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Publish Date - March 08, 2022

Author: Greg Thibodeau

Categories:   Useful Automotive Information   

13 of the Most Exhilarating Beach Drives

Beach drives combine the freedom of the open road with the splendor of the sand, surf, and turquoise water. Postcard perfect views, coastal towns, wildlife, and the fresh ocean breeze can do a world of good. Set off for one of these exhilarating beach drive locations on your next road trip and refresh your mind while you recharge your spirit.

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Beach drives combine the freedom of the open road with the splendor of the sand, surf, and turquoise water. Postcard perfect views, coastal towns, wildlife, and the fresh ocean breeze can do a world of good. Set off for one of these exhilarating beach drive locations on your next road trip and refresh your mind while you recharge your spirit.

1. Overseas Highway, Florida

There is a 160 mile stretch of route US1 that winds its way high above the ocean stringing islands together like beads. From Miami to Key West the Overseas Highway offers views like no other. The road which soars over the water passes beaches, mangroves, and quaint towns. Don’t miss the Seven Mile Bridge between Little Duck Key and Knight’s Key for spectacular views.

2. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Oregon

The 12 mile drive through this forested coastal park is the gem of the Oregon coastline. Beaches, bluffs, and incredible rock formations are plentiful on this beach drive. The route isn’t very long but that leaves plenty of time to get out of the car and stretch your legs on a beach stroll or go hike on the trails for more incredible views.

3. Golden Isles, Georgia

Get ready for a coastal drive full of Southern charm on the 100 miles of Georgia’s coastline. Stretching from Cumberland Island to Tybee island you will see breathtaking views of swamps, islands, and pretty beaches. This beautiful beach drive is full of the kind of natural beauty and splendor that does the soul good.

4. Mendocino, California

The stretch of State Route 1 which passes through Mendocino County is breathtaking but often overlooked. This section of the road has spectacular beaches tucked in among peach colored bluffs and framed in redwood forests. Be sure to stop at Fort Bragg and take in the beauty of Glass Beach where the sand is in fact pieces of broken glass that the ocean has polished into smooth pebbles.

5. Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, North Carolina

The outer banks are barrier islands between the mainland and the Atlantic Ocean. The 140 miles of this curvy beach drive navigate through a number of the islands offering views of dunes, beaches, lighthouses, and ocean. This area is a haven for migrating waterfowl so leave time to stop for some birdwatching.

6. Ocean Drive, Florida

The 1.5 miles along the coast of Miami’s South Beach is a stretch of Ocean Drive that should be experienced more than once simply because there is so much to take in. There are splendid ocean views framed in palm trees and beach sand that are sure to impress. The Art Deco inspired architecture is uplifting, and the boulevard is a popular destination for people watching.

7. Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii

Any list of spectacular beach drives is incomplete without the Hana Highway. This 64 mile stretch of road packs in everything that springs to mind if you imagine the island of Maui. The hibiscus covered cliffs, thickly forested slopes, and turquoise ocean views will not be easily forgotten. It’s a slow drive over single lane bridges and winding curves atop soaring cliffs but the slow pace will give you more time to take it all in.

8. Highway 399, Florida

The 22 miles of highway 399 are flat as a pancake offering spectacular 360 degree views. Enjoy the sand dunes sprinkled with pastel beach houses and the endless ocean stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s a great drive to breathe in the salty sea air. Be sure to experience this beach drive during sunrise or sunset for a great view of the painted sky.

9. Acadia National Park Loop Road, Maine

This stunning drive loops through 27 miles of Acadia National Park. On this route you can enjoy mountain, lake, and ocean views framed in pristine woodland beauty. At times the road follows the rocky coastline while other sections take you high up into the mountains with clear ocean views. This coastal beach drive makes it easy to see why Acadia is one of the most popular national parks.

10. Seward Highway, Alaska

Between Anchorage and Seward stretch 125 miles of road with some of the most breathtaking views imaginable. Enjoy stretches of vast wilderness, view sheep grazing on mountain slopes, and see the bluish-gray ocean stretch out towards the horizon. Take some time on this beach drive and you might just be lucky enough to spot beluga whales.

11. State Park Road 100, Texas

Follow the Queen Isabella Causeway off the southern coast of Texas to South Padre Island. The view along the way to the island is spectacular and full of sandy beach beauty. Once on the island, the route continues for 13 miles. When conditions permit, you can go off road and drive on the sand. You can’t get any closer to the beach than that.

12. Pacific Coast Highway, California

State Route 1 hugs the coastline for over 650 miles but the most iconic section of this beach drive will take you from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Pacific Coast Highway passes through Malibu and Santa Barbara along the way. The jewel of the trip is Big Sur where you can enjoy views of bluffs, beaches, waterfalls, and redwoods. Travel over landmark bridges and plan to make frequent stops to soak up the beauty of this area.

13. 17-Mile Drive, California

The 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach is a detour from the Pacific Coast Highway. It boasts its own spectacular beach views along with rock formations and the chance to spot wildlife such as seals. Dotted with plentiful spots to stop, this beach drive is intended to be traveled slowly and experienced thoroughly.

Each of these fantastic beach drives is sure to appeal to the senses and create memories to last a lifetime. Is your car as ready as you are? Explore your options with this handy auto loan tool. Or leave the car at home and enjoy the views and the sea breeze from a motorcycle. However you choose to roam, you won’t regret it.