The Scenic Route: Go Long!

The Hackberry General Store is just one of the unique pit stops found on these epic byways.

Alan Rider
May 31, 2013
Filed under RV Blog

Whether you’re newly retired or just have a whole bunch of accrued vacation days you need to burn through, there are some times when nothing less than a truly epic RV adventure will do.  Which, not coincidentally, is exactly what my family and I have been enjoying over the past year in our travels along The Scenic Route.

Unlike the shortest scenic byways I highlighted in my last post, there are a handful of routes in the National Scenic Byways program that go on for nearly 1,000 miles or more, crossing multiple state lines in the process.  While it’s certainly not necessary to drive them in their entirety (see the story of the time we spent exploring the Louisiana section of the Great River Road for a good example), following them from beginning to end will create memories and stories no long weekend camped out at your nearby state park can match.

With that in mind, read on and get started planning your own epic RV adventure:

Historic National Road

Rolling through six states from Maryland to Illinois, this 824-mile scenic byway holds the distinction of being the first federally-funded highway.  In the course of your trip you’ll discover how the National Road helped further westward expansion and visit sites that offer new insights on famous Americans from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln.


Original slave cabins at Evergreen Plantation along the Great River Road.

Original slave cabins at Evergreen Plantation along the Great River Road.

Ohio River Scenic Byway

Following the mighty Ohio River for 943 miles, this scenic byway passes through three states, offering opportunities to visit everything from one of the most important stops along the abolitionists’ Underground Railroad to the town that claims to be the boyhood home of Superman.

Historic Route 66

Though historic Route 66 originally traveled more than 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, you can think of this 1,409-mile section as the Mother Road’s greatest hits.  On the way from Oklahoma to Arizona you’ll find the old-time America we grew up with is alive and well and filled with must-see roadside attractions ranging from landlocked blue whales to the western states’ ubiquitous jackalope.

Great River Road 

At more than 2,000 miles long, the Great River Road is the granddaddy of scenic byways as it follows the course of the Mississippi River from its headwaters in Minnesota’s Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico.  Meandering through 10 states, you’ll discover the River Road is a microcosm of everything that makes this country great, from Civil War battlefields to the abundant harvests that end up in your cereal bowl each morning.

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