back to articles | May 06, 2024 | Greg Thibodeau

Categories: Lifestyle

May Is One of the Best Scenic Road Trip Months

May is the perfect time to explore an array of scenic drives that promise adventure, beauty, and a sense of freedom. Buckle up as we explore some of the most iconic road trips across the country.


Embarking on a road trip is like opening a treasure chest of natural wonders and cultural gems. Whether you’re chasing coastal views, mountain vistas, or historic trails, May is the perfect time to explore an array of scenic drives that promise adventure, beauty, and a sense of freedom. Buckle up as we explore some of the most iconic road trips across the country.

1. Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway is a journey through California dreams. Stretching approximately 1600 miles, this route hugs the rugged West Coast, connecting bustling cities, quaint beach towns, ancient redwood forests, and dramatic cliffs. Starting in San Diego, you’ll wind your way through Los Angeles, the enchanting Big Sur, vibrant San Francisco, and finally reach the lush Redwood National and State Parks before arriving in Seattle. Keep your eyes peeled for sea lions basking on rocky shores, crashing waves, and jaw-dropping vistas. Just be aware of occasional road closures, especially in the mesmerizing Big Sur area, where rockslides can surprise travelers.

2. Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is a breathtaking high-altitude drive that offers panoramic vistas of snow-capped peaks and alpine meadows. Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous paved road in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet at its highest point. Along the way, you’ll encounter numerous pullouts and overlooks where you can stop and take in the awe-inspiring views. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as elk, marmots, and bighorn sheep. The open tundra landscape provides an excellent opportunity for spotting these creatures.

3. Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a masterpiece that weaves through the heart of Glacier National Park in Montana. This 50-mile road is a testament to human ingenuity. It was completed in 1932 and is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The road's name comes from the nearby Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, which holds cultural significance for the Blackfeet Nation. As you wind your way through the park, you'll encounter glacier-carved valleys, pristine alpine lakes, and dense forests. Keep your camera ready for jaw-dropping vistas of snow-capped peaks and turquoise waters. The highlight of the journey is Logan Pass, where you can stand on the Continental Divide. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as grizzly bears, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep that call this rugged landscape home.

4. Natchez Trace Parkway

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a historic route that traces the paths of Native American travelers, European settlers, and early American explorers. Starting in Natchez, Mississippi, this 444 mile scenic drive winds through lush forests, rolling hills, and charming small towns. Along the way, you’ll encounter preserved historical sites, including ancient Native American mounds, old homesteads, and Civil War battlefields. In May, the parkway comes alive with colorful wildflowers, making it an ideal time to explore.

5. Blue Ridge Parkway

For those seeking an Appalachian adventure, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a must. This 469-mile scenic drive winds through the heart of the oldest mountain range in the US. Imagine rolling green hills, mist-shrouded peaks, and forests coming to life with the promise of spring. Starting near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Parkway meanders through the Pisgah National Forest, charming state parks, and the historic town of Roanoke, VA. Along the way, don’t miss the chance to explore hidden trails, discover waterfalls, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

6. John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway

Connecting Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway is a scenic corridor that celebrates the natural beauty of the region. As you drive through this picturesque route, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Teton Range and the Snake River. Keep an eye out for bison, elk, and moose. The parkway provides excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. Take short hikes to explore hidden waterfalls, serene lakes, and lush forests.

7. Route 66

Route 66, affectionately known as the Mother Road, is a nostalgic journey across 2250 miles and eight states. Beginning in the heart of Chicago, this historic highway takes you through the heartland of America. You’ll pass through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and more until you reach the sun-kissed shores of Los Angeles. Along the way, expect neon signs, classic diners, and a sense of adventure that harks back to a bygone era. Capture every kitschy moment with your camera, and let the open road weave its magic.

8. Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway

Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway is a winding road that offers a mix of natural beauty and engineering marvels. Drive through narrow tunnels carved into granite cliffs and cross pigtail bridges that spiral up the mountainside. The byway provides some of the best views of the iconic Mount Rushmore. Along the route, explore Custer State Park, home to bison herds, pronghorn antelope, and scenic lakes. A section of the byway known as the Needles Highway features sharp granite spires and hairpin turns.

9. Hana Highway

Hana Highway on the island of Maui is a winding coastal adventure that immerses you in Hawaii's natural beauty. With 620 curves and 59 bridges, this 64 mile highway is an exhilarating ride. The road takes you through dense tropical rainforests, where vibrant flowers and exotic plants thrive. Hana Highway is a waterfall lover's paradise. Make stops at Twin Falls, Wai'anapanapa State Park, and other hidden gems. The highway hugs the coastline, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

10. Route 100

In the charming state of Vermont, Route 100 meanders through picturesque New England villages, offering a glimpse of quintessential Americana. Vermont is famous for its covered bridges, and Route 100 takes you past several of these historic structures. The road winds through the Green Mountains, providing stunning views of rolling hills and dense forests. May is a great time to visit, as the maple trees are in full bloom. Don’t miss the chance to sample fresh maple syrup! Stop in quaint towns like Stowe, Waitsfield, and Waterbury for local cuisine, artisanal crafts, and friendly locals.

The beauty of a road trip lies not just in the destinations but in the moments shared along the way. myAutoloan can help you finance your next vehicle and make that road trip even more memorable. So roll down the windows, feel the wind in your hair, and let the adventure unfold.