Leaving Las Vegas: Scenic Road Trips to 4 Western Hotspots

Mount Shasta

There’s no shortage of things to do in Las Vegas, but if you’re looking for a change of pace from all the glitz this summer, consider a road trip to some of the most scenic western U.S. spots. From the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway to Sedona’s Red Rock Country, here are four easy and beautiful destination to consider this summer:

Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway (California and Oregon)

Running from Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park to California’s Lassen Volcanic National Park, this byway offers beauty and high drama. From mountains and lakes to wildlife and charming towns, you’ll need two to five days to fully enjoy the entire 500-mile route. Along the byway is Mount Shasta, the country’s second-highest volcano, which peaks at 14,162 feet, and the Klamath Basin, which is home to the great American bald eagle and a 53,000-acre wildlife refuge.

Redwood Highway (California)

Carson Mansion

Carson Mansion in Eureka, Calif., is a three-story, 18-room Victorian home constructed in 1884. Photo by: Cory Maylett, via Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

California’s Redwood Highway offers beautiful views of the ocean, lagoons and picturesque Victorian homes, perfect for a trip with your friends or family. North on Route 101 is the Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area, 1,000 acres of redwoods, maples, oaks and Douglas firs as well as the Eel River, where you can swim or fish for salmon and steelhead trout. You might also stop by Trinidad, an old fishing village home to sea lions and a replica of the 1871 Memorial Lighthouse. If you are interested in architecture, consider visiting the Carson Mansion in Eureka, a three-story, 18-room Victorian home constructed in 1884.

Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway (Washington)

The Strait of Juan de Fuca is the road trip route for the Native American history buff. This byway runs along the shores of a glacial fjord that connects Puget Sound to the Pacific Ocean. You can also take a detour to the Cape Flattery Tribal Scenic Byway to visit the Makah Indian Reservation, home to the Makah Cultural Museum, which was originally built to store artifacts from an ancient Ozette fishing village. You can learn about Native American history and culture while you enjoy the views of wild eagles, rugged cliffs and forests and the beautiful ocean.

Red Rock Scenic Byway (Arizona)

The Red Rock Scenic Byway winds through Sedona’s Red Rock Country and offers its travelers everything from stunning views of red rocks and monoliths to public golf courses and hiking trails. Sedona and Red Rock Country have only three public golf courses, and they are all located along this beautiful route. Each course is home to beautiful red rock scenery and challenging fairways. Arizona’s Coconino National Forest is also off the Red Rock Byway. You can enjoy the beautiful high desert country at 4,000 feet and even take a trip to Courthouse Butte, a popular spot for off-road mountain biking and an area that is considered sacred by Native Americans.

Regardless of your destination, be sure to plan ahead, give yourself plenty of travel time and pack an emergency roadside kit to deal with the unexpected. Doing that will give you peace of mind that can set you up for a road trip of the unforgettable kind.

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