During your travels you have most likely passed by a small sign displaying the words, “Scenic Byway.” What you may not know is that the most scenic of these byways are called All-American Roads.
In 1991, Congress and the U.S. Department of Transportation established the National Scenic Byways Program to recognize roads that meet one or more of six qualities. These qualities include: cultural, historical, archeological, natural, recreational, and scenic designations. All-American Roads must meet two of out these six qualities, making them unique destinations for RVers to seek out.
All-American Roads are a specific segment of the National Scenic Byway Program.
The U.S. currently has 31 All-American Roads located in 46 states. Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Texas do not have All-American Roads, but there are still Scenic Byways in these states.
There are several roads you would never guess are All-American, like the Las Vegas Strip. However, taking a larger RV into the dense traffic of The Strip is not recommended. These five All-American Roads are not only scenic and lengthy enough for a road trip, they are also RV-friendly.
1. Historic Route 66
The mother of All-American Roads, Route 66 is at the top of most road trip lists. The 1,409-mile route runs through eight states from Los Angeles to Chicago. Route 66 has more than enough places to explore and is very RV-friendly with dozens of campgrounds in each state, parks, roadside attractions, and Americana appeal.
2. Hells Canyon Scenic Byway
This 218-mile route circles eastern Oregon from La Grande to Baker and passes beautiful mountain and lake scenery as well as the famous Snake River. The route is also popular with motorcyclists and bikers, so be prepared to share the road.
Along with views of the Wallowa Mountains and activities at Wallowa Lake, you will pass by charming towns and a nice selection of campgrounds. Mt. View RV near Baker City has a general store, laundry facilities, and access to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. In the winter, some of the Byway may be closed because of snow.
3. Scenic Byway 12
The rather nebulous title doesn’t come close to describing this stunning drive in Utah. The 124-mile Scenic Byway 12 route from Torrey to the Panguitch area of the Beehive State passes by some of the area’s most famous slickrock stops.
Along with Kodachrome Basin State Park and Goblin Valley, the route passes by Capitol Reef National Park with its beautiful Fruita Campground. While in this area, don’t miss out on hikes to the Cassidy Arch and the Navajo Knobs. Utah can get very hot in the summer, so travel through this area in the shoulder seasons.
4. Florida Keys Scenic Highway
Another goal for warmth-loving RVers is to take the 106 mile stretch of US 1 from Key Largo to Key West. The views of the water and sky are amazing and RVers can enjoy driving over the 42 bridges that span the islands.
Along the way, stop for some deep water fishing off Marathon and some excellent shrimp and mussels at the Fish House on Key Largo. Great camping can be found all along the route, but check out the views at Grassy Key RV Park & Resort and Bluewater Key Luxury RV Resort near Key West. In addition, after being severely damaged by Hurricane Irma, some of the Florida Keys need a little love.
5. Lakes to Locks Passage
If you’re interested in a mixture of history and culture along waterways, this 234-mile route in the Adirondacks of upstate New York is a great destination. The Lakes to Locks Passage follows a waterway from Albany to the border of Quebec, Canada.
This area has long been influenced by French, English, and Dutch settlers, and the communities along the route are all designated as greeting areas for visitors. Some of the top attractions include the Grafton Peace Pagoda in Petersburgh and the one-of-a-kind Adirondack Folk School. There are several places to park your RV, including Crown Point Campground on the shore of Lake Champlain.