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5 Of the Greatest Driving Routes In America

The United States is full of different routes to and from locations, but some are much more impressive than others. From great scenery to fun roadside or local attractions, the United States has something to please every traveler.

Five routes in particular – US Route 1, Route 66, Interstate 70, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, and The Pacific Coast Highway – offer travelers glimpses of life in different parts of the country a few miles at a time.

1. US Route 1

This 2,377 mile long road runs from Ft. Kent, Maine to Key West, Florida, and has been around since 1636- at least in part. The current road has been in use since 1926, and runs through 14 states plus Washington DC. US Route 1 is the Easternmost main highway in the country, and connects most of the major cities on the eastern seaboard including Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, Jacksonville, Boston, and Miami.

2. Route 66
The Main Street of America, Route 66, is a 2,448 mile long road that originally ran from Chicago, IL to Los Angeles, CA through six other states. Today, the original road has been decommissioned, but many portions of the original route are still drivable. When it opened in 1926, Route 66 was the most popular way to get West, and many cities and towns grew around the road's path. Today, this road serves as a historic reminder of the country's growth, and many of the original buildings have been either restored or preserved along the route.

3. Interstate 70
This east-west highway begins near Cove Fort, Utah and ends 2,713 miles away in Baltimore, Maryland. The first interstate highway project that the United States undertook in 1956, 70 runs along the same path as old Route 40.

The Eisenhower Tunnel is along this Interstate, as are Kansas City, Denver, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Columbus, and Wheeling. Stretching across the midsection of the country, Interstate 70 showcases many different cities, towns and attractions, and is a direct route through the heart of the USA.
4. Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive

One of the All American roads, the Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles long, and runs from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina up to Shenadoah National Park in Virginia. Where the Blue Ridge Parkway ends, the Skyline Drive begins, and continues for 105 miles – the entire length of Shenadoah National Park. The Parkway's construction started in 1935 and finally finished 52 years later. One of the most unique aspects of this route is that there are no direct interchanges with larger highways, so travelers can enjoy nature without interruption. Skyline Drive, which is a National Scenic Byway, allows drivers to drive along the Blue Ridge Mountains.

This route winds through a large forest, and is especially gorgeous in the fall, as all of the leaves make for spectacular scenery. The Skyline Drive is actually within the boundaries of the Park, meaning that drivers must be aware of all rules and regulations.
5. Pacific Coast Highway

Part of the California Freeway and Expressway System, PCH – also known as Highway 1 – is just under 656 miles long, and allows travelers to experience breathtaking views of the Pacific ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains. Beginning near I5 at Dana Point and heading north to intersect Highway 101 near Leggett. Many cities are on this route, including Malibu, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Big Sur, Monterey, and even the Golden Gate Bridge itself is part of Highway 1, but the true span of PCH is tremendous.

There are numerous scenic overlooks, beaches, wildlife areas, and attractions. For much of the length of this winding road, travelers are running parallel to the coast, save for places like Diablo Canyon Power Plant and Vandenberg Air Force Base, where the road has been diverted a few miles inland.

Julie Allan writes for breakdowncover.org and covers a number of motoring related topics.

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