Blue Ridge Parkway

road trip north carolina
The Blue Ridge is one of the most scenic drives in the East
  • Trip length: 469 miles

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs from Waynesboro, Va., to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Its 470 miles twine through the Appalachian forests along the highest elevations east of the Rockies, including Mount Mitchell, at more than 6,000 feet.

Alongside are historic towns, working farms, old mills and the Cherokee Nation lands. The views are serene, with the road often tunneling through deep woods before emerging into the open. Mountain overlooks abound. Deep greens of summer change to bright fall colors in October.

There's lots to see along the road, like the Natural Bridge in Virginia, a cliff called Blowing Rock where stiff winds blow light objects tossed by tourists back at them, and tours at caves including Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia and Linville Caverns in North Carolina.

First published May 19, 2015: 11:41 AM ET

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