scenic roads

We know you spend enough time on the road as it is. But all work and no play makes John a dull boy, as they say. The next time you find yourself on a beautiful stretch of highway with nothing to do and nowhere to be (There’s a first time for everything?), treat yourself to a detour of the most beautiful kind. You deserve it!

Here are five gorgeous rides from Yahoo! Travel to whet your appetite for solitude, adventure and even some quality grub. Happy trucking!

1. Big Bend Scenic Loop, Texas 
This spectacular 250-mile route through western Texas skims the Mexico border and the path of the Rio Grande. The route, from Presidio to the Rio Grande Village, carves its way through the Big Bend Ranch State Park — a rugged desert wilderness area bigger than Rhode Island. With over 300 different bird species living in the park, it is a haven for birdwatchers. Or for those seeking a more exhilarating experience, the park is packed with outdoor activities, from rafting, horse riding, and 4×4 tours to canoeing, mountain biking, and fishing.

2. Colorado Scenic Byway
For wildlife lovers, there is no better road trip destination than through Colorado, where you are likely to catch a glimpse of bears, wolves, birds of prey, and many other forest-dwelling animals. The Colorado River Headwaters Scenic Byway runs 80 miles from State Bridge to Grand Lake, cutting directly through Rocky Mountain National Park.

3. Montana to Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
Begin your journey in Bozeman, Mont., by taking a dip in the geothermal hot springs before starting the 135-mile trip through Yellowstone National Park, across the state border into Wyoming, and down to the historic Old Faithful geyser. Breathtaking panoramic views and incredible wildlife spotting will keep you entertained the entire ride.

4. The BBQ Trail, South Carolina
Aside from taking road trips, there is another pastime that has become just as synonymous with American culture — the art of barbecue. So what better way to vacation than to combine the two activities. While Texas and Kansas are both big contenders on the “World’s Best BBQ” front, South Carolina is actually the birthplace of this fabulous food genre. The South Carolina Barbecue Map offers trippers the opportunity to customize their tour among more than 250 BBQ joints, so whether you want to journey to one or attempt to tick all of them off your list, the BBQ Trail might just be the greatest foodie challenge ever.

5. Eureka, California to Coos Bay, Oregon 
While the Pacific Coast Highway is the West Coast’s most iconic roadway, the 250-mile journey from Eureka in Northern California to Coos Bay on the central Oregon coastline is just as spectacular. Starting out in the historic Redwood Empire region of California, visitors can check out the historic old town or even venture up into the national forest to check out the towering redwoods in person. From there the journey weaves along the stunning coastline, with white-sand beaches, sand dunes, and even the dramatic forest-scapes where Jurassic Park was partly filmed.

 

Image credit: Blaine Harrington III / Alamy