The Most Romantic Drives in America

Unlike most roads, these trips aren’t just about getting from point A to point B. They’re about the ride itself. Taking you over expanses of water, through national parks, and into sweeping sunsets, these romantic routes are some of the most iconic in America. Next time you’re on vacation (or looking to take one) check out these drives for a few days of stunning vistas and charming stop-offs for wine tastings, nature hikes, or relaxing on the beach. So grab the one you love, get comfortable, and start the ignition.

New York Finger Lakes

New York, Finger Lakes Courtesy Dave Dann
Bucolic landscapes and picture-perfect villages define the Finger Lakes region of New York.

A route that moves along a patchwork of vineyards, farmlands, and rustic towns complete with 19th-century homes is straight out of 19th-century realist painting. Of course, that’s not to mention the 11 skinny lakes that make this drive so famous. You could spend days at the wineries around the lakes, bouncing back and forth between the shores, or stop off in one of the red-bricked downtowns that bring the romance of a bygone era back to life.

Florida Overseas Highway

Florida, Overseas Highway iStockphoto/Thinkstock
FLORIDA OVERSEAS HIGHWAY Skim over the water of the Florida Keys on the Florida Overseas Highway.

For much of the 127-mile route, you’ll race alongside seagulls, slicing through the Florida Keys, all while barely elevated above the water below. With the only living barrier coral reef in the continental U.S., the Florida Keys is a romantic haven for divers. For those less inclined to submersion, glass-bottomed boat tours give a look at the fish, coral, anemones – even a few graceful sharks. Roll down the windows and take in the briny breeze. It’s tropical romance both in and outside your car.

Hāna Highway

Hawaii, Hana Highway Courtesy Floyd Joseph Frank
The Hana Highway on the Hawaiian island of Maui traverses both pristine rain forests and remote shoreline.

If you’re on vacation in Hawaii, we know your days are precious, but you won’t be let down by taking a spin along the curvy Hāna Highway. This tropical, 68-mile stretch connecting Kahului with Hāna in east Maui is almost entirely through lush rainforests, and, because it’s on the coast, warm water laps the shore just below. Buy fresh fruit from charming roadside stands en route and be sure to stop off at Waianapanapa State Park where a scenic black-sand beach, a rock arch, and sea caves await the adventurous traveler. After all, you don’t have to be on your honeymoon to have an excuse for a little Hawaiian romance.

Beartooth Highway

Montana, Beartooth Highway iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Unspoiled mountains, glaciers and forests are showcased alongside Montana’s Beartooth Highway.

Dubbed “the most scenic drive in America,” the Beartooth Highway zigzags from Montana’s Red Lodge to Cooke City. Moving into Wyoming and the boundaries of jaw-dropping Yellowstone National Park, this romantic route winds its way through over a million acres of open wilderness. Along the drive, you’ll be surrounded by mountains, forests, waterfalls, glacial lakes, and wildlife. It’s a drive back in time with the beauty of unspoiled nature everywhere you look, a reason to head to the Wild West.

North Cascades Loop

Washington State, North Cascade Loop Courtesy Jim Scolman
Washington State’s North Cascades Loop takes you through rough mountains, manicured vineyards and unspoiled shorelines, with an emphasis on fresh food and breathtaking vistas.

Beginning just outside of Seattle, the North Cascades Loop in Washington State circles through the Cascades Mountains, into the wildlife-filled Methow Valley and out into the Puget Sound, hugging mountains and the Columbia River along the way. Take the 400-mile loop in three to four days, stopping for hikes with majestic scenery in the North Cascasdes or Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests. Start your drive early in the morning through the Cascades to catch the sun rising between the mountains, casting its romantic glow on the water below.

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