The United States offers a bounty of beautiful scenery, and there’s no better way to see it than along the country’s endless ribbons of byways—whether you drive yourself or ride along on an expert-led tour. Itching to take it all in? Here are five flat-out gorgeous drives—all AAA Member favorites. And don’t miss our tips and tools for making the most of the journey.

Claim to fame: This up-in-the-air drive winds along the mountains’ crest—through the heart of Shenandoah National Park, showing off expansive views of the lush valley below.

Along the way: As you meander the 105-mile skyline, some 75 overlooks offer space to pull over and take in stunning panoramas. It’s especially pretty when the foliage takes on the vibrant hues of fall and when spring brings cheerful wildflowers and blossoming azaleas. Hiking trails are plentiful and lead to scenic spots like Hawksbill Mountain, the park’s highest peak at 4,050 feet, and Mary’s Rock, with its 360-degree views. Keep an eye out for the deer, black bears and other woodland animals that call the area home.

Claim to fame: A leaf-looker’s dream, the road known simply as “The Kanc” meanders past the maple, beech and birch forests of unspoiled White Mountain National Forest.

Along the way: Fall foliage is the main draw here, but you’ll find something pretty to gaze at out the window just about any time of year (purplish lupines bloom in early summer, and waterfalls gush with snowmelt in the spring). The 34.5-mile drive begins in Conway, where maps of key stops, hiking trails and overlooks are available at the ranger station. Among the highlights: the Russell-Colbath Historic Site, with a 19th-century farmhouse-turned-museum, and picturesque Sabbaday Falls, which rushes prettily through a narrow rock formation carved thousands of years ago by glaciers.

Claim to fame: Dubbed the “highway to the sky,” this road provides a spectacular look at the majestic scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park—all while soaring to an elevation of more than 12,000 feet.

Along the way: Before setting out from Estes Park, stop for a glimpse of the famous Stanley Hotel; opened in 1909, the grand Colonial Revival building inspired Stephen King to write The Shining. After leaving town, the road traverses some 48 miles of parkland on its way to Grand Lake. Climbing ever upward, you’ll pass stunning examples of nature’s eye candy—elk splashing in crystal-clear rivers, glacier-carved valleys and snow-dusted mountain peaks. The icing on the cake: crossing the Continental Divide at Milner Pass.

Claim to fame: Twisting around 620 curves and over 59 bridges, this roadway takes drivers’ breath away as it snakes along the island’s rugged coastline, past verdant rainforests, black-sand beaches and dazzling cliff-top vistas.

Along the way: Starting from the town of Kahului, the highway unspools over 52 miles on its way to Hana. Pause just after mile marker 10 to explore the Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden (see if you recognize it from the opening scenes of Jurassic Park). And be sure to sample the fresh-baked banana bread for sale at roadside stands; the Halfway to Hana stand, at mile marker 17, has been a favorite since 1982. One of Maui’s most-photographed sights—80-foot-tall Wailua Falls—is at mile marker 45.

Claim to fame: This coastline-hugging highway points drivers to classic Southern charm—from laid-back small towns to early American historical sites.

Along the way: Stretching 1,200 miles from northern Virginia all the way into Florida, this route was the main artery up and down the Southeastern seaboard until Interstate 95 took over. Today, U.S. Highway 17 offers a more leisurely way to explore Southeastern gems like the Low Country of South Carolina and Georgia. Start in Charleston, South Carolina, where cobblestone streets lead to architectural treasures. Side roads allow for detours to places like pristine Edisto Island and the sweet river town of Beaufort. Wrap up your Southern tour in Savannah, Georgia, with its moss-draped oaks and historical mansions.

Rule the Road

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