Road trips are one classic American tradition — they are romanticized in films and iconic books that discuss the journey as not only a physical one, but also a spiritual one. Lucky for us, the United States has some of the most beautiful road trips in the world. With such vast land and a wide range of topography and climates, the U.S. boasts plenty of road trips to choose from in the country and plenty of beautiful sites to see on the way. One of the most popular American road trips is a scenic journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is a magnificent drive along the Eastern coast of the country.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is well known among road-trippers and receives more visitors than the Grand Canyon. There are tons of things to see and do along the way, with a total of 469 miles of sites to see stretching from Virginia to North Carolina. If you’re an adventurer looking to experience the best of the outdoors, the Blue Ridge Parkway is just the road trip for you. Here are some of the high points to hit while you’re there.
5.) National Parks
The Blue Ridge Parkway is connected by two national parks. Yes, two beautiful parks lie along the path of the Blue Ridge Parkway. That means two opportunities to be blown away by the breathtaking natural beauty on the East Coast.
Shenandoah National Park
The vast 200,000-acre national park sits just 75 miles outside of Washington, D.C., and is one of the places you can’t miss on your drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Shenandoah is a mostly forested filled with breathtaking waterfalls, mountains, hiking trails and even ancient caves. Some key things to do in Shenandoah are exploring the Luray Caverns, a network of underground columns that reach as tall as 140 feet. If you’re less into going underground and more into reaching new heights, Shenandoah has two amazing mountain peaks that’ll delight hikers. The views at Old Rag Mountain peak and Hawksbill Mountain are also must-sees.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
On the opposite end ofthe Blue Ridge Parkway and between the borders of North Carolina and Tennessee sits the Great Smoky Mountains, the most visited National Park in America. The Great Smoky Mountains offer plenty of things to do and see, and the park is known for its biodiversity and amazing wildlife. To see some of the wildlife in the park, be sure to head to Cades Cove, a valley in the Tennessee section of the park that is known for bears, deer and elk. In the Great Smoky Mountains, there is also one of the highest points in the Appalachian trail, the Clingman’s Dome.