Clouds cast shadows over the Appalachian Mountains and Shenandoah Valley, seen from Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Image credit Jon Bilous via Shutterstock.

9 Most Scenic Road Trips To Take In The Mid-Atlantic

The mid-Atlantic region of the United States offers a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural attractions, making it a perfect destination for scenic road trips. This region has everything from picturesque coastal drives to stunning mountain vistas. This article will explore nine of the most scenic trips to take in the mid-atlantic, each filled with geographical points of interest and unique stops. Whether prospective visitors are nature lovers, history buffs, or simply seeking a memorable adventure, these road trips will leave all in awe of the region's diverse landscapes and rich heritage.

Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway

Sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains, from Skyline Drive, in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.
Blue Ridge Mountains, from Skyline Drive, in Shenandoah National Park. Image credit Jon Bilous via Shutterstock.

Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway offer a breathtaking journey through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, spanning Virginia and North Carolina. This scenic road trip is renowned for its panoramic views, vibrant foliage, and charming mountain towns.

Starting at the northern entrance of Skyline Drive in Front Royal, Virginia, travelers can enjoy the beauty of Shenandoah National Park. Along the drive, stop at Hawksbill Mountain, the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park, offering stunning vistas. Another notable stop is Stony Man Mountain, known for its beautiful rock formations and sweeping landscapes.

While continuing south along the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the historic Mabry Mill, a picturesque landmark showcasing the region's rich milling history. The Folk Art Center in Asheville, North Carolina, also features exceptional Appalachian crafts and artwork.

These scenic drives are perfect for nature enthusiasts, with numerous opportunities for hiking, wildlife spotting, and photography. Whether it is to capture the vibrant fall foliage or enjoy the wildflowers in spring, the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway offer ample opportunity for just that and more! 

Coastal Highway

Wild horses on the beach of Assateague in the early morning.
Wild horses on Assateague beach. Image credit nathaniel gonzales via Shutterstock.

The Coastal Highway trip takes travelers along the scenic coastal route from Delaware to Maryland, offering stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and charming seaside towns.

Starting in Delaware, Rehoboth Beach is a must-visit destination known for its beautiful shoreline and lively boardwalk. Enjoy a day of sun, sand, and surf before continuing south along the Coastal Highway.

A highlight of the trip is the iconic Assateague Island National Seashore, where tourists can witness wild horses roaming freely. Explore the beautiful beaches, go kayaking or birdwatching, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this unique destination.

While venturing further south, the vibrant Ocean City Boardwalk awaits. Indulge in delicious seafood, visit amusement parks, and take in the lively atmosphere of this famous boardwalk.

Stop at local seafood establishments like The Crab Bag, known for its mouthwatering seafood dishes and friendly atmosphere.

Chesapeake Bay Loop

An aerial view of historic Annapolis, situated on the Chesapeake Bay, during an early November morning
An aerial view of historic Annapolis, situated on the Chesapeake Bay. Image credit Nicole Glass Photography via Shutterstock.

The Chesapeake Bay Loop takes folks on a scenic road trip around the largest estuary in the United States, offering picturesque views and opportunities to explore charming towns and historical sites.

Starting in Annapolis, Maryland, a visit to the United States Naval Academy and a stroll along the historic streets of downtown Annapolis are a must. While travelling along the Chesapeake Bay, go to Chesapeake Beach, where visitors can enjoy stunning bay views and relax on sandy beaches.

Continue on to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, where folks can learn about the region's maritime history and explore exhibits featuring fossils, lighthouses, and the Chesapeake Bay's diverse ecosystem.

Next, visit the enchanting town of St. Michaels, known for its colonial charm and maritime heritage. Explore the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and take a scenic boat ride along the bay.

A stop at The Crab Claw in St. Michaels is a must for seafood enthusiasts. Indulge in freshly caught Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and other delectable seafood dishes.

Shenandoah Valley

View of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains from Little Stony Man Cliffs, Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
View of Shenandoah Valley. Image credit Jon Bilous via Shutterstock.

The Shenandoah Valley route boasts picturesque landscapes of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, offering breathtaking mountain views, outdoor adventures, and opportunities to explore historical and natural attractions.

One of the highlights of the trip is a visit to Old Rag Mountain, known for its challenging yet rewarding hike. Scale the rocky slopes to reach the summit and enjoy unparalleled views of the surrounding wilderness.

Make a stop at Luray Caverns, one of the largest cave systems in the Eastern United States. Explore the underground marvels, including impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations.

The Shenandoah Valley is also home to numerous wineries and vineyards. Take a detour to enjoy wine tasting and vineyard tours and savor the flavors of the region's renowned wines.

Historic Triangle

Historic Williamsburg Village at the Governor's Palace at twilight.
Historic Williamsburg Village at the Governor's Palace at twilight. Image credit Sean Pavone via Shutterstock.

The Historic Triangle road trip takes travelers through Virginia's Historic Triangle, encompassing the cities of Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown. This region is rich in colonial history and offers a fascinating glimpse into America's past.

Begin the journey in Colonial Williamsburg, a meticulously restored 18th-century town. Explore the living history museum, where costumed interpreters bring the colonial era to life. Visit the Governor's Palace, the Capitol building, and the historic homes and fully experience the colonial ambiance.

Next, travel to Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Explore Historic Jamestown, where archaeologists continue to unearth artifacts from the original settlement. Visit the Jamestown Settlement, a living history museum that showcases the story of the early settlers through interactive exhibits.

Conclude the trip in Yorktown, where the decisive Battle of Yorktown took place during the American Revolutionary War. Explore the Yorktown Battlefield and learn about the events that led to America's independence. Visit the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown to gain further insights into this pivotal period in American history.

Eastern Shore

Aerial view of the town of Ocean City, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore
Ocean City, Maryland. Image credit Eliyahu Yosef Parypa via Shutterstock.

The Eastern Shore road trip takes cars and their passengers along the scenic coastal route on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay, offering a tranquil and picturesque journey through Maryland and Virginia.

Start the trip by crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, an engineering marvel that connects the mainland to the Eastern Shore. While meandering along the shore, stop at Chincoteague Island in Virginia. Known for its wild ponies and pristine beaches, Chincoteague Island offers a peaceful atmosphere and opportunities for outdoor activities.

Continue the beautiful journey to Cape Charles, a charming coastal town in Virginia. Enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches, stroll the historic streets, and indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants.

Allegheny Mountains

Group of people tourists standing on trail boardwalk in autumn fall at Cranberry Glades Wilderness, West Virginia at Allegheny mountains Monongahela national forest
Tourists in West Virginia at Allegheny Mountains Monongahela National Forest. Image credit Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock.

The Allegheny Mountains road trip takes travelers through the picturesque landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains, spanning several states, including Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. This mountain range is known for its stunning vistas, outdoor adventures, and charming mountain towns.

Beginning in Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands, home to scenic beauty and outdoor recreation. Visit Ohiopyle State Park, where there are opportunities to take a hike to breathtaking waterfalls, go whitewater rafting on the Youghiogheny River, and enjoy panoramic views from the scenic overlooks.

Continue south to Maryland's Deep Creek Lake, a popular destination for boating, fishing, and hiking. Explore the surrounding state parks, such as Swallow Falls State Park, which features stunning waterfalls and lush forests.

To finish, venture into West Virginia, stop in Canaan Valley, known for its tranquil beauty and outdoor activities. Experience the splendor of Blackwater Falls State Park, where a majestic waterfall cascades over dark-colored rocks, creating a dramatic scene.

Delaware Water Gap

Aerial view of Delaware Water Gap on a sunny autumn day. The Delaware Water Gap is a water gap on the border of the U.S. states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania
Aerial view of Delaware Gap in autumn. Image credit Mihai_Andritoiu via Shutterstock. 

The Delaware Water Gap road trip takes visitors through the stunning landscapes of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a natural wonder that straddles the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This scenic destination offers breathtaking views, outdoor activities, and opportunities to explore charming river towns.

A practical place to begin is Delaware Water Gap Visitor Centers, where visitors can obtain maps, information, and learn about the area's rich history and geology. Take in the panoramic views of the Delaware River and the towering cliffs that frame the landscape.

Embark on a hike along one of the many trails in the area, such as the Appalachian Trail or the Dunnfield Creek Trail. Enjoy the serene beauty of cascading waterfalls, lush forests, and scenic overlooks that provide stunning vistas of the surrounding mountains.

Stop at Dingmans Falls, a 130-foot waterfall known for its impressive beauty. Take a short hike to the falls and feel the mist as the water plunges into the pool below.

Explore the quaint river towns nestled along the Delaware River, such as Milford in Pennsylvania and Frenchtown in New Jersey. These charming communities offer unique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes where you can unwind and enjoy the local charm.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Delaware River provides kayaking, canoeing, and fishing opportunities. Experience the tranquility of floating down the river while immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the water gap.

Outer Banks

Roanoke Marshes screw-pile lighthouse on Shallowbag Bay in Manteo, North Carolina in the Outer Banks at sunrise.
Roanoke Marshes screw-pile lighthouse in the Outer Banks at sunrise. Image credit Cvandyke via Shutterstock.

The Outer Banks road trip takes travelers along the stunning barrier islands of North Carolina's coast, offering pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, and unique coastal culture.

Begin in Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers made their first powered flight. Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial and learn about the history of aviation. Explore the nearby Jockey's Ridge State Park, home to the tallest active dune system in the Eastern United States. While heading south, stop in Nags Head to visit the iconic Bodie Island Lighthouse and climb to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding area!

Continue to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a stretch of unspoiled beaches and natural beauty. Explore the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, one of the most famous lighthouses in the United States. Enjoy beach activities, fishing, and wildlife watching in this scenic coastal area.

Head further south to Ocracoke Island, accessible by ferry. This charming island offers a laid-back atmosphere and a picturesque village. Visit the Ocracoke Lighthouse, stroll along the waterfront, and indulge in fresh seafood at local restaurants.


The mid-Atlantic region is a treasure trove of scenic road trip opportunities. Whether visitors decide to traverse the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, soak up the coastal charm along the Chesapeake Bay, or delve into history in the Historic Triangle, these trips promise breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences. From stunning natural landscapes to historical landmarks and charming towns, the mid-Atlantic offers every traveler a diverse range of attractions. Fuel up the car, pack your camera, and hit the road to embark on these nine incredible journeys that will leave visitors with memories to cherish for a lifetime.


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