5 Most Scenic Roads In America

Destinations 2016, Most Beautiful, Roadtrip, Top 5 -

5 Most Scenic Roads In America

 1. Hana Highway, Maui

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The T-shirts all say: I survived the road to Hana. It can take more than two and a half hours to travel the 52 miles from Kahului to Hana, as you snake past steep sea-cliffs lush with blooming mango trees, buy banana bread from roadside stalls, and pull over for Jurassic vistas. In tiny Hana, a town on eastern Maui, a cinder cone shields the red sand beach where nudists and endangered monk seals bake idly in the sun.

Stop: Drive past Hana to where the road ends (or becomes unpassable, according to most rental car contracts) to visit the Seven Sacred Pools, a gently cascading, seven-tiered gulch at Haleakala National Park. (nps.gov/hale; free.)

2. Highway 101, Oregon

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The state owns the entire coast of Oregon and has preserved unobstructed natural vistas along 300 or so miles of beaches off Highway 101. Between Port Orford and Brookings, fierce sea cliffs stand in contrast to the pastoral farmland and roaming cattle of Oregon’s small towns.

Stop: Pull over when you spot the roadside Tyrannosaurus rex at the Prehistoric Gardens, where 23 life-size dinosaur replicas are staged against the rainforest landscape.

3. Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington

 

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Both the scenic route and the peninsula’s only major route, Highway 101 loops around the largest road-free area in the continental U.S. Starting in Seattle, head northwest to climb into the Hoh River rainforest, dominated by ancient Sitka spruce and western hemlock. You can spy the San Juan Islands from the top of Hurricane Ridge, and at low tide, the pools on Olympic beaches are rife with starfish, sand dollars, and crabs.

4. Park Loop Road, Maine

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The loop through Acadia National Park can be completed in an hour—when summer tourists aren’t clogging the 27-mile, two-lane artery. But whatever the season, you’ll want to give yourself time to appreciate the high ridgelines, sheer rock precipices, and rugged coast of the North Atlantic along the way. An ocean-side cavern dubbed Thunder Hole explodes with a plume of foamy surf as waves beat the shore.

5. Going to the Sun Road, Montana

 
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One of America’s most inspiring public-works projects winds through Glacier National Park’s snow-covered peaks, sub-alpine meadows, and lakes across the Continental Divide on the spine of the Rockies. Snowdrifts threaten to top 100 feet in winter, so the road is open only from May to October.

Originally Written by Travel & Leisure

Jesse Delgrosse 

Follow Jesse @jdelgrosse@gringosontherun and @soulsticeswim