14 Fantastic Scenic Drives in the U.S.

Scenic drives are a little different. We’re talking driving for the sake of driving, journeys that don’t have a destination, but instead offer beautiful views and new perspectives, giving passengers a chance to meditate as the surroundings slip by.

Chuckanut Drive, Washington

Washington Filmworks wants to continue to share the best filming locations that our state has to offer. This month, we are highlighting one of the 29 stunning Washington State Scenic Byways.

The National Scenic Byways Program maintains a system of nationally designated routes selected from state programs. Washington State contains two All American Roads and five National Scenic Byways, which are known collectively as America’s Byways. In addition, the Washington State Legislature has set aside 22 State Scenic Byways to preserve and enhance the unique scenic.

Chuckanut Drive, Washington State Route 11, is slightly over 21 miles long. The north end of the byway (mileposts 21 to 9) curves along the Chuckanut Mountains, and the south end of the byway (mileposts 8 to 0) runs through the Skagit County Valley farmlands located on the delta of the Skagit River.

Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Oregon

US 30, US 26, Oregon 6, and Oregon 18 provide access to the northern portion of the scenic Byway from the Portland metropolitan area and Portland International Airport. US 30 leads to Astoria and the Fort Clatsop National Memorial (Lewis and Clark), US 26 to Seaside, Oregon 6 to Tillamook, and Oregon 18 to Lincoln City.

From the center of the state along I-5 and the cities of Salem, Albany, and Eugene, Oregon 22, 20, 34, and 126 provide access respectively to Lincoln City, Newport, Waldport, and Florence and the National Scenic Dunes Recreational Area along the central portion of the scenic Byway. The Eugene International Airport is near Oregon 126.

Farther south, Oregon 38 runs from I-5 to Reedsport, and Oregon 42 connects Roseburg to Bandon by the sea. From Grants Pass along I-5, the most southern city of the scenic Byway can be accessed by following US 199 toward Crescent City, California, then north 17 miles to the Oregon border, and another 5 miles north to Brookings.

Other regional Airports with public service are located in Medford,Oregon and Crescent City, California. Medford is approximately 2 hours from the southern Oregon Coast and Crescent City is 21 miles south of the Oregon Border.

Hurricane Ridge, Washington

Hurricane Ridge offers a variety of hiking trails, from ridgetop traverses to steep paths that descend to subalpine lakes and valleys. Easy trails include the half-mile round-trip Big Meadow trail, which is paved and crosses open meadows with views of the Olympics.

The mile-long roundtrip Cirque Rim is another paved trail and offers views of Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. More challenging trails include the Klahhane Ridge trail (3.8 miles each way) and the Hurricane Hill trail (1.6 miles each way), which is paved for the first quarter-mile, then climbs to a panoramic view of mountains and saltwater.

Many visitors begin at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, which offers brochures, maps, snacks and tips from rangers on what to do and see. There’s also an orientation film and exhibits. It is open daily in the summer and on weekends and holidays the rest of the year. Ranger programs are offered late June to September, with snowshoe walks in winter.

Pebble Beach, California

The coastal beauty in and around Pebble Beach is legendary. From the legendary Lone Cypress, one of the most photographed trees in North America, to the famed eighteenth green of Pebble Beach Golf Links, a trip along 17-Mile Drive will leave you spellbound. And once the storybook tour is complete, an unforgettable dining experience awaits at one of the many Pebble Beach restaurants.

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