America’s Best Road Trips

Begin Slideshow
David Muench / Corbis

The country's best ribbons of highway are more than just means to the end. Highways threading the Florida Keys, California valleys, and Hawaiian isles are destinations in and of themselves.

Antelope Valley, California

1 of 28

From L.A., drive north to the town of Lancaster via Route 14, better known as the Antelope Valley Freeway. Golden poppies bloom throughout the Mojave Desert region in March, but the 1,760-acre Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve claims the finest concentration of California’s state flower—not to mention glorious showings of fiddlenecks, cream cups, gold fields, and tidy tips starting in late March.

Where to Stop: Drive the seven-mile Antelope Loop Trail within the Poppy Reserve and continue on to Antelope Butte Vista Point, a high lookout (the valley reaches an elevation of nearly 300 feet) that offers the most sweeping desert panoramas.

America’s Best Road Trips

Antelope Valley, California

From L.A., drive north to the town of Lancaster via Route 14, better known as the Antelope Valley Freeway. Golden poppies bloom throughout the Mojave Desert region in March, but the 1,760-acre Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve claims the finest concentration of California’s state flower—not to mention glorious showings of fiddlenecks, cream cups, gold fields, and tidy tips starting in late March.

Where to Stop: Drive the seven-mile Antelope Loop Trail within the Poppy Reserve and continue on to Antelope Butte Vista Point, a high lookout (the valley reaches an elevation of nearly 300 feet) that offers the most sweeping desert panoramas.

David Muench / Corbis

America’s Best Road Trips

Heading west from New Orleans, you enter bayou country, where alligators and herons splash in the swamps and Spanish moss hangs heavy overhead. Sunlight filters through, and for a glorious moment, you feel like the only driver on this scenic road.

While Louisiana’s Highway 31 is finest in spring and fall, when the weather is pleasantly cool, it’s summer that heralds peak road-trip season for much of the U.S. And we’ve compiled the best American routes just in time for you to plot your vacation.

These drives feature spectacular landscapes, roller-coaster-worthy dips and bends, and wildlife spotting (look out for bald eagles and nesting peregrine falcons along Maine’s Acadia All-American Road). For each trip, we’ve included a can’t-miss stop along the route, perfect for stretching your legs while absorbing splendor—and quirks—of your surroundings.

Take in the blazing golden poppies blooming throughout the Mojave Desert in California’s Antelope Valley as you cruise toward a lookout that offers sweeping panoramic views. Climb through rainforests and apple orchards along the Cascade Loop in Washington, stopping for the beer gardens and kitschy trinkets of the Bavarian Alps–inspired hamlet of Leavenworth. Or check out the lighthouses and underwater coral-reef parks on U.S. 1 in the Florida Keys, then brake to frolic with dolphins before crossing one of the longest bridges in the world.

Rebecca Hiscott

Watch the video:

 

Explore More