Most Scenic Drives in the United States — Pixel Art Style

Road trips in many places around the world can be a great way to get to know the countries in which you are driving — but from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean; from the Canadian border to the Mexican border; and from Alaska to Hawaii, many roads in the United States are some of the most scenic in the world, as diverse vistas of mountains, forests, deserts and oceans come to mind.

Most Scenic Drives in the United States — Pixel Art Style

This article from Expedia gives a fun glimpse into what the most scenic drives in the United States would look like if they were rendered in pixel art style — using classic arcade racing games such as Out Run as inspiration — and with some travel tips interspersed which will hopefully be useful to you.

I have been given express written permission to use the images and the verbatim text from the aforementioned article in this article. With articles such as this one, I sometimes add brief notes; but although I have actually been on some of the featured scenic roads, I am not knowledgeable enough about them to add much value to the information which is already here…

…so if you are ready to go on a road trip across America from the comfort of your seat — or if you are already ready to hit the road in the driver’s seat of a snazzy rental car — then let us not waste any time in getting started.

1. Olympic Peninsula Loop — Washington State’s Wonderful Circuit Drive

Olympic Peninsula Loop Washington State

With its towering trees and haunting light, you’re in Twin Peaks country when you drive through the diverse landscapes of the Olympic Peninsula. Rainforest, mossy ground, and deep, clear-watered Lake Crescent make for air you can really breathe and offers a glimpse of an America that remained unmapped until the beginning of the 20th century.

Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington State

Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington State. Source: Expedia.

  • Travel tip: If all this wilderness leaves you hankering for civilization, you can take a free guided tour around the domed Washington State Legislative Building in Olympia seven days a week. It just takes an hour, and then you’re back out on the road.

2. Historic Columbia Highway — Oregon’s Most Beautiful Road

Historic Columbia Highway Oregon

Driving in Oregon is marvelous. The underground springs of Larch Mountain gather weight and power as they crash towards Multnomah Falls and tumble over the 611-foot waterfall to the verdant woodland below. And you can see it all as you turn off Interstate 84 for a refreshment break at the Lodge. Visit in the fall to take in some of the most vibrant oranges and yellows you’ll find in America’s nature.

Historic Columbia Highway, Oregon

Historic Columbia Highway, Oregon. Source: Expedia.

  • Travel tip: You’ll want to rent a car at Portland’s airport if you’re coming from out of town. And if you’re planning on taking a longer road trip, you should definitely explore highway 126 between Bend and Eugene, an quintessential Oregon drive.

3. Big Sur Along the Pacific Coast Highway — California Cruisin’

Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway California

The ‘Big Country of the South,’ population 1000, alternates between the coastal light of the Pacific Ocean and the creeping shadows of 5,000-foot tall mountains. Highway 1, California’s longest highway, is a winding but highly scenic drive. Wildflowers cling to the earth in the ocean breeze, and you can put your outside life on hold as cell phone reception is calmingly minimal on a vacation to Big Sur.

Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway, California

Big Sur Pacific Coast Highway, California. Source: Expedia.

  • Travel tip: The coastal redwoods of the Muir Woods National Monument are a wonderful experience. Why not take a slight detour to observe the deer and chipmunks playing in the forest? (This circuit is definitely one of the best things to do in California.)

4. Million Dollar Highway — Road Tripping Through Colorado’s Natural Heritage

Million Dollar Highway Colorado

The road from Durango to Ouray is part of the 236-mile San Juan Skyway between old mining towns that retain a sense of our pioneering forebears. Hairpin turns and steep drops call for caution on one of America’s best scenic drives. But you can get your kicks riding a jeep over the back roads or trekking the 15,000-foot Mount Sneffels. As Kris Kristofferson sang in Two-Lane Blacktop, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”

Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

Million Dollar Highway, Colorado. Source: Expedia.

5. 89A — Arizona’s Most Magnificent Roadway

89A Arizona

James Stewart once rode these perilous plains in westerns such as 1950’s Broken Arrow. But today, the cool, panoramic scene of the Sedona to Flagstaff highway is a salve for body and soul. Wildlife, foliage, and epic formations of red rock will give you cause to reflect and reconnect to the great outdoors. And the natural springs of Oak Creek are whispered to have healing properties.

Highway 89A, Arizona

Highway 89A, Arizona. Source: Expedia.

  • Travel tip: Park up at the Slide Rock State Park for another kind of journey: a natural, 30-foot-long water slide. This is a refreshing stop to be sure, especially on a sweltering road trip across Arizona.

The Most Scenic Drives in the United States — All in One Video


Blue Ridge Parkway

Photograph ©2018 by Brian Cohen.

Interestingly, the Blue Ridge Parkway was not featured in this article. With the exception of two sections which were closed due to construction, I drove the entire length of Blue Ridge Parkway in April of 2018. I intend to eventually post additional articles with trip reports and plenty of photographs.

Another fun article to read is 8 Iconic Road Trips as Minimalist Maps in the United States.

Car, truck, motorcycle or scooter — choose your vehicle; or maybe bundle the rental vehicle with a stay at a hotel or resort property, and enjoy, as the greatest road trips in the United States are waiting for you to discover them.

Photograph at the top of this article is ©2018 by Brian Cohen.


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2 thoughts on “Most Scenic Drives in the United States — Pixel Art Style”

  1. rmah says:

    all these even better on a bicycle! i know. i’ve done them.

    great article.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That sounds like a good topic for a guest post, rmah.

      Did you ride every one of those scenic drives in their entirety?

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