The Blue Ridge Parkway contains in its 469 miles of pavement, the essence of a scenic byway. This road stretches through the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina and the Shenandoah Park of Virginia. The entire road is maintained by the National Park Service and it remains a smooth, scenic, safe drive.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is popular not only for its views and smooth travel, but also for its architecture and convenient location. The Blue Ridge Parkway is not too far from many urban population centers on the Eastern coast, but it has a wild, services-50-miles-apart sense of solitude.
This is the road that started my love of road trips. On Labor Day weekend of September 2015, my brother and I set out from Chattanooga, TN to Cherokee, NC. We took the entire road in one day, but many people take it over a course of several days. We roughed it, even sleeping the night before at a scenic overlook in the back of the 1990 Toyota Camry I was driving at the time. (I do not recommend this for both safety and comfort reasons.) Yet having watched the sunrise over the Great Smoky Mountains in the balmy 50-degree weather of the late summer Southern mountains, it was totally worth it.
This road is non-stop beauty. No billboards. No advertising. It’s just a lot of scenic overlooks, the occasional pull-off to a small town where you can get gas and food, and a few public restrooms. This parkway is a park, first and foremost.
Whether you take it fast or take it slow, I cannot recommend this road highly enough. Today is the first of May, and the Southern spring is now reaching even the heights of the Smokies. Why not go this weekend?