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8 Spring Road Trips To Celebrate The Changing Of The Seasons

Spring is the perfect season for a road trip. After all, who doesn’t want to embrace the great outdoors as vibrant colored flowers begin to bloom and temperatures start to rise?

From the coast to the desert, here are eight spring road trips that will have you road-tripping through America’s finest landscapes. Some are RV-friendly, while others may require a smaller vehicle to navigate. Get a head start on your trip planning today using RV LIFE Trip Wizard and the RV LIFE App With GPS.

1. George Washington Memorial Parkway – Maryland and Virginia

Escape the hustle and bustle of the D.C. metropolitan area with a drive on this green parkway that stretches from Mt. Vernon in the south to the Great Falls Park at the northern end.

This scenic drive winds along the Potomac River, offering fantastic views of the national monuments, as well as historic locations, diverse parks, and picturesque overlooks to explore.

Springtime on the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Photo via NPS.gov

In spring, the parkway is flooded with a floral show featuring over 500 wildflower species. If you time it just right, you might even be treated to a show of fragrant cherry blossoms.

2. Catalina Highway – Arizona

The Santa Catalinas range, crowned by 9,157-foot Mt. Lemmon, rise in ragged ridges at the northern edge of Tucson. Explore this rugged world with a scenic drive up the Catalina Highway, also known as the Sky Island Scenic Byway.

Catalina Highway. Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons

The 30-mile paved road winds up through dry desert terrain, past rocky outcroppings, pull-outs offering stunning vistas, and mid-level forests teaming with leafy oak trees.

Don’t forget your jacket, as temperatures can drop as much as 30-degrees from the bottom to the top of the road.

3. Columbia River Scenic Byway – Oregon

The Columbia River Gorge area has long been a popular attraction in Oregon and Washington.  In 1913, the 75-mile Columbia River Scenic Byway was created and since then has become the very best way to explore the area. From Portland to The Dalles, the route follows the path of the river past small towns and orchards.

Columbia River Highway. Photo via daveynin on Flickr Creative Commons

The byway is dotted with waterfalls, like the impressive 620-feet-high Multnomah Falls, scenic vistas including Crown Point, one of the most photographed spots along the Columbia River, and historic landmarks such as Rooster Rock, Cascade Locks, or Rock Fort in The Dalles.

4. Trail of the Ancients – Utah, Colorado, and Arizona

Experience the beautiful and diverse landscapes of the Colorado Plateau on the Trail of the Ancients, a scenic route that travels through Southeastern Utah, Southwestern Colorado, and Northeastern Arizona.

It connects some of the nation’s richest archaeological, cultural, and historic sites in a remote region teeming with towering sandstone formations, deep canyons, and iconic red buttes.

The adventure can begin at any point on the trail, but many choose to start at the famed Four Corners Monument and then travel in a counter-clockwise circle.

Along the way, you’ll see the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park and the archaeological sites of the Hovenweep National Monument.

You’ll white-knuckle it down the hairpin turns of the Moki Dugway and marvel at the sandstone monoliths and pinnacles of the Valley of the Gods.

The Moki Dugway is an unpaved gravel section of Utah State Route 261 in San Juan County, Utah. It has an overall elevation change of 1,100 feet spread over its 3 miles of hairpin bends and switchbacks. Photo by Andrew Smith via Flickr Creative Commons

Cross the San Juan River in the tiny one-horse town of Mexican Hat, gaze in wonder at the postcard-ready views of the Monument Valley, and finally end up at the Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Northern Arizona.

5. Skyline Drive – Virginia

Often called the crown jewel of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 105-mile Skyline Drive runs north to south along the crest of the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway.

spring road trips
Springtime on Skyline Drive. Photo by Annette Teng via Wikipedia Creative Commons

This route stretches through Shenandoah National Park where warm spring weather brings purple and yellow violets, masses of pink azaleas and white dogwood flowers.

Skyline Drive features a whopping 75 overlooks including Spitler Knoll, Range View, and Hogback, all of which offer unobstructed views across the Blue Ridge Mountains.

6. Texas Hill Country – Texas

The Texas Hill Country, located west of Austin and north of San Antonio, features a landscape dotted with lush rolling green hills, spring-fed rivers, and charming small towns.

Thanks to Lady Bird Johnson, who led a campaign to beautify American cities, vast swaths of bluebonnets were planted across Texas Hill Country and now their bright blue blooms signify the advent of the spring season.

Bluebonnets along a stretch of Highway 71 near Llano, TX. Photo by Jonathan Cutrer via Flickr Creative Commons

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, which is widely known as the official bluebonnet capital of Texas.

7. Newfound Gap Road – Tennessee and North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is split in two by a single major two-lane roadway that crosses through the heart of the park and over its highest mountain gap.

This scenic drive is known as the Newfound Gap Road, or US Highway 441. The roadway follows rivers, climbs steep slopes, and offers incredible views.

Newfound Gap Road, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. Photo by Ken Lund

In the spring months, this route is awash with color as the wildflowers come alive and the trees begin to sport their bright green new leaves.

A must-see are the rare Purple Catawba rhododendrons, found only at high elevations, that reach their peak of bloom along this well-known drive by early June.

8. Pacific Coast Highway – California

Billed as perhaps America’s most iconic coast-hugging drive, the Pacific Coast Highway runs for nearly 550 miles along the California coast.

The most dramatic scenery is found along the 240-mile stretch from Monterey to Santa Barbara. Driving the route from north to south is ideal, as it puts you on the ocean side of the road the entire way, allowing unobstructed views of the blue-green Pacific Ocean below. Keep in mind that RVs and trailers are not permitted on certain stretches of the route.

Pacific Coast Highway. Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons

From the historic town of Monterey where the seaside trail at Lovers Point Park is carpeted in magnificent magenta ice plants during the spring months, to the small town of Big Sur where the famed Hearst Castle looms high above the coast, the PCH is arguably one of the most beautiful drives in America.

See also: How To Plan Your Route And Find Campgrounds Using RV LIFE Trip Wizard

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