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America's Best Spring Drives

© Stan Russell

Explore coastal scenery, fields of flowers, and historic sites—without the summer traffic—on these weekend road trips.

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There’s something about spring that makes many of us want to grab our car keys. Maybe it’s that the season’s longer days mean there’s more sunlight to get out and enjoy; maybe it’s that the drab winter landscapes are newly ablaze with color. Maybe it’s just good old-fashioned spring fever, pushing us to get outside, to get out on the road for a new adventure.

“As the weather begins to get warmer, Americans feel ready to break free,” says Heather Hunter, a spokesperson for AAA. “And springtime, when many landscapes are in bloom, makes for especially beautiful drives.”

The season allows for some truly spectacular scenery when driving in places like Texas Hill Country—where the fields come alive with dazzling bluebonnets—or along the azalea-lined Skyline Drive in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. Road-tripping to other national treasures, like the Mississippi Delta and Utah’s Zion National Park, is much more pleasant in spring than in summer’s stifling heat. And still other drives, like those to California’s Big Sur or to the Florida Keys, are much less traffic-congested in spring than in more crowded holiday seasons.

Many of the drives on our list cover short distances; some would take no more than three hours if you made them without stopping. But since all offer numerous attractions outside of the car—including national parks where you can stroll through slot canyons and hike along wooded trails, or quaint towns filled with museums, historic sites and antique shops—we’ve turned them all into weekend itineraries.

Regardless of where your road trip takes you this spring, remember to take these precautions for safe driving suggested by AAA: Be sure your windshield wipers and blades are working properly (since spring can often bring rain); also, check your tire treads and pressure before heading out on unfamiliar roads. If your car doesn’t already have a GPS system, consider purchasing or renting one—nothing spoils a road trip like getting lost!

Ready to hit the road? Check out our list of the country’s best spring drives for inspiration.

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