- Trip Ideas
- Spring Vacations
Views out the car window look brightest in spring, when the landscape bursts with wildflowers. See for yourself on America’s best spring drives.
Hana Highway, Hawaii
America's Best Spring Drives
Hana Highway, Hawaii
The Route: 52 miles.
Tropical flowers bloom each spring along the Road to Hana, which paves its way through bamboo fields, rainforests, and waterfalls like 80-foot Wailua Falls, which appeared in the credits of TV show “Fantasy Island.” Start in Kahului, and head down Maui’s northeastern coast. Just don’t be fooled by the 52-mile count—this is an intense drive that can take up to four hours as you navigate over 600 hairpin turns and more than 50 one-lane bridges. The payoff comes from the spectacular views and bragging rights.
Where to Stop: Fuel up with pancakes soaked in coconut syrup at Anthony’s Coffee Co. in the funky small town of Paia. Just beyond mile marker 32 awaits Waianapanapa State Park, with black-sand beaches and trails leading to sea caves and lava cliffs.
Remember when Dorothy dozes off among scarlet poppies in The Wizard of Oz? Well, those vivid flowers weren’t just a figment of Hollywood magic. Similar poppies set California’s Antelope Valley ablaze in spring, luring road-trippers from L.A. and beyond.
The arrival of spring inspires us to break out from winter’s hibernation and embrace the fresh outdoors. A road trip naturally satisfies that spontaneous travel urge, and we’ve mapped America’s best spring drives—routes that bring you up-close to nature’s finest floral displays, from a California poppy tour to Texas Hill Country’s bluebonnets.
Of course, flowers in bloom aren’t the only draw for these American road trips, many of which meander by woodlands, lakes, small quaint towns, even historic mansions and museums. Consider Colorado’s 232-mile San Juan Skyway, which takes visitors up melting snowcapped mountains, past natural hot springs, and through restored ghost towns. It’s an officially designated American Byway, one of nine we’ve featured, among them, Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway in South Carolina.
Road trips are an American pastime, and you don’t need to travel far to enjoy some of spring’s loveliest drives—these routes start at 25 miles—and free smartphone apps like GasBuddy can point you to the cheapest nearby fuel options. Some of T+L’s other favorite gas-saving tips include: pack light (less weight in your vehicle means better gas mileage); charge it (many credit cards give cash back on gas purchases); and drive steady (conserve fuel by going easy on the pedals).
No matter what route you travel and no matter how many detours you take, spring into action this season by road-tripping through America’s most awe-inspiring floral landscapes.