Because tourists rarely venture outside of their comfort zones, these lesser-known experiences offer unprecedented relaxation and tranquility. You won’t find these routes on most tourist maps, and that’s why they make great social havens. This list has been curated with weather and foliage in mind to give you the best driving experiences. Natchez Trace
Believe it or not, bison have migrated from Mississippi to Tennessee before. The tribes that followed them marked the trees with notches along the 444 miles between Nashville and Natchez, and this ancient trail was the backbone connecting the Cumberland, Mississippi, and Tennessee rivers. By following a natural ridge line, you will experience incredible natural beauty while avoiding urban sprawl. Right after the Revolutionary War, the trace was the main link between the East Coast and the Louisiana Purchase. Each stop along the way offers a history and nature that is overlooked by most travelers, so slow down and fully enjoy it.
California Highway 120
Going from the bay area to the Grand Bassin, you will discover unparalleled beauty along the way. Heading west from San Francisco, you’ll traverse all climates and topographies before reaching Yosemite National Park. As you cross the Central Valley, you will pass through small farming towns before climbing through temperate grasslands. Chinese Camp is a perfect stopping point, with temperate grasslands at the foot of the Sierra Nevada. Yosemite is a world unto itself, as you pass Half Dome on your way up the Tioga Pass. From there you’ll descend thousands of feet to reach Mono Lake, the backdrop to Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter. Blue Ridge Parkway
This scenic drive skirts the tallest mountains in the eastern United States. It stretches 469 miles between Asheville, NC and Waynesboro, Virginia. What makes it exceptional are the few access points. Although it crosses several major interstate highways, there is almost no connection with the outside world. For this reason, you’ll need a full tank, snacks, and music that can be played without streaming. Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet (2,037 meters), and the Grandfather Mountain Bridge will take your breath away.
Head west on Interstate 70 from Denver and you’ll come across a granite wall. Going up the Front Range you are on your way to the Continental Divide. You’ll be heading up to an elevation of 10,666 feet (3,240 meters), so you’ll need a forced induction into the thin air of Vail Pass. Crossing the attic of North America, the Continental Divide is traversed inside the engineering marvel of the Eisenhower Tunnel. Vail itself is packed with tourists, but the real treat is right outside. I70 transforms into a separate, elevated 4-lane highway that runs along the mighty Colorado River to the quaint town of Glenwood Springs. Climb to Doc Holliday’s grave to experience the true splendor of the American West. Orlando to Washington DC
Before I mention how miserable an East Coast trip would be, you won’t be driving. Because Amtrak is run by Congress, they don’t advertise their best service. The Auto Train is the only passenger car transporter in the United States. Load up your daily driver in Orlando or Washington and you’ll avoid a horrific 855 mile drive. Leave your bags in your car and sleep a few hours in their new sleeping cars. High-speed Wi-Fi, great food, and views of the small town of the United States will almost make you forget this is a government bustle. We’ll have the Top 5 Summer Readers as soon as it warms up, so stick with us for all your automotive ideas!