The most scenic route from Virginia to California is not always the shortest. So what makes a route scenic? Well, it’s all about your preferences. Are you looking for an adventure or are you trying to get there as fast as possible?
Do you want activities along the way, like restaurants and wineries? Or do you prefer natural beauty for miles on end with nothing but gas stations every now and then? You could also ask yourself whether the time of day matters – does dawn over the mountains sound more appealing than a sunset over the ocean waves?
And finally, what kind of mood are you in right now – road trip mode or vacation mode?! The good news is that no matter where your priorities lie, we have a great route for you.
about 82 hours 46 minutes of driving
about 11 days
about $781.78 of fuel
Now be ready to fasten your seat belt slicing America travelling from Virginia to California via Virginia’s Winston-Salem, North Carolina’s Nashville , Tennessee; Townsend, Tennessee; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; Bullhead City, Arizona; and finally getting California (C.A.).
Table Of Contents
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
Reality becomes better than dreams when you successfully start the journey from Virginia (V.A.). Before going anywhere out of Virginia, there is a need to explore the beautiful places found in Virginia. Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Surely you ought not to miss witnessing this half-century-old engineering wonder.
It was launched on the 15th April 1964, recognized as “An international artwork of infrastructural design”. Through the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1965, it was ‘The Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement’. Against all odds, make your way to the Bridge-Tunnel over and underwater.
Be part of the more than 100 million cars and trucks that have utilized the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel since its existence. Go and experience crossing over and underwater at that used to take more than one and half hours following length of waiting period and demand.
While still in Virginia, you can also travel from Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, for 200 miles / 322 km, to Skyline Drive within three and half hours. The drive is central to the National Park Service’s Shenandoah National Park found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is about 169 km. When driving in the park, forget Google Maps and keep an eye out for the milestone posts. Or wait until you find suitable instruction in tandem with your area/place of interest.
The Skyline Drive provides a very secure place pumping in the cool and most delicate breeze from all angles. Take in every moment as you drive along its meandering drive. Hence do not feel the heat closing your vehicle’s windows; you can drop them down and lean on your car comfortably moving at 35 mph – speed limit. It’s crucial to know that you enter the Shenandoah National Park with your vehicle at four places along Skyline Drive.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Blue Ridge Parkway
From Virginia to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, it takes 210 miles / 340 km to travel within four hours. Blue Ridge Parkway is an enjoyable mission-orientated drive to many specific places. Unlike making it a destination to explore the parkway fully over a multi-day endeavour. Stretching north and south from Asheville, you can witness the cross-sectional long-range mountain views presented in bluish colours from a distance.
The blue colour gradually vanishes as you approach the foot of the mountains. It leaves behind a dark green colour of trees and shrubs. These are dressed in merriment flowers emitting a fragrance that keeps bees at work throughout the year. The stunning long-range vistas and Appalachian Highlands are pretty suitable for photo-mongers.
Don’t forget your camera to capture these beautiful sunset moments and snap some sun-kissed pictures. Should you decide to camp at Blue Ridge Parkway, several activities you can do include bushwalking, picnic, and canoeing. You can stop at milepost 297, known as Julian Prince Park.
Newfound Gap Road
Drive from Winston-Selam, North Carolina. As you head towards California you will go through Nashville, Tennessee. This will take approximately 440 miles / 700 km within 7 hours non-stop. In this case, why not drive to the Newfound Gap Road, which st 212 miles / 341 km away. About three hours and 41 minutes, it will be worth it to take that route.
It begins at the Sugarlands Visitor Center spanning to the Mountain Farm Museum, North Carolina. The drive cuts through the bushy forest in the Eastern United States of America and sits in the lowest point in the ridge lying low. The Great Smoky Mountains found here decorate the most down pass. Don’t forget to bring warm clothes like a jacket and covered shoes e.t.c, as it gets cold below 10 degrees sometimes as you travel this 31-mile road.
It is a priceless route that leaves you with incredible memories of cove hardwood, spruce-fir, northern hardwood, and pine-oak. Newfound Gap Road has an excellent paved road and infrastructure that makes travelling effortless.
Cades Cove Loop
Ideally, it requires three and half hours to drive from Nashville, Tennessee, to Townsend, Tennessee. In this case, make a continuous drive from Newfound Gap Road to Cades Cove Loop. These places are just one and half hours apart, which takes an estimated 43 minutes to drive in typical weather. The Cades Cove Loop Road, located near Townsend, Tennessee, stretches for 16.9 km.
If you are so deep in love with wild animals, you ought to be here as available there chiefly includes white-tailed deer, coyotes, turkey, designated places for black bears, among many others. Animals are mainly in a kush valley, down the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
To capture the curiosity of your imagination for the Great Smokies, Cades Cove is a low-lying green area bordered by mountains that resembles geomorphological processes of the past centuries. Found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it receives tourist visitors of around two million annually as the centre of attraction.
Now, set aside seven hours to travel from Townsend, Tennessee, to Oklahoma City after driving 470 miles / 750 km. Found in the southwestern part of Oklahoma, U.S. state is the Wichita Mountains. Near the town of Lawton, this place is full of diverse wildlife animals. Measuring 59,000 acres of land, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service manages the designated refuge place.
Animals found there include deer, elk, and a variety of dog species, longhorn cattle, and it is also home to Bison. According to syncretic dating, the place has been there for more than 500 million years. You may need to be a bit ready with all the required itineraries when visiting this camp. Take some food, clothing, camping utilities, sturdy footwear and so forth. There are plenty of things to do apart from chilling amid cool and fresh air blowing from all angles. You may choose to do fishing, canoeing, wildlife watching, hiking and evening camping in preparation for the next drive.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
With 4 hours to Amarillo, Texas and after driving about 260 miles / 420 km from Oklahoma, you need not miss Palo Duro Canyon, State Park. There are several places one may think of. These include Tiger Safari Zoo, Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, and many others, you can focus on the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.
It’s the second-largest canyon in the U.S. located in the Texas Panhandle on-state-park. Its beauty is unique and rated next to none because of its features and colours. You can find several activities including informational gathering, horse riding, biking, and photography, using the excellent scenic views.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jemez Mountain Trail
By now, you would be fascinated by all the breathtaking landscapes and painstakingly filled with the Columbus vigour to discover many more things. It’s 4 hours to Albuquerque, New Mexico, after driving about 290 miles / 470 km from Amarillo, Texas. Especially for those who like adrenaline adventures, this area is called the Jemez Mountains.
It consists of a mountain group of mountains in Sandoval, Rio Arriba, and Los Alamos counties, New Mexico and the United States. The first inhabitants of this land were the Puebloan Indian tribes, who lived in these mountains way before other people like the Spanish. There are pretty many activities that one sure doesn’t want to miss in this area. Given the long route, you need to pause for a moment and get the best accommodation services from Jemez Springs Bath.
Off to Flagstaff, Arizona, drive about 320 miles / 520 km in 4.5 hours. Stop by sightseeing the most scenic places, such as the contiguous emerald green Ponderosa pine forest. Flagstaff is very close to the earth’s most excellent geological showcase. The Grand Canyon Flagstaff is the city of seven wonders with excellent eye-catching routes. See these as you head to Sunset Crater, Oak Creek Canyon, Wupatki and Walnut Canyon National Monument.
Every place you stop by is unique. You cannot get enough of everything because of time; however, that short time will make a difference in your journey. We all love great memories! Head towards Bullhead City, a 3-hour drive of approximately 180 miles. Bullhead city is well known for thundering waterfalls, towering summits and majestic canyons.
Get ready for world-class sightseeing and bring your sense of adventure to the Yellowstone national park. There is bountiful scenery and world-famous landmarks including the Grand Prismatic Spring and wildlife viewing.
Yellowstone Park is a biosphere reserve with a collection of supersized mammals. Have you ever heard of the Yosemite National Park? Most visitors won’t leave Bluehead City without taking pictures of this iconic natural monument. Included in the park is the Yosemite valley, which is home to Half Dome and Yosemite Falls. Bluehead has so many eyeful stunning places. It’s worth stopping by!
Welcome to California!
You are almost there, and it’s been a long but most exciting trip. California is approximately 6,5 hours from Bullhead City. California is an exceptional city, and there’s never a dull moment. Full entertainment, family fun, food and drink, and arts and culture from different historical Monuments. Famous places include San Francisco and the Golden Gate bridge. It is worth having a stay in California.
You can see that the route from Virginia to California is an amazing one. Always carry a camera so that you keep memories of these stunning moments!