Americans are taking a lot more road trips – according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, in the first two weeks of August this year, Americans recorded nearly 12 million road trips (from 100 to 500 miles), compared to 8.6 million in 2019.
If you just purchased one of the Bellevue houses for sale and are looking for the best road trips to take near your new home, or you’re looking for a great route somewhere else, these are some of the top picks to consider.
Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington State
This breathtaking road trip is easy to access from the Seattle/Bellevue metro area by connecting with it on Highway 101 at the junction with 104. From there, follow 101 counterclockwise, traveling toward Port Angeles, taking a slight detour on Highway 20 to visit the Victorian Seaport town of Port Townsend, with its magnificent Victorian architecture, unique shops, and stunning mountain and water views. Pass through the picturesque lavender farms that surround the small town of Sequim and then travel to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National park for a jaw-dropping view over San Juan de Fuca Strait out to Vancouver Island in Canada. Continue west, driving along the shores of Emerald Lake Crescent which is surrounded by cascading falls and lush greenery. When you reach the coast, stroll driftwood-strewn beaches, peering into tide pools often filled with all sorts of sea creatures like hermit crabs, sea anemones, and starfish.
Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Oregon
Following the Oregon coast along Highway 101 brings some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in the country. Start your journey in Astoria and continue to Brookings for about 340 miles to view wild beaches with rock formations just offshore, wind-sculpted dunes, and forest-covered mountains. There are many charming beach towns to explore along the way, like Seaside, Cannon Beach, and Newport. Between November and June, keep watch over the horizon for passing whales.
Overseas Highway, Florida Keys
Enjoy the sunshine, white sandy beaches, and warm turquoise waters with a road trip through the Florida Keys. The Overseas Highway spans 113 miles from the tip of mainland Florida near Miami down to Key West, the southernmost point in the U.S., crossing over 40 trans-ocean bridges along the way. Seven Mile Bridge stretches for seven miles across the glistening aquamarine water, linking Little Duck Key to Knight’s Key, providing panoramic vistas of islets and coastal flats. Stop to discover the underwater world by snorkeling or diving among the colorful fish and other sea life.
Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
This sweet road trip travels along the 105-mile Skyline Drive, following the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. You’ll want to take your time, with nearly 70 overlooks to stop and soak up the gorgeous scenery. There are miles and miles of scenic trails to hike just off the roadway and lots of wildlife to be on the lookout for, like deer, black bear, and wild turkey.
Big Horn Mountain Country, Wyoming
Get away from it all, including the crowds, by traveling from Sheridan, Wyoming along Highway 14, the Bighorn Scenic Byway, to the town of Greybull. You’ll take in spectacular views that include everything from sparkling lakes and winding streams to soaring mountain peaks on this 95-mile route. Along the way, keep watch for deer and moose, particularly around Burgess Junction. While traveling through the rocky red walls of Shell Canyon, you might spot mourning doves and Rocky Mountain bluebirds. Those with very sharp eyes sometimes see bobcats, coyotes, and even mountain lions.