Book Review on The National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways & Byways
The 300 Best Drives in the U.S.
Today I’m doing a book review on The National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways & Byways. Whenever we arrive in a new area we reference this book and plan many of our day trips around routes in it. We bought it a few years ago and began noting the dates we took each drive in the book. In thumbing through the book recently I found we had traveled many of the routes over the years before buying the book. It’s interesting to read the descriptions of even well known rides, as it helps trigger memories of long ago travels.
The book is helpful for anyone taking a road trip within the United States. It concentrates on the backroads which one would miss when driving only on the major highways. There’s a quote in the book which describes why it’s important to us to use these roads. “America’s Byways offer us the opportunity to explore our nation in a truly unique way. The U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to preserving these scenic routes to ensure travelers experience the best of U.S. history, culture, and nature. The beauty of these roadways helps tell our American story, whether traveling across the country or close to home.” Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
The book not only lists the Department of Transportation backroads, but routes from many other sources, such as county and state roads, state park and national park roads, etc. There are some which are not paved and require a 4 wheel drive, but all the roads are described well in the book so that you know what you are getting into.
The book is sectioned into regions such as New England, Middle Atlantic, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, and as seen here Far West.
Heading Info: Information on each ride is listed at the beginning of the description of the ride. These include: Mileage, time required to take ride, and seasons when the ride is open.
Map For Each Regional Section: The beginning of each regional section contains a map showing all of the rides in that section.
Detailed Map: Under each specific ride there is a detailed map, which is easy to cross reference on Google Maps, or any hard-copy map of your choice. We usually enter the ending point on the drive into our Garmin before the ride, just to make sure we don’t get lost. Each ride description gives descriptions of points of interest along the way, places to stop and take pictures, hikes you may want to take, and much more.
In a perfect world we would like to take all of these rides, and it is surprising looking back at my notes in the book at how many we have already travelled. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to travel, either close to home on weekends, or traveling as a life-style like we are.