Hug the high spine of the Appalachian Mountains, backbone of the eastern United States, on a road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“America’s Favorite Drive,” as the tagline goes, is easily one of the prettiest ribbons of blacktop anywhere. A little background to get the trip-planning juices flowing: The Blue Ridge Parkway was initiated in the mid-1930s under FDR and basically completed by 1966, except for the short Linn Cove Viaduct piece not finished until the 1980s. The Parkway traces the crest of the Blue Ridge, the highest chain in the Appalachians; you’ll be topping out at over 6,000 feet where the road crosses the Great Balsam Mountains in North Carolina. Managed by the National Park Service, the Parkway is on average the most-visited National Park Service unit in the country.