From exhilarating driving experiences to relaxed scenic roads, southeast USA has some great routes to travel. In fact, some of these drives are so special that they’ve become destinations themselves, like the Tail of the Dragon. No matter what kind of car you drive, these are five of the best roads to travel and enjoy, for a few hours, a day, or even a whole weekend.
Tail of the Dragon — Route 192
The Tail of the Dragon runs along route US 192 between North Carolina and Tennessee, and it’s one of the most popular destination roads in the southeast USA for car enthusiasts. This treacherous and exhilarating stretch runs for 11 miles and includes 318 twists, turns, and curves. There are plenty of places to stay in Robbinsville or Fontana Villages, and you can definitely spend an entire weekend learning to master the dragon.
Many car clubs host events here at the Tail of the Dragon, such as Miatas at the Gap or the Focus Fanatics Dragon Takeover, hosted by one of our own members Ann Spence. I was lucky enough to spend a weekend at the Tail with my husband in our Lotus Evora.
Overseas Highway — US1 drive over the Keys
The overseas highway is a low-sitting overwater bridge that runs through the Florida keys. Its beautiful views show the bright blue ocean on either side, and it’s a fantastic driving experience no matter what car you’re in (because the road is straight and the speed limit is low). Plus, now you’re in the Keys! In fact, it’s one scenic drive you should make at least once in your life — and you can hear about my journey through it here on MotorBiscuit.
The Diamondback Loop — NC 226A
Another road in North Carolina? We are starting to see a trend here. Another curvy and exhilarating road with breathtaking views as you make your way through the mountains. This route is significantly less intimidating than the Tail of the Dragon and a nice break from the twists and turns.
Drive through the Ocala National Forest — Route 19
Route 19 is another straight road that’s more for looks than fun, and it’s a great trip if you want a relaxing ride. You can stop and enjoy nature’s beauty with the windows down, relax in one of the natural springs, and, if you’re lucky, maybe spot an alligator. Florida certainly doesn’t offer quite as many twists and turns, as most of the roads here are relatively flat and straight, but off-road enthusiasts can make a put stop at the Ocala Off-Road park and enjoy some truly challenging rock climbs.
Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest — Route 197, Georgia
If you’re traveling south from the Tail, there is a stretch along Route 197 in Georgia just north of Helen worth taking some time on. The stretch in particular runs along the beautiful and scenic Lake Burton, and although it is only eight miles of road it offers plenty of enjoyment. If you’re looking for a place to stop and relax, you can pull over to take some beautiful pictures (especially of your car) and relax at the lake.
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