The open road: a temptress that calls to every soul eager to explore. In Alabama, few things top a spring drive through the countryside. Dense forest highways spill into a coastline of creamy white sands. When the moment calls and the horizon beckons, adventure can be found on one of these scenic routes along the Yellowhammer State.
The Natchez Trace Parkway
Boasting 60 miles of lavish trail line, 100 species of wildflowers, and a nickname like “Devil’s Backbone,” the Natchez Trace Parkway is the grandfather of them all. The stretch of road bridging East Mississippi and West Alabama covers 444 miles of distance and has been a route traveled for the last 8,000 years. Bicyclers skim the highway edges as honeysuckle buds burst into applause around them. Winding curves and turns crescendo naturally alongside flowing rivers spouts and creek bends. As natural as the winter morphs to spring, a morning drive along the trace can easily fold into an evening journey home under the stars.
Talladega Scenic Drive
Driving along any road with Talladega in the name is sure to make every Southerner’s heart shift into high gear. The scenic drive of the same namesake is no different. Cheaha Mountain, the highest point in the state, looms over the pathway as a summit to behold. Racing to the top of the Talladega National Forest can be a challenge for those who crave more adventure. Camping sites, hiking trails along the Appalachians, and mountain eateries act as wholesome pit-stops for drivers looking to stretch their legs. Once at the top, an unmatched view of the mountain range awaits. Speckles of towns in the distance accompany the azure haze created by condensation released from a sea of green trees. It’s peaceful here. That is, until engines begin to rev for the race down.
Alabama’s Coastal Connection
For those who live on the state’s peninsula, there is the Costal Connection. Ocean views, stunning old-south architecture, and the blending of traditional and modern cultures abound in this loop from Spanish Fort to Bayou La Batre through the Gulf cities. The townships you’ll explore sets the stage for what to expect. The beautiful, timeless design of Fairhope rolls into the vibrant, bustling boulevards found in Orange Beach. The still, tranquil Dauphin Island serves as a peaceful finale as you cross the bridge back to the mainland. In the spring, summer, or even the dead of winter, this route is always a welcome expedition.
More information on Alabama’s scenic routes can be found at alabamabyways.com.