8 of America’s Most Scenic Routes and Where to Camp Along the Way


Cy Wood

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One of the beautiful things about America is that it’s so different from place to place. The west coast looks nothing like the east coast, and all parts in-between are entirely unique, giving adventurers the feeling they’ve experienced the whole world within 50 states. And as the old adage goes, ‘it’s not about the destination, but more about the journey.’ So, jump off the interstate for a while, and take one of these eight scenic routes. You won’t regret it.

Pacific Coast Highway

California’s legendary Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) runs from San Francisco to San Diego, primarily (and aptly) right along the coast. The scenery is breathtaking, with cliffs and beaches—plus plenty of awesome taco places to stop at along the way. Started in the 1930s, the PCH is meant to be traversed slowly to take in the towering trees and endless skylines. Without stopping, the entire length of the PCH takes about 10 hours to drive, but plan for longer because stopping to soak in the sea views is encouraged. The PCH is busiest in July and August, but the weather is perfect from late spring through fall.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

Overseas Highway

US Highway 1 (often called the “Highway that Goes to Sea”) starts in Miami and strings together the Florida Keys. That means the Overseas Highway is really a unique band of connecting bridges. The 113 miles of roadway features 42 bridges that play leapfrog from key to key in the form of concrete and steel arches. From beach bars to water sports and deep-sea fishing, this journey through the Florida Keys a beautiful way to escape the winter doldrums of the north. In 2009, the US Federal Highway Administration named the Overseas Highway Florida’s first All-American Road.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

Blue Ridge Parkway

Nestled high in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and the Carolinas, the nearly-500 miles of twists and turns of the Blue Ridge Parkway offer exceptional mountain views. And not just in the summer months, either. The colors of fall explode in a spectrum across the ridges, and there are lots of ski resorts open in the winter. World-renowned for its biodiversity, visitors can expect to encounter a wide array of vegetation and wildlife along their journey.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

Trail Ridge Road

Do you want a good view of wildlife? Trail Ridge Road, winding through the Rocky Mountain National Park, is the highest continually-paved road in the state. Coming in at 48 miles long, it starts at Estes Park on the east side of the park and traces a path to Grand Lake on the west. It’s not uncommon to find herds of elk or even an occasional moose on the road. (Friendly reminder: never approach wildlife. Maintain respect for them and their surroundings.) Regardless if you start in the east and work your way through to the west side of the park, or in reverse, you can expect to climb nearly 4,000 feet in just a few minutes. In fact, 11 miles will have you traveling above the treelines.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

Park Loop Road

New England isn’t to be missed, especially in the fall. Maine, in particular, has some wild, beautiful countrysides to explore. You can get a good glimpse of it while driving along Park Loop Road. Located near Bar Harbor, this 27-mile road navigates you through Acadia National Park and offers several beautiful overlooks as you’re traveling. It’s the go-to scenic drive that connects Acadia’s lakes, shoreline, and mountains – you’re not going to want to miss this one.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

Highway 101

Get ready! The Pacific Coast Highway 101 runs the length of the coast of Oregon. This incredible single road will run you through old forests with giant redwoods, glorious beaches with scenic coastlines, over several grandiose bridges, and wind you around several national parks. If you’re looking for the ultimate RV road trip for the whole family, look no further.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

Arizona State Route 89A

Not all routes are hundreds of miles long. Take State Route 89A in Arizona, for example; it runs just under 84 miles. However, the views you’ll see along the way will have you stopping far more regularly. From Prescott to Flagstaff, you’ll cross Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon and take in all of the gorgeous red rocks, towering sandstone formations, and dense pine forests. The Grand Canyon isn’t far from Flagstaff if you need more convincing. Everyone loves a two-for-one trip.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

Ocean Drive

In the nation’s smallest state, Rhode Island, this 10-mile route may be short, but the views are nothing short of breathtaking. The views not only encapsulate the ocean and its shores but also the houses. This historic district used to be a favorite vacation spot of the fabulously wealthy. As a result, there’s a lot of fantastic architecture to take in as you drive—including former homes of the Astors and Vanderbilts. You’ll even pass by Hammersmith Farm, where Jackie Kennedy spent her childhood.

Campgrounds Along the Way:

The only thing left to do now is hit the road for some serious sightseeing! Visit a Camping World to find the perfect RV. Buy, trade-in, or rent and RV and try out the RV lifestyle. Visit your local Camping World and get ready to see the splendor of the United States.

  • Comment (17)
  • Rebecca Dullanty says:

    We are looking to travel from Sacramento,California to Fort Myers’s, Florida. What route is there? Not in a hurry.

  • Paul S Goldberg says:

    We have traveled all of these routes except Trail Ridge. Given the altitude it is unlikely we will do that one now. I always hear about the tunnels on the BRP. They are all south of Asheville so you still have over 400 miles of the route with no low clearances to worry about. We have driven the entire length except those southern miles in our 36′ DP several times. Just stay at or under the speed limit and be prepared to pull off into the next pulloff to let traffic go and to enjoy the view or the hike. PCH in our 36 footer towing the Jeep is a wonderful run, northbound, less so southbound in the ocean side lane. Many cars will be aggravated by the slower pace, they shouldn’t be in a hurry on that road anyhow. I first drove Ocean Drive as an undergraduate at Brown University in the 60’s when it was “just a road” with no special designation. Another wonderful drive is Natchez Trace Parkway. It is less of a challenge, mostly level and mostly straight with a 45 mph peed limit from Nashville TN to Natchez MS. For extra credit drive US 20 coast to coast and US 1 from the northern tip of Maine to Key West.

  • Morris Bienvenu says:

    How did the Beartooth Hwy and Going to the Sun Rd. Not make this article. The Beartooth is the prettiest drive I’ve been on.

  • Earl Huron says:

    Good call on rig length/height! Even getting from major city-to-major-city in the SW will put you on NARROW country roads unless you drill down on your WWW map of choice and look at the route carefully. I’m looking forward to these, esp. knowing that the Florida Keys is RV-accessible! Good list either way, to pass to your non-RVing family & friends!

  • Anonymous says:

    Don’t pass up highway 15 from Mesquite, Nv. To St George, Utah. Spectacular!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Been fulltiming 18 yrs and the bestway to see these and others is to park your rv and take a “toad” or in my case my motorcycle. Happy and safe travels.

  • John and Joan Eacret says:

    Can we take a 20’aframe pop up on these routs

  • Anonymous says:

    Add the Alaska Highway to your list.

  • Vern Pich says:

    We have been travelling for over 20 years with trailers, fifth wheels and for 7 years a Holiday Rambler, Neptune. We have been on almost every one of these routes (and many more including the Alaska Highway, Monument Valley and the National Parks Routes in Utah to name a few) . We are not sure is we ever travelled Ocean Drive. When you travel any of these and others, be sure your camera is always on and ready for the next spectacular view coming up around the next corner. We have approximately 45 Gigs of pictures (more than 30,000) enough to allow us to relive our travels for a lifetime

  • fraubremer says:

    If your Monaco is over 40 ft long, like ours, please consult the California DOT map for restrictions.
    Otherwise, enjoy the beautiful journey!

  • Russ says:

    can we take our 45 foot motorhome any or all of these 8 scenic routes?

  • Dlolson says:

    We just drove from Orlando, fl to placerville, ca and took the southern route, interstate 10. Our son in law said the northern route of I 40 sometimes shuts down because of snow. We made stops in Texas and Arizona to see family but the route was a good one. We will be heading back in a couple weeks.

  • Jeff Owens says:

    I know that you cannot take anything longer than like 20 ft on 89A between Flagstaff and Sedona. North of Sedona, at the beginning of Oak Creek Canyon, the road enters a seriously steep climb with sharp cutbacks. You’re fine on 101 in California, but I wouldn’t recommend trying CA 1 south of Monterey.

  • Anonymous says:

    Since I lived on the 89 A on the way to Jerome I would not recommend taking it up that way.
    First of all there is a lenght limit and it his 33 knarly curves that are very tight in some places.
    Going thru Jerome would be nightmare.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would not drive Arizona 89A with the motor home in Jerome

  • Anonymous says:

    Check height of tunnels on blue ridge parkway

  • Lucine Smith says:

    Well, if you’re not sure if you did the ocean drive you probably didn’t. Truly not trying to be snarky, but it’s hard to forget one hundred and thirteen miles of nothing but ocean and tiny Florida keys. (You should come, The Florida keys are awesome).

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