Most Beautiful Spring Drives Around U.S.

April 2, 2012 by staff 

Most Beautiful Spring Drives Around U.S., Remember when Dorothy dozes off among scarlet poppies in “The Wizard of Oz?” Well, those vivid flowers weren’t just a figment of Hollywood magic. Similar poppies set California’s Antelope Valley ablaze in spring, luring road-trippers from L.A. and beyond.

The arrival of spring inspires us to break out from winter’s hibernation and embrace the fresh outdoors. A road trip naturally satisfies that spontaneous travel urge, and we’ve mapped America’s best spring drives-routes that bring you up-close to nature’s finest floral displays, from a California poppy tour to Texas Hill Country’s bluebonnets.

Texas Hill Country Bluebonnet Tour
The Route: 87 miles.

Lady Bird Johnson led a campaign to beautify American cities, and in her native Texas, vast gardens of bluebonnets were planted across Texas Hill Country. While there are countless nature trails, first-timers should start in Austin and take U.S. 290 west to Johnson City’s lovely Wildflower Loop. Then hightail it along U.S. 281 N to the town of Burnet, the official bluebonnet capital of Texas. The 29th Annual Bluebonnet Festival gets under way April 13, 2012.

Acadia All American Road, MaineAcadia All American Road
The Route: 40 miles.

Pack your binoculars for this coastal drive that skirts the woodlands of Acadia National Park, a prime spot for spying bald eagles and nesting peregrine. The 27-mile Park Loop Road segment follows the high ridges of Bar Harbor down to Sand Beach and Otter Cliff and loops inland along Jordan Pond. It’s the centerpiece of the drive, which starts in Trenton, takes Route 3 south, turns on the Loop Road, then rejoins Route 3.

George Washington Memorial Parkway, George Washington Memorial Parkway
Maryland and Virginia
The Route: 25 miles.

This green parkway reveals one floral show after another-591 wildflower species, from large-flowered valerians to Virginia bluebells-as you drive from the Great Falls of the Potomac through D.C. and south to Mount Vernon. The most famous are the cherry trees that bloom around the Tidal Basin in D.C. The National Cherry Blossom Festival runs March 20 through April 27, 2012, which marks the 100th anniversary of this gift from Japan.

Antelope Valley, CaliforniaAntelope Valley
The Route: 70 miles.

From Los Angeles, drive north to the town of Lancaster via Route 14, better known as the Antelope Valley Freeway. Golden poppies bloom throughout the Mojave Desert region in March, but the 17,600-acre Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve claims the finest concentration of California’s state flower-not to mention glorious showings of fiddlenecks, creamcups, goldfields, and tidytips starting in late March.

Cherokee Foothills Scenic Highway,
South CarolinaCherokee Foothills Scenic Highway
The Route: 120 miles.

This National Scenic Byway sticks to an early Native American trail (the Cherokees called these foothills the Great Blue Hills of God) that weaves through the low Piedmont Hills past waterfalls, covered bridges, and brooks. To catch peach orchards and trees in full bloom, time your drive to late spring or early summer.

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