Pacific Coast Highway, California (Hotel Prices & Photos)
Highway One is one of the world’s most legendary drives, particularly along the 123-mile winding, cliff-hugging stretch between Monterey and Big Sur on California’s central coast. Here, mountains plunge down to the roaring waves of the Pacific on one side while majestic, towering redwoods are on the other. Just when you thought the views couldn’t get any better, as you venture further south, you’ll continue to be amazed at the increasingly beautiful scenery that includes deep gorges cutting through rugged mountains, pine forests that extend to the edge of sandy beaches and even cascading falls that plunge to the sea below. Pfeiffer State Beach is a great stop near Big Sur, home to a rare purple sand beach, with its hue derived from the manganese garnet deposits that are found in the surrounding rocks.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Blue Ridge Parkway travels some 500 miles through the famous Appalachian Mountains, with plenty of noteworthy stops like the Peaks of Otter, Humpback Rocks, and the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. In North Carolina, check out Linville Falls as well as the Craggy Gardens where you’ll see colorful flower-filled summits, while Doughton Park offers fantastic wildlife watching. If you want to stretch your legs, there are more than 350 miles of trails to hike along the route too, including access to the Appalachian Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Golfing, kayaking and canoeing, cycling and fishing are just a few of the other options.