photo opportunities.
  8. Local Cuisine: Along the route, you’ll find opportunities to savor New Mexican cuisine and Western fare, from green chile dishes to hearty cowboy steaks.

The Billy the Kid National Scenic Byway offers a captivating journey through the pages of Western history, inviting you to step back in time to an era of legends, outlaws, and cultural heritage. Whether you’re exploring historic sites, immersing yourself in the great outdoors, or simply relishing the timeless charm of the Southwest, this scenic drive promises an unforgettable and authentic adventure through the Land of Enchantment.

El Camino Real National Scenic Byway

New Mexico’s El Camino Real National Scenic Byway is a journey along a historic and cultural trail that winds through the heart of the Land of Enchantment. Stretching approximately 163 miles, this scenic drive follows the path of the Camino Real, the “Royal Road,” that was once the lifeline connecting Mexico City to San Juan Pueblo, now known as Ohkay Owingeh. As you explore this captivating route, you’ll encounter a tapestry of best features that make the El Camino Real National Scenic Byway a captivating destination for history aficionados, nature lovers, and those seeking a deeper connection to the region’s rich heritage.

Best Features:

  1. Historic Corridor: The byway traces a historic corridor that has been traveled for centuries. The Camino Real was a vital trade route during the Spanish colonial era, and you can still see traces of its past, including remnants of the original trail.
  2. Cultural Sites: Along the route, you’ll discover an array of cultural and historical sites. San Miguel Mission in Socorro, for example, is one of the oldest churches in the United States. The Jemez State Monument and Pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh provide insights into Native American history and traditions.
  3. Historic Communities: The byway passes through charming historic communities like Socorro and San Antonio, where adobe buildings and Spanish colonial architecture evoke a sense of stepping back in time. These towns are also home to local artisans and markets.
  4. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge: This renowned wildlife refuge along the byway is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. It’s a crucial stopover for migratory birds and provides excellent opportunities for observing waterfowl and other wildlife.
  5. Hot Springs: In the town of Truth or Consequences, you can relax in natural hot springs, a perfect way to unwind after a day of exploration.
  6. Outdoor Adventures: The surrounding landscapes offer a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and camping in the Cibola National Forest to exploring the geological wonders of the Valley of Fires Recreation Area.
  7. Cultural Events: Depending on the time of your visit, you might have the chance to experience local festivals, fiestas, and cultural events that celebrate the area’s diverse heritage.
  8. Local Cuisine: Sample New Mexican cuisine along the byway, from savory green chile dishes to traditional Mexican fare.
  9. Astro-Tourism: The region is known for its dark skies, making it an ideal destination for stargazing and astro-tourism. The stars come alive in the desert night.

The El Camino Real National Scenic Byway offers a profound journey through the pages of history, connecting you with the region’s diverse cultural tapestry and the natural beauty of the New Mexican desert. Whether you’re exploring historic sites, admiring wildlife, or simply relishing the timeless charm of the Southwest, this scenic drive promises an enriching and unforgettable adventure through the Land of Enchantment.

Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway

New Mexico’s Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway offers an exploration of the state’s rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and cultural heritage. This 150-mile scenic drive takes travelers on a journey through the rugged terrain of southwest New Mexico, an area deeply connected to the history of the Chiricahua Apache tribe and the legendary warrior Geronimo. As you traverse this scenic route, you’ll uncover a myriad of best features that make the Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway a captivating destination for history enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and those seeking a deeper connection to the region’s past.

 

Best Features:

  1. Apache History: The Geronimo Trail is named after the renowned Chiricahua Apache leader, Geronimo. It was in this region that Geronimo and his band sought refuge and defended their homeland against encroachment. The byway is a journey through the heart of Apache history.
  2. Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument: A highlight of the byway is the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. Here, you can explore ancient cave dwellings built by the Mogollon people over 700 years ago. The visitor center provides insights into the lives of the people who once called these cliffs home.
  3. Outdoor Adventure: The surrounding landscapes are a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. The Gila National Forest offers opportunities for hiking, camping, and birdwatching. The nearby Gila River is a popular spot for fishing and kayaking.
  4. Wildlife Viewing: The Gila Wilderness is renowned for its biodiversity. Keep your eyes peeled for a wide range of wildlife, including black bears, cougars, and diverse bird species.
  5. Hot Springs: Along the byway, you’ll find natural hot springs where you can relax and soak in the therapeutic waters, such as the delightful Gila Hot Springs.
  6. Cultural Attractions: The byway is home to cultural attractions like the Mimbres Culture Heritage Site and the Silver City Museum, where you can delve into the area’s history and artistic heritage.
  7. Dark Skies: The Gila Wilderness is a designated International Dark Sky Sanctuary, making it a prime location for stargazing. On clear nights, you’ll be treated to a mesmerizing display of stars.
  8. Local Cuisine: Savor local flavors in the towns along the byway, where you can enjoy southwestern cuisine and regional specialties.
  9. Ghost Towns: Explore the remnants of mining towns like Pinos Altos, which offer a glimpse into the area’s boom-and-bust history.

The Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway invites you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the legends and landscapes of southwest New Mexico. Whether you’re exploring ancient cliff dwellings, hiking through pristine wilderness, or simply soaking in the region’s natural beauty, this scenic drive promises an enriching and memorable journey through the Land of Enchantment.

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66, often called the “Main Street of America,” weaves its way through New Mexico, offering travelers a nostalgic journey through time and culture. This iconic highway, which stretches for approximately 400 miles across the state, has been immortalized in literature, music, and film, and it continues to captivate the hearts of road trippers seeking an authentic American experience. As you cruise along this storied route, you’ll encounter a plethora of best features that make Historic Route 66 in New Mexico a must-visit scenic drive for those who cherish the romance of the open road and the charm of roadside Americana.

Best Features:

  1. Classic Americana: Route 66 is a living time capsule of classic Americana. Along the way, you’ll pass by vintage motels, diners, gas stations, and neon signs that harken back to the heyday of American road trips. Iconic landmarks like the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari and the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa celebrate this nostalgic heritage.
  2. Historic Towns: The highway takes you through historic towns like Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Gallup, each with its unique character and cultural attractions. Santa Fe’s adobe architecture, the neon lights of Albuquerque’s Nob Hill district, and Gallup’s Native American markets all add to the diverse tapestry of the journey.
  3. Natural Wonders: Route 66 in New Mexico offers access to natural wonders like the awe-inspiring Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park, where you can explore ancient petroglyphs and marvel at the vibrant hues of the desert landscape.
  4. Cultural Riches: The highway celebrates the state’s rich cultural heritage, with opportunities to explore Puebloan ruins, Native American art, and the traditions of the Southwest. The Acoma Pueblo, also known as “Sky City,” is a must-visit cultural attraction perched atop a mesa.
  5. Roadside Attractions: Quirky roadside attractions are part of the Route 66 experience. Stop at the Tinkertown Museum in Sandia Park, where you’ll find a whimsical collection of folk art, or visit the famous Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, a natural sinkhole that’s a magnet for divers.
  6. Outdoor Adventures: Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the scenic beauty and recreational opportunities along the route, from hiking in the Sandia Mountains to hot air ballooning in Albuquerque.
  7. Festivals and Events: Depending on your timing, you might catch one of Route 66’s lively festivals, such as the New Mexico Route 66 Motor Tour, which celebrates the road’s history and heritage.
  8. Culinary Delights: Savor traditional New Mexican cuisine along the way, with dishes like green chile stew, enchiladas, and sopapillas. Roadside diners and local eateries offer a taste of authentic Southwest flavors.

Historic Route 66 in New Mexico is more than just a highway; it’s a journey through the heart and soul of America. Whether you’re seeking vintage nostalgia, cultural immersion, or the natural beauty of the Southwest, this iconic route promises an unforgettable adventure that captures the spirit of the American road trip.

Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway

New Mexico’s Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway offers a breathtaking escape into the heart of the Land of Enchantment. This 132-mile scenic drive takes travelers on a serpentine journey through the Jemez Mountains, a region defined by rugged landscapes, pristine wilderness, and volcanic wonders. As you explore this enchanting route, you’ll encounter a medley of features that make the Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, and anyone seeking a tranquil respite amidst the splendor of the Southwest.

 

Best Features:

  1. Valles Caldera National Preserve: The crown jewel of the byway, Valles Caldera is one of the world’s largest volcanic calderas. This natural wonder offers opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography. The Valle Grande, a vast grassy valley within the preserve, is home to herds of elk and other wildlife.
  2. Jemez Springs: This charming village along the byway is renowned for its hot springs. Relax in the soothing mineral waters while taking in views of the surrounding mountains. The village also boasts art galleries, shops, and cultural events.
  3. Bandelier National Monument: Explore the ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings at Bandelier, where visitors can hike among the remnants of a prehistoric village. The park’s rugged canyons and petroglyphs provide a glimpse into the lives of the ancestral Pueblo people.
  4. Red Rocks and Foliage: The byway meanders through landscapes adorned with striking red rock formations and vibrant foliage, making it a haven for photographers and nature enthusiasts, especially during the autumn months.
  5. Jemez Pueblo: Discover the rich cultural heritage of the Jemez people at their pueblo, located along the byway. Visitors can explore the pueblo, learn about traditional pottery making, and attend cultural events when available.
  6. Battleship Rock: This distinctive rock formation along the route is a popular spot for picnicking and hiking. The nearby Jemez River provides opportunities for fishing and cooling off in the summer months.
  7. Santa Fe National Forest: The byway traverses the Santa Fe National Forest, offering endless outdoor adventures, including hiking, camping, and birdwatching. The nearby San Antonio Hot Springs are a hidden gem for those seeking a natural soak in a secluded setting.
  8. Cultural and Geological Interpretation: The Jemez Mountain Trail offers interpretive signs and visitor centers that provide insights into the region’s geological history, Native American heritage, and natural wonders.
  9. Stargazing: The byway’s remote location and high elevation make it an ideal spot for stargazing. On clear nights, the dark skies reveal a dazzling display of stars and celestial wonders.

The Jemez Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway invites you to leave the world behind and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of New Mexico’s wilderness. Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, soaking in hot springs, or simply reveling in the natural wonders of the Jemez Mountains, this scenic drive promises a rejuvenating and awe-inspiring journey through the heart of the Southwest.

Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway

The Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway in New Mexico is a historic and scenic journey that retraces the footsteps of early American pioneers and traders on their quest for the fabled Santa Fe destination. Stretching over 180 miles, this scenic drive traverses through the picturesque landscapes of northeastern New Mexico, offering travelers a chance to delve into the rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty that defines the Land of Enchantment. As you embark on this captivating route, you’ll encounter a multitude of features that make the Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway a must-visit destination for history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking an authentic glimpse into the past.

 

Best Features:

  1. Historic Trail: The byway follows the Santa Fe Trail, one of the most significant trade routes in American history. It served as a vital link between Missouri and Santa Fe, facilitating trade and cultural exchange between the United States and Mexico.
  2. Raton Pass: The byway crosses the iconic Raton Pass, a historic mountain pass that posed both challenges and opportunities for travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. The pass offers stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape.
  3. Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site: Explore the reconstructed Bent’s Old Fort, an essential trading post along the trail. Costumed interpreters bring history to life as you learn about the fur trade, Native American cultures, and the daily life of early settlers.
  4. Cultural Diversity: The byway passes through communities with diverse cultural influences, from Native American and Hispanic to Anglo-American. Each town along the route has its unique character, traditions, and festivals.
  5. Outdoor Adventures: The surrounding landscapes provide ample opportunities for outdoor activities. Trinidad Lake State Park offers boating, fishing, and camping, while Sugarite Canyon State Park boasts hiking trails and birdwatching.
  6. Scenic Beauty: Enjoy the ever-changing scenery, from the rolling plains of eastern New Mexico to the rugged beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The byway showcases the state’s dramatic topography.
  7. Museums and Interpretive Centers: Throughout the journey, you’ll find museums and interpretive centers that delve into the history of the Santa Fe Trail, offering valuable insights into the challenges and triumphs of those who traveled it.
  8. Artistic Expression: The region is known for its artistic communities, with galleries and studios showcasing local and regional artists. The art scene in places like Las Vegas and Trinidad adds a contemporary cultural dimension to the byway experience.
  9. Culinary Delights: Savor the flavors of the Southwest in local eateries, from traditional New Mexican cuisine to hearty cowboy fare. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste green chile dishes, a regional specialty.

The Santa Fe Trail National Scenic Byway invites you to step back in time and walk in the footsteps of pioneers, traders, and adventurers who shaped the American West. Whether you’re exploring historic forts, taking in the panoramic vistas, or immersing yourself in the cultural diversity of northeastern New Mexico, this scenic drive promises a captivating and educational journey through a pivotal chapter of American history.

Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway

New Mexico’s Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway is a captivating journey through the annals of history, where ancient civilizations left their indelible mark on the rugged landscape of the Southwest. This 480-mile byway, part of the multi-state Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway that also traverses Colorado and Utah, meanders through the enchanting landscapes of northwest New Mexico, providing travelers with an immersive experience of the region’s archaeological treasures, Native American heritage, and natural wonders. As you traverse this historic route, you’ll discover a multitude of features that make the Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway a must-visit destination for history aficionados, outdoor adventurers, and anyone seeking a profound connection to the past.

 

Best Features:

  1. Chaco Culture National Historical Park: A centerpiece of the byway, Chaco Canyon was once the epicenter of ancestral Puebloan civilization. Explore the ancient Great Houses, kivas, and astronomical observatories that provide insights into the sophisticated culture of the Chacoans.
  2. Aztec Ruins National Monument: Visit the Aztec Ruins, an archaeological site that preserves the remains of a Puebloan great house and kivas. The visitor center offers educational exhibits and guided tours.
  3. Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness: An otherworldly landscape awaits at the Bisti Badlands, characterized by bizarre rock formations, hoodoos, and petrified logs. It’s a haven for photographers and hikers.
  4. Navajo Culture: The byway takes you through Navajo Nation, where you can experience Navajo culture, art, and cuisine. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit local markets and interact with artisans.
  5. Salmon Ruins and Heritage Park: Explore the Salmon Ruins, an extensive archaeological site featuring well-preserved structures and artifacts. The adjacent Heritage Park provides a glimpse into the history and culture of the region.
  6. San Juan River: The scenic byway follows the meandering course of the San Juan River, offering opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and wildlife watching.
  7. Natural Beauty: The route showcases the stunning landscapes of northwest New Mexico, including mesas, canyons, and red rock formations. The vivid colors of the desert come alive during sunrise and sunset.
  8. Cultural Experiences: Throughout the journey, you can attend cultural events, powwows, and traditional ceremonies, gaining a deeper appreciation of Native American traditions and spirituality.
  9. Outdoor Adventures: Hiking, camping, and birdwatching are popular activities along the byway. The Chaco Canyon and Aztec Ruins areas offer interpretive trails for exploring ancient sites.
  10. Dark Skies: The byway’s remote location provides exceptional stargazing opportunities. On clear nights, you’ll be treated to a spectacular celestial show.

The Trail of the Ancients Scenic Byway invites you to step into the footsteps of ancient peoples, explore their remarkable architecture, and connect with the enduring legacy of Native American cultures. Whether you’re traversing archaeological wonders, admiring the stark beauty of the desert, or immersing yourself in the rich traditions of the Navajo Nation, this scenic drive promises a profound and enlightening journey through the timeless landscapes of the Southwest.

Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway

New Mexico’s Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway is a captivating expedition through the state’s southwestern terrain, renowned for its rugged beauty, diverse landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Stretching over 75 miles, this byway showcases the mesmerizing fusion of high desert plateaus, towering peaks, and charming towns that epitomize the Land of Enchantment. As you embark on this unforgettable route, you’ll uncover a multitude of features that make the Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and those seeking a unique blend of scenic wonders and cultural experiences.

 

Best Features:

  1. Gila Wilderness: Begin your journey in the Gila National Forest, home to the Gila Wilderness, one of the nation’s first designated wilderness areas. Explore its pristine backcountry, complete with hiking trails, hot springs, and the iconic Gila Cliff Dwellings.
  2. Lake Roberts: Nestled within the forest, Lake Roberts offers opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and water-based recreation. The serene lake is surrounded by ponderosa pines and offers a tranquil escape.
  3. Ghost Towns: Along the route, you’ll encounter remnants of historic mining towns like Pinos Altos, Tyrone, and Santa Rita. These ghost towns provide a glimpse into the area’s mining history and the resilience of its early inhabitants.
  4. Cultural Treasures: Visit the Silver City Museum to delve into the region’s history and heritage. Silver City itself is known for its vibrant arts scene and historic downtown district.
  5. Mineral Creek: This scenic area along the byway offers an excellent vantage point for birdwatching and admiring the rugged beauty of the surrounding landscape.
  6. Aldo Leopold Vista: Named after the renowned conservationist, this vista point offers breathtaking views of the Gila Wilderness and the surrounding mountains. It’s a prime spot for photography and reflection.
  7. Hot Springs: Throughout the region, you’ll find natural hot springs where you can unwind and rejuvenate amidst the picturesque landscapes.
  8. Outdoor Adventures: The byway is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, camping, mountain biking, and horseback riding in the Gila National Forest.
  9. Stargazing: The byway’s remote location and dark skies make it an ideal destination for stargazing. Bring your telescope or simply gaze up at the brilliant night sky.
  10. Artistic Expression: Silver City and the surrounding communities boast a vibrant arts and crafts scene. Explore galleries, studios, and shops showcasing the work of local artists.

The Trail of the Mountain Spirits Scenic Byway beckons you to explore the hidden gems of southwestern New Mexico, from pristine wilderness to historic towns frozen in time. Whether you’re hiking through ancient forests, immersing yourself in local culture, or simply savoring the tranquility of nature, this scenic drive promises an enriching and awe-inspiring journey through the heart of the Southwest.

Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway

The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway in New Mexico is a 62-mile journey through a realm of captivating landscapes, rich history, and artistic expression. This scenic byway, which connects the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe, offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore the diverse tapestry of the Land of Enchantment. As you traverse this enchanting scenic drive, you’ll discover a multitude of best features that make the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts, history buffs, outdoor adventurers, and anyone seeking a blend of cultural experiences and natural beauty.

 

Best Features:

  1. Historic Mining Towns: The byway winds through several historic mining towns, including Madrid and Cerrillos. These towns, once bustling with silver and turquoise mining activity, now offer eclectic art galleries, shops, and a taste of Old West charm.
  2. Cerrillos Hills State Park: Explore this state park and its network of hiking trails, which wind through the striking Cerrillos Hills. The park provides a glimpse into the region’s mining history and offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  3. Artistic Expression: The Turquoise Trail is renowned for its vibrant arts scene. Madrid is known for its artistic community, where you can find a diverse range of art, from painting and sculpture to jewelry and crafts.
  4. Tinkertown Museum: Located along the byway in Sandia Park, Tinkertown Museum is a whimsical treasure trove of folk art, carved miniatures, and eccentric creations. It’s a testament to the creativity and imagination of its creator, Ross Ward.
  5. Sandia Mountains: The byway takes you into the foothills of the Sandia Mountains, where you can access hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and the Sandia Peak Tramway, offering panoramic views of the Rio Grande Valley.
  6. Cultural Attractions: Visit the ancient Pueblo ruins of Pecos National Historical Park, where you can explore the remains of a 17th-century Spanish mission and an ancestral Pueblo village.
  7. Historic Route 66: The Turquoise Trail follows a segment of the iconic Route 66, known as the “Main Street of America.” Discover vintage motels, diners, and roadside attractions that evoke a sense of nostalgia.
  8. Music and Festivals: The Madrid area hosts various festivals and live music events, making it a hub for cultural celebrations and artistic expression.
  9. Geological Wonders: The byway’s route takes you through unique geological formations, including red rock cliffs and exposed turquoise deposits, adding to the area’s striking beauty.
  10. Galisteo Basin Preserve: Explore this 13,000-acre nature preserve, which offers hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails through pristine landscapes.

The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway invites you to embark on a captivating journey through a region that celebrates art, culture, history, and the natural world. Whether you’re perusing art galleries, hiking in the Sandia Mountains, or savoring the flavors of southwestern cuisine, this byway promises an enriching and visually stunning experience that captures the essence of New Mexico’s enchanting diversity.

More great scenic drives in New Mexico:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

New York Byways

Exploring New York’s Designated Scenic Drives: A Journey Through Natural Beauty

New York, often referred to as “The Empire State,” is renowned for its vibrant cities like New York City, but it’s also a treasure trove of natural beauty. Beyond the skyscrapers and bustling streets lies a network of scenic drives that lead travelers through some of the state’s most breathtaking landscapes. From the Adirondack Mountains to the Finger Lakes, and the Hudson River Valley to the Catskills, New York’s scenic routes offer a diverse range of experiences for nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and adventure seekers alike.

New York’s scenic byways provide a captivating way to experience the state’s natural beauty, cultural heritage, and recreational opportunities. Whether you’re in search of adventure in the Adirondacks, wine tasting in the Finger Lakes, or a historic journey along Route 20, there’s a byway for every traveler. So, embark on a road trip through the Empire State’s scenic routes and let the beauty of New York unfold before you, one mile at a time.

New York has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Great Lakes Seaway Trail

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail in New York is a designated National Scenic Byway that offers travelers a unique and picturesque journey through the state’s northern border along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. This scenic drive is renowned for its stunning landscapes, historical sites, and outdoor recreational opportunities. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail in New York:

  1. Spectacular Lake and River Views: As the byway’s name suggests, one of its most outstanding features is the breathtaking views of the Great Lakes (Lake Erie and Lake Ontario) and the St. Lawrence River. Numerous overlooks and pull-off points provide opportunities to admire the expansive waters and watch ships pass through.
  2. Lighthouses: The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is home to several historic lighthouses, each with its own unique charm. Visitors can explore these iconic structures, such as the Presque Isle Lighthouse and Tibbetts Point Lighthouse, while learning about their maritime history.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: The byway offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, boating, and swimming. Wellesley Island State Park and Robert Moses State Park are popular spots for outdoor enthusiasts.
  4. Thousand Islands: This region, part of the St. Lawrence River, is known for its stunning archipelago of islands. Take a boat tour to explore some of the Thousand Islands and discover picturesque cottages and natural beauty.
  5. Boldt Castle: Located on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands, Boldt Castle is a magnificent mansion with a romantic history. Visitors can tour the castle and its beautifully landscaped grounds.
  6. Historical Sites: The byway is dotted with historical sites, including Fort Ontario in Oswego, which played a significant role in various wars and conflicts. The Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site offers insights into the War of 1812.
  7. Wineries and Breweries: The region along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is known for its wineries and craft breweries. Enjoy wine tastings, tours, and local brews at various establishments along the route.
  8. Bird Watching: Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunities for bird watching in this area. The Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for migratory birds.
  9. Scenic Villages: The byway passes through charming villages and towns like Alexandria Bay, Clayton, and Sackets Harbor, where you can explore local shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
  10. Fall Color: In the autumn, the byway is a prime location for leaf-peeping. The surrounding forests transform into a vibrant display of reds, oranges, and yellows, making it an ideal destination for fall color enthusiasts.
  11. Water Activities: Kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating are popular water-based activities along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. Several marinas and rental facilities cater to visitors interested in water adventures.
  12. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, the night sky is filled with stars and constellations, making it a great spot for astronomy enthusiasts.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail in New York promises a scenic and enriching experience, whether you’re interested in natural beauty, maritime history, outdoor recreation, or simply enjoying the tranquil vistas of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. It’s a journey that offers a blend of natural wonders and cultural heritage along the northern border of New York State.

Lakes to Locks Passage

The Lakes to Locks Passage in New York is an All-American Road that offers travelers a captivating journey through a region rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Spanning from Waterford to Rouses Point along the eastern border of New York, this scenic byway takes you through a diverse landscape of lakes, rivers, canals, and picturesque communities. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Lakes to Locks Passage All-American Road:

  1. Erie Canal: The byway follows the historic Erie Canal, often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Visitors can learn about the canal’s construction, which played a vital role in the development of the United States, at several canal-related sites and museums.
  2. Lake Champlain: The byway offers stunning views of Lake Champlain, one of the largest and most beautiful lakes in the United States. Activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming are popular here.
  3. Historic Sites: Explore historic sites and landmarks along the route, including Fort Ticonderoga, Crown Point State Historic Site, and the Saratoga National Historical Park. These locations offer insights into the Revolutionary War and early American history.
  4. Adirondack Mountains: The byway provides access to the Adirondack Park, a vast wilderness area known for its outdoor recreation opportunities. Hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing are popular in this region.
  5. Waterford: Begin your journey in Waterford, where you can explore the Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center and witness the famous “Flight of Five” locks, a series of canal locks on the Erie Canal.
  6. Saratoga Springs: This vibrant city is known for its mineral springs, cultural events, and the historic Saratoga Race Course. Explore the Saratoga Spa State Park and the lively downtown area.
  7. Vibrant Villages: The Lakes to Locks Passage is lined with charming villages like Whitehall, Ticonderoga, and Essex, where you can stroll through historic districts, dine in local restaurants, and visit art galleries.
  8. Outdoor Adventures: The byway offers numerous outdoor activities, including kayaking, biking, birdwatching, and picnicking in the various parks and nature reserves along the route.
  9. Ferry Rides: Take a scenic ferry ride across Lake Champlain to Vermont, offering breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
  10. Cultural Heritage: The byway celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the region with events, festivals, and museums that highlight the traditions, arts, and crafts of the area.
  11. Leaf Peeping: In the autumn, the byway becomes a canvas of vibrant fall colors as the leaves change. The Adirondack Mountains and the shores of Lake Champlain offer exceptional views of the foliage.
  12. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.

The Lakes to Locks Passage All-American Road in New York offers a fascinating journey through a region that played a significant role in American history and showcases the natural beauty of upstate New York. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventure, or simply taking in the scenic beauty of the region, this byway provides a rich and diverse travel experience.

Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway

The Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway in New York is a hidden gem that offers travelers a unique and tranquil journey through a picturesque landscape rich in history and natural beauty. This byway stretches for approximately 26 miles along the historic Erie Canal and Mohawk River, taking you on a peaceful escape from the bustle of city life. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway:

  1. Erie Canal Heritage: The byway follows the path of the Erie Canal, an engineering marvel of the 19th century. Visitors can explore the remnants of the canal, including locks, aqueducts, and historic structures.
  2. Historic Sites: Along the route, you’ll encounter various historical sites, including the Waterford Historical Museum, which provides insights into the Erie Canal’s history and construction.
  3. Waterford: Start your journey in Waterford, one of the oldest incorporated villages in the United States. Stroll through its historic district and visit the Waterford Harbor Visitor Center, where you can learn about the canal and its importance to the region.
  4. Scenic Views: The byway offers stunning views of the Mohawk River and the surrounding landscapes. Scenic overlooks and parks provide opportunities for picnics and photography.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: The Mohawk Towpath is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking and biking trails, such as the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, wind along the canal, offering a chance to immerse yourself in nature.
  6. Birdwatching: The byway passes through several wildlife management areas and preserves, making it an excellent location for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for migratory birds and local wildlife.
  7. Fishing and Boating: The Mohawk River is known for its fishing opportunities, particularly for species like bass and walleye. Boating is also popular, and you can access the river from various points along the byway.
  8. Historic Villages: Explore charming villages like Rexford, Vischer Ferry, and Clifton Park, each with its own historic character and attractions.
  9. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the byway transforms into a colorful tapestry as the leaves change. The canal and riverbanks come alive with vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  10. Cultural Events: The region along the byway hosts cultural events and festivals that celebrate the area’s heritage, including art exhibitions, music performances, and historical reenactments.
  11. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations, the byway offers excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.
  12. Canal Locks: The byway features several well-preserved canal locks, such as Lock 2 in Waterford and Lock 7 in Niskayuna, which offer a glimpse into the canal’s engineering history.

The Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway in New York is a peaceful and scenic route that invites travelers to step back in time while enjoying the natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re interested in exploring history, indulging in outdoor activities, or simply taking in the serene ambiance of the canal and river, this byway provides a tranquil and enriching travel experience.

Palisades Scenic Byway

The Palisades Scenic Byway in New York and New Jersey offers travelers a captivating journey along the Hudson River, where you can explore a stunning combination of natural beauty, historic landmarks, and recreational opportunities. This scenic byway stretches for approximately 13 miles through the picturesque Hudson River Valley, providing travelers with a memorable and enriching experience. Here are some of the best features and highlights of the Palisades Scenic Byway:

  1. Hudson River Views: The Palisades Scenic Byway offers breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the majestic Palisades Cliffs, which rise dramatically from the river’s edge. Numerous pull-offs and overlooks provide opportunities to admire the river’s beauty and watch boats pass by.
  2. Palisades Interstate Park: This park, which includes the Palisades Cliffs, is a central feature of the byway. Visitors can explore the park’s trails, picnic areas, and scenic viewpoints, including the famous “Lookout Inn.”
  3. Hiking and Nature Trails: The byway is a gateway to several hiking and nature trails that wind through the Palisades Cliffs and the surrounding woodlands. The Long Path, a long-distance hiking trail, runs through the area and offers opportunities for scenic hikes.
  4. Tallman Mountain State Park: Located along the byway, this state park provides a serene escape for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, picnicking, and birdwatching are popular activities, and the park features a scenic pond.
  5. Historic Landmarks: The byway passes by several historic sites, including the Kearney House, a restored 18th-century house that offers a glimpse into the region’s history. Nearby, you can explore the grounds of the Kearney House and discover its heritage.
  6. Cultural Attractions: The byway is close to cultural attractions such as the Rockland Center for the Arts and the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. These institutions celebrate art and culture in the region.
  7. Rockland Lake State Park: Located near the southern end of the byway, this state park offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming, picnicking, and hiking. The park also features a large lake for boating and fishing.
  8. Fall Colors: In the autumn, the Palisades Scenic Byway becomes a canvas of vibrant fall colors as the leaves change. The combination of the river, cliffs, and forests creates a stunning display of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  9. Picnicking: Many of the parks and scenic overlooks along the byway offer picnic facilities. It’s an ideal setting to enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning views of the Hudson River.
  10. Starry Nights: Due to its relatively rural locations and minimal light pollution, the byway provides excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the night sky.

The Palisades Scenic Byway in New York and New Jersey invites travelers to explore the Hudson River Valley’s natural and cultural treasures. Whether you’re interested in hiking along the cliffs, enjoying picnics with river views, or immersing yourself in the region’s history and art, this byway promises a serene and enriching travel experience.

More great scenic drives in New York:

 

Fall Colors along New York Scenic Routes

New York State is known for its spectacular display of fall leaves, attracting visitors from around the world. The vibrant colors typically begin to emerge in September and peak in October, though the exact timing can vary depending on the region and weather conditions. Here are some of the best places to witness the breathtaking fall colors in New York State:

  1. Adirondack Mountains: The Adirondacks are a prime destination for fall foliage. The diverse mix of hardwood trees, including maples, oaks, and birches, create a stunning tapestry of red, orange, and yellow. Popular spots include Lake Placid, Lake George, and the High Peaks region.
  2. Catskill Mountains: The Catskills offer a mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, making for a unique blend of colors. Scenic routes like the Catskill Scenic Trail and the Catskill Mountains Scenic Byway offer excellent leaf-peeping opportunities.
  3. Hudson Valley: The Hudson Valley’s rolling hills and riverfront views provide a picturesque backdrop for fall foliage. Visit places like Bear Mountain State Park and Storm King Art Center for stunning vistas.
  4. Finger Lakes Region: The Finger Lakes region is not only known for its lakes but also for its vineyards and beautiful fall colors. The hills surrounding the lakes are a great place to enjoy the changing leaves.
  5. Central New York: The area around Syracuse and Utica boasts vibrant fall foliage. Green Lakes State Park, Highland Forest, and Chittenango Falls State Park are popular spots to view the colors.
  6. Western New York: Explore the colorful landscapes of Western New York, including Letchworth State Park, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” and Allegany State Park.
  7. Thousand Islands: The region along the St. Lawrence River offers a unique opportunity to see fall foliage against a backdrop of water. Take a boat tour through the Thousand Islands for a memorable experience.
  8. Southern Tier: This region includes places like Binghamton and Elmira. Parks such as Buttermilk Falls State Park and Robert H. Treman State Park are known for their fall beauty.
  9. North Country: The North Country region, including areas like Plattsburgh and Ticonderoga, offers stunning foliage views, particularly around Lake Champlain.
  10. Long Island: Even on Long Island, you can enjoy the fall colors. Visit parks like Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve and the Long Island Greenbelt Trail.

Remember that peak color times can vary from year to year, so it’s a good idea to check local foliage reports as your travel dates approach. Whether you’re hiking, taking a scenic drive, or simply strolling through a charming village, New York State’s fall colors provide a stunning backdrop for your autumn adventures.  Read more about New York Scenic Byways …

North Carolina Byways

Exploring the Beauty of North Carolina: A Journey Along Scenic Byways

Nestled in the southeastern corner of the United States, North Carolina boasts an enchanting tapestry of natural beauty, rich history, and diverse cultures. While the state is renowned for its picturesque coastline and majestic mountains, it’s North Carolina’s scenic drives that provide travelers with an immersive experience, offering a deeper understanding of the state’s multifaceted charm. These scenic routes wind through verdant landscapes, quaint towns, and cultural hubs, inviting explorers to embark on an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Tar Heel State. Join us as we venture along the North Carolina Scenic Byways, where every turn reveals a new facet of this captivating region.

North Carolina has five scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway, often heralded as “America’s Favorite Drive,” gracefully meanders through the heart of North Carolina’s Appalachian Mountains, treating travelers to an unparalleled display of natural beauty and cultural heritage. This iconic scenic drive, renowned for its sweeping vistas, lush forests, and charming stops along the way, is not just a highway; it’s a scenic masterpiece that offers a profound connection to the landscape and culture of North Carolina. As we embark on this journey through the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, let’s explore its best features that make it an enduring treasure for road trippers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Best Features:

  1. Spectacular Scenic Overlooks: The Blue Ridge Parkway is punctuated with numerous scenic overlooks, each offering breathtaking panoramas of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and forests. Stops like Craggy Gardens and Linville Viaduct are perfect for capturing awe-inspiring photographs.
  2. Wildlife Viewing: The parkway is a sanctuary for wildlife. Keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and a myriad of bird species. The diversity of fauna is a testament to the area’s pristine natural habitats.
  3. Lush Gardens and Wildflowers: During the spring and summer, the parkway comes alive with vibrant displays of wildflowers. The beautifully manicured gardens at places like the Folk Art Center and Mabry Mill showcase the region’s horticultural beauty.
  4. Waterfalls: Numerous hiking trails lead to hidden waterfalls just off the parkway. Don’t miss the chance to explore the cascading wonders of Crabtree Falls, Linville Falls, and more.
  5. Milepost Destinations: The parkway is organized by mileposts, each of which offers unique attractions. Milepost 294 boasts the Folk Art Center, where you can admire Appalachian crafts and artwork. Milepost 382 is home to the historic Moses H. Cone Memorial Park with its Flat Top Manor and extensive trail system.
  6. Cultural Heritage: Discover the history of the region through exhibits, interpretive centers, and historic sites like the Blue Ridge Music Center and the Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor Center.
  7. Charming Parkway Towns: Along the route, you’ll encounter picturesque towns such as Asheville, Blowing Rock, and Boone. These communities offer a blend of cultural experiences, dining, and shopping opportunities.
  8. Outdoor Adventures: Hiking, biking, and picnicking are popular activities along the parkway. Trails like the Tanawha Trail and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail beckon outdoor enthusiasts.
  9. Starry Nights: The Blue Ridge Parkway is designated as a Dark Sky Park, making it an ideal spot for stargazing. On clear nights, the canopy of stars above is simply mesmerizing.
  10. Fall Foliage: Autumn transforms the parkway into a canvas of red, orange, and gold as the foliage puts on a dazzling display. The “peak leaf season” draws leaf-peepers from far and wide.

The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina is a testament to the remarkable beauty of the Appalachian region. It’s not just a scenic drive; it’s an immersion in nature, culture, and history that invites you to slow down and savor the journey. Whether you’re captivated by panoramic vistas, enchanted by wildflowers, or curious about the heritage of the Appalachians, the Blue Ridge Parkway has something to offer every traveler, leaving an indelible mark on those who traverse its winding path.

Cherohala Skyway

Nestled amidst the stunning landscapes of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Cherohala Skyway is a hidden gem that beckons travelers seeking a scenic escape like no other. This 43-mile National Scenic Byway is an engineering marvel that winds its way through the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, providing breathtaking vistas, abundant natural beauty, and a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Let’s embark on a journey to discover the best features of the Cherohala Skyway, a scenic drive that promises a slice of unspoiled wilderness and a profound connection to the great outdoors.

 

Best Features:

  1. Panoramic Overlooks: Cherohala Skyway is renowned for its numerous overlooks and pull-offs, each offering a stunning perspective of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and forests. The vistas at Hooper Cove, Haw Knob, and Turkey Creek are especially noteworthy, providing awe-inspiring photo opportunities.
  2. Unspoiled Wilderness: Unlike some of its more popular counterparts, the Cherohala Skyway remains relatively uncrowded and serene. Its unspoiled surroundings allow for a truly immersive experience in nature.
  3. Abundant Wildlife: Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this region home. From black bears and white-tailed deer to numerous bird species, the byway is a haven for nature enthusiasts and wildlife photographers.
  4. Hiking Trails: The Skyway grants access to several hiking trails, including the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, where you can marvel at ancient trees and lush flora.
  5. River Crossings: The route features several river crossings, adding an element of scenic variety and charm. Bald River Falls, a roadside waterfall along the way, is a great place to stop and cool off on a hot day.
  6. Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center: Located near the start of the byway in North Carolina, this visitor center offers information, exhibits, and restrooms. It’s an excellent starting point for your journey.
  7. Cultural and Historical Sites: Along the byway, you’ll find points of interest that highlight the history and heritage of the region, including the Cherohala Skyway War Memorial and local craft shops.
  8. Motorcycling Paradise: The Cherohala Skyway is celebrated among motorcycling enthusiasts for its smooth, winding roads and stunning views. It’s a popular route for riders seeking both scenic beauty and exhilarating twists and turns.
  9. Fall Foliage Spectacle: In the autumn, the Cherohala Skyway transforms into a mesmerizing display of fall foliage. The vibrant colors of the changing leaves are a photographer’s dream.
  10. Starry Nights: Away from the lights of cities, the Cherohala Skyway offers pristine night skies perfect for stargazing. It’s an ideal spot for observing celestial wonders.

The Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina is a testament to the majestic beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. It’s a route that invites you to embrace the tranquility of nature, savor the journey, and immerse yourself in the remarkable scenery of the region. Whether you’re captivated by scenic overlooks, enchanted by forested trails, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, the Cherohala Skyway promises an unforgettable experience that lingers in the memory long after the journey ends.

Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway

North Carolina’s Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway is a gateway to the heart of the Tar Heel State’s rich natural heritage and pristine wilderness. This 76-mile scenic drive, winding through the western part of the state, unveils the story of North Carolina’s forests – from its humble beginnings to its vital role in shaping the region’s culture and economy. As you traverse this scenic route, you’ll discover a myriad of best features that make the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway a captivating destination for outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and anyone seeking a deeper connection to the natural world.

 

Best Features:

  1. Pisgah National Forest: The byway is flanked by the Pisgah National Forest, a sprawling expanse of wilderness known for its dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and numerous hiking trails. Sites like Looking Glass Rock and Sliding Rock are popular stops for nature lovers.
  2. Cradle of Forestry: Visit the Cradle of Forestry, a historic site that commemorates the birthplace of modern forestry in America. Explore interactive exhibits, hike interpretive trails, and see the early homes of forest conservation pioneers.
  3. Blue Ridge Parkway Connection: The byway intersects with the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most iconic scenic roads. This junction provides access to the Parkway’s stunning vistas and outdoor adventures.
  4. Waterfall Wonderland: Discover a multitude of waterfalls along the byway, including Moore Cove Falls and Looking Glass Falls. These natural wonders are easily accessible and perfect for cooling off on a warm day.
  5. Sliding Rock: This natural waterslide is a favorite spot for thrill-seekers. Visitors of all ages can slide down the smooth rock face and plunge into a crystal-clear pool.
  6. Cultural Heritage: Explore the rich cultural history of the region at places like the Allison-Deaver House and the Pink Beds Picnic Area. These sites offer insights into the lives of early settlers and the Cherokee people.
  7. Wildlife Viewing: Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that inhabits the Pisgah National Forest, including black bears, white-tailed deer, and various bird species.
  8. Hiking and Biking Trails: The byway offers access to numerous trails suitable for hiking and mountain biking. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a casual explorer, there’s a trail for you.
  9. Fall Foliage: In the autumn, the byway transforms into a breathtaking display of vibrant foliage. The hills and valleys come alive with hues of red, orange, and gold, making it a prime destination for leaf-peeping.
  10. Dark Skies: The Pisgah National Forest’s remote location provides excellent opportunities for stargazing. On clear nights, the sky above reveals a dazzling array of stars.

The Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway in North Carolina is a celebration of the state’s natural legacy. It invites you to immerse yourself in the beauty of its forests, discover the history of conservation, and engage with the great outdoors in a myriad of ways. Whether you’re captivated by waterfalls, intrigued by forest history, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat in nature, this scenic drive promises an enriching and unforgettable journey through the heart of western North Carolina.

Newfound Gap All-American Road

The Newfound Gap All-American Road, stretching across the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a journey into the heart of the Appalachian wilderness, offering travelers an unparalleled opportunity to connect with nature’s grandeur and witness the breathtaking beauty of North Carolina and Tennessee. As one of the nation’s most iconic scenic drives, it captivates visitors with its diverse landscapes, rich biodiversity, and cultural significance. Join us as we explore the best features of the Newfound Gap All-American Road, a route that promises an immersive experience in the natural wonders of the Appalachian region.

 

Best Features:

  1. Newfound Gap: The byway’s namesake, Newfound Gap, is a mountain pass that straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee border. At an elevation of 5,046 feet, it offers a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and is one of the most accessible ways to cross the Great Smoky Mountains.
  2. Scenic Overlooks: Throughout the byway, you’ll encounter a series of awe-inspiring scenic overlooks, each providing a unique perspective of the Great Smoky Mountains. Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the park, is a must-visit for panoramic vistas.
  3. Abundant Wildlife: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife population. Keep an eye out for black bears, white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and a variety of bird species.
  4. Hiking Trails: The Newfound Gap area serves as the starting point for several hiking trails, including the Appalachian Trail. Whether you’re embarking on a short nature walk or a multi-day backpacking adventure, the options are endless.
  5. Biodiversity: The park is recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve and boasts one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America, with over 19,000 documented species. Wildflowers, salamanders, and rare plants are abundant.
  6. Historical Significance: The byway’s history is intertwined with the heritage of the Cherokee people and early European settlers. Interpretive signs and historical markers share the stories of those who once called these mountains home.
  7. Autumn Splendor: The fall foliage in the Great Smoky Mountains is legendary. During the autumn months, the byway transforms into a brilliant canvas of red, orange, and gold, attracting leaf-peepers from near and far.
  8. Picnicking and Relaxation: Several picnic areas along the byway provide a perfect opportunity to savor a meal amidst the beauty of the Smokies. It’s an ideal spot to rest and rejuvenate.
  9. Seasonal Changes: The Newfound Gap All-American Road offers a different experience with each season. From spring’s wildflower blooms to winter’s serene snowscapes, every visit is unique.
  10. Natural Beauty: Above all, the byway showcases the pristine beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. The tranquil forests, rushing streams, and serene valleys are a testament to the enduring allure of the Great Smokies.

The Newfound Gap All-American Road is not just a scenic drive; it’s a passage through a natural wonderland, an opportunity to glimpse into the heart of the Appalachian wilderness, and a tribute to the region’s rich history and biodiversity. Whether you’re seeking solitude in nature, exploring the culture of the Smokies, or simply enjoying the breathtaking vistas, this byway promises an unforgettable journey that leaves a lasting impression of the majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Outer Banks National Scenic Byway

Stretching along the picturesque coastline of North Carolina, the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway is a ribbon of road that weaves through a chain of barrier islands, inviting travelers to explore one of the East Coast’s most iconic and captivating landscapes. This 138-mile scenic drive combines natural beauty, maritime history, and coastal culture into a single unforgettable journey. As we embark on an exploration of the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, we’ll uncover its best features, making it a must-visit destination for beach lovers, history enthusiasts, and anyone in search of coastal charm.

 

Best Features:

  1. Breathtaking Beaches: The Outer Banks are renowned for their pristine, wide, sandy beaches. Whether you’re looking to swim, sunbathe, or simply take a leisurely stroll along the shore, there’s a beach for every beachgoer’s taste.
  2. Cape Hatteras National Seashore: This protected area encompasses much of the byway’s route and offers opportunities for birdwatching, beachcombing, and exploring historic lighthouses, including the iconic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
  3. Historic Lighthouses: The Outer Banks are home to several historic lighthouses, each with its own unique charm and history. Climb to the top of the Bodie Island Lighthouse for panoramic views and learn about the daring rescues at the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station.
  4. Wright Brothers National Memorial: Visit the site where Orville and Wilbur Wright achieved powered flight for the first time in 1903. The memorial features a visitor center with interactive exhibits and a replica of the Wright brothers’ plane.
  5. Roanoke Island: Explore Roanoke Island’s historic sites, including Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, where the “Lost Colony” mystery unfolds. Visit the Elizabethan Gardens and the North Carolina Aquarium to learn about the region’s flora and fauna.
  6. Wildlife Watching: The Outer Banks are a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Spot dolphins off the coast, watch for seabirds along the shore, and explore the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge for a chance to see a variety of species.
  7. Water Sports: The byway offers ample opportunities for water sports like surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, and stand-up paddleboarding. Lessons and equipment rentals are readily available.
  8. Seafood Dining: Savor the flavors of the coast at local seafood restaurants. Outer Banks cuisine includes fresh catches like shrimp, crab, and oysters, as well as renowned dishes like clam chowder and shrimp and grits.
  9. Fishing and Pier Activities: The Outer Banks offer some of the East Coast’s best fishing. Cast your line from fishing piers, charter a deep-sea fishing trip, or try your hand at surf fishing.
  10. Sunsets and Sunrises: The Outer Banks are famous for their stunning sunsets over the sound and unforgettable sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean. Grab your camera and find the perfect spot to watch the sky come alive with color.

The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway is a coastal haven that beckons visitors with its natural beauty, maritime history, and relaxed beach culture. It’s a destination where you can experience the thrill of the ocean, delve into the mysteries of the past, and savor the simplicity of life by the sea. Whether you’re unwinding on the sandy shores, exploring historic sites, or embarking on water adventures, this scenic drive offers an authentic taste of the Outer Banks’ coastal paradise that will linger in your memory long after the journey is over.

More great scenic drives in North Carolina:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

North Dakota Byways

North Dakota’s Hidden Gems: Scenic Byway Journeys

Tucked away in the heartland of America lies a state often overshadowed by its bustling neighbors, yet bursting with unspoken beauty and untouched landscapes. North Dakota, a haven of natural splendor and rich history, offers a unique driving experience through its scenic byways that are nothing short of breathtaking. These roads take travelers on a mesmerizing journey through rolling prairies, alongside glistening rivers, and past sites deeply ingrained in America’s tapestry. Join us as we traverse North Dakota’s hidden treasures, unveiling the magic and allure of its scenic byways. Whether you’re a dedicated road tripper or someone seeking a serene escape, these routes promise a glimpse into the soul of the Northern Plains.

North Dakota has two scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway

Hidden in the expansive beauty of North Dakota is a winding journey that beckons travelers with promises of stunning landscapes and enriching history: the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway. While North Dakota might not always be the first choice for road trippers, this scenic drive stands as a compelling testament to what one might miss. Stretching for approximately 63 miles, the Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway flows gracefully alongside the Sheyenne River. Beginning at the Baldhill Dam and culminating near the quaint town of Lisbon, this road trip offers a plethora of attractions both natural and man-made. Let’s explore the byway’s best features and delve into the charm of this North Dakotan gem.

 

Best Features

  1. Diverse Ecosystems: The byway winds through a rich tapestry of environments, from the lush prairies of Sheyenne National Grassland – a massive expanse preserving the original glory of the prairies – to the dense woodlands of Fort Ransom State Park, home to a diverse range of wildlife.
  2. Historical Significance: History buffs will appreciate sites like the Standing Rock Hill Historic Site, featuring some of North Dakota’s oldest known man-made structures. These ancient mounds and burial sites provide profound insights into the region’s rich indigenous history.
  3. Recreational Activities: For those looking to intermingle relaxation with activity, the Baldhill Dam stands ready. Whether you’re keen on boating, fishing, or simply having a picnic while soaking in serene vistas, this location is perfect.
  4. Charming Communities: As travelers move along the byway, they’ll encounter charming towns such as Valley City, fondly known as the ‘City of Bridges’. These communities, steeped in tradition, offer cozy eateries, local art showcases, and a chance to interact with the warm locals.
  5. Spectacular Scenic Views: The undulating terrain of the Sheyenne River Valley offers panoramic views, particularly during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. Lookout points along the route provide travelers with opportunities to capture memorable photographs.
  6. Engaging Festivals: Towns like Fort Ransom come alive with events like the Sodbuster Days Festival, an ode to the pioneering spirit with traditional craft and farming method demonstrations. Such festivals immerse visitors in the authentic spirit of the region.
  7. Informative Interpretive Centers: To enhance understanding and appreciation, several interpretive centers along the byway provide valuable information about the region’s natural and cultural history.

 

Travel Tips

  • Plan According to Season: The late spring to early fall window offers the most comfortable and scenic experience.
  • Safety First: With wildlife abundant, especially during dawn and dusk, it’s crucial to remain vigilant while driving.
  • Local Insights: Engaging with locals can provide recommendations for hidden gems and lesser-known attractions.

 

The Sheyenne River Valley National Scenic Byway isn’t merely a road; it’s a holistic experience. From historical landmarks and natural wonders to heartwarming communities, this North Dakotan jewel delivers an unforgettable journey. Embarking on this adventure not only unveils the heart of the Midwest but also reveals the soul of a landscape sculpted by time.

Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway

Winding through the storied landscapes of North Dakota is the Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway, a testament to the rich indigenous heritage of the region. More than just a route for transportation, this scenic drive serves as a passage through time, narrating tales of ancient cultures, sacred sites, and the unyielding spirit of the Native American people. Stretching for over 86 miles, the Standing Rock Scenic Byway runs south from Mandan in North Dakota to Mobridge in South Dakota. This pathway traces the eastern border of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, offering travelers a unique perspective into the life and history of the Lakota and Dakota nations. Let’s embark on a journey to explore its most captivating features.

 

Best Features

  1. Sacred Stone Village: This ancient village site located near the northern end of the byway offers remnants of earth lodges and other structures, serving as silent witnesses to the thriving indigenous communities of yesteryears.
  2. Cannonball Concretions Pullout: Nature’s artistry is on full display here, with spherical concretions formed by the sedimentation process over millennia. These intriguing natural formations provide a wonderful backdrop for photography and contemplation.
  3. Prairie Knights Casino and Resort: Infusing modern entertainment with cultural resonance, this facility is a hub for events, gaming, and showcases related to the region’s native heritage.
  4. Standing Rock Monument: Located near Fort Yates, this is the namesake of the entire reservation. The natural stone obelisk standing tall alongside the Missouri River is believed to be a sacred site by the Sioux community.
  5. Missouri River: The mighty river accompanies travelers along much of the byway, offering breathtaking views, fishing opportunities, and a chance to reflect on its significance in the lives and histories of the native tribes.
  6. Native American Cultural Displays: Throughout the byway, visitors can find interpretive signs, exhibits, and cultural centers dedicated to imparting knowledge about the region’s indigenous history, traditions, and struggles.

 

Travel Tips

  • Respectful Exploration: While the byway offers a deep dive into Native American culture, it’s essential to approach all sites, especially sacred ones, with respect and sensitivity.
  • Best Time to Visit: Late spring to early autumn provides the most favorable conditions for travel, with nature blooming in all its glory.
  • Local Events: Engaging with local events, powwows, and festivals can provide a deeper and more authentic understanding of the indigenous cultures.
  • Stay Informed: Check in with local visitor centers for current events, road conditions, and other pertinent information.

The Standing Rock National Native American Scenic Byway is not just a road but a portal into the heart of America’s indigenous legacy. As travelers journey through its winding paths, they’re enveloped in tales of valor, spirituality, and resilience. This North Dakota treasure is a poignant reminder of the rich tapestry of cultures that have shaped, and continue to influence, the American narrative. To traverse this byway is to pay homage to the land’s original guardians and to witness the unbreakable bond between nature and culture.

More great scenic drives in North Dakota:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Ohio Byways

Discovering Ohio’s Hidden Treasures: Scenic Byways That Inspire

Ohio, often known as the “Heart of it All,” is a state brimming with natural beauty, historical charm, and diverse landscapes. What better way to explore this multifaceted state than by taking a journey along its scenic byways? Ohio’s scenic byways are a tapestry of picturesque routes that showcase the state’s rich heritage, stunning natural wonders, and vibrant communities. Let’s embark on a virtual road trip to explore some of the most captivating scenic byways Ohio has to offer.

Ohio has six scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Amish Country Byway

The Amish Country Byway in Ohio offers a unique and immersive journey into the world of the Amish community, along with the picturesque landscapes of rural Ohio. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Amish Culture and Heritage: The Amish Country Byway is your gateway to experiencing the rich traditions and unique way of life of the Amish community. You’ll encounter horse-drawn buggies, traditional Amish clothing, and farmsteads where the Amish live and work. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about Amish customs, craftsmanship, and their commitment to a simpler, non-electric lifestyle.
  2. Quaint Towns and Villages: The byway passes through charming Amish towns and villages like Berlin, Sugarcreek, and Millersburg. These communities are known for their well-preserved historic districts, local artisan shops, and delicious Amish bakeries and restaurants. It’s a chance to explore and immerse yourself in the unique culture and hospitality of these towns.
  3. Scenic Countryside: The countryside along the Amish Country Byway is a picturesque landscape of rolling hills, lush farmland, and serene backroads. The byway is especially beautiful in the spring and summer when fields are in full bloom, and in the fall when the foliage turns brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  4. Amish Country Markets: One of the highlights of the byway journey is the opportunity to visit Amish markets and stores. These markets offer a wide range of homemade goods, including handcrafted furniture, quilts, jams, baked goods, and fresh produce. The quality and craftsmanship of Amish products are highly regarded.
  5. Historical Sites and Museums: Along the route, you’ll find historical sites and museums that provide insights into the Amish way of life and the region’s history. The Behalt Cyclorama in Berlin, for example, offers a visual history of the Amish and Mennonite communities. The Victorian House and the Millersburg Glass Museums in Millersburg provides a glimpse into the past.

While the Amish Country Byway is known for its bucolic scenery and cultural experiences, it also provides a peaceful and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. It’s a destination where you can take in the natural beauty, savor homemade Amish recipes, and gain a deeper appreciation for the simplicity and traditions of the Amish community.

Historic National Road – Ohio

The Historic National Road in Ohio, often referred to as U.S. Route 40, is a journey through history, culture, and beautiful landscapes. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this historic byway:

  1. Historical Landmarks: The Historic National Road is dotted with historical landmarks that provide a window into Ohio’s past. Sites like the National Road and Zane Grey Museum in Norwich and the historic Montgomery Inn in Columbus offer insights into the road’s history and the people who traveled it. Explore restored buildings, exhibits, and artifacts that tell the story of this iconic route.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The byway meanders through picturesque landscapes, offering travelers views of rolling hills, farmlands, and charming small towns. Along the route, you’ll find opportunities to stop at scenic overlooks, admire the changing seasons, and take in the beauty of the Ohio countryside.
  3. Quaint Towns and Communities: The Historic National Road passes through numerous quaint towns and communities, each with its unique character and charm. Places like Zanesville, Cambridge, and Springfield offer a glimpse into the history and culture of the region. Explore Main Streets lined with historic buildings, antique shops, and local eateries.
  4. Historic Bridges: This byway is home to several historic bridges, including the National Road Bridge over the Muskingum River in Zanesville, which dates back to the early 19th century. These bridges add to the nostalgic and scenic appeal of the route, making for great photo opportunities.
  5. Outdoor Recreation: While the Historic National Road is rich in history and culture, it also offers opportunities for outdoor recreation. Many parks, forests, and nature reserves are accessible from the byway, providing hiking, biking, and picnicking opportunities. For example, Buckeye Lake State Park near Hebron offers boating, fishing, and scenic lakeside views.

As you travel along the Historic National Road in Ohio, you’ll have the chance to connect with the past, explore charming towns, and appreciate the natural beauty of the region. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or outdoor adventures, this scenic byway has something to offer every traveler.

Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway in Ohio is a captivating route that winds through the stunning landscapes of Hocking Hills State Park and the surrounding region. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic drive:

  1. Hocking Hills State Park: The byway serves as the gateway to Hocking Hills State Park, a natural wonderland characterized by deep gorges, towering waterfalls, lush forests, and unique rock formations. Visitors can explore attractions like Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, and Conkle’s Hollow, each offering its own breathtaking scenery and hiking opportunities.
  2. Waterfalls and Gorges: The Hocking Hills region is known for its scenic waterfalls and dramatic gorges. The byway provides access to these natural wonders, allowing travelers to witness the cascading waters of Ash Cave Falls, the rugged beauty of Cantwell Cliffs, and the serene charm of Rockbridge State Nature Preserve.
  3. Hiking and Outdoor Adventures: For outdoor enthusiasts, the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway is a paradise. The area offers a network of hiking trails that range from easy walks to challenging hikes. Whether you’re interested in birdwatching, photography, or simply immersing yourself in nature, there’s a trail for you.
  4. Rock Formations: The region’s unique geological features are a highlight of the byway. Explore formations like the Devil’s Bathtub, Rockbridge, and the Rock House. These incredible rock formations have been carved by thousands of years of natural processes and provide a sense of wonder and exploration.
  5. Scenic Overlooks: Along the byway, you’ll find several scenic overlooks that offer panoramic views of the Hocking Hills landscape. These overlooks provide the perfect vantage points for taking in the beauty of the region, especially during the fall when the foliage bursts into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Additionally, the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway passes through charming towns like Logan, where you can find local eateries, shops, and opportunities to learn about the culture and history of the region. The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway is a destination that allows travelers to connect with the natural world, embark on outdoor adventures, and immerse themselves in the enchanting beauty of Ohio’s Hocking Hills region. Whether you’re seeking hiking trails, waterfalls, or serene moments in nature, this scenic byway offers it all.

Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail

The Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail in Ohio is a scenic byway that offers a delightful journey along the shores of Lake Erie. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this beautiful coastal route:

  1. Lake Erie Views: As the name suggests, this byway provides stunning views of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. The ever-changing waters of Lake Erie offer a picturesque backdrop throughout your journey. Along the way, you’ll encounter numerous pull-off areas and scenic overlooks where you can take in the expansive views, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax by the lake.
  2. Lighthouses: The Lake Erie coastline is home to several historic lighthouses, and the byway provides opportunities to visit and photograph these iconic structures. Marblehead Lighthouse, one of Ohio’s most famous lighthouses, is a must-see. It offers guided tours and breathtaking views from its tower. Other notable lighthouses along the route include Fairport Harbor Lighthouse and Conneaut West Breakwater Lighthouse.
  3. Coastal Towns and Communities: The byway passes through charming coastal towns and communities such as Sandusky, Vermilion, and Geneva-on-the-Lake. These towns are known for their maritime heritage, friendly atmospheres, and local shops and restaurants. Explore the historic districts, sample fresh seafood, and experience the vibrant culture of Lake Erie’s waterfront communities.
  4. Recreational Activities: The Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail offers numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. Fishing enthusiasts will find excellent spots to cast their lines for walleye, perch, and other species. Boating, kayaking, and sailing are popular activities on the lake, and you can access marinas and boat launches along the byway. Birdwatching is also a favorite pastime, especially during the migratory seasons.
  5. Scenic Drives and Beaches: The byway includes scenic drives along the lakefront, taking you through lush coastal forests and sandy beaches. Head to places like East Harbor State Park, where you can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy picnics by the beach. The byway’s natural beauty is enhanced by the pristine stretches of shoreline.

The Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail is also home to wineries, nature preserves, and cultural attractions that provide a well-rounded coastal experience. Whether you’re seeking serene lake views, outdoor adventures, or a taste of Lake Erie’s maritime heritage, this scenic byway has something for everyone.

Ohio & Erie Canalway

The Ohio & Erie Canalway in Ohio is a historic and scenic byway that takes travelers on a journey through the state’s industrial past and picturesque landscapes. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this unique byway:

  1. Historical Significance: The Ohio & Erie Canal played a crucial role in the development of Ohio and the Midwest. Traveling this byway offers you the chance to step back in time and explore the history of the canal era. Visit historical sites and museums like the Canal Fulton Canalway Center and the National First Ladies’ Library to gain insights into the canal’s impact on the region.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The byway winds its way through a diverse range of landscapes, including lush forests, charming small towns, and scenic waterways. The Towpath Trail, which runs alongside the canal, offers opportunities for hiking and biking, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Ohio countryside.
  3. Locks and Aqueducts: Along the Ohio & Erie Canalway, you’ll encounter well-preserved locks and aqueducts that were once essential to the operation of the canal. These historic structures provide a glimpse into the engineering marvels of the 19th century. Be sure to visit the restored Lock 4 Park in Akron and the Zoar Aqueduct in Zoar for a firsthand look at these architectural feats.
  4. Cultural Experiences: The byway passes through a series of charming towns and communities, each with its unique cultural attractions and local character. Places like Canal Fulton, Massillon, and Dover offer opportunities to explore historic districts, browse antique shops, and savor regional cuisine.
  5. Outdoor Activities: The Ohio & Erie Canalway provides outdoor enthusiasts with plenty of recreational opportunities. In addition to the Towpath Trail, you can enjoy canoeing and kayaking on the canal and adjacent waterways. Fishing is also popular in the region, with the canal and nearby rivers offering a variety of fish species.

Additionally, the byway connects with other notable Ohio scenic byways on the north and south, Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail and Amish Country Byway respectively, allowing for extended road trip adventures through the state.

The Ohio & Erie Canalway is a testament to Ohio’s industrial heritage and natural beauty. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply a leisurely drive through scenic landscapes, this byway offers a unique and enriching experience for travelers of all kinds.

Ohio River Scenic Byway – Ohio

The Ohio River Scenic Byway in Ohio offers a captivating journey along the majestic Ohio River, showcasing a blend of natural beauty, historic charm, and cultural heritage. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Scenic River Views: As you travel along the Ohio River Scenic Byway, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Ohio River itself. The river’s meandering course, framed by rolling hills and lush forests, creates an ever-changing and picturesque backdrop for your journey. Numerous scenic overlooks along the byway provide opportunities to pause and take in the stunning vistas.
  2. Historic River Towns: The byway passes through several historic river towns, each with its own unique character and heritage. Places like Marietta, Portsmouth, and Gallipolis offer a glimpse into Ohio’s riverfront history. Explore well-preserved downtown districts, visit historic sites, and immerse yourself in the local culture of these charming communities.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: The Ohio River Scenic Byway provides ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Fishing and boating are popular activities along the river, with various access points and marinas available. Hiking and birdwatching can be enjoyed in nearby state parks and natural areas, including Shawnee State Park and Wayne National Forest.
  4. Historical Sites and Museums: History buffs will find plenty to explore along the byway. Discover the past at sites like Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, which showcases the early settlement of Ohio, or visit the Portsmouth Floodwall Mural, a massive outdoor mural that depicts the history of the region. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati is another must-visit destination.
  5. Cultural Festivals: Throughout the year, the Ohio River Scenic Byway region hosts a variety of cultural festivals and events. These festivals celebrate the area’s heritage, including riverboat races, music festivals, and local craft fairs. Check the event calendar for opportunities to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the Ohio River communities.

The byway also offers opportunities for picnicking, camping, and wildlife observation in the natural areas that line its route. The changing seasons add to the allure of the Ohio River Scenic Byway, with vibrant fall foliage and spring blooms providing stunning visual displays. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty of the Ohio River, this byway offers a rich and diverse experience that celebrates the heritage and natural splendor of the region.

More great scenic drives in Ohio:

Ohio’s scenic byways cover a wide spectrum of landscapes and experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful drive, there’s a byway for you. When planning your scenic byway adventure in Ohio, be sure to check for visitor centers, historical sites, and recreational opportunities along the way. Consider the season, as Ohio’s byways are equally enchanting in every season, from the vibrant colors of fall to the tranquility of a winter landscape.

Ohio’s scenic drives and byways are more than just roads; they are gateways to exploration, discovery, and a deeper connection with the state’s heritage and natural wonders. So, hit the open road, roll down the windows, and let Ohio’s scenic byways inspire your next unforgettable road trip through the heart of the Buckeye State.

Ohio’s Autumn Symphony: A Journey Through Fall Colors

As the days grow shorter and a crispness fills the air, Ohio transforms into a tapestry of vibrant reds, fiery oranges, and golden yellows. The arrival of fall in the Buckeye State heralds a spectacular show of color as leaves transition from summer greens to autumn hues. Ohio’s fall foliage season is a sight to behold, drawing visitors from near and far to witness the breathtaking display of nature’s artistry.

When to Catch the Colors

The peak of Ohio’s fall foliage typically occurs from late September to mid-October, although timing can vary depending on the region and the weather conditions. The northern parts of the state tend to see the first signs of color change, followed by central Ohio and then the southern regions. To catch the most vibrant colors, plan your visit during this period.

Best Places for Leaf Peeping

  1. Hocking Hills State Park: Known for its dramatic rock formations and waterfalls, Hocking Hills is equally famous for its fall foliage. Trails like Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, and Cedar Falls are especially popular for leaf peeping.
  2. Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Just outside of Cleveland, this national park offers a mix of woodlands, wetlands, and the serene Cuyahoga River. The Towpath Trail and Brandywine Falls are excellent spots for fall foliage views.
  3. Mohican State Park: Located in north-central Ohio, Mohican State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The Lyons Falls Trail and Clear Fork Gorge Trail provide stunning autumn scenery.
  4. Wayne National Forest: In southeastern Ohio, the Wayne National Forest encompasses thousands of acres of woodlands. The Vesuvius Recreation Area and the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway are fantastic for leaf peeping.
  5. Amish Country: The rolling hills along the Amish Country Byway are a picturesque backdrop for fall colors. Take a scenic drive along the Amish Country Byway or explore the backroads.

 

The Science Behind the Colors

The brilliant fall foliage is a result of chemical processes within the leaves. As daylight hours decrease and temperatures drop, chlorophyll—the pigment responsible for the green color in leaves—breaks down and reveals other pigments. Carotenoids create the vibrant yellows and oranges, while anthocyanins contribute reds and purples.

 

Activities to Enjoy

Fall in Ohio offers more than just beautiful scenery. While you’re exploring the colorful landscapes, consider these activities:

  • Hiking: Take advantage of the mild autumn weather to explore hiking trails, whether in state parks or nature preserves.
  • Apple Picking: Many orchards in Ohio offer apple-picking opportunities in the fall. Enjoy the fresh, crisp flavors of the season.
  • Pumpkin Patches: Visit local pumpkin patches to pick out the perfect pumpkin for carving or decorating.
  • Fall Festivals: Ohio hosts a variety of fall festivals, celebrating everything from harvest foods to cultural traditions.
  • Scenic Drives: Embark on a scenic drive along Ohio’s picturesque byways, enjoying the fall foliage from the comfort of your car.

 

Plan Your Fall Getaway

As you plan your fall foliage adventure in Ohio, keep in mind that accommodations can fill up quickly during peak season. Make reservations in advance if you plan to stay overnight. Check local resources for fall color updates and guided tours to make the most of your leaf-peeping experience.

Ohio’s autumn symphony of colors is a yearly spectacle that captivates all who witness it. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a photography enthusiast, or simply a lover of the season, Ohio’s fall foliage is an invitation to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Buckeye State.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Oklahoma Byways

Oklahoma’s Winding Wonders: Exploring the State’s Scenic Byways

Amidst the vastness of America’s landscapes, Oklahoma stands as a testament to diversity, with its rolling plains, rugged mountains, and serene lakes. While the state boasts of bustling cities and historical landmarks, its scenic byways remain some of its most captivating treasures. Offering more than just roads to a destination, these scenic drives provide a journey through time, culture, and nature’s most breathtaking canvases. Dive into the heart of Oklahoma as we traverse its scenic routes and uncover the stories they hold. Whether a wanderlust traveler or a curious local, these pathways promise adventures that linger in memory long after the journey’s end.

Oklahoma has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Cherokee Hills Byway

Amidst the stunning landscapes of Oklahoma lies a road less traveled, but one brimming with historical significance and natural allure: the Cherokee Hills Byway. Nestled in the northeastern part of the state, this scenic route promises not just a drive, but a journey into the soul of Cherokee Nation’s territory. Winding for about 88 miles, the Cherokee Hills Byway connects the towns of Hulbert and Tahlequah to the Arkansas border. Graced by the picturesque foothills of the Ozark Mountains and the serene shores of Tenkiller Ferry Lake, this scenic drive offers a perfect blend of natural and cultural experiences. Let’s embark on a voyage along this byway, unveiling its most outstanding features.

 

Best Features

  1. Tahlequah: Recognized as the capital of the Cherokee Nation, Tahlequah is teeming with historical landmarks. The Cherokee Supreme Court Museum and the Cherokee National Prison Museum stand as testaments to the rich indigenous history, offering insights into the tribe’s governance and justice system.
  2. Sequoyah State Park: Named after the legendary Cherokee scholar who developed the Cherokee syllabary, this park is a haven for nature enthusiasts. With opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and camping, it also offers a tranquil escape by the shores of Fort Gibson Lake.
  3. Tenkiller Ferry Lake: Known as the “paradise in the hills,” this stunning reservoir is a hub for water-based activities. From fishing and boating to diving, the lake’s clear waters beckon travelers for a refreshing plunge.
  4. Scenic Vistas: As the byway meanders through the foothills of the Ozarks, travelers are treated to panoramic views of verdant forests, rolling hills, and picturesque farmlands.
  5. Cultural Festivities: The byway often comes alive with events celebrating Cherokee heritage. The Cherokee National Holiday, commemorating the signing of the Cherokee Nation Constitution, is a prime example, featuring traditional dances, games, and storytelling sessions.
  6. Native Flora and Fauna: The route offers a chance to spot diverse wildlife, from white-tailed deer to wild turkeys. Moreover, seasonal changes adorn the byway with a kaleidoscope of colors, from vibrant wildflowers in spring to fiery foliage in fall.

 

Travel Tips

  • Visit During Festivals: To get a deeper insight into Cherokee culture, plan your trip around major tribal events or festivals.
  • Safety First: As with any scenic route, it’s essential to drive cautiously, especially during dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active.
  • Local Delicacies: Don’t miss out on local eateries that serve traditional Cherokee dishes, offering a gastronomic journey into the tribe’s rich culinary heritage.

The Cherokee Hills Byway isn’t merely a road; it’s a narrative, chronicling tales of a proud nation, the splendors of nature, and the harmonious blend of the past and present. As you journey along this path, you’ll discover the essence of Oklahoma’s Cherokee territory – a legacy of resilience, culture, and breathtaking beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a curious traveler, the Cherokee Hills Byway awaits with stories to be heard and sights yearning to be seen.

Historic Route 66

Few roads in the United States capture the imagination and spirit of the great American journey quite like Route 66. Known affectionately as the “Mother Road,” it spans from Chicago to Los Angeles, embodying the dream of freedom, discovery, and the open road. Within this legendary path, the stretch that winds its way through Oklahoma holds unique tales of history, culture, and timeless Americana. Cutting across the state from the northeast in Miami to the western edge near Texola, Oklahoma’s portion of Route 66 stretches over 400 miles. It not only offers a diverse landscape but also an immersive dive into 20th-century American culture. Let’s journey down Oklahoma’s segment of Historic Route 66 and uncover its myriad treasures.

 

Best Features

  1. The Blue Whale of Catoosa: An iconic symbol of Route 66, this cheerful blue whale structure is a favorite photo spot. Originally built as an anniversary gift, it’s now a beloved roadside attraction.
  2. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton: Dedicated to the history and mythology of Route 66, this museum is a must-visit. Exhibits take visitors through the decades, showcasing the road’s impact on American society.
  3. The Round Barn in Arcadia: This beautifully restored 1898 building is the only truly round barn (having no flat sides) in the U.S. With its distinctive architecture and historical significance, it’s a magnet for architecture aficionados and history buffs alike.
  4. Totem Pole Park in Foyil: Home to the world’s largest concrete totem pole, this park pays tribute to American folk art. It’s a colorful and quirky stop that adds a touch of whimsy to the journey.
  5. El Reno’s Onion Burger: Route 66 isn’t just about sights; it’s about tastes too! When in El Reno, indulge in the famous onion burger, a delicious relic from the Great Depression era.
  6. Pops in Arcadia: A modern attraction, Pops is known for its 66-foot-tall soda bottle and offers over 700 varieties of soda. It’s a sparkling mix of neon lights and nostalgia.
  7. Sidewalk Highway near Miami: A unique feature of Route 66 in Oklahoma, this narrow stretch offers a glimpse into early road-building, reminding travelers of the road’s humble beginnings.
  8. Coleman Theater in Miami: An elegant Spanish Revival theater from the 1920s, the Coleman remains a working entertainment venue and stands as a testament to the roaring twenties’ opulence.

 

Travel Tips

  • Take Your Time: One of the joys of Route 66 is its invitation to slow down. With numerous stops, diners, and attractions, take the time to explore and enjoy.
  • Travel Prepared: While the route is well-traveled, some stretches are remote. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and keep essentials like water and snacks handy.
  • Engage with Locals: Many of the towns along the route have been influenced by this historic road. Conversations with locals can offer insights and stories not found in guidebooks.

Historic Route 66 in Oklahoma is more than just a highway; it’s a vivid tapestry of stories, dreams, and iconic Americana. Each mile narrates tales of bygone eras, entrepreneurial spirits, and the ever-evolving story of America. Whether you’re retracing history, seeking quirky attractions, or just enjoying the open road, Oklahoma’s stretch of the “Mother Road” promises a journey that will forever echo in the chambers of memory.

Talimena Scenic Drive

Nestled in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma, the Talimena Scenic Drive stands as a testament to nature’s unparalleled artistry. This highway, though not as internationally renowned as Route 66, offers vistas that can rival any scenic byway in the country. As it winds its way through the peaks of the Ouachita Mountains, visitors are treated to a panoramic tapestry of breathtaking views, especially during the vibrant fall season. Stretching for 54 miles between Talihina, Oklahoma, and Mena, Arkansas, the Talimena Scenic Drive showcases the highest points between the Appalachians and the Rockies. Designed expressly for the leisurely traveler and nature enthusiast, the drive is most famous for its fall foliage, but it delights year-round with its ever-changing scenery. Let’s embark on a journey along this spectacular route and unveil its most enchanting features.

 

Best Features

  1. Rich Mountain Lookout: Standing as the second-highest peak in Arkansas, Rich Mountain offers unrivaled views of the surrounding forest canopy. The Lighthouse Lake and Boardstand-Old Military Road Loop Trail also make for a great hiking detour.
  2. Wister Lake State Park: Located near the drive, this state park is an oasis for water activities and camping. The serene lake set against the backdrop of mountains is a sight to behold at sunrise and sunset.
  3. Horsethief Springs: Named after the legends of outlaws who used the spring as a hideout, this spot now serves as a peaceful picnic area and trailhead for hikers.
  4. Panorama Vista: True to its name, this lookout point provides a 270-degree view of the magnificent Ouachita Mountains, especially stunning during autumn when the hills are ablaze with color.
  5. Queen Wilhelmina State Park & Lodge: Perched atop Rich Mountain, this Arkansas park offers a host of recreational activities, from mini-golf to a scenic train ride. The lodge itself provides cozy accommodations with spectacular mountain views.
  6. Numerous Vista Points: The drive boasts over 20 established vista points, each offering its own unique perspective of the Ouachitas. Stops like Cedar Lake Vista, Black Fork Mountain Vista, and Potato Hills Vista are well worth the pause.

 

Travel Tips

  • Peak Foliage: For those chasing the autumn hues, late October to early November is typically the best time to visit.
  • Safety: The route is winding with some sharp turns. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition, and always be cautious, especially in foggy or wet conditions.
  • Stay Nearby: Consider staying in local towns like Talihina or Mena to fully experience the hospitality of the region and explore the drive without a rush.
  • Trail Adventures: For those keen on exploring on foot, the drive intersects with parts of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail – a rewarding detour for hiking enthusiasts.

The Talimena Scenic Drive is not just a road but a journey into the heart of nature’s grandeur. As it unveils the splendors of the Ouachita Mountains, travelers are reminded of the simple joys of a scenic drive: the fresh mountain air, the rustling of leaves, and vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Whether you’re a photographer, nature lover, or someone seeking solace in the mountains, the Talimena Scenic Drive promises an experience that lingers long after the journey concludes.

Wichita Mountain Byway

Tucked away in the southwestern corner of Oklahoma lies a stretch of road that transports visitors to a realm of rugged beauty and timeless wilderness: the Wichita Mountain Byway. Skirting the edges of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, this scenic drive stands as a celebration of nature’s wild heart and Oklahoma’s undulating topography. This picturesque route spans approximately 93 miles, offering travelers an intimate experience with the Wichita Mountains. Known for its ancient granite landscapes and diverse wildlife, the byway is more than a road—it’s a passage into a world untouched by urban sprawl. Dive with us into this magnificent route and discover the wonders it holds.

 

Best Features

  1. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: The crown jewel of the byway, this 59,000-acre refuge is home to free-ranging herds of bison, Texas longhorn cattle, prairie dogs, and even elusive elk. Hikers will find a plethora of trails, while the lakes beckon fishermen and boaters alike.
  2. Holy City of the Wichitas: An intriguing slice of history, this 66-acre site replicates biblical-era architecture and hosts the nation’s longest-running Easter passion play. Its stone structures and chapel blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
  3. Mount Scott: Rising over 2,400 feet, Mount Scott delivers panoramic views of the refuge and beyond. Accessible by car, the summit is a popular spot for both sunrise and sunset enthusiasts.
  4. Parallel Forest: Originally planted in the early 20th century as an experiment to combat soil erosion, this 16-acre plot boasts 20,000 red cedars, spaced exactly 6 feet apart in every direction, creating a surreal, almost maze-like environment.
  5. Museum of the Great Plains: Situated nearby in Lawton, this museum offers insights into the region’s rich cultural, geological, and ecological history. Interactive exhibits make it engaging for visitors of all ages.
  6. Medicine Park: A charming cobblestone resort town, Medicine Park is known for its quaint architecture, scenic beauty, and festivals. The serene Medicine Creek that meanders through the town is an added attraction.

 

Travel Tips

  • Wildlife Viewing: Early morning and late afternoon are optimal times to spot the refuge’s diverse wildlife. Always view from a safe distance and avoid feeding or approaching animals.
  • Camping: For those seeking a more immersive experience, the Doris Campground in the wildlife refuge provides an excellent base for exploration.
  • Guided Tours: Consider joining ranger-led programs or tours for a deeper understanding of the refuge’s ecology and history.
  • Stay Prepared: The rugged terrain demands sturdy footwear, ample water, and protection against the elements, especially during hikes.

The Wichita Mountain Byway is a testament to Oklahoma’s diverse natural beauty, offering a heady mix of wildlife, geological wonders, and historical gems. It reminds visitors of the eternal bond between humans and nature, capturing the essence of wild Oklahoma in all its glory. Whether you’re an avid adventurer, a budding naturalist, or simply someone seeking escape from urban life, the Wichita Mountain Byway is your gateway to an unforgettable road trip.

More great scenic drives in Oklahoma:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Oregon Byways

Oregon’s Scenic Byways: Journey Along Nature’s Diverse Canvas

Nestled in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon stands as a land of contrasts, where the rugged coastline gives way to dense forests, serene valleys, and majestic volcanic peaks. Beyond its natural wonders, Oregon’s network of scenic byways offers travelers an unparalleled road trip experience, weaving tales of history, culture, and ecological splendors. Embark on a voyage with us as we traverse the winding routes of Oregon’s scenic drives, exploring the breathtaking vistas and hidden gems that lie in wait. Whether a seasoned adventurer or a curious explorer, these road trips promise to etch memories that resonate with the heartbeat of the Beaver State.

Oregon has ten scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

Oregon, with its dramatic landscapes and diverse ecosystems, offers many secrets to be discovered. Among its treasures is the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, a route that encapsulates the raw beauty and grandeur of the Pacific Northwest. This scenic drive, stretching for approximately 66 miles, offers a visual feast of snow-capped peaks, pristine alpine lakes, and expansive forests. Originating in the vibrant city of Bend and meandering through the heart of the Cascade Range, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a seasonal road, typically accessible from late spring to early fall. It serves as a gateway to the Deschutes National Forest and the broader Cascade Mountains, offering a blend of recreational activities and natural wonders. Dive in as we navigate this picturesque drive and reveal its most captivating features.

 

Best Features

  1. Mount Bachelor: Dominating the skyline, Mount Bachelor is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. In the winter, it’s a premier destination for skiing and snowboarding, while the warmer months offer hiking and mountain biking opportunities.
  2. Sparks Lake: With its mirrored waters reflecting the surrounding peaks, Sparks Lake offers idyllic settings for kayaking, fishing, and photography. The Ray Atkeson Loop Trail provides a leisurely hike with panoramic lake views.
  3. Elk Lake: A popular summer destination, Elk Lake boasts clear waters ideal for swimming, sailing, and paddleboarding. Its adjacent resort provides amenities for those looking to extend their stay.
  4. Lava Lake: Formed by a lava flow that dammed a creek, Lava Lake is a testament to the region’s volcanic history. It’s a hotspot for trout fishing and offers serene camping sites.
  5. Devils Lake: True to its name, this lake’s surreal turquoise waters, resulting from mineral deposits, make it an enchanting stop. Its shallow depths ensure warmer water temperatures, making it a favorite for a quick swim.
  6. Cultural and Historical Sites: Along the byway, various interpretive sites provide insights into the region’s rich history, from the indigenous tribes that once inhabited these lands to the volcanic forces that shaped the terrain.
  7. Diverse Flora and Fauna: The byway is a gateway to diverse ecosystems, from alpine forests to wetlands. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts can spot species like ospreys, bald eagles, deer, and even the occasional black bear.

 

The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway is a journey into the heart of Oregon’s alpine wonderland. With each twist and turn, travelers are treated to ever-evolving landscapes that encapsulate the magic of the Pacific Northwest. From adrenaline-pumping adventures on Mount Bachelor to tranquil moments by serene lakes, the byway promises experiences that resonate with the soul, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to discover the essence of Oregon’s wilderness.

Hells Canyon Scenic Byway

Oregon, renowned for its stunning coastlines and misty forests, also conceals within its bounds a raw, untamed beauty: Hells Canyon. As North America’s deepest river gorge, it surpasses even the Grand Canyon in depth. The Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, an All-American Road, traces the eastern boundary of Oregon and provides a front-row seat to this breathtaking wonder and the surrounding landscapes. Stretching from La Grande to the small community of Copperfield, this scenic drive offers approximately 218 miles of diverse landscapes, from fertile valleys to rugged mountain peaks, all centered around the majestic Hells Canyon. Join us as we journey through this rugged terrain and spotlight the most awe-inspiring features of the Hells Canyon All-American Road.

 

Best Features

  1. Hells Canyon Overlook: Offering panoramic vistas of the canyon and the Seven Devils Mountains, this overlook is a prime spot to truly grasp the vastness and grandeur of Hells Canyon.
  2. Hells Canyon Dam: Situated at the northern end of Hells Canyon, the dam provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and even jet boat tours that take visitors deep into the canyon.
  3. Eagle Cap Wilderness: As Oregon’s largest wilderness area, it is a pristine expanse of alpine meadows and glacial lakes, providing ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.
  4. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area: Encompassing a vast portion of the canyon, this area is a hub for outdoor activities, from white-water rafting in the Snake River to horseback riding and hiking through its rugged trails.
  5. Historical Insights: The byway and its surroundings are steeped in history. Interpretive sites along the route shed light on the indigenous Nez Perce tribe, early settlers, and the formation of the canyon itself.
  6. Diverse Flora and Fauna: From the black bear and elk to a myriad of bird species, the byway is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream. The changing elevations result in diverse habitats, each with its unique set of resident creatures.
  7. Artisan Communities: The road passes through charming towns like Joseph, known for its artisan community and bronze foundries, offering a cultural counterpoint to the trip’s natural wonders.

 

The Hells Canyon All-American Road is not just a route but an invitation to discover the wild heart of Oregon. With every mile, travelers are introduced to landscapes that oscillate between serene beauty and untamed wilderness. This byway is a testament to the diverse tapestry of Oregon’s landscapes, making it an unmissable journey for those eager to delve deep into the state’s most rugged and awe-inspiring corners. Whether you’re an adventurer, a nature lover, or a history buff, Hells Canyon promises a road trip that will etch itself into memory.

Historic Columbia River Highway All-American Road

Oregon is a land of scenic marvels, and among its crowning jewels is the Historic Columbia River Highway, an All-American Road. As the first scenic highway in the U.S. to be recognized as a National Historic Landmark, this route is a harmonious blend of engineering brilliance and nature’s splendor. Meandering alongside the Columbia River Gorge, it promises a drive punctuated by waterfalls, viewpoints, and historical landmarks. Stretching for approximately 70 miles, this scenic drive begins in Troutdale and ends in The Dalles. Conceived in the early 20th century, the highway was designed to highlight the natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge while providing a smooth drive. Join us as we explore the iconic features of this breathtaking scenic drive.

 

Best Features

  1. Multnomah Falls: Perhaps the most iconic attraction along the route, this majestic waterfall drops over 600 feet in two tiers. The Benson Bridge offers a close-up view, while the Multnomah Falls Lodge provides historical context and refreshments.
  2. Vista House at Crown Point: Serving as both a memorial and an observatory, the Vista House offers panoramic views of the Columbia River. Its historic architecture and interpretive displays add depth to the scenic experience.
  3. Bonneville Lock and Dam: A marvel of engineering, this site showcases the power of the Columbia River harnessed for navigation and electricity. Visitors can explore the fish ladder, watch ships navigate the locks, and learn about the region’s hydroelectric power.
  4. Bridal Veil Falls: Set amidst lush greenery, this cascading waterfall offers a serene spot for picnicking and photography. A short trail leads to a viewpoint with a perfect frame of the falls.
  5. Horsetail and Ponytail Falls Loop: A scenic trek that takes visitors past two stunning waterfalls. The unique, behind-the-waterfall experience at Ponytail Falls is a highlight.
  6. Mitchell Point Overlook: One of the best vantage points along the byway, this overlook provides expansive views of the gorge, particularly stunning at sunrise and sunset.
  7. Hood River: Known as the windsurfing capital of the world, this charming town along the byway is also famed for its orchards, wineries, and local eateries.

 

The Historic Columbia River Highway All-American Road is more than just a road—it’s a journey through time, nature, and architectural marvels. As you cruise along the curves of this iconic route, the spirit of the Pacific Northwest unfolds in all its glory, offering an immersive experience of Oregon’s natural and cultural heritage. From the roar of waterfalls to the whispers of history, this scenic drive is a symphony of sights and sounds that beckon to be explored, cherished, and remembered.

McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway

Nestled amidst Oregon’s Cascade Range lies a stretch of road that gracefully dances with the contours of the land, treating travelers to vistas of volcanic landscapes, lush forests, and alpine waters. The McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway is a journey of contrasts, where molten history meets the tranquility of nature. Meandering for approximately 82 miles, the McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway connects the verdant Willamette Valley to the arid Oregon High Desert, weaving through the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests. As it ascends and descends the mighty Cascades, it offers a mélange of the region’s geological and ecological wonders. Let’s traverse this incredible route and spotlight its most captivating features.

 

Best Features

  1. Dee Wright Observatory: Built entirely from lava rocks, this observatory sits atop McKenzie Pass and provides panoramic views of the surrounding Cascade peaks. On clear days, the silhouettes of Mount Washington, Mount Jefferson, and the Three Sisters grace the horizon.
  2. Sahalie and Koosah Falls: Two of the most iconic waterfalls in Oregon, both cascade majestically along the McKenzie River. Easily accessible trails allow visitors to experience the power and beauty of these falls up close.
  3. Clear Lake: Born from volcanic activity, this crystal-clear lake is renowned for its underwater forest and cold, pristine waters. Canoeing on the lake offers a unique vantage point of the submerged trees.
  4. Belknap Hot Springs: Nestled by the McKenzie River, these natural hot springs are the perfect spot to relax and rejuvenate amidst nature.
  5. Lava River National Recreation Trail: This trail unveils the area’s volcanic history, taking hikers through a mesmerizing landscape of lava flows, rock formations, and unique vegetation.
  6. Fish Lake Interpretive Stop: A seasonal lake, Fish Lake, offers insights into the region’s ecology, history, and the old Santiam Wagon Road that pioneers once used.
  7. Black Butte: This symmetrical cinder cone provides hiking opportunities and, from its summit, expansive views of the surrounding landscapes.

 

The McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway is not merely a road but a narrative of Oregon’s dynamic geology, lush forests, and cascading waters. As you wind your way through its diverse terrains, you’re enveloped in stories of ancient eruptions, glacial formations, and the ever-resilient spirit of nature. This scenic drive is a testament to Oregon’s multifaceted beauty, promising a journey that stirs the soul and lingers in memory long after the drive is over. Whether a nature lover, a history enthusiast, or a wanderlust traveler, this route beckons with experiences waiting to be etched in the heart.

Mt. Hood Scenic Byway

Oregon’s allure is diverse and profound, with each region boasting its distinct beauty. And when it comes to majestic alpine landscapes, the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway stands out, offering an entrancing blend of snow-clad peaks, verdant forests, and historic communities. As the road winds around the base of Oregon’s tallest mountain, visitors are treated to a visual symphony of nature’s finest displays.

Beginning in Troutdale, often referred to as the “Gateway to the Gorge,” the byway stretches for approximately 105 miles, culminating in the fertile plains of the Hood River Valley. Along the way, it gracefully embraces the base of Mt. Hood, Oregon’s towering sentinel. Join us as we journey through this iconic byway and unearth its most breathtaking attractions.

Best Features

  1. Timberline Lodge: Perched at an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet on Mt. Hood, this National Historic Landmark is not just a winter sports haven but also an architectural marvel, boasting intricate woodwork, hand-woven textiles, and local stone.
  2. Trillium Lake: Nestled just south of Mt. Hood, Trillium Lake offers one of the most iconic views of the mountain’s reflection in its serene waters. It’s a popular spot for fishing, picnicking, and photography.
  3. Hood River Valley: As you descend the eastern side of Mt. Hood, you’re greeted by the sprawling orchards of the Hood River Valley, renowned for its apples, pears, and cherries. Several farm stands and wineries offer fresh produce and local wines.
  4. Hood Railroad: Offering a nostalgic journey through the Hood River Valley, this historic railroad provides unique vantage points of the mountain and its surroundings, especially during the fall when the valley is ablaze with colors.
  5. Jonsrud Viewpoint: Located in Sandy, this viewpoint provides a sweeping vista of Mt. Hood, the Sandy River Valley, and, on clear days, the Cascade Range stretching into the distance.
  6. Historic Barlow Road: Part of the Oregon Trail, this historic route offers insights into the challenges pioneers faced, including the treacherous journey around Mt. Hood.
  7. Mirror Lake: Accessible via a short hike, this lake, true to its name, offers pristine reflections of Mt. Hood, especially during the early morning and late afternoon.

 

The Mt. Hood Scenic Byway is a testament to Oregon’s captivating alpine landscapes, combining the grandeur of towering peaks with the charm of historic communities and the bounty of fertile valleys. It invites travelers to not just witness but immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of nature and history that defines this corner of Oregon. Whether you’re chasing the thrill of skiing down Mt. Hood, seeking the serenity of alpine lakes, or indulging in the flavors of the Hood River Valley, this scenic drive promises a journey that resonates with wonder and nostalgia.

Outback Scenic Byway

While many flock to Oregon’s famed coastlines, forests, and mountain ranges, there’s a less-trodden path that offers a glimpse into the state’s raw, rugged essence—the Outback Scenic Byway. This scenic drive meanders through a land of vast horizons, where sagebrush plains meet ancient lava flows, and where silence tells tales of indigenous tribes, pioneers, and the relentless force of nature. Spanning approximately 170 miles, the Outback Scenic Byway begins in the town of La Pine, ventures through the state’s high desert, and culminates in the historic community of Lakeview. It’s a journey that captures the spirit of the American West and Oregon’s vast interior landscapes. Join us as we embark on a journey through the lesser known but equally enchanting heart of Oregon.

Best Features

  1. Fort Rock: Rising dramatically from the flat desert plains, Fort Rock is a volcanic tuff ring that bears testament to the region’s tumultuous volcanic history. Nearby, the Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum offers insights into the lives of early settlers.
  2. Summer Lake Hot Springs: Nestled in the desert landscape, these natural hot springs provide a soothing oasis. The mineral-rich waters, set against the backdrop of vast plains and distant mountains, offer a tranquil retreat.
  3. Fremont National Forest: A mosaic of pine forests, wetlands, and lakes, this national forest offers a diverse habitat for wildlife, including antelope, deer, and various bird species. It’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with numerous trails and camping spots.
  4. Paisley Caves: These ancient caves have revealed some of the earliest evidence of human habitation in North America. While the caves themselves are on private land and require permission to access, the nearby town of Paisley offers interpretive information and is worth a visit.
  5. Abert Rim: One of the largest fault scarps in the United States, Abert Rim towers over Lake Abert, providing a dramatic landscape ideal for photography and birdwatching, particularly for spotting migratory shorebirds.
  6. Warner Wetlands: A vital oasis in this arid landscape, the Warner Wetlands is a sprawling area of marshes and lakes. It’s a hotspot for birdwatching, kayaking, and understanding the region’s unique ecology.

The Outback Scenic Byway is a journey into the soul of Oregon—a land where nature’s raw beauty stands unadulterated, where horizons stretch endlessly, and where every mile tells a story of time, resilience, and wonder. It’s a road less traveled but rich in rewards, unveiling an Oregon that’s as mesmerizing as it is mysterious. For those willing to venture beyond the usual, the Outback Scenic Byway promises a thrilling road trip into the wild heart of the Beaver State.

Pacific Coast All-American Road

Oregon’s coastline, a mesmerizing stretch of jagged cliffs, expansive sandy shores, and verdant temperate rainforests, is often described as one of the most breathtaking in the world. And there’s no better way to experience this maritime marvel than by traversing the Pacific Coast All-American Road. This scenic drive, hugging the edge of the Pacific Ocean, offers a visual feast that encapsulates the spirit of the wild, untamed Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Coast All-American Road (often referred to as Highway 101 in Oregon) stretches for nearly 363 miles, from the charming town of Astoria in the north to the California border in the south. As it winds its way down the coast, it serves as a gateway to a myriad of natural wonders and historic landmarks. Join us as we journey along this iconic route and explore its most enchanting attractions.

 

Best Features

  1. Cannon Beach & Haystack Rock: One of the most photographed spots on the coast, Cannon Beach, with its iconic Haystack Rock, offers a blend of artistic vibes and natural splendor. At low tide, the area around the rock reveals tide pools teeming with marine life.
  2. Tillamook Cheese Factory: Beyond its stunning landscapes, the coast is also famed for its dairy. The Tillamook Cheese Factory provides a peek into the cheese-making process and, of course, delicious samples.
  3. Cape Perpetua Scenic Area: Boasting some of the best ocean viewpoints, including the dramatic Thor’s Well and the Spouting Horn, this area is a haven for photographers and nature enthusiasts.
  4. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area: Spanning 40 miles, these wind-sculpted sand dunes offer opportunities for hiking, photography, and even dune buggy adventures.
  5. Yaquina Head & Lighthouse: As Oregon’s tallest lighthouse, Yaquina Head offers panoramic ocean views, while the surrounding area is perfect for tide pooling and spotting harbor seals and seabirds.
  6. Port Orford Heads State Park: A prime spot for whale watching, especially during migration seasons. The park also has trails that offer striking views of coastal cliffs and offshore rock formations.
  7. Bandon’s Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint: Folklore, sandy beaches, and distinctive rock formations converge here. The legend of Face Rock and other stories lend a mystical aura to this picturesque spot.

The Pacific Coast All-American Road is not just a scenic drive but an immersive experience that captures the heart and soul of Oregon’s coastline. From the haunting call of seabirds to the rhythmic dance of waves crashing onto rocky shores, this route promises a symphony of sights and sounds that evoke wonder, nostalgia, and an undying love for the ocean’s majesty. Whether you’re a solo traveler seeking solace in nature’s embrace or a family on an unforgettable seaside vacation, Oregon’s coastal odyssey awaits, promising memories as timeless as the Pacific itself.

Top of Form

Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway

In the heart of Southern Oregon, a stretch of road weaves a tale of roaring rivers, cascading waterfalls, and ancient forests. The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, affectionately dubbed the “Highway of Waterfalls,” presents a mesmerizing journey through landscapes that showcase nature’s artistic prowess. This scenic drive covers approximately 172 miles, connecting the towns of Roseburg and Gold Hill. As the road unfolds, it charts the courses of two of Oregon’s majestic rivers—the Umpqua and the Rogue—each with its distinct charm and myriad tributaries. As we traverse this iconic route, let’s delve into its myriad wonders and the treasures that make it a must-visit in the Beaver State.

 

Best Features

  1. Tioga Bridge: Offering panoramic vistas of the emerald waters of the North Umpqua River, this bridge also serves as a starting point for many riverside trails.
  2. Toketee Falls: One of the most famous waterfalls in Oregon, Toketee Falls cascades majestically in two stages, surrounded by a basalt amphitheater. A well-maintained trail leads to a viewpoint, ensuring an up-close experience.
  3. Crater Lake National Park: While a slight detour from the byway, Oregon’s only national park is worth the visit. Home to the deepest lake in the United States, its pristine blue waters and surrounding vistas are nothing short of breathtaking.
  4. Rogue River Gorge: Near the community of Union Creek, witness the powerful Rogue River as it surges through a narrow, lava-lined channel, creating a series of mesmerizing cascades.
  5. Diamond Lake: Nestled between Mt. Bailey and Mt. Thielsen, Diamond Lake offers recreational opportunities from fishing and boating in the summer to snow sports in the winter.
  6. Lemolo Falls: A hidden gem, this waterfall plunges dramatically into a deep canyon, with accessible trails allowing for both upper and lower views.
  7. Colliding Rivers: In the town of Glide, witness the North Umpqua and Little River’s unique natural phenomenon as they meet head-on—the only spot in the world where two rivers collide in this manner.
  8. Numerous Waterfalls: Beyond the highlighted ones, the byway is home to many other cascades like Watson Falls, Whitehorse Falls, and Clearwater Falls, each adding to its moniker of the “Highway of Waterfalls.”

The Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway is more than just a roadway; it’s a tribute to Oregon’s natural grandeur. As the journey shifts between the turbulent Rogue and the serene Umpqua, travelers are treated to a visual and sensory feast that celebrates the Pacific Northwest’s essence. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a waterfall chaser, or someone seeking tranquility by a riverside, this scenic drive promises experiences that resonate, inspire, and rejuvenate. So, pack your bags and set forth on a road trip where every turn whispers tales of ancient forests, roaring rivers, and nature’s timeless dance.

Volcanic Legacy All-American Road

Deep within the Pacific Northwest lies a route that tells tales of ancient eruptions, molten landscapes, and nature’s awe-inspiring power: the Volcanic Legacy All-American Road. This scenic drive offers a journey through Oregon’s volcanic wonderland, where landscapes carved by fiery forces now stand as serene lakes, towering peaks, and sprawling plateaus. Stretching over 500 miles, the Volcanic Legacy All-American Road starts at Oregon’s Crater Lake and meanders southward into California, ending at Lassen Volcanic National Park. This article focuses on the Oregon section, which showcases a tapestry of volcanic landmarks, lush forests, and shimmering waters. Let’s embark on a voyage along this majestic road and discover the volcanic wonders that define this corner of Oregon.

 

Best Features

  1. Crater Lake National Park: The crown jewel of the byway, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, formed from the caldera of a collapsed volcano. Its pristine blue waters and surrounding cliffs, especially Wizard Island, are a testament to the region’s volcanic past.
  2. Upper Klamath Lake: This expansive freshwater lake offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and birdwatching, with the nearby Klamath Basin serving as a sanctuary for migratory birds.
  3. Lava Beds National Monument: Just across the Oregon-California border, this region boasts an intricate network of lava tubes. Explore underground caves, witness unique rock formations, and learn about the area’s indigenous history.
  4. Mount McLoughlin: Visible from various points along the byway, this dormant volcano with its symmetrical cone offers hiking opportunities for those seeking panoramic vistas.
  5. Fort Klamath: Delve into history at the site of a former military outpost, which now serves as a museum detailing the region’s past, from indigenous tribes to early settlers.
  6. Pelican Bay: Nestled on the western shore of Upper Klamath Lake, this area is a hotspot for birdwatching, particularly the American White Pelican.
  7. Train Mountain Railroad Museum: Located in Chiloquin, this museum houses the world’s longest miniature railroad, offering rides through forests and showcasing the region’s railway history.

 

The Volcanic Legacy All-American Road is not merely a route—it’s a journey through time, retracing the dramatic events that shaped Oregon’s landscapes. With every mile, the road reveals stories of molten fury, subsequent serenity, and the resilient spirit of nature. From the azure depths of Crater Lake to the subterranean mysteries of lava caves, this scenic drive offers a window into the heart of Oregon’s geological wonders. Whether you’re a geology enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a traveler with a penchant for scenic beauty, the Volcanic Legacy beckons with experiences that ignite curiosity and leave an indelible mark on the soul.

West Cascades Scenic Byway

Oregon, with its varied landscapes, offers an array of scenic drives, each distinct in its beauty. Among them, the West Cascades Scenic Byway stands out, presenting a journey that delves deep into the heart of Oregon’s verdant western Cascade mountains. From historic sites to rushing rivers, this byway is a mosaic of all that makes the Pacific Northwest a wonder to behold. Extending for about 220 miles, the West Cascades Scenic Byway starts from Estacada, winds its way alongside the Clackamas and Breitenbush Rivers, passes through the communities of Detroit and Sweet Home, and finally culminates in Oakridge. Along its path, it unveils a medley of dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and pristine lakes. Join us as we explore this captivating route and the myriad attractions it encompasses.

Best Features

  1. Detroit Lake: A favorite among both locals and visitors, Detroit Lake offers numerous recreational activities including boating, fishing, and swimming, all set against the backdrop of the Cascade peaks.
  2. Breitenbush Hot Springs: Nestled in a remote forest setting, these natural hot springs provide a therapeutic escape, complemented by the soothing sounds of the nearby Breitenbush River.
  3. Sahalie and Koosah Falls: Two of the Cascade Range’s most breathtaking cascades, both falls offer easily accessible viewpoints, making them a must-visit.
  4. McKenzie River: Renowned for its clear blue waters, the McKenzie River offers opportunities for white-water rafting, fishing, and simply soaking in its serene beauty.
  5. Aufderheide Scenic Drive: A segment of the byway, this drive between Blue River and Westfir is particularly enchanting in fall, with the foliage turning into vibrant hues of gold and crimson.
  6. Oakridge: Often labeled as the “Mountain Biking Capital of the Northwest”, Oakridge offers numerous trails for biking enthusiasts, set amidst its lush forests.
  7. Historic Sites: The byway is dotted with various historic sites, including old ranger stations and the Office Covered Bridge in Westfir, the longest covered bridge in Oregon.

The West Cascades Scenic Byway is more than just a road trip—it’s an invitation to discover the verdant beauty of Oregon’s western Cascades. With each bend and turn, the road introduces travelers to a world where nature reigns supreme, from the roar of waterfalls to the silent majesty of ancient forests. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking your next adventure or a soul in search of tranquility, the West Cascades Scenic Byway promises a journey that resonates, rejuvenates, and remains etched in memory. Embark on this odyssey and let Oregon’s lush wilderness captivate your heart and spirit.

More great scenic drives in Oregon:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Pennsylvania Byways

Exploring the Beauty of Pennsylvania: Scenic Drives That Leave You Awestruck

Pennsylvania, often referred to as the “Keystone State,” is a land of diverse landscapes, rich history, and captivating beauty. One of the best ways to experience the state’s splendor is by embarking on a road trip along its winding scenic byways and tranquil country roads. From the lush rolling hills of the Pocono Mountains to the charming Amish countryside, Pennsylvania offers a plethora of scenic drives that cater to all types of travelers.

Pennsylvania has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway is primarily located in Chester County. It’s known for its picturesque countryside, historic sites, and cultural attractions.

Route: The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway in Pennsylvania primarily follows portions of Route 100 and Route 52. It spans Chester County and the Brandywine Valley region.

Highlights:

  1. Longwood Gardens: Longwood Gardens is a premier attraction along this byway, featuring stunning gardens, fountains, and conservatories. It’s a horticultural paradise and a popular spot for visitors throughout the year.
  2. Brandywine River Museum of Art: This museum is famous for its collection of works by the Wyeth family, renowned American artists. It’s located in Chadds Ford and showcases both American art and the scenic beauty of the Brandywine Valley.
  3. Charming Towns: The byway passes through several charming towns, including Chadds Ford, Kennett Square, and West Chester. These towns are known for their historic architecture, art galleries, and local dining.
  4. Brandywine Battlefield: This historic site marks the location of the Battle of Brandywine during the American Revolutionary War. It offers insights into the history of the region and the role it played in the nation’s founding.
  5. Natural Beauty: The byway offers beautiful views of the Brandywine River, rolling hills, and picturesque farmland. It’s especially scenic during the fall when the foliage is at its peak.
  6. Wineries and Vineyards: The region is home to several wineries and vineyards where you can enjoy wine tastings and scenic views.

Best Time to Visit: The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway in Pennsylvania is beautiful year-round, but it’s particularly popular during the spring when gardens are in bloom and the fall when the foliage is vibrant. However, it’s a destination that can be enjoyed throughout all seasons.

The Brandywine Valley Scenic Byway in Pennsylvania is a wonderful destination for those interested in history, art, nature, and a relaxing drive through the countryside. It offers a blend of cultural and natural attractions that can be explored at your own pace.  Go to travelbyways.com for more.

 

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail is a scenic byway that runs through several states, including Pennsylvania, and showcases the natural beauty, history, and culture of the Great Lakes region.

Here’s what you need to know about the portion of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail in Pennsylvania:

Route: The Great Lakes Seaway Trail in Pennsylvania follows a portion of U.S. Route 20 and Pennsylvania Route 5. It extends along the Lake Erie shoreline in the northwestern part of the state.

Highlights:

  1. Lake Erie Shoreline: This scenic drive offers stunning views of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. You can enjoy beautiful waterfront scenery, beaches, and opportunities for water-based activities.
  2. Presque Isle State Park: Located near Erie, this park boasts sandy beaches, hiking and biking trails, and opportunities for birdwatching and water sports.
  3. Erie Maritime Museum: Learn about the region’s maritime history and the War of 1812 at this museum in Erie, which features the reconstructed U.S. Brig Niagara, a historic sailing vessel.
  4. Wineries: The area around Lake Erie is known for its wineries. You can explore vineyards and taste regional wines along the trail.
  5. Historic Sites: The trail passes through or near several historic towns and sites, offering a glimpse into the history of the region.
  6. Scenic Overlooks: There are several viewpoints along the byway that provide panoramic vistas of Lake Erie and the surrounding landscapes.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit the Great Lakes Seaway Trail in Pennsylvania is during the warmer months, from late spring to early fall, when outdoor activities are in full swing, and the weather is pleasant for exploring the shoreline and enjoying outdoor attractions. Fall is also a great time for leaf-peeping as the foliage changes colors.

The Great Lakes Seaway Trail in Pennsylvania offers a mix of outdoor recreation, history, and beautiful lakeside views. It’s a great option for a road trip or a leisurely drive to experience the Great Lakes region’s unique charm and natural beauty. Go to travelbyways.com for more.

 

The Historic National Road, often referred to as the National Road, was the first federally funded highway in the United States, and it played a significant role in the country’s westward expansion. Often called the “Road That Built America,” it stretches from Cumberland, Maryland, to Vandalia, Illinois, passing through several states, including Pennsylvania.

Here’s information specific to the Historic National Road in Pennsylvania:

Route: In Pennsylvania, the Historic National Road follows U.S. Route 40. It enters Pennsylvania from Maryland near the town of Addison and continues through southwestern Pennsylvania, passing through several historic towns and landmarks.

Highlights:

  1. Fayette County Courthouse: Located in Uniontown, the Fayette County Courthouse is an iconic structure along the National Road. It’s a fine example of Greek Revival architecture and serves as a reminder of the road’s historic significance.
  2. Searights Tollhouse: This historic tollhouse, located near Uniontown, is one of several tollhouses along the National Road that collected fees from travelers in the early 19th century.
  3. Historic Towns: The National Road passes through or near several historic towns in Pennsylvania, including Brownsville and Washington. These towns feature well-preserved architecture from the 19th century and offer a glimpse into the past.
  4. Scenic Views: The road offers scenic views of the Pennsylvania countryside, particularly as it winds through the Allegheny Mountains.
  5. Fort Necessity National Battlefield: While not directly on the National Road, this historic battlefield is nearby and commemorates a pivotal battle during the French and Indian War. It’s worth a visit for history enthusiasts.
  6. Museums and Interpretive Centers: There are museums and interpretive centers along the route that provide insight into the history of the National Road and its impact on westward expansion.

Best Time to Visit: The Historic National Road in Pennsylvania can be visited year-round, but the spring, summer, and early fall months are typically the best times for comfortable weather and exploring the area’s outdoor and historical attractions.

Traveling along the Historic National Road in Pennsylvania allows you to step back in time and experience a route that played a crucial role in America’s westward expansion. It offers a unique blend of history, scenic beauty, and cultural heritage, making it a fascinating road trip destination for history buffs and travelers interested in the early days of American transportation.  Go to travelbyways.com for more.

 

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway is a historic and scenic route that stretches through several states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. This byway is known for its rich historical significance, passing through areas that played pivotal roles in American history.

Here’s information specific to the portion of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground byway in Pennsylvania:

Route: In Pennsylvania, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground byway primarily follows sections of U.S. Route 15. It traverses the southern part of the state, running parallel to the Maryland border.

Highlights:

  1. Gettysburg National Military Park: Perhaps the most significant attraction along the Pennsylvania portion of the byway is Gettysburg National Military Park. This historic site commemorates the Battle of Gettysburg, one of the most critical battles of the American Civil War. The park includes battlefields, monuments, and a visitor center with informative exhibits.
  2. Historic Towns: The byway passes through or near several historic towns in Pennsylvania, including Gettysburg and Emmitsburg. These towns are home to well-preserved architecture, museums, and cultural sites that offer insights into their history.
  3. Catoctin Mountain Scenic Overlook: As you travel along the byway, you can enjoy scenic views of Catoctin Mountain, which spans the Maryland-Pennsylvania border.
  4. Gettysburg National Cemetery: Adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park, the cemetery is the final resting place for many soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg. It includes the Soldiers’ National Monument and the spot where President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
  5. Hiking and Outdoor Activities: The surrounding countryside offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and picnicking.

Best Time to Visit: The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway in Pennsylvania is best visited during the spring, summer, and early fall when the weather is conducive to exploring outdoor attractions and historic sites. The fall season is especially popular for its vibrant foliage.

This byway is a poignant journey through some of America’s most important historical sites, particularly related to the Civil War era. It’s a must-visit for history enthusiasts and anyone interested in experiencing the cultural and historical heritage of the United States.  Go to travelbyways.com for more.

 

More great scenic drives in Pennsylvania:

 

The best season to visit Pennsylvania depends on your preferences and the activities you want to enjoy. Pennsylvania experiences all four seasons, each with its own unique attractions:

  1. Spring (March to May): Spring in Pennsylvania is beautiful, with blooming flowers and mild temperatures. It’s an excellent time for outdoor activities, hiking, and exploring the state’s parks and gardens.
  2. Summer (June to August): Summer is a popular time for visitors due to warm temperatures and longer daylight hours. It’s ideal for outdoor festivals, water activities in the state’s lakes and rivers, and visiting amusement parks like Hersheypark and Kennywood.
  3. Fall (September to November): Pennsylvania is famous for its stunning fall foliage. The changing colors of the leaves in the Pocono Mountains and other areas are a major draw. Fall is also a great time for apple picking, pumpkin festivals, and attending fairs.
  4. Winter (December to February): If you enjoy winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, then Pennsylvania’s ski resorts in the Poconos are a fantastic choice. Additionally, cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have unique holiday and winter events, including holiday markets and ice skating rinks.

The “best” season to visit depends on your interests and what kind of experiences you’re looking for. Many people find the fall to be particularly picturesque in Pennsylvania, but if you prefer warm weather and outdoor activities, then summer might be more to your liking. Conversely, if you enjoy winter sports, the colder months can be quite appealing. Ultimately, Pennsylvania offers something special in each season, so plan your visit based on your personal preferences and interests. 

 

Getting There

Pennsylvania is home to several international airports that serve as major gateways for domestic and international travelers. Here are some of the international airports in Pennsylvania:

  1. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL): Located in Philadelphia, PHL is the largest and busiest international airport in Pennsylvania. It offers numerous international flights to destinations in Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, and other parts of the world. It serves as a major hub for American Airlines.
  2. Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT): Situated in Pittsburgh, PIT offers a range of international flights to destinations in Europe, Mexico, and Canada. It is the second-largest airport in the state and a hub for several airlines.
  3. Harrisburg International Airport (MDT): Located in Harrisburg, this airport primarily serves domestic flights, but it does have some limited international connections, particularly to Canada.
  4. Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE): Situated near Allentown, ABE mainly operates domestic flights, but it has occasional seasonal international charter flights.
  5. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP): Serving the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton region, AVP primarily handles domestic flights, but it may have limited international charter services at times.

These airports connect Pennsylvania to various destinations worldwide, making it convenient for travelers to access both domestic and international locations. Philadelphia International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport are the two largest and most prominent international gateways in the state.

 

Fall Colors along Pennsylvania’s Scenic Routes

The timing of peak fall foliage in Pennsylvania can vary depending on several factors, including the region of the state, the weather conditions during the year, and the specific types of trees in the area. However, as a general guideline, here is when you can typically expect the best fall colors in Pennsylvania:

  1. Early to Mid-October: In northern Pennsylvania, particularly in areas like the Pocono Mountains, the northern tier, and the Allegheny National Forest, you can often expect peak fall foliage from early to mid-October. This is when maple, oak, and other deciduous trees showcase brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  2. Mid to Late-October: For central Pennsylvania, including regions around State College and the Susquehanna Valley, the peak of fall foliage usually occurs from mid to late October. The rolling hills and valleys in this area create a stunning tapestry of colors.
  3. Late October to Early November: In the southern part of the state, including areas around Philadelphia, you can typically expect peak fall colors to arrive in late October and last into early November. The foliage here tends to change a bit later than in the northern regions.

It’s important to note that these are general timelines, and the exact timing of peak fall foliage can vary from year to year due to factors like temperature, precipitation, and daylight hours. For the most accurate and up-to-date information on when to see fall foliage in a specific area of Pennsylvania, it’s a good idea to check with local tourism bureaus, state parks, or online fall foliage trackers. These resources can provide real-time updates on the best times to experience the vibrant autumn colors in the region you plan to visit.

A good resource for tracking the progress of fall color is the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website.

 

Driving Tips

Driving in Pennsylvania, like anywhere else, requires attention to road rules, safety, and local driving conditions. Here are some driving tips for navigating the roads in Pennsylvania:

  1. Observe Speed Limits: Pennsylvania enforces speed limits rigorously. Pay attention to posted speed limits and adjust your speed according to road and weather conditions.
  2. Be Aware of Deer: Pennsylvania has a significant deer population, especially in rural areas. Be cautious, particularly during dawn and dusk, when deer are most active. Use your high beams when appropriate but be prepared to dim when approaching oncoming traffic.
  3. Winter Driving: Pennsylvania experiences winter weather, and snow and ice can make roads hazardous. Equip your vehicle with snow tires or chains as needed and be prepared for slippery conditions. Follow posted advisories and road closures during winter storms.
  4. Turn on Headlights in Rain: Pennsylvania law requires drivers to turn on their headlights whenever their windshield wipers are in use due to rain, snow, sleet, or fog.
  5. Use Seat Belts: Pennsylvania law requires all occupants of a vehicle to wear seat belts. Failure to do so can result in fines.
  6. Cell Phone Use: It is illegal to use a handheld cell phone while driving in Pennsylvania. Hands-free devices are allowed. Texting while driving is also prohibited.
  7. Understand Turnpike Tolls: If you’re traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76), be prepared to pay tolls. You can use cash or an E-ZPass electronic toll collection system. Toll rates vary based on distance.
  8. Watch for Cyclists: Pennsylvania has a growing cycling community. Be aware of cyclists and share the road safely.
  9. Emergency Services: In case of an emergency on the road, dial 911. The Pennsylvania State Police or local law enforcement will respond to assist you.

Remember that road conditions can vary widely in Pennsylvania due to its diverse geography, so always drive with caution and adapt to changing circumstances. If you’re not familiar with local road rules or conditions, consider using a GPS or navigation app to help you navigate safely.  Read More about Pennsylvania’s Scenic Byways …

Rhode Island Byways

Rhode Island’s Scenic Byways: Navigating the Ocean State’s Picturesque Routes

Amidst the vast tapestry of America’s landscapes, Rhode Island—often referred to as the “Ocean State”—holds a special charm, with its intertwining of history, coastline, and vibrant culture. While it may be the smallest state in the U.S., it boasts a rich array of scenic byways that offer a captivating journey through its picturesque towns, rugged shores, and verdant country sides. Embark on a voyage through Rhode Island’s scenic drives, revealing the hidden gems and storied paths that make this state a traveler’s delight.

Rhode Island has one scenic drive that is part of the America’s Byways collection:

Revolutionary Heritage Byway

In the heart of New England lies a route that is more than just a scenic drive; it’s a journey through America’s revolutionary past. The Revolutionary Heritage Byway in Rhode Island serves as a testament to the state’s pivotal role in shaping the nation’s history. As you travel this route, you’re not only surrounded by picturesque landscapes but also transported to an era of bravery, sacrifice, and the relentless pursuit of liberty. Rhode Island, though small, played a significant role in the American Revolution. The Revolutionary Heritage Byway connects key historical sites, towns, and landmarks that were central to the events of that time. Let’s embark on this historical odyssey and uncover its myriad treasures.

 

Best Features

  1. Nathanael Greene Homestead: Once the home of Major General Nathanael Greene, a trusted officer of George Washington, this site in Coventry provides insights into the life and times of one of the Revolution’s unsung heroes.
  2. Joy Homestead: Located in Cranston, this historic site stands as a reminder of the Joys, a family of patriots who contributed to the revolutionary cause.
  3. Pettaquamscutt Historical Society Museum: Housed in an 18th-century building, this museum in South Kingstown offers an array of artifacts and exhibits detailing Rhode Island’s role in the Revolution.
  4. Smith’s Castle: Overlooking the beautiful Wickford Harbor in North Kingstown, this historic house museum showcases the daily life, culture, and tumultuous events of colonial Rhode Island.
  5. The Newport Colony House: Standing in the heart of Newport, this historic structure was the epicenter of Rhode Island’s government during the Revolution and witnessed significant events of that period.

 

Travel Tips

  • Guided Tours: Many of the historic sites along the byway offer guided tours, providing a deeper understanding of the events and stories linked to them. It’s advisable to check tour availability in advance.
  • Historic Etiquette: When visiting historical sites, be respectful of preservation guidelines. Some sites might have restrictions on photography or specific areas that are off-limits.
  • Local Delicacies: Rhode Island boasts a rich culinary heritage. While exploring the byway, indulge in local specialties like clam chowder, johnnycakes, and stuffies (stuffed clams).

 

Best Time to Visit

Spring and fall are particularly enchanting times to traverse the Revolutionary Heritage Byway. Spring sees Rhode Island bloom in a profusion of colors, while fall showcases the state’s iconic New England foliage. Additionally, many historical reenactments and festivals take place during these seasons, adding depth to the journey.

The Revolutionary Heritage Byway is more than just a scenic route; it’s a window into a seminal chapter of America’s story. As you navigate its length, you’re reminded of the resilience, vision, and spirit of those who shaped the nation’s destiny. From historic homes to solemn battlegrounds, every landmark echoes tales of valor and hope. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a curious traveler, or someone seeking a deeper connection to America’s roots, this scenic drive in Rhode Island beckons with experiences that are as enlightening as they are unforgettable. Embark on this road trip and let the echoes of the past inspire your present.

More great scenic drives in Rhode Island:

Rhode Island, though compact, is a state of diverse landscapes and rich history. Its scenic drives provide not just a visual treat but also a narrative that intertwines the past and the present, nature and culture. Whether you’re meandering along its rugged coastlines, delving into its revolutionary past, or simply seeking solace in its verdant landscapes, Rhode Island’s scenic byways promise a journey that rejuvenates the soul and paints memories that last a lifetime. Navigate the Ocean State’s routes, and let every turn, every vista, and every landmark tell you a tale of its enduring charm. Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

South Carolina Byways

Palmetto Passages: Exploring South Carolina’s Scenic Byways

Nestled in the heart of the American South, South Carolina resonates with a harmonious blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Its scenic byways, a network of roads meandering through dense forests, historic plantations, and sun-kissed coastlines, offer travelers an intimate view of the state’s diverse landscapes and rich heritage. Dive into this exploration of South Carolina’s most scenic routes, where every mile tells a story, and every turn reveals a new vista, waiting to be discovered.

South Carolina has four scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Ashley River Road

Nestled in the embrace of South Carolina’s Lowcountry, the Ashley River Road National Scenic Byway is a harmonious blend of nature’s beauty and historic depth. Meandering alongside the gentle Ashley River, this scenic drive tells tales of colonial beginnings, architectural grandeur, and nature’s timeless allure. Spanning just about 11 miles from Charleston to the outskirts of Summerville, it might seem short, but its offerings are profoundly rich. Originally a Native American path and later a colonial roadway, the Ashley River Road (also known as SC Route 61) is one of the oldest roads in the United States. It’s not just a pathway, but a journey through centuries, capturing the essence of South Carolina’s history and natural splendor. Let’s journey down this iconic byway and uncover its most captivating features.

 

Best Features

  1. Plantations and Gardens: This route is famed for its historic plantations, each telling a unique tale.
    • Drayton Hall: A preserved 18th-century plantation, its main house stands as a testament to Georgian-Palladian architecture.
    • Middleton Place: Home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens, this plantation offers a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.
    • Magnolia Plantation and Gardens: Established in 1676, it boasts romantic-style gardens and offers a range of tours showcasing its history and the surrounding nature.
  2. Old Dorchester State Historic Site: This site provides a glimpse into colonial life, with remnants of a fort, a church, and other historical structures signifying its past significance.
  3. Scenic Beauty: As you drive along the byway, the canopies of live oaks draped in Spanish moss set a dreamy, tranquil backdrop, especially during sunrise and sunset.
  4. Wildlife and Nature: The surrounding wetlands and forests are home to diverse flora and fauna, including various bird species, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers.

 

Travel Tips

  • Guided Tours: While self-exploration has its charm, consider guided tours at the plantations for in-depth insights into their history, architecture, and gardens.
  • Drive Slowly: The road is narrow and winding in sections. A leisurely pace not only ensures safety but also allows for a deeper appreciation of the route’s beauty.
  • Local Eateries: Several local restaurants and eateries along or near the byway offer authentic South Carolinian flavors. Don’t miss out on sampling Lowcountry delicacies.

The Ashley River Road National Scenic Byway is a journey into the heart of South Carolina’s cultural and natural legacy. As you navigate its stretches, you’re not merely traveling a road but retracing the steps of Native Americans, colonial settlers, and nature’s timeless rhythm. Whether you’re drawn by the allure of historic plantations, the serenity of landscaped gardens, or the call of native birds, this byway offers an experience that resonates with nostalgia, beauty, and a deep sense of connection to the land. Embark on this road trip and let the whispers of the Ashley River and its surroundings weave stories that linger long after the journey ends.

Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway

South Carolina, with its rich tapestry of coastal plains, historic towns, and forested hills, offers a diverse range of landscapes. One such gem that beautifully showcases the state’s natural splendor is the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway. As it winds its way along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this picturesque route invites travelers to experience the beauty, history, and culture of the Palmetto State’s upcountry. Stretching for approximately 130 miles, the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway (also known as SC Highway 11) serves as a serene alternative to the bustling interstate highways. It takes travelers from the town of Gaffney in the east to Fair Play in the west, threading through rolling foothills, historic sites, and expansive lakes. Let’s embark on a journey down this scenic drive and delve into its myriad offerings.

Best Features

  1. Table Rock State Park: Dominated by the towering granite face of Table Rock Mountain, this park offers hiking trails, a serene lake, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  2. Caesars Head State Park: Known for its dramatic overlook, the park provides stunning vistas of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and is a prime spot for bird watching, especially during raptor migration seasons.
  3. Cowpens National Battlefield: A site of historical significance, this is where the American forces won a decisive victory against the British during the Revolutionary War. The site offers interpretive trails and regular reenactments.
  4. Sassafras Mountain: The highest point in South Carolina, this peak offers breathtaking views, especially during fall when the foliage turns into vibrant hues.
  5. Wildlife and Nature: The highway meanders through the habitat of diverse flora and fauna. From blooming mountain laurels in spring to spotting white-tailed deer or wild turkeys, nature’s spectacle is ever-present.
  6. Local Orchards and Farms: As you drive along, numerous local farms and orchards dot the landscape, offering fresh produce, from peaches and apples to homemade jams and ciders.

 

Travel Tips

  • Plan Ahead: While the highway is accessible year-round, some attractions, especially state parks, might have specific operating hours or seasons.
  • Stay Safe: The route includes mountainous sections and winding roads. Always drive cautiously and be prepared for sudden weather changes in the higher elevations.
  • Local Festivals: The region hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating its rich heritage, culture, and natural beauty. It’s worth checking local calendars to align your trip with these events.

The Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway is not just a road—it’s a journey that captures the soul of South Carolina’s upcountry. As it winds its way along the foothills, every turn reveals new vistas, from mist-covered mountains to serene lakes reflecting the sky’s hues. Whether you’re a history buff, an avid hiker, or someone seeking a tranquil escape, this scenic drive promises experiences that both inspire and rejuvenate. Embark on this road trip and let the magic of the Cherokee Foothills embrace you, leaving an indelible mark on your traveler’s heart.

Edisto Island National Scenic Byway

In the heart of the South Carolina Lowcountry, there’s a scenic drive that captures the very essence of coastal serenity and rich Southern heritage: the Edisto Island National Scenic Byway. As it weaves through salt marshes, dense maritime forests, and historic plantations, this byway offers a tranquil escape from the bustle of urban life. Spanning a mere 17 miles, its short stretch delivers an experience both profound and unforgettable. Originating from the junction of SC Highway 174 and US Highway 17, the byway extends all the way to the coastal hamlet of Edisto Beach. With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and a tapestry of marshes and forests on the other, it presents a panorama of natural beauty. Let’s set forth on this coastal road trip and explore the myriad wonders of Edisto Island’s scenic byway.

 

Best Features

  1. Botany Bay Plantation: A conservation area teeming with wildlife, this former plantation is a blend of history and nature. The boneyard beach, with its skeletal trees against the backdrop of the ocean, offers a hauntingly beautiful landscape.
  2. Edisto Island Serpentarium: A unique attraction, it showcases the region’s diverse reptiles, from colorful snakes to formidable alligators, in both indoor and outdoor exhibits.
  3. Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society Museum: Delve into the island’s past, from its Native American origins to its plantation era, through a range of artifacts and exhibits.
  4. Majestic Live Oaks: Throughout the byway, travelers are treated to views of ancient live oaks draped in Spanish moss, creating a canopy that embodies the Lowcountry’s signature charm.
  5. Edisto Beach: The byway culminates at this serene beach, ideal for relaxation, beachcombing, and witnessing mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets.
  6. Helena Chapel of Ease: A testament to the region’s rich history, this ruined chapel, with its evocative architecture, tells tales of times long past.

 

Travel Tips

  • Tidal Changes: Many areas, especially around Botany Bay, are affected by tides. Plan visits around low tide, especially if you wish to explore the boneyard beach.
  • Local Eateries: The region boasts delightful local eateries that serve fresh seafood and traditional Lowcountry dishes. Don’t miss out on sampling specialties like shrimp and grits or she-crab soup.
  • Respect the Ecosystem: The byway traverses delicate ecosystems. Adhere to Leave No Trace principles and avoid disturbing wildlife or picking plants.

 

The Edisto Island National Scenic Byway is a gentle reminder of the timeless beauty and rich tapestry of the South Carolina coast. With every mile, travelers are transported to a world where nature sings its lullabies and history whispers its tales. Whether you’re captivated by the allure of sun-kissed beaches, the mysteries of marshlands, or the narratives of historic sites, Edisto Island promises a journey that touches the soul. Embark on this scenic sojourn and discover a slice of the Lowcountry that lingers in the heart long after the journey ends.

Savannah River Scenic Byway

Bordering South Carolina’s western flank, the Savannah River is more than just a waterway; it’s a living narrative that captures the region’s history, ecological wonder, and natural beauty. The Savannah River Scenic Byway, which traces the river’s meandering course, offers travelers a multi-faceted experience, inviting them to delve deep into the heart of the Palmetto State’s vibrant western landscapes. This scenic drive, stretching approximately 100 miles, winds its way through South Carolina’s western counties. Beginning near the town of Calhoun Falls and culminating at Clarks Hill, this scenic route offers panoramic views of the Savannah River, interspersed with diverse attractions that define the region’s essence. From historic towns to lush woodlands, let’s navigate this picturesque route and explore its most captivating landmarks.

 

Best Features

  1. Calhoun Falls State Park: Serving as a gateway to the byway, this state park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. With its expansive lake, it offers opportunities for boating, fishing, and lakeside camping.
  2. Russell House and Plantation: Located in North Augusta, this historic site provides insights into the antebellum South, offering a glimpse into the life and times of 19th-century plantation owners.
  3. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake: This massive reservoir, also known as Clarks Hill Lake, is not only an engineering marvel but also a hotspot for water sports, hiking, and picnicking.
  4. Savannah Rapids Park: Located near the byway’s southern end, this park boasts beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails, and canoe rentals, providing a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility.
  5. Hickory Knob State Resort Park: A retreat nestled along the shores of the Savannah River, it offers everything from golfing and archery to rustic cabins, making it an ideal stop for relaxation and recreation.
  6. Historic Downtown McCormick: A detour off the main byway, McCormick is a testament to the region’s history, with its well-preserved buildings, museums, and local eateries.

 

Travel Tips

  • Seasonal Considerations: While the byway is accessible year-round, spring and fall offer particularly delightful weather and vibrant landscapes.
  • Wildlife Precautions: The region is home to diverse wildlife. Always maintain a safe distance and be particularly cautious during dawn and dusk when animals are most active.
  • Local Festivals: Western South Carolina hosts a plethora of events throughout the year, celebrating its cultural, historical, and natural heritage. Check local calendars to enhance your visit with these local experiences.

The Savannah River Scenic Byway is not just a route—it’s a symphony of nature’s wonders and historical narratives. As you travel alongside the gentle course of the Savannah River, you’re treated to a medley of sights and sounds that resonate with the spirit of South Carolina’s western frontier. Whether you’re drawn to the mysteries of historic plantations, the thrill of river rapids, or the serene beauty of forested landscapes, this scenic drive beckons with a promise of discovery and enchantment. Set forth on this journey and let the melodies of the Savannah River Scenic Byway play the soundtrack to your unforgettable South Carolinian adventure.

More great scenic drives in South Carolina:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

South Dakota Byways

Dakota Drifts: Exploring the Breathtaking Byways of South Dakota

South Dakota, a state where the Great Plains kiss the expansive sky, and where history and nature dance in a timeless embrace, boasts a network of scenic byways that capture its diverse spirit. These routes, meandering through the Black Hills, stretching across the Badlands, and tracing the paths of ancient rivers, provide a window into the heart of this iconic American landscape. Join us as we journey through South Dakota’s scenic drives, each revealing tales of yesteryears, indigenous cultures, and nature’s grandeur.

South Dakota has two scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

In the heart of South Dakota, cradled within the storied Black Hills, lies a route that stands as a testament to both nature’s artistry and human engineering brilliance: the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. Named in honor of South Dakota’s visionary senator and former governor, this byway offers a journey through landscapes that have inspired countless adventurers, artists, and dreamers. The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, encompassing a network of highways – SD 244, SD 87, SD 89, and US 16A – stretches for approximately 70 miles, weaving an intricate tapestry that combines the wonders of the Black Hills’ granite peaks, dense forests, and vibrant meadows. Let’s embark on a scenic drive along this captivating route and discover its myriad treasures.

Best Features

  1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial: Perhaps the most iconic symbol of American democracy, this colossal granite sculpture of four U.S. presidents is a must-visit, offering not only historical insights but also panoramic views of the surrounding Black Hills.
  2. Crazy Horse Memorial: A tribute to the legendary Lakota leader, this ongoing mountain carving, once completed, will stand as the world’s largest sculpture, symbolizing the spirit of Native American cultures.
  3. Needles Highway (SD 87): Renowned for its needle-like granite formations, narrow tunnels, and winding roads, this segment provides some of the byway’s most breathtaking vistas.
  4. Custer State Park: Spanning over 71,000 acres, this state park is a wildlife haven, home to free-roaming bison, pronghorns, mountain goats, and more. The park’s Sylvan Lake, with its serene waters surrounded by granite outcrops, offers a perfect spot for relaxation.
  5. Iron Mountain Road (US 16A): Featuring unique wooden pigtail bridges and spiraled roadways, this section of the byway offers unparalleled views of Mount Rushmore through its strategically placed tunnels.

 

Travel Tips

  • Driving Precautions: The byway, with its narrow tunnels and sharp curves, requires cautious driving. Ensure your vehicle fits the tunnel dimensions, especially along the Needles Highway.
  • Wildlife Encounters: The region is rich in wildlife. While bison jams are a unique experience, always maintain a safe distance from animals and avoid feeding them.
  • Seasonal Considerations: While the byway is a year-round attraction, winter can bring snow and road closures. Always check weather conditions and road statuses before embarking on your journey.

 

The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway isn’t just a road—it’s an experience, a passage through the heart of South Dakota’s mountainous majesty. With every mile, it tells tales of ancient geological wonders, indigenous resilience, and America’s enduring spirit. Whether you’re gazing up at the carved faces of Mount Rushmore, maneuvering the spirals of the Iron Mountain Road, or simply soaking in the tranquil beauty of Custer’s landscapes, the byway promises a journey that enlightens, inspires, and resonates deep within the soul. Embark on this scenic drive and let the magic of the Black Hills etch memories that linger for a lifetime.

Standing Rock Native American Scenic Byway

South Dakota, often recognized for its iconic landscapes and historic landmarks, is also a land echoing with the voices of its indigenous peoples. The Standing Rock Native American Scenic Byway is a poignant reminder of this legacy, weaving a path through the heartlands of the Dakota and Lakota nations. This route offers travelers an immersion into the deep history, vibrant culture, and resilient spirit of the indigenous communities that have called these lands home for millennia. Spanning approximately 40 miles along SD Highway 1806, the byway starts near the town of Mobridge and meanders south, closely following the contours of the Missouri River, culminating near the North Dakota border. Let’s journey along this scenic drive and uncover its profound tales and vistas.

Best Features

  1. Mobridge and the Sitting Bull Monument: The town serves as a gateway to the byway and houses a tribute to Sitting Bull, the legendary Hunkpapa Lakota leader. Nearby, a replica of the original Fort Manuel provides insights into the region’s fur trade history.
  2. Views of the Grand River and Missouri River: As the byway hugs the riverbanks, travelers are treated to expansive views of these majestic waterways, which have historically served as lifelines for the indigenous communities.
  3. Cultural Interpretive Centers: Along the route, several centers offer deep dives into the traditions, histories, and stories of the Dakota and Lakota peoples, enriching the journey with cultural understanding.
  4. Sacred Stone Village: A significant site for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, it offers insights into ancient village life, with stone rings marking the locations of historic earth lodges.
  5. Prairie Knights Casino and Resort: While a modern addition, it stands as a testament to the economic and cultural resurgence of the indigenous communities in the region.

 

Travel Tips

  • Guided Tours: Consider engaging with local guides or joining organized tours. Their insights often provide depth to the experience, weaving personal narratives with historical events.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Remember, many sites along the byway hold profound spiritual and cultural significance. Always be respectful, adhere to posted guidelines, and avoid photographing certain areas if restricted.
  • Local Events: The region often hosts powwows, ceremonies, and festivals. If your visit coincides with these events, they offer a unique opportunity to witness the vibrant traditions of the Dakota and Lakota nations.

The Standing Rock Native American Scenic Byway is more than just a scenic route—it’s a chronicle of endurance, resilience, and cultural pride. As you traverse its stretches, you’re not merely witnessing landscapes but engaging with stories that span centuries. From the gentle ripples of the Missouri River to the sacred stones that whisper tales of ancient gatherings, every facet of this byway offers a profound connection to the indigenous heartland of South Dakota. Embark on this road trip and let the spirit of Standing Rock resonate with you, forging memories and understanding that endure beyond the horizon.

More great scenic drives in South Dakota:

Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Tennessee Byways

 Exploring Tennessee’s Scenic Byways: A Journey Through Natural Beauty and History

Tennessee, often hailed as the “Volunteer State,” is a treasure trove of natural wonders, rich history, and diverse landscapes. One of the best ways to explore the state’s captivating beauty and heritage is by embarking on a journey along its scenic byways. These carefully curated routes showcase Tennessee’s unique charm, from its rolling hills and winding rivers to its historic sites and cultural gems.

Tennessee’s scenic drives crisscross the state, offering a diverse range of experiences for travelers. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or an art connoisseur, there’s a byway for you to discover.

Tennessee has nine scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Cherohala Skyway – TN

The Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee is a breathtaking scenic byway that traverses the Cherokee National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest, offering travelers a stunning journey through the Appalachian Mountains. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this remarkable roadway:

  1. Panoramic Mountain Views: The Cherohala Skyway is renowned for its sweeping, unobstructed views of the Appalachian Mountains. As you ascend through the mountains, you’ll encounter numerous overlooks and pull-off areas that provide awe-inspiring vistas of rolling hills, pristine forests, and distant peaks. These panoramic views are especially stunning during the fall when the foliage transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold.
  2. Scenic Byway for All Seasons: While fall is a particularly popular time to visit for the vibrant fall foliage, the Cherohala Skyway is a year-round attraction. In the spring, wildflowers carpet the hillsides, and summer offers cool, high-altitude respite from the heat. Winter brings its own charm with the possibility of snow, creating a winter wonderland scene.
  3. Abundant Outdoor Activities: The byway provides access to a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. Hiking trails, such as the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and the Santeetlah Creek Trail, allow visitors to explore the lush forests and diverse ecosystems of the region. The Tellico River offers fishing and water-based activities, and the Cherohala Skyway is popular among motorcyclists and cyclists.
  4. Cultural Heritage: Along the route, you’ll find interpretive signs and historical markers that share the cultural and historical significance of the area. The Cherohala Skyway passes through the homeland of the Cherokee Nation, and the name “Cherohala” reflects this cultural heritage, combining “Cherokee” and “Nantahala.”
  5. Remote Wilderness: As you journey along the byway, you’ll notice the sense of remoteness and wilderness that surrounds you. The Cherohala Skyway passes through pristine, protected forests with limited commercial development, allowing you to experience the natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains in its purest form.

In addition to these features, the Cherohala Skyway offers several pull-off areas with picnic tables, restroom facilities, and interpretive information to enhance your visit. It’s a roadway that invites you to slow down, take in the breathtaking scenery, and appreciate the serenity of the mountains. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply someone seeking a tranquil escape into the heart of the Appalachian wilderness, the Cherohala Skyway in Tennessee promises an unforgettable journey through some of the most pristine and picturesque landscapes in the southeastern United States.

Cumberland Historic Byway

The Cumberland Historic Byway in Tennessee is a journey through history and natural beauty, offering travelers a glimpse into the region’s heritage and picturesque landscapes. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Historic Towns and Sites: The Cumberland Historic Byway passes through several charming towns and historical sites, each with its own unique character and significance. Crossville, one of the largest towns along the route, is known for its cultural attractions, including the Cumberland County Playhouse. Additionally, you can explore the Homesteads Tower Museum and the historic town of Rugby, a preserved Victorian village.
  2. Cultural Heritage: The byway is steeped in cultural heritage, reflecting the history of the Cumberland Plateau. Learn about the New Deal-era Cumberland Homesteads and the role they played in the region’s development. The nearby Cumberland Mountain State Park offers opportunities to explore the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) legacy, with rustic cabins and recreational facilities constructed during the Great Depression.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do along the byway. Cumberland Mountain State Park is a hub for activities like hiking, picnicking, and swimming in Byrd Lake. The park’s hiking trails offer varying levels of difficulty and opportunities to connect with the natural beauty of the Cumberland Plateau.
  4. Scenic Beauty: As you travel the byway, you’ll be treated to picturesque views of rolling hills, forests, and pastoral landscapes. The route is particularly stunning during the fall when the foliage transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Several pull-off areas and overlooks provide excellent opportunities for taking in the scenic vistas.
  5. Arts and Crafts: The byway region is known for its thriving arts and crafts scene. Explore local galleries and studios showcasing the work of talented artisans. This is a chance to discover unique handcrafted items, from pottery and woodwork to paintings and textiles.

The Cumberland Historic Byway also offers a relaxing drive through the countryside, with opportunities to spot wildlife, including deer and various bird species. It’s a route that allows you to immerse yourself in the tranquility of rural Tennessee while exploring its rich history and culture. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply a peaceful drive through scenic landscapes, the Cumberland Historic Byway provides a well-rounded experience that celebrates the heritage and natural beauty of the Cumberland Plateau.

East Tennessee Crossing

The East Tennessee Crossing Byway in Tennessee is a journey through history, culture, and stunning landscapes. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Historical Significance: The East Tennessee Crossing Byway is rich in historical significance, particularly related to the American Civil War. Follow in the footsteps of soldiers and explore historic sites like the Battle of Blountville Civil War Park, the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, and the Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site. These locations offer insights into the region’s role in the conflict and its post-war history.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The byway meanders through picturesque landscapes, including rolling hills, lush forests, and fertile valleys. Along the route, you’ll encounter numerous scenic overlooks and pull-off areas that provide panoramic views of the Appalachian Mountains and the Holston River. The byway’s beauty is particularly enchanting during the fall when the foliage bursts into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: Outdoor enthusiasts will find a variety of recreational opportunities along the byway. The Nolichucky River offers opportunities for white-water rafting and kayaking, while Cherokee National Forest and Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park provide hiking trails, camping, and wildlife viewing. Additionally, the byway is part of the Tennessee Birding Trail, making it a great spot for birdwatching.
  4. Cultural Attractions: Explore the region’s rich cultural heritage by visiting museums, heritage centers, and historical sites. The Museum of Scott County and the Heritage Museum of Carter County offer a deeper understanding of the area’s history and culture. Immerse yourself in the traditions and stories of East Tennessee.
  5. Quaint Towns and Communities: The East Tennessee Crossing Byway passes through a series of charming towns and communities, each with its unique character and attractions. Towns like Elizabethton, Jonesborough, and Blountville boast well-preserved historic districts, boutique shops, and local eateries. Take a leisurely stroll through these towns to experience their small-town charm.

Moreover, the byway offers numerous opportunities to connect with local artisans, explore craft shops, and discover traditional Appalachian crafts and artistry. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a scenic drive through Tennessee’s Appalachian region, the East Tennessee Crossing Byway provides a well-rounded and enriching journey that celebrates the heritage and natural beauty of the area.

Great River Road – TN

The Great River Road in Tennessee offers travelers a captivating journey along the mighty Mississippi River. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this iconic scenic byway:

  1. River Views and Overlooks: The Great River Road provides stunning panoramic views of the Mississippi River. The route offers numerous overlooks and pull-off areas where you can take in the majestic river and its ever-changing waters. These vantage points are excellent for photography, birdwatching, and peaceful contemplation.
  2. Historic River Towns: As you follow the byway, you’ll encounter charming historic river towns like Memphis and Tiptonville. Each town has its unique character and attractions. Explore Memphis’s vibrant music scene, visit Graceland, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta.
  3. Civil War History: Tennessee played a significant role in the American Civil War, and the Great River Road provides opportunities to explore this history. Visit Civil War battlefields, museums, and historical sites like Fort Pillow State Historic Park, which preserves the history of a pivotal Civil War battle.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: The Mississippi River and its surrounding areas offer ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Fishing, boating, and water-based activities are popular along the riverbanks. Reelfoot Lake State Park, known for its cypress trees and abundant wildlife, offers opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, and picnicking.
  5. Scenic Byway for All Seasons: The Great River Road is a year-round destination. In the spring, enjoy the vibrant blossoms of dogwood trees and other native flora. Summer brings warm weather for water activities and festivals. Autumn transforms the landscape with colorful foliage, and winter offers a serene, quieter experience.

Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, or simply a scenic drive along the Mississippi River, the Great River Road in Tennessee offers a diverse and enriching journey through this iconic American landscape.

Natchez Trace Parkway – TN

The Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee offers travelers a journey through history, natural beauty, and cultural heritage. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this iconic scenic byway:

  1. Historical Significance: The Natchez Trace is an ancient travel corridor that has been used by Native Americans, European explorers, and traders for centuries. Today, you can explore the historical remnants of this route, including the famous double-arched bridge, sunken sections of the Old Trace, and various historic markers that provide insight into the area’s rich history.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The parkway is renowned for its serene and unspoiled natural beauty. The road meanders through lush forests, rolling hills, and picturesque landscapes. The Natchez Trace is especially enchanting during the fall when the foliage transforms into vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. Numerous overlooks and pull-off areas provide opportunities for taking in the scenic vistas.
  3. Outdoor Activities: Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Hiking and biking trails, like the Old Trace Trail and the Garrison Creek Loop Trail, allow you to explore the parkway’s natural surroundings. Birdwatching is a popular activity, with the parkway serving as a migratory bird route.
  4. Historical Sites and Interpretive Centers: The Natchez Trace Parkway features several historical sites and interpretive centers that offer a deeper understanding of the area’s heritage. Visit the Meriwether Lewis Monument, where the famous explorer is buried, and explore the nearby exhibits. The Parkway Visitor Center provides information on the parkway’s history, culture, and recreational opportunities.
  5. Cultural Heritage: The parkway is a showcase of the region’s cultural heritage. Explore Native American burial mounds, historic towns like Franklin, and the intriguing story of the “Ghost Soldiers” at Parker’s Crossroads. You’ll also encounter local artisans and craft shops that celebrate the area’s traditions.

In addition to these features, the Natchez Trace Parkway offers a peaceful and leisurely drive with a slower pace, making it an ideal route for relaxation and reflection. Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, or simply a scenic drive through Tennessee’s natural beauty, the Natchez Trace Parkway provides a well-rounded and enriching journey that celebrates the heritage and landscapes of the region.

Newfound Gap Road – TN

Newfound Gap Road in Tennessee, also known as U.S. Route 441, is a stunning mountain roadway that traverses Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s renowned for its natural beauty and unique features. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this iconic scenic route:

  1. Scenic Mountain Views: Newfound Gap Road offers some of the most breathtaking mountain views in the eastern United States. As you wind your way through the park, you’ll encounter numerous overlooks and pull-off areas that provide panoramic vistas of the surrounding peaks and valleys. Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park, is accessible via a short hike and offers a 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains.
  2. Biodiversity: Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its incredible biodiversity. The park is home to a wide range of plant and animal species, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts. While driving along Newfound Gap Road, keep an eye out for opportunities to spot wildlife such as black bears, deer, and various bird species.
  3. Hiking Trails: Newfound Gap Road provides access to some of the park’s most popular hiking trails. For a short, family-friendly hike, Laurel Falls Trail is a must-visit, leading to a picturesque waterfall. Alum Cave Trail and Rainbow Falls Trail offer longer, more challenging hikes for those seeking a deeper immersion in the park’s wilderness.
  4. Historical Significance: The road itself has historical significance as it once served as a major trade route and later played a role in the development of tourism in the region. Along the route, you’ll find historical markers and interpretive signs that provide insights into the park’s history, including the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) legacy.
  5. Visitor Centers and Facilities: Newfound Gap Road is home to several visitor centers and facilities, including Sugarlands Visitor Center and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. These centers offer valuable information about the park’s attractions, hiking trails, and safety guidelines. They also feature exhibits and educational displays that enhance your understanding of the park’s natural and cultural resources.

Additionally, Newfound Gap Road is a prime location for experiencing the changing seasons. Spring brings blooming wildflowers, summer offers lush greenery, fall transforms the landscape into a tapestry of brilliant colors, and winter blankets the mountains with snow, creating a serene and picturesque scene. Whether you’re interested in scenic drives, outdoor adventures, wildlife viewing, or simply immersing yourself in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, Newfound Gap Road in Tennessee promises a memorable and enriching experience in one of America’s most beloved national parks.

Norris Freeway

The Norris Freeway National Scenic Byway in Tennessee offers travelers a unique journey through the picturesque landscapes and rich history of the region. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Historic Norris: The Norris Freeway begins in the historic town of Norris, which was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) during the Great Depression. Explore the town’s charming streets, visit the Norris Dam State Park, and learn about the community’s role in the development of the TVA. The Lenoir Museum Cultural Complex offers further insights into the region’s history and culture.
  2. Norris Dam and Reservoir: The byway provides access to Norris Dam, a TVA project completed in the 1930s. The dam and its reservoir offer opportunities for fishing, boating, picnicking, and scenic views. Norris Dam State Park is an excellent place to enjoy outdoor recreation, with hiking trails and a beautiful setting along the Clinch River.
  3. Clinch River: The byway parallels the Clinch River, one of the most biologically diverse rivers in the United States. It’s a haven for anglers and wildlife enthusiasts. The river is home to a variety of fish species and provides habitat for numerous bird species and other wildlife. Birdwatchers will appreciate the opportunities for spotting eagles, osprey, and herons.
  4. Natural Beauty: The Norris Freeway Scenic Byway passes through rolling hills, farmland, and scenic vistas. The route is particularly captivating during the fall when the foliage turns into vibrant shades of red, orange, and gold. The byway’s slower pace and scenic pull-offs make it an ideal choice for those seeking a tranquil escape into Tennessee’s countryside.
  5. Cultural Heritage: Along the route, you’ll encounter historical markers and interpretive signs that highlight the cultural heritage and historical significance of the region. Explore the rich history of the area, from the early Native American inhabitants to the development of the TVA and its impact on the local communities.

Whether you’re interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply a peaceful drive through scenic landscapes, the Norris Freeway Scenic Byway provides a well-rounded and enriching experience that celebrates the heritage and natural beauty of the Norris area and the Clinch River Valley in Tennessee.

Sequatchie Valley Scenic Byway

The Sequatchie Valley Scenic Byway in Tennessee offers travelers a picturesque journey through one of the state’s most beautiful and geologically unique regions. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic drive:

  1. Breathtaking Valley Views: The Sequatchie Valley, often referred to as the “Valley of the Southern Appalachians,” is known for its stunning panoramic views. As you travel along the byway, you’ll encounter numerous overlooks and pull-off areas that provide sweeping vistas of the valley, its fertile farmlands, and the surrounding mountains. These viewpoints offer excellent opportunities for photography and taking in the natural beauty of the region.
  2. Rich Agricultural Heritage: The valley is characterized by its lush farmland, and the byway allows you to immerse yourself in the region’s agricultural heritage. You’ll pass through charming communities and picturesque farms, where you can find locally grown produce, artisanal products, and opportunities to connect with the area’s farming traditions.
  3. Outdoor Recreation: The Sequatchie Valley offers a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. Hiking and exploring the region’s natural beauty are popular activities. Foster Falls, part of South Cumberland State Park, is a highlight, featuring hiking trails, waterfalls, and excellent rock climbing opportunities.
  4. Geological Marvels: The Sequatchie Valley is geologically unique due to its formation along a fault line, resulting in a dramatic topographical contrast between the valley floor and the adjacent Cumberland Plateau. The region is rich in geological features, including caves and sinkholes. The byway provides access to several points of interest for those interested in the area’s geology.
  5. Peaceful Drive: The Sequatchie Valley Scenic Byway offers a leisurely and peaceful drive through the countryside. The pace is relaxed, making it an ideal route for relaxation and contemplation. The absence of heavy traffic and the opportunity to enjoy the open road add to the overall experience.

The byway is also an excellent route for birdwatching, as the valley and surrounding forests are home to a variety of bird species. Keep an eye out for opportunities to spot eagles, hawks, and other avian residents of the region. Whether you’re interested in scenic drives, outdoor adventures, agricultural experiences, or simply a tranquil escape into the beauty of Tennessee’s countryside, the Sequatchie Valley Scenic Byway offers a well-rounded and enriching journey through this captivating region.

Woodlands Trace – TN

The Woodlands Trace Byway in Tennessee offers travelers a serene and immersive journey through the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Here are five of the best features and highlights of this scenic byway:

  1. Land Between the Lakes: The Woodlands Trace Byway traverses the heart of the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area, a 170,000-acre peninsula nestled between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. This vast area is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with opportunities for hiking, biking, birdwatching, camping, fishing, and water-based activities.
  2. Scenic Beauty: The byway is renowned for its scenic beauty, with lush forests, rolling hills, and serene lakeshores. The road is especially captivating during the fall when the foliage transforms into a brilliant tapestry of autumn colors. Numerous pull-off areas and overlooks provide opportunities to take in the tranquil landscapes and photograph the scenery.
  3. Wildlife Viewing: LBL is a biodiverse region that supports a wide range of wildlife species. While driving along the byway, you may encounter deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, and various bird species. The Elk & Bison Prairie is a must-visit attraction, offering a unique opportunity to observe these majestic animals in a natural setting.
  4. Historical and Cultural Sites: The Woodlands Trace Byway is dotted with historical and cultural sites that provide insights into the region’s history. The Homeplace 1850s Working Farm and Living History Museum offers a glimpse into 19th-century farm life, while the Woodlands Nature Station showcases the area’s natural history. Additionally, the region’s Native American heritage is celebrated at the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
  5. Recreation and Outdoor Activities: The byway is a gateway to a wide range of recreational opportunities within LBL. Whether you’re interested in boating, kayaking, fishing, horseback riding, or simply enjoying a picnic by the lakeshores, there are ample opportunities for outdoor adventures. The byway connects to a network of trails and scenic areas, making it easy to explore the recreational offerings of LBL.

Moreover, the Woodlands Trace Byway provides a tranquil and leisurely drive through the peaceful countryside. The road is an excellent choice for those seeking relaxation and a connection with nature. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, wildlife encounters, cultural experiences, or simply a scenic drive through the serene landscapes of the Land Between the Lakes, the Woodlands Trace Byway promises a well-rounded and enriching journey through this unique and protected natural area in Tennessee.

More great scenic drives in Tennessee:

Before embarking on your journey, it’s a good idea to check local resources and visitor centers for information on road conditions, accommodations, and attractions. Consider the season, as each byway offers unique experiences throughout the year, from spring wildflowers to fall foliage.

Tennessee’s scenic byways are not just roads; they are immersive experiences that invite you to connect with the state’s natural beauty, history, and culture. So, gear up, roll down the windows, and get ready to explore the Volunteer State’s scenic wonders along its picturesque byways.

Tennessee’s Autumn Splendor: A Celebration of Fall Colors

As summer’s warmth gives way to the crispness of autumn, Tennessee transforms into a canvas of breathtaking colors. From the rolling hills of the Cumberland Plateau to the majestic peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Volunteer State offers a stunning display of fall foliage that draws visitors from near and far. Let’s embark on a journey to explore the magic of fall colors in Tennessee.

A Palette of Reds, Oranges, and Golds

Tennessee’s fall foliage typically reaches its peak in October and early November, varying by region and elevation. During this time, the state’s diverse landscape comes alive with a brilliant spectrum of colors. The deciduous trees, including oaks, maples, and hickories, shed their summer greens in favor of vibrant reds, oranges, and golds.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Tapestry of Color

One of the most iconic destinations for experiencing Tennessee’s fall foliage is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts over 19,000 documented species of living organisms, making it one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. In the fall, this diversity is on full display as the park’s dense forests become a tapestry of fiery reds, oranges, and yellows.

The Clingmans Dome Observation Tower, accessible via the Clingmans Dome Road, offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding mountains, which are blanketed in colorful foliage. The Alum Cave Trail, Chimney Tops Trail, and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail are just a few of the park’s scenic routes that provide intimate encounters with the fall colors.

Cumberland Plateau: Rolling Hills and Waterfalls

The Cumberland Plateau region, known for its rolling hills and lush forests, offers a unique fall foliage experience. Fall colors here are a mix of warm reds, deep oranges, and vibrant yellows. The Fall Creek Falls State Park, with its stunning waterfall and miles of hiking trails, is an excellent place to immerse yourself in the autumn splendor.

Natchez Trace Parkway: A Tranquil Journey

For those seeking a leisurely drive through fall colors, the Natchez Trace Parkway offers a serene and picturesque route. This historic parkway, known for its beauty and tranquility, is lined with hardwood trees that burst into shades of red, orange, and gold in the fall. Pull-offs and overlooks along the parkway provide ample opportunities for taking in the scenery and capturing memorable photographs.

 East Tennessee: Cherohala Skyway and More

The Cherohala Skyway, winding through the mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, is a must-visit for fall enthusiasts. The elevation change along the route leads to a gradual progression of fall colors, providing an extended viewing season.

Additionally, the East Tennessee region features charming towns and communities where you can experience the vibrant local culture while savoring the flavors of fall, such as freshly pressed apple cider and pumpkin-spiced treats.

 

Tips for a Memorable Fall Foliage Trip

  • Plan your visit during the peak of fall colors in your chosen region, typically in October.
  • Check local fall foliage reports and updates to stay informed about the changing colors.
  • Consider taking a hike or scenic drive to fully immerse yourself in the fall beauty.
  • Capture the moment with photographs, but don’t forget to take time to simply enjoy the scenery.
  • Combine your fall foliage adventure with local festivals and events to experience the culture and traditions of Tennessee.

Tennessee’s fall colors are a testament to the beauty of nature’s changing seasons. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a photographer, or someone seeking a tranquil escape, the state’s autumn splendor offers a remarkable and rejuvenating experience. So, grab your camera, lace up your hiking boots, and savor the brilliance of Tennessee’s fall foliage this year.  Read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Texas Byways

There are no designated scenic byways in Texas yet – until then, read more at www.travelbyways.com.

Utah Byways

Desert Serenades and Alpine Echoes: Utah’s Scenic Byways Unveiled

Amid the rugged beauty of the American Southwest, Utah stands as a sentinel of nature’s diverse artistry. From the ethereal red rock landscapes of its national parks to the snow-capped peaks of the Wasatch Range, the state’s topography is a visual feast. Intertwined within these vast expanses is a network of scenic drives, each offering a unique voyage through Utah’s geological wonders, rich history, and cultural tapestry. Join us as we embark on a journey through the Beehive State’s most picturesque routes, revealing tales written in stone, sand, and sky.

Utah has nine scenic drives that are part of the America’s Byways collection:

Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway

In the vast, varied landscape of Utah, where deserts meld with mountains and history intertwines with the present, lies a route that transports travelers back to a time when giants roamed the earth. The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway, with its promise of paleontological wonders and natural beauty, beckons adventurers to delve deep into an era where dinosaurs ruled. Stretching over 500 miles, the Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway encompasses portions of eastern Utah and western Colorado. The loop primarily includes U.S. Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 191, leading explorers through a landscape that has cradled remnants of the prehistoric world for millions of years. Let’s traverse this fascinating scenic drive and unearth the myriad treasures it has to offer.

Best Features

  1. Dinosaur National Monument: Perhaps the crown jewel of the highway, this site offers a magnificent window into the Late Jurassic period. The Quarry Exhibit Hall allows visitors to view over 1,500 dinosaur fossils still embedded in the rock, making it an unparalleled paleontological site.
  2. Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry: Located south of Price, Utah, this quarry is renowned for its dense concentration of Jurassic-era fossils. The mysteries surrounding the unusually large number of carnivorous dinosaur remains here continue to intrigue scientists.
  3. Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum: Situated in Vernal, this museum showcases prehistoric artifacts, dinosaur skeletons, and interactive exhibits, providing a comprehensive overview of the region’s ancient history.
  4. Moab’s Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail: A self-guided trail where visitors can see real dinosaur bones and tracks still embedded in the rocks, providing a tangible connection to the creatures of the past.
  5. Natural Wonders: Beyond its prehistoric allure, the highway winds through landscapes of stark beauty—from the red rock formations of Arches National Park to the deep canyons of the Colorado River.
  6. Native American History: The highway also intersects with regions rich in Native American history. Petroglyphs and pictographs, such as those at Nine Mile Canyon, provide insights into ancient cultures and their relationship with the land.

The Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway is a voyage not just across miles, but across eons. As you navigate its stretches, the whispers of an ancient world echo in the rustling winds, the fossil-laden rocks, and the shadows of the canyons. Whether you’re a budding paleontologist, a history enthusiast, or a lover of nature’s vast canvases, this byway offers a journey that awakens wonder and ignites curiosity. Embark on this road trip and let the epochs of the past unfold before you in a dance of stone, bone, and memory.

Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway

The state of Utah, renowned for its otherworldly landscapes and geologic wonders, holds many roads that transport travelers through epochs and vistas. Among these, the Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway stands out, not just for its dramatic landscapes, but also for the diverse experiences it offers. This scenic drive, which weaves through mountains, plateaus, and the iconic Flaming Gorge, invites visitors to embark on a journey that captures the very essence of Utah’s wild heart. The byway, stretching approximately 80 miles, primarily follows US Highway 191, beginning in the city of Vernal and culminating in the high alpine environments of the Uinta Mountains. Let’s delve into the marvels of this scenic byway.

Best Features

  1. Flaming Gorge Reservoir and National Recreation Area: Named for the flaming red cliffs that surround this vast body of water, the reservoir is a haven for water-based recreation, from boating and fishing to paddleboarding.
  2. Sheep Creek Geological Loop: This side route, branching from the main byway, showcases an array of unique geological formations and offers a glimpse into the region’s deep geologic history.
  3. Red Canyon Overlook: Providing a panoramic view of the Flaming Gorge, the overlook is perched 1,700 feet above the reservoir, offering vistas that can leave one breathless, especially during sunrise and sunset.
  4. Uinta Mountains: These east-west-oriented mountains, unique in North America, are dotted with alpine lakes, dense forests, and diverse wildlife, making them a favorite for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
  5. Dinosaur Fossil Discoveries: The region around Vernal is renowned for its paleontological finds. While the Dinosaur National Monument is a significant attraction nearby, there are various other smaller sites and museums along the byway where one can delve into prehistoric times.
  6. Green River: Winding its way through the gorge, this river, with its emerald waters, is popular for fishing and rafting and offers numerous spots for peaceful contemplation.

The Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway is a mosaic of nature’s marvels, each segment offering a fresh perspective of Utah’s diverse landscapes. From the crimson embrace of the Flaming Gorge’s cliffs to the serene heights of the Uinta Mountains, this route promises a journey of continuous wonder. Whether you’re casting a line into the clear waters of the reservoir, hiking amid alpine meadows, or simply soaking in the vastness from an overlook, this scenic drive ensures memories that resonate with the timeless beauty of Utah’s wilderness. Embark on this road trip and let the myriad hues of the Flaming Gorge-Uintas byway paint your journey in colors of awe and inspiration.

Logan Canyon Scenic Byway

Amidst Utah’s diverse landscapes, where deserts meld seamlessly with forests and valleys transition to towering peaks, the Logan Canyon Scenic Byway carves a path that captivates with every twist and turn. This scenic drive, nestled in the heart of the Bear River Mountains, offers an alpine odyssey that showcases the pristine beauty of northern Utah. Beginning in the historic town of Logan and culminating at the serene Bear Lake, the Logan Canyon Scenic Byway, also known as US Highway 89, stretches approximately 41 miles. As it snakes its way through the canyon, it unfolds a tapestry of limestone cliffs, dense forests, and sparkling rivers. Let’s journey along this scenic drive and uncover the enchantments it holds in its embrace.

Best Features

  1. Bear Lake Overlook: As you emerge from the canyon, the sapphire expanse of Bear Lake comes into view. Often dubbed the “Caribbean of the Rockies” due to its intense blue color, this lake is perfect for water activities or simply enjoying the panoramic views.
  2. Wind Cave: A moderate hike off the byway leads to this triple arch limestone cave, offering an intriguing peek into the region’s geological wonders.
  3. Tony Grove Lake: Nestled in a glacial bowl, this alpine lake, surrounded by wildflower meadows and towering peaks, is a haven for nature lovers and hikers.
  4. Logan River: Tracing the byway’s path, the river offers opportunities for fishing, especially with its abundance of trout. The sound of its cascading waters also adds a serene soundtrack to the drive.
  5. Crimson Trail: This hiking path offers views of the China Wall, a unique rock formation, and provides breathtaking vistas of the canyon below.
  6. Wildlife Watching: Logan Canyon is home to a myriad of wildlife, including moose, deer, and a variety of bird species. Dawn and dusk are particularly good times for wildlife spotting.

The Logan Canyon Scenic Byway is more than just a road; it’s an alpine adventure, a journey that transcends the ordinary and taps into the very soul of northern Utah’s wilderness. As you navigate its stretches, from the verdant depths of the canyon to the azure brilliance of Bear Lake, you’re embraced by nature’s unfiltered beauty. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of a mountain hike, the serenity of an alpine lake, or the simple joy of a scenic drive, the Logan Canyon beckons with promises of wonder and rejuvenation. Embark on this road trip and let the magic of Logan Canyon etch indelible memories of beauty and discovery.

Nebo Loop Scenic Byway

In the grand tapest