Aerial view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel. Image credit Main Focus Media via Shutterstock.

9 Most Scenic Road Trips to Take in the Mid-South

A scenic drive through the Mid-South offers everything from maritime living to island life, caves, and natural enclaves. Take a trip on some of the most famous byways in North America and experience the majestic beauty of nature at work. Caves, canals, seashores, blue fog, and deep forests are just some of the scenic experiences available in the Mid-South, making these some of the most sought-after destinations for tourists. Boasting some of the most scenic drives in the world, road-trippers will be delighted by any of the following routes!

Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia

A cannon and a barn on the battlefield at Gettysburg National Military Park, Adams County, Pennsylvania, USA.
Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. Image credit Delmas Lehman via Shutterstock.

Step into the beginning of America’s history on this 180-mile journey starting from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Monticello, Virginia. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Byway is known for crossing three different states and holding more historic sites along its pathway than any other. While traveling down the transportation route used during the Revolutionary War, stop and visit the access point to the Underground Railroad. This scenic ride will go through the history of America while witnessing some of the most breathtaking landmarks, landscapes, and vistas in the Mid South. Jump into the car and hit the road to experience the road that helped create America by tracing the same path as some of America's forefathers. 

Cherohala Skyway: North Carolina, Tennessee

Autumn on the Cherohala Skyway. Cherohala Skyway, Appalachian Mountains, Tennessee and North Carolina
Autumn leaves on the Cherohala Skyway. Image credit MarksPursuit via Shutterstock.

Take the Cherohala Skyway scenic drive, a 42-mile drive through the heritage of the Cherokee tribe, and experience the grand and majestic forests of the Appalachian Mountains. The Cherohala route is an opportunity to witness the gorgeous hidden features of the southern Appalachian National Forests and view the bright orange, red and yellow leaves in the autumn. Take a break from driving to enjoy the sky-high vistas from a picnic table in one of the many national parks, or hop on the longest hiking trail in the world by cruising this pathway! Watch some of the amazing nature and wildlife of the Mid-South from the car by hitting the pavement of the Cherohala Skyway in North Carolina, Tennessee.

Savannah River Scenic Byway: South Carolina

Savannah, Georgia, USA riverfront promenade at sunrise
Riverfront promenade in Savannah, GA at sunrise. Image credit Sean Pavone via Shutterstock.

The Savannah River Scenic Byway is a 110-mile drive that features an authentic, southern experience for any traveler. Get in the car and witness where the water runs from the Blue Ridge Mountains and deposits into the Atlantic Ocean in Savannah, Georgia, creating a natural border between Georgia and South Carolina. Drive along the seashores of the Atlantic and take in all of the southern hospitality, pastoral landscapes, and deep forests that the Mid-South has to offer. On the Savannah River Scenic Byway, indulge in the history of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars while driving along the edges of the beautiful Savannah River waterways. 

Blue Ridge Parkway: North Carolina, Virginia

Linn Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina, USA.
Grandfather Mountain on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina. Image credit Sean Pavone via Shutterstock.

Take this 469-mile drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains and experience the natural blue mist that engulfs the region. Witness spectacular mountain views, sparking waterfalls, colorful flowers, and wildlife at play while driving down this parkway. Check out the displays of fall foliage and the difference between these unique, blue-tinted vistas. Watch the dancing leaves flow in the wind while meandering through the winding roads of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains. A natural attraction that every traveler must experience, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in all of North America. 

Red River Gorge Scenic Byway: Kentucky

Blue Heron Mining Tipple - Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, KY
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, KY. Image credit Patrick Jennings via Shutterstock.

Get in the car and enjoy this 46-mile drive through one of the nation's most valuable natural areas, the Red River Gorge of Kentucky. The Red River Gorge is home to stone arches, cliffs, ravines, caves, and rivers that are a must-see for anyone visiting this area of the United States. Rugged cliffs, hiking trails, rivers for kayaking, and natural bridges are exciting views for anyone driving through the Red River Gorge. A National Geological Area, these winding roads through canyons, and caves complete with views of majestic rocks are an awe-inspiring and exciting experience for any passenger. Hop on the Red River Gorge Scenic Byway for a road trip that is full of amazing natural wonders and jaw-dropping atmospheres. 

Highland Scenic Highway: West Virginia

Farm fields along a country road on a foggy morning in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia.
Potomac Highlands of West Virginia. Image credit Jon Bilous via Shutterstock.

This 43-mile drive will only take a few hours to enjoy the undeveloped and surreal area of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. One of the most scenic trips in the Mid-South, this drive runs through the narrow valleys and rugged landscapes along Cranberry Glades Botanical Area, Falls of Hills Creek, and Summit Lake. Check out the rolling hills of hardwood forests and mountain terrain with dark spruce echoing from higher altitudes. Enjoy the experience of driving through the sky-high walls of deep valleys with views of majestic and rocky rivers while taking a trip on the Highland Scenic Highway. 

Outer Banks Scenic Byway: North Carolina

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

This 138-mile trip is the most romantic byway in the Mid-Southern United States for its views of beaches, island sunsets, and a sunshine lifestyle. Bringing visitors through the Outer Banks, the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, the Outer Banks Scenic Byway provides views of historic towns, iconic lighthouses, and a vibrant village culture. Escape to a world where maritime culture meets modern outdoor amenities and drive through the folksy towns along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Showing off a natural seashore, dunes, marshes, and beaches for miles, this drive is one of the most relaxing, scenic trips available in all of the United States.

Great River Road, All American Road, National Scenic Byway: Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin

Centennial Bridge Crosses the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa to Moline, Illinois
Centennial Bridge crosses the Mississippi River from Davenport, Iowa to Moline, Illinois. Image credit Randy Runtsch via Shutterstock.

The Great River National Scenic Byway is a 2069-mile trip that follows the Mississippi River and passes through ten different states and hundreds of different towns by the river. The river itself is filled with natural history and connects people with resources, culture, and each other. Start in northern Minnesota and travel to the Gulf of Mexico on this scenic, multi-day adventure! The adventure can be broken up into multiple parts, but every aspect of the Great River Road is both charming, important, and worth seeing. Across the abundant Mississippi River that has influenced thousands throughout history, The Great River National Scenic Byway is one of the most scenic trips to take in the United States.

Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is located in St. Michaels, Maryland, and includes a collection of Chesapeake Bay artifacts, exhibitions, and boats.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is located in St. Michaels, Maryland. Image credit George Sheldon via Shutterstock.

The Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway is a 419-mile adventure through the natural landscapes that have influenced maritime life throughout the history of America. This scenic trip stretches across Chesapeake and the Delaware Canal ending at Smith Island. The drive offers views of surreal and untouched landscapes, open the windows and listen to water crashing against giant rock cuts. Make a stop at an old-style marina that will bring visitors back in time. Take the day to drive the byway or spend some time and stop to visit some of the charming locations scattered along the way. This drive allows visitors to enjoy the waterscapes against vistas of maritime living on the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway making it one of the most scenic drives in the Mid-South.


There are long trips for those who enjoy an epic adventure and short trips for those who do not wish to be away too long, however, every one of these trips possesses the views and scenery to invite that awe-inspiring and unreal experiences that only nature can provide. Hop on one of these famous scenic drives to engage in the thrills and splendor of the natural world, stay in the car, and watch the majestic vistas while driving or make stops along the way.  Whichever way travelers choose to tour, none of these routes will disappoint. 


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