The National Scenic Byways Program has announced 34 new National Scenic Byways and 15 All-American Roads in the US this year, bringing the total to 184 byways in 48 states. The new designees traverse 28 states and are the first additions to the program since 2009.
The National Scenic Byways Program, part of the Federal Highway Administration, seeks to “create a distinctive collection of American roads, their stories and treasured places.” Among the factors considered in designations are a roadway’s intrinsic qualities – archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic – national or regional significance; overall visitor’s experience; and long-term sustainability.
Read on for a selection of new and all-time favourite scenic byways, along with some of our most loved iconic drives across the destinations we represent as inspiration for an authentic American roadtrip later this year or in 2022.
Discover New England
With its new designation as a National Scenic Byway by the U.S Department of Transportation, the 34-mile Old King’s Highway is now one of four in Massachusetts to achieve this status. A nostalgic, meandering, and distinctive roadway along Cape Cod’s northern side close to Cape Cod Bay, Old King’s Highway, also called Route 6A, was among three new Massachusetts designations approved in 2021, The Old King’s Highway extends through seven communities along the Cape’s north side from Bourne to the Eastham/Orleans border. It is the backbone of the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District, enacted in 1974. The district continues to be instrumental in preserving the historic character of the roadway. The Mohawk Trail and Battle Road (Concord, Lincoln, Lexington, and Arlington) scenic byways were also designated this year. The Connecticut River Byway was approved in 2009.
The Katahdin Woods & Waters Scenic Byway takes visitors through some of the most spectacular natural landscape that inland Maine has to offer. Dominating that landscape is Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain at 5,268 feet and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The Byway begins at the southern entrance of Baxter State Park and winds its way through Millinocket along Route 11 and the Penobscot River to Patten, ending at Baxter’s northern entrance at Grand Lake Matagamon. The Katahdin region is unique and features Maine’s tallest mountain, its mightiest river, and its greatest park.
Bristol’s “Revolutionary Heritage Byway” was selected in 2021 as Rhode Island’s first National Scenic Byway. The Revolutionary Heritage Byway consists of a six-mile route in Bristol, consisting of two roadways, State Route 114, also known as Hope Street and Ferry Road, and High Street. The route received a local scenic byway designation through the Rhode Island Scenic Roadways Board in August 2000. While on the Byway, travelers are taken past historic homes, waterfront sites, and the site of America’s oldest continuous Fourth of July celebration.
These amazing drives will not only dip visitors through daring mountains or uncharted coastal plains, they also offer convenient stops to hop out and explore hiking trails, state parks, and natural wonders.
One of the most iconic drives in the USA is the Blue Ridge Parkway. Often voted ‘America’s Favourite Drive’ this road spans 469 miles and the North Carolina stretch is stunning. Running north and south from Asheville there are plenty of long-range mountain views, spots for roadside picnics, breath-taking vistas and easy to difficult hiking trails.
For the more adventurous, the Tail of the Dragon is guaranteed to raise a few hairs. With its winding route and tight corners, this road has gained notoriety over the years. It is bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest with no intersecting roads or driveways to hamper your travel. It is considered “the destination” for thousands of motorcycle and sports car fans throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
On the coast, a drive along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway is a must. Explore everything from wildlife, beaches, shipwrecks and lighthouses to the very location where the Wright brothers changed history with their first flight. With the Pamlico Sound on one side, and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the views and experience are unbeatable on this 142-mile stretch of coastal road.
Break away from the highway and take a road trip down one of Louisiana’s 19 scenic byways. From historic treasures and music festivals, to country kitchens and coastal wetlands teeming with wildlife, each drive offers an authentic taste of Louisiana food, music, culture and natural beauty.
Stretching for 180 miles, the Creole Nature Trail offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the state as it meanders through the marshes and prairies of southwestern Louisiana. Sometimes called “Louisiana’s Outback,” the untamed wilderness you encounter along the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road will create lifelong memories. The recently renovated Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, complete with animated figures with information and stories, will spark the imaginations of the young and the young at heart.
Give your tastebuds a treat along the Cajun Corridor. Travel along the scenic byway that crosses Vermilion Parish on Hwy. 14 and experience the “Most Cajun place on earth!” The communities of Gueydan, Kaplan, Abbeville, Erath and Delcambre make up this rural byway. From historic sites and museums to authentic Cajun food and festivals, visitors can find plenty of Cajun culture along this byway. Time your journey right and you can sample fresh shrimp, crawfish, oysters or the spicy local sausage at the Louisiana Cajun Food Fest or Delcambre Shrimp Festival.
Tennessee has 10 nationally designated scenic routes, the fourth most in the country. Recently, five more were added to the state’s designation.
Great River Road: This West Tennessee route is rich in history and culture and follows the Mississippi River from Tiptonville to Memphis. The byway is part of the 10-state Great River Road that travels from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.
Sequatchie Valley National Scenic Byway: Known as Tennessee’s “Great Valley,” this scenic route features the Sequatchie River and is framed by the Cumberland Plateau and Walden’s Ridge.
Cumberland National Scenic Byway: This route demonstrates the history and significance of the region and connects landmarks between the Cumberland Gap and Cumberland River.
Norris Freeway: This Knoxville area route frames the town of Norris and Norris Dam State Park. The area is famed for its hiking, trout fishing and boating.
Newfound Gap Road: This East Tennessee historic route connects Gatlinburg with Cherokee, NC. At 5,046’, the route is the lowest drivable pass through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Cherohala Skyway Byway, which offers sprawling views of the Great Smoky Mountains to the northeast and the Tennessee River Valley to the west. The Cherohala Skyway runs for approximately 43 miles, and crosses through the Cherokee National Forest and offers a glimpse into the unspoiled forest environment where Cherokee tribes and early pioneers travelled and settled in the Appalachian Mountains.
As well as scenic byways and iconic drives, it’s also worth considering incredible journeys that can be taken from the sky. Maverick Helicopters offers an incredible range of both scenic and iconic helicopter tours over Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Hawaii.
Take a flight over the Las Vegas Strip’s bright lights and capture a new perspective of the Vegas Valley – without getting caught in traffic! Soar high above the world-famous landmarks such as Bellagio, Caesars Palace and the Eiffel Tower. Trips are available both day and night.
Maverick’s most popular trip, the Wind Dancer, takes guests over the iconic Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and into the Grand Canyon, where you will land inside at a remote spot to enjoy the tranquillity and surroundings.
For sheer jaw-dropping scenery, one of Maverick’s Maui or Kauai tours is perfect. Miles of pristine coastline can be viewed on an exquisite flight, with the the Haleakala Crater, the Hana Rainforest, or the lush and rugged terrain of the “Garden Isle” to choose from.
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