Whether you drive a fun sports car or a relaxing family vehicle, scenic road trips can make long drives worth the hours and mileage, and some of them can even be a destination. From relaxing ocean-side views to beautiful mountainous roads — perfect for the upcoming fall foliage, might I add, these are scenic drives in the southeast United States that are worth making a road trip on at least once in your lifetime.
The Tail of the Dragon — US 192
The Tail of the Dragon is the road of every eastern American’s dreams, and as a native Floridian, I am more than happy to drive the 9 hours into the Carolina mountains to experience the 11-mile stretch. The route, US 192, also known as Deal’s Gap or the Tail of the Dragon, is an 11 mile-long stretch of road between Tennessee and North Carolina that offers an exhilarating 318 curves in its short distance. That’s not all — through the trees, you can spot beautiful scenery of the mountains and see more than a few supercar rallies and motorcycle groups make their way skillfully through the turns. Surrounding roads like the Devil’s Whip and Cherohala Skyway offer just as stunning views for drivers who are looking for a little more peaceful of a ride.
The Florida Key’s seven-mile bridge
The Florida Keys are connected by short bridges that allow visitors and locals to hop between islands, but the main stretch of road passes the Moser Channel in a bridge that stretches for a total of seven miles. Its smooth, straight roadways are perfect for any vehicle or level of driving experience, as heavy traffic and a low-speed limit mean you’ll be spending a majority of the time admiring the beautiful views. Crystal clear, bright blue water stretches out from either side of the bridge, with nothing but tropical Florida islands behind you and in front of you as you make your way toward the famous Key West.
The drive through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
Don’t worry, we aren’t skipping out on the states in between — Georgia also has stunning mountains with areas that are picturesque, especially in the fall. If you want those beautiful watercolors of orange, red, and yellow on your drive, the route through the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest is perfect for any driver and any car. Specifically, Route 197 along Lake Burton will make you feel like you’re driving through a movie scene, with enough turns and twists in an 8-mile stretch to be enjoyable for sports car drivers but enough straightaway and calm roads to be fun for a family trip. This is the happy medium between the slow straightaway of the Key’s seven-mile bridge and the rollercoaster that is the Tail of the Dragon.
These road trip routes are so beautiful that they are often part of destinations, with many car enthusiasts going out of their way to visit the Tail of the Dragon. Calmer roads, like the seven-mile bridge that runs through the Florida Keys, are just an added bonus to an already beautiful destination, but either way, these routes are worth driving at least once in your lifetime.