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Take the Scenic Route: The Best Scenic Drives in The USA

There is a great deal to see in America - from mountains to oceans, this country has it all. Too often when people take road trips they only think about where they are going, and not what they are going to pass along the way.

There is still time this summer for a road trip. And when planning yours, you should take the scenic route. Sure, it might take you a bit longer to get where you are going, but if you plan ahead, then you can be sure to not rush and enjoy the beautiful drive. Besides, beauty always beats speed.

Even if you don't have a road trip planned, America is worth checking out. Maybe it's time to find an inspiring road to take a drive on one Saturday. For some options on a great scenic route close to you, consider taking the following:

"America, the beautiful is closer than you think."

Columbia River Highway
This scenic highway is worth traveling for several reasons. Not only is it a beautiful 74-mile stretch from Troutdale to Dalles, Oregon, but it is also America's first highway. According to Lonely Planet, a travel guide book publisher, this northwest winding road was finished in 1915, was part of the Oregon Trail and served as the last leg in Lewis and Clark's expedition. And if history isn't enough, it is flanked with flowing waterfalls, magnificent views and fields of wildflowers. If you are in the northwest, this is one scenic route you can't afford to miss.

Overseas Highway
If you are closer to or live in Florida, then maybe you already have taken the Overseas Highway into the Florida Keys. If you haven't, then this summer might be the time. The highway stretches for 113 miles and is comprised of roads and bridges that reach from the Florida mainland all the way to America's southernmost point, Key West. According to How Stuff Works, construction on these bridges began in 1905 and was finished in 1912. However, at that time they were intended to be railroad tracks, not highways. It was only after a hurricane in 1935 that reconstruction and repairs converted the tracks to the highway we know today.

Make the drive the destination.

Make the drive the destination

17-Mile Drive
While California's 17-Mile Drive is really just a bit less than 10 miles long, the Monterey Peninsula it wraps around is a sight you don't want to miss. However, this road is a private one, and if you intend to travel on it you need to know that there is a $9 fee included, as Travel and Leisure reported. The road travels from Pacific Grove to Carmel, and residents claim the sunsets over the Pacific are like nothing you have ever seen.

Route 66
You have probably heard the song, but have you experienced the drive? For those of you who are closer to the Midwest, the 300-mile stretch from Chicago to St. Louis is a bit of history that is a lot of fun. While the road is largely broken up into sections, especially in Illinois, it is still worth traveling the historic route, if only for the pie shops and drive-ins along the way. Roll the windows down, turn the radio up and hit America's favorite highway.

These are just a handful of the many scenic routes that America has to offer. No matter where you are located, there is a little drive out there just waiting to be explored. Remember, the journey can sometimes be the best part, and this is especially true when taking the scenic route.